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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Questions Concerning IAS / UPSC Civil Services Prelims Preparation

When I started my preparation for IAS / UPSC Civil Services Examination in October 2004, confusion reigned supreme. And believe me I was not a case in isolation, all my friends were equally confused and apprehensive about this mother of all exams. Coaching institutes, howsoever good their intentions may have been, also added to this panic situation. Everyone whom I met spoke of the three lakh odd aspirants who appear in prelims but only a few thousands make it to the mains and so on. What all this negative information does is to create a fear psychosis among aspirants and many of them lose the battle before it has even begun.The point is instead of seeing the glass as half-empty ,why not see it as half-full and with intelligent hard-work the glass can be filled to its capacity.

Yes, clearing IAS / UPSC Civil Services Examination is not easy but it is by no means an impossible task. What is needed is sound preparation backed by sincerity in approach and a positive attitude towards life in general and this exam in particular. One has to add to one's strength and minimize one's weaknesses. There is no such thing as a perfect preparation, many aspirants keep preparing for years thinking that one fine day their preparation would be perfect. But perfection is something which cannot be realized in practice, the point is to strive for perfection but not get too much sucked into doing everything in a copybook fashion. With my experience of writing and clearing prelims all four times, I can only say that if a person starts even right now in earnest clearing prelims should not be an unsurmountable hurdle.

I look forward to answering the queries of aspirants related to IAS / UPSC Civil Services Examination preparation from General Studies point of view and also for Psychology and Public Administration optionals. You can post your queries in comments and i will be replying to them at the earliest. All the very best !!!

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Abhishek,

Thanks a lot for the book list. It helped a lot.

I have one more question. I know that it varies from year to year and UPSC does not make the information public. But, based on your personal experience, what do you think is the cut-off for GS and Psychology prelims?

Thanks,
Anil

Abhishek said...

@ Anil .... u r welcome :)
u r right that UPSC till now has not declared cut-offs though some aspirants have filed RTI petitions which is pending with the courts ...anyway cut offs vary and my personal thinking was that psychology cut-offs r on the higher side but my friend Harkamal(now in IRS)told me that even with scores in the region of 70-75(questions correct)one can clear prelims with psychology,my earlier estimation was 90+ makes one really safe ...but my advice wud be to do really well in optional(80+ questions right after removing negatives) and at least decent performance in general studies(65+) ..this kind of performance should make one feel really safe though all kinds of permutations & combinations are possible ...did i answer ur question ;)

nagi said...

hai abhishek,

first of all i should congrats u for our service to public by the way of our blog clearing the doubts of many civil aspirants.... great job... keep it up

hai, iam nagireddy .doimg my btech-4th year in ece.
i was very much interested in writing the civil exams 2009.when i was in holidays i saw the notification of civils upto that day i dont have idea regarding that.after notification i got interested and i was commited to write exam ....

but unforunately as i was staying in hostel along with my friends and i came from engineering background here my friends dont have the idea regarding that exam...so i was not able to clear my doubts and i dont know what optional i have to take for prelims and what books i have to refer ...when i was searching sites for what is the best choice for prelims optionals on google i came across our blog after seeing that i was so happy that someone i there to clear my doubts....


abhishek,.... after going through previous papers and syallbus iam thinking of taking public adminstration as prelims choice whats our opinion regarding that????
is it better choice???
if so what are books i should refer for PA(public adminstaration )and for GENERAL STUDIES.... please tell precise books completely and i will be very thankkful to u ,so that i can start my preparation early...if i have any more doubts i will clear them in the next postings

hoping the reply soon.....

thanks,
nagireddy.

Abhishek said...

@ nagi ... thanks :)

the comments and feedback that i am getting from aspirants like you keeps me motivated to write and share whatever i have learnt about this exam over the past 4 years ... i also started with a blank slate n was helped so much by everyone i came across ,so its just like paying back what i received ...
anyway coming to ur query ...PA is a very good optional and material is easily available,though my optional was psychology in prelims.
U just go through its syllabus and also read one of the posts in my blog "Public Adminstration for UPSC prelims" where my friend Anoop Krishna(98th rank,2005)has given all the basic info about preparing PA including source books.I am sure once u go through that article, u will have a much clearer idea about PA and for gs i m taking up all portions one by one,and i remember in one of the comments i hv given a brief idea abt it ,but i will post it again for greater benefit.All the very best !!!

Chuppandi said...

Hi

First of all thanks for the wonderful serviece that you are doing. This is the power of knowledge sharing. Im very glad and excited that i get to know about the insights of the Civil Servieces Exams from a pro like you.

Best of you luck buddy for your Interview. May the spirit of helping others will surely guide you through your pursuit to Destiny.

Im Subramani aka Chuppandi from chennai working in an engg. comp. as an mechanical engg for 3&half yrs after my B.Tech in Mech. And im 26 now which obviously means i have only few attempts...

Im very much interested in writing my CSE for the first time. Sadly I've sent my app form today only and have not prepared a bit till now... Though i'd like to give it this time. When i say so i mean giving all i can.

