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On this page you can ask general questions related to the preparation for the UPSC Civil Services examination. We will  try to answer your queries – sometimes immediately,  sometimes after few days, but every question will be answered.

One can not know answers to all the questions. We too are imperfect. When we don’t know answers, we will provide links to the sources where you can get some information. If someone knows the answer to some questions, you are welcome to answer them.

Please restrict your questions to only UPSC Civil Services exam. 


  • Surendra

    What is mean by
    1)Critically Comment
    2) Critically analyze/examine
    5) Analyze

    these are the words UPSC generally uses in questions. Please tell me clear difference between these terminologies.

      • jithin

        dear insights
        please advice how to advice how to read and retain current affairs. if we look at the january 2015 compilations of current affairs prepared by insight it will be around 100 pgs. how to read such huge amount of information.
        do we need focus on daily current events or daily current events quiz or both
        the questions may appear simple, but these questions are haunting me. plz guide and advice

        • Amoeba

          Dear Sonia,
          This is a general question. @InsightsOnIndia:disqus must give us directions about how to read and retain anything not just current affairs. I can not remember this even after reading two- three times

          • Prabhujeet A. Verma

            plz sombody tell me that the insight online subscription test series is for all over india i mean can i give this from agra……or it is only in bengluru..plz tell me

            • AJAY KISHORE

              As it is online you can join it from agra . I am also from the same place and i have joined it , so you can.

            • Vignesh Veerasamy


              Online series is available at your place if you are able to access internet.

      • dswapnil

        I am unable to download pdfs of current affairs. pls help me in resolving this issue. i have tried it with other browsers also.

        • sunilkayz007

          use print option and save it..

      • Kshitij Purohit


        I have paid for the Online test long back before the deadline. Due to some consequences i was not able to give first five tests. Now today when i tried to give test it is not getting start. When i press start page it redirects me directly to the My Test page. Even today 17th December test is not getting started. On clicking again on those those test buttons it pop ups “You have already given this tests ” . I have not given any test. and then also it is not starting.Expecting your earliest solution for this issue. Why even 17th december test is not starting up. ?? My name is Kshitij Purohit and registered in your test series. You can check the database.

        Please arrange the solution at the earliest. So i can start giving all tests one by one from tomorrow. Thank You.

      • Kshitij Purohit


        I have paid for the Online test long back before the deadline. Due to some consequences i was not able to give first five tests. Now today when i tried to give test it is not getting start. When i press start page it redirects me directly to the My Test page. Even today 17th December test is not getting started. On clicking again on those those test buttons it pop ups “You have already given this tests ” . I have not given any test. and then also it is not starting.Expecting your earliest solution for this issue. Why even 17th december test is not starting up. ?? My name is Kshitij Purohit and registered in your test series. You can check the database.

        Please arrange the solution at the earliest. So i can start giving all tests one by one from tomorrow. Thank You.

      • Ankur Singh

        Sir can you please suggest me how to start preparing for civil services? Should I start making notes from the first time itself or should I revise ncerts 2-3 times before starting notes. What would be a great way to make my base really strong from the start itself?

      • Rashu

        Sir please start with mind map excercise. It was very helpful.

      • Indian

        tell me guys ..can i get online test series for both prelims papers

      • Krishna Mohan Chauhan

        dear Insights.
        I have read many things about you and I am lucky that i get to know about Insights at correct time. I will appear in 2018 UPSC exams, two year later from now. I have many question. I will be very thankful to insights if you answer to my question
        Que 1- When should I start answer writing considering the fact I am to give exam in 2018 and I have been doing coaching since last one month. Should I wait to get some knowledge i.e. after 4-5 months of coaching or should I start answer writing with whatever knowledge I have

        Que-2 How much should I focus on Current Affairs, considering that current affairs for 1 year is important and I will give exam in 2018 not 2017, because minimum age(21) criteria

        Que- 3 How much should I focus on Static part(History, culture, geography etc) and dynamic part(Current affairs) considering the fact I will give exam in 2018. Should I only focus on static part and then next year on current affairs or anything else ?
        Please tell me what should I follow
        Thank You….

        • Mukul Sharma

          Initially you can start reading the answers given by peers and the sample answers provided by Insights from Secure compilation. This will give you the idea of how to approach questions, what all dimensions are required in an answer. Then once you feel that you are getting some grip, you can start writing answers but never get overburdened or hopeless since you have a long way to go.

          For Current affairs, you can start reading newspaper and try to make notes of your own, preferably soft notes according to the syllabus of prelims as well as mains. Then check the insights current affairs and see what you missed out from newspaper. This will give you the idea of how to read newspaper from exam point of view. Once you get the feel of reading newspaper and current affairs, you can start solving current affairs questions from insights or any other source you know.

          One point that should be kept in mind while reading static part is that you should read only standard material and according to syllabus. But reading only static part can be sometimes boring. So try to mix it with current. One fun way is to watch Big picture or India’s world from RSTV channel on YouTube. This will change your mind and will keep you going.

          • Krishna Mohan Chauhan

            Thanxx Mukul.
            But I have one question. You are saying that i should make notes regarding prelims and mains. But for prelims part I do not get motivation for making notes. Reason is that most of it is factual and important for only current year exam.
            Every Year on Nagara Panchami, which one of these following States celebrates scorpion fair?
            A. Telangana
            B. Andhra Pradesh
            C. Maharashtra
            D. Karnataka
            ans is D and it was recently in the news and I do not think it will help me in 2018.

            For mains point of view, I think answer writting skill will be with me forever (unlike factual knowledge of prelims) and I think reading editorial and perspective in a good manner (to build my perspective) and remaining news in as a glance(to be familiar with current situation in country and world) will be a good approach.
            Please correct me if I am thinking in wrong direction

            Now a days I read editorial and perspective from THE HINDU and make a short notes. and just read a daily current affair from Vajiram and Ravi student portal (but not write) to be familiar with daily affairs. and regularly revise my class notes and read NCERT related to class notes.
            Please tell me am I thinking in right direction or should I make notes for prelims and mains along with notes of editorial and perspective

            • Mukul Sharma

              Yes i am also talking about making notes from editorial but the way you should make notes is according to syllabus. For ex : if there is an editorial on depressed classes, it should go in a box or on a page dedicated to Issues related to Vulnerable sections as provided in GS-2 syllabus. And all upcoming editorial on this issue should go on that same box or page. In this way, you will easily have 20 points on any issue and you will be able to easily remember 10-15 points.

              For prelims, read one CA magazine ( in your case Vajiram ) and one newspaper and try to write important information which are general. In the question that you gave for example, write it on a page on you PC/mobile/Tablet/Laptop. This will remain there till your exam and you can easily access them at any time.

              • Krishna Mohan Chauhan

                Again a lot of thanxx Mukul
                Let me tell you what i understood from your reply.
                I am going in right direction. the one extra thing I can add for prelims is that making notes of general thing instead of things which are related to only current year like in the prelims 2016, there were lot of question starting with “currently in news ……”.
                Let me know if i am missing something
                Can you give your introduction ??

    • Surendra

      Explanation is really very gud………..thanx a lot

  • anonymous

    do we have to mug up the answers in mains and if not what is the technique to learn it.?

    • No. You should not. Learn the concepts and write them. Frame different questions and answer them. Never mug up answers – UPSC questions are opinion based, understanding concepts helps you to tackle them

      If you mug up answers, chances are you forget them by looking at the nature of questions.

  • Gaurav Sharma

    [email protected] Thanks for incorporating the suggestions so soon 🙂

  • Maaduri

    I was trying to frame question myself while reading but I am finding it really difficult. Say I covered the topic on Government Budgeting in GS3 from the sources you have mentioned. If you could possibly provide with just 2 or 3 questions, it would be great as I can learn how to frame the questions further. Sorry for the trouble.


    • Maaduri,

      Questions on Government Budgeting:

      1) What are the important constitutional provisions with regard to the enactment of budget?

      2) What are the important features of Finance bill? How is it different from the Appropriation bill?

      3) Explain the significance of cut motions in budgetary process. What are the conditions for admitting cut motions during debate on budget?

      • Maaduri

        Thanks Insights…

  • Shubhangi

    @ Insights and @all ……..Please help me out with this question.

    “Give your views on whether RBI’s mandate should be confined to price stability or it needs to pursue other objectives as well?”

    • Surendra

      RBI has in recent time given a great importance to price stability even at he cost of hurting growth. As per RBI governor price stability and comfortable inflation is its first priority because inflation hurts most the poor people most and we must take care of them. Apart from this according to RBI stable price and low inflation will also be needed for long time growth and in longer perspective pursuing price stability will not hurt growth. Steadily falling rupee has made the work of RBI all the more difficult. Now, RBI and government together are fighting to stabilize rupee, which in turn will stabilize economy and lead to price stability.
      However, problem with this approach is that falling rupee, which in turn giving to high inflation and high CAD, is itself not a disease to be cure but symptom of some other disease. That disease is our failure to maintain high growth rate especially in manufacturing, our failure to attract FDI which are fleeting like anything in recent past, our failure to overall maintain confidence of investors in economic policy our of our country etc. So, RBI and government should apart from fighting to stabilize rupee and price should concentrate on overall health of economy. This crisis is because of weak economic condition not vise-versa. In fact, improving our key sector like manufacturing which in turn increasing export will automatically solve the problem of falling rupee and price stability. Since, all these thing are interlinked RBI and government should look for other areas to work on as well.

  • Maaduri


    It’s a very basic question. Sorry for my ignorance. But can you just tell me about the moderation of marks/scaling?

    • Maaduri,

      It is not a basic question. It is a fundamental question that every IAS aspirant must ask and know the answer.

      Unfortunately, nobody except UPSC knows the exact method.

      UPSC doesn’t use the word ‘Scaling’, instead it uses ‘Moderation’ to bring parity/uniformity in marks scored between different optional subjects. In Mains it makes upward or downward moderation to bring parity/uniformity.

      According to UPSC website:

      “The Head Examiner conducts a sample survey of answer books of each Additional Examiner to verify whether the uniform standards of evaluation evolved in the meeting of Examiners have actually been followed. Depending on the standard adopted by the Additional Examiner, the Head Examiner may confirm the awards without any change if the Examiner has correctly followed the standard decided upon, or may carry out upward / downward moderation as considered necessary to ensure maximum possible degree of uniformity in the evaluation process. ”

      In my opinion, if more number of candidates score high marks uniformly in few optional subjects, those optional subjects will be moderated ‘downwards’. (method – unknown)

      Earlier, before CSAT, UPSC used to follow Normalized Equi-Percentile (NEP) method in scaling for Prelims exam. Now it is not there.

      The whole process is opaque. But there is a silver lining and candidates are not needed to panic at the UPSC’s arbitrary methods.

      If one writes his answers very well, say she/he is confident of scoring more than 60%, he can have a mental peace. Because ‘moderation’ doesn’t affect her/his score much. If there is downward moderation, score will be reduced but it will be less. On the other hand if one has not written well, downward moderation will further reduce their marks. (Don’t ask me how, but through observation of scores it is evident)

      Only solution to escape the wrath of UPSC’s moderation process is to write answers exceptionally well. Prepare well for the exam and give your best.

      • Maaduri

        Thank you Insights for such a great explanation. So, it is a method used by UPSC to have parity in marks between the optionals. And as it is absolutely unpredictable one need not give it a thought for choosing optionals right?

        • Yes, there is no use worrying about scaling/moderation while choosing optional subject.

          If one likes an optional subject and has good command over it or confident of getting command over it, one should choose it.

  • manish

    Sir could you please specify which selective chapter to prefer from given books as you mentioned. (I completed those notes which you have provided for Indian culture)
    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

    • Class VI – Chapters 4,5,9 and 12
      Class VII – Chapters 5,6,8 and 9
      Class VIII – Chapters 4 and 6
      Class XII – Themes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12

      • appu srva

        Sir, will these chapters be sufficient for prelims too? or should we read complete books?

        • manish

          @ appu
          I guess, not complete book as Insight suggested. Above chapter would cover Indian culture part. I asked keeping main point of view.

        • For prelims, read complete books. They are interesting and easy to finish within less time.

          • Appu Srva

            Thank you Bro…

      • manish

        I wanted to buy (not download) ncert books online. Can I? if yes from where ? Pls

      • Gaurav

        Sir I have old NCERT covering ancient India by Ram Sharan Sharma for Class XI. So which one is more beneficial the new one or the old one?

        • Old NCERT 🙂

          • Gaurav

            Thank you sir.
            If possible can you demarcate the chapters to be read in the old ncert of Ancient and Medieval India? That would save a lot of time for us.

            • Read all chapters. They are small books. You should also do some work 🙂

              • Dharmendra Chouhan


  • anonymous

    does the ips officer gets same perks and salary as compared to ias officer?

    • Yes, same salary and perks. IAS will have more responsibilities (powers).

  • anonymous


    • Ambika Prasad Mishra

      do not be over conident.Raw is not for everyone.It is for realy though inttelegent people.Besides Raw will choose his employees not by recruitment don’t be over ambitious.

  • RV

    @ Insights and others please add from your experience .
    I am going to give mains this year and am taking optional coaching. In the midst it is becoming increasingly difficult to handle the GS stuff ! Is notes making essential in all this + am following the strategy of repeated studies of limited books but the number of books charted out is making me apprehensive now ! So is it essential to follow all the books despite coaching ? and how much does notes making help ?

    • RV,

      Making notes is advisable when you are in the initial stages of preparation or 5-6 months before Prelims.

      AT this stage, focus should be on finishing he whole syllabus, practicing answer writing and revising whatever you read.

      Making notes consumes lot of time. Instead if your reading speed is good, better go for repeated reading of few sources. Sticking to a few sources is of paramount importance here.

      For optional you can afford to read coaching material if it’s good, but for GS, reading standard books is better to get a critical perspective on many topics.

      • RV

        Thank you Sir will incorporate these suggestions henceforth !

  • arp

    sir pls answer my question i was a very bright student till class 9th(in results)..i got 73 percent in 10th…sir my aim to become ias is from my childhood…i got passed and 59 percent in 12th cbse in 2008..i appeared again in 2009 for 12th and scored 60 percent….i completed my btech with IT…and to tell you in first 4 sem full of arrears about 12 …but after 4th sem i studied very hard and gradually cleared all my arrears and also scored 8,7 in 8th sem…and overall cgpa 6,9….sir this is my educational back ground …now my problem…
    i am a hard worker good learner….but sir my greatest doubt that in interview they will ask me that why i am having such a low performance..and i m not fit for exam..they will look my repeated attempts..1n 12th though passed each time…and they will also see my 14 arrears though i cleared all…i m scared that they can reject me ….and sir i m not going for any job…to prepare properly…will it also play an negative roll…pls suggest me trully…without any sahanubhuti..yours ias aspirant .

    • Arp,

      Once you start preparation for this exam, your academic background becomes immaterial. Whether you are from IIT,IIM,AIIMS,TISS,LSE or a highly mismanaged rural government Arts Degree college, during the ‘Personality Test’, only your personality matters.

      The people who conduct interview are from diverse backgrounds and will have 30-40 years of experience in public service. They will know who has a character and who’s not. If your character is strong, if your personality suits for this job, you will be given good marks. They don’t measure your character by the grades you possess on your marks card. Your answers to their questions hold the key.

      So, remove this fear from your mind. Focus on building a strong character (even if you think you have) that suits of a honest public servant. Try to cultivate few good hobbies and interests. Join any good NGO as a part time volunteer. This adds weight to your detailed application form. (they will certainly look at your interests and hobbies – but again, these are all just leads to their questions)

      In no way your low grades or arrears will affect your interview. If anything affects your interview is your fear. If you are not confident and go with fear inside the interview room, I am sure you will screw up the whole thing.

      Forget you had a bad academic record. Remove it from your head. Focus on the preparation. These three stages of exam were not necessary if one’s academic record could determine the outcome of the final result. Study well and go to interview without any preconceptions. 🙂

      • arp

        thank you sir thank you very much for guiding me….sir can you give me some suggeations,, that in which way i should improve my character……which type ngos can i join..i am in chennai sir……i am just came out of my college this year only..sir your guidance can help me ..thank you very much for your help sir…..and sir ur article related to preparation to gs papers is very helpful…thank u sir

        • Dharmendra Chouhan

          while reading newspaper u will came across a lot of NGO’s that help poor people and others you can search them on google and contact them…that u r interested in volunteering ..


    In Mains application Form- OBC annexure– they have asked for documetary proof for the property held by parents..
    my father is having a flat.. what is the proof should i have to enclose for this ?

    • I don’t think u need to send proof for property and all. Just send valid OBC certificate issued by your state with an authentic seal of Tahsildar or DC and a correct spelling of your caste (as in central OBC list). Along with this send your undertaking.

      If you come under creamy layer, you don’t have to send anything. You will be considered as General Merit candidate

  • anonymous

    question of maims gs 1
    indian independence movement was a movement including may society and constant ideological change in environment.critically examine.

    these questions answer cannot be found in standard books like ncert so where to get answers of such type of questions so that we can solve it if such question comes ?

