TOPPER’S PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION STRATEGY: Abhinav Goel, Rank 36, Public Administration Marks – 254 (CSE 2015)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We are happy to post Public Administration strategy followed by Abhinav Goel, one of Insights‘ follower. He had practised Secure questions for his General Studies preparation. He has secured exceptional marks of 254 in Public Administration in 2015 UPSC civil services Mains and has secured Rank – 36. Shortly, he will be sharing his GS strategy as well.

Abhinav’s Marks
GS 1-106
GS 2-88
GS 3-112
GS 4 -90
PUB AD 1-114
PUB AD 2-140

Hello Friends,

In this post, I would like to outline the basic strategy which I tried to follow while preparing for public administration as my optional subject. During my three attempts, the scores have been as follows:

2013- 180 marks

2014-232 marks

2015-254 marks(114+140)

Strategy: Most aspirants opt for public administration as an optional because of its perceived benefits in the general studies papers. One does derive some help out of it  for our GS papers. Nevertheless, to score well in the subject requires one to go beyond the generic content and acquire specific domain knowledge. That needs to be complemented with the current issues, case studies or facts to make the content more relevant.



  1. Class notes(if one has attended coaching-Rajesh Gupta Sir’s notes and Pavan Sir’s class notes are helpful)
  2. Prasad and Prasad for thinkers
  3. R.B.Aribam(good for quick revision as well)
  4. Sharma And Sadana (for chapters like Personnel Administration,Financial Administration)
  5. Nicholas Henry(For paradigms in Public Admin, Budgetary Models, Public Policy)
  6. Mohit Bhattacharya-New Horizons
  7. Mohit Bhattacharya-Social Theory and Development Admin(some chapters like Anti development thesis,women empowerment,Capacity Building Approach of Amartya Sen,Bureaucracy and Development)

Focus should be on understanding the concepts and developing linkages. For eg while studying thinkers one must follow the broad approach like- basic theory of thinkers,critical appraisal of the theory,linkage with other theorists and practical application of the theory in public admin in general and Indian admin in particular.Also while studying,various aspects of indian admin must be incorporated in chapters like personnel,finance,development dynamics,public policy, admin reforms etc.


In recent times, UPSC has increased the difficulty levels of paper one. Scoring well in paper one has become unpredictable and any amount of preparation cannot guarantee safe score. One must concentrate more on Indian Administration to get good score in Public Administration. Indian Administration also helps us in our Polity & Governance Paper in General Studies. I focussed more on Indian Administration and it helped me a lot in overall score in Public Administration and GS Paper II.

  1. Arc Reports are a must( one can go for the summary given by Pawan Sir if there is paucity of time)
  2. Punchhi Commission Reports(esp for topics like Governor,Emergency,Financial relations between centre and states,Planning Commission ,Security issues)
  3. Rajni Goyal and Arora
  4. Magazines like Yojana and kurukshetra are helpful(special issues on panchayats,women,developmental issues must be read -for eg the yojana on panchayats had very good tables and facts on level of decentralization,best practices by various states and the impact of decentralization-case studies).
  5. Following experts for certain areas( urban Development-Isher Judge Ahluvalia’s articles)
  6. Other important government reports like Law commission report on electoral reforms.
  7. Reports like ADR (association for democratic reforms),SCOPE(Standing Conference of Public Enterprises).
  8. Economic Survey
  9. Newspapers-I used to follow The Hindu and The Indian Express
  10. Plan Document(For info on schemes,PPP,)

It is important that every aspect and every point is substantiated by a concrete example.This method was very well exemplified by Pawan Sir also when i attended his  test series module.For eg in a question of criminalization of politics,one needs to mention the percentage of MP’s with a criminal background ,the no of working hours wasted etc. I had maintained a separate notebook and made chapter wise repository of such information from daily newspapers and magazines.


The secret of success for writing good answers in Public Administration lies in understanding the questions. Most of the students fail to write good answers simply because of their failure to understand the questions. In the last three years, UPSC has deliberately increased the difficulty levels of question paper as they are more interested in those students who have conceptual clarity and ability to write those concepts in a simple manner.

