Satveer Singh

B.Tech (IIT R), MTech (IITD), Former Assistant Director At GOI,Teaching in civil services for past 5 years. Presently associated With Dhyeya IAS, Unacademy, Apti Plus Academy, Prep School for Civil services.


Dr Sanjan Kumar

Presently running ON-LINE (SELF CHANNEL) EXAMPUR for IAS/PCS.15 years teaching experience in History Optional & General Studies with IAS/PCS Current Affairs.former faculty at ALS IAS, CHRONICLE IAS,GS WORLD IAS, CAREER OUTLOOK IAS


Abhinav Kumar
1st Rank In Bihar Judicial Services Examination - 2021 (EWS Category)
An Exclusive Interview


CSC: Achieving top slot in the Judicial Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.

Abhinav: Thank you, I would like to especially thank Alok Kumar Ranjan Sir and entire Team members of Ambition Law Institute, Delhi.

CSC: Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Judicial Services?

Abhinav: Yes. It is due to the fact that I was closely engaged with State Legal Services Authority and National Legal Services Authority; I had the opportunity to meet various judges. They inspired me about the profession and life of a judicial officer.

CSC: Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Judicial Services’?

Abhinav: Initially, I was preparing for UPSC. Eventually, through proper counselling I was convinced that I can be a good judicial officer.

CSC: Was JSE a planned decision or your parent’s wish? Did you keep in mind some time frame, for the examination preparation and number of attempts?

Abhinav: Never, It was my first sincere effort which resulted into success.

CSC: Describe the exact moment when you came to know about the importance of Judicial Services?

Abhinav: It was during the Covid 19 pandemic that posed unprecedented stress to career prospects for many people. That was the time when I genuinely realized how crucial it was for me to clear judicial services examination which is indeed the 1st priority for every law student. Thus, it was the exact moment for me.

CSC: About Interview Boards, many candidates have set impressions. Do you consider such thoughts help or hinder one’s performance in Interview?

Abhinav: Yes, it does. In fact, in my case, it was very important and effective as well.

CSC: What was your first step when you were really serious about making a career in Judicial Services?

Abhinav: I started with the fundamental concepts of law and sticking to the planned strategy that was made by me during the course of the preparation.

CSC: Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this news of your success?

Abhinav: Yes, I was sure that I will clear the examination just after the interview got over. It was definitely a wonderful news that brought moment of joy for all my loved ones. I convey my sincere gratitude to my professors and seniors for helping me throughout this journey.

CSC: In how many attempts have you achieved this success? How do you visualize your preparation/previous attempts?

Abhinav: This was my first sincere attempt where I was dedicated and focused towards my goal and accordingly I prepared for my examination. The only key to success was religiously following the self- made strategies which was made during the course of preparation.

CSC: Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e. Career in Judicial Services?

Abhinav: Yes, I was pursuing PhD in law. Simultaneously, I was also associated with teaching and working as columnist for various reputed newspapers.

CSC: While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Judicial Services?

Abhinav: Economic hindrances do not stop you from achieving what you strongly desire when your efforts are made in the right direction.

CSC: What's important and what's not? Share your thoughts and opinions.

Abhinav: According to me, it is your self-made strategies and the preparation framework that you consistently follow to achieve your desired goal.

CSC: List some of the Magazines, News Papers, Books, etc. which you read for 'General Studies’ preparation.

Abhinav: I was reading Indian Express, Civil Service Chronicle Magazine for Current Affairs and some statics books related to various topics and subject matter regularly.

CSC: How did you prepare yourself for Interview? When and which Board did you face? How did your interview go on, how much time it lasted and what were the questions asked during the Interview?

Abhinav: I have taken the guidance from Ambition Law Institute that really helped me to understand the intricacies of how to prepare for an interview. I also worked personally on my resume and issues related to law that are currently in news, latest Judgments and recent legal development for the interview.

CSC: What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like JSE?

Abhinav: My medium was English and it totally depends upon an individual and his ability to understand and learn the subject matter. Thus, the medium of examination did not pose any hindrance for me.

CSC: Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation?

Abhinav: I don’t think so. Your passion, efforts and ability to never give up on your dreams ultimately make it possible to achieve your goals.

CSC: According to a recent report published by reputed survey agency, Civil Service Chronicle is the largest read Career & Competition Magazine. What is your opinion?

Abhinav: Civil Service Chronicle is one of the best magazines for current affairs and it definitely helps the students to simplify their current affairs preparation.

CSC: What is the secret of your success?

Abhinav: My secret is to stay positive, being very confident, trying to have clarity over subject matter and the ability to never give up on my dreams.

CSC: To whom would you like to give the credit for your success?

Abhinav: There are many people in my list. First of all, my parents, my friends, some of the seniors and Ambition Law Institute that constantly helped me in staying positive and to stay focused towards my goal; and I would specially like to acknowledge the contribution of Alok Kumar Ranjan Sir who through their innovative methods of teaching developed the proper understanding of law in us.

CSC: Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Abhinav: Focus on every stage of your preparation, be thorough with your bare acts and simultaneously prepare for answer writing. Take good care of your mental health and prepare with a positive attitude.

CSC: Thank You very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.

Jitesh Sharma
20th Rank In Haryana Judicial Services Examination, 2021
An Exclusive Interview


CSC: Achieving top slot in the Judicial Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.

Jitesh: Thank you. I would like to especially thank Team Ambition Law Institute and Alok Kumar Ranjan Sir.

CSC: Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Judicial Services?

Jitesh: When I was in School, I used to visit court with my father who is an advocate; there I realized the position, importance and dignity of Judicial Services.

CSC: Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make a career in ‘Judicial Services’?

Jitesh: In my 2nd year of B.A. LLB in Kurukshetra University, I decided to go with Judicial Services Examination.

CSC: Was JSE a planned decision or your parent’s wish? Did you keep in mind some time-frame, for the examination preparation and number of attempts?

Jitesh: Firstly, it was the wish of my brother. Then I decided to appear for it. I previously appeared for RJS Interview and this was my first attempt for Haryana which I cleared with 20th rank.

CSC: Describe the exact moment when you came to know about the importance of Judicial Services?

Jitesh: Judicial Services in India is the most organised mechanism in our country and the position of Judge holds a great respect, dignity and divinity.

CSC: About Interview Boards, many candidates have set impressions. What is your opinion, whether such thoughts help or hinder one’s performance in Interview?

Jitesh: I have taken interview guidance programme course from Ambition Law Institute and my brother also helped me a lot in the preparation of interview.

CSC: What was your first step when you were really serious about making a career in Judicial Services?

Jitesh: Firstly, I decided to read the syllabus of Judicial Services which helped me a lot in understanding about the scheme of examination and then the PYQ's of this exam.

CSC: Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this news of your success?

Jitesh: Yes, I was bit sure about my success after my interview of Haryana Judicial Services because it went well. This is also truth that I was surprised when I got the news of my selection in this examination and at the same time happy too.

CSC: In how many attempts have you achieved this success? How do you visualize your preparation/previous attempts?

Jitesh: This was my 1st attempt of Haryana Judicial Exam. My journey to this examination includes a lot of Hard Work, perseverance and also a lot of patience.

CSC: Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e. Career in Judicial Services?

Jitesh: No, I was only preparing for Haryana Judicial Services from my 2nd year of Law till the time of interview. But after my interview, I started preparing for UPSC.

CSC: While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Judicial Services?

Jitesh: Although there are other opportunities which includes good incentives like, in litigation sector but only Judicial Services includes such a dignity, pride and respect which others do not bear.

CSC: What's important and what's not for this examination? Share your thoughts and opinions.

Jitesh: In this journey hard work and patience is very important. Apart from them, a good command on law concepts is required.

CSC: 'Time Management' - is a key factor while doing preparation as well as in examination hall. Did you come across such a problem during this period? If yes, then how did you manage things?

Jitesh: Time management is very important because you have to maintain your speed along with word limit. Also, there are total five theory papers in mains out of which two papers are held in a single day.

CSC: List some of the Magazines, Newspapers, Books, etc. which you read for 'General Studies’ preparation.

Jitesh: Generally, I read Civil Services Chronicle. For latest ‘case laws’, I preferred Live Law website.

CSC: How did you prepare yourself for Interview? When and which Board did you face? How your interview went, how much time it lasted and what were the questions asked during the Interview?

Jitesh: My brother helped me a lot in preparing for interview. Also I gave many mocks in Ambition Law Institute which also helped me. There was only one Board of 9 members in Haryana. My interview went well.

CSC: What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like JSE?

Jitesh: I personally think that English medium is a bit easy than Hindi medium in this examination because one has to maintain his/her speed in mains.

CSC: Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation?

Jitesh: I do not think that any of these factors can impact or hinder any aspirant for making to this examination because it only needs Hard Work and Self-determination.

CSC: According to a recent report published by reputed survey agency, Civil Services Chronicle is the largest read Career & Competition magazine. What is your opinion?

Jitesh: Yes, Civil Services Chronicle is a good magazine for current affairs in general studies.

CSC: What is the secret of your success?

Jitesh: My secret of success is the planning of my brother which helped and inspired me a lot at every point of time. I worked hard constantly without wasting time.

CSC: To whom would you like to give the credit for your success?

Jitesh: I will give the credit of my success to my parents, God and a large part of it to my brother and Ambition Law Institute.

CSC: Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Jitesh: I just want to say that be punctual and do constant hard work without wasting time.