    • May I know from where u got this question? which year? Because the question is not clear.

      • anonymous

        the indian independence movement was a mass based movement that encompassed various sections of also underwent the process of constant ideological evolution.critically examine
        2011 was the year when this question came

    • Raman

      You can find information on this in Bipin Chandra’s
      ‘India struggle for Independence’ in Introduction section. Correct me if I am wrong and let me know if you get any more sources.

  • TAS

    Respected Insights Team, it has been a commendable effort from your side to provide aspirants such valuable informations. For me all these are acting as a catalyst in my preparation. But certain weaknesses of mine are really dragging my output. For eg- I forget the stuff which I have read a day before, note making-taking too much time and often end up with large ones instead of synopsis,doubts as ‘Am I reading a relevant source or change it?’,and the most important of all remembering the stuff read and answer writing. I have been following your daily answer writing exercises. Being new I take time to grasp the matter and frame an answer,often the conclusion is a bad answer. Please do help in renovating my skills to compete in this exam. For this I’ll be highly obliged to You. Thanking You

    • TAS,

      The fact is things you are experiencing are part and parcel of this examination – most aspirants experience the same thing. Here comes the planning part. If you plan well, things become easy, if not, you become a misguided missile sure to miss the target sooner or later.

      How planning helps in remembering what we read?

      It doesn’t enhance your memory power, but makes available lot of time at your disposal so that you utilize this extra-time to read the material again and again or make notes on it.

      How do you plan?

      Go through the syllabus. Go through previous year questions. Prioritize topics in the syllabus and make a list where most important topics are at the top and has to be finished first.

      There are two ways to read and remember – one is to make notes and revise them. Second, read a same book, again and again by underlining important points.

      Second method is unproductive unless you write something later. Best way is to write answers to questions.

      Don’t try to write a very good or a perfect answer. Nobody can. Start with ridiculous answers. If possible laugh at your own writing, but never quit thinking you are not good at it. Write and write, more of it. Look at the best answers written here. Try to imitate some of them.

      In the exam hall, you can not write all the points because there wont be enough time for you to remember all as you have to answer so many questions within a time limit and word limits.

      So, if you want to remember what you read, just write answers to questions on the topics you read. So make a list of questions on topics you want to read or on topics you have already read.

      If you feel not comfortable writing here, write on a paper where you are and correct your answer based on good answers here. 🙂

      With more practice you will be able to write good answers. Also, read standard books/magazines/newspapers – they help you to cultivate good style of writing.

      • Tas

        Thank You Insights Team. I will harmonize the suggestions given with my effort.

      • Gundu

        EXCELLENT..! Hats off to u sir.!

  • appu srva

    Sir, From when one should start writing practice? I’m going to give my attempt in 2014.

    • Start from now if you have time for it. Sooner you start, better you become at it. Also, by next year mains, you will be far ahead in terms of overall preparation. Now is the answer.

      • Appu Srva

        Thank you sir 🙂

  • manish

    Which of the following tribes practices fraternal polyandry?
    Bhil, Toda, Munda, Oraon

    Sir in which book will I find answer?

    • Maaduri

      The Toda people of southern India practice fraternal polyandry.


      • manish

        Thanks Maaduri. 🙂
        Actually looking for a book where i could find.

    • van

      have a check ignou eso-12 society in india
      chapters 25,26,27,28……. all such tribal stuff

  • Firefly


    Could you please help me by suggesting reference material for the topic mentioned below. I couldn’t find anything substantial on IGNOU or Wikipedia.

    Party System
    A) national and regional political parties
    B) ideological and social bases for parties
    C) patterns of coalition politics
    D) pressure groups
    E) trends in electoral behaviour
    F) changing socio economic profile of legislators.

    This is for my optional, political science. Hoping you can help me out here 🙂

    • Firefly,

      The following book covers most of the topics except D and F(there is a chapter on Civil society which covers little on pressure groups). It is a good book (I have old version but the link below is for new revised version). I think it is difficult to get a book that has all the above topics covered.

      Indian Politics: Constitutional Foundations and Institutional Functioning

      If I get something on Pressure groups and socio-economic profile of legislators(I faintly remember reading P. Sainath’s article on this topic), I will provide links here.

      • Firefly

        Thank you. This helps. 🙂
        I will try looking around on the net. If I can’t find anything then I will buy the book as a last resort. Don’t want to pile up too many books.

        • I thought you wanted a book. Anyway, if I come across good sources online, I will provide the links. 🙂



    I have history as my optional….but im confused about the books to read for world history…norman lowe is good but all the topics are not covered….kindly suggest sir….how is JAIN & MATHUR

    • Jain and Mathur is a good book that covers everything about the world history.

      But, when it comes to standard Norman Lowe is the best though it doesn’t cover all topics.

  • Tas

    Waiting for the reply!! TAS

  • vikas

    SIr Kindly Post Material for Ethics Paper…Waiting for it
    and a favor if you can provide model questions for each topic so that we can write them with topic preparation contributing to our Revision just a topic is finished

  • manish

    I am deeply shocked and astonished !!
    Why should Asharam get away ? Why summons ? Why double treatment of Law?? Double standards of political party esp. BJP, Congress.
    If I were IPS I would arrest this person at any cost, at the cost of my life too. I am preparing for IAS/IPS only for this reason.

    • Manish,

      Calm down. There are many honest officers who wanted/want to do things in their way upholding the law, but they can’t do it. They are not allowed to do it. (Khemka)

      One young IPS officer died in MP last year when he tried to stop a tractor carrying illegal load of granite. Was it worth dying for this cause? Does anyone remember his name? His cause?

      No country operates strictly according to the rule books. You have to reconcile to this fact. Try to understand the realities first.

      Asaram or other powerful politicians always get away because they have money and power. In 2G case Bureaucrats are languishing in jail but politicians are out on bail.

      If you are an enemy of the ruling party, you will be in jail. (jagan, Reddy brothers)

      What I am trying to say is, at this time it is natural for you to feel outraged, but the fact is you can’t help the cause. Instead focus on the preparation and get into service. Once in the service, don’t try to stop something even ‘at the cost of your life’. You will become just another name in the long list of brave officers who died too soon before they made a big impact.

      When you are experienced, you can do lot good.

      Take your own time to understand the system. Be honest to the core but don’t to Durga Shakti thing too soon. Once you know the dynamics of the system, you will get a chance to manipulate it to the advantage of the society. Your personal integrity allows it. You will understand these words when you get into the service. 🙂

      • Appu Srva

        Well said Bro… Decisions which are taken in anger may not give results. We should know what to do and when to do the things. We should be emotionally balanced.

      • van

        well said sir …………..initially very similar to manish i had such emotions ……….since then i emotionally evolved ……….and came to a conclusive decision of not thniking about ias , ips …….but to opt for ifs(foreign)……..i just wnt to know whether even such “irrational” halla bulla pressures exsist in it sir ………..hoping to have
        a reply sir…….

        • Hi Van,

          I am not preaching idealism. But think calmly, if everyone abdicates responsibility and then who would be responsible?

          Now, consider a situation when every officer discharges his/her responsibilities honestly. Who do you think would be pressurised then? The mafia rules because there are people who let them to. Of course any system deviates from the ideal one, and it would because in reality idealism does not exist. Achieving complete rationality and lawful behaviour is impossible and one must change his/her behaviour as per the demands of the situation.

          Rules may be bent at places, but the principles behind them should not be.

          You may not arrest an offender immediately as you know one day or the other you would get hold of him/her. In the process, one officer may be transferred, then another, then some one else, but how long do you think this would go, if everyone acts ethically?

          Acting ethically is not idealism, it is realism. When you act ethically, you may be disturbed in the short-run, but trust me this whole universe would rearrange itself to please you in the long-run.

          This world is ‘work-centric’. Good deeds are never punished whether as an Engineer/IAS/IPS/IFS/ Social activist or anyone else. The satisfaction derived from them is much higher than sitting idle and watching all of this helplessly.

          Trust me, once you understand this pressure, you would actually start enjoying it.

          • van

            thanks adi jha ………………..i love the line …………..”the whole universe would rearrange itself to please you in the long run “……….i could under stand the innate meaning in it adita……………..and even the long run – time duration allows us to transform us from with in ….even i consider action is always incomparable and superior to inaction and prefer to remain work centric ………but i prefer to say the purpose of human life is -self reformation , if posible self transformation and and i expect in that procss if possible looking for the world to change ….(thus work centric /action oriented to me is to act upon me rather than on others)………….and for such transformation i always prefer , me not to get deluded by my environment (not abdicating responsibility)…………………further i feel we both have same ideology but on a different path ……………….if time wishes we would be soon to meet …………….thanks for your philosophical thought adhi…. i appreciate it ……

      • manish

        “Once you know the dynamics of the system, you will get a chance to manipulate it to the advantage of the society.”
        Sir I got my answer in these lines.
        But does UPSC members except these things from Civil service students?
        I saw once, Purushottam Agarwaal in a TV debate saying that a civil service student must comply with the Law and he should implement those law in order to bring correctness (As Durga did….follow the idealism). I don’t know in LBSNAA what they do teach to all students but hope they would have been taught of what you have said like (Reality).
        Shall i follow idealism or reality or mixture of both ?

        • Appu Srva

          @Manish… Your questions are thought-provoking. 🙂

      • souvik banerjee

        Sir ,
        Do u think pearson csat manula’s topics r totally rubbish , I don’t get any help from this books content. If yes please suggest some chapter frm it.

        • Don’t read Manuals for Prelims. Use them to solve questions and read some topics that are not covered in some standard books.

          Reading standard books helps in forming your own opinion and also gives you a hold on language and style.

      • dileep

        The reply is very perfect and apt @INSIGHTS. It all happens to aspirants but what we need to know is that our prime motto is to get into the services and then show our calibre, but that too not in a hasty way!


    i am bit confused in choosing the ‘order of preference’ of service in Mains Application form…
    i have no idea about the ‘nature of job’ for many services..
    so it wud be kind of u to give a breif info about each service in Civil services…
    so tat instead of blindly choosing, i can do with purpose….

    • I think there is a post on this at

      Also in Orkut many people have discussed it.I will try to get links and provide you. Hands are full 🙁

      But give first five Five preferences to: IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS (IT), IRS (C&E), IRTS…

  • While counting the number of words in an answer, should one count small words such as a, an, the, if, or, who etc. or should one keep the count restricted to words of 4 or more letters (or higher)?

    As an implication, what does UPSC want to convey by the number of words in an answer – is it a restriction (strict or moderate) on the limit of answer or is it a way of warning that if one doesn’t keep his/her answer within this limit one might not be able to complete the entire paper?

    • Yes you have to – that is why you are allowed to exceed 10% of the stipulated limit.

      The main intention is to check the aptitude of the candidate. One can express things in so many words, but it is difficult to convey the same in few words. When you become an officer, you have to write notings, summaries, reports – this skill of adhering to word limit by packing many things into it will help you later.

  • rakeshiitd

    Hello INSIGTS Sir,

    I needed your help on one matter regarding IAS mains form. Did a mistake there, I didn’t sign the declaration and submitted. Really worried about that. What should I do to rectify it? Please guide me.


    • Nothing to worry Rakesh. Just take another print out and send it. Send it with exact details as you had sent earlier + your signature. UPSC accepts the form which is complete.

      Absolutely there is nothing to worry. 🙂

      • rakeshiitd

        Thanks You sir for quick response. One more question I had, in hurry while I filled form I submitted my Work Ex. as of a previous date(2012) though I still work in the company. I submitted an application with my form to consider the work exp. as of now. Now when I submit a new form as you suggested should I attach another application mention both these points-
        1. Regarding declaration
        2. Regarding Work Exp.

        One lesson i learnt, never do anything in hurry, Calm head is name of the game.

        Thanks Again. Keep up the great initiative you have begun 🙂

        • Yes you should do that if it is the truth. UPSC accepts the latest application.

          Yes, especially while filling DAF one should be extremely careful and patient. DAF can get you 200+ marks in the interview.

          Thanks for appreciating this blog. 🙂

          • yogesh arora

            sir can i get a soft copy of DAF from anywhere so that i can practice…. i have no hobbies and I want to develop one 🙂

  • vikas

    Currently I am Preparing Topic Wise with Reference to Particular paper like currently doing GS 3.
    I want to know whether it is good to Prepare Topic wise wrt to whole Syllabus or Paper Wise.
    and Currently I am pursuing Daily Answer Writing Questions and combinely(like Financial Admn of PA and Govt Budgeting) preparing them as 3 questions would cover 3 topics and utilizing for revision for which Have been covered.

    Kindly Guide me which could be the best course and how to effectively prioritize topics if to be done paper wise or Syllabus topic wise(though I indirectly mentioned but my optional is Public Admnistration).

    • It is better to prepare Paper wise. Finish one paper completely. make small notes. Keep ready for weekly revision later when you take up second paper.

      Mixing 2-3 papers simultaneously confuses and creates lot of pressure as it appears like lot of things at a same time.

      When you read Paper wise, you can prioritize according to their scope and depth. For example, in Paper IV, PDS involves lot of issues, its scope and depth is more compared to Land Reforms, so it goes up in your list of to do things.

  • James

    I understand english very well but when I start to write only simple english , which doesn’t look like written by a graduate , came to my mind. Sometimes it look so childish that I feel shy to post articles even.
    Please help me how to have effective writing.

    • James,

      Actually simple English is the best way to communicate your answer. If basic grammar is right and your answer has the content, the standard of language doesn’t matter.

      Try to post your answer as it is. Don’t think too much about grammar and vocabulary. If you think you have answered the question correctly, then don’t hesitate to post it. 🙂

      Be open to criticism. If someone rudely comments, then also try to improve next time instead of stopping answering. But, here all are good and polite. I am sure it will help you if you participate.

  • upsc

    can we start with the question in which we feel conident in mains paper or should we solve the questions in the sequence given in the paper???

    • You can start with the question you think is easy for you. As you will be provided Question paper-cum-answer sheet from now onward, you can answer any question from any part. But you should be careful not to leave blank any questions in the end.

  • sid

    If i dont join a good coaching institute, do i lag behind in competition? Do they really provide anything which is indispensable for cracking IAS? I am really confused!!!

    • Sid,

      No. You won’t lag behind provided you up your ante and stay ahead of the race by devoting more time for preparation.

      Writing practice is a must. You may join some Test Series, or postal course for materials, but there is no need for you to go to Delhi and spend lot of money.

  • gargi shee

    sir, do i need any permission letter from my current employer to appear in this examination? actually, they denied. so, i think should i inform upsc about my work experience or appear as a fresher? please help me.

    • Gargi,

      You should take permission but no need to send any letter to UPSC. Don’t worry about it. Mention work experience too and appear for the exam. You can resign later if selected for IAS.

      • gargi

        thank you sir.


    sir do we need to study indian physical geography covering topics like himalayas,northern plains,peninsula,drainage system in india,climate in india……im asking because the syllabus doesnt mentions these topics…….does salient features of world’s physical geography includes these

    • Yes you should have some basic idea on these topics. For example, Himalayas also include concepts of Earthquake, plate tectonics – which is related to the syllabus. So is drainage system which related to geographical feature like waterbodies mentioned in the syllabus.

      • dpk

        sir,i am preparing for 2015..didnot get through 2014 study is going very slowly.This is December and I didn’t complete one paper of mains properly..please suggest me a strategy.I was confused whether to read old or new ncerts.How to start with answer writing??please give me an idea.

  • manish

    I wanted to buy (not download) ncert books online. Can I? if yes from where ? Pls

    • Manish,

      Neither Flipkart nor any major ecommerce sites sell NCERT texts these days. You should buy from either from Delhi or get photocopies from somewhere else.

  • jaigurudev123

    Hi Insights
    First of all a ton of thanks for such a great site…I am really thankful for all the useful tips.
    I cam across this advertisement for a complete study kit encompassing all the GS material for paper 1 to 4 by UPSC portal. It is prized at 7000 Rs, a little steep for me. I want to know how good it is. I am tempted at the idea of having all the material in one place so i can study more intensively.

    Please advise.

    • Thanks Jaigurudev123.

      I personally suggest you to go for standard textbooks. For the same amount, you will get all the books.

      I have not seen the material of above mentioned site, but I have heard unpleasant things about their quality. Decision is yours. There are better options out there.

  • Hi Thanks for your prompt reply.
    Yes i understand i can get the text book at a fraction of the price but sorting remains a problem.
    what are the other study kits i can use..actually i have started preparing for the mains quite late, so i need some quick fix.
    Your advise on the same shall be highly appreciated.

    • May be you can go for Crack IAS material / VisionIAS/Vajiram if you desperately need consolidated materials. They are far better than your earlier choice .

    • Also, consider GKToday material, but I doubt you would be able to get it now.

