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How do I start preparing for MPSC?

MPSC is conducting various examinations in various sections.

We will discuss RAJYASEVA aslo known as STATE SERVICE EXAM. which will give opportunity to get highest post in Government System.

Firstly go through the syllabus

See previous years question papers and analyse it throughly (you can refer to Dnyandeep previous year papers book), though analysis by your own will benefit you more. I will recommend to do by your own.

In prelims you should mainly concentrate on 5 subjects

1)Science– for this you can read maharashtra state board books from 6th to 10th and also NCERT from 8th to 10th), TMH General Science is imp too, practice mcq

2)Polity from Laxmikanth or unique academy books (I read it from laxmikanth as I prefer English )

3)History -modern indian history by Grover and Grover and 11th std history book , Dont read too many books. Revise more often

4)Geography -state board books 6 th to 10th ,G.C.leong selective part and savdi book for maharashtra geography( I used khatib)this maharashtra related is mostly asked in mains but you have to have some basic numbers like on population sex-ratio, NCERT 11th and 12 th is best. Focus on conceptual understanding. Check mrunal videos too.

5) Economics – If you are preparing in marathi then kolambe sirs’ book, and book by kiran desle is good ….If preparing in English I referred NCERT of 10, 11, 12 th and mishra and puri, Mishra and puri is bulky so see other sources as per your comfort. Ramesh singh is good too

6) Environment – book by Shankar Ias, also current affair related things you should prepare

Also you have to prepare CSAT for prelims

RS agrawal will be enough

Lots of online material is there so you can refer it.

CSAT simplified book by Ajit thorbole sir is good .

Nowadays , questions are not so tough ,especially passages .

For Mains ..

Above books are enough and

Human rights and human resource development is the new subject you will have to study … see the syllabus and refer book..I prepare most of the topic from internet. I referred unique academy books and previous year question paper for static topic . Focus on schemes and current affairs.

Agriculture – you decide this because I prepared it by self from various sources , 11th and 12 th std state board agri book are there . Also some part from arun katyayan. Please refer Previous yearr question ,you will come to know how deep you need to read.

English by M.J. Shaikh Sir ,I read this because I was taught by him so it was easier for me, infact any book will do. Also I practiced previous yr questions in good amount. For english and marathi grammar practice well, more than reading you should solve questions more.

Marathi by Mo. Ra. Wadimbe or balasaheb shinde

Science and tech Wizard /tmh/spectrum read any one

Do solve question papers ..solving question is most important thing ..you will get enough overall idea


The Hindu/ The Indian Express Loksatta .Also for current affairs you can read monthly like unique bulletin or parikrama.

Most important thing is you have to be consistent throughout preparation. . .

Don’t at all compromise with your health ( I experienced thats why ),be fit and active , you will then have capacity to study more

Dont refer more books

Concentrate on one exam

Consolidate your material, dont write here n there..

Study according to your convenience ,dnt listen about studying in morning is good and all,you can study whenever you want ,so just don’t fall prey into this crap.

Test series are imp so enroll there. I personally joined only once. I prefer online for mains test series since it saves my time. You may join according to your convenience.

See the question paper. I am emphasizing because its important. Learn from your mistakes.

Dont compare with others. This is your own journey and by seeing what others are reading is not going to help you anyway. Also don’t listen to anyone but yourself. You know yourself better so what suits you, which language is comfortable for you, and which book understanding is as par your comfort,

Avoid group discussion. Mostly wastage of time.

Views are personal.

All the best!


Kiran Rathod

B.E from Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University (2016)

What are the books which I should read for the MPSC preparation?

I have been preparing for mpsc for last 2 – 3 years.

Analyzing the trend of the previous year question papers, we can actually find out the sources that questions are coming from.

Before i list out the sources for MPSC examination,you must avoid something which can prove hindrance on your path of clearing MPSC.

  1. Just don’t read same subjects from too many sources.
  2. Apposite selection of sources can make you clear this exam in very first attempt.
  3. Restrict to 1 or 2 books for each subject.More books you read more you feel confused.
  4. Do not follow anybody (Class/person) blindly especially the seniors. (Suicidal)
  5. Try to analyse the trend of previous year questions and figure out the need or requirement of MPSC.
  6. Question Practice is something of immense Important.
  • History:
  1. Maharashtra State textbooks of 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th
  2. ‘A brief history of India by Spectrum’ Or आधुनिक भारताचा इतिहास by Grover
  3. Indian History with Fantastic Fundas (Online/youtube)
  • Geography
  1. 6th to 12th class NCERT textbook (9 and 11th are the most important ones)
  2. 8th to 10th Maharashtra State textbooks
  3. Certificate of Physical geography – G.C.leong
  4. Oxford student atlas for India. (Map book)
  • Economics
  1. 10th, 11th, 12th class NCERT
  2. 11th, 12th Maharashtra State textbooks
  3. भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था Part 1 and 2 by Desle Or भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था Ranjan Kolambe
  4. Datta and sundram (selected chapters, Agriculture.)
  • Science
  1. 8th, 9th, 10th, NCERT + Bio from 11th and 12th too.
  2. 8th, 9th, 10th Maharashtra State textbooks
  3. विज्ञान आणि तंत्रज्ञान by Ranjan Kolambe Or Lucent’s General Science
  • Political Science
  1. 12th NCERT (India since independence) and 12th class Maharashtra State textbook
  2. Indian polity by Lakshmikant (Available in Marathi also) Or भारतीय राज्यव्यवस्था by Ranjan Kolambe
  3. Internet.
  • CSAT
  1. Quantitative aptitude – R.S agrawal
  2. Verbal non verbal reasoning – R.S agrawal
  3. संम्पूर्ण गणित – पंढरीनाथ राणे
  • Current affairs
  1. Purtvi magazine
  2. Loksatta daily

