Blog for IAS aspirants

Getting in the right frame of mind

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2012 at 08:54

Hello everyone,

Before I actually start sharing some experiences about the exam, I wish to write a post about the mind set with which one must approach this exam. I feel before anyone starts preparing for the Civil Service Exam (CSE), he/she must have clarity on some fundamental issues in his/her mind.

Firstly, as I have mentioned elsewhere too, the CSE is not just an exam, it is a journey. This journey is long and you must have a lot of patience and dedication to traverse it.

Do not rush through your attempts. Spend time with your subjects before you appear in the exam. Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts to success. Each individual has his/her own pace of studying. Some people like me, take more time to grasp things as compared to others. You must know yourself well. Know what timings of study suit you; know what inspires you; what motivates you; know what relaxes you; know what you ultimately want to do as a civil servant; know what are your strengths and your weaknesses. If you know yourself well, then things will get easier.

When you are walking on the road of the CSE, keep in mind that there will be highs and lows. Just like all fingers of our hand are different, so will be your days. Some days you will study more, some days you will study less and on some other days you will not study at all. But you must thoroughly enjoy all your days and each moment of your study as well as free time.

Never ever think about your marks or probable rank in the exam, just think about answers to the questions in-front of you. Choose your optionals keeping in mind your interest in the subject. All subjects are equally scoring but you must be able to study YOUR subjects for long hours. Keep your cool and peace of mind.

Another important point to be kept in mind is that this journey is a long one. Shortcuts may work but the only sure way to reach your destination is to take the longer route. So do not be in a hurry to give your attempt. Spend a lot of time doing each of your subjects and then GS. I would advice to do everything sequentially i.e. one after the other and not simultaneously. This way, one would realize that at least 1.5 to 2 years of dedicated preparation is must before you give your first attempt. However, I must say that for some people a shorter route works whereby they do some subjects simultaneously. It is risky but may take you to your final destination. The longer route on the other hand is safe and will surely take you to your destination. The choice between the two is subjective and is a decision best taken by YOU and no one else.

Finally believe in your hard-work and in GOD. Whenever you do something, believe that YOU can actually DO it. This is true for any task in life and not just CSE. Self confidence and self-belief is crucial.

Always remember- Preparation will only take you to a certain extent; beyond that you will have to take some leaps of faith.

  1. Nice blog ,it’s very helpful for us..Keep it up ,in future give many this kind of blogs ,thanks a lot

  2. Thanks sir

    thank you …..

  4. hello sir, first of all big congrats for your grand success in CSE
    very very thanks to such a nice blog for aspirants.
    Before coming to my question i would like to tell my brief profile. i completed Engg. last year i.e. 2011 and during those 4 years i was escaping from technical side. but in final year i decided to prepare for IAS exam…after consulting some people and whatsoever be the reason i decided to go for IES( Engineering Services) exam first then go for IAS exam. At that time i knew that after getting selected in IES job ppl get leave (Without pay) so that i can prepare for IAS exam. And one always have backup of Civil services prep.(may be i am wrong regarding this info)

    So considering all factors i went Delhi for IES prep, took coaching and gave IES exam this year in june. now i felt my papers were not went so good so that i can’t get nice rank. then i decided to give one more shot at IES a days i am teaching at Engg college in my hometown.
    By going through all these stages i am coming farther from my ultimate goal of becoming IAS.
    My concern is what should i do at this point of time should i move immediately to delhi for Coaching of IAS exam or should i wait till my next IES exam(june 2013….in complete dilemma now.

    Please advice me.
    Thanks in Advance!!

    • If your main aim is IAS, then it is better that you prepare for it directly. Just take a few months leave from your current job and come to Delhi if you wish to join coaching institutes. As far as EE is concerned, you will not find good coaching institutes so it is better that you prepare for it on your own. However, EE is a difficult and vast subject so choose it if you feel confident in it.

  5. is it possible to please ask Mr Mangesh Kumar to give strategy for physics?

  6. […] you go through the lean period your beliefs and motivations are put to test. Many gurus have mentioned importance of clarity of mind during the preparation. Well what is my motivation? Is […]

  7. prince sir do u think people by getting good marks in optionals are getting good ranks in mains exam may b by mugging up or so, some capable and good people are not getting into because of this what do u think is it so

    • No. I do not think so. Ms Rukmani Riar has got very good rank and she scored very well in GS. Moreover, even Optionals papers do not just require mugging up but also analytical capabilities.

  8. Hi Prince,
    Many Many Heartiest Congratulations for this great success
    I have completed B.Tech. in Electronics.I want your suggestion that will it be beneficial to join Made Easy for Electrical Engineering as one optional?Will the teaching methods of Made Easy are sufficient for concepts in Electrical Engineering?