  • Dev

    Sir, I am a PSU employee. Engineer by profession n Graduated in ’12.
    I am facing difficulties in preparation in this job-life (Remote location, Field Job, Tiring Job, 24Hr job nature, working in shifts, Daily Life difficulties etc). I have set-forth ’14 prelims as my first attempt but I am unable to decide the path I should adopt. I think, following are the available options to me as I can’t leave job as of now (without having collected enough fund for exclusive preparation in Delhi, As my parents are unable to fund that).
    1. Stick to 5-6 Hours (More time is Diff to manage due to nature of job) of Preparation with job. Get some Postal Material. Plan well n execute to take ’14 attempt without taking any risk.
    2. Continue study with Job till feb. Leave this job in Feb/March (when enough fund collected for at least a year), Join Coaching in Delhi. then take attempt of ’14 without any regret.
    3. Leave this job for any other general jobs in Govt Dept. (SSC etc) so that I can get a City Posting, regular study routine, Coaching etc. for regularity n ease in preparation.

    Sir, Please suggest me. Most balanced way is second one in my opinion but it involves a great risk too. If I go for that guide me – What to Study till Feb n what sources n how?
    I ll be eagerly waiting for your response.

    • Dev,

      If you are working in PSU and the job and salary is good, you should continue as long as possible.

      If you are finding to study difficult even for 5-6 hours and not able to sustain focus, motivation and determination, you should go for coaching as a last resort.

      Fortunately, because of internet, you don’t have to go for coaching these days. All you need is Guidance and Focus.

      If you are opting for Plan-2, then I suggest you to finish all Mains GS papers and Optional paper before January. It is possible. First finish reading basic books. Then go for Mains syllabus.

      After February, you can prepare for Prelims as next year Prelims is in August. If by that time you have finished Mains papers, you can start Answer writing practice and revision.

  • Leo

    Please provide the different sources along with the questions . In this way you can save our precious time from reading useless and irrelevant books and bogus websites.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Ya sure will keep in mind. Thank you.

  • Nikhil D

    Can you please provide action plan (Topic-Source wise) for ‘political science’ optional syllabus (like you have provided for GS papers)? It will prove extremely helpful. Thanks.

    • Sorry Nikhil. Now only GS is being focused on.

  • rajiv


    My friend is working in a PSU Insurance company.He wants to appear for 2014 csat. He will be completing 1 year by this december and will be writing the non-licentiate exam.Is there any problem for him to apply to csat.
    They had taken 4 year bond intially to work there or otherwise pay an amount.So will there be any restrictions.

    • There is no problem to write this exam. He should get NOC first and write the exam, or he should be ready to resign and pay penalty.

      This is what UPSC says:

      “Persons already in Government Service, whether in a permanent or temporary capacity or as workcharged employees other than casual or daily rated employees or those serving under the Public Enterprises are however, required to submit an undertaking that they have informed in writing their Head of Office/Department that they have applied for the Examination.

      Candidates should note that in case a communication is received from their employer by the Commission withholding permission to the candidates applying for/appearing at the examination, their application will be liable to be rejected/candidature will be liable to be cancelled. “

  • Naveen Shekhar

    @ Insights,
    Sir,would it be a good idea to underline some points/sentences in the answer while writing in the Mains exam?
    There are contrasting views on it.Some say it’s good but some say a clear no-no.

    • It is good to underline important Words and Sentences, but should be used sparingly.

      Content matters more than decoration and all. Underlining grabs the attention of examiner to keywords and ideas. Don’t use colour pens – use the same pen to underline. It saves time also.

      • Naveen Shekhar

        Thanx,Sir !!!!

  • varun

    Sir can you please help in the preparation of public administration by providing the strategy and areas to focus on. Please guide how to have strong grip over this subject. Please do mention the proper sources(topic wise books) for my preparation.Please help.

  • TR

    Hello Sir,
    I sent my DAF for CSM about 10 days back and it has been delivered to UPSC on Sep 2. It was mentioned that the candidates will receive confrirmation email of the receipt of DAF . But I have not got any confirmation email for the acknowledgement. So can you please tell
    a.) whether confirmation emails are usually sent or not?
    b.) if yes, usually how much time it takes to get the email and if no, what is the way to ensure that the application has been received and accepted by UPSC.
    Please reply soon as it is causing me great anxiety.


    • You won’t get any email. Don’t worry. You will get Admission Ticket.

      • Confirmed again. Last year many didnt get email but they god admission tickets. You may or may not get email. No need to get tensed.:-)

        • PR

          Hello Insights,
          Thanks a lot for the information.
          If you could please tell if any of the candidates of this year have got acknowledgement email, then it would be really very helpful..
          Thanks again,

  • Richa

    Hello Sir,

    I have started self preparation for UPSC 2014 from september. and i have started from Economics NCERTs books.I m serious aspirant for UPSC but though i have decided before one month so i dont have any information about current affairs and i m just a blank page just few days before. So when i think to write answer then 100 things come in mind that i dont have any idea about topics my vocab is not that much effective and so on. and then i stop myself to write answer here.

    Sir i wana ask that should i start to write answer from today or i should wait for few days…??

    And sir sometimes i feel that what i am reading is relevant or not and i feel that everythg is messing in my mind and how should i know that what is to be read for Prelims..

    I need your help sir.


    • Richa,

      These confusions are common initially. Don’t worry.

      If you are reading same books as every one is reading, it is relevant only. If you want to write answer, just write an answer. Never think how others are writing, or how weak your writing is. Once you write, you will come to know where you stand.

      Here, people are writing after reading some sources. They are not writing directly as soon as they see questions. You too can write better. Solution is – Write It. Today.

      Vocabulary. Who cares? It is difficult to write in simple language. Make your message clear. That’s all needed.

      About Prelims, I will write a detailed strategy. Plenty of time is there. 🙂

      • Richa

        Thanks alot Sir… 🙂

        I have one more queston that
        Taking UPSC exam in only my choice no one in my family is agree with this tought because they already made a perception that UPSC is very very tough and I could’nt clear it by self preparation.

        Though they are very very supportive to me in my studies . But sometimes they worry about my future and say that you should fill all the forms of Govt. sectors no need to stick with this UPSC only. Preparing with UPSC you should prapare for Bank and other exams too because if you would’nt select in UPSC than your future will secure in these govt. jobs. And i dont wana hurt them and fill the forms of Banks and all but unable to give time for preparation of these exams because i will prepare for UPSC only.

        Because i dont wana divert my mind and therefore Praparing for UPSC .Because,i know,i can give my 100% for this.I am sure that i’ll select in UPSC i have no doubt in it and after this result will depend on God only,because no one can see future…!!!!

        I am very dipressed and there is lot of tenson in my mind that what to do…?? should i listen to my family that while preparing for other exams like Banks and other govt. exam prepare for the UPSC or should i listen to my heart and go for only UPSC preparation and get Awesome results which will give happiness to evreyone ??

        Help me Sir


        • Richa

          So i want to know how to convince them for the preparation for UPSC so that they feel happy and i also feel happy .??

          • Richa,

            Glad to know that it is based on self motivation you chose this exam and you are focused and want to be an IAS officer.

            It is natural for your parents to have some fears and apprehension about your success in this exam. After all it is being depicted as ‘Mother and Father of all the Exams in India’.

            But there is truth in their fears. This exam, apart from your sincere hard work, also needs some luck. This is not to demotivate you, but to make you realize that success doesn’t depend entirely on one’s hard work alone.

            So, prepare only for UPSC Civil Services, but also give other exams. You don’t have to prepare separately for other exams. If you prepare extremely wel for UPSC CS, it is sufficient for you to crack other exams.

            Take State Civil Services seriously too. If get selected, join them. For UPSC, if once strong foundation is laid, you don’t have to read from the scratch again. Hence, when you get some job, you don’t have to worry about not getting enough time for IAS preparation. So, now complete UPSC syllabus first.

            Tell your parents with a smile that you are giving all exam. Be open to suggestions. But prepare for IAS and write all exams as you don’t need extra preparation.

            I hope you got my point. It is great that you want to exclusively sit and prepare for IAS, but be prepared for uncertainties too.

            If you get a job, join it. It gives both confidence and edge during the interview. Board likes working aspirants.

            You can make everyone happy and still prepare well for this exam.

            • Richa

              Thank you Sir..!!!! Thanx alot…!! 🙂

              Sir, I cant tell you that how much Happy I am today.. 🙂 You sorted out everything, every thought which comes in my mind.

              It seems that all the thoughts and tenson disappears now. 🙂 Now I will fully focus and concentrate on my studies.

              I always feel that as i am going for self preparation for UPSC and if i have any problem ,any doubt or when I have a lot of tenson in my mind then who guides me , who sorted out my all problems ??

              But God send an Angel to help me and guide me at every step. Today i am sure that I have a Perfect Guide who help me out from every difficult phase that comes during my studies and help to achieve my Goal i.e. To be an “IAS Officer”…!!! 🙂

              I will try my level best to make everyone happy. 🙂

              You are Genous Sir…!! 🙂

              Tons of Thnax to you…!!

              Hats off to you.. 🙂

              • Thanks Richa 🙂

                You don’t have to try your best to make everyone around you happy. When you are happy, I am sure people around you will be happy. Secret to others’ happiness is our own happiness.

                All the best for your preparation.

                • Richa

                  Hello Sir,

                  I have started with Economics.I have completed my all Ncert’s(IX, X, XI, XII).So , i thought its time to start preparation in smart way because I have just read all those books for building my concept. 

                  But now, I have decided to follow the way that you suggest ,I mean prepare for both prelims and mains simultaneously,

                  So, i have started my preparation in that pattern from today . I am following all the links and books which you suggest in,
                  “How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper IV (GS-3)”.(I am preparing in that way, I mean topic wise topic I am preparing from all there link and sources. ) Is is right way sir ?

                  Here, i wana ask you a doubt that you have provided number of links and books(all are awesome) for each topic.Should i go through all these sources completely or i should read only important topics in them(books or links).
                  In “The Economics time in the classroom “, I have to read all the Archieves(1,2,3,4,5) completely or selected. ??

                  And suggest me the better way and appraoch of preparation so that i will prepare in right direction.Beacuse , i know , UPSC will take only those aspirant in its shrine who are dedicated and will do HARD WORK+ SMART WORK 🙂

                  So,i need your help Sir in every step of my preparation . Please guide me.. 🙂

                  Richa ….. 🙂

  • Pranav Chavan

    Sir can you tell me few best blogs names…
    from which I can enrich my current affairs knowledge….?


      • Pranav Chavan

        Currently I am studying from these blogs..
        But are you sure sir that these two blogs will cover my whole current affairs part…?

        • I am not sure to be honest. I mentioned them as you asked for them. The Hindu, Frontline, Business Standard and any monthly magazine are enough for you to cover all current events. You have to be regular with them.

          • Pranav Chavan

            Thank you sir…..

  • vikas dalvi

    when declare sunday as a holiday?

  • Surajit Das


  • vikas

    Kindly guide how the Norman Lowe(Mastering the World history) is to be read like do we need to read events of WW or the chapters preceding them explaining factors responsible for them would suffice?
    Communism: shall we read how communism started in Russia and China or period in both countries after communism took hold is also to be read?

    • I think the chapter ‘ War and International Relations’ is important fully.

      But, under ‘ The rise of fascism and governments of the right’ following are important. If possible at least read all chapters once. I think selective study is not a good idea for new topic like world history.

      Italy 1918-45: The first appearance of Fascism

      Germany 1918-45: The Wiemar Republic and Hitler

      III Communism Rise and Decline
      Russia and the Revolution, 1900-24

      China 1900-49

  • Rupesh Dahal

    Is latest book by majid hussian on environment and ecology paper good. Can it be helpful to understand syllabus.

    • Its reviews are good. You may not have to read whole book But first finish these:

      Usually, Majid Hussain writes books relevant to the syllabus.

      • Rupesh Dahal

        Thank You Sir
        Sir in Saturday paper there was a very important article on G20 from india’s point of view.
        This article was talking about India’s satisfaction on final G20 declaration on monetary policy
        Sir my question is from exam point of view do I try to understand all those declaration made by G20, if so how to remember it as these declaration are more than 100 and difficult to understand.

        • You don’t have to remember the entire declaration. Just make points from The Hindu. That is all important. That is why papers cover them in their news. That is what comes in the exam.


    hi sir… i submitted Mains application form…
    only later i found in the ‘instructions’ that the ‘summary sheet’ that we get at last should be in a single page . but i am getting it in two page.. based on the information we gave, it automatically generated the ‘summary sheet’ .. i am worried.. what can i do sir…

    • There is nothing to worry Murali. These are trivial matters for UPSC. Summary sheet is for the reference of the board while conducting your interview. They won’t throw your sheet because it has an extra page.

      Relax and focus on Mains. Absolutely it is not a serious matter at all.

  • Raghavendra


    Seriously I have never come across a site like INISGHTSONINIDA.COM, though iam in this preparation field for the past one year…….. it is really wonderful and the immediate response u r giving to the aspirants is really admirable……… We the aspirants appreciate ur hard work behind this…….
    we look forward for more valuable suggestions and updates from you…

  • prasanna

    Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
    regarding this topic in paper-2
    do we need to divide this topic into policies and interventions of government separately or both gives similar context?
    do we need to cover general context of policies like what is public policy, its making process, types, general objectives, role of different offices,?
    when comes to various sectors we have to cover the basic features of that particular sector suppose sarvasiksha abayan its feateure will that serve the purpose?
    when comes to second part of the topic ie issues arising out of their design and implementation, is this general context of a policy or related to each sectors implementation and design process?
    please help me
    regarding daily answer writing sir excuse me for some days please because i am in hurry of finishing this paper, from the past three months i am preparing but no appreciable outcomes i read topics very randomly so nothing to report that i have done this in this three months. resulting pressure groups worry about my preparation. i will come back into action very soon. i hope u will consider my request. thanks in advance

    • It is ok Prasanna. You can write answers anytime. You should finish the syllabus too. All the best 🙂

      I will explain your question later.

  • Pranav Chavan

    Sir remembering article number is how much important in exame…??
    Is it necessary to write article number….??

    • No. You don’t have to remember them both for mains and prelims. But you should know the constitution well i.e, its provisions, content etc.

      Also, no need to ‘decorate’ your answer with many articles. Mentioning the content of the article is enough. You can just say Fundamental Rights guarantees this or that right, but no need to mention every article for it.

      Examiners will be impressed by your arguments, not the rote knowledge.

  • Rupesh Dahal

    I want to know upto which year is previous year question important.
    I have a book by by disha pub. having 18 years question paper, do i prepare all these 18 years question?

  • Richa

    Hello Sir,

    I have started with Economics.I have completed my all Ncert’s(IX, X, XI, XII).So , i thought its time to start preparation in smart way because I have just read all those books for building my concept. 

    But now, I have decided to follow the way that you suggest ,I mean prepare for both prelims and mains simultaneously,

    So, i have started my preparation in that pattern from today . I am following all the links and books which you suggest in,
    “How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper IV (GS-3)”.(I am preparing in that way, I mean topic wise topic I am preparing from all there link and sources. ) Is is right way sir ?

    Here, i wana ask you a doubt that you have provided number of links and books(all are awesome) for each topic.Should i go through all these sources completely or i should read only important topics in them(books or links).
    In “The Economics time in the classroom “, I have to read all the Archieves(1,2,3,4,5) completely or selected. ??

    And suggest me the better way and appraoch of preparation so that i will prepare in right direction.Beacuse , i know , UPSC will take only those aspirant in its shrine who are dedicated and will do HARD WORK+ SMART WORK 🙂

    So,i need your help Sir in every step of my preparation . Please guide me.. 🙂

    Richa ….. 🙂

    • You are right on track. Finish one paper each. Try to finish Mains papers by December one by one.

      You don’t have to read everything in the link. You should read selectively. But you have time now,so you can afford to read them fully (except big reports). make small notes also.

      You don’t have to read everything from ET in Classroom’ – read only those topics which are relevant to the syllabus.

      Keep revising NCERT texts 1-2 times in a month.

      The better way is to read, write, revise and remember. 🙂

  • Rohit

    hi sir,

    first of all thanx for making this website which is required for all the candidates who due to some reasons cannot avail coaching facilities and i am among one of them…i m a software engineer working in a queries are the the questions which u give in daily writing are some time not current based like The power of appointment to the constitutional and other key posts should be kept outside the exclusive power of the Executive.” Critically examine the controversies surrounding the appointment of CAG and CVC in the light of the Supreme Court’s recent judgement on the issue. (250 Words).
    so i want to ask r they still important for the exams??
    for india’s foriegn policy u have mentioned books, i want to know which book is best for it(bcs u have mentioned Rajiv sikhri and u give questions from Sumit Ganguly) or should i read only current part related to it?

    • Thanks Rohit.

      I am actually trying to cover entire syllabus before Mains. Sometimes some questions are purely static, so cant be asked in relation to current events.

      But the question on CAG is purely a current event based. Last month Delhi High Court allowed writ petitions challenging the appointment of new CAG. Last year SC had directed petitioners to seek justice in the High Court.

      Regarding, international relations, Sikri is a very good book from the exam point of view. I am just picking up lines from Sumit Ganguly’s book. But you can find answer all over the internet. Any one good book on India’s foreign relations is enough. So, I didn’t mention Sumit Ganguly’s book in the article.