Besides these books,

  1. Maharashtra economic survey
  2. Indian economic survey

Questions directly come from here. You must go through it thoroughly…

  • Question Banks
  1. Dnyandeep Academy 12000+.
  2. Practice series by Pruthvi acadamy.
  3. Practice series by Bhagirath acadamy.
  4. 10000+Questions by Disha Publictaion
  5. Test series of UPSC’s Classes,ie. Vision Ias,Insight on India and so on.

You must solve at least 10000+ Questions before prelims. (Easily possible if you solve 100 daily)

  • Try to understand the demand of MPSC and build your strength according to it.
  • Refer Internet whenever you feel necessary .
  • ‘Remember, minimum sources and maximum revision’ is the key to crack MPSC or any other competitive exam.

All the very best!!


Sainath Suryavanshi

B.A. from Fergusson College, Pune (2017)

Which posts are in mpsc?

Class 1 posts :

Deputy Collector

Deputy Suprintendent of Police (DySP)

Assistant Commissioner Sales Tax

Deputy Registrar Co-operative Socities

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Suprintendent State Excise Deppt

Block Development Officer (BDO) – A

Finance, Audit & Accounts Service – Group A

Chief Officer, Nagar Palika / Nagar Parishad – A


Class 2 Posts :

Block Development Officer (BDO) – B

Deputy Superintendent State Excise Deppt

Finance, Audit & Accounts Service – Group B

Nayab Tahasildar

Sales tax officer

Sales tax inspector

some posts in Mantralaya

Chief Officer, Nagar Palika / Nagar Parishad – B

Sub-registrar Cooperative Societies – B

Taluka Inspector of Land Records(TILR)


Answer Credit –

Suvarna Pharse, studied at Abhinav Vidyalaya

What is the qualification for the MPSC?

To appear for MPSC/UPSC civil services exam, all u need Graduation from any government recognized institution/University in any stream like Arts/commarce/science or if u r having BE/BTech, MBBS, BAMS will do to appear for these exams.

U can apply even if ur graduated from Govt recognized open university from India.

Which Newspapers should I read while preparing for MPSC exam?

While u r preparing for mpsc then news paper reading is must.

There are number of Marathi and English newspapers available in the market. But once should be specific about newspaper.

For Marathi

1) महाराष्ट्र टाईम्स


For English

1)The Indian express

2)Times of india

3)The Hindu (optional)

Note making is important for current affairs.

You Will get current affairs bits from newspapers. So which newspapers u r using is matters a lot.


Answer Credit –

Atkajarp Enawanos

UPSC Vs MPSC, what should I know?

The most important distinction is, as you might know, UPSC mostly caters to personnel needs of Central govt. MPSC does the same thing for Maharashtra state govt. Both recruit people for administrative jobs under government.

The hierarchy of people selected by UPSC and MPSC is such that the officers of Class 1 posts selected by UPSC are superior to officers of Class 1 posts selected by MPSC.

Difference in exam pattern:

Preliminary exams of both MPSC and UPSC have similar syllabus. Both of them have 2 papers: General Studies and CSAT. The only difference is CSAT in UPSC is just qualifying. It means that in the UPSC CSAT paper you have to just score 33% and the cutoff will be based on score of GS paper.

In MPSC, both GS and CSAT score is used to calculate final score for cutoff.

There is no optional subject in MPSC unlike UPSC.

The mains of UPSC has all subjective papers. In MPSC only language papers are subjective and the rest 4 General study papers are objective.

The approach is also different for both. UPSC focuses on conceptual clarity and analytical knowledge more. MPSC focuses more on knowledge of facts.


Answer Credit – Vaibhav Acb

How should I start preparation for the civil engineering MPSC exam?

Proper planning, revision plan and strategy is very important. Firstly understand the exam pattern and marks allocation for each subject.

Here is the marks allocation and notes/books suggestion to start with the preparation :

Paper I. 100 Questions – 200Marks ( 2 marks each) 1/4 negative

Subjects —— Marks ( Approximate)

  1. Strength of Materials — 22 (11Q)
  2. Theory of structures — 22(11Q)
  3. Structural Analysis — 22(11Q)
  4. RCC — 22(11Q)
  5. Prestressed concrete — 22(11Q)
  6. Steel Structures — 22(11Q)
  7. Construction, Planning & Management — 22(11Q)
  8. Building Construction & Materials — 24(12Q)
  9. Numerical Methods — 22(11Q)

Paper II . 100 Questions — 200 Marks ( 2Marks each) 1/4 nagative

Subjects —— Marks ( Approximate)

  1. Soil Mechanics & Foundation Engg —18( 9Q)
  2. Transportation engg —18( 9Q)
  3. Survey —20( 10Q)
  4. Hydrology —18( 9Q)
  5. Irrigation —18( 9Q)
  6. Fluid mechanics —18( 9Q)
  7. Hydraulic machines —18( 9Q)
  8. Environmental engg —18( 9Q)
  9. Estimating & costing —18( 9Q)
  10. Bridge Engineering —18( 9Q)
  11. Tunneling —18( 9Q)

Try to study 2–3 subjects a day by making combination of heavy subject with light subject.

