MOTIVATION: Myths and Mistakes to Avoid, by Kumar Ashirwad, Rank – 35, Insights Offline Student

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hello friends,

I am sorry for the huge delay in posting this article. Had to visit my village where electricity is a luxury and internet connection a futuristic notion.

Let me introduce myself. I am Kumar Ashirwad. I have done my schooling from Darjeeling and Jamshedpur. I did my graduation from IIT Kharagpur in Civil Engineering. I passed out in 2011 and then went to Mukherjee Nagar on 12th June 2011 to start my civil service preparation. It took me four attempts and five years to clear the exam. If on that day someone had told me that success would elude me for 5 years, I am not sure whether I would have continued my preparation. Thank God for our inability to know the future.

During these 5 years I have committed every MISTAKE that a candidate can make in their Civil services preparation. And hence I humbly put forth that I have a lot of suggestions that I genuinely feel will help you to avoid the same mistakes that I made. This will be the first in a series of articles I will be posting on insightsonindia, that I personally feel will be helpful in your preparation.

Let’s begin.

I will first list the MYTHS of UPSC exam. These myths wasted a lot of my time and effort, and it is imperative you avoid these :

1). You have to study a lot for this exam.

WRONG! ABSOLUTELY WRONG! NOT ONLY USELESS, BUT HARMFUL. This approach wasted a lot of my time. You need a broad COMMON SENSE understanding of a wide variety of issues. Not a deep understanding of any issue (here I am talking of GS, not Optionals). I have seen candidates study much less than me and crack the exam in 2 attempts. Why? BECAUSE THEY FOCUSSED ON DEVELOPING A BROAD UNDERSTANDING RATHER A DEEP UNDERSTANDING.  And most importantly because they studied INTELLIGENTLY. Let me demonstrate. Take the XAXA report on tribals for example. Person A reads the entire report (takes 5-6 days) and feels immensely satisfied (Between, person A is me). Person B types “salient points of XAXA report” on the net and reads only that and bookmarks it for revision.

This has 3 advantages. First, the time saved. More importantly but less obviously, there is a second advantage. An average answer is of around 175-200 words. YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME OR SPACE ON THE ANSWER SHEET TO WRITE ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE READ IN THE REPORT. Only two or three points of the report that are relevant to the question asked and that you REMEMBER, which is the third advantage. REMEMBERING STUFF IN THE EXAM HALL. Person A has read too much –  too many reports, too many “bahut zyaada achha articles” in The Hindu, too many books. But because of this he/she cannot REMEMBER 99 percent of what he/she has studied. Person B has read important points of XAXA report, uses those few points in the answer because he/she  REMEMBERS them as he/she has read COMPARATIVELY LESS.

2). Choosing an OPTIONAL.

The parameters for choosing an optional  are sometimes not rooted in reality. For instance do not make “interest in the optional” the only criteria. Yes, you should not hate the optional subject. But the interest holds only the first time you read the subject. Revisions are never interesting. So while choosing an optional please also take into consideration the recent performance of the subject (many deserving candidates with Geography could not make it to the list, because of UPSC’s  genocidal policy towards Geography), the length of the syllabus, the objectivity/subjectivity of the optional etc. While studying an optional for the first time go through the previous years question papers frequently and see whether you can answer the questions. You will, for instance, find that while Anthropology questions can be answered as soon as you read the topic, Public Administration questions cannot. So choose an optional that in your opinion will fetch you THE HIGHEST MARKS PER HOUR SPENT STUDYING THAT OPTIONAL.

3). Read THE HINDU/INDIAN EXPRESS  etc daily.

This is another VERY HARMFUL MYTH. You should read newspapers for a maximum of one and a half years since you began preparation. The aim is to develop a broad understanding of important issues. That’s it. The Hindu is not published as a GS material for UPSC candidates. So after 1 to 1.5 years, STOP READING NEWSPAPERS IN DETAIL. SIMPLY GOING THROUGH THE HEADLINES WILL DO. YOU CAN ALSO COMPLETELY STOP READING IT (I have not read it since 2 years, it’s my personal opinion and was my option!).