      Anyway, I will take note of your suggestion and try to give more current event based questions. Thanks.

      • Rohit

        sir, i am preparing for 2014..sorry but i forgot that this year mains is there so u r giving questions to the aspirants who will give mains this year..thanks for clearing my doubt.

  • Rupesh Dahal

    In Saturday paper there was a very important article on G20 from india’s point of view.
    This article was talking about India’s satisfaction on final G20 declaration on monetary policy.
    Sir my question is from exam point of view do I try to understand all those declaration made by G20, if so how to remember it as these declaration are more than 100 and difficult to understand ?

    • You don’t have to remember the entire declaration. Just make points from The Hindu. That is all important. That is why papers cover them in their news. That is what comes in the exam.

      • Rupesh Dahal

        then logic that now i am getting slowly is: I should only concentrate on those issue that is covered by newspaper. Like in above case their are many declaration made by G20 but only the issue that came in newspaper is important from exam point of view. Am I right sir?

        Sir I am still confused, if a topic like G20 appears in newspaper, I dont have any previous knowledge about it, so i used internet, but internet increased my level of anxiety as their is so much information that if I start writing than whole notebook will be covered by G20. How to decide how much information about G20 would be sufficient while looking at internet and other topic in future ?

        My last query is I which category (like defence, diplomacy etc )can I categorize this two topics: demand of new state and Crash of INS Sindhuraksh

        Thank you

        • First one is right – topics covered in papers are important.

          For background info, visit Wikipedia and study only introduction part.

          Demand for new states – Polity; INS – Defence.

          That is why I always stress, You should know the syllabus by heart. Above topics are part of the syllabus. Knowing syllabus makes reading newspaper very easy.

  • TZR

    Hello Insights,
    Can you please tell some good source to study govt schemes


    • India Year Book and Economic Survey are primary sources. In market, Indian Economy books by Pratiyogita Darpan has everything in it. (I don’t recommend it for mains as this book is just full of facts)

      If I get a link where you can access info on all schemes, I will provide it.

  • tarun mishra

    hello 🙂 first of all thank you 🙂 all i wanted to know is that , i am subscribed to SCIENCE REPORTER magazine , and i find it to be interesting and helpful . do i need to refer to other such magazines such as DOWN TO EARTH ??? thanks

    • tarun mishra

      #want 😉

    • Tarun,

      No. Science Reporter is enough. You can go through The Hindu Thursday S&T section if you want.

  • Sukhram

    I have not received any acknowledgement for the receipt of IFoS DAF. Can anyone please tell if they have got it and if yes, then when have they got it?


    • Don’t worry, most of them have not received and even if you don’t receive it, you will get admit card.

  • Leo

    I am thinking to go a round of a coaching centre notes before I go for any other books.
    Do you think studying a coaching class printed notes will be beneficial as the mains syllabus is very vast and difficult to read 2-3 books for every topic?If yes then which coaching centre notes is the best? Vajiram or sriram? I am preparing for 2014.

    • If you are preparing for 2014, then you must start with standard texts. You should read coaching material only after being thorough with books.

  • arpit

    sir i have a dought…sir
    1) is there any minimum cutoff marks for passing the interview….or total of mains and interview is only required to pass the exam.
    2)sir what are the things they asked in detail form after the prelim exam,which we have to fill.
    3)sir in interview what mark sheets we have to submit…do we have to submit each semester mark sheet or consolidated marksheet of all semester.
    4)sir what are the medical fitness required for ips and ias…some one told me that one of the necessity is that our knew should not touch each other when we stand straight…and know glasses in eye for the ips.

    sir i will be very thankful to you..pls clarify my doughts

    • Arpit,

      1) There is cutoff for appearing for the interview i.e, you should get above certain cutoff marks in Mains exam. And combined score of Mains and Interview decides your rank.

      2) In the detailed application form (DAF) you should mention everything about you – education,job experience if any, hobbies, interests, achievements in sports, NCC, Scouts etc

      3) You have to submit Degree Certificate/Convocation Certificate – but do take all the marks cards too. (they will return them there itself after verification)

      4) Medical check-up: joining of knees is not an issue here. For more details:

      • arpit

        thank you very much sir…i am very happy that you aswered all my dought..thank you sir

  • manish

    Good afternoon sir,
    I have a question:
    During curfew, do government offices work as usual ?

    • It depends on the type of curfew. Under section 144 (3) of Cr.P.C,, curfew can be imposed on an individual or on an entire place. I think offices will be closed in the latter case.

  • Vicky..

    Sir, can you please suggest some good sources for the essay topic of this week also. I am not able to get adequate material for it.

  • Richa

    Hello, Sir,

    How to write comment on The Hindu. I have written number of times but it didnt submit . 🙁



    • Naveen Shekhar

      @ Richa,
      You can send your comments in the column ” letters to the editor” via e-mail..E-mail ID is given in the column tophead .

      • Richa

        @Naveen Shekhar

        Thanks …!! 🙂

  • Bharat

    Small doubt, in mains DAF form, I had put school volleyball team captain as one of leadership positions( though didn’t win anything), I was suggested that it doesn’t look good as it is not worth putting in mains form but I had submitted, im kinda tensed, does it very desperate/ bad?:-/

    • It is good that you mentioned it. Whether it is in school or in college, leading a team is an achievement itself – even if the team loses. The board really appreciates these small things. Problem is many aspirants try to be smart while filling the DAF.

      Don’t worry about what others say. Be prepared to face any question on the game during interview. I assure you, this volleyball thing will help you in the interview. Be happy that you mentioned it.

      • Bharat

        I’m relieved. I was very worried as I thought people do not include such small things.Thanks a lot for your opinion 🙂

  • sathvik

    Sir, right now i am writing answers for questions from past year GS mains papers and Pub ad papers (250 words). But how do i evaluate them. Is there a good solved papers book for both GS as well as Pub ad. So that i can compare my answers with them. Though the book may not be 100% accurate, but i will have a rough idea about the answer. can you please suggest some good books.

  • TR

    Hello Sir,
    Can you please provide a good online source on Comparative Constituional Studies. I know it is in SChand’s Publications book but can you provide some online reference pdf/webpage etc…

    Thanks a lot

  • Dr. ashish gupta

    hi sir …. I want IGNOU anthro material…it’s not available on e-gyankosh…can you guide me how to get it..

  • Rupesh Dahal

    No books on Indian Administration(Rajni Arora, Fadia) is available right now, I have a book by S.R. Maheshwari though it covers syllabus but detailed information is not given hardly 2-3 pages per chapter and though it has been reprinted on 2013 it has given reference to 1st ARC report instead of 2nd ARC report. Sir is their no good book on Indian Administration that is updated with latest commission report and covering syllabus.
    Sir then can I fully and only use IGNOU books to cover syllabus of I.A.

    • Rupesh Dahal

      Sir…my query Please

  • Gokul

    Sir,actually i have joined class in Pune from 15 July, Still i was struggling what to read how to read thanks to u to clear my doubts . I have question about for 2014 exam
    1) Now i am investing time for Question paper analysis and syllabus study.So and start preparing for paper III (Constitution and all that respective to paper). I have not read/studies any other paper yet. From now I am preparing seriously, So is it good time i mean,
    Can I cover syllabus of main up to the February 2014.

    2)From Paper III I have read NCERT 2 times …Should I go for big books.

    3)What should I do, Should i go with topic wise which is in syllabi and read it. Because u suggested different material for topic,.So should i go with topic wise either reading of whole book.

    4)Sir I am giving paper in Marathi medium. So what should I do first reading the book , then should i translate it in to my medium notes i.e. in Marathi

    Sir ,kindly clear my doubts.

    • Gokul,

      1) Yes, you can finish Mains syllabus by February. Plan well. It is possible.

      2) If you have finished reading NCERT, you can move to standard texts. Make notes at least short ones.

      3) Yes, don’t read whole book. Read only what is relevant. That is topic wise.

      4) You should have grip over Marathi. i.e writing. You don’t need to translate anything from English. Practice answer writing in Marathi.

  • Aashna

    can u just archive all questions that you post in a year(daily answer writing) with the best answer chosen from the responses and provide it in a single file?I know it is a tedious task but if u can please will be of immense help…Thanks in advance….a

  • m.k

    The ‘select constitution’ book suggested by you has a lot of stuff in it. could yo say some strategy to finish it as it is a new topic. it would be really great if you could give us an ‘indicative planning’ 🙂

  • Pranav Chavan

    Sir History is my optional
    i want to start World History now
    Done with modern india
    which book should I refer to start it…..??
    And is it right to proceed on world history after Modern India..??

    • See which carries more weightage. Yes, it is a good idea to study world history as it is also there in GS.

      You can go for Arjun Dev for basics, Mathur for comprehensive study, or Norman Lowe for analysis part.

      • Pranav Chavan

        Sir i want that kind book which contain less pages and more information. case which book is better….?
        And which part of world history i should focus more…?


  • Vicky..

    Sir for the Indian Society portion of Paper 2, please suggest some good books. which would cover various issues and challenges, women’s role etc also….

  • Richa

    What is the meaning of Dyarchy in Montagu Chelmsford Act of 1919. Is it the division of subjects between Central and Provincial Legislature or Bifurcation of Provincial Subjects into Reserved and Transferred?

    • Dyarchy brought an element of popular representation in the provincial governments by transferring powers into two authorities.

      One, all powerful, executive Councillors(appointed), and other is ministries (elected)). Reserved subjects were held by the executive Councillors and Transferred subjects were given to Ministries

      So, it is second one.

      • Richa

        Thank you Sir

  • Gaurav Sharma

    How, in your view, would the below profile do in interview, if the interview is above-average (and not excellent).
    Category – UR, Age – 30, Attempt – First and last also due to upper-age-limit, Job – Left after 4 yrs of working as software engineer


    • Your DAF provides material for the board to ask questions. In your case, you should be able to explain convincingly why you are changing the job.

      Age doesn’t matter, nor is the number of attempts. Actually you have an advantage of being a ‘fresher’.

      If honesty, confidence and humbleness is reflected in your all answers, you will get good marks. Basically, they should like you. Elders like polite, humble yet confident youths very much. 🙂

      You have not mentioned hobbies, interests and achievements, so the above profile is incomplete.

      • Gaurav Sharma

        Thanks. As i’m not appearing in this mains so didn’t provide the complete information. 2014 will be ‘the’ attempt.
        Except Teaching and Talking, thought needs to be applied to find out, or say, to frame, my other hobbies and interests and also to find the achievements as for a 70% student from state board and state technical univ with a gap of 2 years after +2, it is the hardest thing to find out any significant academic achievement to be written in the DAF. Also i feel it a struggle, like many others, to find any significant achievement in the professional career of 4 years as a software engineer because i joined as a software engineer and also left as a software engineer 🙂 without any patents etc in my name.
        Please add something more to your advice if this info throws some more light to the profile and if you think that there is something else that can be done ‘now’ to improve this profile for next year.

      • Gaurav Sharma

        Please share any more thoughts on this matter

        • Gaurav,

          All that matters in the interview hall is how well you display your personality trait. DAF is just there to get leads for their questions. Your achievements, interests, hobbies mentioned in DAF get meaning through your answer. If you don’t have brilliant academic record, an achievement in your filed or an interesting hobby, it wont affect the mindset of the board; they will ask questions from somewhere else that help them to gauge your personality.

          Something that can be done now is to form a balanced opinion on diverse social economic issues. You can also start a new hobby like blogging or something you always wanted to pursue. Most important thing is to become humble, respectful and develop empathy towards individuals and society.

          • Gaurav Sharma



  • Rupesh Dahal

    What is the importance of Schedule in our constitution its need and role?
    While reading about constitution how to integrate with Parts, Articles and Schedules?

    • Parts are like Chapters in a book based on a particular theme. Within each Part, articles related to particular ‘theme’ are written. Ex. Part I – Union and its Territory
      Part II – Citizenship.
      Part III – Fundamental Rights.
      Part IV – Directive Principles of State Policy.
      Part IVA – Fundamental Duties……


      Coming to Schedules, they are basically Categories, where certain policies that must be followed by the government and bureaucracy are grouped together. Ex, Oaths, Languages, Duties of Panchayats, powers of states and union etc…

      You don’t have to mug up all articles. Just know the parts and Schedules (not all). More importantly you should know the concept.

      • Rupesh Dahal

        Thank you very much

  • arshu

    sir, i am preparing for csat 2015 exam..right now i m reading psychology ncert book and hindu newspaper. my target is to complete psychology by november so that after that i can start preparing for gs this strategy right or something additional reading is required ? or if not, then pls guide me

    • It is a right strategy. First read NCERT and then go for standard texts or Notes. Meanwhile keep reading The Hindu regularly.

  • one more thing sir, should i read mukul pathak sir notes side by side with ncert or after completing ncert?

    • Read notes after finishing NCERT books.

  • Sir
    Thanks for such a good site. I would like to know whether mains 2013 question-cum-answer booklet will have lined pages or blank space for writing answers.Please reply asap.
    Thanks & Regards

    • Ni Yana,

      It is expected to be a unruled but nobody knows exactly how it will be. Be prepared for both. But, most probably pages will be unruled.

  • TR

    Hello Insihghts,
    Can you kindly tell some good online source for studying geography for GS Mains. I have Majid Husain, but sometimes feels that it is too extensively written and many high level topics are included leading to more time taking and lesser understanding.


  • TR

    I also want to ask another online reference world history, If you could provide me one which is concise and according to UPSC syllabus, that would be very helpful.

    Thank You

  • Kirthi

    For world history, ncert has the basics properly, but for most of the questions analysis might be required. Now that one cannot afford much time, can you suggest any specific chapters in Norman book, that you think are very imp.?

    • Yes analysis part is needed. I will upload important chapters today from a very famous history book that are analytic. 🙂

  • Kirthi

    Thank you, Thanks a ton 🙂

  • Geetika

    Hindu have a book review section once in a week.Is it helpful from exam point of view.

    • Sometimes they are useful. For example, if there is a review on a book dealing with internal security threats, then it is useful. If it is in some related to the syllabus, then it is definitely important.

  • Vikas

    Can You Write Some Articles on Science and Technology …Which Appears in The Hindu …..Such as Voyager 1,2 ….Nano Technology …Thanks

    • Richa

      The facility you are looking for is available on Also you can refer gktoday. Both are awesome sources.

  • NAWIN(naveen)

    sir can
    u suggest NGO, in bengaluru, i need to work for it…plz thanking you sir

  • TR

    Can you please provide some link to get last 10-15 years question papers of Maths optional?

    Thanks in advance

  • tarun mishra

    hello 🙂 2014 will be my last attempt , i literally wasted my 3 attempts from lack of hard work to negligence on my part . but i am sure of cracking it the next year coz now i know my shortcoming like never before . all i am asking is can provide me some links to those cracked it in their last attempt (from pre to the interview) apart from those who who failed to clear mains or interview , will be highly motivating for me …thank you 🙂

  • van

    insight sir ,i subscribed (via gmail) to your site since a week , but i am yet to recieve the daily updates sir (via notification) ……and even i got the message ———————Congratulations, you are now subscribed to the site INSIGHTS ( and will receive an email notification when a new post is made.—————–please help me out insight sir ,awiting for your reply—————thankssir ji

    • Is this problem still there? This is first time I am hearing this. Everything is automated. Check spam folder or trash in your email account.

      • van

        thanks sir for your reply .. sir but i checked both…..but it was not there sir ……can i create a new e mail account and try sir?or is there any other
        way out sir?

        • van

          soooory sir ,,,,, checked it and i found the mails …………..thankyou so muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch sir ……………

  • ramesh

    hello sir,….. i left my job as a faculty & started civils preparation from dec-2013….but i didnt clear prelims….For 2014 pls give me u r suggestions and guidence…..

    • Hopefully there will be an article on it soon.

    • ramesh

      thanks for responding…….sir pls send geography model questions

    • ramesh

      i need gs paper 1 geography model questions

  • Dileep

    Sir, my problem is that when I see few Model Questions which look like Quotations/proverbs,, I feel I am doing a comparatively less study than what I need to do.. Can you please throw some light on how to answer or recognize the questions of that sort…

    • Questions which contain statements will be usually accompanied with analyze, comment or evaluate directives. These demand consolidation of different ideas and presenting them in an orderly fashion. If the directive is ‘comment’, read the statement and see if you agree with it or not. Then explain it with evidences.

      Once you state thesis in the introduction, it becomes easy to write the rest of the answer. So, your intention must be clearly stated in the introduction itself.

      Best answer can be given only when we keep in mind the question till the end. After each paragraph, read the question. New ideas pop up in your head. Connect them.

      • dileep

        Thankyou Sir.