Make proper revision strategy and study well.

Best of luck !!

Answer Credit : Monika Mankar (मोनिका मानकर), Assistant Engineer (MPSC qualified ) at Public Works Department (2017-present)

How do I crack MPSC Maharashtra in first attempt?

“Ask yourself to make a best time table it doesn’t mean when you are going to sleep, awake, study whereas it mean in how many day you are going to cover portion of MPSC.”

If you are planning of study says that you will complete in one year then believe me you cracked the exam 80% I am sure…

Some most rule..

  1. Make book list very short per subject one book only or one source only… follow it religiously.
  2. Per week you should attempt a mock whatever be the score even 20% but analyse your mistakes
  3. Make notes don’t read books like reading novels.
  4. Revise your “personal notes” atleast thrice.
  5. Solve all previous year question and analyse the question and concept regards questions

Why so?

Take any standard book from market check all previous year question papers I challenge you that any book have atleast 75% questions From the directly book. And most important point is that you have crack the exam and to crack any exam you have required 60% marks for any exam except saralseva.

But issue is that they ask very factual questions so need to remember line to line of book with a special watch on previous year question.

Now I will go to each subject ( I am sorry for that I am going to type about only core syllabus but surely telling that 80% is this only : mpsc main very few topics will remain to discus.


All 3 part you should complete.

As the last only ancient history appear 7–8 questions first time in MPSC’s history. Prepare ancient and medieval not depth just overview because questions are easy and same nature as past year.

Modern history is main core of history it should do line to line and in depth but refer only one book try to memorize line to line. Maharashtra history : class 11 you can do those chapter only from which the question was asked before but social reformer thoroughly.


Practice map, mcq, compulsory. For geography you should complete mh board book first and then ncert 11 and 12 . Please don’t go a b sawadi it’s cost benefit ratio is too low.


It is compulsory and important subject 15–24 questions was printed in question paper and atleast 12–15 questions are strictly from 9 and 10 science book.


Only one book out of two with current affairs.

Kiran resale ( presentation is best whereas some point has overrated and somewhere is less data)

Ranjan kolambe ( balanced book but only literally present not any pictorial presentation data is best and balance)


m laxmikant ( Marathi ksagar)

Don’t try to complete in firstly go through questions decide topic to do and do your best.


English: read word from first day religiously from book or app vocab24.

Marathi: you can do it later ( have time then go now)

Current affairs:

Follow religiously any monthly unique, prithvi and net practice set by prithvi. Or videos by unacademy or vision government job.

Decide your score for each subject how much should on practical base .

Best luck..


Answer Credit :

Mahadeo Bade

B Tech Union Public Service Commission of India & MPSC, Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune (2020)

Can I prepare for the MPSC and UPSC at the same time?

Yes you can dear friend..

But issue regarding following things

  1. Language :mainly for current affairs and standard book of MPSC and upsc.
  2. Time: for upsc -much focus on current and writing for mpsc- practice or memorize actually this memorization help you a lot in upsc main also.
  3. Coaching: they bambard you various list for various exam for state service, sti, aso, psi and upsc exactly different book list. But in my opinion it doesn’t matter which book you refer all have 90% same data
  4. Similarity in syllabus: geography, polity, economy, history ( ancient, medieval and modern) current affairs, science ( 5–6 qué- upsc &15–24que-mpsc)
  5. Difference in main exam pattern: surely 70% syllabus is same for main also no matter but issue is that you have to prepare exactly as per exam nature.
  6. Booklist: prepare book list for subject not for upsc or mpsc eg history Bipin chandra, polity- m laxmikant( choose language suitable to you but for all subjects only one language exceptional you can change your medium of study as you have to write in upsc , very few topics you can read in Marathi if you r going through English and if you are preparing in Marathi then you should to take the only the subject which have available material in Marathi but still you have to read some subject in English for example ethics, current affairs )

Only this few problems are there you can tackle it easily.

I suggest that you can prepare both before to crack any prelims then you have need to be practical and loyal to your commission.

Mean if you cracked mpsc prelims then leave preparation of upsc still your main .

If you cracked upsc prelims then focus on upsc main break up with mpsc.


Answer Credit :

Mahadeo Bade

B Tech Union Public Service Commission of India & MPSC, Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune (2020)

How many students get a post every year by MPSC?

As we all know that people are crazy about civil service exams. Specially in Maharashtra many graduate students prepare for UPSC and MPSC.

Talking about MPSC, every year it recruits for approximately 1000–1100 posts for various departments of Maharashtra government.

Out of 1000 posts only 100 posts are of class one such as Dy Collector, Dy SP, Tahasildar etc. The remaining posts are for class 2 such as PSI, STI and assistants etc. MPSC also conducts recruitment for forest officer every year. Vacancies for that range from 100–150 annually.

Since last two years, the posts for Rajyaseva (the main exam of MPSC) are consistently decreasing. So even after studying very hard for the exam no one can assure you of selection as luck factor plays an important role in final selection.

But a true MPSC aspirant who really works hard for a couple of years definitely finds his/her name in final selection list.