CSC: Thank You very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavors.

Shraddha Shukla
15th Rank In Rajasthan Judicial Services Examination, 2021
An Exclusive Interview


CSC: Achieving top slot in the Judicial Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.

Shraddha: Thank you.

CSC: Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Judicial Services?

Shraddha: From childhood, law always fascinated me as a tool which keeps our social and individual interest in a harmony and when I thought of pursuing it as a career, I got to know about Judiciary and what all it stands for.

CSC: Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Judicial Services’?

Shraddha: In my 10th Standard, I decided that I would pursue law and go for Judicial Services. Since no one in my family has ever pursued law and me being of State Board topper in senior secondary exam (science stream), everyone expected me to pursue engineering or medicine; but I was confident about my decision.

CSC: You must have read Toppers’ interviews in newspapers/magazines; what inspired you the most? Any particular success story which has influenced your journey to this result?

Shraddha: Yes, I do read toppers’ interviews in newspapers/magazines and the thing that inspired me the most was their determination and hard work. One such story which inspired me was of Akanksha Tiwari Ma’am (Rank-1, UP Judicial Services 2018).

CSC: Was JSE a planned decision or your parents’ wish? Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the preparation and number of attempts?

Shraddha: It was my decision for which I had to convince my parents who were initially skeptical because I had no background in legal field but later on they firmly stood by me. I was not sure about the time-frame but I always desired to clear it in my very first attempt.

CSC: What was your first step when you were really serious about making a career in Judicial Services?

Shraddha: As I had already decided my goal during school days, I embarked upon that path. I joined Banaras Hindu University for BA.LL.B (Hons.) and after that I joined Ambition Law Institute for my preparation.

CSC: Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this news of your success?

Shraddha: I had a feeling that I would pass the exam but anxiety and fear before the result is a common tendency among all the aspirants. And after the results, it was like dream come true. I was filled with joy and my years of hard work had finally been paid off.

CSC: Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e. Career in Judicial Services?

Shraddha: No, I was not preparing for other career opportunities.

CSC: While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Judicial Services?

Shraddha: It was not a career opportunity for me but it was my dream to become a Judicial Officer which shaped my life accordingly; and I was not deviated by other things.

CSC: 'Time Management' is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers. Did you come across such a problem during this period? If yes, then how did you manage things?

Shraddha: I used to divide the time to each subject according to its weightage in the examination. Mock papers helped me to overcome the problem of time management in writing mains.

CSC: List some of the magazines, newspapers, books, etc. which you read for 'General Studies’ preparation.

Shraddha: I referred Civil Services Chronicle, Indian Express, The Print, Live Law and Frontline.

CSC: How did you prepare yourself for Interview? When and which Board did you face? How did your interview go on, how much time it lasted and what were the questions asked during the Interview?

Shraddha: For Interview, I used to have discussions with my fellow aspirants on legal topics, jurisprudence and current scenarios. I faced Hon'ble Justice Sandeep Mehta's Panel. My Interview went on for 20-25 minutes. They asked me questions from law subjects and general awareness.

CSC: What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like JSE?

Shraddha: Since RJSE is conducted in both languages (Hindi and English), language is not a barrier; but one must choose the language in which he/she is comfortable.

CSC: Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation?

Shraddha: Yes, it does. The environment you grew up in, your cultural belongings and demography, etc. becomes part of your character and stays with you.

CSC: According to a recent report published by reputed survey agency, Civil Services Chronicle is the largest read Career & Competition magazine. What is your opinion?

Shraddha: I found Civil Services Chronicle very informative and precise. It helped me immensely in preparing the G.S. part of JSE.

CSC: What is the secret of your success?

Shraddha: Hard work, determination, supportive family and friends and healthy competitive spirit.

CSC: To whom would you like to give the credit for your success?

Shraddha: I would like to give the credit for my success to God, my family, friends and teachers & entire Team of Ambition. I want to extend my special gratitude to Mr. Alok Kumar Ranjan Sir (The Headmaster, Ambition Law Institute, Delhi).

CSC: Tell us about some basic things an aspirant should give emphasis to?

Shraddha: Writing Skills, Time Management, Conceptual Clarity and Learning Ability.

CSC: Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Shraddha: Solve previous year questions and practice answer writing and read the Judgments of Hon'ble Supreme Court.

CSC: Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavors.
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
8 Tips To Succeed In Civil Services Prelims Examination


Strategies to Adopt During the Examination

Clearing the Civil Services Preliminary Examination is not only about mugging up a lot of information; rather, it tests your patience, perseverance and optimism in the exam hall against all odds. The ability to stay cool under lot of pressure is a trait required of a civil servant and UPSC looks for this trait in the candidates through the prelims examination. A common pattern is also observed that once an aspirant clears prelims, s/he most probably goes on to repeat the feat each and every year. So how do these students clear the prelims examination despite such immense pressure? Are there strategies adopting which a new UPSC aspirant can achieve this feat? Let's find out...

1. Time Management: The most important aspect (and we cannot emphasize on this point enough) is the management of time in the exam hall.

  • Your mind should race against time to find some common link between the stated statements in the question and the knowledge you possess from the basic reference books. In this context, practicing as many questions as possible helps a lot.

2. Elimination Technique: If you find any statement from among the options as redundant or false, you can directly eliminate that option from your answer and this increases the probability of you marking a correct answer.

  • In a scenario where the candidate is able to eliminate two options, the question should definitely be attempted. In such a case we would suggest you mark any one of the remaining answer as the probability of you marking the correct answer is almost 50%.

3. Extreme Statements: Another strategy commonly applied by students is to find extreme statements in the options.

  • For example, "Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana failed to address the financial needs of rural India". Here the statement directly contradicts the salient feature of Jan Dhan Yojana which is financial inclusion. Hence the statement is false and can be marked wrong.
  • This also implies that there is a possibility of you finding the right answer even though you may not know anything about the question through elimination of extreme statements.
  • Therefore, the advice would be to not skip a question just based on a quick reading, but following it up by reading the options. This strategy is bound to fetch you some extra marks in prelims.

4. Note the Question Terminologies: Also while reading the question paper, cautiously note the question terminologieslike 'Not', 'Incorrect', 'Only' etc.

  • For example, in a question which states "Which of the above statements are incorrect?', many candidates have been found to mark the correct statement as they fail to notice the question terminology. These blunders need to be avoided to ensure success in prelims.

5. Exam Hall Ego: Another common mistake candidates make during exam hall is wastage of time while facing a question based solely on their ego.

  • Let's say Student A has dedicated hours of his time in reading polity but is not able to solve a basic question of Polity in Prelims. This not only reduces the confidence in aspirant A but also builds in guilt.
  • Based solely on his ego, he wastes his precious time trying to solve the polity question, only to realize later that he could have fetched marks in other unattempted questions. This clarity of thought is normally found lacking in new aspirants and needs to be kept in mind.
  • The objective of the candidate in prelims is not to top the examination but to clear the exam. This means you should fetch marks, no matter from which subject.

6. Marking of OMR Sheets in the Last Minute: Another mistake commonly observed is the marking of OMR sheets in the last few minutes by students.

  • After the prelims examination, lot of students could be heard complaining that their invigilator did not provide them with enough time to mark their OMR sheet. This logic is both irrational and foolish and should to be avoided.

7. CSAT Paper: While solving the qualifying paper of prelims, i.e., the CSAT paper, students should focus on their strengths.

  • It has been observed that many students are afraid of aptitude and reasoning in the CSAT paper. Revising some basic concepts of Class 10 would be a great help in scoring decent marks in aptitude section.
  • The students can also rely on passages and comprehensions to ensure they sail through the minimum cut off. Solving few CSAT papers would go a long way in building up that confidence.

8. Strategise, Prepare, Revise and Practise: During the preparation phase of prelims, it all comes down to limiting the sources of reference books, revising the selected books religiously and preparing one's own notes for each subject.

  • These notes will help in quick revision and come in handy even during the mains preparation.
  • The last three months before UPSC prelims is of utmost importance and needs a detailed strategy which should be based on solving the previous ten year UPSC prelims question papers and understanding the trend of the exam. This should help you in devising a specific strategy, according to your needs focussing specifically on your weak areas.
  • Once a study plan is fixed, sticking to the time table at all costs should reflect the strength of your resolve and be a testament of your will.
  • No prelims preparation is complete without solving multiple choice question papers of different reputable coaching institutes. These tests help in self assessment and build up clarity and confidence on the subject among the aspirants over time.
  • During preparation, students need to keep in mind that there is no dearth of books or study material in the market. Chasing a particular book or study material during the last stages of prelims is a mistake in itself. The students need to understand the paucity of time and should stay away from such books and coaching institutes that claim guaranteed success in UPSC prelims in the last minute.
  • Finally, there can be no substitute to faith and confidence in oneself during the preparation phase. The mantra- "Self-trust is the first step towards success" rings true in this regard.
D P Vajpayee
Director Delhi Institute For Administrative Services (DIAS)
Safely OPT For Science Optionals: They Are Evergreen


Civil Services has been a popular career choice of youth due to their exalted role in society, assured career progression, versatility and challenging responsibilities .Every year some six lakhs candidates compete for 800 to 1200 seats . Therefore competition is intense (1 seat against 500 aspirants) and only the best can survive. Looking at the level of competition involved in this exam, one can sail through this ‘hurdle race’ with flying colours only by proper planning, sustained hard-work over a long period, perseverance and patience. Proper planning is must for getting good rank in this exam. And the first step in proper planning is the right selection of optional subjects.

