How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper-II (GS-1)

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UPDATED on 21st December 2016

UPSC has brought changes to the Civil Services Mains examination in both the pattern and the syllabus. We know that now there are 4 General Studies Papers apart from one Essay and Optional paper each.

This article discusses preparation strategy for General Studies -1 

Before you start reading further, please remember the following important instruction given by the UPSC:

The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio‐ economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.” 

This sentence is the guiding light for your preparation. You don’t have to master the topics, all you need is BASIC UNDERSTANDING and the ability to analyze.

Basic understanding comes from reading and re-reading. Ability to analyze what you have understood from reading comes from WRITING PRACTICE (Secure – 2017)

how to prepare for upsc civil services mains new pattern, upsc new pattern and new syllabus, strategy for IAS main examination, UPSC


GS-1 broadly covers Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

Under this heading  total 12 topics and around 40 sub-topics are given in the syllabus.

Two important things fundamental to your exam preparation:

  • Get familiar with all the topics and sub-topics by writing them many times – they should be  strongly etched in your memory.
  • Keep a copy of the syllabus always with you no matter where you are.

Now, how to deal with GS-1?

Assuming you are now familiar with the syllabus of GS-1, we will discuss a topic by topic what to read, from where to read and what not to read for these topics.


Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

In this topic, the sub-topics are  – Art forms, Literature, Architecture – from ancient to modern times. All you need to study for Art and Culture part is just TWO sources:

  1. NCERT Books
  2. NIOS Books

Among NCERT books, one indispensable source to read first and foremost before proceeding to any source is: Class XI NCERT  An Introduction to Indian Art. 

Once done with this book, then read following NCERT books. Here, in the following books, along with reading history of India, look for art and culture related topics and make a note of them. You will not find separate art and culture chapters in  these books, you have to mine them.

  1. NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past
  2. NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
  3. NCERT  Class VIII – Our Past II and III
  4. NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I
  5. NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II
  6. NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

You have to read only a few chapters from each book that are related to Sub-Topics. For ex, you have to read only Chapters 2 and 3 from Class-XII -Themes In Indian History-II book.

Along with the above NCERT books, you should start reading NIOS Book on art and culture:

You can download them here:  NIOS Art and Culture

In NIOS chapters, you find good information all in one place. For example, in 2016 Mains GS-1 there was a question on Krishnadevaraya’s contribution to art:

Krishnadeva Raya, the king of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was a also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss (200 Words, GS-1, CSM-2016)

For the above question, complete answer is given in NIOS chapter on Language and Literature (Click Here, Page no. 90 – 91)

Apart from these you should refer following sources for more information:

  1. CCRT Website
  2. Graphic Book On Indian Art and Culture – Free Download


Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues


Note that this topic wants you to cover important events from 1750s to Present. It’s not just related to freedom struggle. You should focus on all important events and contributions of personalities that are significant and have had important impact on nation till now.

For this part of the syllabus, just rely on above mentioned NCERT books and current affairs. You don’t have to read any separate book. Looking at the kind of questions they are asking fro this part of the syllabus, your focus should be on understanding basic events from NCERT and keeping an eye on relevant current events. For example, Netaji Bose files were declassified in August 2016 and there were many articles comparing his contribution with Gandhiji and Nehru. Hence, there was a question on this issue in Mains 2016:

Highlight the differences in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom.  (200 Words,GS-1, CSM – 2016 )




[The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.]

Because this topic demands specific knowledge of Freedom Struggle and its various facets, you must read Bipan Chandra’s Struggle For India’s Independence. You should revise this book at least 2-3 times.

Some prefer Spectrum’s modern history book. But for Mains preparation, Bipan Chandra’s book is very important.

If time permits, you can also read selectively from Plassey to Partition. This book is more analytical and has important insights on all important events and personalities related to this topic.


Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

For this you need to study Chapter 6 to 12 of India Since Independence – Bipan Chandra

0r Chapters 8 to 14 from India After Gandhi: The History Of The World’s Largest Democracy (above mentioned chapters cover completely this part of the syllabus)


[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 communismcapitalism,socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.]

Except for Industrial revolution, Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe (Buy From Amazon India)) covers all topics of this part of the syllabus – it is a very good book. You should also read world history from NCERT books of class IX, X and XI (only modern world history part).

Above book is not available anywhere these days. Best alternative is a book by Arjun Dev – History of the World from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty First Century

You can go through this book – Old NCERT World History Class-X – if you are fond of old NCERT books.


[Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.]

About salient features of Indian Society – don’t look anywhere else – Just read this NCERT – Indian Society Class 12 (Complete book without watermarks)

Two indispensable books to cover this topic:



[Role of women and women’s organizationpopulation and associated issuespoverty and developmental issuesurbanization, their problems and their remedies.]

Other sub-topics are general in nature and can be found in Magazines and Newspapers. If one is thorough with current events questions on these sub-topics can be answered very well by consolidating their knowledge.

This topic is mainly current affairs based. Keep tab on all important events that take place related to this topic.

You should also read about role of women from ancient to modern times (including freedom struggle, art and culture etc). UPSC will test your ability to integrate different concepts and come up with a coherent answer. So, try to interlink different parts of syllabus and prepare notes accordingly.


[Effects of Globalization on Indian society]

This is also general in nature. If you have a basic understanding of Indian Society and Globalization, their mutual relation can be elucidated with ease. Here is a good article from a Marxist politician about the topic. (UPSC people love the slightly leftist version of everything)

To know more about effect of Globalization on Indian Society, you need to know better about Indian Society. This book is a must have for broad understanding of the Indian Society.

If you want to learn the impact of Globalization on Indian Economy, here is a book. (Purely optional)


[Social empowermentcommunalismregionalism secularism.]

This is again generic. But you must know the basic concept of communalism, regionalism and secularism. Wikipedia comes handy here.


For Regionalism In India.


[Salient features of world’s physical geography.

To cover this part two books are necessary:

1. Certificate Physical and Human Geography 1st Edition

2. NCERT Class-XI – Fundamentals of 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)]

1) NCERT Class XII – Human Geography

2) NCERT Class-XII – India-People and Economy

3) For reference:Geography of India 4 Edition


[Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakesTsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.]

This is a repetition actually. You can read Physical Geography book by Goh Cheng Leong which is mentioned above (Certificate Physical and Human Geography 1st Edition)

This topic on critical changes in  geographical features is broadly related to climate change and other anthropogenic factors(such as depletion of resources, dumping of wastes etc). Geographical features like rainforests, ice caps, rivers, corals, cyclones all get affected by climate change. Anthropogenic factors are involved in increasing desertification, vanishing forests, biodiversity, pollution of rivers and lakes, etc.

Your focus should be on such changes. Question may be on how monsoon is affected by global climate change? or how a cyclone is affected by global warming? What effect has the melting ice cap on the biodiversity in the polar regions? etc

Until now we saw what books to read. Now the question is how to remember most of the things we read and how to translate them into better answers.

  • A common mistake most of the aspirants commit is reading so many books for a single topic.This mistake costs both your time and ability to remember things clearly and concisely.
  • Stick to a single source and read it again and again. Remember The Same Source. Avoid the temptation of doing ‘Research’ on a topic.
  • Always Remember – UPSC tests Basic Understanding. Not mastery over a topic.
  • Make short notes on each topic. It is while making notes that readers tend to do RESEARCH and scout various sources. Stick to one book even if you are not 100% satisfied with it.
  • Remember that old saying? – Jack of all trades, master of NONE. If you try to do Research, most probably your name won’t appear in the Final List. I guarantee it.
  • For Paper-II (i.e GS-1) being thorough with Current Events plays a crucial role in enabling you to acquire analytical skills.

Very Important Part In The Preparation

  • Writing. Writing. Writing.
  • But what? – One must practice answer writing to Previous year questions, or take a Mock Test. Whatever, before you enter examination hall, you must have spent lot of time on answer writing.

Most Important Part In The Preparation

  • Revision. Revision. Re-Revision.
  • You do this and you appear for the Personality Test.
  • If you don’t Revise what you read all these months – you slightly miss the Personality Test, or You narrowly miss appearing in the Final List.

Well, to sum up. To get the interview call all you need to do is: Read, Re-read the same source, Write and Revise.


  • This is Commendable effort. Thank You.!!

    • Welcome 🙂

      • Ajit

        Sir can you please please please specify the exact chapters of books for mains Art, Literature and Architecture Part

        NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past

        NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I

        NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III

        NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I

        NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II

        NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

        • shona

          I also want to knw but ajit I feel tht you hv to read all chapters u find much more…. knowledge

          • amar

            i am agree with you Shona but atleast we should ask because we are not here for research but to crack IAS exam.