Is it possible to crack the MPSC Rajyaseva exam without a coaching class?

Yes it is possible .

Competitive exam needs your hard work with smart preparation techniques.

Recently, When was Rajyaseva exam final result declared All top 25 students are hardworking and all of them were with 2–4 years of study. If you want to know reality of MPSC coaching classes then please see

1 Unique classes bulletin (May month edition)

2.Chankya mandal magazine( May month edition)

3. Prithvi Parikrama magazine ( May month edition)

These above given magazines are top rated for MPSC preparation

Important thing is – all of them are claiming that , All MPSC Toppers are from our class only .

So brother I have always one big question – How it is possible all toppers were learning in more than 3–4 classes at the same time ?? Is it possible ??Are they Superman ? Batman ? Shakti Maan ?

Here is the point . Coaching are good for your initial stage if you dnt know nothing.but you have basic knowledge then go through yourselves.

Dont waste yours money and time.

Start right now for study and grab it .

Best of luck !


Answer Credit :

Manoj Gadge

studied MPSC Preparation

What is the maximum age limit for MPSC exam?

Minimum age limit for the candidates aspiring for MPSC is 19 and Maximum age is 31 but it has been increased to 33 to 38 for general category and 43 for other reserved categories because there was no exam held for two years.

Answer Credit :

Ambuj Mishra.

How do I prepare for the UPSC exam?

Coming directly to the point, this is what I think smart work means:

  1. Study concise material. Read 12–15 books in all for prelims rather than 30–40.
  2. If you read concise material then you have fair chance to revise same 4–5–6 times. Revision is very important.
  3. Just attempting test is not smart. Make notes for tough questions and revise them. Questions do repeat from tests in prelims.
  4. Reading N number of material for current is the biggest mistake one can do. Hindu+vision+insights is all you need.
  5. Keep India year book as paper weight and yojana / kurukshetra / frontline etc as manual fan 😀

For mains, smart work means:

  1. Guessing possible questions while you read a news.
  2. Read concise material and revise multiple times.
  3. I never read ARC/IPCC. All I read was the index of such big reports and used the index in answers. Once you know that ARC has talked on terrorism, just quote “as per ARC” and write any damn thing!
  4. Similarly, if you have read all economic news then you don’t need to read economic survey to actually use it. Just write “as per economic survey”.
  5. Focus on innovation in answer writing as much as you focus on answer practice. Example: use questions/keywords asked in previous years in GS-4 in your answers.
  6. In Essay I used to quote other essay topics given in the question paper! Also, look around in exam room. There might be a quote somewhere on a chart drawn by school kids :p
  7. Ingrain in yourself that you will draw diagrams in GS.
  8. The basic smart way to force the examiner to give you 6/12.5 is to write 12 points in 12.5 marker question. Nothing else matters much.
  9. Focus equally on your optional. I know it goes without saying but many just don’t get this basic right. Select optional smartly. Do not go by herd mentality.
  10. Smartest way to handle essay and ethics is to prepare them in the 1st week after prelims. These easy topics help in building study flow.

Lastly, focus on personality development throughout the year.

At my wordpress blog and youtube channel, I have uploaded my notes and such strategies.

Work smart!!!

Answer By :

Mudit Jain

IPS –> IRS(IT), Author of Decode Ethics Book

Is the UPSC not for the average people?

After preparing for 2–3 years for this exam,struggling and enjoying the journey,I will answer this question as honestly as possible.I am an average 23 year old guy who has done just a BSC,with no big institute tag,no previous successes in big exams or no job experience,no known person even remotely in civil services’field,so I think I can answer this question nicely.

Trust me on one thing. Average,but honestly hardworking people clear UPSC and not geniuses. UPSC is a great leveler .It gives equal chance to candidates from all sorts of background,economic status,IQ.

“Hard work often beats talent if the talent does not work hard.”This applies to UPSC too.

Why I say that average people crack UPSC and not geniuses because in other exams like IIT JEE , CAT etc,you need a specific set of skills,interest and inclination.But for Civil services,a generalist is required who is –

1.hardworking and consistent to wake up daily,pull yourself up and give your best effort sincerely….DAILY.

Don’t practice it until you can make it right, but practice it until you cant make it wrong. This is what is required.

2.Honest and sincere. Only you can judge and assess your preparation level.Please listen to your conscience and be honest.Even if not clearing this exam,you will be a happy and contented human being.

3.Courageous and self confident This exam will present lots of hurdles,fears,insecurities.Arduous and tiring exam cycle of 1 year will need best version of you to face it.People will leave you when you dont clear this exam in two attempts be it friends, girlfriend/boyfriend or acquaintances. You will be on your own. Take your responsibility and don’t worry about such people. They were not your well wishers. Focus on your life, make it best success story.

4.Patience Its said that “most of people who give up,don’t realize that how close they were to success”.So,this exam will test your perseverance to extreme.You might fail straight away in four attempts and get an under 50 rank in next attempt. Just hold your ground.Wait for your opportunity .It will surely come. Grab it with both hands and strike at your hardest, then. Don’t let that chance slip. That’s how you’ll achieve success.

5.Humble You cannot be adamant that your method is fool proof and you won’t change. Be humble and accept your mistakes. Constantly update and innovate yourself to stay one step ahead of UPSC. Be in attack mode than being defensive. Be courageous and take risks. You will go closer to your success.