HOW TO CHOOSE ARIGHT OPTIONAL?

In my opinion, optional subject should be chosen on the basis of following five point criteria :

  1. Interest in that subject,
  2. Scoring pattern of the subject in the last two –three years,
  3. Less prone to likes and dislikes of examiner /objectivity,
  4. Availability of study material and
  5. Expert guidance.

First advice to choose optional is that one must have keen interest/strong liking for the subject. It generates a level of confidence in one‘s abilities and it helps displace more than 80 percent of peers. Remember any competition is survival of the fittest. It is an elimination of eighty percent of peers. Therefore, it should preferably be the subject studied during graduation/post graduation. There is no hard and fast rule in this regard, but my advice to aspirants in the last twenty years has been that choosing “parent subject” as their optional proves beneficial until and unless there are some very genuine points against that subject. For M.Sc background candidates irrespective of their success in this exam, it is the best subject and must be opted. Otherwise they are at loss. BSc background candidates, depending on their continued interest may or may not opt, but MSc candidates do not have much choice because: Firstly, they are most prepared in the subject and secondly, this is the subject of their first love and they will be at a great loss if they do not opt for it as it will be their alternate and glowing career choice. On the basis of interest, it has been the first preference of many bright engineering graduates and every year in my classes, I have more than 70 percent candidates coming from various engineering disciplines(more than half of them are IIT grads). A large number of engineering graduates appear with Physics,Chemistry and Mathematics as their optional, therefore large numbers are selected and thus creating a wrong perception of the subject being taken only by IITians/Engineers. These optional subjectsare most suited to M.Sc/B.Sc background candidates followed by engineering graduates .

Second criteria is the Scoring pattern of the subject (Although I consider every optional is equally scoring,then what do I mean by this statement? This means every subject in CSE is not evergreen, UPSC follows some pattern .Some subjects are on an upward trajectory for some period . This pattern is followed in case of popular subjects,which almost all are humanities subjects. But here Science optionals Physics/ Mathematics/Chemistry /Life Sciences/ Enggoptional etc stand tall and have advantage , as they are not very common optionals , only a handful opt for them . Therefore all science optional are evergreen subjects .Every year some 15 to 20 percent of candidates qualify for personality test with any Science optional and thus Physics/Mathematics or Chemistry for that matter is as good an optional as anything else .

Next criteria are availability of study material and expert guidance.

Syllabi of Science optionals are static in nature i.e. syllabus is fixed and plenty of books are available. List of books are well known and can be easily ascertained by google search.

One more advantage of science optional is their objective orientation. That is to say evaluation is independent of frame of reference.Whether paper is evaluated by a X examiner or Y examiner , if the answer is correct , marks are to be awarded.

IS COACHING ESSENTIAL?

It can be very well prepared by self-study.

Competitions are passed by an intrinsic level of candidates. Neither books nor teachers can create a topper. If one possesses those innate skills/traits a good guide or coach can hone them up. A good teacher can make your path less hurdle some, but cannot provide the drive. If one has a passion, energy and drive to succeed, then only one can succeed. Infact, in every successive batch, I have been repeating that competitions are always cleared by students ' own abilities. I only get credit for their success because I am still able to attract the best students of the country. Not everyone clears from my classes too. Out of a batch of 50 students, only 20 percent will pass, that I know from day one. Then why do people think coaching is essential? Answer is in between. For example, I have been teaching over a long period and have evaluated answer sheets of more than 5000 excellent candidates, so by my sheer experience I know what UPSC desires in a candidate.What kind of answer is expected?So, if someone joins or interacts with a person like me, a lot of time and energy can be saved. Syllabus of any optional is equivalent to a four-year degree course, which in our case turns out to be higher than that of an honors level and little less than that of Masters level. Only an experienced hand can do justice to such a vast syllabus in a short duration of 4 to 5 months.Good Coaching just provides a direction. It tells more of what not to be studied than what to study. If one is ready to work hard and practice, everything can be surmounted. More harm can be done by choosing a wrong coach. I consider self study to be a better option than going to many businessmen masquerading as coaches.

HOW TO SELECT GOOD COACH / COACHING?

These days there is a plethora of coaches offering all kinds of guidance with big promotions and fake results in the media. First of all, I consider, coaching is not essential at all.But if one wants to go for a coaching institute to save time and energy , institute or coach should be selected very carefully by talking to a cross section of selected candidates or from the feedback of known people , instead of blindly aping others and going by advertisements .

RELATIVE PERFORMANCE OF SCIENCE OPTIONALS IN CSE in LAST THREE YEARS

The relative performance of different Science optionals in the last three Civil Services Examinations as per latest 69th Annual UPSC Report is given below to help you decide about the optionals. Remember ten percent plus success rate is regarded as excellent in CSE. Most popular among Science optionals, Mathematics has a success rate of 7.1 and 5.9 percent respectively in CSE 2016 and ‘2017. Most popular humanities optional have success rates between 5 to 10 percent.Therefore, popularity of the optional does not mean high success rate. In terms of number of selections, definitely popular optional will have an edge.If a subject has 4000 candidates appearing, even the success rate of 4 percent will also be equal to 320 selections. But matter of fact is that forevery selection there is a rejection of 96. However limitation of this analysis is due to a time lag of 2 years in obtaining authentic data . I have written this article in March 2020 when UPSC has just released its 69thReport, providing data of Civil Services Examination 2017. Another limitation of analysis is that UPSC provides only the number of candidates finally selected, not the data of candidates passing Mains. If we take a factor of 2.5 for success in personality test, then the success rate of optional will be 2.5 times the numberof candidates finally recommended.

For Physics optional,which I know for sure, every year out of approximately 140 to 150 candidates appearing in Mains, about 30 to 35 candidates get a call for a Personality test.Therefore, I regard it as a best subject with consistent success rate and an evergreen optional. But if we analyse carefully from the table, most of the science/engineering optional have a double-digit success rate, and in true sense four out of one selection. Though they may require a little more time to master the desired level of excellence, effort is best rewarded. Science optionals by their very nature are objective, so even after normalization, are more scoring. If one is in the top ten percent of the class,300 plus marks are assured, which can easily catapult to one’s dream career.

Number of Candidates

Appeared

Candidates Recommended

Success Rate

Optional Subject

2015

2016

2017

2015

2016

2017

2015

2016

2017

Physics

128

141

140

20

14

14

15.6

10

10

Chemistry

92

126

126

11

12

11

12.1

9.5

8.7

Mathematics

258

406

441

31

29

26

12

7.1

5.9

Zoology

72

79

55

5

9

1

6.9

11.4

1.8

Botany

56

57

44

5

8

5

8.9

14

11.4

Agriculture

86

97

89

11

9

11

12.8

9.3

12.4

Civil Engineering

80

121

124

4

3

11

5

2.5

8.9

Mechanical Engineering

15

152

170

14

17

19

12.2

11.2

11.2

Electrical Engineering

143

190

193

13

17

19

9.1

8.9

9.8

( Source : UPSC Annual reports 67 ,68 and 69 )

From the above table, can we conclude more popular is the subject less is the success rate, more are the number of selections.

I have presented all the facts before you to decide upon the optional. This is going to be the first important decision,which can propel your career to great heights. Best of luck!

Mr. D P VAJPAYEE is a B.Tech from IIT, Bombay , M.Phil from JNU, New Delhi and L.LB. He is Director of Delhi Institute for Administrative Services ( DIAS ) , Pusa Road , New Delhi , country ‘s leading Institute for Science optionals . He teaches Physics optional, portions of Mathematics and GS and is one of the most popular and trusted teachers for Civil Services Examination in India.

Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Threshold For Becoming An IAS Going Up


What you score in Mains and Interview counts. But your fate in becoming an IAS or IPS and even the cadre allocation will also depend on how you perform in foundation course at LBSNAA.

  • The days when the aspirants just had to wait for the UPSC final result to know whether or not have they got their desired service or cadre, may soon be over as the Centre is in the process of analyzing if the performance of the qualified candidates in the Foundation Course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) can also be evaluated before the allocation of the service and cadre. If the proposal comes through, selected candidates will be allotted service or cadre based on their performances in the Foundation Course as against the present method of allotment based on marks scored in the UPSC examination.
  • If the proposal that has been sent by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to various ministries for their feedback gets a go ahead, the aspirants will have to be prepared to accomplish an even longer path to be at their desired position in Civil Services. But this shouldn’t disappoint the aspirants as it will help in better judgments of the candidates and will help in getting the right people for the right service. Also, it will assist the trainees to make a better choice by matching their ambition with their aptitude.
  • The candidates will have to put in considerate efforts even after successfully qualifying the exam to achieve the cadre or service they wish to move ahead with in their Civil Services career. The determination and the zeal to compete will have to be taken forward till the end of the Foundation Course.
  • So, what is the Foundation Course? What it demands? What does it incorporate? This is something which fosters curiosity amongst the aspirants. Also, many a times the life and learning at the Academy are motivating factors for the aspirants.

What is the Foundation Course?