            • Suneeta

              even i need dis info..:)

        • ramya

          Instead of reading selected chapters I think its better to read synopsis of all the ncert books. I am studying ncert books synopsis of chapters of history, geography and economy from Later we can read selected chapters from standard text books. This is what one of my senior advised me.

  • This is very much informative… Thank u so much to share your knowledge with us Sir…..

    • You are welcome. Thank you 🙂

  • mayanks

    Hi, can you do a similar list for all the other GS papers too? It would be such a hit among us aspirants!!

    • Mayank,

      I will update soon on other papers. Till then keep sharing this post among your friends. Also tell others so that they too can get benefited from this. Thank you. 🙂

  • Pushkar Jha

    Very nice and comprehensive sir. I request you to Similarly update us for GS Paper-(II,III and IV) also. Thannnk you very much.

    • Thanks. Please share this post with friends and ask them to share with their friends.

      I will soon update strategy for other GS papers.

      • Shruti

        Sir,,,,plzzz provide us with preparation guide for prelims paper 1 nd 2

  • Thomas

    any idea about cut off’s??

  • amala

    how to prepare for upsc civil service mains for paper 3

    • Amala,

      Next week I will update that. By the way, you didn’t tell if this post was useful or not?

  • Mohnish

    Hello sir…once congrats n thnk u so much fr ths great effort of yours….
    sir please suggest me a good book which covers solved prelims papers of last 10 years

    • Mohnish,

      You will get many books in this category. I suggest two books – buy either of them. Suggestion – Buy them for QUESTION PAPERS only (last 15 years), not for solutions – because errors will be there for sure. Click Here : Book-1 and Book-2

      • abhishek

        adorable insights,
        I have a doubt. Is the suggestion to refer to the last 15 years question papers of pre, apt ?
        I have read quite a lot on Indian CSE on internet. The prelims aspirants before the year 2010 were suggested to collect 20K-30K, trivial questions.
        But after the pattern change, the premise to look at the pre-2010 era of preliminary exam has become futile.
        50% questions(pre) are inspired from Current Affairs and rest from the conventional areas (which can be practiced after looking at the books like tmh-mcq for the different subjects of pre ! )
        eg. General Studies 14000 Questions – TMH



        please correct me if I am wrong so that I also buy the books suggested in the previous comment.
        I shall be thankful.

        • Yes I have suggested going through last 10-15 years prelims and mains question papers. It is for getting an idea about the nature of questions asked. I am aware nature of questions asked are totally different now. From previous year papers one has to go through questions on static (conventional) topics – polity, history and geography.

          I think above books are modeled on previous year UPSC questions. If they are good you can go for them too, Practicing questions is always good. These question banks are priced pretty cheap. Important thing is, one must read these during and after reading standard text books.

  • Mohnish

    I hv nvr seen anyone answrng each n evry person n advising thm properly n nt jst doing formality…..thnk u sir….you r awesome….i wl trouble u in the future also. .tk cr

  • nitin

    i want to prepare for ias but my english is not good what to do and my hindi writing is also very bad

    • Nitin,

      You don’t need good English for this exam. Go through previous year question papers and try to understand them, solve them and see where you stand. If you are unable to understand even questions then you may join English Language course/ Hindi course and then try for this exam. If your spoaken English is not good but writing is good, then don’t worry at all. You will do fine in the exam.

      Keep reading a lot and try to write something every day. But don’t ever stop preparing thinking you are lacking some skill. You can always acquire what you lack and then jump into the adventure. 🙂

  • Sweta Dey

    Sir,it’s a great help..your whole website is so much informative..great effort..Sir it’s my heartiest request plz provide a roadmap for geography optional..looking eagerly for that.

    • Thanks Sweta. Soon I will write a post on preparation strategy for Geography.

  • thanx for the above article.this was really helpful.i really appreciate your article.. i have currently enrolled myself at @ for IAS preparation and such articles are really helpful for me.
    once again thnx for that. 🙂

  • Sweta Dey

    Thank you very much Sir

  • aqueel

    thanks for all ur given informations…they r vry helpful…sir, can u plz suggest me the books for the preparation of ias prelims exam(paper-1 and paper-2 )

  • aqueel

    Sir, i was vry confused that how to start and from where to start, bt ur given informations r vry helpful fr me…i hv more questions that i want to ask!! sir, as i m beginner i hv nt much knowledge about the strategy that should be followed…
    1)should i join any institute now or after some self-preparation???
    2)sir, u hv mentioned in ur answer “all ncert texts of class 6 to 12”, does it include the literatures(hindi,english,urdu,sanskrit etc) nd subjects like sociology, psychology, mathematics of class 11 nd 12??? sir can u plz elaborate the names of all the subjects that i should follow fr the preparation???
    3)sir, should i follow any magazine???
    i hv browsed nd followed so many sites nd blogs bt amongst all those ur blog is more helpful nd informative…i hope i will get all my answers of my queries here!!!
    thanks again fr ur answer….

    • Aqueel,

      Confusion is normal in the beginning stages of preparation. You are in a right place to clear your doubts.

      1) If time is on your side, do self-preparation for 4-5 months and then go for coaching. Study all books 2-3 times and get acquainted with basic concepts. Go for coaching only if you have substantial doubts. Also, you can join test series for writing practice (later).

      2) Read NCERT – Class VI to Class-XII Social Science texts (Geography, History, Polity, Sociology and Economics). Class VI to Class X Science + Class XII Biology (if you are not from Science or engineering background). Read all books 3-4 times (Yes many times! 🙂 )

      3) You must read Frontline (The Hindu publication) and any monthly magazine – stick to only one. Chronicle/Wizard/Pratiyogita Darpan – any one, but ONLY ONE. Personally I suggest that you cut important articles and news items from The Hindu newspaper every day and make a file.

      If you find this site useful, please spread the word about this to your friends. So that they too can get benefited. Keep visiting. 🙂

  • aqueel

    thank u vry much sir…i hv started preparing fr the exam as u hv suggested…i hv also told to my frnds about this blog…thanks again sir..i will disturb u in the future again… 🙂

    • You are welcome to disturb us anytime 🙂 And thanks for letting your friends know about this blog!

  • Siddharth

    thank you sir for your wonderful job……god bless you

  • shaniraj

    Dear sir,
    I am aspirant n i have started preparation 3 months back.currently i am reading NCERT books and some other books(Bipin chandra- Modern History,Constitution and parliment-Kashyap etc).
    However still not getting idea about how to read for mains point of view,what should be read and what not and How ?
    seeking for your valuable guidance!!

    • Shaniraj,

      You should have syllabus with you always. Also have previous 10-15 years question papers (see above right – a book link is given).

      It seems GS is vast, but once you start solving previous year questions, you will start getting an idea about the nature of questions that might be asked. Keep reading and at the same time try to write answers. You can start with answering daily 2 questions I am posting. (see above – Daily Answer Writing Challenge).


    this work is really commendable…persons like me who want to train themselves for the exams like writing questions and revising topics…. this site is really gonna help….i request you to update books topic wise for other gs papers also… it will be a great help to us… thank you…:)

    • I am glad you found this site useful. Yes, I am posting soon on other papers of GS. Thank you.


    do we need to read the entire book of bipin chandra’s “india’s struggle for independence” and “”india since independence”….????

  • Avinash

    Commendable job, useful for every aspirant and very useful for ME.. thanks for your efforts … Waiting for your posts on the remaining GS papers. 🙂

    • Thanks. They are on the anvil. Please keep visiting.

  • Dhammapal Khandagale

    Brilliantly written taking into account each part and sub part of syllabus. As you mentioned that there should be slightly leftist tinge to answers. But i believed that answers should reflect balanced views.

    • Thank you. That ‘leftist’ thing is my personal opinion – but yes you are right – view should be balanced. 🙂

  • Shruti

    Thanq so much sir….ur both d blogs on G.S. mains are fabulous….thanq so much for providing us such great articl…..plz also provide such info for other two papers of G.S. n also for geography mains….

    • Shruti,

      Thanks a lot. I am very happy that all of you are liking the posts. Yes, I will write on other GS papers too. Please share the link to these posts on other forums and with friends too. 🙂

  • Rupesh Dahal

    What a article, many sites gives books details, but in your blog we find hope, inspiration to acheive something, I am blessed enough that I got mentor like u to guide me to understand this ocean like UPSC exam.

    Thank u for being with us

    • Thank you 🙂 Please share this article with your friends.


  • Sudha

    Its really a great job to gather all the details and share. Hats off to you. Awaiting your discussion about other GS papers too. kindly share e-books to solve Prelims paper 2(if there is any). I am the beginner just gathering information on where to start with and your blog is the best among the sites I looked into. It would be great if you could suggest on which topic to start with. And also advice is it essential to take up a coaching class or self preparation will help in swimming the big ocean..!

    • Sudha,

      Thank you very much.

