From where we should take the coaching? This is very often the first question candidates ask me. This is precisely where we go wrong from the beginning.
Let me explain. Suppose you are new to India and you know that you want to goto Mumbai from Delhi. What would be your logical approach?
You will probably goto google. See the distance you need to cover. Then see mode of transportations available. See the time at your disposal and of course the money in your pocket. Then you finally decide to buy a train ticket. You don’t straightaway ask where I get the train tickets, right?
So we should follow the same method while going for the IAS or for that mater any decision making.
So. follow these steps when you are beginning the journey of civil services:
First, read the notification of the UPSC for civil services. Here you go friend: https://www.upsc.gov.in/sites/default/files/Notif-CSP-22-engl-020222F.pdf
In this, read the syllabus very very carefully (page 28 – 33). I’m producing the screenshots here itself for your comfort:
So, now you have studied what is asked. Now let us see how it is asked. Time to look at the papers. So, go through all past year papers right from 2013 to 2021. Read them again and again and discover the pattern. Here you go: https://www.upsc.gov.in/examinations/previous-question-papers
Here was my learnings after paper analysis:
1/ Even in history, no cramming is needed of dates, facts etc. Analysing history from perspective of administrator is more important. Like, I am not interested as to how many rock and pillar edicts Ashoka had. I am interested to see where he had them as this would tell me his geographical reach and the languages used will tell me the profile of the audience he is referring to. Messages on them will tell the social beliefs of society and influence of Buddhism.
2/ Mostly those parts of static topics are asked, which are highlighted in current affairs. Like in 2018 prelims, a question on theory of relativity was asked. I could correctly do that question. How? Because that year around the famous scientist Stephen Hawking had passed away. So I went on youtube and learnt how his theory of everything and Hawking radiation was in contradiction to Einstein theory. But then next year, coaching-wala would focus on NCERT of science as it contains that theory.
3/ Understanding issues and dimensions behind news is important than reading hundreds of opinion article. Like Ukraine issue happens. So, one day, go on google for two hours and research on the topic. Go on good websites like https://www.orfonline.org/ or https://www.mea.gov.in/index.htm etc or some nice youtube videos. Then I am done.
So let us quickly jump into the reading sources and methodology of reading them starting with prelims. Remember our focus is strictly on syllabus as outlined above.
Current Events of National and International Importance
Source: Rau’s IAS FOCUS Magazine (download free here: https://elearn.rauias.com/accounts/login/)
Newspapers/Magazines: The Hindu, Indian Express (only explained page) and business standard (only if time permits)
No need to read any other magazine like Yojana, Kurukshetra, EPW, science monitor, Sansad TV debates etc. I have read many others like Vision etc but I like FOCUS the most. If you feel FOMO, just refer some summaries before mains. You will see that you almost know everything.
No need to make notes of current affairs if you don’t know. I made none and never.
How to read? You see a news that IIP shrank. Goto google and see what index of industrial production is. Who makes it. What does it comprises.
Wait for the story to develop. You are not a journalist. You should be able to know an issue immediately before exam. Thats the objective. Like if Ukraine issue is going on. Someone will read all opinion columns in The Hindu for months. Thats time waste. Just glance in newspaper as to how things unfolding. And before exam, thoroughly prepare that topic from web in two hours. See official position of India. Refer maps. Thats all!
YouTube Sources for Current (Totally Voluntary)
Rau’s IAS DNS: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7Nkpcu_k2VJC4Wwk4WDXAbtNTOEmGI_8 (The Best)
Pathfinder channel: https://youtube.com/c/PathFinderUPSC
StudyIQ channel: https://youtube.com/c/StudyIQcoachingcenter (see the videos of Adarsh Gupta. They are very good)
WION: https://youtube.com/c/WION (especially by Palki)
Cut the clutter by the Print: https://youtube.com/c/ThePrintIndia
CNBC: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDt0J62yU45tZEUloDABVG1HqTXUN8MPR (sometimes)
Amit Sengupta: https://youtube.com/c/AmitSenguptaAKS (This Man is awesome. I love his voice and research)
Sansad TV: https://youtube.com/c/SansadTV (only when you like and bored with newspaper stuff
These are good sources. Refer to them the way you want. You don’t need any coaching etc for current affairs. Keep referring maps on google for any location and wiki.
