Monday, August 16, 2010

scanned socio answers

scanned essays....




-this is 200 marks paper requiring one to write one essay in 3 is usually on 2nd day of gs mains paper with compulsory english paper in evening
ESSAY is an important part of mains esp since a difference of 30 marks can be decisive in one getting interview call or for the final rank,which may affect service u get...
lets first analyse the words given in notification for the essay(most dependable place to get direction for writing essay) :-
one is expected TO KEEP CLOSELY TO THE SUBJECT of the essay(focus should not be lost)
to ARRANGE YOUR IDEAS IN ODERLY FASHION(see the emphasis here is on ur own ideas n order in presentation)
pay special attention to candidate's GRASP OF HIS MATERIAL,RELEVANCE TO THE SUBJECT CHOOSEN(grasp means clarity of thought and obviously the material should be relevant to the topic choosen,then only should be included in the essay)
-ABILITY TO THINK CONSTRUCTIVELY (having an optimistic orientation,esp while giving innovative solutions to the problem being discussed towards the end of essay....)
-to present one's ideas CONSISELY, LOGICALLY AND EFFECTIVELY.(very important point is here..logically means idea should be logically analysed,sentences connected logically n paragraphs also have a logical connection so a flow in essay may be there...effectively means the idea should be communicated to the examiner in the manner u have interpreted it...and should be convincing)
-credit will be given for EFFECTIVE AND EXACT EXPRESSION..(thus,not only the ideas r important but the way they r presented is equally important)

some suggestions-

-selection of topic is important...usually we used to prepare on themes(more generalised than topics-like education,gender issues,science n tech...) but last years paper shows that unexpected topics may turn up....
 -write MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS,consider the essay topic at BROADEST LEVEL( essay on education,everyone will mention functional literacy...why not write about legal literacy(knowledge about one's rights) or financial literacy(managing savings through bank account and role of NREGA to providefinancial literacy  to rural people as it gives payments only  through a bank account ....)
-most of us must be making a BLUEPRINT before writing the essay proper-where we jot down points n then decide which should b written first,which one next so that a flow is there in the essay....we can easily give around 35-40 minutes for same n utilise remaining time to write essay in about 1200 words(though officially no word limit has been prescribed,but 1200 is considered gud enough to write quality essay n manage time for blueprint also)
-a good essay has 3 parts-INTRODUCTION,BODY N CONCLUSION...basically,the debating of topic happens in body but innovative solutions n suggestions can b given in conclusion.. .conclusion should potray hope n vision...
-content in the essay should have analysis ,insightsetc.....
-dont start with quotations,i believe an innovative n currents related introduction will be essay i wrote in mains had first line as health is the central focus of inclusive growth-this had focus on topic-health n innovation in form of connecting it to the inclusive growth...this also gave it a contemporary touch...
-for body,interlinking the requirement of ur essay with knowledge of gs,both optionals,magzines,hindu and ur own opinion will help...esp,i used knowledge of sociology optional extensively in the essay but without giving any technical details like thinkers names or sociological jargon...


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state exams

Rajasthan prelims exams on 29 th sept-

some aspirants asked me how to balance both ras n upsc preparation as only 2 months are left?
first of all,be clear in ur mind,what u expect from this exam-practice or joining service...are u giving it with complete seriousness?this will clear where ur focus should be...
as i took them as practice test for pre n mains ,my perception is that since there is major overlap in the syllabus of ras n upsc...except perhaps state specific questions....
just see this as if u r writing upsc prelims test after 2 months n work in that orientation,enthusiasm n motivation....optional studies will almost b same,if a bit different,focus on topics which r same more....also,read same books for gs as u were reading for upsc(after all constitutional articles will remain the same whether its ras or upsc or any other let tension dont hinder u)
if u r serious about clearing this exam or joining service rather than just writing it only for practice,then u may need to devote some time(10 days around ) on rajasthan specific studies-like 10 yrs for gs n optional n also a book about rajasthan art ,culture n language- CONTEMPORARY RAJASTHAN BY DR.L.R.BHALLA-a detailed subjective book n an an objective book based on it is available....i bought both n read theory first n did questions based on it from objective book...n sometimes for a change-did objective questions n back traced all  the answer,in this way it became interesting n i could maintain quailty studies over long time).......
studying rajasthan specific is not a waste of time,in my views,as it does help in gs in some question on reclimation of wasteland,we can always write about Indra gandhi canal in rajasthan(see positive in all situations n interlink...)
as for time of 2 months seems to be less-concentrate on each day n plan for that...n dont waste time in worrying...aim of this exam is to keep u studying efficency even when upsc prelims is anyways u will b learning more because of this exam ,than in its absence....


i gave 2 pcs exams-rajasthan n haryana....
these services i never intended to join but saw them as practice test or stepping stones..
there many opinions as to whether one should write these exams or not-
1. some people think that during preparation for upsc,one should concentrate on it only...n these can b given later if one does nt qualify in upsc and exhausts all the attempts...the point they emphasise is that a portion of these exams need state specific study,n this may take ur time n resources...n also,to write these exams one has to go to concerned state..
2.some others belive ,its gud strategy to prepare for upsc n ur home state this will be most comfortable one to give...
3.some also believe in giving all the pcs exams- raj,haryana,himachal,UP,uttranchal,chattisgarh,MP,jharkhand,bihar ...they say cracking UPSC is very tough ,so lets try luck state exams r considered easier than upsc one..
basically,most of these exams r on the pattern of UPSC,some having more overlapping n some less...i preferred to take them as practice test n restricted to only two..raj n haryana pre was before pre,had similar pattern,meant lesser travel nd were at time when they didnt conflict with my UPSC preparation much...

what to study...?

it all depends on whats ur expectation from ur exam n time available...
10 YRS r available for both gs n optionals in market...esp. mukherjee nagar one...
detailed state specific books r also there-can b more useful in state mains.
many questions r repeated year after 10 yrs helps...
but many answers given in these r wrong,so better check ans with standard books...

benifits of writing these:

a positive result can be motivational
its a practice test,u can get to know ur weaknesses...
keeps u focussed on studies esp in months when upsc exam is far...n u may already hav done with coaching..
sometimes,a positive result here may help to face family pressure better too..

mains form

mains form

this is an important document to b filled carefully coz a copy of this will b with the chairman of interview board..
always get a photostat of form n fill this before the original one as a practice...
also,u will have to fill cadres n services in the order of ur preferences...
if u hav a job experience,even for a month...pls mention it goes very positively with the interviewers....
hobbies should be the real ones,as questions r usually about practical aspect of it,to ensure u r saying the truth.....also,sometimes technical questions will b asked...which can b prepared after mains exam too...