6.Your first attempt must be your best prepared attempt……I cant emphasize its importance enough. Otherwise,you will get trapped in brutal exam cycle of UPSC. Please understand the exam process,exam requirements thoroughly. Though I achieved success in second attempt, but my first attempt was the one where I put in my heart and soul to this exam. Hard work never goes in vain and I got its rewards in my second attempt.

7.You only have to be answerable to yourself and prove yourself.When I was down and out, I said this to myself

This boosted me up that I cannot fail. I have many promises to keep to myself. I pushed myself that extra mile. Remembering my hard work and journey still brings tears sometimes that finally I made it. Now, the real work of service begins.

8.Go out of your comfort zone and mold yourself efficiently for this exam. Just remember that you only have to slog for some years. Don’t just keep strengthening your strong points at cost of neglecting your weak areas. Rather, start with your weak areas first. Don’t crib that my English is weak or I am bad at economics. Rather, be a doer. Remove your deficiencies……..with priority. Become an invincible force.

At last, I will just narrate a small anecdote from my life .While I was in college doing BSC,my one professor asked me “What you want to do after BSC” ? I replied “I will crack UPSC Civil services exam” .He was surprised by my confidence.He gave a sarcastic smile and said “Beta,there is cut throat competition,in UPSC, among IITians, IIM passouts,higher studies students,people with lots of job experiences.How will you,being just a BSC graduate crack it.You will lag behind”.

I replied “Sir,I promise to clear it with under 100 rank and prove you wrong and break your this notion for ever .”I took his blessings.After clearing the exam with AIR 42,I remembered that professor and had a broad smile on my face.Remembering that moment still gives me goosebumps.I won my internal battle.

Answer By :

Sudhir Gahlot

IAS , AIR-42 , 2018 Batch

What is the best optional subject for the UPSC mains?

Before I begin, I should tell you that I am a graduate in Chemical Engineering, but chose Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) as optional subject for UPSC CSE Mains 2015. And despite many people calling me ‘crazy’ for such a choice, I managed to get through in my first attempt, with 5 or 6 months of preparation in PSIR.

In short, the answer would be – There is no such “best subject”. Its a myth.

The thumb rule of choosing the optional subject for UPSC CSE, accepted by most successful and aspiring candidates, is that you must be interested in it. However, in the initial stages of preparation it is extremely difficult to make out which subject really is interesting enough to sustain an aspirant’s attention for the next 1 or 2 years at a stretch. I myself went through the dilemma of choosing a ‘scoring’ or ‘manageable’ optional subject, for almost a month during the initial phase of my preparation.

Steps to follow before you settle for a particular subject –

(1) Divide your attention between science and humanities subjects first up. Ask yourself which line of thought you are more ‘comfortable’ with. It does not matter which stream you graduated in, as long as you are convinced about your own strengths and weaknesses in two separate fields. This is easy to decipher. I knew that I hated engineering, and did not have the time to prepare a science subject – humanities was my obvious choice.

(2) Look at the list of optional subjects in UPSC CSE notification, and straightaway discard a few. There are 25 such subjects, excluding the regional languages, and you can easily make out which ones just don’t appeal to you. For me, such ‘straightaway rejects’ would be Botany, Engineering subjects, Management, Mathematics, Medical Science, Zoology, Statistics, Commerce and Economics. These should be the subjects in which you have absolutely ZERO interest.

(3) The list is already narrowed down, and you should not be left with more than 8 to 10 subjects after first 2 steps. For the remaining subjects, check the following – Syllabus, Previous Years Question Papers, and availability of material for self study. You don’t have to get into any kind of big data analysis, but a cursory glance at the keywords in the syllabus, and question papers will tell you whether you are feeling okay to go ahead with a particular subject. For example, I don’t like reading maps at all, and I am pretty weak in identifying exact spots on a map – hence I would reject Geography even though it is not entirely out of my ambit of interest.

(4) You may still be unable to decide, and be left with 2 or 3 options. In such a situation pick up the most basic book (ideally Class XI or XII NCERT) for each of the remaining subjects, and get through with it in 2–3 days each. You will yourself know the option that you will be going ahead with now. I was confused between Sociology and PSIR at this stage, and Step 4 worked very well for me.

A short comparative analysis of Science and Humanities subjects

Science subjects – More scoring than humanities counterparts. But need way more time for completion of syllabus and revision. Besides, these subjects have no overlap with GS syllabus.

Humanities subjects – Difficult to score in, and vulnerable to ‘swings of scoring and marking by UPSC’. But need less time to complete, and knowledge of some subjects like PSIR, Sociology and Anthropology is very helpful in Essay, Ethics, Interview and GS.

To conclude, I must say that ALL the subjects have equally good chance of fetching good marks. It depends on YOU how you handle that subject.


Answer By :

Debotosh Chatterjee

IRS (C&CE), Batch of 2016

How should I prepare for UPSC without any coaching?

Hello Friends !

Today I want to share with you the story of Shivani Gupta, UPSC CSE 2017 AIR 121. She not only cleared the exam in her first attempt but also cleared it without coaching.

So, I will try to share her strategy for all those who feel they don’t have any idea about preparations and are not willing/able to go for coaching.

I will start with a brief background. Shivani Gupta, a Chartered Accountant by profession. She had only 8-9 months for her preparation as she was working in a company and was a late starter. Further, She was totally clueless as to how to go about my preparations. She chose Commerce and Accountancy as my optional subject.

