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The Strategy that Worked for Hari Kallikat IAS Rank 58!
UPSC preparation is a sea of unknown for most aspirants. To help you, we are providing you with the UPSC preparation-Booklist and strategy of Hari Kallikat IAS, AIR 58(2017).
UPSC preparation has 3 different stages and each need slightly different approaches.
Thorough focus on NCERT’s and basic texts, along with newspaper and follow an IAS guidance website regularly + a test series, which is considered good.
Polity- NCERT’s of class 11 & 12 (last 3 years’ prelims paper had many questions from these books) + Indian Polity by Laxmikanth + newspaper.
Economy- NCERT of class 11 and class 12 text for “macro-economics” (micro-economics text of class 12 is not needed) + one other text (Shankar Ganesh/Ramesh Singh) + newspaper.
Geography- NCERT’s from class 6 to 12 and proper map study with Atlas (orient blackswan preferably) + newspaper.
History- NCERT’s class 6 to 12 (class 9 & 11 are world history, which is needed for mains)
· Ancient history- Ancient history text by R S Sharma (India’s Ancient Past) + TN board SCERT class 11 is actually very useful, simply written all the important facts.
· Medieval history- Text by Satish Chandra (History of Medieval India) + TN board SCERT class 11.
(Since the weightage of Medieval India is very low and considering the fact that time-benefit ratio is very low, I would recommend to skip Satish Chandra and NCERT class 7, 12 and TN board is enough for medieval India.
· Modern India- NCERT class 8, 12 + Bipan Chandra’s (Modern India) - 0ld NCERT + Spectrum publication’s Modern India.
· Art & Culture- Fine arts class 11 NCERT + Class 12 NCERT (only one chapter- ‘painting’-it’s a UPSC favourite chapter, don’t miss) + Nithin Singhania’s notes (preferably old one, not the newly published book- many unwanted things are added when he published it as a book)
Environment- NCERT class 12 biology last one unit (4 chapters) + Shankar’s IAS published environment’ + Newspaper.
Science and Technology- Newspaper and compilations by institutes like vision, insights-on-India, or Shankar’s is enough. No separate book is needed. This area mainly focus on current affairs, rather than theory aspects of Science.
Current Affairs-the key to success- Newspaper (The Hindu preferably, New Indian express Delhi edition is also good) + regularly follow (at least) one website (insights-on-India/forum-ias/iasbaba/ias-parliament by Shankar’s) + one monthly magazine (vision/insights-on-India/forum-IAS)-one other than the daily followed website.
Along with this, for prelims one have to go through so many random topics, which are repeatedly asked by UPSC for prelims. We identify such topics through proper analysis of previous few years UPSC question papers and newspaper analysis. This is one’s own work and with this, all can predict good number of questions for next prelims exam. Some of the repeatedly asked topics are:-
· National Parks
· International institutions (go through last few years papers and one will identify so many
areas recurring, especially in environment based international organisations)
· World heritage sites in India
· Ramsar sites in India
· Rivers in India (Drainage system chapter in class 11 NCERT + newspaper analysis)
· ISRO and recent initiatives
· Defence bilateral exercises and major missiles and strategically important naval ships etc..
There are no specific texts to study these topics. Refer some UPSC related websites and prepare good notes for your further reference.
CSAT or General Studies paper 2- if you are from engineering or science background, no extra efforts are needed for this paper. Just try last 1/2 years papers and if getting good marks, that’s more than enough. Otherwise solve all previous years’ papers and practice from one of the csat texts and websites which gives questions. Download old question papers of some institutes and practice questions as much as possible, at least 10/15 every day. That is the best strategy for csat.
*** A beginner can start the test series in October/November. A second timer can go for one year long test series, starting from June/July itself. There are many one year long tests. And this will make the preparation more serious and will maintain the momentum throughout. Test series is very crucial, since it will test the level of preparation of aspirant before prelims.If Nothing works out for you, you can try Civils Cafe IAS Study Circle's Sure Shot 2020 program. Its designed for the brilliant people, who are unable to clear UPSC Prelims and Mains even after repeated attempts.
MAINS EXAMINATION- THE ACTUAL GAME
Mains exam have 9 papers, out of which 2 are qualifying in nature- English and regional language.
There are 4 General Studies (GS) papers, 2 optional papers (1 subject, 2 papers) and one Essay paper.
Since mains papers are descriptive, writing practice is very important. For that, one has to develop a clear idea regarding how to approach answers and presenting one’s viewpoints. (Subject clarity + good analytical ability + presentation) is the key to mains success.
· Art & Culture- same as that of prelims
· Modern India- prelims materials + India’s struggle for independence (not a must read, if you are confident that you can manage without this)
· Post-independence- NCERT(India since Independence, class 11-very comprehensive and
useful) + India after Gandhi (Ramachandra Guha)/ India since independence (Bipan Chandra) (don’t read both, since both texts presents the same history from different angles
(Ramachandra Guha from a neutral and Bipan Chandra from slightly leftist view))
· World history- NCERT’s + ALS guide for world history is the most compact reference material and for further reference Arjun Dev (History of the world-both books) or Norman Lowe (Modern world history)
· Sociology- NCERT’s class 11, 12 + Indian Society by Ram Ahuja (identify relevant topics from syllabus and read those areas only- entire book is not needed)
· Geography- NCERT’s (same as that of prelims) + newspaper analysis of geography related topics.
GS-2- This paper is mainly current affairs oriented.
· Polity- Prelims stuff + newspaper.
· Governance- Newspaper and Delhi class notes of governance. If possible, attend a good
session for governance in your centre of preparation.
· International Relations- Newspaper mainly. History of bilateral relations is not very
important, so, don’t waste much time on that.
GS3 is 100% current affairs and newspaper based, no separate books are needed for Economic Development, Environment, Science & Tech and for internal security and Disaster Management, Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar(IPS) and Vipul (DANIPS) is a good reference, along with newspaper.
Proper writing experience + Ethics Lexicon (mostly used, but not my personal recommendation. I didn’t use this for my preparation) + Delhi notes. Be genuine in approaching these questions and that is the best way to score marks in ethics paper.
English EssayThere is no much preparations needed for essay. If you are good in using quotations, use wherever it fits into. Identify all the diverse angles of the topic and analyse it properly. Try to give attractive and beautiful introductions and conclusions, which will help you to score better (primacy effect and recency effect respectively). Also, arrange the body part in such a manner that the flow of the essay is maintained. Most important thing, take a stand in the beginning itself and present points to substantiate your stand.
Optional papers demand more serious preparation and need more specific answers than GS papers.
Give adequate time for optional and prepare well.
Select an optional subject considering the following aspects:-
1. Interest in the subject (you have to prepare the same subject for all the attempts, minimum 18 months, so a subject with less interest will be difficult)
2. Availability of materials for preparation
3. Availability of guidance
4. Availability of test series
5. And the most important thing, scoring potential of the paper. (don’t take a continuously low scoring paper, marks are very important in this exam)
This is all about the exam part of UPSC preparation in brief.
All the best.
Hari Kallikat IAS (AIR 58,2017)