billion beats newspaper

go to the following link


interview preparation:

the mains result came on 4 th march 2010....n being general candidate from delhi,i expected my interview date to b on first or second day ,when the interview commences...interviews started on 22 march n mine was on 23 rd....(i got to knw exact date around 14 th march)...
so clearly ,i had around 15 days to go....
basically,we cant call it an right perspective,it should be called PERSONALITY TEST....actually seeing it this way answers lot of queries about intw ,-
-by the time we write this exam,our basic personality would hav been formed...
-so from prepration we can expect only touch-ups...or fine tuning....
-.also,i feel,while reading gs for pre n mains,we form many self opinions simultaneously....these r also part of preparation,informally...
-formally,one can start after mains exam...(actually,jus after mains ,u can take a break of a month or so...coz by this time u will be mentally exhausted...n this time is safe too as prelims is far n u must hav cracked it atleast once by now....n interview preparation can also wait)....basically,focus should be on mains form's details....every entry by you,should be researched well n expected questions prepared(like d meaning of ur name?ur hobbies? ur extracurriculars?ur home state/education etc....)
- last year,vajiram conducted an orientation class for their students ,free of cost around 20 th jan....the problem here is not everyone gets the information when is the b in touch with their administrative staff ,if u r keen to attend it...
-after mains result,within 3-4 days many coaching starts classes...this is time of confusion,esp. if u r delhi based (caution:-just b careful as what u fill as ur address) because it means u hav least time...
-vajiram is gud n so is samkalp....i got to know from my friends that many from vajiram ,also joins samkalp....(there r some classes n mock interviews in both of them)...the time management again becomes crucial here,so hav ur mains form details,hobbies etc worked out on ur own.before mains result is announced ...n approach mock interviews as if it is the real upsc one...infact do get fully dressed up for atleast one of a practice.
(after mains exams is over,focus should be to prepare for both interview n prelims...coz after intw is over ,very less time is left for prelims preparation...thus initial few months like dec,jan ,n feb..should have both being prepared simultaneously)
again,since its ur personality test....its about ur opinions,ur thinking,ur biodata etc....(yes,factual questions r asked but ur analysis n opinions matters the most.)
basically it is subject matter n interview skills...
subject matter is ur bio-data,background-educational n residential,national issues n international ones,some practical aspects of ur optionals...
interview skills are about speaking with confidence,being brief n crisp in answers,be polite but still taking a stand,having ability to convince,maintaining eye contact...etc...
take few photocopies of mains form..and mark out areas where questions r likely...after collecting material about it...try predicting expected questions...
some people form groups n discuss issues.....after giving mains exam..(though this in no ways is an absolute necessity).
read newspaper n try forming self opinions....
one should know of problems of one's own district.....n also census data of one's district....
personally,i focussed on INTROSPECTION....meaning after any newspaper article reading-i used to ask myself what is my opinion on this? in mains form,if my hobby was poetry writing or playing chess...used to ask why i write poetry? or why i like chess?-this gives true n innovative answers....the most important question in this can be why u want to join this service?

points to be taken care of-

  see,i believe being honest to the board is the best policy...coz they r so experienced that it is almost impossible to out smart them...
-also,interview is about saying what u feel about the question,ur opinions r most important than saying the cooked answers that everyone says...
-intw is about ur personality...
-also,be confident,speak in clear n short sentences...
-listen to question properly,for then only u can answer what has been demanded by interviewer.....

interview preparation:

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Toppers Blogs......

Go to the following link

The above blog contains many links of other toppers



hey friends,do let me know how u find this website....( sorry for the word 'customer' below but since it is inbuild in website so cant help.....anyways atleast u can post ur FEEDBACK here...)

pls,if u hav any query-post it to GUESTBOOK only...i will not b able to answer here...
Quotes hi garima.. u r really doing a gr8 job by personally interacting with all. its of immense use for every1 as they get so much beneficial guidance from ur experience. thanx alot. Quotes
Quotes i have read ur interview in CSR & gone thru all topics u had in ur really impounding confidence in me.i am appearing for CSE 2010-11.i hav selected sociology & Geography.ur interview in CSR really get me a good picture of visualising my approaches.thanks to u. Quotes
A whole new xperience
Quotes hi,u r source of motivation 4 many aspirants Quotes
Quotes Hi Garima!! Hope you r doing good. have been waiting since long for an interview of a female candidate in CSR.Good to find you there!! There is a lots in you that would inspire the future aspirants of IAS. Lastly, u have a done a great job, by starting a discussion forum like this one on the web,..which i was searching for a long time!! Keep up this work!!! and THANKS A LOT!!! Quotes
Fareena MIrza
Was waiting for a person like You!
Quotes wow !! that is all i can say , thank you so much for letting us know about your experiences . i m preparing for CSE 2011 and i m sure i will be able to mange nething that comes in my way and m gonna work real hard !!!! thank you thank u so much !!! Quotes
ankeeta chaliha
a fan !!

chronicle intw

chronicle intw;

why here?- many points i hav mentioned there will be useful for those who havent read chronicle. by the way,this is from july mth's edition of chronicle:

Q : What were the basic mantras of your success?
Ans.Faith in myself despite the odds, Focussed hardwork, Strategising and Time management played very vital role.

Q : When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Ans :I believe,one should start preparing atleast a year before the first stage of exam,if the optional are different from one’s background,else focussed study of six months should be fine.

 Q: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?
Ans: For mains,I tried to have clarity of concepts ,interlinking of topics, analysis of current events. This gave me base to write variety of questions.inclusion of multiple view points including my own helped me enrich the answers.

Q: What were your optionals? What where the basis of selecting these optionals?
Ans :SOCIOLOGY and PSYCHOLOGY. Coming from medical background,i didn’t had academic knowledge about society and its,i was curious and interested to know about society in general-where sociology could help me in.Sociology further helps in essay paper,gs,interview. So effort in one subject can be used very efficently to score marks in others.Psychology is closer to psychiatry in my background and also interests me.

 Q: How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard? Please give list of books, magazines and papers.
Ans. Talks with successful candidates as well as persons with same optionals helped me compare various books available in the market.i was particular about my basic foundation building  books,though for value addition i referred to many other books too.
Books-see below
Magzines-yojana,kurukshetra,chronicle and pratiyogita darpan.
Newspaper-The Hindu

Q: Tell us something about preparation of eassy paper.
Ans :since marks difference of 30-40 marks in essay paper can be decisive in ones receiving an interview call.Thus,in my essay writing practice i tried including current events,linkages and analysis from my optional papers and lots of self opinions and innovative solutions to problems demanded by topic.

Q : How did you manage your time in both prelims and mains examinatins?
Ans :the exam pattern for next year may replace prelims for aptitude test.hence,i will elaborate my mains strategy was to give 20 -25 minutes for 30 marks ques,10-12 minutes for 15 marks question and finishing all 2 markers in max of 30 minutes.this left me with around ten minutes in end to fill index and check out if any ques is missed.for optionals around 30-35 minutes for the long answers.

Q:did u attend any coaching institutes?were they helpful?
Ans; i joined vajiram and ravi for pre-mains-intw and for sociology and psychology,synchronus ias-test series for general studies, ramaswamy for essay classes and sankalp for intw only.they were useful in developing basic concepts,understanding the demand of the exam and also in knowing where usually candidates make mistakes ,thus in turn helping us not to make those mistakes.

