Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Civil Services Mains Preparation: General Studies

The long promised blog about civil services mains preparation is here. Do not read this if you are not appearing for civil services. Before starting the preparation, have a look at the syllabus. A topic wise unsolved of Y.D. Mishra is available in the market and it can be of good help.

Now for each subject I have given a list of material that can be studied. The first paragraph is the material that should be studied and is mostly sufficient whereas the second one will be the additional that can also be looked at.

Polity: The best source for polity is the notes of Mr Ravindran of Vajiram. They are sufficient for getting good marks. It shall also be good idea to read the printed material (that is yellow books) of Vajiram.

Apart from this D. D. Basu’s book on ‘Introduction to India’s Constitution’ can also be read for specific topics. For a simpler reading two books of Subhash Kashyap on Constitution and Parliament may be referred. A topper also recommended me Laxmikant’s book on Polity and a book on ‘Indian Administration and Politics’ by Awasthi.

History: Bipin Chandra’s India’s Struggle for Independence is a must read if one wants to get a good understanding of freedom struggle. Also NCERT’s ‘Modern India’ is indispensable. There is a book of Spectrum on Modern India and it should be referred, but remember one needs a broader understanding and Spectrum only may not be sufficient.

Geography: Read two NCERT’s books on Physical Geography of India and People and Economy. Also printed material (yellow book) of Vajiram is good for Geography.

International Affairs: The notes of Vajiram and its printed material (published till mid September) are a must read, but try not to cram them as most candidates will be writing the same.

This is also broadly prepared from the daily reading of ‘The Hindu’. I mean just read it everyday. There is no need for making notes or cutting articles from it. Also read Frontline. One may buy ‘World Focus’ but it should be read fast. The NCERT book ‘Democracy in India’ can also be studied. Someone told me that Competition Wizard is better than many magazines, so one may have a look at it too.

Economy: For this notes of Vajiram and its printed material is sufficient.

If one wants to read a book, Uma Kapila can be studied. Also having the Penguin dictionary of Economics may be good help.

Science and Technology: Vajiram notes and material are sufficient for this. One may also read Spectrum of Science and Tech. On Thursday, Hindu has an S & T page, so keep an eye on that.

A topper told me that even reading the magazine ‘Science Reporter’ can be of great help.

Statistics: For engineers it can be a cakewalk provided a person has seen the previous years question papers. Spectrum is sufficient for it.

One may even have a look at NCERT book for statistics.

Social Issues: Read them from any source, may be Vajiram printed material or anything else. But do not skip them. The list can be seen from Y. D. Mishra’s unsolved papers.

Current Affairs, International Organizations etc: I read them from Vajiram printed material. You can choose any other source. It is better to get Xeroxed material of Vajiram and read it than sitting in the class and noting them down.

Two markers: Read them from any source you can get. There is a CST special issue for two markers published nearly in July. Even many magazines publish two markers special so keep on collecting them. Reading India Year book may also help.

People have told me that both, class notes of Vajiram and its printed material is available in the market, so it is a good idea to buy them.

Now about completing the question paper. I will tell what I had done. I prepared the order in which I was going to attempt the paper. For e.g. in first paper I decided to do Polity, then history then something else. After that I calculated the time available for each mark. For e.g. a 30 marker corresponds to 18 minutes. So I crammed by heart that if paper starts at 9:30, my first question should finish at 9:50 and so on. Thus I could keep a tap on the time and it nearly corresponded with the word limit. So I suggest start from the areas of strength and cram the various times by which you will be finishing a particular question.

I have tried my best to collect a lot of information from various sources. I have mentioned a comprehensive list of sources but it is not that I have studied them all. I have taken inputs from many toppers and I have tried to incorporate their sources. Any more queries are welcome. Happy preparation and best of luck J

PS: I thank Shammi Abidi (Rank 16), Anurag Tewari (Rank 24) and Udit Rai (Rank 25) for their kind help in preparation of this blog.


Chandana said...

Thanks a deal :):):)!

Rahul said...

Thanks for the blog
some very nice suggestions ...
lets see how much it helps

Proud indian said...

Well...Tonnes of thanx from me..Its been so kind of you as usual...Our insatiable appetite will always look for more & more guidance from you Sir..

Hari said...

Hi Anurag

Please let me know your Optionals and also breakup of your mains scores.

Anurag Srivastava said...

@all:Its my pleasure, I hope it helps you all.

@Hari: I had Pub Ad and History

My scores were
Essay :140
GS I :171 GS II:164
History I :174 History II: 170
Pub Ad I :154 Pub Ad II:166
Total :1139 Int:150

Proud indian said...

Hanji bhaiya kya haal hai aapka..Mein try kar raha hoon Y.D mishra's book but not able to find it anywhere..What is it exactly..Can U tell me any guide to help me prepare strategy for GS & other optionals
Saksham Katyal

Shailesh said...

Nice blog Anurag!

Gr8 effort to pacify thirst of onlookers like us!

Meanwhile I have dropped my idea of takng Mech. engg. as optional and has decided for Pub Ad and Geography.

Request your blog too on Public Administrtion in some time.

Meanwhile whether Vajiram classnotes are available in market???