  • The Foundation Course at the LBSNAA, Mussoorie is a 15 weeks course intended for the candidates selected in the All India Services (AIS) and Central Services (Group A). All India Services include Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS); Central Services Group A includes services like Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Service, Indian Customs & Central Excise Service, Indian Postal Service, Indian Trade Service, etc.
  • The course is compulsory for IAS, IFS, IFoS and IPS. It is optional for other services of Group A. Previously, all the Group A services officers and AIS officers who clear the exam were mandated to attend the course at LBSNAA. However, since the campus has only a limited capacity and the batches exceeded the capacity, the training is conducted in multiple campuses across India.

What it Constitutes?

  • The Foundation Course equips new entrants with requisite skills, knowledge and attitude to handle responsibility as public servants. It aims to promote all round development of the personality of an Officer Trainee (candidate who qualify the exam) intellectual, moral, physical and aesthetic. As the objective of the Course suggests, it strikes a balance between the development of academics and personality in its duration.
  • The Academic Curriculum covers Public Administration and Social Management, Management, Law, Economic, History and Indian culture, Political Concepts and Constitution of India, Hindi and Regional language and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
  • Strong emphasis is placed on extra-curricular and outdoor activities which are supported by various facilities provided to the trainees in the campus. Trainees can choose to participate in activities of various clubs and societies in the academy such as Adventure Sports, Computer Society, Film Society, Fine Arts Association, Management Circle, Nature Lovers' Club, Society for Social Service etc.

A Day in the Life of a Trainee at LBSNAA

  • A typical day for an Officer Trainee (OT) at the Academy starts at 6 am with morning exercise drill at the Polo Ground for 60 minutes or a 6-10 km jog. Next in the line of the OTs are the classroom sessions, which commences at 9 am.
  • There are 5-6 academic sessions of 55 minutes on all working days and evening hours from 5 pm- 7:30 pm are dedicated for sports and riding. Most cultural performances and programmes are also scheduled in the evening before dinner at 8 pm. Usually, the post-dinner time is used by the OTs to interact with each other and to review the day’s learning and prepare for the sessions for the next day. Notified holidays and weekends are usually used for extra-curricular activities of the clubs and societies or other sports/ adventure activities. The course demands 14-16 hours of activity per day.
  • Additionally and interestingly, as a part of the training curriculum, OTs are sent on treks to the greater Himalayas with an expectation that it will help them learn to cope up with conditions of adversity, bad weather, insufficient accommodation and limited access to food items. Visit and stay in backward villages to understand and appreciate the realities of rural life also forms a part of the training.

What next?

  • The Government is still in the process to take a final call on whether or not to mark the performance of the candidates in the Foundation Course before allotting the cadre and service. With aspirants, civil servants and ex-bureaucrats giving a mixed feedback to the proposal and the awaited feedback from the other ministries, coming to any conclusion will be ill-judged. What will also be anticipated by the stakeholders of the proposal is that on what basis the qualified candidates will be sent to LBSNAA as previously they were sent on the basis of their allocated service.
  • Sooner or later, UPSC may come up with any change in the examination process with or without giving weightage to the Foundation Course which is unpredictable, but what needs to be constant is the dedication and vision to achieve the position where one desires to be in. n
  • Recently Civil Services Exam has been revolutionized by the advent of Information and Communication Technology.It has modernized the preparation and how aspirants approached the Civil Services Exam. Today, information can be accessed by all with the click of a mouse or swiping on a tablet. The age-old preparation dependent on handwritten notes and collecting piles of newspapers has been replaced by various modern technologies. Internet, Social Media, Apps, Tablets, Smartphones have brought a dramatic change to the exercise of IAS Preparation.
  • Of course, books, self-made notes and teachers can never be replaced but what we mean here is the online alternative and study hacks. Thanks to modern Technology!As the internet penetration gained grounds, it brought up more inclusiveness and accessibility to the rural and interiors region of the country. Thus, bringing up a better orientation and preparation.
  • We intend to share here some tips regarding the use of modern-day technology to help UPSC exam preparation. These tools will help you in preparing for the exams so that your future is actually in your hands in the form of education-friendly devices. These tools can not only help you crack competitive exams but also help you successfully complete your course effortlessly.

Learning Through Videos

  • A picture is worth a thousand words!It has been proved that students can learn and retain the information far much better when it is presented in video or picture form. The World Wide Web is full of educational videos that can be streamed via popular sites like YouTube and Vimeo – a professional video platform which offers ad-free videos for the student fraternity.
  • It is now being seen as an interface between educators and students. It is through these sites that aspirants can dig into the details of a particular subject or any optional.The video allows us to assimilate the nuances behind a concept that is explained through graphs and charts. Thus, leaving an indelible imprint on your mind. Also, these instructional videos can help us deviate from the conventional style of classroom learning. It does not require our physical presence in the classroom. These are in fact accessible at any place and at any time.

Listen to Audio

  • Nowadays, there are plenty of audio options that are available in the form of podcasts, online lectures and eBooks.These audio clips can be listened to your time and convenience. They are not only knowledgeful and informative but at the same excitingly different than the normal mode of study. One can also multitask whereby listening to the audio and in the meantime completing the chores. This multitasking is beneficial in preparing for the exams.

Apps Help You Keep Track of Your Progress

  • In helping you to prepare for the exam meticulously there are many apps available which not only provide you with knowledgeful resources but also keeps tracks of your progress.Many apps after the course is over allows you to take test so that you can be informed of your strength and weakness. Through these tests we can realizeour progression before we take the actual main exam. The papers are categorized in terms of their difficulty and even give us rankings. By which we can know how our peers are doing comparatively to us.
  • Burning a midnight oil is necessary for clearing the exams. However, if one uses the time efficiently and wisely, it not only makes the preparation seems easier but also healthier. Convenience is the buzzword. Studying smartly will make you different and an achiever. It is not necessary that a strict set of time is kept apart for studies, rather by using this modern technology we can start studying anytime and anywhere. These tools will help you in making your preparation simpler. So, take the most of these learning technologies to crack the exam.
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Myth Of Safe Optional Paper


– Singh Sir; Mentor, Civil Services Exam

The nature of this examination is to identify and select potential administrators, who have learnt, developed and inculcated ability to lead. Thus the choice of an optional subject shall be purely and solely on the basis of one’s own interest, not on the trends.

  • For a sake of argument, if an optional subject is trending then almost more than fifty percent of the candidates appearing in that subject shall score sufficiently high, say 55% to 60%.
  • However there are only few who manage to score in the bracket of 55% to 60% and more in every
  • optional subject and thereby guaranteeing their success in this examination. It means that these few must have made some extra effort to develop the required analytical problem-solving approach. However, the majority of the rest continued to be tutored robots, reading stereotype material and writing answers with flying language but low in content and analysis.

Trend Analysis

  • The pattern of the Civil Services Mains examination has been designed to test the ability of the candidate to apply the acquired knowledge obtained through study of various subjects as indicated in the syllabus to solve problems and issues. This may be appreciated from the fact that it is a test for intake of future administrators and policy makers/executors for the country. It is not a test for intake of researchers and academicians who have obtained a high degree of specialization in a particular subject.
  • A trend analysis of the nature of questions asked in the Civil Services Main Examinations over the last decade indicates a well-thought and gradual paradigm shift from straight forward questions to such questions which require interpretation of the acquired knowledge and a reasoned, well-thought application of mind.
  • Thus the tilt is towards finding those who have developed ability of problem-solving rather than those who have faith in memorizing set answers and trying to push the set answer down the throat of examiner, irrespective of the demand of question being asked in the examination. So the hidden dictum written on the wall is loud and clear that the system is up with continuous evolving techniques to select independent rational minds rather than well-tutored robots.

What should be the basis for selection of optional subject?

  • The design of the Civil Services Mains Examination with four paper of General Studies, one paper of essay and two papers of the same optional subject is largely rooted in the subjectivity with possibility of existence of different interpretations at the same time. Thus the subjective world comprise of many different shades of grey, rather than the objective world which can exist in black and white.
  • The choice of the optional subject shall be a well-thought and reasoned decision, largely based on the following considerations:-
  1. Humanities subject such as Geography, Political Science & International Relations, Public Administration etc prepares the mind for a subjective interpretation of the complex real world. Thus the selection of humanities subject gives a natural edge to a prospective candidate to do well in General Studies and Essay paper as it enables the candidate to gradually evolve analytical and writing ability, an indispensable requirement for getting success in this examination.
  2. The First Paper of each humanities subject invariably deals with the core principles and theoretical construction of that subject. This requires reading of authentic text books written by leading Indian and Western authors in that subject. Further, reading of NCERT books of Class XI and XII in that subject (if available) marks as a starting point only, not an end in itself. Generally it has been seen that those who pick up a humanity subject for the first time in their academic life only to prepare for this examination, tend to do better than those who have done graduation, post-graduation and further specialization in that subject. The reason for this dichotomous situation is quite obvious as the design of the civil services mains examination is to identify potential administrators not potential researchers and academicians.
  3. The Second Paper of each humanities subject invariably deals with application of concepts and theoretical constructions learnt in the first paper in day to day issues which affect the life of people in Indian set-up. Thus the nature of the second paper is highly generalistic, giving an impression that it is as good as a general studies paper. This in itself is a big catch as the urging tendency to write a general answer without application of the concepts learnt in the first paper leads to an award of a poor score, which in turn diminishes the chance of getting through this examination with the flying colors.
  4. Both papers of any humanities subject offers a huge potential for obtaining maximum score as it thrusts an open challenge before the candidate to demonstrate his/her analytical skill of problem-solving by integrating and weaving together basic concepts and theoretical constructions learnt in the first paper with the current trends evident in news at national and international level and government policies.
  5. However, most of the candidates look at this opportunity from a prism of confusion and over reliance on the stereotyped tutoring and study material and seldom make an effort to develop the right analytical skill of a problem-solver. So this is a challenge, if accepted with zeal and enthusiasm, the success will definitely embrace. Thus the aim shall be to become an analytical problem solver rather than a well-tutored mechanical robot.