BUT, WHY? Isn’t The Hindu, The Bible of UPSC? (religious pun unintended). NO. Let me demonstrate. A question is asked on The Whistleblower Protection Act or the ease of doing business. Person A has read 5-6 “bahut zyaada achha ” articles in The Hindu but scattered over a period of 3-4 months. Hence he does not have a coherent “in-one place” memory of all that he/she has read about the Act.  Moreover he/she has read around 1000-1500 articles of The Hindu (2-3 articles per day). So against he cannot remember the points related to the question asked. Person B has stopped reading The Hindu. But he/she has read the monthly news compilation of Vision Ias or insightsonindia. He/she remembers more points in a more systematic manner because he/she has read them in one place as opposed to reading them in a scattered manner in The Hindu. And obviously Person B also saves much more time and effort. This point is also in agreement with my 1st point of not studying too much.

4). Simply joining a test series takes care of the Answer Writing.

WRONG AND FALSELY REASSURING. Why? First the objective of the test series should be to improve the quantity and quality of your answers. Test series in Delhi can take care of the first (to some extent), but not the second. Because they enroll too many students and hence the quality of checking suffers. Personal guidance is obviously impossible. They do not have enough time to write meaningful comments that will actually help in improving your answers.

In this matter, I was extremely lucky to have the guidance of Vinay Sir in insightsonindia offline test series in Bengaluru. However this will not be possible for the vast majority of the students. You will have to ANALYZE the answers yourself. Read your own answers yourself after a few days of the test. Get it checked by your friends. Find someone who has gotten good marks in UPSC and mail them a few answers. Follow answers posted on insightsonindia website that you feel are better than yours.  Most importantly note down the flaws at the back of each answer sheet. Read them for at least half an hour before the next test. Resolve in your mind that you will not repeat the mistakes this time around. Take up 2-3 random questions and imagine how you will write the answer so as not to repeat your mistakes.

Do these things immediately before each and every test. Approaching any test series in a perfunctory, non analytical manner is a waste of time. In a nutshell, EXTRACT AS MUCH IMPROVEMENT AS YOU CAN FROM EVERY TEST. WRITE. RE READ. ANALYZE. RESOLVE TO IMPROVE. VISUALIZE THE DESIRED IMPROVEMENT. WRITE THE NEXT TEST INCORPORATING THE DESIRED IMPROVEMENTS. REPEAT THE CYCLE. AND DO NOT GET DISHEARTENED IF RESULTS DO NOT FOLLOW IMMEDIATELY. The flaws in your answer writing are akin to an ingrained bad habit and like any bad habit will take time to be weeded out.

5). UPSC requires 14-15 hours daily.

WRONG AGAIN. MISLEADING. You must have read many interviews of toppers who say they studied for so many hours daily. Most probably they are exaggerating or followed a tougher than necessary route to success. 9-10 hours daily is enough. But most importantly BE CONSISTENT. Give up the habit of studying for 14 hours a day, four days continuously, and then feeling so pleased with yourself(actually myself)  that you give yourself a break for 2-3 days. Why? Because firstly, this approach will result in lesser number of hours studied on an average per day. But more importantly, you will forget a lot of what you have studied in those four days. You will have to study it again leading to an entirely avoidable duplication of effort and wastage of time. Take a day off every 9-10 days. But the rest of the days stick to your routine of 9-10 hours daily religiously. BE CONSISTENT. A steady beam of energy results in light. Rapid, short-lived bursts of energy lead to shock. Pardon the scientific inaccuracy of the above statement, if any.

6). The unending quest for TIPS and more tips.