Q : Which is the most difficult part of this exam and why? What was your strategy to tackle this diffcult part?
Ans :i personally believe,the toughest part is to maintain same enthusiasm despite failure in previous has to accept the reality as it is and work for future.this is possible through support and guidance of parents,teachers and friends who help in rebuilding faith in ourselves.

Q: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate?
Ans :After reading any newspaper article or book,i used to pick facts for prelims,analysis and different point of views for gs mains,social relevance of topic for sociology optional and exploration of self views for essay.thus a thorough first reading analysis though consumes time initially,but helps in long run.

 Q : What was your style of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Ans.:i tried to write simple English in short,logically connected sentences.incorporation of relevant current topics analysis,data to strength the arguments,giving multiple point of views and balancing them helped in making my answers different.diagrams also formed vital part of my answers ,esp in both optional.

 Q : Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?
Ans :in fact i believe in taking breaks out with friends and watching movies even during preparation time.if done judiciously,this replenishes our mental energies. I preferred to study out of interest rather than under pressure of exam,this provided me with constant internal motivation.

 Q : How helpful is one’s background in his/her success?
Ans :if optional are same as one in background,then it is bound to very useful.if not,we can prefer choose questions,if possible,where our background can help us write enriched answers eg. I wrote essay on topic related to health.

 Q:how did you prepare for interview?
Ans :i worked on my bio-data in detail,kept track of all the current national and international events.i tried forming conscise,logical and self opionated answers for expected mock interviews also helped in getting constructive feedback from them.
 Q: Was there any specific area they emphasised upon?
Ans :i felt that  my shift of professions from medical side to administration was highly emphasised in the board’s querries. gender related questions and my extra curricular activites  also dominated my interview.

Q : Whom would you credit your success ?
Ans :i am thankful to mr.ravindran,mohopatra sir,mukul pathak sir and abhay thakur sir to help me during this long journey.the support of my parents and sis was very encouraging for me.

Q : What is your advice to the candidates ?
Ans:This exam demands lots of hardwork and dedication. With proper strategy,time and anxiety management,the effort we put into this can give us better output.whever there is doubt ,it is useful to consult standard books or teachers ,then believing the hearsay.I extend my help to all,post  your querries at my website: and i will try to answer that in website itself.

Mains :
G.S.-NCERT-esp modern history,geography,spectrum(current affairs+modern history+statistics+personalities of india),pd-economics,indian polity-lakshmikant,indian struggle for indian independence-bipin chandra.

Optional I-sociology-sociology(themes and perspectives)-haralombus,vidhya and bhushan-sociology,IGNOU-M ‘n’ M series-part I and II,introduction to social anthropology-Majundar And Tandon.

Optional II-psychology-south asian edition-CICCARELLI-for examples and diagrams.
Publications Pvt. Ltd.
Name: Dr.Garima Mittal _________________
Date of Birth :31 july 1984______________________________
Father’s Name & Occupation : Dr.Chander Kant,medical doctor__________________________________
Mother’s Name & Occupation : Mrs. Shashi Mittal, Mathematics Teacher__________________________
Brother’s/Sister’s Name & Occupation : _Miss.Geetika_Mittal,mechanical engineer______________________________________
School Board/University Subjects Division Marks%
Graduation 67% MBBS
Post Graduation-NIL

Hobbies :Poetry writing ,chess

Attempt: PT Optional Mains Optionals UPSC Roll No.
I. _pt not qualified_____ _________________ _________________
II. _marks:GS I-136,GS II-149,ESSAY-117,SOCIO I-166,SOCIO II-166,PSYCHO I-160,PSYCHO II-182,WRITTEN TOTAL-1076/2000
INTW-209,FINAL TOTAL-1285/2300

Time n Anxiety Management

Daily Schedule;

 -on an average i used to study 10 hrs.though could vary in range of 5-15 hrs(5 hrs when i take a break out with friends n 15 when when i get engrossed with some topic) more than time ,quality matters.
-I used to divide my day into 4 time slots;
8:00am-12:00,  12:00-4:00,  4:00-800pm and finally 8:00-12:00.
after every time slot I preffered to give five/ten minutes for analysis of what has been it good enough? if yes, i can relax a bit n have a pep talks with friends else have to sincerely concerate in next time slot.
at the end of the day,i would review the whole day study,was it satisfactory? if yes, i will go for peaceful sleep...(where is the tension?)
and ya,once a week, i allowed myself a day out with friends,movies,eating chat at meerut wala.this is a way to give mind a break. its the limitation of mind(learnt this in psychology classes-spaced learning).else after ten days of intense studies mind will automatically take the break.
-my day used to start with hindu at around 7;30 or 8:00,read it for 1-11/2 hrs.
-some breaks with friends,families or activites onee enjoy are important as it relaxes mind . when we start studying after this break,its with increased vigour n hence more productive.

time distribution for gs n optionals;

 -the initial time should be given for second optional as first optional has just been prepared for prelims.
-as time of mains near, try studing all three so that u maintain tough with all n dont get anxious over losing control on one specific thing.
 -initial months for clearing concepts and later ones for studing currents in detail(by this time which issues r important for this year will be clear) and value additions.
-dont waste time in day dreaming,believing rumours(which r abundant in mukherjee nagar) and arguments or anxiety about the results(anyways our mere thinking wont change them).

total time for preparation and my experiences:

 on the whole i gav approx  two this period also did job.
 i didnt knew even basics about three  stages when i started preparation in oct 2007 when i was also doing internship(morning 9-1pm).i did gs n socio from 2-5pm n then gs from 5-7:30. by 8:30 i was dead tired n just used to revise a bit or sleep straight away.
 after march i started my self study,focus on gs(which was actually wrong,coz optional had more weightage)gave pre in may n then psycho coaching with june 2008 batch.results came in aug n i didnt qualify.
 around oct when psycho coaching ended ,i started with only pre preparation,gav raj pre in jan,haryana pre in april . result of both came before upsc prelims n was positive. i then gav upsc prelims n was sure of qualifying it. so joined test series n essay classes straight away.i also did one month job in this time as it was not much demanding one(was in ENT dept n had no night duties)  aug i gav raj n haryana mains n got to know requirement of stamina n value of answer writing.
after result of prelims joined vajiram refresher course for old around oct 12th my prepn was over n satisfactory. 23 rd mains started .thereafter i joined job in jan(where i m still continuing), did self prepn for intw. in march when mains result came joined vaji ram n sankalp n my intw was in march end itself.
wel,my this part was not the ideal one as not clearing prelims in first attempt spoiled many plans of mine.basically, i feel that be one needs to giv a complete focussed effort of 1 year before exam,esp if both optionals r different from background n atleast 6 months if optional r related to background. exam's level demands much effort,else we may get struck at some stage.wel, its my thinking what i learned from my first attempt.