Correlation between choice of optional subject and general studies

  1. The syllabus of the general studies in itself is as huge as an ocean. Thus the requirement is to swim on the surface of the ocean and to avoid deep-diving, which may take you back to the starting point.
  2. The key approach for general studies is to identify and read authentic text books more than twenty times rather than reading hundred different materials for one time. The first approach draws an analogy with swimming on the surface and covering the whole horizontal expanse of the ocean. Hence it enhances your precision, thereby increasing number of questions which can be attempted in prelims with greater degree of accuracy and lesser degree of errors. The second approach is as good as deep diving where efforts have been made and output is in haywire with uttermost degree of confusion coupled with vicious circle of failure and deep frustration.
  3. In this backdrop, the question arises that the selection of optional subject shall subtract from the syllabus of general studies or it should stand as an addition to the syllabus of general studies. In the case of latter, degree of effort is likely to increase without the optional subject giving any gainful contribution to the general studies. So in this context humanities subject emerges as a good choice for the optional subject which minimizes the burden of general studies and assist in developing writing-skill, a quintessential requirement for getting success in this examination.

How a Beginner should zero-in for an optional subject?

  1. It is advisable for any beginner to take a glance of the last five year question paper of the second paper of the optional subject, being generalistic in nature, it gives a broad sense of the subject.
  2. Thereafter, the candidate shall make an assessment for the choice of the optional subjects based on his/her level of comfort and interest vis-à-vis the nature of questions asked in the second paper. In case, a beginner is yet indecisive to assess his/her own level of comfort and interest, then he/she shall continue to study different subjects for general studies for some more time, the assessment potential will gradually develop and will show the way. Thus till that time a candidate shall learn to have patience and perseverance.

Last Piece of Advice

  • In this examination with cut-throat competition, every marks count, so a candidate shall not put himself/herself in a disadvantageous position by making wrong selection of the optional subject.
  • There may be a possibility that a particular paper may be trending high in terms of result and thus it may create an indispensable pull of attraction, which may be difficult or near impossible to resist.
  • This is the moment where the skill of analytical mind has to be used, wherein the decision shall be based on the candidate’s level of comfort with that optional subject. To end this discussion, the decision shall be based on one’s sheer interest and liking, not on impulse and trends as one who loves his/her game will have the ability to innovate and create and that is what is required in this examination. n
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Advantages Of Sociology


“The country doesn’t deserve anything less than success from us. Let us aim for success”.

–Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Dear students we all are striving for success in some way or another and UPSC is one of that platform through which we strive for success and Sociology is one of the optional through which you can enhance your chances to become successful.

  • Sociology is extension of our common sense knowledge of social life.
  • As student in some way or another is connected with this society so he/she is having some basic understanding of society. But despite this some basic questions come in our mind regarding such as:

Advantages of Sociology

How effective is Sociology as an Optional in UPSC?

  • Sociology is very effective optional. It not only helps you to get good marks in optional paper but is also helpful in Essay and better writing skills.

What is the success ratio of Sociology in UPSC?

  • Success Ratio varies as around 85 to 240 candidates are getting selected. However, one can neglect this ratio as there are many candidates who are getting high marks in this optional despite failing in mains due to poor performance in general studies papers.

Will Sociology help in General Studies also?

  • Yes definitely, being a generalized topic, it helps in all the four papers of the General Studies. Various sections in which it helps in General Studies has been mentioned below in this Approach paper.

Why Sociology is a safer optional?

  • No special knowledge or academic background is required for the preparation of Sociology as an optional subject. Numerous evidence shows that candidates without any particular skill in Sociology have obtained high scores.

Who should take Sociology?

  • Any student can take Sociology as an optional as it deals with society and we all are staying in this society itself. Apart from humanities background, students from technical background can also opt for Sociology as students from this background has an edge in applied aspects of Sociology. Rest of the students who are coming from other streams can also chose Sociology as an optional as it is much generalized in nature and no specialization is required for it.

Which books can be referred for Sociology?

  • Being one of the popular optional subject abundant study materials are available. But beginning should always be done with NCERT 11th & 12th.

Other Benefits

  1. You will never get too much low marks in this subject. Even if you have not completed the syllabus, you can easily write answers from a generalized perspective and it will help you fetch marks unlike other subjects where there are high chances of you getting zero as well in an answer.
  2. Further, Sociology helps you have a generalized theory on each issue. Therefore, you will be getting more marks in essays and use sociology scholars as well to fetch marks.
  3. Improve your interview skills and speaking at certain levels.
  4. Questions on theories are quite repetitive in nature. So, you need not worry about getting surprises in papers.
  5. You don’t need a previous background of the subject.
  6. Syllabus is not very lengthy.
  7. Resources and materials are easily available.

Importance of Sociology

General Studies - Paper I

  • Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

General Studies - Paper II

  • Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
  • Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.

General Studies - Paper III

  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism. – Naxalism.

General Studies - Paper IV

  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Essay

  • It helps with the essay paper since generally at least one essay is asked on social issues.

Interview

  • We all live in society and by analyzing it we try to make our opinion. Being a Sociology student always give you an edge in maintaining balance in your answers in front of the Interview board members.n
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Probable Questions For UPSC Civil Services Interview


Polity and Governance

  1. What are the possible implications of exclusion of 19 lakh people from the NRC list in Assam?
  2. India is moving from an era of policy paralysis to policy logjam. What are your views on this?
  3. Do you think Legislative Impact Assessment will have a positive impact in law-making?
  4. Can Reservation for women be a way to strengthen parliamentary institutions?
  5. What is the implication of abrogating Article 370 and instead of having two UTs? Can all-India services provide stability and growth to the region?
  6. Do you think bringing the office of CJI under RTI will hamper transparency in functioning of Judiciary?
  7. Define a balance between online privacy and fake news.
  8. Tell us about the convergence between constitutional amendments and subsequent transformation of India.
  9. Do you think present system of appointment of Election Commission is right? Should we replace it with the collegium system?
  10. How has GST impacted Centre-State Relations?
  11. The upper house has completed 250 sessions since independence however its efficiency has declined. What are the various measures required?
  12. Devise a balance between Right to Protest versus Disrupting Public life.
  13. What do you know about NPR? Do you think it will be a viable option for country’s security?
  14. The regulatory mechanism for data collection in India is in bad health. Recently the government has introduced National Statistical Commission Bill. Do you think it is a right step?

International Relations

  1. Do you think UN is losing its significance today? It is also in news these days for the financial crunch it is witnessing. How should we reform it?
  2. What are the functions of UN?
  3. How is UN helping in Human Rights and Peace-keeping? What are India’s contributions in this regard?
  4. In the current West Asian mess what should be India’s Stand?
  5. What is the approach of India towards Afghan? Do you think we need to change the approach?
  6. Briefly state whether NAM is relevant to India in conducting its foreign affairs.
  7. Explain the reasons behind India’s stand on RCEP? Was it a right thing to do? What is the way forward?
  8. As per IMF paper “Is South Asia ready to take-off”, South Asia is moving towards becoming center of global growth and could contribute about one-third of the world’s growth by 2040. What do you think should be the role played by India?
  9. Tell us something about Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative? Do you think it will be viable option for India to float its interests in South Asia and neighboring islands?
  10. Is BRICS a viable platform for furthering India’s interests or is it mainly a China-dominated platform?
  11. India is having 2+2 Dialogue with various countries like Japan, USA etc. What is its efficacy?
  12. Tell us the main reason for Hong Kong Protests. Do you think democracy is the answer to all the evils in the society?
  13. How important is the principle of reciprocity in trade deals?
  14. What is One Country-Two Systems Formula of China? What is India’s stand on it?
  15. The recent escalation of tensions in US-Iran relations has led to bonfire in their relations. What should India do?
  16. Is WTO losing its significance these days?

Social Issues

  1. Suggest some measures to make India malnutrition free by 2022.
  2. What are the various challenges faced by higher education system in India? Do you think UGC’s new mandate is the way forward?

Economics

  1. India is witnessing a slowdown in economy since past few quarters. What measures do you think should be the top priority of the government in this scenario?
  2. The government has recently launched National E-Assessment Center for Income tax department. Briefly tell the benefits and challenges associated with it.
  3. Suggest some important GST reforms.
  4. How can Telecom sector be revived?
  5. What are the problems faced by real estate sector?
  6. India has Third largest startup ecosystem network in the world. Trace its evolution.
  7. Whether FTA is a boon or bane for dairy industry?
  8. Do you think bringing NBFC under IBC will solve the crisis in the sector?
  9. How can strategic disinvestment of PSUs help solve the economic crisis?
  10. RBI recently conducted “Operation twist”. Explain what it is.

Science and Technology

  1. What are the ethical issues in gene-editing?
  2. Should India spend huge sums of money in manned Mission instead of dealing with social problems in the country?
  3. India never had a Woman Scientist at the helm of ISRO. What should we do to encourage women scientists?