I  attended the test series conducted by Pavan  Sir and  his simple,lucid approach towards the subject was very helpful.Some guidelines which can be followed and which were well articulated by Pavan Sir also are:

  1. It is better to write in point format.
  2. Try to write as many points as possible rather than explaining a single point.
  3. The question must be well understood and only relevant material must be written which justifies the context of the question.
  4. Writing answers in as simple manner as possible with a focus on basics.
  5. Another important aspect about answer writing is your ability to interlink the concepts,whether in paper 1 or paper 2.Do link the concepts liberally.For eg,In a question of district admin, while mentioning frequent transfers of administrators as a constraint, one can bring in Maslow’s theory to indicate that frequent transfers act as a demotivating force.Human resource Management in Indian Admin can be linked to Behavioural theorists etc
  6. Candidates are expected to give examples from Indian Administration while explaining the concepts in Paper – I.
  7. Since the number of questions to be answered are more (in the last two years UPSC has increased the number of questions), one must have good writing speed as you can get marks only when you write answers to questions.                                                                                                                       

I sincerely hope that the above information should help the candidates regarding preparation for Public Administration and am more than willing to help those candidates who have doubts regarding their preparation. They can write to me and I shall reply to their queries as soon as possible.

Wishing all of you best of luck.


  • Fanny

    Thanku for valuable points . Does ignou notes play no role ?? I thought it would be important.

  • aspirant

    thanks for the informative write up…
    and congrats
    but where shall i write my doubts so that u can reply???
    since you didn’t provide any mail id ..

  • swathi

    Hi Abhinav,

    Firstly, congratulations on your success…I have applied for 2016 exam with Public Administration as the optional.
    Inspired the way you have worked towards the subject. How far is co-relating topics from paper 1 & 2 helpful? Do you suggest to read them separately or together? Example Strategy i follow is Personnel Admn from paper1 & Civils services from paper 2 along with ARC and contemporary issues..
    Do suggest if any changes are required?
    Also provide your mail id…
    Thnks in advance.

    • Abhinav Goel

      Thanks a lot…yes it’s a good strategy to prepare common topics together…study personnel,financial admin,admin reforms together.
      My email is – [email protected]

      • Ishita

        hello Sir .. 1st of all, many many congratulations… 254 is very cool…
        Could you review some of my answers? Please… and if time permits, could I ask you some Qs about the strategy I am following…. in your mail? Plaese do reply…

        • Abhinav Goel

          Hi ishita
          Thanks…yes you may write to me regarding any queries

  • Undaunted

    Thnks for sharing the information .. But please provide ur email id for asking doubts .. N it would be very kind of you if you can give topic wise reference material to be read .. Also please tell us the relevance of ignou material and where all it is required ..n last but not the least .. Congratulations for your success ..

    • Abhinav Goel

      My id is [email protected]
      I read only public policy from ignou material…so I am not aware of other sections

  • Ankur Singh

    Here is Tina Dabi(AIR-1) prelims marksheet.

    • raunak ranjan

      So how did she qualify? The cut off was 107 i think.

      • Jeeves

        If this is true, then it is reservation, in the ‘marks of recommended candidates’ list which was on upsc site under COMM column it shows 1, so may be it is reservation.

      • Chacha chaudhary

        Mere Bhai, She is “SC”!!!

        Reservations ne Zindagiyan barbaad ki hain Hum Jaison ki!!!

        • Arvind Kumar

          i dont agree wid u. Reservation ki kyon jarurat pari ka hum jawab khojenge to apka reservation ke prati apka nazariya badal jayega.

          • Chacha chaudhary

            Brother, jawab dhoondhne ki bhi jarurat hai kya abhi?
            Sab jante hain, sab kuchh jante hain!

            But, seeing the level of family, do you really think the people like Tina Dabi should be entitled to Reservation?

            Yes, there should be reservation!
            But for whom? For which class of the society? For which painful and poor sections?

            Is baat ka jawab aap dhoondhenge, to aapka bhi resrvation ke prati nazariya badal jaega.

            Anyhow, good luck!!

          • PK

            Bhai Arvind do not argue with Chacha ji , you will find people like him every where who will pointing their fucking finger here and there. Besides that he is releasing his frustration of not claring UPSC on this site.

            • Chacha chaudhary

              Seems you have Topped the Exam Everytime!
              At least use the words, which express you are civilised. You yourself have proved what worth you people deserve!

              “Fucking Finger”!!

              Great words..!!

              Great..Keep it up!!

              I hope I won’t get any duncish notification from people like you in my Inbox. Kindly leave.

              • PK

                Thank you chacha Ji for your motivation. I will try my hard .

      • Jasmeet 2017

        she is dalit !! or u may say SC !!


          actually she is ST( category 1)

          • Arvind Kumar

            she belongs to SC


        where is this cut off notified?????

    • Thank you and you know any other candidate marks please post ………….. i know tina dabi marks because she is date of birth is 09-11-93 so you will find like that right and if you have any other person mark list please post its my request we will know build the new strategy its helps other aspirants as well and god bless you////////////////

  • Alf

    thanks Sir and Insights team .Sir how can we contact you?