We all love to gather all the tips, all the current wisdom available with successful candidates, coaching classes and other UPSC war veterans. I have, in the past, been guilty of this myself. It inherently feels satisfying to gather as many tips as we can. There are two dangers here. First, no two people are alike. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. The same goes for women. # Gender Equality. The point is the person giving you tips has a different approach, a different intelligence level and a different perspective of things. Do not blindly follow all tips. Use the filter of reason or logic and follow only those which seem suitable to YOU. You are unique and know yourself better than anyone else. So feel free to accept, reject or modify any tips including mine. I have wasted at least two years due to blindly following wrong (for me) advice from well-meaning people. Do not repeat this mistake. Secondly, too many tips lead to too many tips not being implemented. Take a few tips which you feel are logical and the most important ones and then IMPLEMENT THEM IN YOUR PREPARATION. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT HERE. TRANSLATING THOSE TIPS INTO ACTION.

                                                                                   I realize that it is already a long article. But I feel it is very important to know what NOT to do before knowing what to do. I think Chanakya said that. Even if he did not it still holds. In my next article (will be posted shortly), I will dwell upon WHAT TO DO. We will cover Prelims, Mains, Essay and Answer writing in detail. I will also try to upload some of my answer sheets from insightsonindia test series. Hope this article was of some help to you.

Thank you & Best wishes,

Kumar Ashirwad

Rank-35, CSE – 2015

My Marks

Essay – 136,

GS – 1 – 95

GS – 2 – 91

GS – 3 – 87

GS- 4 – 102

Anthropology – 1 – 119

Anthropology – 2 – 133

Interview – 193


  • SherniZaad

    Congratulations sir! A very much needed article.

  • Dreamz Unlimited

    aapke optional k marks dekh kar mere ko tension ho gayi!

    • It’s 133 🙂

      • Dreamz Unlimited

        Sir u scared the hell out of me!!
        Please don’t give such high voltage shocks which can be injurious to an ias aspirants health.!!
        Although it was Nice to hear from you…!! 🙂

  • Abhijit

    Thank you so much Sir…A much needed article…

  • Tanu Singhal

    This was an “accha wala article” after a long time !

    Thanks and many congratulations ?


    Thank q sir .

  • Altaf

    Quite true.thank you sir

  • सहस्त्रवलशा विवयं रुहेम्

    congratulation sir 🙂

  • channe v

    congratulations sir..
    thanks for this insightful article..

  • Doc Vyas

    Congratulations sir… Thanku so much for the inspirational article…. Your Anthro. Score is superb… All the best…..

  • sameer pathardikar

    Thanks for the article, from which sources you studied Anthropology ?

  • rajashree

    Congratulation to you sir…..plz share anthro option….thank you sir.

  • Alexander_MessiahOfGarib

    Thanks sir for posting this article… Congrats…

  • Hemant

    Great article. .. many things I’m also following the same suggestions from this article. . Thanks for approving my approach 🙂

  • Jesse Pinkman

    thank you very much sir

  • Rajesh Reddy

    Congrats dude..Kindly say anthropology paper 2 books what you have studied? I am sufficient with anthropology paper 1

    • Nishant

      Hey rajesh what book one should study for paper 1

      • Rajesh Reddy

        Study P.nath physical anthropology it will cover most of the syllabus in concise way.. if you have sufficient time start with ember and ember..

        • Nishant

          Rajesh will u pls guid me how to start with Anthropolgy. I mean step wise process. Which book to start with? And do we have to study p nath completely or we have to go for selective study. And what about braintree notes? And is it advisable to join any coaching institutes? And from where we could get the selective notes for it

          • Rajesh Reddy

            No need to study everything.. keep syllabus copy. Strictly confine to syllabus only.. no need to study extra matter.. and keep practicing previous year questions on topics which you have studied..

            • Nishant

              OK Rajesh. So just tell me which book I should start with as a beginner

              • Rajesh Reddy

                Which book do have now? Starting will be difficult for any one.. but we have to move.. Start physical anthropology as well as practice Previous year questions simultaneously.. if you find any difficulty join in coaching.. all the best.. if u find any material for paper 2 let me know..

                • Nishant

                  Thanks buddy. Surely I will

                • Nishant

                  Hey Rajesh could u pls tell me what I have to study in
                  P Nath. If possible tell me chapter wise. Though I have the syllabus but I m very much confused. Thanks in advance

                  • Rajesh Reddy

                    Are u science background or maths back ground? I mean degree

                    • Nishant

                      Degree BTech, but in class 12 th it was both Biology and Maths

                    • Rajesh Reddy

                      Start with genetics area.. as you have brief idea in class 11 and 12 th.. it will be easy..