  • shikha

    hi my doubt is about pub ad paper the questions which are being asked the quotes some unknown thinkers is it hard to score good in it. thou i have taken pub ad & socio earlier but looking at the questions i am thinking about which optional to consider.plz give some suggestions thank u

    • tarun mishra

      hello shikha , (JUST MY OPINION . YOU BE THE JUDGE) i had the same doubt , but now i m going wid PUB AD coz not only it covers the most parts of PAPER 3 and parts of PAPER 5 of GS , the optional paper 2 of pub ad is also covered under these papers plus pub ad can be completed with regular studies in say 4 to 5 months . on the other hand socio syllabus is too lengthy and given the cost benefit ratio in the current pattern is not much economical . but again knowledge never goes to waste , chose which ever optional you’re more comfortable/confident with , the new pattern gives almost equal importance to each optional covering various topics . goodluck and hope this helps 🙂

      • shikha

        hi tarun thank u for ur valuable suggestion i m also interested in taking pub ad ur right earlier also it had good part of gs syllabus and now a bigger share with changed syllabus.only doubt is of paper 1 i guess it requires some additional references apart from standard books. how ur preparing for it plz share ur opinion thanks

        • tarun mishra

          last year’s paper 1 was the sole reason i had doubts in my mind regarding my optionals …go through this link it should help a lot , my strategy is, to go through a single book 100 times rather than 100 books a single time ………
          …………HAPPY STUDYING 🙂

          • shikha

            thank u tarun best wishes

            • shikha

              tarun u have joined any test series also.

            • tarun mishra

              i haven’t joined any test series as of now but i vl be starting my classes from nov for gs and dec for pub ad in KSG (bhopal) and the sole reason being more and more writing practice plus analysis 🙂 best wishes to you too my friend

    • Dileep

      My 2012 optionals were Pubad(130+90) and Anthro(75+115). Luckily my paper1 score has gone up because I somewhere had this doubt if any Q on new thinkers is asked. I had a frnd who brought me material on Thinkers from a US university. That journal saved me but could not get till interview. I met my PubAd faculty to decide on the optional for the coming 2014(didnt apply for 2013). He said pubad is a scoring subject and also helps in GS in most of the topics. But he also said that UPSC has made many changes in the Questioning these days and one cannot predict how they are gonna appear too. So, a serious candidate shoudl choose an optional where he can score maximum marks. So, I compared the syllabus and chose anthro for next attempt. It is quite easy and understandeble subject, nothing comes out of syllabus… I have known people scoring 400 out of 600 till last year. I dont say that pubad is not scoring. It is a great subject to learn and to score. But there is always uncertainity in the Paper1 and may even change the whole scenario upside down and make you suffer in other papers too. My only point to specifically say is why choose a topic which is uncertain in a particular area…better to go for a easy and much scoring one…As you mentioned, socio is also a very good subject to score and has always been a liking subject wrt marks…. Goodluck! Sorry for all pubad lovers. It just my view. I myself love pubad alot 🙂

      • shikha

        hi can you plz give some online link of those university from were u got the
        material thanks

        • dileep

          I am sorry Shikha, he has worked there previounsly as asst.research scholar,now moved to other state… anyway this is the University from which he got me the journal on thinkers…

          I think the list of thinkers is still available in some bookshops in Delhi…

          • shikha

            thank u dileep after seeing the last year paper i was worried about paper 1.can u plz tell what all sources references or std texts u refered or can be of immense help in dealing the question paper of pub ad

            • dileep

              Yes Shikha I understand. I myself didnt want to leave pubad… But wanted to score more, thats the reason I took anthro. If you are for 2014 then once again think about your socio(Decision is always yours). Anyway my sources were :
              Meaning and scope – Mohit bhattacharya
              Adm.Thikers – Institute notes, prasad, american journal
              organisations – Sadhana and sharma
              Accountability and control – Notes+ARC
              CPA- RK Arora
              Development Admin – notes+arora
              personnel admin – arc, notes
              public policy -arc(very useful)
              financial adm – nicholas henry(goog for financial adm topics), notes
              Paper-2 entirely I relied on my institute notes+ARC+DD Basu

              Accodring to the changes pattern, I think most of the questions will be of dynamic mode and static part can be less…
              I also went through the answer sheets of previous years’ rankers who had pubad(to see their presentation)

              Simple way to score in pubad is bring out a diagram in every answer of yours. If you don’t feel diagram is needed, atleast draw a flowchart kind of thing representing the key terms in it. I did the same for every answer. Any examiner will be impressed to see something new in your answers… Till last year this was only followed by few people. Make use of it.. If you wnat further diagrams, I can mail u… I dont think there is provision for uploads in this website… ([email protected])

              • shikha

                thanks a lot dileep for giving detail explaination. i would like to have thing more i want to ask u can u give ur review about vision ias test series do these test series help.
                thank u best wishes

                • dileep

                  Yes! VisionIAS test series are very good. But joining a test series is very costly there and in synergy as well. Better buy those test series booklets and practise. U leave ur mail id so that I can send u the files having diagrams…

  • Richa

    Hello Sir,
    Is it necessary to buy only 4th edition Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh (TMH).Is there any problem to buy its 5th edition?

    And sir i need your one more favour,

    In mains paper IV (economics and science tech) Topic 4,Topic5 and topic-6 are very vast i dont undersand what to read and what to skip so please give me hint of it.I have try to read all but its seems cumbersome.

    Sir please do this favour.I’ll be very grateful to you.


    • alok rai

      @richa in economics we have to only read macro economic and just go for money and banking in economics and science and tect. questions are generally asked on current status . just like in current scenario the question can ask on CAD and it;s causes , depreciation of money etc.

      • Richa

        @Alok rai

        Thank you..! 🙂

    • You never know if 5th edition will be published next year or not. So buy 4th one.

      I have given given links to articles for above topics. There is no short cut. You have to read them all are relevant.

      • Richa

        Ok Sir…! 🙂

        Thank you..!!

        I’ll cover all topics. 🙂

  • Ambika Prasad Mishra

    No books on Indian Administration(Rajni Arora, Fadia) is available right now, I have a book by S.R. Maheshwari though it covers syllabus but detailed information is not given hardly 2-3 pages per chapter and though it has been reprinted on 2013 it has given reference to 1st ARC report instead of 2nd ARC report. Sir is their no good book on Indian Administration that is updated with latest commission report and covering syllabus.
    Sir then can I fully and only use IGNOU books to cover syllabus of I.A.

  • Ambika Prasad Mishra

    .please suggest me some blog’s links yhat will be helpfull for me for public adminstration preparation for civil services mains exam

    • May be on Orkut or ForumIAS you can access threads. There is so much on Pub Ad out there. There are blogs by toppers but they are outdated I guess.

  • alok rai

    ACTUALLY I WANT YOUR ADVICE IN SELECTING MY OPTIONAL SUBJECT . I AM LITTLE BIT CONFUSE BETWEEN public administration and Hindi so which one will be better option although I am highly interested in Hindi literature but i am no sure about the availability coaching classes and proper study material so please help me to select a better optional..

    • If your interest is in Hindi then it is better you go for it. For literature self study and writing practice is sufficient. I don’t think there is a dearth of stud materials for Hindi.

      • alok rai

        thx a lot sir for your valuable reply …. can you please refer se some text books on the Hindi literature

      • alok rai

        In many of the student I have seen a common problem of lack of writing skills I mean to say that we don’t know to How to start ye particular question ? means HOW to give introduction and finally what should be the conclusion ? Even sometime question are so confusing Like.. Critically examine the bilateral relationship between India and USA .now in this question how to critically analysis it and what should to be the introduction ? is quite confusing.. so kindly help me regarding to the issue…

  • Ambika Prasad Mishra

    please suggest me the best general studies manual for prelims.people said )TMH best but the content in arihant is better than that.which one i should follow.if u have any others then please let me know

  • Good day sir,
    Sir in answer practice session 55 question regarding banking role towards resource mobilisation……should we just focus only on resource mobilisation part,problems and solution only or should also bring in other dimensions like financial inclusion,socio economic development etc……..
    please provide me feedback…thanx in advance

    • Yes, you should just examine i.e probe about the measures taken by banks. You don’t have to bring financial inclusion etc. If directive was ‘critically examine’, offering solutions makes sense.

  • pranav

    Sir I am facing too much problem in understanding proper meaning of words in ethics and integrity…..
    what should i do sir…?

  • venkat

    Sir Thank you very much for providing consolidated information at one place for each paper. I have taken online coaching from and attended their video classes for geography optional and general studies and noted down the notes during video class. Sir are you having any idea of quality of material of i.e. whether it is sfficient or how should I supplement to it .I am appearing for 2014 exam. Furthur please tell me any book having solved previous papers of geography optional.

    • venkat

      Sir Thank you very much for providing consolidated information at one place for each paper. I have taken online coaching from and attended their video classes for geography optional and general studies and noted down the notes during video class. Sir are you having any idea of quality of material of i.e. whether it is sfficient or how should I supplement to it .I am appearing for 2014 exam. Furthur please tell me any book having solved previous papers of geography optional.

  • prasanna

    Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
    regarding this topic in paper-2
    do we need to divide this topic into policies and interventions of government separately or both gives similar context?
    do we need to cover general context of policies like what is public policy, its making process, types, general objectives, role of different offices,?
    when comes to various sectors we have to cover the basic features of that particular sector suppose sarvasiksha abayan its feateure will that serve the purpose?
    when comes to second part of the topic ie issues arising out of their design and implementation, is this general context of a policy or related to each sectors implementation and design process?
    please help me sir
    and also please spend some time on reviewing my essays
    thanks in advance

  • anurag

    I wrote prelims in may 2013(First attempt),but could not clear. As of now I am concentrating on optional. I studied History and Kannada Literature, before announcement of new pattern . Now I wanted to take Kannada since syllabus is very short compared to history.
    But many people are telling..
    1.UPSC is going heavily penalise all literature subjects as they did with Pub Adm. this year.
    2.Next year UPSC may remove all literature optional.

    I am in confusion now. Please help me sir…

    Are there any harm in taking literature?

    Are there any way to know the optional mains marks(2012 mains) subject wise?

    • Anurag,

      Nobody knows for sure if literature as an optional will be removed or not. If you are worried about it, better start preparing for four GS papers. Finish them before January.

      If there is any such proposal to remove literature subjects from mains,then it will be clear by December. UPSC announces such a measure well before Prelims.

      If you are opting Kannada, you can finish it in 2-3 months.

      UPSC ‘penalizing’ certain optionals is again a rumour. If you do very well in your subject, even if UPSC moderates, your score won’t vary much. The key is to perform very well.

      I don’t have marks of toppers’ subject-wise.

    • mohan reddy

      There is no such bar for literature like what u said!!!
      With thorough preparation any optional can fetch the success!!!
      There is no clarifications or hints given by UPSC regarding removal of LITERATURE!!

    • vikranth

      please share the book list with sources to get them and strategy for kannada literature please

      • anurag

        go to hariprasad bookstall, manuvana, vijayanagar bangalore…u will get everything….

  • manish

    Question1 : Which one of the following represents the fundamental difference between Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism ?
    1)emphasis on non-violence
    2)casteless society
    3)Worship of God and Goddesses
    4)Worship of Stupas

    Question 2 : Foundation of modern education system in India was laid by ?
    (charter act 1813, wood’s dispatch)

    • alok rai

      @ Manish answer for 1 question is 3 Mahayan believe that Buddha is God
      where as Hinayan believe that He is just a ordinary may who found a way to Nirvana and for second question it is charter act 1813 which have provision of state sponsorship education program and for this purpose British Parliament given a sum of Rs. 100000 to spread education in India

      • manish

        Thank you Alok 🙂

  • good day sir,
    i have a doubt regarding liberty reserve case and money laundering…..can we right about KYC norms as a measure against these type of money laundering though it has been done through fake identity over the internet……. and sir please put focus on this question as i am direction less though i have posted the answer but not satisfied ………….
    thanx sir

    • Yes you have to write about KYC norms and if you find any loopholes then analyze them too. This question was given just to make you aware of the current event issue related to Money Laundering topic. If you have understood the concept then that’s sufficient.

      Don’t go too deep into any topic. Whatever you and others have written is all relevant to the topic.

  • sanjay

    I have been following your site since few months..
    Very informative site on CSE preparation.
    Sir right now I’m preparing for CSE and highly motivated towards uniformed job i.e. IPS.
    But people around me suggesting to opt IAS with relevant or irrelevant reasons..
    (I believe in instant justice. Justice then and there itself.)
    My request is could you provide a broader view on following..
    1) Differences between 2 services..?
    2) Advantageous factors of IPS over IAS..?
    3) Job satisfaction (might be personal)..??
    Sir i ‘HOPE’ your ANSWER can provide me a new look / view about IPS and motivate me throughout my preparation without distractions or sliding between IPS & IAS..
    Eagerly waiting for your reply sir..

    • There is everywhere injustice, you can not, on earth, give justice on the spot to anyone – unless you are some sort of good dictator.

      Appreciate your urge to do good to the people. But if you think IPS gives the power to provide justice on the spot then you are mistaken.

      But there is a lot of scope to provide justice to victims and innocents by supervising and conducting honest investigation as an IPS officer. Ultimately it is the duty of courts to provide justice.

      For service differences refer Wikipedia or Mrunal websites.

      If your desire is to ‘help provide’ justice to victims of various crimes and love adventure, then go for IPS, if you love to help society prosper by giving good and clean administration, go for IAS. Of course many challenges will be there, but they should be there, right?

  • shikha

    hi can u plz suggest best books for international relation from does the elephant dance,Rajiv Sikri,Muchkund Dubey,sumit ganguly. which is helpful for writing answers and gives analytical views
    thank u

  • Prashanti

    Hi sir,
    I request you to start a forum for aspirants who want to have a competitive group for discussions on general studies and optional papers . so that they can have debates, discussions which will be of great help. Kindly consider this request sir, there are many aspirants who really wanted co-aspirants for good flow of preparation.

    • Prashanti,

      It sounds like a good idea, but it’s not a good idea. A good discussion in a forum soon turns into a discussion about movies and gossips. Many people waste their time there. Because you won’t have any moderator, things get personal and end up in mudslinging.

      Right now, when Mains is nearing, starting a forum for discussion is not a good idea. Instead, if you can spend time reading answers written at daily answer writing challenge and leave behind your valuable comments, that would help a lot both the reader and writer.

      This may sound like little discouraging, but believe me, debates, discussions on online fora are not good for IAS aspirants.

  • Govinda

    thanx for your support
    I want to know is it possible to convert a pdf file or text into mp3 or any audio format, as i m a working person so it would we very helpful if NCERT books or Yojana that is very important for exam is converted into audio files, I could work as well as learn also.

  • Hello sir.
    I have passed class XII in 2013 and right now doing B.Tech in Hyderabad. I want to start preparations for IAS from now onward. Since I am doing by degree course I wont be able to devote 8-10 hours for preparing for IAS. So kindle suggest me some books and way to prepare in these days so that i can build my base for dedicated studies for IAS in future. How should I start my preparations from first year of my course and what all should I study ?
    I have planned to dedicate my most of the time for IAS after I complete degree but till then how can I help myself to be in a good state to prepare for IAS after
    Looking for early and fruitful reply.
    Thank You

    • dileep

      Dude… You have 4years more.. And no one can say what changes can be made till then.. So it will be good to happily finish off your Degree and much hardwork is not needed from now. But as you asked, basic books to go with are – NCERT(8,9,10,11,12) history, geography,, economics. They are more than enough till you finish off your grad. Polity ncert is also to be read (I dont remember which class text it is…) Stay kool and enjoy your graduation with devoting some time to ncerts.. That will suffice 🙂

      • Thank u for ur valuable feedback sir.

        • kittu kumari m

          develop reading newspaper that’s a crucial thing for your ias preparation

  • Sir, The Discovery of India by Pandit Nehru is being sold at a discount at Flipkart as you posted.

    I wish to know your take on the book, if you have read it. To those who have already read India’s history, how useful would the book be?

    • Yes I have read it. It is not useful for Mains but it will be useful for for the interview. It has lot of original insights on ancient Indian society and how it changed with times. Lot of ancient history is there which is not required for Mains. You should read the book but not now

      But some chapters from his book ‘An Autobiography’ helps in Mains – chapters on Gandhi, communalism, British policies, Congress sessions, and last few chapters on India and democracy.

      Also some people are suggesting Basham’s books (the wonder that was India), which is again not required for Mains.

      • Thank you Sir. I will read it after mains.

        Sir, i am facing a problem continously.

        i had subscribed for yojana and kurukshetra long back. Sometimes, it gets delivered, but a lot of times i do not receive them. I have complained in the post office, but even they do not have a track of it.

        And, the archives on the internet are 3-4 months old.

        Is there any way to access them digitally? Sir, how did you get access to the July edition? It is not in the archives

        Please help me.

        • I have given links to issues till June 2013, not July.

          By November, you will get access to August issue (digital), I am afraid you can’t help anything about hard copies – government right?

  • alok rai

    In many of the student I have seen a common problem of lack of writing skills I mean to say that we don’t know to How to start ye particular question ? means HOW to give introduction and finally what should be the conclusion ? Even sometime question are so confusing Like.. Critically examine the bilateral relationship between India and USA .now in this question how to critically analysis it and what should to be the introduction ? is quite confusing.. so kindly help me regarding to the issue…

  • Geetika

    thank you sir..:)

  • st

    i want to know how to prepare for language papers , though i don’t have any problem with hindi or english language but grammatically i am not strong & also i want to know about level of preparation required bcoz they can spoil the entire hard work.