But i obviously have lot of apprehensions about how to go about. I have no one to guide me to which i believe you would come to my rescue. I prefer to write Mechanical Engg. as optional. I really donno if i should take any coaching class (Off from my work...) im afraid i can only spend few time for preparing... i have around (5-8am and 6-11pm) and a few holidays. do you think this much will get me there...

I just want someone to give me some window of hope and guidance. Please help me bro.

Abhishek said...

@ Chuppandi ... thx :)
i wud be glad if i cud be of any help ,plz feel free to ask ur queries ..i dont claim to be an expert but if my experience can be of help then i wud be happy ...
first of all dont worry about things which r not in ur control ,aim at giving it ur best shot ....u can opt for mech. engg. as ur first optional if u r comfortable with the subject ,buy previous years test papers to get a feel of the kind of questions being asked ... believe me 4-5 hours of regular and focused study is sufficient to put up a gud show in prelims ...just go thru my various posts where i hv tried to explain abt various areas of this exam ,i wud be doing it for other areas which i hv not covered so far ...keep in mind for clearing prelims u need to be realy gud with ur optional and at least put up a decent performance in gs....time is just enuf ..get going n gud luck !!!

Arpan Desai said...

hi Abhishek,
I am Arpan, 4th year computer eng student and totally blank about things associated with the prelims, i am in dilemma which subject should be chosen in prelims as i am having computer background same as yours, and hats off to your noble service..n my wishes to u tht u will clear the xams this time. Suggest me some books for General Studies also..thx for ur support..

Abhishek said...

@ Arpan ...sorry 4 replying late,thx 4 ur gud wishes :)
u will have to choose a subject based on ur interest ,some of the optionals that u cud consider are - geography,public admn.,political science,sociology,psychology ...just go their syllabus and introspect on ur interests and inclinations.I chose psychology out of interest though initially i considered history and public admn. ,so my experience tells me that u can clear upsc prelims with any optional if u hv prepared well ...u can find the syllbus of options in upsc website www.upsc.gov.in

Anonymous said...

thanx a loy sir....i m presently working in a psu...jst completed my engineering in 2008......alwasy had a dream to be an IAS.....i m from electrical background......bt dont do coachings....i m totally confused as i feel dere is a lot of things to go thru nd nw no time is left....plz ur help is sincerely awaited sir..


sumedha

Abhishek said...

@Sumedha ... dont worry about the time factor ,in case u r giving 2009 prelims then a gud,well directed effort from even now on shud be gud enuf to clear prelims ...just make sure u r thorough with ur optional subject,which is electrical engg. in ur case and focus on scoring areas of gs like current affairs,geography,polity,biology portion,modern india etc ...all d best !!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Abhishek,

Thanks for this useful site.

I am a law student, studying a top national law school, and currently in the final year of my 5-year integrated B.A.LLB (hons) course.

I have been keen on givnig the IAS exam since I was in school but somewhere during my college, I lost the ferver for it.

I have now reaslised, once again, that IAS is the career for me. I have applied to appear for the May, 2009 prelims exam and am beginning my preparation only now.

As a law student, I feel I am better placed than a lot of other students in the field of current affairs etc. because our course and internships demand a certain level of awarenses.
HOWEVER, is it, generally speaking, possible to prepare for Prelims in 4 months and give it a good shot??

Another query is in regard to the optional subjects.
I have not come across any site discussing 'LAW' is a viable option, or even otherwise. What is the general understanding regarding this option?
My other option will be Public Adm., on which I have found sufficient material.

Regards and thanks in advance for replying!

Abhishek said...

@Anonymous ... i think 4 months is just about enuf to have a good crack at prelims ...so no worries on dat count ...law as for that matter any other optional is as good/bad as the candidate ,the point is dat ,it is the individual's preparation level that will determine the outcome and not just the optional per se ...so all d best :)

Anonymous said...

hi abhishek,
thanks a lot for the information!!!

can you tell what book have to take for Main exams(M.P-PSC). I have taken eco as my subject.

Abhishek said...

@Anonymous ... plz refer my friend Saurabh's article on how to prepare economics for a better idea and name of books basically from upsc point of view ... http://upsc-prelims.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-prepare-economics-for-upscias.html

Anonymous said...

according to veerapa moily's committee ARC report age for exam would be changed also the optional are to be removed . is it true that this going to happen .

Anonymous said...

Hey abhishek, this is the 'anonymous' law student again. Thanks for replying to my earlier message.
Since I have 4 months only, I am inclined to subscribe to a correspondence course. Right now, I have narrowed down on Rau's Study Circle, because this is the only one I think that is known for good material in Law.
How's their material on General Studies? Any idea?

Thanks a lot again.

Abhishek said...

@Vipul Pandey ... i am aware of the recommendation but the fact is that such recommendations take a really long time to get implemented ,if ever ... but still better to err on the side of caution ,there is agood possibility dat age limit might be reduced and optionals may be done away with but not in next 3-4 years at least :)

Abhishek said...