      I am working on strategy for other two papers. Hopefully I will upload soon.

      I have some e-books for Paper-II Prelims. I want to focus on prelims after mains is over. As it is illegal to share ebooks directly on sites, I am not doing that.However, I share my personal copies to guys who request through mail.

      As I have told many here, start with NCERT Social science texts. You can have a look at certain suggestions I have given for beginners here:

      Coaching is not essential if you are very disciplined, highly motivated and determined to work hard. Guidance is needed, for which you can approach this blog anytime. 🙂

      • Sudha

        Thank a lot for your advise and guidance. I have gone through the link on the suggested books and that is really helpful. It would be great if you could mail me the copies to my e-mail. Thanks in advance.

        • Sudha

          Can you please suggest me with the books for economics, which will help in preparing for both prelims and mains after having basic understanding of NCERT’s.

          • If you have finished reading NCERT then you can read Indian Economy book by TMH It is good for both Prelims and mains. You should also read a book by Uma Kapila, but now it is not necessary. You can buy it next year along with the economic survey.

            For economy part, most important is reading Economy section in The Hindu. I personally suggest reading Business Standard. It is a very good paper.

            • Sudha

              Thank you. Can you please mail me the e-books for prelims paper 2 and others which you feel will be useful to start preparing.

            • abhishek

              I have found this site just now. I have shared this site with my friends on different forum. My friends also liked this website.
              What is the difference between the “contents of websites” of the ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Business Standard’. May I refer to the websites only without buying the hardcopies of these newspapers.
              I am preparing remotely, so I face problems in getting English newspapers.

              • abhishek

                * What is the difference between the “contents of websites” of the ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Business Standard’ and their “physical hardcopies”.May I refer to the websites only without buying the hardcopies of these newspapers.
                I am preparing remotely, so I face problems in getting English newspapers.

              • Thanks for telling your friends about this site.

                The difference is only in feeling. Some people love hard copies, whereas some like to read on their tabs, ebook reader etc.

                There is no difference between offline content and online content, actually online content will be more. You can read news from different section like – national, international, opinion, business etc. You won’t miss any news. Only this is you should get used to it – it is tiresome sometimes. Best thing is, you can maintain a separate folder for news articles on your system by copy pasting important articles and revising them later.

  • shreekant singh

    Sir . i am going through your blog every day since last 5 days and i am following same thing what you written.
    Is It possible to crack the UPSC in first attempt starting from scratch. i am going to appear in UPSC 2014 and i am starting my preparation for UPSC from November 2013.

    So please guide me and give me some tips which is going to useful for me.
    My DOB is 15/01/1985 and 2014 is my first and last attempt for UPSC. I resigned from my job for UPSC Exam. Please sir guide me how to prepare smartly.

    Thanks a lot in advance. And your blog are really impressive. I like it more than any blog which I read

    • Shreekant,

      Yes it is possible to clear this exam in first attempt. I will write an article of integrated strategy for Prelims and Mains in few days. In the mean time, please go through other articles written for mains. You have to prepare 2014 mains along with prelims. All the best 🙂

      And thanks a lot for liking this blog. Sorry for the late reply 🙂

  • sneha verma

    Sir your both the Blogs on G.S Mains are Absolutely Great…. Thank u So much for providing us such great information.
    Sir, Plz also provide information for commerce and accountancy…..

  • sneha verma

    Thank u Sir.

  • Sandeep

    Hi Sir,
    Is 20 days really sufficient for preparing paper-II?
    How many hours per day would you suggest for an effective preparation?

    • Sandeep,

      Ya 20 days is enough. 7-8 hours per day – planned study is sufficient.

  • aqueel

    hello sir…i am going through the NCERT books as u hv said…Can u suggest me the subject which i should take in literature part? can u suggest me the english books and other things for preparation of qualifying paper? and also the books related to hindi literature(qualifying paper)? i will b vry grateful to u sir…

  • aqueel

    thank u vry mch sir…can u plz tell me which type of questions come in literature part? or frm where can i get questions related to the literature part?

  • Mayur

    Hello Sir,

    I am aspiring for CSE 2014. I will be of 29 years of age then – as on 1st August 2014. Good thing is that I am applicable for age relaxation upto 35 years (Belonging to SC category). While appearing for mains I would have completed 30 years as my birth month is October. Do I need to apply for age relaxation while feeling DAF form for Mains – scheduled on Dec 2014? Also appearing so late for CSE; does it have any bad impact as far as ultimate selection is considered? I am highly determined towards civil services and being in private sector (software) for 7 years would it have negative shades on my profile?


    • Mayur,

      Your age at the time of applying for prelims counts. If you have valid SC certificate and 10th Marks card, they would suffice for age relaxation.

      Appearing late for this exam doesn’t have any negative implication on your ultimate selection. There is a myth that aged aspirants, or ones who have used many attempts are given less marks in the interview – it is wrong. If they find your personality suitable for civil services, then they definitely give you good marks.

      You actually have an advantage here. Your 7 year job experience matters in the interview. Only thing is you should have a valid, convincing explanation for moving from current job to civil services. This question will definitely come up in the interview. Give them honest answer.

      If you are highly determined then go for it. As long as you have concern for the society, care for the people and have passion to serve your country – and if these qualities are reflected in your personality and you work hard, no one can stop you from becoming an IAS officer. Good luck 🙂

  • Harshal T

    Thank you for the wonderfull initiative Sir… I have cleared Prelims and i was very much confused as to how follow the Mains preparation as i have not joined any coaching class. I came to know about your website today only and today itself i have made 20 pages notes of it. looking forward to write the answers.

    • Harshal,

      I am glad this site helped you. Please keep visiting.

      • Neha

        Thank you sir.

  • Neha

    when will you will post details of reference for GS – iii and iv?

    • By this Sunday they will be on the site. Thanks.

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  • preeti

    sir, i took maths as my optional.i am very good in maths. is it good for me to take maths as optional. i’m confused. plz guide me on this. thank u.

    • Preeti,

      Get last 5 years Maths question papers. Solve them all. See if you are comfortable. If you are, then go for it. It is a good optional.

  • Vipul

    Thank you so much sir !
    It was indeed a pleasure reading your suggestions and valuable advice.

    Firstly I have major query about the synthesis of different topics while studying on a day . for instance should I read 2-3 chapters of Lakshmikant and then switch over to some other books in a similar manner for the day or should I try to complete 1 topic completely and then move to the next one ?

    Secondly do i need to maintain notes out of various ARC Reports also or just highlighting points there itself would be better because of the large volumes they all contain together ?

    And Sir I needed your methodology for the rest for GS papers
    (GS-3 nd GS-4) and also about reading India Year Book !

    Waiting for your reply Sir

    • You should finish a subject first, make notes, keep them ready for revision and go for a next one. Reading 2 chapter each from 2-3 subjects is not a good idea. Finish one after one – but most important thing is ti make notes (for conventional topics). If not whatever you read will be a waste of time. Revision is must.

      If your reading is fast and hate making notes, you can just highlight what you read and read the SAME material 3-4 times.

      For paper 3, within 2 days I will post it. Thanks.

      • Vipul

        Thank You Sir

      • Thanks sir

  • m.k

    no words sir 🙂
    having written a mains…i could see how specific,analytic, sharp your website is….
    let the heavens shower all their grace upon you.
    continue your great effort….hats off to you sir!

  • How to prepare for gs paper 3 &4

  • How to prepare for general studies paper 3&4

  • Its very informative
    Thanks sir

  • amit

    sir I am belong from rural area near nepal border. here no guidence available for IAS exam. I am not able to go delhi bcoz economic problem. so I am totaly depend on internet for guidence. plz suggest me some useful websites . and my English is very bad. I have listen that without English I can not qualify this exam. plz suggest

    • You have It is a good site. If you can search, it is also not a bad site.

      You can qualify – you need basic English only. Read elementary grammar books and also read English newspapers regularly, your English will improve.

      • SuperSid

        Admin you are far too modest. Naming before yours.
        Still good work. Keep it up.

      • yogesh lakra

        Hello Insights, First of all salute to you,for your hard work to help lakhs of students without any price, I really respect your modesty and humanity to say before your name. no doubt that you both are excellent and not a single IAS aspirant succeed without your guidance and help.
        I am 27 yrs old, working in an IT company in noida, married and waste more than 3 hours just in travelling from my home to office.
        Civil services is in my head always since my college days, but couldn’t prepare for it dedicately because of family constraint and my lack of will.
        now when I have seen IT life and I have successfully completed my family responsibility(to some extent), not even a single day went without repenting, where I am standing where I wanted to go.
        I am seeing no other option other than UPSC.
        I cannot leave my job as I am the only bread winner in my family, I cannot join coaching in karolbagh and mukherjinagar as I dont have full time and also on weekend household work are so much that I consume these days doing them or reviving myself for another saga of unwanted life.
        but one thing is there in me because of that I am still dreaming about UPSC. i.e Hardwork.
        I take sleep of just 5-6 hrs that is more than sufficient for me, have 14/24 hrs access of internet or laptop as I am a software eng in a reputed MNC.
        do you really think that I can step in LBSA one day. please suggest me what to follow what not to.
        I really need your help as I think most of the students need.
        once again really thankful to your all hardwork, please continue with your kind helping.
        one suggestion(I am not paying anything to give suggestion to you still I feel,sorry) in your daily hindu analysis video voice quality is not good, there is lots of disturbance. please look into this if you can.