Anonymous said...

if u have some free time, please put something for the prelims exam too...... :)

guganesan said...


i appreciate this effort of urs!!and thanks !!
please leave something like this for pub ad too!!
(hey!!i've met u at the vajiram mock interview!congrats on ur success!!)

Chintu said...

Touched by your humility!

The blog is great. Butb would like to add my views on 2 markers:

It is suggested that candidates don't waste their time on this. One can hardly predict what goes on in the mind of paper setter. He may ask you any silly stuff ranging from BATA to TATA, some perl deep within the ocean to an astronaut in the orbit. Why waste ur precious time on this?

Attempt it at the end and strongly recommended, not to bluff anything if not known, to avoid a negative impression. For me 2 markers are a matter of luck, if u know it then Bingo!

Varoon said...

hi anurag

how good is the vajiram pstal guidance notes or rau's postal guidance notes, will they be helpful

Hanu said...

Thanx a Lot.. very informative post...
Request your post on Public Administrtion at some time.

Also something about Prelims too..

Kuldeep said...

Good work.....I think it will be helpfull to future Civil servants.... well done...

Anurag Srivastava said...

@Guganeshan: I am so sorry that I took such a long time to reply. Yes I do remember you. Thanks for the congratulations.

I had the idea of writing about Public Administration, but the schedule is too tight at LBSNAA and I have to consult many other aspirants to write such a blog. So lets see.

@Chintu: I did the same a syou said, but I was jst trying to cover sources.

@Varun: I think for a beginer, Vajiram postal guidance notes are OK if not great. I have no idea about Rau's

@Hanu: I will try but looks difficult

rahulkr said...

sir...really very generous and kind of you to give us valuable insights on the preparation of civil services amidst the tight schedule and hectic mode of life that you might be having.....

actually i am in 1st year in chennai mathematical institute and am going to appear for UPSC in distant future...
one more request is weather you can give any guidance how to prepare mathematics for UPSC or at least you can please refer as to whom i should ask for guidance because in the market there are
numerous theories about science preparation ......

anyways again congatulations for your achievement....

rahulkr said...

sir....waiting for your reply

rahulkr said...

sir any knowledge of standard books for mathematics .......

Anurag Srivastava said...

@Rahul: I am so sorry for this late reply.

I have no idea about mathematics, if you are on orkut contact this guy

He got good marks in maths and he may help you out.

moien-ur-rehman said...

i have heard there is a book named "upto the mark" for 2mark questions asked in mains exam. where can i get that book. isit available online? please help. this is urgent.

Anurag Srivastava said...

@moien: I am sorry but I have never heard of that book.

dhanalakshmi said...

hi anurag,
this blog is very helpful for those who r preparing for Civils like me. thanks a lot.
can you suggest some more books for history like for medieval period etc.

varoon said...

sir, i am preparing for the civil services exam and i have opted for history and public administration, i would be extremely grateful if you could tell me the books required for preparing ancient, medieval indian history and world history.


chaitra said...

hi anurag, chaitra here.. i'm from bangalore.. right now, i'm in final yr mbbs.. i wanna keep medical science n psychology as optionals.. n i wanna give my exams in 2010.. how can i prepare from now itself.. i'll join a course in june 2010.. rau's is better or vajiram? pls do reply..

priyanka said...

hello this is priyanka .i want the notes of viajram from where i can get them are they available in the market or any other source ...?pls reply me as i want it urgent for GS .
thanks alot
u doing a g8 g8 job

Narayan said...

Dear Anurag Sir,

As an IAS aspirant, it was a real charm to read your wonderful blog.

My query to you is as follows:

Is Vajiram coaching really helpful for PubAd. as a second optional and for General Studies mains. My certain belief is that I will be able to cover these subjects on my own of course with the help of printed material from Vajiram. But, sometimes I also feel that not opting for coaching may deprive me from knowing special things they might be teaching in the class.

Second query is that is it essential to move to Delhi for preparation for UPSC? Though I often visit Delhi for getting books/material and see my fellow aspirants there. The only good thing about Delhi as I have found out is that material/ books are readily available. My certain belief is that one can study anywhere for UPSC if he is able to maintain constant supply of relevant study material.

I shall be very grateful to have your guidance regarding the aforesaid two queries.

Narayan Gupta

bioquest said...

Hi Anurag !!!
Its really cool to read your experience.I am Preethi from chennai.Right now working in Datawarehousing platform.I am 23 yrs as of now.really eager to write UPSC.But have lot of queries.kindly plz guide me .
1)throughout ur post regarding materials you were mentioning "vajiram notes" is that a book or some material from any study circle(it may sound kiddish for your experience but plz)
2)for geography and public administration kindly mention some more books for reference
3)About Essay please provide some instance to get a clear view .so that we can prepare some.

My Email

Thanks in Advance,

Guruprasad said...

This is a excellent contribution for the civil Service aspirants, which includes me also,

thanks a lot

Please suggest your similar inputs on the public Administration (Mains)


vyas said...

hi my name is veda vyas. i have taken maths , public administration as my options. will the optionals make me sucess for scoring more marks? if not suggest me which optionals to be taken?

Aiden Thomas said...

Its a nice blog posted by you. I was seeking for this type of blog that have good resource for students. I also find a really nice site where you can find Civil Services Papers and other various types of exam preparing materials. NCERT Books from 6th to 12th are also available for free download. Do check it out.....