Posts Tagged ‘civil services’

1. What makes one successful and another failure in Mains?
All the candidates are having books, all the candidates are dedicated to work and most of them attend coaching institutions, take guidance from seniors and friends but what makes one success and another failure. Students say they studied for 18 hours and still they couldn’t make mains. Others say they studied only for 8-9 hours and could make mains. Why these differences. The difference between successful candidates and the failure candidates is same as difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary persons.

One who is able to make mains never counts the hours and how many books he/she has read. But they know what to read, what not to read, how much to read, how to use when required writing the answers. Civil Service exam never wants one to be ideal. It requires creativity, innovativeness within the candidates, who lack to use his/her knowledge properly they feel tough to clear the exam. Before starting the preparation find out properly what to read, what not to read, what types of question are asked from particular topics. After taking guidance from others put your own strategy, don’t follow their strategy it may not be suitable for you,

Better strategy makes one success in mains.

2. Going through Syllabus
This year there is change in the syllabus of General-Studies and also optional paper. Don’t get tense when somebody says there is change in syllabus. Civil Service exam tries to select candidates who are creative and innovative and aware of day to day life. Accordingly, syllabus has been changed.

First go through General Studies syllabus thoroughly and try to be perfect with the syllabi. If you know syllabus, 20% of your work is over. It helps you what to read and what not to read. Don’t neglect the added syllabus. Always questions will be asked from the new syllabus. Try to think what type of questions may come from particular topic. What is the relevance of particular topic in today’s life?

In the same way go through the added topics of both optional and try to cover them first. Old candidates may know other parts of the syllabus only added syllabus they have to be perfect. New-comers have to know whole syllabus before starting their studies.

3. Having balanced approach towards Optional
Candidates have to select too optiona1 for mains. Most of the candidates take one optional same for both prelims and mains. Some may have different optional papers for prelims and two different optionals for mains. Both the optional papers should be given same weightage. Don’t neglect the optional which you were having for prelims.. Don’t think already that you have studied for prelims and can give less time for mains. There are many students who are unable to score more than 300 marks in first optional but easily they can score more than 300 marks in second optional. This is because way of approach for study differs. Student might know concepts but unable to use where it is required. Therefore study both optionals simultaneously. Marks of both optional are important to be successful in exam.

Considering question number 1 and 5 is equally important Question number 1 and 5 play very important role in getting good score. From both the optionals we have 480 marks for these questions. Therefore, practice writing short answers while preparing. Study previous year questions and analyze what type of questions has been asked from particular topics. Try to cover all the points within 200 words. Read the questions properly and answer according to the nature of the question. While studying try to note down topics where short notes can be asked and write points for that topic and keep. That will help during revision.

4. Exclusive skills for presenting answer
After the prelims exams and till the exam date everyone study. But, in Civil Service main exam only studying is not important. But here important is how one is using his knowledge to write particular paper within three hours. What one writes during these three hours makes one topper and anther failure. Here how much you studied it doesn’t matter, but how you are using your knowledge to write particular answer. Therefore while studying, always think what type of questions may be asked from particular topics and what points to be included to make different from others.

Many times we hear students saying they have done their exams very well. Question paper was very easy. But still they are unable to make mains. Why? When question paper is given they never try to read full question. If they come across the words they know they start writing answers. They might have written wrong answer also. There they make mistakes. First, study questions properly and understand what has been asked. Then think what to be written for that answer. Write up to the point answers. While writing 60 marks answers follow one strategy. When you read question, take always last page of your answer booklet and start writing the points what all to be included in that answer. Because while writing suddenly you may forget the points, these points give hints to continue the answer and make to be within the track. .

Don’t repeat the paragraphs. If graphs, pie-charts, flow charts are required draw them to make examiner know what you have written. Always follow word-limit. If you think you know more about that answer and start writing more on that answer, you cannot complete the paper within a given time. Always try to give positive points. Don’t mention anybody’s name. Write such type of inputs which makes your answer different from others.