                    • Nishant

                      It might be absurd but could u pls tell me the chapter no in P Nath as genetics is very broad

                    • Rajesh Reddy

                      Start with orgin of life.. chapter 21.. almost everything is covered in. P.nath

                    • Nishant

                      Thank u Rajesh. I will be in touch with u and ask u for further suggestion after completing chapter 21.

          • Rajesh Reddy

            No need to study everything.strictly confine to syllabus and keep practicing previous year questions on topics which you have studied.. what ever which ever material you start with,confine to syllabus only.. coaching guides you as well as it waste time also.. first start if u finds any difficulty then Join in coaching

  • Witty S

    Thanks bro- its indeed a AAcha wala Article-
    P.S. not in the Context u mentioned.. 😛

  • Harsh (Learning Unlimited!!!)

    Anthropology – 2 – 193 (Seriously you blasted it ) Hats off

    • It’s 133. We typed it wrongly !!

      • astha

        how to score good marks in intrvw..i got only 135..:(

        • vidhu

          sab moh maaya hai… 😛 i scored 140 (screwed the interview) Lesson learnt : dont rely on interview for rank…do well in mains and uske baad 99% hardwork and 1% luck in interview 🙂 Cheers 🙂

          • Dreamz Unlimited

            Brother i can understand your pain for missing out in the final list.
            I think more than geog optional you were butchered in paper 2 of general studies.
            I compared your score with mine.
            Except paper 1 of geography, rest all combined we have a difference of 9 marks only.
            I took beating in paper 1.
            If u can share your mail id then we can have some personal interactions.

            • Narendra Modi

              Hi dreamz unlimited, can you please tell me your Geography’s score ?
              Reading what Ashirwad Sir has written panicked me. Is it really true that Geography students are facing hard times ?
              Last year we had many toppers from Geography optional only and I think Miss.Ira Singhal too had Geography ?
              Don’t know what to do now I am really confused :'(

              • vidhu

                Bhai relax…how can you guess beforehand which optional will give you good marks and which will not…if previous trend had been a thing in optional then we could have scored very good marks in geography this year also as it was in 2014 exam…so karam karo phal ki chinta mat karo…may be we didnt write very good answers (upto the standard of getting good marks)…so instead on worrying on things beyond our control it is better to work hard and make the most of the time remaining for the prelims 🙂 Cheers and all the best 🙂

                • Narendra Modi

                  Thanks bhai, you really relieved me a lot. And yes you are very correct even at many places I have read that don’t worry which optional is scoring and which is not, if you have a good hold on your subject then you can score very well everytime 🙂
                  Thank you and All the Best 🙂

            • vidhu
              • Puja

                Hi Vidhu.. I have taken geography optional and Iam working (mentioned this to emphasise on the time available with me). Wanted to ask.. if Spectrum (for base) and internet enough for geo paper 2? How better is Khullar for paper 2? pls throw light some light on what worked for you..

                • vidhu

                  khullar is a nice book…spectrum can be used for revision…for paper 2 khullar + current affairs will be sufficient…draw as many maps and diagrams in the answers…it worked for me..even i am also geography as an optional can be managed…right now please focus on prelims and dont worry…sab sahi hoga…all the best 🙂 cheers 🙂

                  • Puja

                    Thanku so much Vidhu… Feel so relieved to know that u managed to get so decent marks while working.. stay in touch.. time for prelims now.. all the best 🙂

                  • Jeeves

                    Hi Vidhu, sorry for interrupting. How is Majid Hussain for paper 2 geog optionals, I have been studying from it. If khullar is better will it be advisable to shift to khullar?

                  • Ghost_neutrino

                    Vidhu, pls give some tips for prelims? Is it necessary to join multiple test series for practice.

