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How to select an optional paper?

Selection of an optional is the most crucial step on the way to IAS. The two optional subjects have to be done judiciously. The following points should be considered before selecting an optional subject:

Organization Chart:

• If you want to go for a subject with scientific approach, Geography, Psychology , Anthropology can be right choices.

• If you have good command on any language any optional can be chosen provided that you have interest in that.

• Candidates with a command over any regional language like Punjabi, Hindi can taste success by opting for literature as an optional subject.

How to deal with GS?

Certain points that should be at your focus while dealing with General Study:

• Many of the candidates tend to ignore the preparation of General Study & concentrate on the optional subjects. This attitude is like gambling as one may not be aware about preparation of other candidates & secondly General Study has equal weightage to an optional paper & scoring in General study is more mathematical than optional papers.

• Scoring in gs is mathematical and any additional score gained through serious preparation should be welcome.

• Areas which can be challenging in General Study:

1. Foreign Relations

2. Economics particularly for science background candidates.

3. General Science & Science & Technology for the social background students.

4. Statistical Analysis for all students in general

5. There is a more focus on current & applied aspect these days.

How deal with these challenges?

1.Follow standard books for conceptual foundation

2.Read various relevant NCERT books

3. Follow at least one national newspaper regularly

4. Follow one magazine regularly

5. Scan the magazine section of a good magazine shop at least twice a month

6. Economic Survey

7. India Year Book

Here the guidance in a good institute can be of immense help.

How to Deal with Essay Paper?

The Essay paper was re-introduced in 1993. Writing an essay is both a science as well as an art. Therefore those with a good flair in language & writing remain at an advantageous position. Other candidates can also do well by essay writing practice & regularly following the editorial/ opinion page of a good newspaper.

Many of the issues asked in the form of an essay are generally of contemporary relevance. Candidates are, therefore, advised to keep a thorough eye on all the happenings of last one year. The candidates should focus more on evaluative, critical & analytical dimensions of such issues.

How to deal with compulsory language papers?

Language papers are of qualifying nature only. If one has been good at school, one needn’t worry.
What should be done?

1. Revise the basic grammatical rules &

2. Improve vocabulary by reading newspaper in both the languages.

Which one first: preliminary or mains preparation?

For right approach, the preparation of mains should start before or at least concurrent with that of the preliminary exams.

1. Mains preparation requires grasping of basic concepts, their application & certain relevant facts. Once you have this level of understanding preparation of preliminary becomes easier & more productive.

2. One never gets enough time to prepare General Study, Essay, Optional Subjects etc once the preliminary result is out. However one can revise these well if one has prepared them before prelims exams.

3. Preliminary exam is only screening type. Once performance in mains is major determinant in ones rank in the merit list.

Strategically, therefore, the preparation for the exams should start about one year in advance & one should think about appearing in prelims only when one has done a strong grip over the mains subject matter.

Should one prepare notes?

Many of the candidates prepare the subject in terms of reading ( once, twice, thrice etc.)with or without underlining of the important facts. It results not only into longer time of preparation but also skipping of many relevant points.

Also if one underlines the main points during first reading, most the people have general tendency to read the text in full while going for the subsequent readings. It is therefore advisable that text must be read once & all relevant & important should be noted. This would save your effort & make you more efficient & productive.

Should one prepare notes?

Many of you prepare a subject in terms of reading. ( once , twice , thrice etc.) With or without underlining the important facts. It results only in longer time of preparation but also many important points may skip. Also if you underline the highlighting points most of you have tendency to read the text in full while going for the subsequent readings. It is , therefore , advisable that texts must be read once & all important points. ( likely to be forgotten ) recorded separately so that you need not study voluminous text again. This would save on you time & should result in greater efficiency.

Should one go for coaching classes?

Paul Samuelson, a famous Noble Prize winning economist, once stated that for winning noble prize one must have exposure to good teachers. Ones efforts can be made more parsimonious, more productive & more result oriented by a good teacher. A teacher multiplies both -your effort & results.

Whatever is your field, you have a central role to be successful in it. A coaching institute provides you the knowledge of the subject matter & relevant reference books. It remains with you like an expert guide so that you can land smoothly & successfully at your goal point. An institute provides you a motivating environment where you train yourself in skills necessary for success in this exam.

Your efforts can be made more parsimonious, more productive & more result oriented by a good teacher. Teacher multiplies both -your effort & results.



I am heartly thankful to whole
team of SANSWEE for incessant support provided by them at every corner of this preparation.Its not only the students but the

- Kanika Aggarwal Student