    There is another confusion that if i can join Made Easy for Electrical Engineering optional,then which batch will be more advantageous for me Electrical Engineering Batch / Electronics Engineering Batch of Made Easy as the syllabus for IES examination for Electrical/Electronics are approximately same (except 2-3 chapters). Please suggest me ASAP

    • I do not know anything about Made Easy coaching.

      • Thanks a lot for ur prompt reply………….
        Can you please suggest any guidance centre for Electrical Engineering subject in New Delhi?
        how had u prepared EE subject? i mean by own or have u taken guidance from any coaching? I have chosen EE subject due to my own interest,but m very confused due to lack of proper guidance.

  9. Hello Prince,
    I am in a state of dilemma about choosing my second optional between history and sociology. i have interest in history to so wanted to go for it, but i dont have history faculty available , so i have study on my own…
    i thought of sociology because its syllabus seems to be little less in comparison of history and moreover i have faculty of sociology in my coaching.
    but again i think, we need to study some part of history as part of GS then why not take it as optional.
    So can you please suggest and help me to get out of this dilemma.

    • I totally understand your dilemma. However, the problem is that I have neither had History nor Sociology as my Optional. I am not the right person to guide you on this. Perhaps you can contact other candidates who have had these Optional subjects.

      • thanks prince 🙂 you are helping a lot to the aspirants like us,
        i know it would be too demanding as you are already finding some valuable time to answer the queries, can you please redirect my query to any person with history or sociology optional. i know its too much, but please see if you can.

  10. hello sir
    i had posted a comment on your blog regarding my choice for optionals in the mains but
    somehow it is not visible on your blog now
    iam in 2nd year electrical at AMU aligarh
    for mains im going with electrical as on of my optionals
    for the other optional iam a little confused btw pub adm and sociology
    frankly iam new to both of these subjects…
    wchich subject(pub adm & sociology) can be better prepared without coaching……….. as the nearest coaching is in delhi(130KM) frm aligarh
    plz help me out on this

  11. Hi Prince, first of all let me congratulate you on your success! I am preparing for CSE 2013 and I started with my preparation a couple of months back. My optionals are Public Administration and Anthropology. I have decided to take up Anthropology on my own whereas I’ll be taking coaching for Pub Ad and GS. I wanted to ask you if it is possible to prepare these subjects with GS before May next year and give a good attempt with a preparation time of 1-1.5yrs. I will not be appearing for CSE after this attempt and hence I’m pinning all my hopes on this one. I hope you can give me some valuable suggestions which will help me crack the CSE in this attempt itself. Thanks a lot for your help.

    • If you still have to take coatings for Pub Ad and GS both, then it may be a little difficult but I sincerely believe that it is doable with some extra effort. In fact I have seen people in exactly the same position as yours who have made it, so go on and do your best.

  12. Heartly congrats to you Prince,
    Plz help me becas i hav different kinda problem
    Q: i read alot with revison also but when i try to write there is not much which ican write means in only few words it is completed where is the problem?

    • When you write, open a book and see what points you missed. Consult your friends or a teacher to help you better. Maybe you are not writing all the details. Please go into details. Don’t just provide little glimpses of your main points. Try and explain them too.

  13. sir,
    is there any person suceedded with philosophy ? i want to know abt its preparation.

  14. Prince sir,
    Please guide me to prepare for essay.

  15. Hi Prince. First of all congratulations for ur success. I am 27 year old. I have completed in comp engg. I am having around 4years of industrial exp in software industry. I am aiming for UPSC2013. Right now I am working. Can u please suggest whether I should quit my job and prepare or I can prepare while doing the job. The job is not much hectic and I need to put around 3 hours in my job out of 9 hour schedule. I tried to resign but my company manager insisting me to stay as I am one of the critical resource. They are giving me time flexibility for UPSC preparation. Your inputs on this will be greatly helpful.

    • If you can manage around 8-10 hours of undisturbed study daily excluding your newspaper time, then you may continue with your job. I hope your job is not much taxing and does not disturb your peace of mind.

      • Thanks Prince for reply. For sure I will try my best to manage my time in efficient way for study. Thanks. Your blog is very good source of inspiration. Keep it up!

  16. hello sir,
    congratulations on your success!!
    I’ve completed my B.Tech this may.I’ve started preparing civil services from the starting of this month.My idea is to complete optionals by december.
    But i’m facing the fear of not able to complete prelims portion in the remaining time.What should i do to get out of this?Do i need to work on prelims atleast on weekends?Or should i completely concentrate on optionals itself?