                    PS: I am also a working professional so lil bit time crunch


          • astha

   shoud nt depend n intrvw..give ur best in d best vidhu..:)

            • vidhu

              thanks astha..all the best to u too 🙂

          • Sunil Kumar

            Hi Vidhu, at first, I’m sorry for asking such a question, but do you mind sharing what mistake you committed in an interview? Possibly this could be learning experience for us to avoid the mistake you committed in an interview.
            Good luck! 🙂

            • vidhu

              1. i got nervous while entering the room (Alka Sirohi mam’s board)…had read about and unnecessarliy got nervous…so please avoid being nervous
              2. smile a lot…i smiled but my nervousness was visible
              3. i fumbled on very simple map questions…told baltic sea was near Greece ( after 1 spilt second realized my mistake but by then it was too late and mam said it is very clear how much geography u have studied) 😀 so think before speaking…very important
              4. i gave good answers to all the other member’s questions but again fumbled on Alka mam’s questions on banks, NPA, vijay mallaya ( i hate him..saale ki wajah se mera interview barbaad ho gaya 😀 😀 )….so try to answer chairman’s questions in a good way…after all he/she is the one awarding the marks…
              5. dont show surprise if asked out of the blue questions…my eye widened on a few questions as if i was shocked ki ye kya pooch liya…

              rest to as every topper says..keep calm and clear UPSC… 🙂 🙂

        • bull’s eye

          even i got very less mark in interview.although i have answered many questions but was awarded110 mark (Alka sirohi board).i am confused too what they expect from student.interview spoiled my chance of selection this year.what was your board ???

          • astha

            same with joshi sir board

      • John Rawl

        his interview board?can someone pls tell me?

      • Rajesh Reddy

        please share his anthropology optional books list or material sir..

      • meg2017

        Sir i just saw the time table you have posted for revision can that time table be used for 2017 preparations ,i am starting my preparations for UPSC now can i start with the time table u have posted ?

        • Yes, you can. It’s for 2016, but applicable for 2017 as well.

          • meg2017

            Thank you for your kind reply .

      • mathes

        from the interview, he cleared in the fourth attempt. What happened to the first three attempts?

  • Vali

    thank u sir,,,,it is really help full….

  • satyajit

    Thanks you sir ji accha wala article bahut dino ke baad mila

  • Shaan

    Really? Didnt read hindu for 2 years… tina dabi is going on and on about virtues of hindu….
    Each to his own i think

    • Yashaswi

      You did not read the entire write-up? Copy-paste: “First, no two people are alike. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

  • Thanks for this wonderful article. Could connect with most points. Hail Jamshedpur! 🙂

    • Jaya Swatantra

      Hello Nitish.. how are you??.. preparation kaisi chalrahi hai.. 🙂

  • Akash Kumar

    I think news paper doesn’t matter. It’s the news updates that matters! I agree wid u sir…. It’s all about being UP TO DATE.

  • arun

    UPSC’s genocidal policy ………… 😀 😀
    u nailed it my friend…… :-p

  • Ashish Agrawal

    Thanks a lot sir.. ? highly motivated now..

  • shreya

    Thanku so much sir……wish u all the best for your future journey

  • Gulab Deore

    really hats off….congratulations..

  • vidhu

    I can relate to the geography optional point…UPSC didnt award marks in Geography this time and i screwed big time in interview….hence did not make it to the final list..E-131, GS1-116, GS2-65, GS3-91, GS4-85,Geo1-113, Geo2-103, I-140…koi na..thanks for the wonderful article..its very useful and will definitely help everyone polish their skills and come out with flying colors 🙂 🙂 Thanks 🙂

    • Prash

      bro your marks in geo is very good by going this years trend…even people who have made to the final list has scored very low..i got only 185…and only 85 in paper 1 even after attempting full paper decently well…can you suggest me any advice for paper 1 would be very help full ..