5. Current Affairs
Current Affairs play leading role in the Civil Service main exam. Students try to buy many current affairs magazine and they think they studied more instead of that studied from one magazine and be a regular reader of newspaper. Whatever you read, try to make note of it, It helps to revise. Without revising you cannot remember the points. Study previous years question paper and try to analyse what type of questions have been asked from current affairs. See whether there is any change in asking questions from one year to another.

General Studies first paper contains national affairs, social issues, geographical issues and etc. And General Studies second paper includes international affairs, economics, science and technology, statistics. All these topics are related to current affairs. Therefore concentrate more on current affairs. The students having stronghold on current affairs are able to score more than 300 marks in General Studies. Current Affairs also play leading role optional. Same of the optionals like Public Administration, Political Science, Science, and Sociology require current trends. Therefore one must be aware what type of current affairs is required for particular topic. Here one should remember only reading current affairs never give marks. Try to revise it again and again and you will be able to recollect during the exam. Preparing current affairs should be continuous process and don’t think some days can be allotted for it.

6. Two marker questions and 20 words
Always small things make great thing happen. That means, too marker questions are very important to score more than 300 marks in General Studies. Usually students think, it’s only two marks, they can write them without any strategy. But when you really sit for writing you will understand how much difficult are those. To write these questions you must evolve good strategy. While reading newspaper you may come across some personalities, places and terms try to write on them about in 20 words. Keep on practicing. If answer is written up to the mark you can get full marks. If you ask any topper, he always says that he gave importance to two markers.

To make yourself different from others, prepare your own strategy in order to study these two marks questions. Go through previous years questions and try to write yourself for those questions. While reading any newspaper, magazine or book, note down the words and write on that topic.

In exam hall, write up to the point. This can come only by practice. Questions will be from Indian polity, economies, history, culture, science and technology, geographical concepts, personalities. While studying, make different note on different topics thus it helps to revise properly.

7. Selective Study
All the candidates who are preparing for civil service main examination know the importance of selective study. Being selective is how much useful in preparation how it makes one comfortable.

When students, who are preparing for examination, see the vast syllabus, they find themselves in confusing state. It is like throwing one into the sea; That means syllabus is so vast if they sit for preparing simply without making any selection. One needs complete one year to read whole syllabus. By that time exams are on the head, candidates are not fully prepared in each topic and after reading the entire syllabus they are not even in position to tackle anyone question perfectly. Therefore, selective study is very important in civil service preparation. One should know what to study, what to be given more importance, what not to be studied and etc.

Once study whole syllabus completely. They should take some 3-4 previous year question .papers and study the topics thoroughly. This help to decide on which topics frequently questions are asked and on which topic analytical questions are coming, on which topic short questions are coming and so on. By going through previous year question paper one can understand what to study’ in current affairs. This makes one to be selective while reading newspapers.’ Otherwise one has to spend more time on newspapers.

Syllabus of optional subjects are also vast, sp candidates often have many books to cover the topics but they cannot read all of them so here also being selective is very important. Try to read standard books and recollect the points what you have read and how it is useful in writing the answers. Selective study hopes you to answer any question asked on that topic.

Most of the toppers follow strategy of being selective. It is not wise to waste time in reading which is not required for the exam. One should have proper approach towards study the optional subjects to get success at mains.

8. Importance of Compulsory Papers
English and any other Indian language and one essay paper are compulsory for civil service main examination. Its nature is of qualifying nature so often candidates think that hey easily can write them and clear these papers. But after each result actually we see that many students are unable to clear language papers. Even some candidates await there result positively and actually they did very well at there exam but finally language papers create a big hurdle. So never underestimate these too language papers and do not neglect them. Here their importance is more. Without qualifying these papers, you cannot at mains. Therefore, they cannot be neglected. These are considered as first step to clear mains. Therefore, be perfect with grammar, essay writing, precise writings.