    Awaiting you response,

  17. Hi Prince,
    Not sure if you can help me out or not, the books that you mentioned for GS or PubAd or any other subjects, their hindi language editions are as good as their english one?
    If you don’t know then can you ask from some other UPSC topper or can you publish a list of books for hindi medium students. It would be a great help as most the toppers who bloged are from english medium background.
    Thanks for such a wonderfull blog and bringing other toppers under your hut.
    All the best for your life.

  18. When you stated that one requires 1.5 – 2 yrs for preparation, did you mean 1.5 – 2 yrs before the prelims or mains or interview??

  19. can u please share ur marks with us

  20. Dear Sir,
    accept my humble obesiances
    all glories to GOD
    hope by GOD grace ur well & enjoying urs lyf
    by creating this blog it has become boon for many CSE aspirants .as i have seen strategy of many subjects one more subject strategy if u can put in yours blog it will be helpful for me and many others.
    one more thing i want to ask that is cse pattern is going to change from 2014 is it true?
    have a blissful life
    yours truly

    • Whenever UPSC will change the pattern, it will inform in advance. Yes there is some word going around about pattern change but no official announcement as yet.

  21. thank u sir for ur precious guidance and doing such a good deed#believe me or not but really sir i m feeling my self at seventh heaven,getting response reply from u*sir thank u again

  22. sir i hv written these line by me *so plz also comment on my way of communication in english *thank u sir

  23. sir one more question that although being student of science stream i m not confident with these subjects *so i decided for pub ad and geography is this combination is allowed*and plz give ur opinion on my choice for optional

    • Yes this combination is allowed. If you have interest in these optional subjects and their syllabus appeals to you then go ahead. All the best.

  24. sir heartiest congratulation for such a great success, sir i have completed my school education in hindi medium,and now persuing btech obviously in english . So i am confuse to in which language should i write cse. Waiting for your precious guidance

    • This is an individual decision. Choose the language in which you are most comfortable in expressing yourself. Do not worry about marks. If your content is good, you will score well in any language.

  25. Prince ji. Congrats. Aap James Bond ho.

  26. plz share ur strategy towards elect engg. in detail …actually i hav done btech with ece so i m facing problem specially with far i hav covered transformers and induction motors and now i m thinking to skip other part of it..i think it can be compensated if i cover other subjects properly for 1st paper. similiarly for 2nd paper if i skip half part of power systems and concentrate on other subjects. can this strategy work? or is it must to complete 95-100% syllabus. plz reply this post . only u can provide help for this optional as nowhere any help is available regarding this subject. whenever u post ur article regarding this optional plz share abt every book for theory as well as problem solving practice. one more confusion in emft-is it enough to study its syllabus from sadiku or is it necessary to read some topic of kuo(microwave) i saw one old paper they had asked one numerical from travelling wave tube.i will be extremely grateful to. and what u mean by yellow books? any coaching institute notes if yes then plz tell the name as i m working in tamil nadu.

    • No this used to work before 2008 but not now. See the question papers of recent years and you will understand that you can not skip topics. I will share in detail about it very soon.
      ‘Yellow books’ refers to printed material of Vajiram and Ravi.

    • thanks.. eagerly waiting for ur article on ee optional..

  27. Dear price, i had a query regarding electrical eng as an optional.I am an ee engg but a bit confused about taking it as optional because its success rate is not good and there is some communication(digital and analog) portion included in it.can you 1)2)pls suggest your strategy.2)beside can you tell me what was your marks in ele mains and3) is it necessary to concentrate on all subjects because there are some options in question paper is available to us or should we concentrate on core electrical topics.4)and if it is necessary to concentrate on each topic then can you guide me in subjects like-a)analog communication b)digital communication c)microprocessor

    i hope you will answer my query.

    • Do not worry about success rate. It is inconsequential.
      I will upload my strategy for EE by the end of this week.
      With the changed pattern of paper, you have to cover the entire syllabus.

  28. Hello,
    though its not applicable to you, Can you please show some path for history optional?


  29. Prince, What is your cadre preference? Please mention at least 1st three cadres? Does it matter to pay some time thinking over this question or is it just another mind wandering?

  30. hello sir, how many hours u were reading each day (at max) ? if there are phases, pls let me know sir

    • I fixed targets and tried to fulfill them. I had no fixed hours of study. There were some good and some bad phases but my focus was on doing my best.

  31. Hello Sir..
    Did you refer to the ‘india year book’ ? If yes then how did you summarise it? The volume of materials in that book is enormous. So i dont think reading everything in it is remotely possible..

