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June 20, 2011 by Kashish Mittal Though I think that there have been many candidates who have performed much better than me in the GS Mains and Essay, however for the sake of completeness of this whole effort, I am putting down how I went about tackling these papers and what more could have been done. General Studies Mains The sources for my study of GS Mains have been quite similar to that for GS prelims:
Took coaching from Vajiram and Ravi and studied their notes and books multiple times. Especially, their Current Affairs material and the notes/books they give before mains is quite beneficial. NCERT books for classes XI and XII (History, Geography, Polity, Economics, Sociology and World Politics). I also attempted the questions at the back of each chapter to improve retention and answer writing ability. Other books for General Studies - DD Basu (Introduction to the Constitution of India) - Constitution of India (Bare Act) - Economic Survey (Selected Topics) - Familiarity with the Atlas - Manorama & India Year Book (Selected Topics). Newspaper – The Hindu. In this section, I think I could not give due justice to newspaper study due to paucity of time, as I had to devote much of it to Mathematics and Physics. What I could have done had there been more time available, was maintaining a register and noting important news/current issues under various heads (National, International, Polity, Economy, India & World, Social, Sports, etc.). Magazines – Important articles from Chronicle, Yojana & Frontline. Here my focus was the main articles of Chronicle and Yojana which are quite helpful in covering important current happenings/issues. I did not take any Tests for General Studies, which can be taken if time is available. For any topic of General Studies, especially Current Affairs, Internet (Wikipedia, etc.) can prove to be a valuable source of background information.
An Insight: Keeping in mind the changing trend of the GS Mains paper, I think command over four things can really help a candidate in doing well in GS:
Answer writing ability – Can be improved by making short summaries of whatever you study in Newspapers/magazines/GS coaching material/NCERT books. This also helps in
Subjects . and your ability to hit directly at the requirement of the topic are the factors which are taken into account.nic. though this could have been supplemented with notes from newspaper study. Yojana. still important happenings in the recent times can be prepared to attempt such questions as they are still asked to a considerable extent. Indian Society. Gender and Child issues. structure & flow of ideas. the content. Health. Women empowerment. However to make a proper mindset to write the Essay I listed down the topics which had been asked in the past 10 -15 years. Tribune can build your opinion regarding important issues. Current Facts/Happenings . Polity. etc. he is automatically prepared (to a considerable extent) to write the Essay in Mains.in). Going through the list of past year essays. Judiciary. Economics can still be expected in plenty. I clubbed these essays under various heads – Environment/Climate. policy which can be covered from Economic Survey. History. Analysis – The analysis of whatever major happenings take place in the country/world is very important as the GS paper is getting more opinion based. background of these topics I arranged the Yojana magazines of about the last two years. To know the various aspects of these topics and the social/legal/historical/govt. Even if one can sit down and write one proper essay for each topic mentioned above. . which holistically covered almost all of the above mentioned areas. if possible – Conclusion on a positive and optimistic note). Relevant editorials of newspapers like The Hindu. Press Information Bureau (www. etc. I feel that if a candidate has prepared GS well (keeping the above points in mind). retention of the content and in your ability to present crisply what is specifically asked in a question.Though this is an infinite reservoir of possible questions.pib. Media. Yojana magazine is also quite helpful in this regard. it can give a candidate the practice to write reasonably well in the exam (I could do this for only 4-5 topics). Youth.Direct questions from subjects like Geography. Education. Therefore thorough study of these subjects from coaching material & NCERTs can make you attempt these questions quite well. Further. Times of India. Magazines like Chronicle and coaching material helped me in this regard. The editorials of newspapers can also help in collecting relevant data in learning how to build up & structure an essay (Introduction – Background information of the topic – Various aspects/dimensions of the topic with analysis – Any suggestions. Essay In the assessment of an essay. Democracy. India Year Book. it is important to cover major decisions in Govt.
Statics: Statics (Krishna Series) Dynamics: Dynamics (Krishna Series) 6. N. Chand) . Chand) A Course of Mathematical Analysis by Shanti Narayan (S. Chand) Laplace Transforms: Brilliant Tutorials Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Erwin Kreyszig 5.Strategy for Mathematics May 28. Chand) 4. 2011 by Kashish Mittal I chose Mathematics and Physics as optional subjects as I had a considerable exposure to the topics in their syllabi from my study since classes +1. Ordinary Differential Equations: Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations by M.D. Chand) 3. Real Analysis: Elements of Real Analysis by MD Raisinghania (S. Calculus: Differential Calculus by Shanti Narayan (S. Herstein 2. +2 upto college level. Linear Algebra: Linear Algebra by Vasishtha and Sharma (Krishna Series) Matrices by Vasishtha and Vasishtha (Krishna Series) 2. Raisinghania (S. Chand) Integral Calculus by Shanti Narayan (S. Analytic Geometry: Analytical Solid Geometry by Shanti Narayan (S. Algebra: Abstract Algebra by Khanna and Bhambri Topics in Algebra by I. The books I referred for Mathematics are as follows: Paper I 1. Vector Analysis: Vector Calculus (Krishna Series) Curves in Space: Calculus by Thomas & Finney Paper II 1.