NOTE: Don’t read PT 365 or Mains 365 if you have read monthly magazine.
All the best! : )
Lets see other topics:
History (see syllabus above) (Pre+Mains)
Modern India: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3PuCslSVB8vIXRmAqVSQlXGYY5g8DauB (The Gold standard. Binge watch them)
Spectrum modern India: SPECTRUM A BRIEF HISTORY OF MODERN INDIA BY RAJIV AHIR FULLY REVISED EDITION https://amzn.eu/d/djYgWQV
No need to read anything else be it: Bipan Chandra, old or new ncert or any coaching notes.
Ancient and Medieval: Tamil Nadu Board 11th class book (https://upscpdf.com/2021/08/26/tamilnadu-class-11th-history-book-new-pdf/)
Pathfinder Dr Mahipal lectures
Culture: Nitin Singhania Culture book
NCERT 11th Culture
World History: Vision IAS notes (search google. You will get them).
Crash Course World History by Mr Green: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBDA2E52FB1EF80C9
Note: This is exhaustive list from my side. No need to read anything else if you read them properly. Each word is important.Google each word if you do not understand.
PmfIAS: https://www.pmfias.com/geography/ (Pay money and download all pdfs)
Rajtanil Solanki Ma’am Lectures: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAMBum9_RkuNDtzpNQlCRcaOrNqrD4Gf7 (My gratitude to her where ever she is. Thank you Ma’am)
These two sources are exhaustive. But if you need to understand a particular important topic of geography:
SS Ojha sir lectures: https://youtube.com/c/SHEOSAGAROJHA (Top quality of concepts. No commercial coaching can dare deliver this quality. I bet!)
Then of course! See YouTube if you don’t understand some current affairs. Like see this: https://youtu.be/UsWHHE_jkGE (I love this lady probably from Australia. She explains with so much passion, profession and smile. Inspiring!)
NOTE: No need to read any NCERT (old or new) and no need of GC Leong or big books.
Enjoy life dear!
Society and Social Justice
Ministry of Tribal Affairs Annual report: https://tribal.nic.in/downloads/Statistics/AnnualReport/AREnglish2122.pdf
Ministry of Women and Child development: https://wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/WCD_AR_English%20final_.pdf
Ministry of Social Justice: https://socialjustice.gov.in/writereaddata/UploadFile/ANNUAL_REPORT_2021_ENG.pdf
NCERT 11th: Indian Society
Ministry of Health: https://main.mohfw.gov.in/sites/default/files/FinalforNetEnglishMoHFW040222.pdf
Poverty and hunger:
Ministry of Rural development: https://rural.nic.in/sites/default/files/AnnualReport2021_22_English.pdf
Secularism: https://youtu.be/G0HMuIXWCAc (Vikas Divyakirti sir concept talks)
Uniform Civil Code: https://youtu.be/xiVAIcDVYew
Personal laws: https://youtu.be/MlBHGQB3Hr0
CAA, NPR, NRC: https://youtu.be/3XI7QnV6t5c
Agriculture laws: https://youtu.be/YcqVWFZXyaE
National family health survey reports etc
Faizan Mustafa’s Legal Awareness web series: https://youtube.com/c/FaizanMustafasLAWLegalAwarenessWebseries (The gold standard. Polity, governance and society mix)
Crash course sociology: https://youtu.be/pIgb-3e8CWA (watch when you like. She explains really well. Only few topics relevant if sociology not your optional)
Raus IAS compilation called C3 released before mains: download free from their platform
Rest the current affairs is the Key. And think on the topics of the mains.
Mostly current affairs from sources referred above ( Sufficient for pre)
For mains, read authentic official position on relevant topics from MEA website.
I also referred: The India Way by S. Jaishankar
My favourite: Talks and lectures of our minister on Youtube
Like this: https://youtu.be/LZ1WOEU2Sdo
I won’t miss any talk by him. He has all answers that UPSC is gonna ask on International Relations.
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