    • I referred to India Year Book like one refers to a dictionary i.e. on some occasions. But I did try and read the abridged version of India Year Book by New Vishal Publications.

  32. sir, what were your study hours( on an average)? in which year of your you started preparing for civil services exam? What strategies one should follow in the starting phase of the preparation? I have completed Ist year of my in CSE from IIT-KGP. please help me in deciding optionals which would suite me.


    • You still have a lot of time so no need to hurry. I always fixed targets and tried to fulfill them, so I did not have any fixed study hours. I started preparation in later half of 2009. In the starting phase, you must first get an idea as to what all you need to study to cover the syllabus and you must know what will motivate you throughout the journey.
      Decide optionals by interest and interacting with some of your seniors and seeing syllabus and old question papers.

      • thanks but one more question. As I am having a different branch which is not there in the curricula of civil services exam, so I have to go for an extra subject. Will I get enough time during my years to cover the syllabus of civil services exam (or how to manage time during these college years) . I am asking this because I am not having idea about how much load is there in Computer science. You might be knowing this as all IITs almost have the similar syllabus.

  33. Sir , one more question ,
    how did u managed to identify only the required portion to read from electrical books as the books also have matter that is irrelevant to UPSC portion for electrical ?

  34. Sir , Heartliest congratulations to u for ur sucess. I am a 2012 B.E. (Hons.)EEE 2012 pass out of BITS,Pilani . I am taking electrical and public ad. as my optionals but as i opted for VLSI design student in BITS, i havent read power electronics and power system in my curriculum ,but rest of the topics i have read and also done well in colledge.
    Sir, please suggest me shall i take electrical a my optional in this type of condition or not. is there any guidance available in delhi for covering power system, power electronics and analog communication.
    sir please suggest, it means a lot to me .

    • I don’t think any good quality guidance is available. But if you have the right aptitutde then you can pick up these topics on your own though it would require some time. For analog refer to J.B. Gupta; for Power Electronics- P.S. Bhimbra; for Power System- Wadhwa.

  35. Sir would you please share your interview transcript and interview score? And at last strategy for interview.Thanx.

  36. SIR ,cud u please enlighten us the study material u read for basic fundamentals in pub ad

  37. Hello Sir, Congratulations on your success.
    Can you please tell us about your approach for your Electrical Optional. It’d really mean a lot to us.


  38. Hearty Congratulations !!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you so much for this nice post !!!

  39. Dear Dhawan, Please accept my hearty Congratulations for your formidable achievement. I joined RIAS for Sociology recently. I received quite a few bad reviews on RIAS. Being one of its previous students, it would be kind if you could share the experience you had with RIAS.

  40. Sir,
    First of all , a hearty congratulations on your success. You are a source of inspiration and motivation for people like me who want to succeed in this exam in their first attempt.
    I attended you session at synergy and i there too wanted to ask you about the best GS coaching available in Delhi. I have heard that vajiram is not able to do that good in GS these days as compared to ALS or Sriram or KSG.. ?
    Since you have completed your GS at VR , and You must also have heard about other istitutes from your friends or by studyng notes , please guide me on this crucial area. How is GS at vajiram and others ?

    • As I said in my seminar at VR, the coaching for GS will only help you to develop an approach to the subject. It is not about how much questions your coaching can guess that finally come in the exam. It is more about whether it can tell you HOW to study GS?
      I have only attended VR and I know it is helpful. I can’t comment on other coaching classes though as we all know the big names are Vajiram, ALS and Sriram. I think at some point, you have to take a leap of faith and choose one institute.

  41. Thanks for your talk today!! It was something that really helped me raise my spirits higher up and encouraged me to put in my best in the decisions I had taken for myself!

  42. nice quote form prison break……very true……preparation can take us to a certain point , after that we have to believe on faith

  43. It was good to c u at Vajiram & Ravi today.U told many good strategies to follow.


  44. Preparation will only take you to a certain extent; beyond that you will have to take some leaps of faith. ———- seems u r also a “Prison Break” fan 🙂

  45. Thank u so much fr this wonderful article…:)

  46. I have attended your seminar today,you said simple things but more effective.You are right its not all about success but all about how much effort we pays

  47. Dear Prince, Please explain how to handle Electrical Engineering,mainly (Analog Electronics, Micro-Processor and Power Electronics).. books to be followed and approach

  48. Really Inspiring Brother 🙂

  49. nice post !
    -waiting for the ones to follow!

  50. Respected Sir, You are simply GENIUS.I’m assured that this blog will be surely a key to success for all Civil Services Aspirants in every possible way. A mighty Thanks for your this kindness, Sir.

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