  • Many congratulations sir 🙂
    254 in public administration, that’s so cool!

  • Mahantesh S P

    First of all congratulations sir…Scoring 254 in pub ad is excellent…Thanks a lot for the strategy…:)

  • Kamakshi Goswami

    Abhinav Sir, would you please share your study material containing the current affairs case study so that we get some idea of the manner in which we should enrich our answers. Would be grateful. Thanks 🙂

    • Abhinav Goel

      I am extremely sorry.I am presently undergoing training at the academy and don’t have my notes here.
      However what I used to do was create separate sections chapter wise…for eg rural development….and then i kept adding new information
      Eg- Bikaner strategy for swachh Bharat abhiyan…the community had formed groups to shame people who practiced open defecation
      Eg- in urban development….there was a chart in Indian express that gave the figures regarding percentage of waste management…water treatment….electricity connections…slum population….so I collected this and added to my notes
      Now use this material I any way u want…..either in policy failure….in implementation failure…in participatory development(Bikaner case study)

  • KumarM

    Could you please let me know which reports are important from ADR (association for democratic reforms),SCOPE(Standing Conference of Public Enterprises). Please share Report title or any compiled version of material you have which can substitute these report would be more helpful .

    • KumarM

      Did you get any chance to look into my request ?

      • KumarM

        Insights, Can you please chase or make Abhinav to give any input on my Previous request ? The requested information could save more time in my preparation . Thanks in advance .

    • Abhinav Goel

      For the reports…I will suggest that you visit the websites of these institutions and extract relevant information from the reports….There are annual reports of PSU’s which can also be read…they contain information regarding number of maharatnas, navratnas….profit making entities etc.The strategy should be to browse through the reports….read the relevant section and take down notes-either soft copy or hand written so that revision becomes easy

      • Abhinav Goel

        There is a report from ADR on the 2014 lok sabha elections-it contains important facts

  • mpk

    Thanks for Pub Ad strategy…both to Insights and Abhinav…it helped to evade away the myths related to this optional…

  • ajeet

    sir ,please can you give your email id..

  • NPN

    guys can u tell that shall i start writing answers for PUB AD after reading the chapter or first i shall complete the whole syllabus n then start writing ????

    • shariq irshad

      Start writing as soon as you finish a chapter / topic . You’ll be better able to comprehend .

  • Priyanka Gupta

    rank 3 also followed ur site

    • Arvind Kumar

      why are u saying so?

      • Priyanka Gupta

        he has written in his site that he followed insights current events and secure initiative

        • Arvind Kumar

          i think there is an error in typing ur side. U wanted to write 36 but wrote 3 instead.I thought u that u were talking about Rank 3

          • Priyanka Gupta

            Its ‘3’ only. He has written his stratergy in which he mentioned insights.

            • Arvind Kumar

              oh! i c…I think rank 3 is not from insights

  • TDP abhimani

    wow………254 in public administration…….a great feat sir….hearty congratulaltions……….

  • Abhinov Agrawal

    hello abhinav,

    first congrats to you for your great success and also thanks for sharing your preapration strategy. Will you tell me is it necessity of coaching for preparation? will coaching notes be enough for it? also share your preparation strategy for lr general studies as well..

    • Abhinav Goel

      Thanks abhinov
      Coaching is not necessary…however if you are yet to start your preparation you can go for it so that basics are well covered.But again… You can do it by yourself alsoCoaching is not sufficient….you are required to go through the books and reports.a t for chapters which are important and require in depth understanding

      • Abhinov Agrawal

        can you please tell me strategies and how to start preparation for general studies.

  • samarpit

    Thank you for instilling hope in me regarding PA.Mrunal suggests going through IGNOU for base building along with Laxmikanth .
    Q1.Have you studied from either of them?
    Q2. What are the number of hours one needs to spend with the subject to get good marks,given he follows the books you have suggested?

    • Abhinav Goel

      I studies public policy from ignou…rest I did not follow from it
      And regarding time….I think one should follow a smart strategy…when u r reading a book try to mark imp points and make a synopsis so that revision becomes easy….also try to maintain continuity…also if there is some ready material available you can go for it and save time

      • Abhinav Goel


  • Mahesh Reddy

    thank u for ur post

  • pubad

    Sir from where to get summary of arc by pavan .have you these summary in soft copy?


    congrats sir, basically i want to know that whether you have written names of thinkers like chris argyris or others in paper 2 while associating some questions with paper 1 or just mentioned their theory