Environment and Ecology

  1. Briefly explain why humanity should focus on eliminating single-use plastic. Also, suggest the various alternatives to single-use plastic.
  2. How should India prepare itself for Urban disasters like fires, urban floods etc?
  3. Is odd-even scheme a viable option to contain pollution in Delhi?
  4. What are the various drinking water challenges faced by the country?
  5. India continues to have weak fire safety measures which are taking lives. What are the changes required?
  6. Do you think it will be a viable option to implement No Parking, No Car norm of NGT?
  7. Do you think Jal Jeevan Mission is a viable mission to obtain water security? Also, Discuss the National Water Policy.
  8. What are the various challenges faced by India in adoption of Electric Vehicles?
  9. The world is on the brink of Climate Emergency. How should India prepare itself for this?

Defense and Security Issues

  1. Considering the present claims that there has been inaction on the part of police in managing the protests, suggest reforms required in policing and also, SMART policing.
  2. What do you think security is a status symbol or is really required for protection?
  3. Recently the government appointed Chief of Defence Staff. What are your views on that?

Culture

  1. What is the relevance of Gandhian principles in present times? Also, state some of the principles that can be applied in order to resolve present-day crisis faced by the humanity.

Personal

  1. You are trained as a Doctor/ Engineer/Lawyer etc. How would you use your expertise as a generalist civil servant?
  2. Questions on your hobbies.
  3. Questions on Work-experience.
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Trends Of Questions From Science And Technology Section In Prelims


With UPSC preliminary examination just 3 months away, it is time to analyze yet another Section of UPSC General Studies paper, which has become a game changer in past few years. In this section, close to 19-20 questions were asked in last two years, giving it a hefty weightage in the overall paper (around 20% of total marks every year).

A conspicuous pattern of science and technology based questions is that most of them are either purely general science based questions or application based questions. To handle these questions, one needs grasp of latest scientific products and discoveries. Also, questions are sprinkled across various sub- sections of science namely, General science (i.e. Physics, Chemistry and Biology), space technology, defense technology, Information and Communication Technology and Biotechnology.

We have delineated the following pattern with various sub-sections, which has become quite evident in the Preliminary Examination Stage:

Space

Space Related Questions are here to Stay

UPSC always covers space technology section through direct fact- based questions. In this section, focus is majorly on satellite launch vehicles, space observation satellites or space missions and related technologies. For instance, consider following questions from 2017 and 2018 prelims papers, which clearly highlight this trend.

Q. What is the purpose of ‘evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA)’ project? (Prelims 2017)

1. To detect neutrinos

2. To detect gravitational waves

3. To detect the effectiveness of missile defence system

4. To study the effect of solar flares on our communication systems

Analysis: eLISA project was widely in news due to discovery of gravitational waves by LIGO detector and subsequent success of the LISA pathfinder project. This is a space technology based factual question, which can be attempted with ease.

Q. With reference to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), consider the following statements: (Prelims 2018)

1. IRNSS has three satellites in geostationary and four satellites in geosynchronous orbits.

2. IRNSS covers entire India and about 5500 sq. km beyond its borders.
3. India will have its own satellite navigation system with full global coverage by the middle of 2019.

Analysis: Again, this question is purely factual and was in news due to the failure of rubidium atomic clocks on the satellites of IRNSS.

Defence Technology

Defence Technology is Another Constant

Defense technology based factual questions are also another constant in the last two year’s GS papers with at least 1 or 2 questions being asked every year. Moreover, these questions are based on defence technologies, which were in news. For instance:

Q. What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news? (Prelims 2018)

a) An Israeli radar system

b) India’s indigenous anti missile program

c) An American anti missile system

d) A Defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea

Analysis: This question is again current affairs based question on defense technology. It was in news due to deployment of American anti-missile THAAD system in South Korea by America in the wake of ballistic missile tests of North Korea.

General Science based Applications

Linking Items of Daily use with General Science

In this sub-section, focus is on application of general science especially physics, chemistry and biology on items of common use like LEDs, LCDs, electronic appliances etc. Additionally, purely factual questions on General science are also asked every year.

Q. Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) are used to create digital display in many devices. What are the advantages of OLED displays over Liquid Crystal displays? (Prelims 2017)

1. OLED displays can be fabricated on flexible plastic substrates.

2. Roll-up displays embedded in clothing can be made using OLEDs.

3. Transparent displays are possible using OLEDs.

Analysis: This question is based on application of General Science on items of daily use. In addition, it was frequently in news due to government of India’s UJALA scheme for LEDs.

Q. Consider the following phenomena: (Prelims 2018)

1. Light is affected by gravity

2. The Universe is constantly expanding

3. Matter wraps its surrounding space –time.

Analysis: This question pertains to basics of fundamental physics and is a direct factual question.

Information and Communication Technology

ICT-based Questions are Appearing in all Flavors

ICT has become the most favored section of UPSC since past few years. Questions are either directly factual or based on applications of ICT in day-to-day activities but from areas currently in news. In addition, various government products based on ICT have become a hunting ground for UPSC. For instance, consider the following questions:

Q. Which of the following is a most likely consequence of implementing the ‘Unified Payments Interface (UPI)’?(Prelims 2017)

(a) Mobile wallets will not be necessary for online payments.

(b) Digital currency will totally replace the physical currency in about two decades.

(c) FDI inflows will drastically increase.

(d) Direct transfer of subsidies to poor people will become very effective.

Q. With reference to digital payments, consider the following statements: (Prelims 2018)

1. BHIM app allows the user to transfer money to anyone with a UPI enabled bank account

2. While a chip pin debit card has four factors of authentication, BHIM app has only two factors of authentication

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Analysis: Since post demonetization government had launched various ICT tools for financial transactions, UPI as well as BHIM was frequently in limelight. Therefore, UPSC captured the trending ICT products of Government to create simple factual questions like these.

Q. The terms ‘WannaCry, Petya, and Eternal Blue’ sometimes mentioned in the news recently are related to

a) Exoplanets

b) Cryptocurrency

c) Cyber Attacks

d) Mini Satellites

Analysis: Again, cyber issues were trending topics throughout the year and especially the crippling cyber attacks. Thus, a direct question based on these events found place in the question paper.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology Sector is the New Favorite

UPSC has found a new favorite in biotechnology sector. Questions are sprinkled from various sub-sectors of this vast section. Questions from medical, agricultural, environmental and industrial biotechnology along with bioinformatics are on ascendancy. For example, consider the following questions:

Q. With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of ‘genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future?

1. Genome sequencing can be used to identify genetic markers for disease resistance and drought tolerance in various crop plants.

2. This technique helps in reducing the time required to develop new varieties of crop plants.

3. It can be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationships in crops.

Q. With reference to Genetically Modified mustard (GM mustard) developed in India, consider the following statements:

1. GM mustard has the genes of a soil bacterium that give the plant the property of pest-resistance to a wide variety of pests.

2. GM mustard has the genus that allows the plant cross-pollination and hybridization.

3. GM mustard has been developed jointly by the IARI and Punjab Agricultural University.

Analysis: These are agricultural biotechnology based questions. Since Genome sequencing as well as GM crops were trending in news due to controversy over GM crops, UPSC picked up there topics in two consecutive years.

Thus, our analysis highlights following facts with respect to Science and Technology section in civil services examination.

Consistency in Number of Questions

On perusal of last two-year’s question papers, we realize that weightage of Science and technology section is consistently around 20% with 19-20 questions appearing every year. Also, UPSC is focusing on General science and its application based questions. Every year at least one question is being framed from defense technology section also. In last few years, questions based on all major government ICT based products are also appearing in the paper. Additionally, there is an ascendancy of the number of questions from biotechnology field.

So what should be the best strategy to attempt majority of the questions from this section correctly and increase your probability of clearing Prelims exams?

Tips for Science and Technology Section

We have following tips for the aspirants looking forward to 2019 prelims.

Read the Newspaper and Link the Current Topics with Science and Technology

Read the newspaper with the aim of cherry- picking all the relevant sub-sections like space, defence technology, biotechnology, General Science etc.

For instance, CRISPR CAS 9, a gene-editing tool, is often in news these days and comes under the purview Biotechnology section. Therefore, basic facts related to it should be read thoroughly.

Try to Link any New Technology or Invention to its Innovative Applications

Whenever there is a new technology in the market or there is a scientific discovery, do cover its potential applications also. For example, recently in energy sector, gas hydrates are often in news. For preparing such topics, also analyze their implications on other inter-related sectors like economy, environment etc.

Give Importance to Areas having Direct Bearing on Society

Since UPSC has increased the weightage of biology-based questions, it is pertinent to focus on topics which have a direct bearing on the society. For example, major diseases like Swine flu, Zika virus, Nipah virus, Japanese Encephalitis etc are becoming a fodder for UPSC to frame questions. Also, other probable topics could be food fortification techniques, macro and micronutrients, rare and orphan diseases, anti-biotic resistance etc.

Be Thorough with General Science

Of late, direct factual questions from General Sciences like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are being asked in UPSC civil services examination. These topics can be answered using knowledge of elementary level science. Also, this section gives higher output with minimal efforts.

Do Not Skip Space and Defence Technology

Every year UPSC gives direct questions from Space and Defence technology, which can be handled with factual knowledge easily. Therefore, cover major space missions, satellite launches as well as defence products to prepare this section. Probable topics from this area can be major missions of NASA, ISRO, Missiles and satellites launched by India, nuclear reactors etc.