-basically,its human to b anxious before exam...but it can dangerously eat up our time n energy esp just before exam...what to do? here is what i did :-
-i had planned every time slot even for days before exam,so i was forced to focus on completing that topic than thinking anything else.
- i was in close communication with reliable friends,teachers n parents n had candid discussions whenever i was tensed.
-more importantly,used to enjoy what i was studing.was interested n curious while learning,rather than only thinking about  appearing for toughest exam n what will b the results...thus developed a genuine interest .
-when u dont find a way out-hav faith in god n leave it to him.

for doctors

our strengths:

-doctors hav habit of studying for long hours n over long periods of time(our first n final yrs force us to do that).
-we got writing speed above average.
-we r habitual of taking wholistic view n analysis(like while diagnosing and treating)-this goes very well in better answer writing.
-we can do stress management wel.
-hav a reliable background to fall back to.

our specific weak areas:

-for gs, we doctors r weak in ECONOMICS and IR .the basic concepts n understanding is all too new for us.(but we r also fast at learning them, i had my full faith in kapuria sir n used to approach him with lots of questions; for IR ravindran sir's classes r very gud, though i did attend few foreign policy classes of abhay sir too,just because it was my weak area.)
-our HANDWRITING is though fast can sometimes be not very legible,we also use lots of shorthand,which cannot be used in final exam.( i tried to  write with better spacing and clearly while taking down the class notes,this was writing improvement exercise without giving any extra time)
 -our habit to write pointwise also needs a bit modification to suit this exam,better write one point as one para n connect these paras with starting words of these paras as firstly,secondly,thirdly,also,lastly etc...our long ques may hav a part as points but never whole answer in points....
-our background comes to a major scrutiny esp in interview. the interview board really grill us over this and it takes lots of effort to convince them .

medical science as optional;

about optional as medical science,i didnt prefer it coz
-i had heard that syllabus is vast n score not very extraordinary.
-it doesnt allow much innovation, answers of almost everyone will be similar.
the only advantage is u continue to maintain academic touch with medical science,wel but it adds nothing to gs ,essay or intw.

medical science -hurdle in intw:

ya,my intw stated with expected ques about my name,but sooner a more expected question took over-why being doctor u want civils?.
 i felt i was prepared for this,but NO,interviewers were better prepared to grill me. i had introspected long on this n said what really hav felt. i said 'sir my decision is more  a result of evolution of thought which was based on my experiences in MBBS'
.so next ques was what experiences- i hav seen a tribal malnourished child dying n costly ICU manouvers being done on her. if only 10% could hav been spent on her food a month ago,she may hav not died . as a doctor i may not hav preventive role which can be done basically on the policy level.sir, i wanna reach many people which i cannot do by being a doctor only,i want a bigger platform n hence i decided to come in administration n at the end of road my personal satisfaction lies here'
then some situational questions on me being DM from medical background,how will reduce girl child malnutrition'
also why doctors not going to rural areas. just i said infrastructure is a problem,them fired me with the argument that- 'why u people cant b like Dr.Binayak Sen'.here i felt i may be checkmated. i tried to put a valid argument and said- sir, everyone will not go,some exceptional people may do such work but majority needs facilities. they kind of repeated n said-ya,majority jus never leads n then this discussion almost ended to my relief.
i feel being true to interviewer,giving innovative n different answers may help here.they may insist on doctor being better choice-jus maintain though i like medical profession but still i want to do  work from other aspects too,which civils can giv me an opportunity to do.

coaching need


 I joined only these following institues for the specific courses mentioned .any other institute using my name is giving false information.
1)VAJIRAM AND RAVI-joined for pre cum mains course,mains referesher course,Interviw,Sociology under Mohopatra Sir and Psychology under Mukul Pathak Sir.
socio test series is included in the mains curriculum of socio by mohopatra sir,its really gud n helpful.basically it helps us to develop writing skills,time management and also revises whole syllabus in a way.
 A WORD OF CAUTION-getting admission in vajiram may b tough,as seats r limited n its on first cum first b vigilant of the day admissions begin n be in time to get token...rather than repenting later....
my basic strategy while choosing the institutes hav been to hav a base institute-which was VAJIRAM n then do some additions in it from the second best in the market(as i didnt wanna take any risk in this attempt,this new institute will add some new dimension n may help me fetch 30-40 marks more,also i cound manage my time n money to accomodate another institute)..

2)SYNCHRONUS IAS -mains test series for gs(wrote 4-5 test out of 9 tests but made sure i improve in every successive test)
3)RAMASWAMY - essay classes
4)SANKALP INSTITUTE- interview classes.


since time and energy are limited,this decision has to be taken after meticulous search and consideration.the best people to tell where and what  are the students. the advertisements are not beleivable as it has huge commercial angle attached.
-i had a good friend circle,where we discussed about various institutes.even the strangers u meet while enquiring in diffent institutes,can give helpful insights,basically the student community is strong n by n large helpful in case of civils.
-optionals-enquire people who have already given mains from that optional. u can ask ur friends if some of their other friends are from ur optionals.this way word of mouth is most trusted manner to choose coaching institutes.
-join only limited institutes at a time,for u hav to absorb what u study too simultaneously.
-i made vaji ram as my base institute from where i did gs n both optionals. rest other institutes for specisl requirements-improving answer writing at synchronus, understanding strategy of essay at ramaswamy( can be skipped ,if time is a constraint) and sankalp for interview( a non-commercial institute-charges just 650 for quality  intw preparation and even provides hygenic meals).

need for institute/financial constraint:

many selections in civil services are pointing towards self-sufficency of ones effort even without coaching.
-notes r easily available with friends and in market,and requires less investment.
-coaching is basically required for optional different from ones background,to get conceptual clarity,understanding the trends of questions and requirements of a good answer.
 i feel,coaching in gs and optional,just gives u a base(20% of answer),rest is building over it from various books,newspapers,interlinking and innovation.
-if hav financial constraint and still joining coaching,pls dont join sub standard ones,for it will take ur time,energy and may mislead u.go for best ones or rely on notes n self-study.

psychology optional


-i read mukul sir's notes,added from his bundles esp egs and case studies,latest psycho news from hindu(comes on op-ed or next 3-4 pages),interlinking with gs,currents and sociology,self innovation and analysis(writing these things in psycho paper needs to look at these things with psychologist perspective and use of psychological terms in explanation).
                -i didnt read baron or morgan for want of time,instead tried to have concepts clear from class notes and discussion with mukul sir( wel,though have heard these books r good for basics, and one of them is in well organised format-i wil check my notes n update this)
               -my strategy was to have 20% answer of psycho with basics-thinkers,schools,specific experiments(which almost everyone will include),20% from bundles or psychological material,20% link from gs,socio material,currents,20% innovation(eg-maitri express helps in increasing people to people contact),rest 20% for intro and conclusion. this was just a referral point since i changed this acc to needs and requirement of question
                   -diagrams help score in this optional,minimum of 2 diagrams in each question.