The students who are getting good marks in essay can definitely get success in mains. Essay paper plays important role in getting good rank. This paper is for 200 marks. One Who writes good essay can get upto 140 marks. This makes great difference between an ordinary student and an extra-ordinary student. To write essay one should have comprehensive thinking. While preparing, don’t prepare a few topics. Prepare general way. Select topics like global warming, social change, and development-oriented topics, globalization, terrorism, democracy’ and prepare on these’ topics in general way.

Particular topics won’t be asked in the exam. But whatever you have studied can be used in anyway while writing essay. Read all the topics of essay at least once, and then select which topic you feel comfortable. Then take last page of your answer booklet and note down all the points you know so that you will not forget the main points while you writing the essay. Then arrange the points in accordance with their importance and there should be continuation of paragraphs. . .

Always write common language, don’t use complicated words and don’t bring optional concepts into the essay.’ Essay paper also marks the assessment of your personality. Therefore be careful while choosing the topics and while writing the essay paper.

9. 2600 Marks to be covered in 100 days
Civil Service Main Examination is an examination of 2600 marks. In that two compulsory language papers have 300 marks each. They are qualifying papers and are important to clear the main examination. After preliminary examination there will be 150 days available for preparing for mains; But while choosing second optional and collecting books candidates waste some 40 to 50 days. Only reaming will be 100 days to go far mains. these 100 days are crucial for everyone. Aspirants have to cover some 100 topics in optional and some 100 topics in General Studies.

To achieve one’s goal within 100 days, one has to follow proper strategy. Planning is very important to complete studies. 100 days can be split into two parts: first 80 days for studying and remaining 20 days for revision. Main examination requires how you analytically think over the .topic. Therefore, revision helps one to know how one can recollect the points. Study all the subjects simultaneously. Equal weightege should be given to all the papers. According to your comfortability with subject allot your time for study and make planning every week. Change the planning according to the topics to be covered.
Planning helps to use 100 days fruitfully to achieve the goal.

10. What to follow: during preparation and in examination hall
(a) Read limited books. Don’t try to read more books. Read fewer books and gain more from them. Read only one or two newspapers and follow anyone book on current affairs.

Reading more books make you what to remember or not.
(b) Be selective while reading a newspaper. From the beginning of your preparation build the habit of reading what is important from the exam point of view. Spend only 45 minutes to 60 minutes for newspaper daily.

(c) Always plan your studies. For a week and also for a day. This helps to complete the syllabus within a time.

(d) In the name of selective study don’t leave what to be studied. Don’t go only for popular topics study what may be asked in the mains.

(e) Prepare your own notes. But don’t spend more time in preparing notes. Make point-wise notes which can be reversed very easily with less time.

(f) Don’t run from difficult topics. Get clarified from somebody else and simply don’t leave difficult topics. Don’t give importance to what you know. Give less time for what you know and more time for studying difficult topics.

(g) Make more and more practices for writing answers. Don’t be lazy. At least p1ake the
habit of writing points to be included in that answer.

(h) While writing answer in examination hall, I don’t cross the word-limit. If you cross the word I limit, you cannot manage to write all the answers.

(i) Statistics carries 40’marks in General Studies. Give importance to this section while II
preparation and also in the examination hall. In the examination hall, keep last 20 minutes for statistics and don’t take it first. Practice makes you to solve the problem within a time limit.

(J) Last point is very important. Don’t be hurry while reading the question paper. Read slowly word by word and you can understand what is asked. Otherwise, there is a chance of writing wrong answer. Therefore, follow questions’ properly.


CSE Mains General Studies Paper – I

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.
The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors or contributions from different parts of the country.
Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. – their forms and effect on the society.
Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Effects of globalization on Indian society.
Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
Salient features of world’s physical geography.
Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location – changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
CSE Mains General Studies Paper – II
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Role of civil services in a democracy.
India and its neighborhood- relations.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
CSE Mains General Studies Paper – III

(Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Government Budgeting.
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
Land reforms in India.
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
Investment models.
Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Disaster and disaster management.
Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
CSE Mains General Studies Paper – IV

(Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weakersections.
Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
Case Studies on above issues.