Skip Biotechnology Section at Your Own Risk

This section can be sub-divided into agro-biotechnology, medical-biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, bioinformatics etc. This makes certain topics like bioremediation techniques, GM crops, bio-fuels, H-CNG, micro-plastics etc important for prelims.

Final Word

Thus, it can be concluded that Science and technology section is one of the most scoring sections if we can hit on the right strategy for preparing it. Most importantly, aspirants should focus on sub- sections and their potential applications in our day-to-day lives. In addition, initial step should be to read the General science topics from standard books, as they are the simplest types of questions from science and technology section. Moreover, develop a knack of interlinking current topics with their underlying fundamental science. With this, it would not be difficult to score well in this section, as it just requires grasp on basics and an ability to link the topics seamlessly. In the end, a piece of advice for all aspirants- keep your eyes, ears and mind open and Science and technology section would be just a cakewalk.
Anuj Agarwal
Director Carees Plus
Preparation Tips From "Career Plus" For Civil Services Prelims


Before starting your actual preparation, you should have some adequate time in hand to cover the syllabus that is why you should start at least 10 to 12 months in advance.

Some students ask us if they can prepare for Prelims in just 3 or 4 months time. Well, you can prepare for the Prelims in 3 or 4 months, if you have prior experience or gone through the Prelims before and covered the entire syllabus once. But, if you are a fresher in this entire civil services examination process, then you should start preparing for the Prelims ideally before 10 to 12 months in advance. In that, you should devote first 3 to 4 months in self study and after that you may join a coaching institute for Prelims cum Mains preparation. At “Career Plus”, we start with Mains cum Prelims preparation of GS along with Optional subject preparation and cover entire syllabus in seven to eight months. After Prelims exam, we focus only on revision part and practice sessions. We also provide special tips for General Hindi/Indian languages and General English papers including Essay.

Before joining a coaching institute, first step is to go through the entire Prelims Syllabus of General Studies Paper - 1 & Paper 2 and syllabus of Mains G.S., just to get the overview of whole Prelims syllabus. So, assess the syllabus and have a syllabus book in hand to readily refer it. You cannot login to your computer every time while preparing; that is a distraction in itself. So, handy books will always help you.

Next step is to know your comfort level with the exam. If you are a beginner to the entire IAS exam, then you might be wondering- Am I capable of clearing this exam? Of course, you are very much capable even if you don’t have any basic knowledge. But, having some basic knowledge will help you.

Another point in the planning process is to get the right books, magazines and newspapers for your Prelims preparation. As far as the newspaper is concerned, I always suggest any reputed English/Hindi national newspaper. And, for magazines, read one good current affairs magazine like ‘Civil Services Chronicle’; just one is enough. But, along with the current affairs magazine, also read any political magazine too, it will help in answering questions in Mains. You can skip the political and ideological part of it and concentrate on the Environment, Science & Technology part.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC Prelims comprises of two objective type papers (General Studies I and General Studies II or CSAT) for a total of 400 marks. Both papers are held on the same day in two sessions via offline mode (pen-paper).

The UPSC Prelims date for Admit Card is announced on the official website of UPSC 2-3 weeks before the date of the exam.

Implementation: It is the second part of Prelims preparation. Now you have got the syllabus, right books, subscribed to the newspaper and magazines. So, once you start preparing for the Prelims, how should you move further in the preparation? You should not try to cover entire syllabus at once or all the topics - like, trying to read History, Geography, Polity, General Mental Ability - everything at once. You know, this is not a right approach.

The right approach is to pick one topic in Paper - 1 and one topic from Paper - 2 and you can divide it accordingly or may study Paper - 1 in the morning and Paper - 2 by afternoon or in the evening. But, don’t go for more than 2 topics. Let’s say you pick Modern India History from Paper - 1 & General Mental Ability from Paper - 2 and prepare this simultaneously. Apart from these, you should develop a habit of reading newspapers for at least one hour a day.

  • Focus on particular topics like:
  • Editorials
  • News articles of National interest
  • Sports news
  • Business news
  • Science & Technology, etc.

Whenever you start with a topic, you should complete it before starting a new one. This will help you in the third step of preparation.

Test Yourself: Many people actually leave the testing part, which is basically like taking MOCK Test, attempting the previous year’s questions. If you start this later, you will have less time to rectify your weaknesses(if any).When you prepare for a new topic, after completing it refer the past ten years’ question papers on that topic.

At “Career Plus” we always use this strategy. Joining a coaching will help you in this. And, if you find that you have left certain topics and have not covered very well, again you can go through that, so you can attempt Course Correction right at that time itself. This is a better approach instead of leaving it. Clearing the exam is very easy just by doing these basics in the right way. Obviously hard work is involved but that smart work is also important to crack this exam.
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Trends Of Questions From Geography And Polity Sections In Prelims


Before entering the minefield of UPSC Preliminary examination, it is of utmost importance to go through the trend of the previous year's papers. This will not only help aspirants to cut their preparation to the bone for maximum outcome but also to have a well informed and balanced preparation strategy. With this article we bring forth an in-depth analysis of the trend especially in Geography and Polity section of the Prelims Paper.

To begin with, a very conspicuous pattern which has come to light especially in last two year's question papers is increasing importance to basics in Polity section. However Geography section has shifted its gears towards more analytical and map based questions both in Indian as well as World context.

We have delineated the following pattern which has become quite evident in the Preliminary Examination Stage:

Geography

Physical Geography in a New Avatar

Physical geography question are still sprinkled across the paper but in a new avatar where analytical and conceptual knowledge is tested in map-based questions or on logical reasoning based questions. For instance, Consider following question from 2017 and 2018 prelims papers which clearly highlight this trend.

Q.At one of the places in India, if you stand on the sea shore and watch the sea, you will find that the sea water recedes from the shoreline a few kilometers and comes back to the shore, twice a day, and you can actually walk on the sea floor when the water recedes. This unique phenomenon is seen at (Prelims 2017)

(a) Bhavnagar

(b) Bheemunipatnam

(c) Chandipur

(d) Nagapattinam

Analysis: In the aforementioned question, one of the places currently in news like Chandipur in Odisha famous for Missile Testing range is used to make a question linked to Geographical Phenomenon quite peculiar for this beach.

Q.Consider the following statements: (Prelims 2018)

1.The Barren Island Volcano is an active volcano located in the Indian Territory.

2.Barren Island lies about 140 Km east of Great Nicobar

3.The last time the Barren Island volcano erupted was in 1991 and it has remained inactive since then.

Analysis: This question was framed keeping in mind the recent eruptions in the Barren Island, which is India’s only active volcano. So the question entails both current affairs as well as basics here.

However, some very factual questions related to physical geography are still doing the rounds. For example:

Q.Consider the following statements: (Prelims 2018)

1.The Earth’s magnetic field has reversed every few hundred thousand years.

2.When the Earth was created more than 4000 million years ago, there was 54% oxygen and no carbon dioxide.

3.When living organisms originated, they modified the early atmosphere of the Earth.

Analysis: This question is based on the Evolution of Earth and the subsequent formation of the Earth’s atmosphere and thus comes under the category of factual question.

Q.With reference to ‘Indian ocean Dipole (IOD)’ sometimes mentioned in the news while forecasting Indian monsoon, which of the following statements is/are correct? (Prelims 2017)

1.IOD phenomenon is characterised by a difference in sea surface temperature between tropical Western Indian Ocean and tropical Eastern Pacific ocean.

2.An IOD phenomenon can influence an El-Nino’s impact on the monsoon.

Analysis: This concept was quite evident in news as the reason for the deluge in Australia triggered by Indian Ocean Dipole. Thus, global atmospheric phenomena, with their fundamental principles become a favourite hunting ground for UPSC.

Inroad into Economic and Human Geography

Geography making an inroad into Economic and Human Geography is quite evident with questions related to energy, demographics, trade and communication taking a front-seat. For instance:

Q.It is possible to produce algae based biofuels, but what is'/are the likely limitation(s) of developing countries in promoting this industry? (Prelims 2017)

1.Production of algae based biofuels is possible in seas only and not on continents.

2.Setting up and Engineering the algae based biofuel production requires high level of expertise /technology until the construction is completed.

3.Economically viable production necessitates the setting up of large scale facilities which may raise ecological and social concerns.

Analysis: This question comes under the Energy Sector of Economic geography and focuses on recently in news non-conventional sources of energy. Thus, it becomes imperative to correlate the news related to Economic Geography especially from the energy sector which is a hot topic in national and international discourse.

Linking Current News with Geographical Underpinnings

Also for Geography section, question setter is linking current news with Geographical underpinnings. For example in following questions various Geopolitical conflicts have appeared in the form of Geographical Location of these conflict zones.

Q. Consider the following pairs (Prelims 2018)

Regions sometimesCountry

mentioned in news

1.CataloniaSpain

2.CrimeaHungary

3.MindanaoPhilippines

4.OromiaNigeria

Analysis: This question has been asked from current news related to referendum in Catalonia, Russia Annexation of Crimea, declaration of Emergency in Ethiopia (Oromia) and terrorist activities in Philippine’s Mindanao for Map-based World Geography question.

Linking of Environment Topics with Geography

Another very common trend is the linking of Environment topics with Geography.

Q. Which of the following has/have shrunk immensely/ dried up in the recent past due to human activities? (Prelims 2018)

1. Aral Sea 2. Black Sea

3. Lake Baikal

Analysis: Due to environmental damages triggered by human activities, Aral Sea as well as Lake Baikal was in news for their ecological tailspin. And this question perfectly blends environmental topic with world geography.