    • dileep

      Practising last 5year papers of UPSC are sufficient. If you want to improve your grammar then try “Wren and Martin”. I think the cutoff for this paper should be around 120.

  • ram

    hello insight… in the Gh cheng leong.geography….for the mains purpose what r the imp. chapters…

    • More important – 3, 4 , 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 25

      All other chapter – read at least introductions.

      • ram

        thank u insight

      • Naveen Shekhar


  • tejaswini

    hello sir, i m preparing for 2014 exam. i have taken geography as optional. i m not able to frame a proper time table. can you please help me with it. and please start a thread for prelims 2014 also.

    • Along with Geography, try to finish all mains papers by February. You can start with one GS paper and one Geography paper. Go on finishing GS papers along with geography every day. Make a list of important chapters, topics in geography, read them first. Example, October – GS-1 + Most important chapters from Geography Paper-I…
      November – GS-2 + remaining chapters Geography – Paper-I

      likewise…. go on…

      After February, focus on Prelims (next Prelims is in August 2014)

      • tejaswini

        thanks a lot sir.. but what about revision sir

  • Govinda

    For mains preparation is Question paper of old syllabus useful, can i use it to practice answer writing as so only old syllabus question are available to practice?
    Will this question be useful to form strategy to prepare mains 2013, 2014?
    Kindly help me… Thnax

    • You can use old questions for practice. Or get question papers from friends who have attended test series this year.

  • Kirthi

    Which one will you priority to- giving test series for the sake of giving without finishing portion or plan by myself (by following insights etc., self plan) and try to finish Portion without bothering much about tests( saw many interviews who Cleared w/o giving tests) ? I’m lagging behind in prep., I have to clear my mind off doubts and start with clear focus

    • Priority should be on completing the syllabus as you are giving mains this year. Most of them clear exam without ever giving tests before main exam. But, new pattern is different, you need some practice before you got exam hall. But if you are worried about priority, then it should be on covering all topics of the syllabus. If you know something about a topic, you can cook up some answer. However, at least in November, you should devote few days for writing practice. Don’t worry about test series, when content is in head, writing is not that difficult. Knowing something is prerequisite for writing. Hence, priority should be on it – knowing.

  • Kirthi

    Thank you insights.
    Knowing something is prerequisite for writing- how true.
    I will focus on finishing as much as I can. Thanks a lot for the reply insights 🙂

  • Govinda

    I was looking at the sample question given by UPSC for Paper IV from your site. In case studies question No.4 & No.5 i got stuck.
    1. Question No. 4 is totally based on women’s security issues, a situation of sexual harassment that today every organization is facing,
    I thought first to talk to other member of oraganization especially ladies, if they all are facing same kind of problem from Mr A . or if Mr A is playing double face game. If it proved then I would take direct action. Sir is my approach right or I need to look at some other evident and techniques? kindly guide me.

    2. In No. 5, I was totally blank what type of question is this totally based on emotion. If I found my best friend cheating in his final year than how to deal with it. Sir the only thought that comes in my mind is to complain it, but if I complain about it to invigilator it is obvious that he is expelled, he fails the graduation exam, whole life is wasted. I would lose my best friend foreever he will always blame me, i am only the person losing here. then why I follow the right path.
    what is the right approach to deal with this situation, is here any universal applicable rule ?

    • Govinda

      Sir reply please

  • vinu

    Hello sir…I’m a final year engineering student in Bangalore.My graduation is going to be completed in August 2014.I’m in total dilemma when should I start preparing for IAS And can I cope up with my academics also?If that were the case,Its waste to write CSE 2014 as I can’t make efficient preparation. I need to appear for CSE 2015.I thought of not doing any job and devote myself to IAS Study by myself(I don’t want to go for any coaching institute).
    1.Suppose I appear for 2015 Exams,ideally when should I start my preparation.?
    2.Assuming that I’m going to write CSE 2015,what should I concentrate upon now?
    3.Since I’ve to start from scratch,I’m worried how should I start?
    4.As u have told,When we go for self-study,its difficult for us to keep motivated as we can be demotivated when our strategy is improper and we don’t have proper guidance.So how to keep ourselves motivated as this exam is a lengthy one.

    • Vinu,

      You should start from now itself even if you want to appear in 2015.

      1) Start with The Hindu. Study it. Don’t just read. make it a habit. It is the first and most important step.

      then read NCERT texts. Search comments and you will find what all books to read.

      2) Keep visiting god blogs and websites to update knowledge on exam. If possible comment on articles. Start writing small articles on social/political issues.

      3) Digest whole syllabus. Prelims+Mains. This is the real Start. Then analyze previous year questions. Keep reading questions daily.

      4) Whenever you lack motivation, you can visit this site and see what fellow aspirants are doing. Get inspiration. You can also seek motivation from Insights (if you want). 🙂

      • vinu

        Thanks insights for your valuable reply………………..

  • deepak raj

    sir, which approach is better reading materials/NCERT books via soft copy or hard copy? Essential books like Polity by Laxmikant is also available in soft copy. your valuable suggestion please…

    • It depends on your comfort level. Best way is to read Hard copy. You should read it repeatedly. But these days most standard books are available as Kindle versions, so it’s good to read them on Kindle device too. It’s not at all any strain on eyes.

      For NCERT you can rely on soft copy as you won’t need them after 2-3 readings.

  • Kirthi

    @ Deepak: Hey how can we get soft copy of laxmikanth like essential books?

  • sharan

    sir do you have coaching center in delhi? please inform me address.

    • Sharan,

      Sorry. There is no coaching institution run by ‘’ anywhere in India.

  • premkumar

    Sir , in gs paper1 chapter 3 freedom struggle , which topics are most imp in bipan chandra and there is need to total book pls reply me sir

    • Ideally you should read whole book. It is not advisable to read it selectively, especially for the topic on Freedom Struggle.

      • premkumar

        Thank u very much sir

  • premkumar

    Sir kindly provide gs 4 ethics paper how to prepare

  • manish

    Sir, Are we able to get hard copy of old NCERT books on “World History-10” ? (Norman lowe is out of stock since last 2 months 🙁 )

    • I don’t thin it’s available in hard copy. May be you will get photo copy in Delhi.

  • van

    sir ,how to go about map preparation for geography optionals (target 2014)…… ,,really puzzled …….please help me out sir?

    • First list past twenty year’s questions on Map and solve them.

      Then make a list of places that appear in standard texts you read while preparing. Collect info from wikipedia and keep revising the notes. You have Map for paper-Ii now. So, you can note down important place names from The Hindu too. Keep searching place names every day.

      There is a pattern. A river or tributary, a mountain or its range, a national park, a mine, an island, a cultural site, a city, is usually asked. Use Oxford Student atlas (not school atlas). Don’t worry much about this question. make it fun to know about new place every day.

      • van

        thaks insight sir …..starting today sir

  • hello insights,
    can you please tell me whether one has to write the same word limit in sociological questions as we use in general studies. Papers of sociology which carry questions ranging from 20- 30 marks doesnot mention word limit. Please clarify as soon as possible.
    Thank You

    • Yes. For 60 marks questions it the assumed word limit used to be minimum 600 words. If the question is of 25 marks, then 250 words will be the limit.

      It applies to Optional subject too.For a 30 marker, you should write a 300 words answer (+/- 30 words). The logic is it divides your time equally for all the questions for 3 hours. Earlier in optional subjects, one had to answer 5 questions of 60 marks each. For 3 hours, 3000 words.

  • venkat

    Sir Thank you very much for providing consolidated information at one place for each paper. I have taken online coaching from and attended their video classes for geography optional and general studies and noted down the notes during video class. Sir are you having any idea of quality of material of i.e. whether it is sfficient or how should I supplement to it .I am appearing for 2014 exam. Furthur please tell me any book having solved previous papers of geography optional.

    • Venkat,

      I was not aware of this site until you told me. I have not read their material so I can’t comment.

      Read standard texts and then go for coaching material (for revision in case you have not made own notes). For Mains you must read certain books. You should cultivate analytic abilities to answer diverse questions. I don’t think any coaching material would provide it to you, not even of the best institution in India.

      for mains book list:

      Chronicle has released one book on Geography solved papers. It is not that bad.

      • venkat

        Thank you sir for your valuble advise. you have mentioned that chronicle has released book on solved papers of geography. can you give me the address or any link for getting this book.

  • Aryaa

    Hello Sir,
    I am working professional, preparing for civil services 2014. My question is regarding India year book. I know the importance of this book when it comes to CSE but i find it filled with lots of fodder materials which, at during preperation, becomes too difficult to cope up with.Even completing one chapter with all the included data becomes too difficult. If you could help me, as to how we can differentiate between the important and non important chapters or important topics within a chapter in this book i would be much thankful
    Thanks & Regards,

    • To be frank, except for government schemes, info about certain institutions and developments in science and technology fields, this book is not that important going by the present trend. Instead of reading it completely, use more time to finish polity, economy, geography and history sections. That will be more productive and profitable.

      When I write an article on 2014 Prelims approach, I will mention which chapter and topics are important from India year book. For now, you can focus on basic concepts more. Analyze last 5 years papers and things will be clear to you.

  • Richa

    Hello Sir

    If i’ll buy Indian economy by Ramesh Singh 5th edition then is there any problem in that book?Because its 4th adition is neither available in the market nor on flipkart.

  • Richa


    i wana discuss with you that, the time table which i am following is right or i should make changes in it??

    As i said that i have started with paper 3 of mains(economics and science & tech) i devote 3-4 hours every day for economics and along with this i am reading Geography Ncert’s XI atleast devoting 2-3 hours and also with English portion of CSAT(prelims) 2-3 hours and newspaper reading Two-hours.Daily 2 RC’s.(alteast one hour)
    And i have decided to complete mains paper 3(eco and sci.&tech) atleast (topic 8 to topic 9) and geography all Ncerts upto October end or November 1st week. This is the strategy which i am following sir.

    Now i need your favour sir to correct my schedule and make it the most perfect one so that i can finish my syllabus as soon as possible.

    Please guide me the right strategy. I need your help sir. 🙂



  • Ambika Prasad Mishra

    for geography gs mains whether it is good to follow MAJID HUSSAIN’S ”GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA’ OR RAJIV AHIR’S-“GEOGRAPHY ,SPECTRUM PUB”.PLEASE REPLY.

  • Ambika Prasad Mishra

    I have Bipan Chandra’s INDIAN STRUGGLE OF INDEPENDENCE.But I am planning to buy another book on modern history because it is heavily left oriented.

    so which book should i refer?
    1.modern india-Rajiv Ahir
    2.palasy to partition-orient blackswan pub

  • Mohit

    Hi Insights,

    I have a few doubts regarding the working of tribunals, as follows:

    What is the meaning of tribunals following circuit procedure in their working to make themselves more accessible?

    What is the significance of the fact that a tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure,1908?

    • Circuit bench or circuit court is a non permanent setup established to speed up justice delivery. Tribunals have such benches across India, some permanent and some are ‘circuit’. These are converted into permanent benches by an order of the president. So, following circuit procedure means, getting close to the people to make themselves available at arms length.

      Tribunals are not bound by CPC as they themselves act like civil courts and are governed by the principles of natural justice and rules framed by the government. If they are governed by CPC, then what is the difference between them and courts?

      Natural justice provides fair hearing and rule against bias, so tribunals with the provisions of their act, function on the basis of natural justice in the matters of their jurisdiction. Main objective is speedy disposal of cases.

      • Mohit

        Thank you!

  • manish

    Good morning Sir,
    Need help !!
    Note: I am in software company and i have more time in morning to read before go to office. I do come late evening around 9 – 10 pm. My optional is Geography.
    I have divided my time in two dimension : 1) Newspaper part 2) Text book part.
    2) For text book part i am devoting my morning 2 hours (sometime 3 hour) daily.
    1) For news paper part i am able to cover only Hindu editorial in the office/home time. (I know that frontline and chronicle is imperative for writing main paper. In what way i can cover these)
    Will reading editorial only help me in long run ? How to focus on current affairs part ? I found myself the most of the time got waste in the office when there is no work and during that leisure time i could not project myself in reading books due to surrounding environment of colleagues.
    Is there any way to utilize my office time productively like if there is small books/ map which i can keep in my pocket etc…??
    Please help me sir.

    • Manish,

      1) Reading just editorials is not helpful. You should mug up whole syllabus to know what’s important in newspaper. Every day there will be an article related to some part of the syllabus be it on Judiciary, environment, bilaterals, international organizations etc. If syllabus is in your head, your eyes will do the scanning part.

      2) While in office lot of time goes waste from morning to evening. Best way to utilize the time is to carry a tablet or Kindle e-book reader. There are PDFs available for most of the syllabus. Check my articles on GS papers. NCERT are also there. You can productively use 2-3 hours in office if you can carry a portable device. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is good in case you are interested (they have slashed price) –

  • C3PO

    I am preparing for CSE 2014 and recently came across your Daily Answer Writing Challenge ( Kudos to you for your great work ). After looking at the answers posted there and attempting a few, doubts have come up in my mind :
    1) How should one format the answer? Is it necessary to write answers in a prosaic manner or can one go for a point wise / separate paragraph approach.

    2) Regarding the content I had doubts whether or not one should take a position in the answer. E.g. In answer to a question on extra constitutional factors affecting the federal polity a lot of well written posts talked about initiatives like NCTC / CSS / GST as pointers to a centralizing trend or talked about their negatives but then all these issues are quite controversial with strong arguments about how these things are well within the framework of Indian federalism. So how does one go about writing a more nuanced answer, if at all that is necessary

    3) How should one interpret the terms used in the question : Discuss / Critically Examine / Comment. What are the requirements for each.

    4) How should one strike a balance between points and examples validating points while staying within the word limit. Should one try to maximize the points or is it better to go for a few but example validated points.

    Sorry for the long post. I have not joined any coaching institute hence have a plethora of doubts. Any feedback would be much appreciated

    Thanks in advance

    • Thanks C3PO,

      1) Separate paragraph approach is better. You can use headings if necessary.

      2) You can take a position in your answer provided you have examples or evidence to back your argument. Answer should be logical devoid of emotions. Most of the times, there will be strong arguments for and against, so you can passively mention about the other argument to give a touch of balanced approach in the end.

      It all depends on the context of the question actually. If the question is on ‘women’s rights’, no matter what’s your opinion, you must argue in favour of women.

      If the question is on India – Pakistan relations, you can’t go on arguing against Pakistan, your answer must be balanced (though you find few reasons to argue in favour of Pakistan)

      3) The following article might help you:

      4) Few points with good examples is better. To be concise, more should be told in few words. Using transition and connective words wherever necessary makes answer effective.

  • vinu

    Sir really I’m grateful to you for this awesome job of guiding Civil Service Aspirants.
    Sir can you please tell me how to read THE HINDU. Which sections are more important?
    Editorial , Open Editorial ,Book Review ,Science and Technology

    1.Should I understand what is the content and write it in my own words?
    2. I often heard that Editorial of THE HINDU is very important and indispensible for ESSAY. How much important is Editorial? And should we mug up
    Editorial Views
    3. It is often possible that Views are of the editor and it may not be biased .Like editor may be in opposition with ruling party .But as a Bureaucrat , we can’t be in support of any party. So should we change editorial views while writing answers.
    4. How editorial is going to help essay?

    • Thanks Vinu.

      Except regional and political news, most of the articles are important. It doesn’t mean you have to study all articles also. Mug up whole syllabus and you will know which article is important for your exam.

      1) It is best to write in your own words after reading an article. You write down your own article – with views either concurring or opposing to the main article.
      2) Yes editorials are indispensable especially for improving language, style and cultivating balanced approach on various issues. Never mug up them. Write short article of your own after reading them. May be 200-300 words.
      3) Editorials are there for helping you create opinion. You don’t have agree with the views in those articles always. For UPSC, balanced approach is important. Middle path is what needed. That’s why I have told many aspirants to write letters to The Hindu editor. It helps in forming strong opinion on various issues. It helps in GS and Essay papers.
      4) Essay requires lot of analytic skills. Editorials provide you with this. They usually analyze an issue from various angles.

      • vinu

        thank yo sir………….

  • azhar

    i m not able to match with my schedule and concentrate .
    plz provide some tips to overcome thic problem..

    • Don’t worry it happens with Obama and M M Singh too. Don’t make your time table too rigid. Don’t include 14 hours with no rest in between.

      Make it flexible. Allot 2-3 hours for a few topics from a same subject, or allot whole day for a same subject by making list of important topics to be covered.

      First know how much time you usually take to finish one chapter having 20-30 pages. Based on that schedule your time. Don’t try to finish too many things in little time. You lose both concentration and confidence.

      Try this today. It might help you.

      • azhar

        thanks 🙂
        and one more thing currently i m going through ramesh singh
        so what should be the approach to study it?
        2) i have to read full book or selected chapters?
        3) for pre and mains i m doing ramesh singh + economic survry – is it sufficient?