Civil Service Main Exam Compulsory Papers Books
IAS Books Mains – Essay – Paper 1
IAS Books Mains General Studies – Paper 2, Paper 3, Paper 4 and Paper 5
History Books for GS Mains – IAS
History Of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra
Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
Geography Books for GS Mains – IAS
Indian And World Geography – Hussain
Geography of India – Majid Husain
Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong
Indian Polity Books for GS Mains – IAS
Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth
Introduction to the Constitution of India – Durga Das Basu
Indian Economy Books for GS Mains – IAS
Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
Indian – Economy – Uma Kapila
Economic Survey (2012-13)
The Budget 2013-14
India Year Book
Foreign Policy Books for GS Mains – IAS
International Organisations, Conferences and Treaties – By Spectrum
International Relations in 21st Century – By Pushpesh Pant
Introduction to the Constitution of India – By Durga Das Basu
2 Markers – By Vivek Kumar Singh
India’s Foreign Policy: Coping with the Changing World by Muchkund Dubey
Foreign Policy of India by V N Khanna
India’s Foreign Policy by Sumit Ganguly
Science and Technology Books for GS Mains – IAS
Science & Technology For Civil Services Exams
Science and Technology in India – Kalpana Rajaram – Spectrum
General Science For Civil Services Preliminary Examinations – S.A.Majid
Environment Books for GS Mains – IAS
CSAT Environmental Ecology Biodiversity & Climate Change – Pratiyogita Darpan
Environmental Studies from Crisis to Cure 2nd Edition – R.Rajagoplan
UPSC IAS PORTAL: Environment For Civil Services Preliminary Examination – Sachchida Nand Jha
Sociology Books for GS Mains – IAS
Society In India: Concepts, Theories And Recent Trends – Ram Ahuja
Social Problems In India – Ram Ahuja
Social Change In Modern India – M. N. SRINIVAS
Ethics Books for GS Mains – IAS [Ethics, Aptitude, Attitude etc]
Ethics and Integrity of Governance: Perspectives Across Frontiers
Public Administration Ethics for the 21st Century
Corruption, Ethics and Accountability: Essays by an Administrator
Ethics and Integrity in Public Administration: Concepts and Cases
Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution
Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions
Managerial Ethics: Managing the Psychology of Morality
Attitude Is Everything
Current Affairs Books for GS Mains – IAS
India 2013 – Publication Division
Economic Survey (2012-13)
Manorama Yearbook 2013
Mathrubhumi Yearbook 2013 Plus

New Clauses:

  1. English Language Paper to carry more weightage, 100 marks. Earlier english paper was only qualifying in nature. Its marks were not added to the total. But now the CSE english paper marks will be added to prepare the merit list for Personality test and final interview.
  2. For candidates appearing with their local language, only if there are 25 or more candidates, one will be allowed to take exam in that regional language medium.Else one would be required to write the exam either in English or in Hindi.
  3. Removal of all qualifying regional languages as in 8th Schedule of the constitution.


  • 13.03.13 – DMK demands reconsideration on Regional Languages as these would further alienate rural students. This move of UPSC is being seen by DMK as trying to impose hindi over regional languages. The move will broaden the already existing gap between rural and urban students. Jayalalitha slams the move as retrogate saying this is obvious favouritism for Hindi over Tamil.
  • 14.03.13- Narendra Modi describes the change as language bias, write letter to PM Manmohan Singh to withdraw the changes.
  • 15.03.13- Lok Sabha adjourned during question hour over unfair treatment of Hindi and other Regional Languages over English. There was a march to well by RJD and SP members to register the protest. Even Shiv Sena said they would protest if Marathi is neglected.
  • 16.03.13 – Changes put on hold after a long furore and three adjournments in Lok Sabha over English Language weightage of 100 marks in the total of 1800 marks exam and removal of regional languages as medium of taking and answering the examination.