-key strategy is -CLEAR CONCEPTS AND INNOVATION(esp.paper2)

sociology optional


-first and foremost,try memorising or atleast thoroughly going through  the helps to put the study material in right also helps in knowing which topics hav not been covered yet. a descent score demands completion of syllabus.
-Thinkers are the backbone of sociology,so understanding is very important rather than only specific terms.infact,after studying individual thinker try comparing it with the views of other thinkers.
-use these basics understanding of thinkers in paper1 long questions,short questions. whenever a question in paper2 permits,try using the basic thinkers name and concepts,it makes answers more holistic.
(the usual question asked to me is where to get these notes,if one is not doing coaching-best source are friends who hav done coaching there...get the class idea would b to get them from current batch undergoing coaching recently,as u will hav most updated notes...undoubtedly,since new things r added to notes by sir with time...some people do say notes r also available in photostat shops in mukherjee nagar,but personally i have no idea...)

mohopatra sir's notes are excellent mains material and are holistic.his collections of views of contemporary and indiasn sociologist helps enrich answers esp.paper2. since i joined the oct 2007 batch for socio and gave mains in oct 2009,i did made additions from june 2008and 2009 batch,when i met my friends from these batches in test series of mohopatra sir in 2009 sept. what i i want to convey is,some topics in the syllabus were not so thoroughly covered in my notes,so i searched those specific topics from others to complete my notes and left no topic uncovered. with increasing unpredictable nature of paper this is impotant.
-wel,the test series of mohopatra sir is fantastic as it gives answer writing paractice,true feedback,scope to improve see score improve in next exam .more because the discussion is good,it helps churn the whole syllabus,interlink it and understand how to write answer specific to minor variatipn in wordings of questions.and it does add some latest opinions appearing n newspapers about current issues,which we may hav missed ourselves. here,i hav to mention that  i am not sure if it is opened for students who hav not done his mains classes,but u can always inquire at  vajiram for this.
yes,recently i talked to mohopatra sir,n he said he may not b able to conduct testseries for all students except his old n present batch students for want of time.....but told that if someone is interested in attending discussions of tests only(which is quite rich too) may do so...he plans to start test series from 10 th sept...n if u want to attend discussions...pls contact sir for he is the final word to allow u to attend the same..


-sociological concepts if clear,most questions can be easily understood and written.thus,get concepts clear with basic quality books or teachers.
 -YOJANA and KURUKSHETRA should be read by socio students,as it gives case studies as well as rural touch to the answers.i used to collect all issues,though may not read it straight away. whenever comfortable i used to giv one full day for yojana and kurukshetra.and friends, still in that whole day u cant completely finish all articles thoroughly,so try to pick and choose relevant topics,make side notes on book itself or a notebook as u prefer for value addition in the socio answers.
 ( CASE STUDIES- basically means any specific study of an particular village or community n evaluating it on a specific yojana on water management,gives a case study on traditional methods of water conservation in rajasthan....ignoring the data,u can put it as an example of how modernity has lead to neglect of these systems n may b need to adapt to climate change may force us to revive the same...hence the social change is not unidirectional n many factors influence the same- the point i want to  emphasise is that mould that case study to hav a sociological perspective...)
-socio as an optional can help improve score in gs, essay and interview too.just while studying socio,try interlinking with ur gs and essay material too.few people have asked me,whether this will make their answer in gs and essay very technical.i feel if u write in gs ,relevant sociological arguments without mentioning scholars(unless very contemporary like amartya sen or jean derze),it can help in better answers

-while reading hindu,do giv a thought from sociological point of view like gender,disadvantage sections,capitalism,changing indian society panchayat concept can very well used to enrich answer on changing pattern of indian marriage.

my prepn experience-

after my first prelims debacle basically due to unprepared socio optional,my focus of improvement was sociology. i had already did coaching,but my knowledge was raw n shallow,for the want of time n self study.i had no knowledge of which books to study except few prescribed by mohopatra sir,nor any friends else than in my coaching of this optional,who had same knowledge as mine.
so,i made list of all socio books prescribed by toppers intw in chronicle with socio optional n on internet n went to book store buying all that i can get from that list...(thus i know value of gud advices n knw passion to improve can overcome any hurdle)
i had a basic book in IGNOU M n M series,i read 10 chapters a day n finished its 2 parts in around 20-25 days(it was a painful to realise that i knew so less,even after having given pre in this optional) n this made me realise that i hav to study so much got to knw my weakness,hence the improvement started...
then i read lots of books,as i hav mentioned n still others which were not enough to b prescribed to others. i read even pcs books of raj n haryana for their socio ten yrs as i gav their pre also(and found answers to their ques too-no stone unturned coz its my weak area)
in civils pre i marked around 94 ques correct for sure.actually in starting i marked 108 ques n rubbed of all those answers in which i had slightest of doubt,thus 94 ques sure shot clear n i know i making it this time,atleast thru socio part(this was the passion to make it to civils,i focussed,so committed,so mad of clearing it somehow,anyhow)
so,the question i was asked in guestbook which i had to answer here-how i prepared for socio mains....the base was prepared,thinkers,basic topics clear n strong....what was left was indian additions for paper2...i read mohopatra sirs notes n they were really gud,then his written printed materials and also added extra points to paper1 after pre, first was prepn on paper2 n then paper1 esp. thinkers ,stratification n social change...
-i did scan thru msa rao,ram ahuja(it gives pretty old data though),but except for few points ,i didnt add much as sir's notes had gist from these books in his notes n it was not  needed to put extra time into it.i feel the most comprehensive collection for paper2 is mohopatra sirs notes,esp if u can get from current running batch,so that his latest additions r also there.
-IGNOU+mohopatra sir's notes+hindu+magzines are gud enough material to giv quality answers. also u can add from social issues-wizard+ harlombus esp;family,stratification(in socialist countries),education,alienation(search from index at back),gender...
i hav been asked to giv source of studying following topics;-
IMPACT OF COLONIAL RULE ON INDIA-mohopatra sir's notes+modern history ncert-few initial chapters may giv u points here...n even can add something contemporary here eg:the mindset of seeing everything western as gud n indigenous as inferior is the hangover of colonial rule-this explains OGBURN'S concepts too as physical things changes easily than culture n attitudes..
RURAL AND AGRARIAN SOCIAL STRUCTURE-ya ofcourse,sir's notes ,kurukshetra n something contemporary as studies on NREGA showing how this struc is changing n also can include point of reverse migration due to NREGA.
SOCIAL CLASSES IN INDIA-this topic is an open one-include upper,middle(IGNOU PART2 IS GUD) n lower class concepts,compare with caste struc, add concepts of embourgeisement,how these classes r changing, middle class apathy towards politics,n ya how lower class is using politics for empowerment n realising importance of investment of educn for improving their class BOOK TO PRESCRIBE,ALMOST ALL U HAVE READ CAN B RELATED HERE.
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN INDIA-mohopatra sirs notes,vidhya bhushans's movements,also from history n recent movements using social media(eg: earth hour campaign across countries),climate change movements etc.....also,here u can giv contemporary touch.