  • tarun mishra

    hello sir 🙂 i have one trivial doubt which has been bugging me for sometime can you please tell me that , will the new “Question Paper – cum – Answer booklet ” will have RULED or UNRULED paper for writing answers , so that i can practice accordingly . i did go through the sample paper provided by you (unruled paper) and the one you posted regarding UGC pattern (ruled paper), i am bit confused …THANK YOU

    • Tarun,

      Nobody knows it correctly. But mostly it will be unruled. Every coaching centre is conducting test series with unruled papers.

  • Appu Srva

    Sir, If the question ‘Do you support Edward Snowden?’ is asked in the interview, should we say ‘no’ because he has done things against his nation? Or should we say ‘yes’ because he thought about the total world rather than just his nation?
    Sir, I was told that in interview we should support Nationalism though it contradicts with our personal opinions because as a to be administrator, we should always support our nation. Is that Right? or Is it okay to say what is correct in our view in these type of questions?

    Please throw some light on this sir…

    Thanks in advance.

    • You can give a balanced answer to this question. If he was a Indian citizen and had done this to India, what would be your answer? (Definitely you would have wanted him to be hanged) You can answer it like: ‘as his documents have revealed, America has violated our sovereignty and for revealing this, I support him. But if someone had done this to or own country, I would have opposed him as it’s again violation of our own security.’ Both honesty and concern for your country is reflected here. Also, you don’t give them chance to counter your answer is case you had supported or opposed him.

      It is ok to say what is correct in your view but it should never be extreme. Your answer should reflect your concern for people and society and ultimately your personality.

      There is a difference is saying:

      ‘India must be protected from terrorists at any cost’


      ‘Our sovereignty and innocent people should be guaranteed with security from terrorist activities.’

      First statement has ‘nationalist’ tone, but the second one shows your concern for the people.

      The board should like you. Elders like us when we are humble, respectful, confident and simple.

      • Appu Srva

        Thank you so much for the detailed explanation sir.

        We, the followers of your website owe a lot to you 🙂

  • manish

    Good Morning Sir,
    Kindly suggest whether we required to read all chapter in the ARC report or conclusion and recommendation part only?

    Thank You 🙂

    • It ia very vast. You can read chapters 2,3,5 and 11 + conclusion and recommendations.

  • sir,for current affairs i am relying on newspaper(hindu), yojana, chronicle, science reporter and tell me why.
    some questions in this regard,
    1) is this list sufficient?
    2) besides The Hindu, is it necessary to make notes for other magazines as well?
    3) would i need to buy “value addition” edition by chronicle besides regular monthly edition?

    • 1) Yes the list is sufficient. .

      2) Magazines, especially Chronicle is mostly copy paste from the Hindu and other newspapers. So, no need to make notes from them

      3) Instead of adding ‘value’, they add burden to your preparation. Don’t buy them if you are regular with newspaper.

  • vinu

    Sir compared to so many rural aspirants,those residing in urban area and those with access to internet are really blessed.Because,sites like INSIGHTS are really of a great help for any aspirant.Also compared to those who cleared exams some 10 years back or so,we are really blessed because we have so much of guidance today which they didn’t have,we have great MENTORS like you who are helping .What is your comment on it?Im asking this because this can be a great motivating factor for us…. Can you please tell me How best we can make use of Internet for reaching our destiny. Thanking You sir……

    • Thanks.

      These days even in rural areas internet is available to it’s blessing for them too. The main intention of this blog is to use the power of net to make quality guidance for IAS preparation available to remote areas too. To some extent it has succeeded in this regard. There is more to come. This is just a beginning.

      Internet is both blessing and a curse depending on how you use it. It should be used minimally only when there necessity arises. Real books must be given importance over internet. For clearing doubts, accessing material that’s not available in the market or in your area, to communicate with like minded aspirants and for getting guidance/comments as is done in Daily answer writing, internet should be used.

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    Sir, I’m an aspirant of CSE 2014. Can you please tell me if there’s any way to subscribe to ET in the classroom? How do I keep track of the new posts?

    • Sanjhi,

      ET in the classroom is available below:

      For daily posts, you need to enter your mail id above left. Every day you will receive new posts in your mail inbox. You can also subscribe to comments in case you want to follow up comments on certain article, for example on ‘daily answer writing challenge’, by entering valid email below the comment box.

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    Sir, can you also suggest if Civil Services Times is better from an analytical perspective as compared to the Chronicle?

    • Both are not analytical. Read EPW, Frontline, Science Reporter instead. In case you are not reading paper daily, then you should go for these magazines.

  • Ambika

    for geography gs mains whether it is good to follow MAJID HUSSAIN’S ”GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA’ OR RAJIV AHIR’S-”GEOGRAPHY ,SPECTRUM PUB”.PLEASE REPLY.

  • shikha

    hi can u plz tell me in mains answer diagrams & flowchart are also counted in the word limit thank u

  • prerna

    Kindly explain if FICCI and ASSOCHAM could be called as pressure groups?
    Thank you.

  • prerna

    Could you please Explain if CAG has the power to question the faithfulness of the money spent by any department/ministry etc?

    Thank you.

    • As long as it’s taxpayer’s money, CAG has every right to audit/question the expenditures of any ministry or department and submit report to the President/Governors.

      ” It shall be the duty of the Comptroller and Auditor-General-

      (a) to audit all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of each State and of each Union territory having a Legislative Assembly and to ascertain whether the moneys shown in the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available for and applicable to the service or purpose to which they have been applied or charged and whether the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it;

      (b) to audit all transactions of the Union and of the States relating to Contingency Funds and Public Accounts;

      (c) to audit all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance-sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept in any department of the Union or of a State;

      and in each case to report on the expenditure, transactions or accounts so audited by him.”.

      • prerna

        Thank you Sir.

  • van

    sir for question no 44……..where can i get material regarding spanich civil war , and regarding africa ……………is there any book covering it as “history of the world- arjun dev ” doesnt have ,,,,,hope so sir or we need to google it(wiki ) ?

    • Yes Wikipedia is the source. Don’t read entire articles. Read only introduction part. You need basic understanding.

      • van

        thanks sir

  • sreerag

    I’m asking you a help as I am unable to find a source for my clarifications. First of all I would like to thank you for your valuable service as it is benefiting even the remotely living student like me. My question is regarding application for mains.
    Sir, I belong to the community which has been recently included(actually re-included) in the scheduled tribes list. I would like to know whether I can avail the claim being in the st list now, because I’ve already sent the application.The re-inclusion notification came only on 19th sept. Kindly provide me the necessary guidelines so that I can take the required steps. If there is any provision please help me out.
    Thank you.

    • You can not change it now. The reservation you claimed for Prelims will continue till final list is announced. In case you had claimed GM in prelims, you can mail UPSC about your case. If you are lucky they may consider your case. But it is very unlikely. Try it once for you satisfaction at least.

  • Dhruv

    Hello Sir!
    I have finally decided to go for civil services exam after much thoughts but i am unsure regarding one thing. I have completed my engineering in 5 years from an average college (2008-2013) and have no work experience. I am planning to give exam in 2015 after an year of preparation. Will my poor academic record affect my interview badly enough to reject my application? Should i give up on this exam?
    BTW i appreciate your efforts to help people like us 🙂

    • It doesn’t matter from where and in how many years you completed your graduation. But, you should get high score in Mains to be on safer side. In interview your personality alone matters.

      Don’t give up on this exam. But don’t depend on it alone. Prepare for other exams too.

  • Mitali

    I have been following your site for the past 2 months and i really find it helpful.
    I have started my full time preparation from aug 2013, with NCERT books and wish to appear in 2014.However i have been regular with The Hindu for several years.I have now started with Indian Polity(Lakshmikanth).
    I am highly confused regarding the time span required for the preparation as i have heard so many people saying that i dont have enough time to cover up the entire syllabus till prelims 2014.
    For optional i have chosen History as i have done my postgraduation in it.
    Also please explain the subjects which i should finish first hand.

    Further, being from the Humanities background i find maths to be a bit of a hurdle as i have not practised it for a long time.Should i devote some time to it everyday?
    Pardon me for sounding so naive,i am just a fresher.
    Kindly help me with my doubts.

    • Mitali,

      No question is naive.

      1) First finish all GS papers by 2014 February. You can do it. Try to read them according to the plan put here:

      2) At the same time keep reading History Optional – may be 3-4 hours daily. First try to finish Paper-I and then move to other paper.

      3) You have plenty of time for next Prelims. It’s in August 2014.

      4) Before trying to solve Maths problems, go through previous year (last 3 years) Prelims Paper-II papers and see which part you find difficult. Work on it. Every day.

      5) Along with above plan, reading paper and magazines every day is must. Try to write answers on this site too. Writing is important.

      • Mitali

        Thank you so much was indeed a helpful reply.I shall try my best to follow.

  • sir, for economy besides NCERT XI & XII, which is better – Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh or Sririam ias economy notes. plz, suggest books for history and culture also…….. thanks in advance

  • Nikhil D

    Hello Insights,

    Is there any website from where I can get solved question papers of UPSC toppers for Political Science optional (either UPSC mains solved papers or any test series that they had joined). I need solved papers just too see what kind of line of thinking is needed to answer diverse questions. Thanks in advance.

    • I think you can get it on

  • Vicky..

    1.Sir, recently heard a lot, that India since Independence by Bipin Chandra has a biased view, so many people are siding with India After Gandhi by RC. Guha.

    2. Can Science and Technology be ignored at this time, i.e. without following comprehensively from magazines etc ? and be consolidated later from some reference?

    • Vicky..

      Sir Please provide your views on these.

    • Vicky..

      3. Sir , I am still unable to write Essays. Not abe to collect requisite material on the topics.

      • believe me you have material….if u study new paper daily…it is only that u r not able to access it….brainstorm more.
        I will share my & few frds experience: if a question is asked what we usually know is its definition + basic relevant concept(i.e in total one page of idea) but through current reading we become aware of issues & example & based on this compilation our essay completes.

      • I remember you had asked for references for an Essay question. I didn’t give intentionally.

        Essay is meant to be written based on memory. For GS papers, you can refer sources as topics are specific and it helps in covering the syllabus. But for essay there is no syllabus. You have to consolidate all your knowledge and weave an essay.

        First step is to read the topic many times. Every time you read, you get new ideas. Jot them down. Brainstorm on those ideas. Try to interconnect them. Make a flow chart. Insert examples. If possible, illustrations too. Then, arrange all your thoughts cogently and coherently.

        Once you start writing, you start getting ideas. You will wonder while writing from where the ideas are flowing in. You just have to start writing.

        You are writing very good answers. I am sure, few days ago it was difficult for you. But not today. Same is with Essay. Try to write one today – without reading any references.

    • 1) Read the book. Most books reflect author’s views, so they will be ‘biased’. It’s better book than others as views are pro-people and society. Guha’s book is good, but it’s more like a story than analysis.

      2) You can not ignore S&T as nearly 70-80 marks questions will come from it. Before Mains read it. Now or later. But you must read this part. Read basics on Biotech, Robotics, Space, IT related stuff, nanotech to be on safer side.

      • Vicky..

        Thank you so much Insights.
        Regards 🙂

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    Sir, I’ve India Year Book 2013 and I have also been following newspapers after December 2012. Is it necessary to read India Year Book 2014?

    • I don’t think it’s necessary to read India 2014 if you are regular with news and have read 2013 book.

  • prasanna

    sir please also concentrate on 2-5 mark questions as though they are basics and trivial it troubles to answer and even to predict important ones. some times situation occurs doing phd in constitution and failing to answer what is constitution. i mean not lack of knowledge, but lack of recent revision answer will end up with general words without key words so pls touch basic questions relating to treaties, scientific terminologies abbreviations, theories, etc daily provide 10- 15 questions no need to write answers but we will prepare a separate notes with good list. i think this even improve understanding levels of topic with less time. so pls pls take this initiative and help us. thanks in advance.

    • Prasanna,

      Yes I will do this. As few aspirants had objected to posting factual questions,I was not posting them I will just give a list of questions below regular analytical questions which one can write down and practice at home on paper.

      • prasanna

        thanks sir,

  • tarun mishra

    hello sir 🙂 i recently bought IGNOU notes (BA+MA) for “pub ad” although reliable and helpful it’s way too extensive . can you please pinpoint the areas to be covered or a precise manner to get hold of it ….THANK YOU

    • Sorry Tarun. My area is GS and Geography. I hope someone here can help you.

      • van

        sir since geography is your area …….is there any idea of putting daily dosage of questions according to syllabus sir …….. …..very similar to g.s daily answer writing?because it will be very useful sir…………..waiting eagerly for geogrphy optional tips sir

  • Anjali

    Insights, you are only source of guidance for me, no classes no test series.My father passed away and I lost 12 days, now I am absolutely fine and want to secure rank so I can get IAS, what strategy should I follow, focus on some topics or read the whole syllabus? If you answer early, it will be very kind of you, I know I will do it.

    • Anjali,

      Sorry about your father’s death. I was wondering why you were not writing answers. You were regular from the beginning.

      I am happy that you are fine now.

      You still have good 60 days. First make a list of topics that you have not at all touched. Arrange them according to their importance. Start studying them by giving more importance to the topics in the top of your list.

      Make a list for Optional and all papers. Allot Ten days for each. Don’t worry if you can’t finish all. Finish the ones which are very important. Don’t read many sources. Stick to any one source for each topic.

      You are a quick learner. Spend more hours on studies, it will help in lessening some pain too. You should be more determined now. And you are.

      • Anjali

        Thanks a lot Insights, I was finding difficult how to start and what strategy to follow, now its clear. Thanks again.

    • Kirthi

      I will assist you in whatever little way I can, though I myself am in a pathetic position. Determination is all that matters . Nothing else. All the best Anjali.

      • Anjali

        Thanks Kirthi, we together do it.

  • Sir,
    I am bit confused between Philosophy and Political Science. Will you please explain some Pros and Cons of both.

  • prerna

    Could you please explain,
    1. Hung parliament situation exists only until the PM is elected ? or it continues even after that?
    Because i have understood that only when a single party cannot have majority that situation is called hung parliament..and when a PM is elected and gets the confidence of the lok sabha the situation is all normal.

    Please let me know if what i understood is correct.

    Thank you.

    • Nikhil D

      Hi Prerna,

      You have correctly interpreted the hung parliament situation. It stays till PM is appointed and a vote of confidence is passed in the house. However, the fear of losing majority still persists in the house with the change in political situation in the country. There are several provisions (like not passing the budget) to dissolve the house even after vote of confidence is passed. This fear of security in tenure of PM is going to continue as long as coalition government exists at the centre.

      • prerna

        Thanks Nikhil 🙂

  • prerna


    Kindly write one model answer for the ethics question which was given yesterday. This would help us get a model on how to present the answer.

    Thank you.

  • Anjali

    Insights start the paid test series, I desperately need it and I feel many others also enroll for it. Because I cannot ask you in free comment on my answer daily, guru should be paid gurudakshina.

    • Anjali,

      I don’t want to go commercial. I know lately I am not commenting on answers, but I am busy with personal work and also devising new initiatives for the blog.

      If few people can come together, may be we can think of it. But only for 10-15 people. Even if it’s done, it will be purely online. I mean no postal. One can scan and send their answers. I will give detailed feedback. Instead of fees, you can donate to the blog. Think over it and mail me.

      • Wow… @Insights… Day by day our respect for you is increasing. Hope I will meet you some day and say thank you directly.

    • Nikhil D

      I think the true gurudakshina for this selfless noble cause of ‘Insights’ will be by getting into the services. #PlayHardGoPro 🙂

  • sir, for economy which one is better, Ramesh Singh(TMH) or Mishra & Puri. my optional is geography.

  • kittu kumari m

    sir , i am trying to increase my writing speed by reading a topic from newspaper and writing what i have learnt..well i have missed many points and i could write 228 words in 10 minutes 15 sec. what is ideal speed of writing in mains , essay..

  • manish

    Sir you told to read chapter 4 and 6 from NCERT Class VIII – Our Past-III, but 8th class is having two book (Part 1 and Part 2). Could you please tell me which chapter form part 1 and part 2?
    Thank you sir 🙂

    • Part 1 book of NCERT Class VIII – Our Past-III contains chapters 1 to 6. Part 2 book consists of chapters 7 to 12. So, 4 and 6 chapters are from part 1 book. 🙂

      • manish

        Oh great.. thanks 🙂

  • Kirthi

    What is the difference between state capitalism and welfare capitalism?

    • State capitalism is form of capitalism practised in emerging economies especially China, where state owned companies are managed by the state and at the same time these companies are allowed to enlist in stock exchanges and are part of market economy.

      In India, ONGC, OVL, NTPCL are such examples.

      Welfare capitalism basically has two variants: In USA, it’s a form of capitalism where welfare of the workers is taken care of by companies. Insurance, retirement benefits, healthcare, accommodation etc are generously provided by the company to its labours. Unions are prohibited. These days, especially after 2008 economic crisis, welfare capitalism (US variant) is in decline.

      The second variant is of Europe’s, where state takes care of the welfare of workers using the tax money collected by private companies. These companies are given free reign in markets without much regulation.