      • srs

        same request…

      • vidhu

        bhai as is mentioned in the article, what worked for me might not work for everyone and vice versa…style nahi maar rha ki mere itne marks aa gaye..eventually to list me nahi aaye…par what i learnt and did was that i wrote all the answers in point format and tried to keep them as neat as possible…i drew diagrams in most of the answers (india, world, anything)…tried to give real time examples in the answers (don’t remember then now so please maaf kar dena)..examples were like 1 indian and 1 world so variety was maintained…rest i can say it was luck also which helped me get this many marks…luck ran out in interview where i fumbled in basic geography and map related questions..hehehe..:P 😛 hope it helped..i know what i said has been repeated by hundreds of other people but this is what i did in the mains… all the best bhai 🙂 cheers 🙂

    • Jeeves

      what were the highest marks in geography this year? is it true that due to lot of candidates taking up geography (earlier Pub adm) Upsc is scaling down the marks?

      • vidhu

        hi bhai….sorry i dont have any idea about this…also i dont know why marks were low…its of no use thinking about such things…whatever be their logic we have to prepare at our best levels…and both majid hussain and khullar are equally good books..khullar is bulkier so might seem scary but has a lot of choose as per your convinience…as it is all the questions come relating to current affairs so study any one and relate and answer..hope i helped here..all the best 🙂

        • Jeeves

          thank you bhai, you are absolutely right it is useless thinking such things, only thing that matters is to keep going. And thank you for your wisdom on paper 2!

      • Super Man

        Highest was 251 in geography. He got 215 rank.

    • Ankit Bhardwaj

      How did you screw up the interview? (If you don’t mind me asking)

      • vidhu

        ankit bhai…copying my earlier comment on this page…iss tarah humne apni band bajwa di ;P 😛

        1. i got nervous while entering the room (Alka Sirohi mam’s board)…had read about and unnecessarliy got nervous…so please avoid being nervous

        2. smile a lot…i smiled but my nervousness was visible

        3. i fumbled on very simple map questions…told baltic sea was near Greece ( after 1 spilt second realized my mistake but by then it was too late and mam said it is very clear how much geography u have studied) 😀 so think before speaking…very important

        4. i gave good answers to all the other member’s questions but again fumbled on Alka mam’s questions on banks, NPA, vijay mallaya ( i hate him..saale ki wajah se mera interview barbaad ho gaya 😀 😀 )….so try to answer chairman’s questions in a good way…after all he/she is the one awarding the marks…

        5. dont show surprise if asked out of the blue questions…my eye widened on a few questions as if i was shocked ki ye kya pooch liya…

        rest to as every topper says..keep calm and clear UPSC… 🙂 🙂

        • JD

          Thanks for the share.. vijay mallya hahahah

    • lakki89

      Vidhu, I may sound foolish, but the total of your marks are 800+ then how did you not make it to the final list?

      • vidhu

        my total was 839…general cutoff 877….hence could not make it to the final list

        • lakki89

          I see the 2nd last name in the list with CAT-4 and FT 698 … you did not make it ..
          i dont get it still … what am I missing ?

          • vidhu

            bhai…that person might have qualified as his/her marks would have been above the cutoff in that particular category…suppose general has 100 vacancies across all 877 was the last score for the 100th general candidate which became the cutoff for general candidates…now my score was 839 which was way below the cut off…hence not in the final list…similarly for different categories there were different cut offs…anyways no worries…all the best bhai 🙂

            • lakki89

              All the best to you too !
              Could you share your email/phone no. … I am preparing alone and since you have a good experience of mains it would definitely help me …
              I know I’ve nothing to offer you in return 🙂

              • vidhu

                bhai my email id is already mentioned in the posts below..and also if i help u i will also be revising my concepts…so symbiotic relationship…both benefit 🙂 all the best bhai 🙂

                • lakki89

                  Great !!

                  • Hi Vidhu and Lakki89,
                    I am also preparing alone. If you are ok we can prepare together.

                    • lakki89

                      2 se bhale 3 !!


      Can understand your pain brother. I also had geography optional and got 140 marks in interview . Did you change your optional this time. I have continued with Geography.

      • vidhu

        same here bhai…will continue with Geography…who has so much time and energy to study an entirely new subject in 2-3 months when we are better off in geography…

    • Akhil Jain

      Sir can u suggest a smart approach for geography optional?