-socio is most comfortable optional in this,lots of material is available in notes,hindu,yojana,kurukshetra,daily news and experiences. we all hav some basic understanding of society at large. all this should be incorporated in a balanced manner and a good answer is ready.
-aim is to write quality answers,with basics,analysis of  different thinkers,international and rural orientation,currents related,some relevant facts to strengthen an argument,some self opinionsetc.all these this may not b there in all answers but can be included if question allows.what help one score better than other is SOMETHING EXTRA that examiner dont find in others answers.socio gives lot of freedom to add this extra part.
-long ques should be around 600-650 words,short question around 200-250 words.i tried making diagrams.this should be done only if u hav time.long ques takes around 30 min and short one around12-15 min.with practice this speed can be attained.

my answers-psycho+socio



Stereotype are the rigid categorization of people owing to overgeneralisation and their membership to a particular group.

the cognition miser behaviour of human being preempts to make these short-cuts to their understanding of behaviour of other people.

the examples of sterotype abound in the socio-psychological reality around us. one of the most obvious and universally prevalent ,atleast until few decades ago,was the gender sterotype,i.e. sterotyping the male and female gender.

The Indian society has been patriarchal for centuries and this has percolated in the psyche of the people.the sterotype of emotionally unstable ,submissive,docile,incapable of rational decision making,superstitious,gullible to easy influence etc. are the attributes attached to female gender while masculinity,confidence,assertiveness,capability of decision making,dominence has been attached to male.

these sterotype gender finds their similar role models eg: for indian female,the role model being sati,sita,parvati,which tries to incorporate the belief that female are meant to be docile and submissive.

These gender sterotypes leads to self full-filling prophecies-i.e. when the person behaves towards others in a manner which leads the other person to adjust her behaviour according to male's expectation,thus the assumption of the first person is provred right.Thus,when the society expects them to underperfom n they r told that ,they actually underperform and hence,the views are further consolidated.

Rao and Rao are of the opinion that these stereotypes are internalised by the children and later manifested in actions in their adult age.

Studies have shown that children also attribute particular occupations to particular gender eg:policeman to males and grow up to play these roles respectively.

Thus,Socialisation plays an important role in the formation of these stereotypes and these become crystallised and manifested in the behaviour.

The stereotypes also lead to glass-ceiling effect,where the treatment of discrimination against women leads to their inability to secure higher posts.

According to Sudhir Kakkar,the Indian females lack their own identity and their identity is described by their relationship with others.This is because of the stereotype of inferiority that they are not given equal status and freedom to establish the identity of their own.The tantrums thrown by female gender,at times,is the result of persistent dissonance present which explodes into intermittent tantrums.This leads to another stereotype formation of emotional stability and thus the inability to take decisions.

Discriminations abound in the socio-psychological sphere of Indian women especially the rural illiterate women.The cultural preference for the male child has lead to extreme actions as the demonstrations of prejudice towards the girl child as infanticide.

The sterotype of inferiority and less capability has led to sterotyping of occupations and discrimination during salary payment where females are given less wages.

though,indian constitution guarantees equal rights to both the genders but the discrimination persist in real social sphere. eg: the boy child is given priviledge to go to school,while the girl is asked to look after the home.this is a type of glass ceiling and self-full filling prophecise where the girl child is shown as inferior because she couldnot study and didn't have experiences of facing outside world n thus is inferior,further strengthening the sterotype.


Thus,Indian female is undergoing gender discrimination and identity crisis.

with the wave of Feminism and modern education as more females are becoming educated and showing their acumen ,the gender sterotypa are slowly ameiorating,atleast in the urban sphere.with the advent of mass media ,Television and Internet ,the increase in the easy access of pornographic material and the commodification of women leads to development of the objectified beauty consciousness in females(Mc kinley).thus,the modern ways of communication are also reinforcing the sterotypes.

the television serials usually demonstrate the gender sterotype in their presentations and thus further reinforce them eg:the ideal daughter-in-law is shown to have sacrifice her career,dreams and freedom for her husband and family.thus the discrimination persists n gets stronger.

the increase involvement of women in the workforce of the country,has led to emergence of gender specific problems like sexual harrasement and child rearing difficulties.which can be countered by the gender friendly policies,male senstivity programmes,seeding,etc.

The values have to be changed,the complete renewal of society has to be undertaken to improve the deep rooted discrimination.The only solution lies in changing the child rearing practices and socialisation by giving democratic and equal treatment to male n female child at home, co-education at school and fostering mutual interdependence among them.Thus,facilitating increased inter group contact and thus slowly weakening of stereotypes n further,then,reduction in discrimination.


Question:Examine the statement- Gestalt psychology and behaviourism as two contrasting traditions in contemporary psychology

Answer:Psychology has evolved out of a subjective and speculative discipline of philosophy,In its pursuit of objectivity & becoming a pure science,it started with behaviouristic tradition.

But its limitation has led to emergence of Gestaltic & hence cognitive psychology.

The two traditions explain the reality in opposing ways:-

Firstly, Behaviourist look at human behaviour as more reflexive whereas Gestalts emphasizes on perceptive way of learning.


Secondly Behaviourist emphasizes on S-R approach whereas Gestalts emphasise on S-O-R approach.

Also,no importance to cognitive information processing by behaviourist.Infact behaviourist has the emphasis on the reflexes and instincts-animal-like behaviour.On the other hand,Gestalt,\s approach is based on the working of human brain.

The limitation of the Behaviourist, led to the cognitive psychology development and the development of Gestalts led to the growth of cognitive psychology.

Though both are opposing but can be complementary to explain the features in learning especially ;where conditioning plays an important role and Gestalts add an important dimension in it too.

Thus though they are different and have contrasting points of views,still both enrich psychology equally.


Pluralism is basically defined as the existence of multi-lingual,multi-religious and multi -ethnic groups peacefully in the society.

it has been possible,due to mutual respect and acceptance of groups towards different communities.In such a society the religious,ethnic or lingual identity is not exploited for the political,economic or social gains.thus,this identity does not form the central focus of any group's self identity.

Montesque had studied pluralism and explained it as peaceful existence of various groups of different identities in a society.

sociologists have tried to explain the emergence of pluralism as a consequence of history as :-

1)Emergence of Modern state-was due to territorial invasion of various communities and emergence of the new state led to recognition of presence of identity of different communities.

2) colonialism-led to the increased contact between the people of different religious faith,identities and cultures to come closer.

3)wars-had enevitably led to mixing of different communities and the acceptance of their way of life to ensure the territorial integrity of newly acquired area to the conquerer's nation.

In the indian context, the pluralism had been seen as being present from ancient times. the Composite culture of the society,with mutual respect and liking for other's customs,festivals and ways of life fostered the feeling of pluralism.

sociologist have also tried to place pluralism as an evolutionary stage in the growth of the society.the initial one-religion state slowly evolved into multi-religious state which in course of time which in course of time with the development of toleration and respect for each other grow into plural societies.

The contemporary Indian society from this view point,can only be placed in the multi-religious category as the regular incidences of communal tension,riots have marred the development of plural character in recent times.