She had so many myths and doubts about this examination . When she began, she was doubtful about whether she should take coaching or not but then she decided not to opt it.

Certain ideas to be kept in mind during preparations:

  1. This exam can definitely be cracked in first attempt itself, so those who feel that they need to go for rigourous preparation for at least 2-3 years should re-devise their strategy.
  2. Mock tests are very important, so please take them very seriously.
  3. Don’t be misguided by people who suggest numerous sources for a single topic/subject. Pick one source for one topic and stick to it.
  4. Be confident about your strategy. Plan in advance.
  5. Give regular mock tests and assess your performance. Try to give mocks in most disciplined environment.
  6. Make the maximum use of online resources like ias babamrunal videos etc.
  7. Revise, Revise and Revise !!


Shededicatedly prepared for prelims for 3 months (March-June 18). She did not make any notes from the standard books except NCERT, rather underlined the important portions/areas.

She read The Hindu daily and tried to attempt maximum questions before the exam.

The major benefit of giving mock tests is to assess how many accurate answers/guesses you are making, which helps you during final examination. Revise the answer keys of the mocks. In her case, she used to make a notes on a word document after every mock test in bullet points. When she had given all the mocks, she had 10 pages notes with the summary of all the mock test of different institutes (Vision IAS, Insights etc) in it, which helped her a lot in the last week before the examination.

For CSAT paper, she did not prepare separately. She attempted past 2 year question paper and scored fine in them.

For certain topics, She referred google. She Had made separate notes for these areas, among others.

  1. Mnemonics for constitutional articles (Important ones)
  2. Committees formed for different purpose by Government
  3. World Heritage Sites
  4. National Parks/ Wildlife Sanctuaries, rivers flowing through them
  5. Various reports released by domestic/international institutions (e.g. World Happiness Report)

Revision and diligently following the time table was the most important key, She stressed upon.


She had started preparation for Mains only after prelims as She did not have much clue regarding how to prepare for mains. She used to divide her whole day into three parts:

  • Newspaper and Answer Writing Practice- 4-5 Hours- A senior suggested her to follow answer writing practice on online websites, which she used to do regularly. Initially , She used to take 20-25 minutes to write a single answer which was gradually reduced to 6-7 minutes with daily practice.

Speedy writing and fast thinking is the essence of this examination, so my personal suggestion is to focus on this aspect, the most.

  • Optional Subject- 4-5 Hours – She used to devote 2-2.5 hours for each part
  • GS Subjects- 6-7 Hours daily

She took one mock test series and was very disciplined about it. She gave around 17-18 mocks before sitting in examination. She used to write the tests in a closed room environment within the duration of 3 hours. This really helped her to tackle the final exams pressure as she never felt that she was sitting in examination for the first time.

Points regarding answer writing:

  1. Introduction-which should be of 30-40 words. It should explain the essence of questions asked. Statistics or recent happening can be included.e.g. A question asked on domestic violence may start with some statistic or some current legislation formed.
  2. Main Body- 130-150 words- Write in bullet points. Try to be as diverse as possible. Diversity in answer is appreciated. Make diagrams and factual information can be used.
  3. Include Examples,Facts,data, diagram, maps, wherever possible.
  4. Conclusion: Should be around 20-30 words. Should involve some innovative suggestion. Govt schemes can be mentioned. It must be positive and not critical

Optional-Commerce and Accountancy

Part I – Practical in nature. It hasAccountancy, Cost Management, Financial Management, Taxation and Auditing. The syllabus is of CA-IPCC Level. So the key is practice as much as you can. The theory part in Paper 1 is generally repetitive in nature and one must go through the previous year exam papers to get an understanding on the types of questions asked.

She followed Rankers IAS notes and attempted mock tests. As she was devoting 2-2.5 hours everyday, she did fine in tests and final papers.

Part 2- Theoretical- The subjects are- Human Resource, Organisation Behaviour, Organisation Theory, Industrial Relations.

For these, She followed Ranker IAS notes and also followed the recent news article that were touching this subject. Some points to be considered for attempting theory papers are:

  1. Try to make you answers crisp and add as much content as you can precisely.
  2. Substantiate your answers with examples.
  3. Draw diagrams wherever possible.
  4. Give recent statistics or legislation related to questions asked.
  5. Underline the most important words in your answer.

I am herewith attaching her mark sheet so that you can understand how much her strategy paid off.

Apart from this, you must study NCERT Books as they are the base of everything and you will be able to understand different topics very easily.

I expect that most of you will have NCERT Books but if you don’t have them then I am providing you with a link from where you can download them for free in PDF format.

Go and download them and start studying. Go Guys!

Answer By :

Gaurav Joshi

Former Retired IPS Officer

How do I improve my writing skills for the UPSC?