      • vidhu

        bhai there is no smart approach for optional as such…relate all your concepts to current events…as per this year’s paper, environment was in nearly all questions…so relate your concepts read from books to it…also the more you practice answer writing the better it will get while actually writing in the exams…rest at this time dont think muh about optional…focus on prelims..there is ample time post prelims to prepare optional…dont lose focus and double up the prep for prelims..all the best bhai…hope i helped 🙂

        • Akhil Jain


    • Sneha

      sir, plz share ur strategy regarding current affairs….do we need to maintain current affairs in paper format as it takes time or should follow insights daily current events and follow vision or insights compilation.plz help sir

      • @bhishek

        If it is of any help.
        Write notes in paper in point format –the things which you will read in your last week.For rest go and make notes online for easier modifications and even copy-pasting(one does require that a lil bit)

    • @bhishek

      Can you give insights on Test series you are considering this year.Even I scored 192 in Geog but I guess Shabbir Sir test series doomed me.

      • vidhu

        since i work in chennai i will be attending shankar ias academy’s test series…along with that i will be answering daily questions on online forums for regular practice


    Thank you sir for your valuable suggestions. I try to be consistent because lack of this is what making me incompetent.

  • DB

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I was feeling bad for not reading The Hindu since a couple of months. But your article has eased up the pressure a little bit (Of course, I have to complete current affairs from other sources).

  • Please share your anthropology Strategy .

  • aishwarya sharma

    This is one of the best advices so far .
    I admire your honesty and candid review of the prep and exam outcomes .
    Thank you so much . 🙂
    And Congratulations 🙂

  • param kumar

    this is how anyone can break the exam,
    only giving 9-10 hours per day regularly and intensely..
    thanks sir to be an inspiration..

  • Man Of Steel

    Thankyou Sir:)

  • Rimi cse

    Plz share ur statergy for anthropology

  • John Rawl

    can someone pls tell me his interview board?

  • Chandra Dev Singh

    Thank you and keeps on inspiring Kumar Ashirwad Sir

  • Dhilipan N

    This is what all aspirants need than a motivation , u gave the awareness .. before studying for upsc cse we have to study little bit about cse preparation strategies .. your article is excellent ..

  • P.s

    Thank you sir.

  • Arvind Kumar

    @Kumar Ashirwad…hello sir, where r u from? Jharkhand?

    • AT145

      Arvind …… r u from jharkhand…?

      • Arvind Kumar

        Yes and u?

        • AT145

          If U live in ranchi ..
          Then give ur mail id ….

          • Arvind Kumar

            sorry i live at hazaribagh, u might have heard of it.It’s just 90kms away from Ranchi.

  • Aravind R

    thank you very much for amazing tips sir.
    beeing a full time bank employee, preparing for these exams is extremely impossible spending 14 hours a day, reading 2 3 good newspapers fully every day, reading all world class reports fully etc.
    your tips boosts our confidense and i will try to understand the current happenings fully and try to link with basic theories with practical positive solutions.

  • Aravind R

    sorry sir that i forgot to wish as i was captivated by your article and tips.
    congrads sir and we wish for your shining career.

  • Jaya Swatantra

    Thanks for writing it up Ashirvaad ji.. 🙂

  • Thanks

  • I’m someone who has not enjoyed reading THE HINDU ever!
    But yeah, I follow current updates from Insights and vision ias compilation religiously!
    This post comes as huge motivation!
    Thank you sir, it was a rea good treat to read your views! 🙂

  • Keshav Garg

    Please share other articles soon..

  • Thank you and all the best Ashirwad! 🙂

  • Tom

    Lots of congrates for happy ending of a long journey….
    Sir ur words on newspaper are relaxing for those who live in extreme outskirts, self preparing and inaccessible to hardcopy newspaper (like me) .
    very often I feel disheartened for not being regular in The Hindu (bible). But I am regular with vision and Insights current affair..exactly the same you said.

    Your words are giving confidence…hope the same work for me also

  • Heisenberg

    Very helpful article, eagerly waiting for the next..