The controversy over Burqua,the Sikh turban or Bangle in the west european countries have also made one question `their plural character. The sociologists are of the opinion that this plural character is developed as a result of scientific,logical and rational nature of modernity.At best, it can be stated that plural character in these societies is also in evolution,despite well established modernity.

Undoubtedly,the last few decades have seen the growth of fundamentalism resulting in the terrorist attacks and formation of organisations to this effect. it is the reflection of growing intolerance in the individuals in the name of religion.

also, the religious revitalisation and revivalism has been on rise.The reasons for its emergence has been evaluated by many scholars as it was seen as an unexpected phenomenon.Most of the positivist and evolutionary theorist had predicted the demise of the institution of religion with the growth of science and technology,but in reality, the reversal is being witnessed.

Few causes have been postulated-Malcom Turf had emphasised on the following causes :-

1) Trans-border Nationalism-the religious community today is not confined to only one nation,rather is diffused over multiple nations. Thus in case of any crisis involving community members,the transborder nationalism is witnessed. EG: the plight of indian muslims discussed by various muslim countries leaders, the problems of Tamils in Sri lanka has become a national issue in India,though it could have been considered as the internal matter of Sri lanka.

2)Failure of capitalism- capitalism promised prosperity and happiness for all and having failed in the delivery of the same,has caused the vaccum where the individuals are searching happiness in religion.

3) Decline of the West-excessive materialism has made the yputh search for the means to assert their identity and search for values. in this,the ethnic and religious identities are glorified.

Since,the above mentioned causes have been prevalent in our contemporary societies on a large scale, thus the religious revitalism has become the reality.

This revivalism,results in excessive assertion of one's exclusive identity and potrayal of other community's interest as antagonistic to other communities,thus breeding intolerance.this will,in turn,affect the plural fabric of the society with increasing distrust and decreased respect.

The formation of political parties on the basis of religion,ethnic,linguistic identities is also corroding the plural fabric.Recently,comments by few politicians that north indians are responsible for the slow development of maharashtra,clearly demonstrates how the ethnic identities can be exploited to get political mileage.

Another aspect of growing tendency of revivalism has been Saffronisation ,which even was manifested in the trial to alter the syllabus of N.C.E.R.T books. such moves,will breed insecurity in the minorties and further deteorating the situation.

The inclusive development of all communities,emphasis of mutual co-existence and respect will only help in peaceful presence of various linguistic,ethnic or religious communities in a single society. with the multi-cultural nature of indian society, pluralism as a tool to tackle growing religious fundamentalism and revivalism is a necessity.



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mains-optional papers


wel,this the scoring and dependable part of needs to be ur strength u can rely i feel following things are important:

-step 1: clarity of basics and concepts.this needs to be very vital to also understand the meaning of question and its demand.

-step2: interlinking of various concepts and sub-division of syllabus.this helps in having integrative idea of the subject and reflects in answers becoming more holistic.

-step3: subjects jargon-some technical,optional selective words need to be used in answers.

-step4:value addition:this very impotant to score well.currents related analysis in answer can really help here.


if u have it also as ur prelims optional,easier it will be to hav clarity of concepts.hence, the time after prelims can be directly used for interlinking and value addition exercise.

infact,any major national and international event has relevance for sociological analysis and can enrich khap panchayats can be incorporated answers on caste in india,changing patterns of marriage in india and also in relation to social change and democracy.

sociology should use their subject knowledge also in gs mains paper,essay and interview .view points of different thoughts of school, detailed analysis of indian social structure and balanced views on secularisation,fundamentalism, democracy can help immensely in enriching answers in other parts of mains too..

Assignments & Handouts

model answers:

searching them in my notes,wil update within a week






need is-simple english-small sentences-preferrably one point of view and its analysis in one paragraph-interlinking various point of view as balanced view in end-try include max points from different angles and dimensions-conclusion optimistic and potraying hope.

-key words to keep in mind while writing answers-ANALYSIS,INTERLINKING,BALANCED VIEW.

-dont bluff in facts and analysis as examiner is experinced enough to make genuine.

-one's own opinion can be included towards end.

-facts should not be forced into answers but should be inserted to strengthen a point of view.

-YOJANA and KURUKSHETRA gives rationale of govts policies and analysis from govts mouth and are dependable and economical study material.



-changing and unexpected pattern demands on the spot decisions in exam.first thing is to keep initial five minutes for reading question paper and stricking out ques u hav no idea at all. selecting the questions best prepared and write them this moment one will be anxious,no doubt,but this is when u have to keep moving,without wasting time in repenting or seeing around.

-when i opened gs 1,i too had no idea of history questions and was sure that most others will also not know them,thus i planned to write it last.i started with polity which i knew well and this helped me gain momentum in paper without getting struck on the tough question.

-psycho also had tough unpredictable research based questions.i simply struck them off in my initial five minutes and attempted rest of questions which i had idea about. i mean that let not tough questions disturb u n shake ur confidence,simply ignore them and move on to one u know.

-another impotant aspect is to keep ur energies till second optional paper2.this paper also checks ones stamina.since,i had socio and psycho back to back,i was very worried about my energy levels in psycho paper2.i went home directly after socio 2,without discussing with anyone and took gods name and slept. next day morning i was fresh after sound night sleep.when i entered to write paper2 of psycho,my mind was focussed to write best answers and fight the tiredness which was accumulating. the reward was 182 in psycho paper2,highest among all my optional marks.


see, target is 180 marks in 3 hours,i.e. 180 marks in 180,one minute means one mark. this calculation comes handy when subtle changes happen in marking scheme as happened in paper2 gs last time.if new ques comes for 4 marks,u know that max time for it is 4 minutes only.

-with practice,try writing 30 marks ques in 25-30 minutes,15 marks in 12-15 minuts and 2 marker in one minute each.initally it seems tough but later it becomes a habit almost.

-i wrote 15 marks first,as they r scoring and mind is fresh in starting.after 1 hour i started with 2 markers ,all of them together(around 30 r there in gs paper each) in 30 minutes.i preferred pointwise writing in them with a bit analytical touch than stuffing bare facts.thereafter long ques with 30 minutes alloted to each.

-exam means managing three things- TIME ,WORDS AND MARKS.from marks i mean,if u are not scoring in a particular question,move on to another question in which u may score better,hence best utilising time.i had practice on upsc like answer booklet in test series and had a mental idea that 1 page of that means 120 words in my writing with my kind of spacing. start new answer from new page only.


most of my answer followed this psttern :-

20% answer having basics,very expected part of answer that almost everyone will be writing. the direct demand of in optional,the basic thinkers n their arguments

20% value addition from notes,a bit more richer part.

20% multiple dimensions,egs n case studies.

20% from magzines,hindu n interlinking of gs n optional

20% can be something new,innovative and different that will not be found in other candidates paper.this something extra gives that 2-3 extra marks. a bit by bit addition of these marks,give u extra 20-50 marks,this makes all the difference while determining ur rank,service n cadre.

-this propotion may vary acc to demand of question,eg paper2 being applied may demand more interlinking,egs n case studies,indian n contemporary touch.