        • Chasing Tom

          I am not insights but I am someone who crossed your situations. I also dreamt for IAS but due to job responsibility couldnt take any concrete step.
          But friend it is now or never…… are still 2 yr younger than me and have sufficient time to prepare but the only thing needed is desperation from your side……… rely on insights and just follow their strategy.
          If you had decided to attempt CSE then tighten you seat belt and accelerate but dont regret for past and dont look back………..bcoz you willnot be get anything from you past

          • Geetha

            Are u from karnataka…?

            • Chasing Tom

              no…..i am frm chhattisgarh

            • Sadashivaiah TG

              hi are you from Karnataka.?

    • ramya

      there are good sites like,, for basic ncert notes you can visit

    • kiran

      just follow this site…its awesome…..stick to it and work according to it. success will be yours….all the best

    • I too have the same situation. I am also from rural area and I can’t go to Delhi to join coaching. Fortunately, internet facility is available to me.

    • trojan

      Friend Amit, the problem of language has always been a cause of concern for many people like us. i also belong to a place called Lakhimpur kheri Uttar pradseh, a Nepal bordering district. i was also a victim of poor English at some point of time but Just keep remember one thing that u cant be defeated untill you want to be defeated. Yes, English might be a problem for you as it was for me also but here if anybody can ever be helpful for you then its you only. if u want to be appear in CSE only in English medium then from this day onward just forget that anything like Hindi exists for you. Read English newspaper

      ( The hindu) and other stuffs in eglish without shedding your courage in any condition whether u r getting anything or not out of it. it will take time little more than you can imagine for getting clear picture from your readings but it will create a clear picture soon that too in a better way and bigger than u can think about. A castle takes more time to be built than any other normal house. Be a such stubborn for this thing that every adversities and deficiencies have to be knelt down infront of you. I dont have very BIG accomplishments to put as examples from my side but i can only say that today english is merely a mean for transacting thoughts and ideas efficiently and effectively for me . Today i can feel a true comfort with it.

  • preeti

    will there be step marking in maths optional paper?

    • I don’t know Preeti. If I come to know something, I will update it here.

    • Sandeep Gabhale

      Hi Preeti,

      For Mathematics as an optional check with Prakash Rajpurohit Blog and Kashish Mittal Blog. Both of them have explained nice strategy for Mathematics and also provided books list.
      I’ve also opted for Mathematics as an optional.


  • Anastasia

    This is really awesome! 🙂 Well… the need of the hour for any CSE aspirant is to have a proper plan and practical implementation to it.

    Thanks for helping me make my plan! 🙂

    • Anastasia,

      Thank you. I am happy this post helped you.

  • Arpit Gupta

    Hello sir,
    first of all congratulations 4 this awesome blog.

    Sir i want some guidance about newspaper reading and dynamic part of syllabus.
    i spent almost 6 hrs daily for the same.
    National news-30 min
    intrnl news-30 min
    economy-1 hr
    editorials(The Hindu)-1 hr
    editorials(The indian express)-1 hr
    Science , tech, environment ,biodiversity,public health news from different sources-1 hr.
    Frontline-30 min daily
    CST-30 min daily

    All they together killing my 6 hrs daily.leaving very less time(say 4-5 hrs only) for static part and optional subject.

    Sir i am confused what to skip to get more time 4 static part.

    • Mayank Raj

      Well done, Mam. Keep it up
      You are a source of inspiration to aspirants like us who are unable to devote more than 7-8 hrs a day.

    • Arpit,

      If you are full time into exam preparation, then the above number of hours spent are justified. If not, you should first spend more time on static part for mains new pattern. Finish all the static part first. Till then devote 3-4 hours for current events (and these should be related to static part in some way)

      Thanks for appreciating this blog. 🙂

      • Arpit Gupta

        Thank you sir,
        your inputs are valuable for me.
        BTW i am in full time preparation.
        but when i saw those people who says that they take only 1 hr to to finish news paper.i fill somewhat leg behind them.

        But now after your answer to my query i am Worry-free.

  • abhishek

    great work for those u can”t affoard going delhi.
    just clicked ur site & my doubts for mains-2013 got away itself.Quality work & please update us everyday.

    • Abhishek,

      Thanks. Yes, I will try my best to update it regularly. New ideas/suggestions are welcome.

  • atharv krishna

    sir,thanks for ur great work. u r a “light in dark” 4 those who are in remote areas & can”t keep touch with delhi “market” .though my many doubts had cleared aftr touching ur web.but i hav some different questions-
    1) i was on bed since june due to a surgery so could not touched a page of i cleared prelims n also feeling a bit of better & hd started GS1 history+ my optiona now.
    but whenevr i saw “new” syllabus,a question comes in mind can i do all this in remaining 3 months while many are preparing since june/july?? are these remaing days are-more or sufficient or very less?? n whatever condition is, what strategy should i follow 4 preparation because i don’t want to give up or waste time at any cost.
    ur comments will b highly valuable for me. waiting for ur reply.thank you.

  • Maaduri

    Great work 🙂

  • appu srva

    Excellent article bro… Thank you so much.

  • azhar

    SIR .how can ve complete this paper in 20 days..?

    • Azhar,

      You can. If you can study 4-5 sub-topics per day, write answers on them by framing questions, you can do it.

      • azhar

        sir it took me 1 month (daily 3 hours ) to complete GC LEONG .
        is it slow ?

  • naveen

    SIR amazing work… thanks a lot for ur this immense hard work.. sir what about paper remaining papers..

  • abhishek

    Is the “answer and the essay writing practice” provided by this website a ‘substitute’ to the test series offered by different coachings like visionias and synergy?
    Please elaborate !

    • Abhishek,

      No. It is not a substitute. Those guys who provide test series are experienced and might know lot about giving good feedback to their students. I don’t know how they conduct test series and how is their quality of feedback. If you have enrolled into any one of those test series, you can share your experience here.

      This answer writing challenge has certainly helped improve their answers for few participants. I have seen it and they have shared it. Unlike test series conducted by those institutions, this program is a participatory one and anyone can see anybody’s answers and comment on them.

      Commenting helps in broadening our own understanding.

      Coming back to your question, I don’t like to tell that this is a substitute for a normal test series as we are not giving a detailed feedback (assuming above mentioned institutions give that) and it’s free! 🙂

      • abhishek

        We all know that answer writing pratice is paramount for the CSE aspirants. I can understand the constraints related to the services which are free.
        How can I help this website earn some revenue?

        • Thanks Abhishek.

          Now I am focusing on building a strong base for a good website exclusively meant for IAS preparation without profit motive. I have some affiliate links (very few) but as you might know money earned is very very less. (if people recommend this site to buy books online it will be a kind thing to do 🙂

          Later to build a robust site money is definitely needed. I don’t know how you can help generate revenue. If you have any idea, you can share it. Thanks a lot for coming forward to contribute something.

          May be I can put a ‘Donate’ page, but I am not sure if people will actually pay! 🙂

          If more traffic comes, may be in future I can put more affiliate links without spoiling the look of the site. More traffic is the key for any site to monetize effectively. If people talk good things about the work done here, in the long term more people will visit.

          The aim is to build a site that is exclusively oriented to IAS preparation that becomes a platform for serious aspirants to prepare well for the exam without wasting their time on useless debates and gossips.

          Honestly, right now focus is on making this site more useful for aspirants. Give correct guidance to them. May be if someone likes the work done here, money will follow too. But it is secondary.

          • abhishek

            Why don’t you launch the complete online version of the mains test series? Like visionias and synergy have it (completely offline) ?
            this is a good suggestion that I would like to give you !
            Some of the premises supporting above business concept !
            1) 900+ seats of UPSC, 2500+ series aspirants(means, able to write quality answers).
            2) all will never get selected.
            3) the guys who appear for the interview, are certainly capable to check the answer sheets !
            4) almost all the aspirants need money!
            5) you can organise an interview before selecting such people for correcting the “pic of the answersheet uploaded by the aspirants”, to the questions uploaded by you !
            6) significance of the test series are increase with the increasing opinion based answers.
            7) leaving your home and preparing is not easy. Financially too !
            8) The optional subjects would be abolished a day !
            9) Its a great suggestion. Start small………….should be a big hit !

            what do you say?