and can be best learnt from the solved examples themselves. Raisinghania (S.D. Linear Programming: Linear Programming (Krishna Series) 5. I also made summary sheets for every unit/topic (~ 2 pages per unit) in which I listed the important results/formulae/theorems/tips which can be gone through a day before the exam.3. After that I also attempted questions from the past 15-20 years’ papers. I studied Abstract Algebra and Real Analysis mostly from 12 markers point of view.] While studying these books I basically attempted the solved examples. my correct attempt was ~ 258 in Paper I and ~ 260 in Paper II. I read selective solved examples and tried to register them in my mind. In the second cycle of the syllabus I properly attempted the solved examples on paper. The answers/solutions can be verified from the Brilliant Tutorials and the books mentioned above. This is helpful as it can give you a holistic & quick revision of the entire syllabus before the exam. and solved some of them on my own. In the exam. Jain and Iynger 7. Numerical Analysis and Computer Programming: Numerical Methods by Jain. However. looking back. Chand) Boundary Value Problems: Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Erwin Kreyszig 6. I think I could (& should) have done them thoroughly as well. I think the accuracy in the Mathematics . Raisinghania (S. In the first cycle of my study. The way of writing a solution is very important in the Mathematics paper. Partial Differential Equations: Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations by M. trying my best to maintain the quality and language of the answers as close to the solutions in the books. Finally. Complex Analysis: Functions of a Complex Variable (Krishna Series) 4. Mechanics: Rigid Dynamics Volume I & II (Krishna Series) Fluid Dynamics: M. This exercise helps in giving an idea as to what is the kind and level of questions asked in the exam. My score in the exam was 207 in Paper I and 198in Paper II.D. and may also prove beneficial in case some questions in the exam come on similar lines as in the past. Chand) [Due to some time constraint.
DD Basu (Introduction to the Constitution of India) . NCERT books for classes XI and XII (History. This is because in the last couple of years. as candidates are penalised heavily for any errors in the solution/answer. the options of any particular question in General Studies have been quite involved and only a candidate knowing the topic thoroughly can answer correctly and confidently. Sociology and World Politics). 2011 by Kashish Mittal Paper I (General Studies) The Preliminary Exam is moving on the lines of the Mains Exam since the last couple of years. Especially. Preliminary Exam May 20. Economics. That is. etc.paper is extremely necessary. especially Current Affairs.) can prove to be a valuable source of background information. Internet (Wikipedia.Economic Survey (Selected Topics) . Yojana & Frontline. I also took the Vajiram and Ravi Test series for General Studies. For any topic of General Studies. it is better to study topics in General Studies thoroughly and comprehensively rather than only looking out for key names and words as answers.Constitution of India (Bare Act) . Paper II (CSAT) Though this is the first time that this paper is being introduced. Other books for General Studies . Magazines – Important articles from Chronicle. the following sources can be helpful: NCERT Mathematics book for Class X. Polity. looking at the topics in the syllabus. For General Studies Prelims I studied from the following sources: Took coaching from Vajiram and Ravi and studied their notes and books multiple times. Newspaper – The Hindu.Manorama & India Year Book (Selected Topics).Familiarity with the Atlas . . their Current Affairs material is quite beneficial. Geography.
What is more important – public services or improving public services? . 2011 by Kashish Mittal I was allotted Prof. M3. Chalam’s (written below as CM) board for the UPSC Interview. M4. Vajiram and Ravi new books and notes on CSAT. where M3 and M4 were ladies).What was your degree all about? . but the absence of error would be very important to score in such topics.Which Indian invented the chip? . My UPSC Interview June 24. Regular and thorough reading of newspaper(s). it should be noted that accuracy in questions of Mathematics. The questions may not be tough.What is the difference between IT and ICT? .What is the difference between a mobile phone and a computer? .Why did you opt for civil services after leaving your professional line? . M2. NCERT Class X book(s) on English language and comprehension. Especially for students of non-mathematics background. CM: . NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) books on Mental Ability and Logical Reasoning for Class X (any good publisher can do). There were four other members in the board (written below as M1.Why is India not doing well in Hardware?.Why do Indian engineers/IT professional mostly go abroad in the Silicon Valley? .What do you know about e-governance in Punjab? . in the afternoon session. Mental Ability and Logical Reasoning is very important.