Polity

Factual Questions are on the Rise

In polity importance of direct factual questions has gained foothold once again with the increasing number of questions being asked from basics of the issues currently in news. The following trend and respective questions can throw a light on the pattern which polity has picked up of late.

Direct factual questions which need a strong background of basics; for instance

Q.Which principle among the following was added to the Directive Principles of State Policy by the 42nd Amendment to the constitution? (Prelims 2017)

(a) Equal pay for equal work for both men and women

(b) Participation of workers in the management of industries

(c)Right to work, education and public assistance

(d)Securing living wage and human conditions of work to workers.

Analysis: This is a direct question based on the provisions of 42nd Amendment act and can be attempted successfully if one is well-versed with Directive Principles of State Policy topic.

Analytical and Conceptual Questions

There are some questions which are analytical and conceptual and at times lean towards subjectivity. For instance:

Q. Democracy's superior virtue lies in the fact that it calls into activity (Prelims 2017)

(a)the intelligence and character of ordinary men and women

(b) the methods for strengthening executive leadership

(c)a superior individual with dynamism and vision

(d) a band of dedicated party workers

Analysis: This question is an example of indirect question which requires interpretation of the topic like democracy which is in plain sight. Thus, UPSC expects aspirants to have the capacity to think on foot and deduce the answer logically in such type of indirect questions.

Number of Questions Coming Down, But…

In 2017 where around 24-25 questions were from Polity section alone, this number came down to around 10-11 in 2018. Also the nature of questions more or less is factual but some analytical googlies also prop up to make the paper a bit challenging.

So if the UPSC is juggling with such tactics to maintain a standard in the Prelims Paper, then the question arises as to what should an aspirant do to successfully dodge the minefield and come out victorious with flying colours for the second stage of the examination?

Tips for Prelims

Here are some of the tips for keeping oneself prepared for the upcoming Prelims.

Read the newspaper and link the topics of current importance with Geography and Polity:

For instance, If North Eastern State is under boil due to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, then focus on important Physical, Economic, Human as well as Environmental aspects of this region like major rivers, national parks, dams, mountain ranges, mineral wealth, demographic structure etc. Also, for polity section, it is important to cover the terms of the bill along with topics like North Eastern Council, various schemes for North Eastern Region, etc.

Pay special attention to topics from Economic and Human Geography

In geography pay special attention to topics from Economic and Human Geography as UPSC is now asking questions related to these aspects more than the usual Physical Geography related questions. For example questions can be framed from World Natural Resources, Migration pattern, Settlement types in India, tribes of India as well as World etc.

Things to do for map-based questions

For map-based questions, maintain a list of all the important national and international places in news for geopolitical reasons.

Go through the basics of the topics currently in news

For polity with increasing emphasis on factual questions in majority of the questions, aspirants must go through the basics of the topics currently in news. For instance, National Register of Citizens in Assam has created an uncertain future for close to 40 lakh people who have found themselves out of the draft NRC. Now, this issue can be approached by covering the basics of Citizenship, Human Rights Commission, Refugee status, etc.

Similarly with current political slugfest over CBI Director, topics like CVC and Lokpal become important for Prelims. Similarly, interminable controversy over Rafael deal makes the topic of CAG, Supreme Court, PAC and Parliamentary committees a probable area for Prelims questions.

Look for Interlinkages between Topics

Also look for interlinkages between topics to prepare well for them. For instance, environmental issues like climate change, pollution, deforestation etc can be used for map-based questions or for direct factual questions. This requires aspirants to analyse a topic from all perspectives. For example, the issue of climate change can be studied in geographical terms by studying about the places recently in news which are facing adverse climatic events like floods, droughts etc. Also, this can be linked to Environemental Geography by correlating the economic activities with the environmental degradation they result in like Rat- hole mining in Meghalaya, illegal sand mining, minins in ecologically sensitive Western Ghats, etc. Similarly, Sabarimala issue is a topic which has interlinkage with both polity as well as physical geography.

You must not ignore social and cultural aspects of Geography

An emerging trend in UPSC with respect to geography is also in terms of emphasis on social and cultural aspects of geography like food security, population demography, cultural practices, etc.

Thus, during preparation aspirants should also focus on these aspects of current news. For example, Sabrimala Issue is important from Geographical aspects like the name of the hill on which it is situated or the Tiger Reserve (Periyar Tiger Reserve) within whose precincts it is situated, etc.

Thus, with the recent trend of Prelims paper reflecting a tilt towards more unchartered territory, especially in Geography section, with more emphasis on economic and social aspects of Geography; it is imperative to link current affairs with broader aspects of geography.

And for polity section, one must prepare well the fundamental aspects of relevant topics currently in news. In short, Prelims questions can be handled with ease if one follows an integrated approach to link the topics from one section to another during their holistic preparation.
Editorial Team
Civil Services Chronicle
Transcend Through Prelims


A Guideline to tackle all Hurdles in the Last Mile

Clearing UPSC prelims is not about mugging up a lot of information in your head, but the exam is all about testing your patience, perseverance and optimism in the exam hall even against all odds. The ability to maintain a cool head under lot of pressure is a natural trait required of a civil servant and UPSC seeks for a similar trait in the candidates through its prelims examination. A common pattern is also observed, that once an aspirant clears prelims, he most probably goes on to repeat the feat each and every year.

So, how does a student clear prelims examination? Is there any tangible way by which a new UPSC aspirant can achieve this feat? Let’s find out...

The most important thing is the management of time” in the exam hall. One’s mind should race against time to find some common link between the stated statements in the question and the knowledge he/she possess from the basic reference books. This linking of fact with the given statement helps in the elimination technique. If you find any statement in the option as redundant or false you can directly eliminate that option from your answer and this increases the probability of you marking a correct answer. In a scenario where the candidate is able to eliminate two options, the question should definitely be attempted. In such a case we would suggest you mark any one of the remaining option as the probability of you marking the correct option is almost 50%.

Another strategy commonly applied by students is to find extreme statements in given options. For example- “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana failed to address the financial needs of rural India”. Here the statement directly contradicts the salient feature of Jan Dhan Yojana which is financial inclusion. Hence, the statement is false and can be marked wrong. This also implies that there is a possibility of you finding the right answer even though you may not know anything about the question through elimination of extreme statements. Therefore, the advice would be to not skip a question just based on reading at a glance, but following it up by reading the options. This strategy is bound to fetch you some extra marks in prelims. Also, while reading the question paper cautiously note the question terminologies like ‘Not’, ‘Incorrect’, ‘Only’, etc. For example- In a question which states “Which of the above statements are incorrect?’, many candidates have been found to mark the correct statements as they fail to notice the question terminology. These blunders need to be avoided to ensure success in prelims.

Another common mistake candidates make during exam hall is wastage of time while facing a question based solely on their ego. Let’s say Student XYZ has dedicated hours of his time in reading polity but is not able to solve a basic question of Polity in Prelims. This not only reduces the confidence in aspirant XYZ but also builds in negativity. Based solely on his ego, he wastes his precious time trying to solve the polity question, only to realize later that he could have fetched marks in other un-attempted questions. This clarity of thought is normally found lacking in new aspirants and should be kept in mind.

NOTE: The purpose of UPSC prelims is not to top the examination but to clear the cut-off marks.

This requires you to fetch marks, no matter from which subject. Another mistake commonly observed is the marking of OMR sheets in the last minute by students. The best strategy while marking OMR sheets would be to attempt 20-25 questions at a time. This would avoid last minute chaos.

While solving the qualifying paper of prelims i.e. the CSAT paper, students should focus on their strengths. It has been observed that many students are afraid of aptitude and reasoning in the CSAT paper. Revision of some basic concepts of Class 10 would go a long way in scoring a decent mark in aptitude. The students can also rely on passages and comprehensions to ensure they sail through the minimum cut off. Solving few CSAT papers would go a long way in building up that confidence.

Finally, during the preparation phase of prelims, it all comes down to limiting the source of reference books, revising the selected books religiously and preparing one’s own notes for each subject. These notes will help in quick revision and come in handy even during the mains preparation. The last two months before UPSC prelims is of utmost importance and needs a detailed strategy which would be based on solving the previous ten year UPSC prelims question papers and recognizing the trend of the exam. This will help you in devising a specific strategy, according to your needs focussing specifically on your weak areas. Once a study plan is fixed, stick to the time table at all costs. No prelims preparation is complete without solving multiple model question papers. These tests help in self assessment and builds up clarity and confidence on the subject in students over time. During preparation, students need to keep in mind that there is no dearth of books or study material in the market. Chasing a particular book or study material during the last stages of prelims is a mistake in itself. The students need to understand the paucity of time and stay away from such books and coaching institutes that claim guaranteed success in UPSC prelims in the last minute. There can be no substitute to faith and confidence in oneself during the preparation phase. The mantra- “Self-trust is the first step towards success” rings true in this regard.

   

Be Your Own Teacher

   

Develop Problem-Solving Attitude

   

Stimulating Life

   

Healthy Sleeping Patterns Is Imperative

   

Reduce Nervousness

   

Eating Habits

   

Ignoring Health Is A Risk

   

Develop Analytical Power

   

Keeping Heavier Stuff At The Start Of The Day

   

Mental Constraints.