            • Abhishek,

              Thanks a lot for the excellent suggestion. Even I had thought about it, but felt too early to do this.

              I have to evolve a simple model based on your suggestion – that is about a purely ‘online test series’. One big advantage of Online series is the getting quick feedback unlike postal where one has to wait for more than a week to receive comments and work on it.

              The question is how many would actually enrol? They should have a smartphone/camera and regular access to internet to upload answers and send it for evaluation.

              If many come forward, I am willing to conduct online test series for half the market price (plus more tests).

              And the feedback will be comprehensive.

              And this regular ‘Daily Answer Writing challenge’ continues unabated.

              May be I will put into vote this proposition this week. If the response is good, I will hold the test series ASAP.

              Thanks again for this idea.

              • abhishek

                I have started my preparation since june-2013, so I am currently getting tuned in to studying longer duration of hours. I currently do not have any opinion on any happening. I am not comfortable in expressing myself in English, like the other aspirants express themselves in their answers. So I am not participating in the writing challenges.
                I have had review of your site on, they all suggested me to join a test series for mains(instead of completely relying on the internet for answer writing). The quality of the answers/suggestions are still of amateur quality(according to the veterans, there). But they did tell me to practice answer writing on this site. It would not be counter-productive to anyone, in any way.
                There’s always a risk in every business. But if it becomes a hit then no one can stop you from becoming rich ! (The revenue of Flipkart for the year 2012 was 3000 crore).There are many-many aspirants preparing remotely(after getting motivated by Mrunal-the great). Ohhhh…… any thing in the world is possible on internet, just look at , what a great website they have made. The minimum cost to stay in delhi is about 15K Rs(multiplied by, the number of months you stay, which is definitely costlier than any of the hardware ! )
                I am planning to go to delhi in march/april-2014, only to join a test series for mains-2014(the one which has more number of students enrolled). (If you don’t come with the above business concept)

                again, start small, take risk !, you won’t regret later, you won’t earn much this season, you would have to work on advertising etc

                • Thanks Abhishek for this wonderful suggestion. I have decided not to take risk. May be next year or after Mains, I will start Test Series. Now this site is still very young and content is being prepared to make this site more popular.

                  I don’t want to screw up by jumping too soon into business just for earning quick bucks. 🙂

                  • Sudha

                    Yes, you can make it a brand, “INSIGHTS” in future. Its a good strategy to first make it popular and then spread it. May be start from online test series, coaching and then centres established throughout India with a name gained. And you can start that from Bangalore 🙂 Hope you will make it for sure for all the good works you are doing at present. All the best.

                    • Thanks a lot Sudha 🙂

                      Spreading throughout India!!! 😀

                      No such lofty dreams as of now. But surely will make it a brand. For this help from you people is needed – not monetary, but just a word of mouth spread about this site.

                    • Sudha

                      No harm in dreaming high bro 🙂 yes spreading to the maximum possible. And do not hesitate to ask if we can be of any more help in the process of your making. Like contributing to materials or other manual efforts also.

  • naveen

    what about gs-4
    Thank you

    • GS-4 – unfortunately not getting enough resources to post a detailed strategy.

  • subahsh

    hi friends

  • subhash

    hello everyone

  • sai

    Hello sir
    First of thanks for this helpful guide. 🙂
    I had a doubt
    Which book should I refer for modern history
    Comprehensive History Of Modern India – Spectrum
    Brief History of modern india.
    You have mentioned comprehensive in the main article,
    but brief history in one of the comments.

    • For mains, just go for Bipan Chandra’s book. Spectrum books are for Prelims. The comprehensive book is a new edition – updated and enlarged. I have suggested it for preliminary reading before going for Bipan chandra. At this moment, for mains, Bipan Chandra should be read.

  • Is it needed to Read Bilology and Chemistry NCERT Class XI and XII for Prelims?I am from engineering background.

    • No need to read any of them except last few chapters(On ecology and environment) in NCERT Class XII Biology.

  • pandhari

    sir plz suggest books for ethics(gs paper 5)


    Sir, u hav suggested “spectrum book by Rajiv Ahir”for topic “Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present” in GS 1.but this book covers history till 1947.wat abt until present part??i tnk “India since independence by bipin chandra” needs to be covered full!!
    Please clarify? i am confused regarding this section!!

    • For post 1947, you have to study India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra.

      You have to study few chapters in it. Chapters 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 , 18, 27, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35 and 38

      • When it is honestly suggested, you give one star 🙂 🙂

        • Sadhika

          Sir, in the article you suggest that one should read chapters 6-12 of India since Independence.. and now you’ve listed the above chapters from that book..could u kindly clarify which chapters pertain to the syllabus of GS-I? Thank You! 🙂

  • manmohan

    please suggest some material for Ethics,Integrity,Aptitude…..GS-4

  • Gokul

    Sir,due to some reason I couldn’t read The Hindu newspaper because it is not available in my area. So is Indian Express sufficient or not?

    • Is it New Indian Express of Indian Express? If you have access to net, read The Hindu, this paper covers important parts of the syllabus.

      • Gokul

        It is Just “The Indian Express”

        • If The Hindu is not available, The Indian Express is a good alternative.

  • kd

    hi i just wanted to inform that there is a book story of civilisattion part 1 n 2 by arjun dev (old ncert),its good for history of world (world wars etc etc)…thanks

    • Hey thanks. Is a soft copy available for sharing?

      • kd

        no i dnt have a soft copy but there is a book by the same authors “History of the World from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century 01 Edition”,its available on flipkart,its a good substitute…

  • sachin mayekar

    Sir will old ncert for world history be sufficient or is it necessary to look for other sources too ?

  • pandhari

    dear sir
    plz recommend me old geography ncert for preparing geography optional. ..

    • Old NCERT Geography books except one on Indian Geography are not needed for optional paper.

  • pandhari

    how to prepare for geography optional

  • vikas

    Hello sir,
    Wishes for your Commendable work.
    FOR Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

    Sir you recommend Spectrum book but also discouraged it for the candidates writing mains this year coz of its bulky and factual nature.

    kindly guide for above especially for events from 1750’s to 1858 and to what extent bipin chandra’s India’s struggle for freedom is to be read.

    • sachin mayekar

      Read “FROM PLASSEY TO PARTITION:A HISTORY OF MODERN INDIA” it covers the period u mentioned very well.It has also received positive reviews in flipkart

  • Richa

    hlo sir ! can u plz tell me that geography of Surender Singh published by Tata Mc Graw Hill is sufficient for the prelims and mains preparation of upsc

    • I have not seen that book. Sorry.

  • Richa

    and sir plz. guide that how much to read frm it geography of Surender Singh published by Tata Mc Graw Hill

  • atharv krishna

    hello sir,
    preparation for mains is going well under ur i m worried for many current affairs which will come in each paper bcoz i m not in proper touch due to hectic schedule.
    current affairs of how many previous months will b required before dec 1 mains?
    and from where i should read those current affairs? plz suggest any source or magazine etc.
    waiting 4 u quick reply as always. thank you.

  • Anjali

    Insights if you have soft copy old ncert of class 9th which is supplementary to one you have provided above of class 10th, please provide a link, it will be of great help.

  • Rocky

    What about Key Resources around the world? where to prepare it from?

  • divya

    thank you so much really its very important and helps me
    but have a doubt is above mentioned books are enough for cracking gs paper I


    Sir, Can you guide which chapter from NCERT or other books belongs to the sub topics. I am going through the all chapters in a doubt it may be important. Please reply.

  • Akash

    Thank you so much. Your efforts are commendable.

  • Abhi

    Great efforts were placed for us. Thank you so much.

  • Carie

    Hi, thanks for helping us by suggesting various useful info. You are helping us who are residing in remote area and not able to access coaching centre.
    Could you kindly help us with GS 11,111 and 1V , thank you…keep up the gud work

  • Sameer

    Thnx a lot Sir for your valueable indepth analysis.
    I am so delighted with your step by step analysis of the different aspects of this exam.
    Sir you have provided the old ncert text book for class x volume 2 only.
    Sir can you please provide the old ncert vol 1 for class x also. Thnx

    • I didn’t get soft copy. Other soft copy was sent by one reader of this blog.If I find it, I will upload it.


    Thanks alot for this initative. Which is helping me alot to get a clear picture.
    Sir, Can you guide which chapter from NCERT or other books belongs to the sub topics. I am going through the all chapters in a doubt it may be important. Please reply.



  • Abhishek


    Thanks for the providing the list of relevant books. I would really appreciate if you could mention which chapters to read from the 6 NCERTs you have mentioned for Art and History:

    NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past
    NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
    NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I
    NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

    Thanks in Advance.