What is Archimedes’ Principle? . So is the UNSC resolution right? Or is it wrong? . What is the meaning of your name?.What does the word ‘Punjab’ mean? What are those five rivers? .What work was CV Raman awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for? What is Raman Effect? What apparatus is used in Raman Effect? How does spectroscopy work? .How many Indians have won Nobel Prizes so far? How many categories are the Nobel Prizes awarded for? What are these categories? Which Indians won in these categories? . why is this Somalian piracy still continuing as a global menace? .Tomorrow they may do the same in Kashmir at the pretext of misgovernance.M1: . and what is you say on this matter? .You have an interesting name.Have you heard of a country called Myanmar? .Even after so much military and naval power in the world.Is India only worried/concerned only because of the civilian casualties in Libya? . Do you support this action? What is your say? What would you do? M2: . or violence by the Govt. What is India’s reaction to this.Why is India not concerned about democracy in Myanmar? . You give the Ticket-checker some money to let you ride the train (w/o ticket).Why don’t many Indians win Nobel Prizes? Why wasn’t Mahatma Gandhi awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? M3: .Suppose you are on a train. rushing for your UPSC interview.Have you heard about the ongoing piracy by Somalian people? .The UNSC recently passed a resolution to impose a no-fly zone on Libya. but you do not have a ticket.
I divided my upcoming UPSC interview into two kinds of possible questions: 1) Questions whose answers I must know 2) Questions whose answers I should know .What is Proteomics? M4: . I chalked down how I would go about to prepare for the interview. It is often said that your Interview depends on your overall Personality which has already been shaped in the last twenty years or so. Do you just listen to it or have you been learning sometime as well? From whom? Have you performed somewhere? .. The Interview lasted for about 25 mins.How did you manage Classical Music practice with studies at IIT? .What work was V. I will update with my answers soon. but I strongly feel that a person can do a lot of work in those 3-4 months available before the Interview to polish his/her personality. and cannot be moulded overnight. Strategy for Personality Test June 24. and I was awarded 195 marks. Ramakrishnan awarded his Nobel Prize for? Which molecule did he work on? . 2011 by Kashish Mittal The UPSC Personality Test/Interview is the most crucial portion of this examination process. and is the last pedestal before you are finally selected for the Services.You have filled Hindustani Classical Music (HCM) as your hobby. how much do you feel that the young generation is absorbing/being influenced by HCM? . I second this statement. you may go now.What is your view on the status of Hindustani Classical Music today? As an artiste yourself. After a break of a couple of days after the Mains Exam and in the hope that I would clear it.Who is/are your favourite Classical Music exponent(s)? CM: Thank you.
and interviews of reputed people including administrators.g. as this is important to brush up one’s basic minimum knowledge and facts. diplomats. scientists. one has to be cautious of the left/right alignment of these publications (e.Indomitable Spirit. General Studies (Mains): I gave one revision of the GS (Mains) subjects also. NDTV (available on their website too). That is. I listed about 400500 such questions and exchanged the list with my friends who were also preparing for the interview.).). I used to go through the editorials and important news of 3-4 newspapers (The Hindu. i. achievements. Chronicle and Yojana. etc. I went through certain books which helped widen my outlook and knowledge: . and we brainstormed on all kinds of questions which can be generated from my form. Frontline. etc. The Tribune. listing the pros and cons of any argument you give. This includes my education background. sports. This helps boost your confidence and gives you first hand knowledge on how to go about giving the interview. hobbies. etc. personal details. Times of India. which helped in extending the list further. While reading newspapers and magazines. I also practised answering them in front of the mirror many a times. Then I set down to find answers for these questions by extensive thinking/searching/discussions/etc. and I believe that any serious candidate can meet up atleast a couple of such people. optional subjects. There is a very good exercise via which one can generate almost all questions possible in these areas. APJ Abdul Kalam . Video (Talk Shows/Interviews): This is by far the most important source which can help you in grasping both knowledge and the ability to speak like an administrator. the left tendencies of Hindu. I consider this as the single most helpful exercise which helped me transform from the “Written Exam” mode to the “Interview” mode. family background. Economic Times. Books: Having free time at hand. I used to extensively watch talk shows on Lok Sabha TV. I resorted to the following sources: Newspapers: Newspaper editorials help best in this part of the UPSC exam. To tackle this section. which are also available on the internet.The first category of questions (must know) are basically those which are related to me. the Interview. This is important as your answers in the interview should be logical and unbiased. once you get the Interview Call. and whose copy would be there with the Interview board too). Magazines: I went through selected articles of magazines like Frontline. etc. region/state.e.. I sat down with my friends/family members and gave them a copy of my Mains form each (which had all my personal details. The second category of questions (should know) is much wider than the first and it includes all the happenings going on in the country and the world in the recent times. to take guidelines from them. As I had a lot of free time. Interaction: I also met a couple of officers who had gone through the whole process successfully.
where did I need improvement.Culture of Punjab.India in Turmoil. . R. Govt. Ved Marwah . Sarolia & Saroliya . what were my strengths/weaknesses.Civil Services Interview (How to Excel).I Dare. Madhukar Bhagat. of Punjab Publication. Kiran Bedi .Perspective on Indian Police. . IRS I also took coaching from the following institutes – Abhimanu (Chandigarh). expression and presentation. and how could I improve my conduct.Facets of Indian Culture.. Giving some mock interviews helped me learn what all mistakes I was committing. Vajiram & Ravi (Delhi) and Samkalp (Delhi). Srinivasan .
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