  • fife

    Amazing article sir
    Really got so many myths and fears busted
    Waiting for the next article
    & CONGRATULATIONS fr d amazing rank.

  • Raunak Vashisht

    This is the best article on UPSC preparation I have read in years.
    Many Congratulations Sir, god bless :))

  • KAutilYA

    Lot of thanks Sir for this nice and tough efforts for us…keep it up onwards….we are need such type of guidance for our UPSC upcoming journey…???

    Thank you so much sir…nd also all d best to you for administrative nice life..????

  • shusruth

    Thanku kumar sir,will it be possible for u to post an advice on out anthropology

  • Neha Dubey

    Congratulations Ashirwad… Well written article.. All the best for future

  • Finally the best article till now…Thanks!



  • anushka

    # gender equality , good one:)

  • RAJU

    Congratulations Kumar sir and it will be very helpful if you throw some light on preparation of anthropology … Eagerly waiting for it !! 🙂

  • Mahsin Akhtar

    Did you get selected in your earlier attempts with a lower rank or this is the first time you made it to the final list?

    • Jeeves

      I checked older lists (results) 2012 – 2014, I guess this is the first time

      • Mahsin Akhtar

        Thanks for the effort.

  • Puja

    Really helpful article.. Iam someone who is not so regular with Hindu. But following Insights daily currents on a daily basis and vision compilation at the month end.. I feel motivated.. It is about how much u remember after all the reading.. Iam gonna focus on that as u said..

  • Krishna

    Thanks a lot. And congratulations for your results. Be blessed and do what ever you can for our country and people.


    One of the most genuine and honest insights of upsc prepration. Thanks a lot.

  • Everbest


  • Anwar

    Thanks for giving a new insights to my preparation….

  • Charm

    Thank you so much, This is a real no-nonsense, straight to the point writeup. Thanks again, All the best. 🙂

  • harshad

    one of the best article of insight..its completely change my way of thinking..thx..kumar ashirvad..

  • Bidisha

    Thank you Sir and many congratulations on your perseverance and success. Indeed one of the most candid articles I have come across regarding preparation. Totally removed the chaff from the grains. Truly motivating! Thanks again 🙂

  • Aswathy MS

    An honest article on strategy for UPSC. Thanks, Kumar Ashirvad.

  • AJ

    hindu newspaper point was awesome…seems like I finally got strong support for not reading “The Hindu” anymore 🙂

  • sk

    SIR i am also from iit and came straight after graduation
    please can i know your marks in previous attempts. i have given mains twice now and could not qualify. i am feeling disappointed and ready to give up on upsc dream. also i have pub ad optional which u know has become another suicidal optional. my performance in this has also not been good 1st attempt 160s and in 2015 in 140s
    so will u advice me to leave this for say sociology or anthropology

  • Rangrezz

    logical one..

    but..My Heart and brain say..there is no substitute of The Hindu…which gives you diversified knowledge arguments slowly slowly ..and the end of the year(or 6 month) ..master of variety of topic …..however,,you clear a lot of myth …and to the point ..its your experience saying ..Thankyou

  • Congrats!! ……………………………Thanks a lot for posting avoidable mistake during preparation … and one or two myths are applicable for me as well Iam also reading 14-17 hours a tireless some day other fine day i will read 8-9 hours fall the graph like standardize test and some time zero preparation eventually decay likely i’e the one reason i didn’t get or not sail through the exam …..i have heard many topper says consistent approach will help to crack the exam ………please post your practiced answers ASAP

  • Inner_Peace

    When will initiative for 2017 be launched?

  • Anshuman

    How is History for optional ? Do candidates score good in this ?

  • nagabhushan reddy

    Sir i have a small doubt. Is hand writing place a major role in mains exam?

  • vidhi

    i have just passed my 12th by 93%

    now i m thinking to do my graduation by geo.
    please tell me if I m wrong..
    i want to clear upsc in first attempt
    right now i m 18 so having 3 years for prep.
    please suggest.!

  • Vamsi Mallepogu

    thnx for your good strategy on what not to do and myths … Greatly useful to me