  • pandhari

    sir plz give ur syllabus wise strategy as like gs papers for geography optional. ..
    thank you

  • amit thakkar

    Marvellous!!!!!!!!!!!! sir , highly stupendous enlightenment.. I owe u for this nd d day ill b in d corps. ill definitely seek to thank you by meeting you . Thank you again.

  • Wat r d sub topics sir….can u please help us by providing the list

  • Omprakash kuldeep

    Just 1 word awesome…..thank you so much sir for this most valuable guidelines

  • Anurag Thakur

    Sir, for topic 11, I have gone through Human Geo book and I found only chapters 5,6 & 7 relevant to the syllabus, rest all didnt look much related.

  • Q is the above strategy applicable for 2014 also or not? And for history part do we have to read all the ncerts given? And lastly luv dis site vry much….am followin the above strategy?

  • tanq sir you providing a gud source of preparation,even coaching center also not providing this much of awrness and information.,i want to write mains in telugu plz suggest some tips sir…

  • nitish kumar

    thanku very much sir…………

  • Gaurav

    there are two books for Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe on flipkart…… one is for rs.2246 and other for rs.280. which one to buy. Is there any difference in the content of books….


    sir in india freedom struggle by bipin chandra
    which chpters are very important for study for pt as well as mains

  • Carie

    Sir, is history of modern world by jain and mathur can be use for preparation…

  • Carie

    Sir. Is it necessary to study revolution of American, French, Russian for GS Paper main for world history…….thank you

    • Yes it is necessary to study them.

  • V.Umarani

    Sir!!! regarding environment,ecology and bio-diversity , whether any magazine should be followed for current affairs. Please suggest me what they are.

    • ADITYA

      You can read down to earth magazine. it Is very good for environmental ecology and climate change perspective. plus very helpful to get a environmentalist perspective on important legislation.

  • Aspirant

    For the World History section, as you have mentioned, Norman Lowe does not cover events from Pre-World War. Could you suggest any book which covers 18th and 19th century World History comprehensively

  • anusha

    is it necessary to read complete book of india after gandhi or Chapters 8 to 14 sufficient? wat about topics like jp movement,minority,is it not needed for mains?

    • ADITYA

      I would personally suggest india after independence over india after gandhi. i believe the latter book Is not fit from academic point of view to be studied for such a exam. it has been written with a novel style just like john keay writes.

      • Read ‘India after Independence’ from exam point of view.

  • akash kumar

    A brief History of Mod India or Comprehensive History of Mod India(spectrum)…which one should I go for(for both prelims and mains)??I already have bipin chandra.

    • ADITYA

      For history as part of general studies brief history of india spectrum plus bipin or comprehensive Is suffice. comprehensive plus bipin history seems overkill for me. albeit you can refer 2 to 8 from comprehensive to cover period of 1750 to 1850 if you are going to use bipin for topic 3 of syllabus.

  • sonu

    Hi, you said not to refer more than 1 book for a topic but you have recommended both spectrum and bipin chandra.Please clearify. Also what chapters we have to study from certificate geography.
    Another concern: should we just study gs and no options for upsc’14 as other optional may aslo be removed next yaer?

    • ya right. I didn’t say for same ‘subject’. Bipan Chandra doesn’t cover from 1700 to 1857. You have to read it from somewhere else.

      Did UPSC tell about removal of optional? It’s a rumour. But it is good to finish all GS papers first and also keep in touch with your optional.

      • ashutosh singh

        donot spread rumours here keep all shit off!! or ****off. insight admin be strict about rumours ,i was disturbed b’coz of this comment as i have finished my pubad course. get rumours off. upsc will not make any change for next two three years at least so just study optionals also.

        • Hey relax. You should not get disturbed by any comment. I never allow rumours on this blog. I have replied him that it’s just a rumour.

          And, even if you are angry, try to be polite. 🙂

      • vysha

        Will you plz update the articles “HOW TO PREPARE FOR GENERAL STUDIES PAPER” for 2014?

    • Regarding topics, please read what I have mentioned in the article. First read completely and then complain.

      • sonu

        Thank you so much for so quick and personnel replies.Really appretiated. You are really amazing. I had posted the same query about studying optionals only , in other websites but still waiting reply.This site indeed has the insights.

  • juneid

    sir, is there any single book which covers all the topic.

  • preeti

    sir,i request if you could plz mention which chapters to read from the 6 NCERTs you have mentioned for Art and History:

    NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past
    NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
    NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I
    NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

  • nalanda

    Hello,you are doing a good job by providing guidance to IAS aspirant and thats also free of cost.keep it up.ok now my question is that “how many chapters should i study from INDIA’S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE BY BIPIN CHANDRA FOR HISTORY AS MAINS SUBJECT?”plz reply me as soon as possible.

    • For Mains you have to read all the chapters from Struggle For India’s Independence.

  • preeti

    sir plz reply to my question its been 2 days i hv been waiting for ur reply…….plz reply me as soon as possible…..

  • manish
    • Second one is for basic reading and is a reduced version of the first one. You should only buy the first one.

  • preeti

    thanq sir…


    Sir your site Is absolutely great for guidance to candidates like me who hail from humble economic background. sir i have a doubt regarding wording of syllabus.
    Sir the topic no 7 says : role of women and women organisation population and associated issues poverty and developmental issues urbanization THEIR PROBLEMS AND THEIR REMEDIES.
    Sir my doubt Is whose problems AND remedies Is the Last wording talking about? Is it of the women’s problems? and are the topics of population poverty and urbanization relate exclusive to those faced by women or by the populace as whole?
    Thanks again for your valuable guidance vinay sir.

    • ADITYA

      Sir awaiting your kind reply.

      • It it refers to all the topics- women, population, poverty, development, urbanization. For each topic one needs to know the issues and the solutions.

        • ADITYA

          Thank you so much sir for your kind reply.

  • Carie

    Sir,can u suggest me good books for history optional for mains.
    Thank u…

  • R Dinesh Babu

    sir…what is the fee structure in your institute for history optional along with test papers also……!!! only history optional(subject+test papers)…..!!! waiting for ur answer and eager to join…!!!

  • rini

    sir strategy for geography plzzzz

  • gyb

    truly a detailed analysis of mains (:
    a query:
    which chapters shud I read frm romila thapar’s ancient history fr mains as well as prelims?

  • Varun

    I am enlightened by seeing this site.The only thing a serious aspirant needs for civil services is their hard work and proper guidance.The latter you have provided.NOW COMING TO QUERIES..

    1. For 2nd topic of gs paper1 history up to present: India since independence by Bipin chandra has many chapters like from 14(political parties….) to 24(The punjab crisis). Do I have to read all these chapters.
    2. The third topic of freedom struggle: There is a book named freedome struggle by bipin chandra(NBT). Is it sufficient or his other book India struggle for independece should be read.

    I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing and I don’t have any words to appreciate your work.
    Thanks in advance for replying……

    • Varun

      For clarity I have both books of Bipin(Q2)

  • Nikhil D

    @Insights: I have a query regarding topic 5.

    The link you have give for world history (Amazon, India) takes us to the book ‘Mastering world history – by Judy Bittinger’. Is this book same as one by Norman Lowe? Can we buy this one? Please clarify. Thanks.

    • Nikhil D

      @Insights: Vinay Sir, can you please respond to my query? I have planned to complete this topic till November end. Your inputs will help.

  • nitin

    sir i am preparing for ias in hindi and i am facing difficulty as your website have english pdf and material .i tried to search in hindi but not succed .i request you to please provide url or information for hindi medium student if avaliable

  • Dear sir,
    help us to saying it that which chapters of NCERT books are required to study.
    It shall save our time and print cost. Pls!

  • archit jain

    bhai….. thanks a ton….. u dunno how much easier have you made the preparations….. :):):)

  • ABHI


  • kapil saxena

    Plz tell me how to prepare for prelims 2014.

  • puneet

    I am reading NCERT of 12th and making notes of the same…. it took me around 3-4 days to complete 15 themes of 3 books….
    Plz guide me how to read and make notes of all the books that you have mentioned in just 20 days!!

  • Tejaswi

    I have followed INDIAN GEOGRAPHY by KHULLAR,
    is it necessary again to follow GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA by MAJID HUSSAIN,
    Kindly reply.

    • it’s not necessary. Khullar is sufficient.

  • Abhishek

    Hi Sir,

    The new questions are out. After looking at them what are your opinions on India After Gandhi vs India since Independence for Topic 4 – “Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country” of GS1.

    I have read “India After Gandhi”. And I loved the book. I started reading India since Independence, but I have to say, its no match to India After Gandhi.

    I wanted to know what you think.