@Anonymous Law Student ... :) reagrding law i m not much aware though i see some ads appearing in The Hindu quite frequently ,regarding GS material i think Vajiram&Ravi wud be my suggestion ...they used to be d final word in GS preparation till sometimes back ... try n get hold of well written class notes of Vajiram thru any contact in places like Ber Sarai,Rajendra Nagar ,Mukherjee Nagar etc ...u can go for vajiram's correspondence course too ...gud luck !!!

Unknown said...

Hi Abhishek..

Thanks for being so supportive to UPSC-2009 aspirants !! I have opted for geography as my subject ...can u plz suggest me which book/study material/coaching institute to follow. As I am already late is starting my prep for prlims ...I badly require your opininn .Plz Plz help

Anonymous said...

hi........I am hema from mysore,karnataka.....here we wont get any notes of vajiram & ravi...I am preparing from Spectrum book..& I have soft copies of NCERT textbooks..I have just passed out BE in E & C .& have taken history as my first optional..now i am feeling that remebering dates is very difficult...please tell me an easy way of remembering

Abhishek said...

@ Sneha...sorry for responding late,i hv requested a friend to write about geography optional for prelims and wud be posting it soon ... i m sure u wud hv opted 4 geography because of some background or interest in the subject ,so dont worry abt how much time is left,just focus on ur preparation ,go thru standard books and practice previous years upsc question papers ...all d best !!!

Abhishek said...

@ Hema ... remembering dates is smthng that everyone finds a bit difficult ,but it can become manageable ... first of all get a gud idea of chronology of events that is u shud hv clarity abt what happened firts followed by what and so on ... then try n remember only crucial dates like imporatnt years in which battles were fought etc ...
all d best !!!

Royaltiger said...

Can you help me get Psychology and General Studies notes of Vajiram and Ravi.

Anonymous said...

Hello Abhishek,


Im tamanna,an aspirant of CSE-2010.im in a lot of confusion as which option shall i opt for prelims - geography or psychology?

people say thaT geogRaphy is veRy difficult To cleaR for prelims because of its vastness...what wud u suggest abouT this...

iam a ResidenT of hyderabad,people here say thaT i need To go To delhi for coaching orTheRwise i would not faiR in examinaTion ,is it TRue?

iam from computer engineerinG background ,can i fair in psychology if i get maTerials from vajiram and ravi and if u can Tell me ur strategy of preparation it would be a great help...

also plz can u tell me the scores u got in your examination for mains and prelims..thanks in advance.

mentanatimnu said...

hi abhishek,

well i will be really greatful if u can guide me?

i gave my two attempts without any preparation in 2005 and 2007 due to family pressure.i appeared in 200n too but my total came out to be 192 and that too when i prepared for just 3 months.

now i wanna take 2010 very seriously and that too with an aim to crack.my optinal is geography...i am very confused about g.sc. ..what to read and what not to read.please do tell me how to go about general studies.

i will be really greatful to u..

awaiting ur response..

kamna...

Anonymous said...

Hi, ur blog is really helpful in making people aware about CSE a lot. I am a MBBS graduate and did my MBBS in 2009. I dont feel, I have that desire to go for practice anymore. I want to appear for CSE 2010. But my doubts are that firstly, I have very less time left now. Secondly,I dont wanna take medical science or as a matter of fact, any life science as my subject. I have a thing for Mathematical subjects or subjects based on calculations. So I was thinking to go for Statistics. Guide me if it will be good decision or not, keeping in mind that I genuinely like maths. But dont wanna mess up things by competing IITians that to with so less time left. Thats why I feel stats is a safer option than maths.
If there is anyone who has taken stats as subject, please tell me where to find study material, coaching And which books and what topics should be given attention too. Reply soon as I am already losing on time front.

Anonymous said...

hiiiiii abhishek,
i m B.E CSE final yr student & i am going to appear in civil exams suggest me prelim subject which help not only in upsc but also in mppsc (either P.A or Sociology).

thanks,
harsh

Unknown said...

hai dis is gowthami.i finished my btech(ecee) in 2010 nw im doing my mtech(e&c) first year(2nd sem) in banglore university.
my doubt is just 4months left for prelims is it possible to prepare and write exam this year(2011).this year pattern has changed.so plz give me the information.mail me at gowthami30a@gmail.waiting for ur mail.

akshhrao92 said...

hiii
i wanted to know that if we reach till interview and fail then we will have to start all over again or only from the mains.

Rizzi said...

Thanks a lot for such valuable post !
I have a question that for preparing IAS General studies how much time a person should devote. A friend told me about online courses like http://www.wiziq.com/course/119-ias-general-studies-prelimnary-course to save time and focus more on ias prelims preparation.

shashank said...

hi Abhishek
Im shashank ill be preparing for psc and ias for 3 year but i havent get succed till now i give 2,3 exam of bank po also but i havent succed there also can u pls tell me the correct method of doing the preparation for sure success as i joined the coaching but i havent get the result with that also i want to be in govt job so plz give me some ideas thanks