Keep all these points very well in your mind. I have written them after giving due thought and time:

  1. Write about 15–18 words per mark for a 250 mark question paper to be attempted in 3 hours i.e. you should be writing about 3750–4500 words in three hours. And mind it this has to be good quality stuff. UPSC in my experience demands both – quantity and quality. The ratio is this for a 250 mark question paper: “1 Mark = 15–18 words = 10 seconds”
    1. for 10 markers – it is 150 words in 6 min 40 seconds
    2. for 12.5 markers it is 190 words in 8 min 40 seconds.
  2. Come directly to the point which has been asked in the question. Do not waste time writing an unwanted introduction. At the max you may write the introduction as following:
    1. Question: How to alleviate poverty in India?
    2. Answer: Poverty can be alleviated in India in the following manner: and then start writing the answer ahead. Please do not start defining poverty or quoting UN on poverty. Come directly to the point that has been asked.
  3. Write as many points as possible. Target writing at least 15–20 points per answer.
    1. this is a challenging part of answer writing for which you are studying.
    2. You will need to think fast, quickly. I often say that imagination is better than recall. What does not come to you instinctively will need to be recalled. Recalling slows down things. Imagination using common sense is much easier and faster. Practice and little knowledge will make it much easier.
  4. Each point MUST should be linked to the question asked.
    1. If the question asked is How to alleviate poverty in India? Then suppose if your point is education. Don’t just write that education will alleviate property. Write it like this → Education will bring skill, which will lead to employability, self-business and other work opportunities – all leading to an increase in income and fall in poverty levels.
    2. What I mean to say is that interlink whatever you can. Link every answer directly to the question asked.
  5. Use simple English. Use apt words. No place, space or time for exhibition of your skill in the language. The examiner should get to understand your maximum number of points in a minimum number of words and a minimum amount of time. Use keywords and phrases which one would like to hear. e.g. If I am describing to you what is sugar – how can the answer be complete without keyword like sweet?
  6. Use vague terms whenever you need them. Like probably, huge chance, almost, largely, generally, etc.
  7. Use data if you know it. Don’t use data if you don’t know it. It hardly makes a difference. I scored good marks without much data. Actually, the trick is that you do not need to make a special focus on data. You will remember some data without really focussing on it. Like the contribution of agriculture to the GDP of India and so on.
  8. Quote some authority if you can. Not necessary. But it is good to have a name or two in answer. I hardly wrote any authority in the exam.
  9. For a ten marker in 250 mark paper in 3 hours – write at home with splendid respect for time. Write a ten marker in 6 min 40 seconds. Not even a second more. Stop then and there. Do not try to reduce the time from by increasing your speed from 10 minutes to 6 min 40 seconds. Stick to 6 min 40 seconds and then increase your speed.
  10. Write legibly. I improved my handwriting. It is possible.
  11. If you can draw diagrams, it is fine. If you cannot draw diagram it makes no difference. Draw diagram IF ONLY you can do very quickly without compromising on the number of points and the time limit. I drew only one diagram in the three GS papers.
  12. Create than recall if you have not so good memory. Use common sense and logic.
  13. Join test series. Do not follow them much. So many of them are in the market for making money and money alone. Greedy people out there. They will first tell you this and then that. Just do what I am sharing above and you will see your score rising everywhere. Some test series people say that you get marks only when you write answers according to them, which is the wrong approach. Israel Jeba Singh and Vision and a few others are good enough for mains. My experience with GS Score was bad. I experimented with their test series. Played a bluff many a time. And I came to all these conclusions only after much experimenting.
  14. Points Vs paragraphs. No one cares about that. Idea is to make the examiner read your answer. I wrote a mixture of two depending on the comfort I had with a particular question. Having said that, I feel, uniformity is better than randomness.
  15. Underline or not – It makes reading for the examiner easier. It also helps you trick the examiner as when you underline a point, there is a probability that the examiner will read your that one underlined point than the whole answer. Underlining does not mean to make your copy full of lines. Just one word that can describe the whole paragraph/sentence/point.
  16. Colour of the pen – Stick to blue and black or blue alone. Even for underlining. It makes a very less difference whether you used colours or not. Don’t waste your time in these trivial things.
  17. Always conclude your answer with the question that has been asked.
  18. Make sure you have answered all parts of the question asked. If they ask you 5 parts in one question make sure you answer them all. Even if they ask you 5 questions in a 10 marker then you must answer all the questions by assuming 2 marks per question, generally speaking. There might be a case, though uncommon, where, in the above example one questions would be for say 6 marks and rest 4 for one mark each. So, use your intelligence.
  19. Answers the questions you think you can answer well directly. Rest questions later. Low hanging fruit must be acquired at the earliest.
  20. Keep a constant check on time. You should know instinctively that the time for a particular question is up.
  21. Whenever you sit for practice always make sure that you do not write just 3–4 questions. Write at least for 1.5 hours, to begin with. By the time the exam comes you should be writing 4 hours non-stop so that in exam you can write for 3 hours with full energy. If you write 2–3 answers or if you write for merely half an hour near exam, I can tell you it will not work.
    1. I repeat – DO NOT WRITE 2–3 answers. Your stamina in the examination hall is very important. All kind of emotions occurs sitting in the examination hall. You will recall your happiest and saddest moments sitting there. Writing is like meditation. You will need full focus.
    2. The plan should be to start straight away with 1 hour. and then increasing it up to 4 hours. This is very important because you do not want to write there with stamina at its fag end in 3 hours. Horses should be in full swing during all the 180 minutes.
    3. Most people do good in the paper in the first half. Then starts the real game. To clear this exam you have to win it all.
  22. Do not try to copy other’s answers. BE YOURSELF. this is very important. Do not write what others are writing. Be yourself. This will get you many more marks.