    Also, the questions related to “Tashkent Agreement” and “India Bangladesh war of 1971” are given in later chapters of the book. Does this mean a thorough reading of the complete book is required and not just chapters 8-14 as you have mentioned?

  • Sir, I Am Going To Complete My +2 In 2014. I Wanaa Know That Whether It Would Be Right To Join Coaching Institutes Just After That

    • No. Join after your graduation. Pattern and trend keeps changing. By the time you finish graduation, your coaching might seem redundant if you go for coaching so early.

  • vishal

    hello sir
    was going through your article “HOW TO PREPARE MAINS GENERAL STUDIES PAPERS “.sir, now that the mains questions are known, are there any changes in material/articles.
    can u please give your valuable updated suggestions and approach on how to prepare after seeing the question papers, if any , apart from ur articles.

    thank you

    • aditya

      I also logged in to say this same thing. Sir please update all your 4 articles of general studies study material in light of the questions of this years mains. It’ll really helpful to slim down the number of books as newspaper STUDYING Has gathered huge importance.

  • is it necessary to read all chapters from mastering world history,as this book is very vast and sometimes deviates from upsc syllabus.

  • UPSC Aspirant

    Sir i am confusing about ” TOPIC Number 2 ” – modern indian history book. Which Bipin chandra book are you talking about ? there are many books available in market under the name of bipin chandra :-
    1) OLD NCERT – Modern Indian History.
    2) Orient Blackswan Pubs.- History of Modern India.
    3) Penquin Pubs. – India’s Struggle for Independence.
    4) Penquin Pubs. – India Since Independence.

    and last you mentioned in prelims test series,
    5) Orient Blackswan Pubs.- From Plassey To Partition: A History Of Modern India by SEKHAR BANDYOPADHYAY.
    6) Spectrum – History .( this webpage )

    which one book is most recommended ?

    Thanks in advance

  • UPSC Aspirant

    Sir i am confusing about ” TOPIC Number 2 ” – modern indian history book. Which Bipin chandra book are you talking about ? there are many books available in market under the name of bipin chandra :-
    1) OLD NCERT – Modern Indian History.
    2) Orient Blackswan Pubs.- History of Modern India.
    3) Penquin Pubs. – India’s Struggle for Independence.
    4) Penquin Pubs. – India Since Independence.

    and last you mentioned in prelims test series,
    5) Orient Blackswan Pubs.- From Plassey To Partition: A History Of Modern India by SEKHAR BANDYOPADHYAY.
    6) Spectrum – History .( this webpage )

    which one book is most recommended ?

    Thanks in advance

  • Rahul

    Sir, can you tell the chapters to be covered from “India After Gandhi” for topic 4……..i know that u already told 8-14 chapters from “India After Gandhi” or 6-12 chapters from “India Since Independence”. But later in reply of a comment ,u told the chapters 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 , 18, 27, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35 and 38 are to be covered from “India Since Independence”. So what about “India After Gandhi”????

  • Rahul

    Sir, can you tell the chapters to be covered from “India After Gandhi” for topic 4……..i know that u already told 8-14 chapters from “India After Gandhi” or 6-12 chapters from “India Since Independence”. But later in reply of a comment ,u told the chapters 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 , 18, 27, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35 and 38 are to be covered from “India Since Independence”. So what about “India After Gandhi”????


  • Jyoti

    NCERT_Geography 12th Class “India- People and Economy”…… downloaded from NCERT Site, but all the maps are blurred. Searched google for recent and Clear maps but couldn’t find all relevant maps!
    Can Someone Help, Please!


    Thanks Sir for your valuable suggestions, I request you to please tell the chapters to read from FACETS OF INDIAN CULTURE. I finished reading NCERT portion for indian culture told by you.

  • Raju

    I liked to read your articles on IAS preparations however I am in 1st year of engineering this worth lot to me,so I want to say you heartily thank you.

  • karan

    Sir you told me not to join coaching institutes before my graduation but can i read all those books which you have mentioned for gs 1,2,3,4. And secondly i want to know that as upsc has changed the exam pattern whether upsc also changes the syllabus contents annually . Sir i have one more problem. I have made my mind about choosing public administration for my future optional subject and naturally i would give more importance to it in my graduation but if at that time upsc announces that know there will be 2 optionals to choose. How one can tackle that problem. Sir i am really really inspired from your hard work which you are doing for the upsc aspirants. I am very enthusiastic about becoming an ias and i hope you help me clear all my answers as soon as possible.

    • Akash

      Dear Karan, mean while you should focus on GS, you never know if optional paper is bumped off from 2015 onwards 🙂
      #a friendly advice
      Thank you !

  • Mourya Bicham Singh

    I will write my degree final year exams in march 2016…now I am in degree 1st year….my age now is 20…..will I be eligible to appear for prelims 2016…
    waiting for your kind reply..

    • anilyadav

      and last year in graduation can appear for exam
      anyone who is above

  • anilyadav

    iam an engineering student from andhra pradesh can i take telugu litreatrue as my optional subject plz anyone respond to me

  • Hello sir,
    For world history i am going through Bv Rao. As i felt that books is lucid and easy to understand Please tell me is it okay for gs or do you want me to shift to norman lowe . Waiting for your reply
    Thanks in advance

    • Any one good book is enough. No need to buy another if you’re satisfied with one.

  • karan

    Sir pleaseeeeeeee reply my queries of feb 14 waiting for your reply.

  • karan

    Sir pleaseeeeeee reply feb 14 queries

  • yogesh patil

    Sir please suggest me books for “Sociology” mains optinal paper

  • Look for vegetarian items at: The Vegetarian Resource Group web-site:.
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    lemons are free). It’s easy to make, there are tons
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  • sir,how about spectrum book for geography…with this any other book is also reqd or is it sufficient with ncerts?

  • vikas chaturvedi

    Hello sir,
    firstly thanks a lot for ur support. 🙂
    and, i m strictly going on ur sight as books recommend by you…

    Thanks 🙂

  • vikas chaturvedi

    And i want say to my friends more searching of books means more confusion, so select concise nd completly focus on it 🙂

  • i am very confused,please tell me, for gs preparation in paper 2 . as i am reading india struggle for independence from bipan chandra. but i am founding it as deep study. is that only bipan chandra modern history is not sufficient along with any other good book for these 2 topics ( Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues and India’s Struggle for Independence )
    please revert as earliest.

  • Ray Abhishek

    Respected sir/mm ,
    I have doubt which always hinders me that,if a candidate has passed prelims,,,,,,, and has also cleared mains writing answers in English only but he have less fluency in speaking English…….

    Can he speak hindi in an interview?????

  • Hi, could you please share the pdf files of old ncert world history books. You have given the class X link, could you share all the others as well?

  • Kirthi

    Vow. What a site! It is as refreshing as it was an year ago 🙂

    • Support

      Thank you 🙂

  • That ‘pathfinder; book is not available anywhere. So I wanted to know if the strategies given above is taken from that book??

  • Renga

    Thank you a lot for info and resources

  • its really helpful thank you

  • Venkatesh Nayak

    Worth to follow

  • Rahul Kumar

    Hello, sir I have decided to take psychology as my optional..and most of the suggestion on net are inclined to m ukul pathak sir notes….I have just start preparation and going to take part in 2015 exam .and I HV no intention of coaching for psychology. Plz sir guide me .

  • sumit

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you for your unconditional support no words to express about this excellent initiative by you & your team. Thanks a lot & god bless you.

  • sumit

    Please tell us which chapters have to be read from ncert in history. As in your article you have mentioned chapter 2&3 of themes of history part 2 , likewise if you tell us for others. I shall be very thankful to you
    Thanks in advance.

  • rashmi rana

    i am very very impressed by the quality of this this website 🙂 … i wish availability of such quality site for hindi medium also 🙁

  • suraj singh

    Respected sir,
    Please provide such quality site for hindi midium also, bcoz understanding the english matters takes too much time and i’m facing dificulties in time management.
    Plz sir help us……plz plz plz….
    Thanks in advance.

    • Dear Suraj,

      Unfortunately our Hindi is not so good. We do not have people to either translate or write in Hindi for this website. I understand your concern, but I am helpless. Thank you.

  • Amit

    How is Khullars book of Comprehensive geography of India instead of Geography of India 4 Edition.

  • Hello sir , sir world history ke liye best book kis writer ki rhegi ……..


      Dear Gurusha Rohin,
      There are many solid books on World History available for UPSC Main Examination. Of course,Norman Lowe’s or Arjun Dev’s books are good but they will not help to answer the Main Examination’s History questions completely.

      Here is a list of solid books.You can go with any one of your wish and they covers the entire Syllabus. These books are recognised as the best in every top universitiy.