-all throughout the answer the FOCUS and FLOW should be that i mean,the question has a particular focus,something specific that has been asked,that needs to be answered throughout the answer.infact,even while writing different dimensions,link it well to focus of question.

-by FLOW,it means different paragraphs should be in a flow ie:interlinked ,when someone reads the answer the different parts should not look an argument may follow with a fact to strengthen,then counter argument, then other dimensions being balanced towards end.

-personal views ,if included can be preferrably towards end;the conclusion should be optimistic n balanced.


-the booklet is unruled with right and left side margins...right side margins we can write the question number n left margin is meant to b left empty by students..(this type of booklet is usually available in book stores before mains exam,so hav a look...if u want write a paper in these for practice...infact,testseries exam r usually conduced in similar booklets...) we hav to manage the spacing on our own..

as for improving handwriting,try writing a bit bigger in size as examiner may b old with poor eyesight..proper spacing between words,lines n paragraphs..this may b troublesome in starting but soon becomes habit.try writing in straight lines...

u can use blue or black pens...can keep one for headings n other for writing answers(but time may b limited to use two pens) i preferred underlining mostly to highlight...u can use capital letters or double underlining for something very important in answer,but dont do it often...say,at max once in an answer u go for capitals or double underlining...

start new answer in new page gives a neater look n also UPSC demands it that way as in ending we hav to fill an index(on front page) where against every question number we hav to mention the page in answer booklet...

pointwise answers should b avoided in gs ,essay or humanities based optionals....instead try putting points as one in one para n para starting with words like firstly,secondly,thirdly,lastly,also long questions,we may put points in a part of answer,but never whole answer should b in points....

the practice is important,the aim is to develop capacity high quality answer consistently in limited time,with limited words. also to decide which question to write first,then which n which last. another important focus has to b time management in exam,not to spend too much time on one question at the cost of another.

-answer writing is most useful when done in exam simulated situations ie with time limit n similar difficulty level of questions.


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newspaper: THE HINDU as a matter of routine and some articles for psycho from TIMES OF INDIA,which i got to know through friends.

MAGZINES: YOJANA,KURUKSHETRA,CHRONICLE and ya bits from others in last days of preparation for extra points.i recommend just these three,if read propely,they hav lots of chronicle,dont miss out constitutional watch and international affairs for latest points.(pratiyogita darpan magzine is gud for gs-pre as more facts r included in there)


G.S.-NCERT-esp modern history,geography,

spectrum(current affairs+modern history+statistics+personalities of india),


indian polity-lakshmikant,

indian struggle for indian independence-bipin chandra.

and ya wizard's social issues book is gud.

n also FM gold news esp at 9:00 evening(mondays usually hav rich discussion on currents by eminent people)

wel,friends these books may have been read by most n they still feel wanting in content of answers. i personally believe,its how u analyse while u study these books n magzines. hav a base book and mental picture of a topic and link new material to this base.this helps u. i did focussed on fine arguments given in it,sometimes one needs to read between lines. i feel one should approach these books again and again to learn something more which we may hav missed in earlier readings.

one guestbook entry asked me what is gud in vajiram,s notes besides IR.wel,again see fine points,fine arguments-these small things help score 2-3 marks per question and make a big difference in final total. i found the discussion in polity,economics,current n social issues n ya ,essay too very rich. i may agree that geography,sc n tech, mental ability, statistics,history 2 markers may require a sincere effort from ones own side too. esp.-geo n sc-tech for current n conceptual updation(eg: delayed monsoon last year),statistics for practice(graphs n tables),history 2 markers for wider coverage. a limited material studied wel is important than heap of books..


Optional I-sociology-

sociology(themes and perspectives)-haralombus

,vidhya and bhushan-sociology,

IGNOU-M ‘n’ M series-part I and II,(THE ORIGINAL IGNOU MATERIAL IS VERY VAST SO I OPTED THIS ABRIDGED ONE,OBVIOUSLY THE ORIGINAL ONE IS BETTER IF U HAVE TIME). also,many people ask me where to get M nM SERIES,i got mine from SOOD book store,opposite the old building of vajiram in old rajinder nagar...

introduction to social anthropology-Majundar And Tandon.

Optional II-psychology-south asian edition-CICCARELLI-for examples and diagrams.

-i read mukul sir's notes,added from his bundles esp egs and case studies.

-i didnt read baron or morgan for want of time

mains preparation-gs


the mains exams starts usually in second half of october, so one hardly gets 4-41/2 months for nine papers of mains.hence, the logic of starting mains preparation just after prelims gets over.initial few days should be used to build a clear strategy.mains gs is of 600 marks ,in comparison to optional which total to 1200 marks.also,gs is much unpredictable and less dependable for scoring marks than optional.thus strategy must be to make optional strong enough to fetch good marks and read gs well enough to get decent no one can be sure of guessing and preparing gs paper in advance..

-read hindu newspaper editorials as model answer.

-look for the way different point of views are developed , compared and balanced.

-the words used are common ones,no flowery language in these articles.

-sentences are short and well connected. so are paragraphs.

-point to be developed is logically presented,analysed.

-ending is usually very balanced. finding some middle path between the views expressed above.mostly ending is optimistic,though may be word of caution.

-i always look upto these articles for improving my answer writing skills.

- dont worry, if it takes your one- two hour for analysing the main editorial page. this,though may not be done everyday, can be done once a week,for some article u find exceptionally well written.remember, one is investing this time than wasting it.atleast i believe so.


-FRIENDS, to have a good total that can help u fetch rank in top 100, one cannot afford to ignore essay and interview.mostly we focus on gs n optionals,and comparatively ignore these areas. a difference of 30 marks in either or each of these can adversely affect the score and thius rank.

-among gs and optional,i feel optional questions are more or less predictable and syllabus limited so should be well prepared. gs being unpredictable is undependable for good score. i made my optional strong and did lots of value addition in it. for gs, i prepared basic material,currents related and general value additions which i can use easily in many topics.this part can never be completely prepared,many questions will be new and have to be managed with whatever we hav already studied.

-good score in gs depends lots on 2 markers,so try preparing them well esp.history,culture,polity,economics,sc and tech,currents etc.

-keep on analysis and interlinking as u study,as this will reflect in the answers too.

making notes?when?how many?

-firstly,if u hav habit of making notes n it helps u,then u may make extensive notes.

-i,personally preferred limited notes,because time is short n not all can be covered through notes.

-i wrote crux of my reading,impt argument or fact on the top of the magzine or on frontpage near index-for handy revision(in exam,we cannot write everything but only gist .so ,writing this much will suffice)

-notes in three notebooks ,each for gs,socio n psycho.wrote impt n new arguments,facts,details which i m liable to forget or which are very impt(eg:sthng about gender or caste,or about developing countries etc)

notes of mine were basically for value addition which i may revise a day before exam n enrich my answer.

-if i included some important basic concept in my notes,i preffered it to b in form of an flowchart for clarity of understanding being maintained at time of revision too.