  23. There cannot be a question to which you do not know the answer. It is a myth that you know nothing about the question asked. You will know something at least about every question. Do not take absolute bluff like if I ask you what is a pink revolution? this is a very specific question. You can not say that Pink revolution is about the pink flowers blooming in Netherland. that will be wrong. But if there is a linked question like how will it help improve the health of people? it is certain that it is about the health of people. So, you can say that with the pink revolution more nutrition will reach people with low costs leading to improvement in the health of people. so be careful here. And if it is related to the health of people then chances of it being related to anything other than flowers is high
    1. Practice will play a great role here. You should be spending more time writing than reading. You will get marks for what is on your answer sheet and not what you actually know. You might know a lot more than what is on the answer sheet. This should not become a hindrance. So, a very good balance tilting in favour of writing is required.
    2. Attempting an answer which is unknown to you can be a little difficult, nevertheless, if you learn this art, then it will help you.
    3. Do not write everything that you know. Write what has been asked.
  24. Do not ever feel that you are repeating some point. If question demands repetition of points, it is not your problem. It is a problem of question paper setter. So need not worry at all about this.
  25. The judgment of SC is more important than the name of the case in which it was held. You may use words like “in a pre-decided case” than the name of judgement if you do not recall it. For data part – analysis of data is more important, the conclusion out of data is more important than the data itself. e.g. ~48% population of India is dependent on agriculture is good data to quote. But what are its implications? that is more important. If you are quoting anyone – the quote is more important than the person who said it. It is ok to mess up a quote and not write in toto. You can do so by using single inverted commas (‘’) instead of double (“”).
  26. When you start writing answers do not waste your 1–2 minutes having a glance of the question paper. Your thoughts might get cluttered with the thought of some question asked in paper.
    1. Just start writing with the first question that you see. Just read that particular question. Answer it. Now read the next question answer it.
    2. Yes, like many of us here, I also had the temptation to have a cursory glance of the question paper. But it is of hardly any use. In relative terms saving 1–2 minutes is more important than cursory glance.
      1. Rather use this 1–2 minutes if you really want to, after 90 minutes. This small break in the middle will refreshen your mind. Idea is to keep the brain as fresh as possible for those three hours so that you can concentrate well.
    3. Your joy and excitement will know no bounds when you will see that exactly after 90 minutes you are done with half the paper. That is the trick.
  27. Write what is asked, not everything that you know.
  28. Keep your stomach filled when you write. Do not overeat or remain hungry. Both conditions will create a problem. Curd mixed with sugar is the best thing to eat before the exam. It keeps stomach filled and keeps it away from acidity.
  29. Do not get distracted from anyone’s gaze, thought of any emotion or sin including love, revenge, lechery etc. Do an act of kindness before exam days – like give away money/food to needy. This will calm your mind in a big way and that in effect will mean better performance.
  30. Make headings. That helps reading answers for the examiner easy. This is especially true for questions which have multiple questions asked in a single question.
  31. One good trick that helped me a lot – This is what my wife taught me → The length of the answer is predetermined. The space given to you on answer is predetermined. Now use this thing. When you first start writing, rather than writing the answer from one end to other ends – You may divide the whole answer space given into various headings. Since the thoughts in the brain are random, you can write those thoughts as it is but under the relevant heading which you have already written on paper. This way you need not waste your time organising the answer. It also takes a lesser amount of toll on the brain for those three hours meaning thereby that you will be fresher and thus write better answers.
  32. Review of your answers: Keep in mind all the things I have mentioned here. See to it if you are able to write in the constraints and in the way I have mentioned. You just do this much and you will be good to go. If you want to review from someone else – tell them these criteria. Simple as that. If you know you have taken more than the given time – then the review is of poor use. Performance when you write the answer of 12.5 marks question in 8 min 40 sec and when you write the same answer in 10 min is drastically different. Do not mess with time at any cost.
    1. Rather than spending too much time on reviewing, just check if you doing what is suggested here before moving on. Still got questions to let me know and I will be happy to answer them.
    2. You want me to review? – mail me or text me on the phone.
  33. Grammar and spelling etc have a bleak role to play in answer writing when it comes to GS and largely most optional [Except for optionals like mine (English Literature)]. I have actually seen people who are bad on both accounts getting good marks. Content matters much more people. Obviously you cannot be spelling two as owt. That would be a bit too much. I have seen people mixing their and there, its and it’s and so son. It is ok. Dont be fussy over these things. Ofocurse, I personally feel it is wrong, but in the larger scheme of things, one-two such errors can be forgiven. Time is limited. Use it to your advantage. Focus on the right thing.

I will add more point if need be.

Please do comment and let me know about how it goes. Your comments encourage me to write more and write better.

Below this line, you may like to save your one minute by not reading it as it is not really related to the question asked. Just sharing my experience. Still interested? Read on:

PS: Spilling the beans. I learned these lessons with great difficulty. There was no one to help. There was no one to tell me what to do about this. When I asked a few teachers they ‘proclaimed’ that this is a stupid question and can be resolved in less than five minutes.

Then there were some ‘thug’ coaching walas if I may call them so, who ‘proclaimed’ that they can teach me anything specially the art of writing if I give them a few thousand rupees.

I avoided them both.

It was the answer to this question which played an important role, in clearing the civil services exam, for me.

Sharing what I learned with the world so that at least some of you don’t have to suffer the same agony again.

Answer By :

Gaurav Garg

Rank 320 CSE 2015.

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