      2–JOHN MERRIMAN–A History of Modern Europe :From the Renaissance to the Present (W.W.NORTON)


      If you want to go with a Classic:–
      1:–C.J.H.Hayes–(A)–Modern Europe To 1870(Volume–1) (Surjeet Publications)
      (B)–Contemporary Europe Since 2870(Volume–2) (Surjeet Publications)

      Wishing you all the best.

      Sanjeeve Bhai.

      • SANJEEVE

        Dear Gurusha Rohin,
        Kindly read the Volume-2 of C.J.H.Hayes as “Contemporary Europe Since 1870” (Surjeet Publications).

        The error is regretted.
        Wishing you all the best.

        Sanjeeve Bhai.

  • Anuva

    No words to say, what a grateful work your doing Sir.


  • Amit

    Sir I am confused between Khullar and Majid Hussain for geography! which one should I go for?

    • ramya

      go with khullar

  • Meena

    hi, this strategy was for 2013 Mains, Is there any updated version for 2014 Mains?

  • Swaraj Mohanty

    Kindly let me know the expected date of result for Prelim 2014. According to the answer key for Prelim 2014 (provided by 3/4 different institution) I shall get 220 out of 385 marks. Am I in a safe zone ?

  • pratyush Dwivedi

    How to prepare ethics?

  • Tathagat

    respected sir(s) & co-aspirants,
    can you suggest which chapters we should have to finish from above mentioned books in the topic of 1,2&3 0f GS1??? PLS help!

    • You have to read all chapters. If you are aiming for 2015, please read all chapters.

      • Tathagat


  • Tathagat

    sir i think i’ll get your kind reply.thank you.

  • Amit

    Awaiting for reply on whether khullar or Geography of India by majid hussain is good one. Also do we have to read India after independence as a whole or some part of it?

    • Khullar is for Optional subject. It is given in-depth. You should primarily rely on NCERT geography books, and for reference go for Majid Hussain.

  • Amit P


    Do we have to read everything from India after independence by Bipin chandra or selective reading is enough.Also how many years of past question papers would be suffice to understand the question paper format of UPSC Mains. Awaiting your sincere reply.

    Thanks and Regards
    Amit P.

  • Ashwini R

    This website is doing great… thanku so much… this will help to the students those who r in confusion mood to start the syllabus…

  • I think this is the best way of preparation for UPSC examination.Thank u so much sir for describing all things……..

  • Navdeep Singh

    Sir Should i go for NCERTs to cover the topic no.12

  • Bobby

    Incredibly beautiful posts. Must for civil service aspirants

  • Mani

    sir, Iam preparing for Civil services exam and I am working. How to read news papers it is very difficult to me to read whole news paper can you suggest me?

  • amit patankar

    Do we need to read the whole ARC Report or just the recommendations and conclusion would be suffice.

  • MJ

    Apt, Precise and very Usefull

  • Navdeep Singh

    Sir should i go for ncerts only for topic no. 12 if gs 1

  • sud

    sir can u pls tell me which chapters should i study for gs1 topic1 in the ncert books u have mentioned and is it necessary to read other reference books after reading ncerts?

  • Peeyush India

    sir what about the current events ,,what we all get fm this website about various newspaper ,will that suffice or we need to refer yozna and kurukchetra also…pls shed sime light on this.

  • Subhash Chandra Tripathi

    good one…..
    thanks a lot,

  • nooffence

    Thanks sir….
    Its is really
    helpfulThanks alot

  • Arpit Patel

    sir, these articles were written before 2013 mains…after analyzing 2013 mains papers…is there any modifications in source list you mentioned here…?

  • navin

    sir please update the links for topics like regionalism, communism etc. with ur articles on them … thanks!!!

  • amit patankar

    Facets of Indian Culture or
    Indian Art and Culture
    Download Free Material
    Graphic Book On Indian Art and Culture
    do we have to read all four or either 1 of these.

  • rain and rainbow

    should we read 12th ncert- themes in world history?

  • mns

    Hello sir,
    I have read old ncert history textbook for world history..Is NORMAN LOWE still required?Please guide.

  • aspirant

    To download free e-books and civils materials ….

  • supriya

    i cant tell you how thankful i am for your generous work… this is the best strategy for ias i have ever come across

    • ramya

      Hi are you preparing for 2015?

  • gyan15

    sir, i am in a small dillema. there are still 5 whole months for the prelims exams. but while we get so much time to prepare for prelims the time for preparing the mains gs is just 2-3 months. my question is should we prepare for gs mains paper alongside our prelims preparation in this time of 5-6 months or should we just leave the mains preparation for after prelims?? pls reply

  • rashmi sahay

    hello sir

    i am very avg student ..and for gs2 only doing
    laxmikant..hindu…insight/mrunal and Previous year questions….but not
    satisfied with my preparation…and very disappointed…what how
    strategy..i am all alone in this path please guide me…waiting for reply

  • Athul K

    Sir , from below mentioned books , which- which are the chapters that we have to refer . Please suggest.
    NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past
    NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
    NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I
    NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

  • Name_is_Bond


  • Karthik Kp

    Can anyone say who won thae battle of hydaspes.some say that western people has rewritten the history.

  • kumari


    Please specify the chapters in the below books pertaining to Topic 1
    NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past
    NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
    NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I
    NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II
    NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

  • aashish

    sir, plz give the substitute of g.c.leong for physical geo.(hindi medium) and other topics resources outside the books u mentioned, for hindi medium. i hv written 6 mains of uppsc and 1of bpsc, but hv not appeared in upsc after my first(pre fail) attempt in 2010. kindly help me with resources in hindi medium..hope for ur reply……. SAABHAAR

  • neha

    PLEASEEE mention chapter no’s to read from bipin chandra book?????

  • Tejas Suthar
  • Shivaji


  • Shivaji

    Thanks for this guidence

  • Rahul Sharma

    is there any mains test series by u like u offer for pre?

  • pavan

    Sir how to practise answer writing
    is it 1. first study about the topic then read , reread and answer
    or 2.pick up a random previous year question then answer (which may surely demotivate) or
    3.complete a set of topics and then answer questions related to them

    or is their any pretty good way of practising answer writing …, plz reply.

  • amit

    Sir with reference to yr mains guidance programme 4r d paper 2 i have a query that pz mention d specific chapters of NCERTS 6,7,8,12th with respect to d Topic, Indian Culture”Salient aspects of Art Forms,Literature n Architecture..!!thanks sir..pz reply asap

  • Tinks

    Please update the strategy for 2016

  • upsc online academy


  • amit

    Hello sir pz mention d chapters of spectrum regarding this topic”Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present– significant events, personalities, issues” n in Bipin chandra for
    “The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country”topic!

  • Krishna Patel

    U r doing really a great job.

  • amit

    Sir pz tel me d chapters to be covered in spectrum for d topic”Modern Indian History from about the midddle of the 18th century until the present-significant events,personalities,issues.”thank u!

  • Shivaraju C M

    Thanks a lot for your kind work sir. I was fumbled looking at the syllabus where to get the organized material for this :D. But now you made my life easier. Thanks a lot Sir 🙂

  • Ahmad Alam

    my name is aftab,from champaran bihar
    i want to prepare for civil services(hindi),but i dont no how to start it.
    can any one guide me

  • Ahmad Alam

    is english as a language is necessary,if Y than how i improve my inglish
    i hope u must replay

  • MAN in blue

    All the best for mains 2015

  • y.abhishek reddy

    Sir for the question in previous year gs paper-1 of “Why were many battles fought at Panipat?” you have said that the basic geography and climatic conditions have to be known. In which book do they mention the physiography of Panipat and climatic conditions even if so its an history book? Please suggest any sources for the same.

  • Ahad Ali

    both self study guide and this stategy is same or one has to do each simultaneously or separately.please answer??

  • Ahad Ali

    actually what i am lacking is and strict time table.please assure me with link about a time table enough for a comprehensive preparation.please reply asap

  • Ahad Ali

    actually what i am lacking is a strick time table.please assure me with a link which would help me to cover time table comprehensively and a reliable time table.please reply asap

  • Geetha

    thanks a lot to insight…From:Bangalore
    (kannada litrature)

  • Very good article sir. Now before starting anything else, I am going to learn memorize civil services by heart. Thanks for guidence.

  • Very good article sir. Now before starting anything else, I am going to learn and memorize civil services syllabus by heart. Thanks for guidence.

  • manoj

    sir… should i prefer study material from good coaching center over books u suggested above…….

  • MJ

    Thank you so much insights for value material..:-)

  • Akshay Wanave

    Can u suggest me books for English literature(optional paper ) of UPSC and how to prepare it i have completed my degree with English Literature

  • Raj Verma

    Hello insights..
    Should i go with above books mentioned or stick to mission 2017 syllabus..plz clear,i want to be in a single direction..

  • Mahesh Janjire

    very helpful information sir..Thanks a lot..!

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