      This is what my understanding is. Correct me if I explained it wrongly. 🙂

  • Laxmi

    For international relations and deplomacy is their any specific book that covers the GS mains syllbus.If not then suggest list of books that completes the whole syllabus,

  • Laxmi

    You always told repeatedly in many posts to follow only one book religiously foe a part of the syllabus.but you are suggesting nearly 3-4 books for same part ofthe syllabus.

    like,for covering modern india u have suggested 3 books except BIPAN CHANDRA’S India’s struggle for independence
    1.Comprehensive History of India -spectrum publisher
    2.from pallasy to partition-orient blackswan
    3.Modern India-Rajiv Ahir-spectrum publications

    It is really very confusing which to follow which not?Please clarify it which is important and which is not.

    • I have clearly told elsewhere that Bipan Chandra is best for Mains. and for factual stuff Spectrum book is good. Please read all the comments first and then express your displeasure.

      I am giving questions for Mains from Bipan Chandra only. Also, in brackets I have mentioned that some books are optional. You can’t find information on pre 1857 in Bipan Chandra, so you may have to refer Spectrum.

      First read the syllabus.

      Also, go through article on ‘How to prepare GS-1’.

      From Plassey to Partition is a new book and is selling like hot cakes. Many are preferring it over Bipan Chandra. This also I have mentioned in the post.

      In last comment you mentioned that I am suggesting books for PhD something. If you are not comfortable reading books, you can buy coaching material.

      • Also as a male, use other male name if you are not comfortable using your name (instead of using girl’s names). I deleted your other comments though (which were rude)

        • krishna

          Sorry sir.for your inconvenience.I time i will use my name.but matter of fact is that though I am a male my name is like girl- AMBIKA.

          I am solely following your post and the advice u mentioned in your posts.But i have a bad habbit to be impatient too soon.

          I feel sorry.

  • Dear Sir,
    I started my preparation for IAS exam in 2011 and have appeared for the 2012 and 2013, but could not make it to the mains. As per various available answer keys my score for PT was around 220 (100+120). I have a humanities background and do not understand sometimes how to proceed further to hit the bull’s eye to make it secure in 2014.

    Please provide me necessary guidance.


  • manish

    Hi Sir,
    Trabeate architecture and Arcuate architecture looks more or less similar. When I am seeing “tomb of Humayun”, it looks combination of both. Is there any way to differentiate both ?

  • Insight sir, pls review my answer on 1st oct 2013(case study 4 about ramanujan)Few doubts are –
    1.can we use any name say Ramanujan as R by mentioning 1st time clearly.
    2.In these answer i hv used word “can” – should it be made more strong like using “should” instead. I thought this being open question using should will narrow the dimensions.

  • Kirthi


    If you come across any source where one can extract highlighted text from pdf in Ipad, please put the source. That way, one can do things really fast

    • If the PDF is not a scanned document, you can copy and paste text to word doc from any PDF by opening them in Google Chrome. I don’t know if it’s possible in iPad. Anyway, if i come to know something, i will share it here.

      I hope some IT guys can help you here. Anyone please?

  • krishna

    please publish detail strategy of preparing public administration paper.I have repeatedly requested for it for last few days.

    in this site their is a link for preparation of pa .but it is not better if u take a look at it.

  • venkat

    please publish detail strategy of preparing Geography paper (optional)

  • dileep

    Sir can you please give a preparation guidance to optional Anthropology.. I am sorry if it is already available. I could not find the link. Please share the link if available. Also if possible please provide few tips from the previous rankers who had Anthropology optional.

    Thanks in advance…

  • jasneet92

    Thanks a lot sir….i totally agree with ur views..i m glad that i have got such a good guide who can answer my queries..i have visited various sites for guidance but this one is the best site..:)

  • Insight sir pls clear this,
    I donot understand this line,
    India’s commitment to WTO preventing it from raising MSP for our farmer. 1)How raising MSP is going to help indian farmer anyway?
    As raising MSP means raising farmer’s produce cost which means indian produce will become uncompetitive(compared to EU or USA’s) & this will be problem to India(as farmer could sell only to indian govt – present stock gathering account for only 30% of india’s produce rest 70% is private – so in such scenario india should lower MSP rather than increasing it)& thus why WTO wants india to keep its MSP low. It should be india’s headache to keep MSP low so their produce could become competitive.

    Yes I would hv agreed abt wto’s reservation if india would have raised input subsidies like on irrigation or fertilizer etc.
    2) Why WTO showing reservation when if increased MSP is way below market price.

  • RV

    Sir I am going full steam to finish the syllabus on time ! Sir am just depending on Neetu Singh’s classes for geography and re-reading and revising all the notes and wanted to know your comment about the efficacy of not referring to books and sticking to this one source !
    Sir secondly I would request you to put more stress on the new additions like culture , sci-tech and environment as we have repository of questions for previous mains for static ones !
    Sir my thanx and sincere regards for your guidance and this new initiative and like eralier suggested by Anjali and others you should really start reviewing and allowing us to donate to the website !

    • 1) At this moment, I suggest you to continue what you are doing. If you are satisfied with notes and if it covers all the topics, stick to it – read it as many times as possible. I hope you are practising answer writing for your optional too.

      2) Yes, henceforth I will concentrate on S&T, Environment, Culture, Geography and World History

      3) Regarding reviewing your answers, you can send your answers to insightsonindia at gmail dot com: solve any test series paper and send scanned copy. I will give my feedback. It’s for free. (as you are a serious follower of this site) 🙂

      I will put a donate page after few days. You can donate any amount you wish. It’s is ok even if you don’t. 🙂

  • Kirthi

    From when should one Optimally if not ideally,give imp. To PIB? Not much time anyways :-/

    • 🙂 don’t worry, I think you can skip it and finish the syllabus part. Instead of PIB, the same time can be best utilized by revising Optional subject effectively. You can score better there by investing some extra time in preparation.

  • krishna



    • Yes, Indian express is national daily and it’s good. New Indian Express is not so good.

      Please use small letters unless your keyboard has problem. Block letters are akin to shouting on fora. 🙂

  • krishna

    I AM FOLLOWING YOJANA,KURUKHETRA,FRONTLINE, CIVIL SERVICES CHRONICLE for my preparation.But in many blogs I have seen most of them have suggested to follow -WORLD FOCUS and INDIA focus that they are good for international relations and depolmacy.
    Please clarify this.whether needed to follow these 2 magazines or continue with my current procedure.

    • The magazines you are following are more than enough. Continue with what you are reading.

  • monica dixit

    is it a good choice to chose law as an optional subject???????
    or i chose some other subject……….

    • Law has good success rate. If your graduation is in it and if you have command over the subject, go for it. However, before taking a final decision, go through the syllabus and previous year questions. See if you are comfortable with both.

      • monica dixit

        i have just completed my cs(company secretary) course in august, basically i read mainly corporate laws and have vary little knowledge about civil and criminal laws.i go through syllabus and feel myself comfortable with it…..can you recommend me some good books which cover the syllabus of law…….
        thank you so much 4 ur guidance…..

        • monica dixit

          apart from the hindu which magazines should i follow as i will give my exams in 2015…….

  • Vicky..

    Good evening Sir.
    I have a request/suggestion about our Daily writing session. Why don’t we have one question each from each paper daily . The topics covered can be successive.
    For example from first paper, the question can be selected from three broad sections, i.e. History , Society and Geography.
    Second paper- Polity, Governance and IR
    Third paper – Economy, ST and DM+Security.

    It would keep us in touch with all of them on daily basis.
    Just a suggestion sir 🙂

  • van

    insights sir i am finding difficulty in finding material for questions on current affairs (2014) particularly on foreign relations ( questions on india pak )
    where am i to search sir (any web site , …………….)please guide me sir

  • van

    though you might have already said please please mention the books for geography optional (paper 1 and 2) which is easy to learn further regarding answer writing practise for the same is it enough the solve past 20 years paper or even after that we have to think critically and frame questions and answer it ,,………….(no test series possibility for me……)please get me a way sir…………

  • krishna

    Certificate Physical and Human Geography.
    in flikart it receieved very negative feedback.some people even said that this so outdated and desparately needed to be updated.
    I can’t decide what to do please suggest me suggestions whether to follow it or not.

  • krishna

    For internatinal relations portion i am refering “Rajiv sikri’s”-Book.Whether it is needed to follow the book by “Muchkund Dubey’-on same topic.

    • Rajiv Sikri and the PDFs I have uploaded on strategy for Paper-II is sufficient.

  • krishna

    Please clarify if reading only Ncert books for “World physical geography” is sufficient or need to refer some other source.If it is then give an better alternative to “”Certificate Physical and Human Geography.’

    • Certificate book is good for world geography.

      Fundamentals of physical geography and human geography (NCERT) are must.

      • krishna

        Thanks Sir for clearing my doubts.I am grateful to u

  • Leo

    sir, is the topic provided everyday from the Hindu sufficient for that particular day?? sometimes I find it difficult to make out the important articles from irrelevant articles …all seems to be important …….I would be very greatful if you point out the articles to be read for a particular day……anyways …thank you so much for providing such a beautiful platform for us, beginners ……may you bestowed with all the happiness …

    • It is not sufficient. You may have to study Frontline, EPW (some articles), Yojana too. What I am trying to is making you write and creating a data base of questions drawn from The Hindu.

      But, I am giving questions from only important articles. No need to list them separately. After some days I will give links and questions from Frontline, Yojana and EPW too.

      • Leo

  • krishna

    No books on Indian Administration(Rajni Arora, Fadia) is available right now, I have a book by S.R. Maheshwari though it covers syllabus but detailed information is not given hardly 2-3 pages per chapter and though it has been reprinted on 2013 it has given reference to 1st ARC report instead of 2nd ARC report. Sir is their no good book on Indian Administration that is updated with latest commission report and covering syllabus.
    Sir then can I fully and only use IGNOU books to cover syllabus of I.A.

  • krishna

    hi, I have heard that Indian Administration – Ramesh K. Arora & Rajni Goyal is outdated. Its not revised since 1998. Please suggest if it is still good to continue with this one. One more suggestion I need. Pubad concepts seems to be abtract. Please giude me how to recollect them and incorporate in our answers. Thanks in advance…:)

    • I have told earlier that Insights, at least for this year, is for GS papers and Essay.

      I had provided Pub Ad strategy as given by Topper.

      Please ask any doubts on GS. For public administration you can go to Orkut ‘Interview Preparation’ community or Mrunal for more help.

  • Nikhil D

    Hello Insights,

    I will be appearing for cse 2014. Currently, I am writing answers for the daily answer challenge provided by you. But your generosity have put me in dilemma 😉 Should I concentrate on answering ‘daily answer challenges’ or ‘Secure 2014’? I can’t find enough time to manage writing answers to both as I am also covering up static part of the syllabus simultaneously. However, I make sure to read all the daily sources provided by you. Kindly give your suggestion in this regard. Thanks.

    • Answer daily challenge regularly. And make quick points for secure-2014 questions and keep a separate note book for it. Later you can write answers after next prelims.

      • Nikhil D

        Thanks for your inputs.

  • TR

    Hello Insights,
    The Legislative Assembly Elections are scheduled from 1st December to 5th December in many states including Delhi, Rajasthan and Mizoram. So is the schedule of CS mains going to be changed? Please help soon as the public sector employees are bound to stay at office on election duty.


    • There is a possibility of postponement of exam by few days. I think next week UPSC will make it clear. If there is no announcement by UPSC, then the present dates might continue. Nobody can tell exactly until UPSC officially releases its statement.

  • Kalyani

    Hi Insights, I am appearing for CSAT 2014. Now I am preparing simultaneously for 2014 prelims and mains. For prelims I heard crackIAS material is good. I thought to buy it to fill the gaps and to revise notes again. So, what is your opinion about their material? is it worthy? please do reply

    • I have seen their Mains material. It’s good. I don’t know about Prelims material. If they send me a copy I can review it. 🙂

      • Kalyani

        Hi Insights, thanks for the reply. Anyway I am going to take a risk to buy it. Will send you a review after that 🙂

        • GAYATRI

          Hi kalyani i have bought that material, in my view it would be better to those who are thorough with the subject and want a quick check material to recollect important points before exam but you cannot completely consider it as a main source for preparation.

          • Kalyani

            Hi Gayatri, Yeah I dont have any plan to make it as a final source. I just need to brush up things once I completed my syllabus. Thats why I asked. Anyway thanks Gayatri for your reply.

  • Kalyani

    Hello Insights, I have one important doubt. In the answer writing challenge I am more comfortable in typing straightly, rather than writing in a paper. I know its too dangerous from exam point of view. I always tried to write it in a paper first. But when I type that same thing in the system, so many edit works are coming. How can I solve this problem? please reply

    • Nikhil D

      I am facing similar issue. I feel more comfortable typing on keyboard than writing with pen. It feels as if words automatically pop out just by seeing letters on the keyboard. Same doesn’t happen when I lift my pen up. However, since past few days I type whatever I have written with pen and do minimum editing. I am not paying much attention these days whether I have framed sentence correctly by using pen. I just type it. I hope eventually, I will develop sentence framing skills while using pen too.

      There is no other option, You’ll have to develop writing skill. It’s the only solution. If you feel you have not written up to the mark, write the answer again. There is no use of editing it while typing. (My views)

      Insights – May I know your say on this UNIQUE problem?

      • It is better to write your answers first on paper that too without looking at any sources. Then type it on word doc. If you think you are missing any point, then you can edit and then paste your answer here (but don’t spend too much time on editing)

        Advantage is:

        – You will remember most points very clearly.

        – your answers will be saved on your hard disc and here forever (make separate folders and save answers on your system for referring them later, or for sharing them with juniors once you get into service).

        • Nikhil D

          Thank you.

        • krishna

          But it takes a lot of time to type these answer.will one affords this much of time in this precious hours?

      • Kalyani

        Thanks Niikhil, let me try that way

    • Kalyani,

      You must write your answers first on paper. Then type it(edit it only if you have an extra point to add or extra line to delete). This double exercise will make you remember far better and for long time.

      • Kalyani

        Yes Insights, Will try that way. Thanks once again


    Sir i m a management student i have done my MBA so i selected management paper as my optional, could you please help me by providing any strategy for this subject. Thanks in advance.

    • No Gayatri, right now it’s not possible. Now focus is on GS and Essay. Hopefully, i will try to get people to write strategies for Optional subjects too.

      • GAYATRI

        Thank you sir.

  • jagdish

    hello sir i m jagdish laddha, sir its necessary to join coaching class for ias study and without coaching it should be possible?

    • Without coaching it is possible. Many have secured top ranks. But it depends on how much you need it – if you are completely new to this, money is no problem and want some guidance, go and join. Or you can clear your doubts by visiting online blogs and prepare on our own.

      It is upto you always.

  • van

    insight sir , to the question 39 land reforms …..i have a doubt sir when reading answer by aspirants …..sir if i am right …….question demanded the nature of land reforms and not the aspects of land reform ………nature means broad character ………if so shouldn t be the focus on things such as
    ideological nature : land reform should again form vehicle of devt for every aspects on rural areas (poverty , agrarian devt)
    structural nature : right now reform nature ….very diverse ….. state list …….so the nature should have uniformity in certain aspects ….eg……land ceiling ……..
    process nature : from mere redistribution to effective re distribution supplemented by a comprehencive package with a specialized focus perspective(weaker section)
    and then to achieve objective …..,,,,,,, under the above nature,,,,,,,,,,,,,, the various aspets such as leasing reform ,computerization ,laws ,modernization pgm ,legal reform ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,such could be mentioned
    please clarify sir

  • Rupesh Dahal

    Is International affairs losing its importance as no direct question was given in 2013 prelims exam.
    coming to mains new syllabus here also international news only affecting India’s interest is given, sir in these situation how to know which international news is important.
    In previous mains syllabus there was a whole single topic alloted to international affairs only, but from 2013, only affairs of India’s interest is in mention. Sir then if news like Arab Uprising, srilankan Election, US recent shutdown etc etc does not affect India’s policy then it is not important?

    And other query only topics on International organization is in syllabus should i only focus on basic things of this organization leaving other topics?

    kindly help me sir with your guidance I had cleared my many other query
    I am facing problem in preparing international news Please Help me

    • You should still read those events. It is not clearly mentioned as earlier that current events on international affairs will be covered, but every event is somehow connected to topics in the syllabus.

      For example, while studying Syria issue, there is chemical weapons treaty/organization, USA-Russia tussle,G-20, UN permanent powers and their role,India’s stand etc

      Try to study a topic by linking them to many topics in the syllabus. Arab Uprising, Sri Lankan election etc bring into picture various organizations, global groupings – their reaction, about democracy in general, etc.

      • shruti

        sir,,,plzz provide a roadmap for Prelims as you did for the Mains…i am following your blog religiously…

    • syed

      sir jiii…..i am eagerly waiting for you to provide the preparation guide for Prelims…As i am loking forward to appear in prelims this time….i rely on your blog faithfully,,and adhere to your suggestions and guidelines…

  • bhargava

    Sir, do we need to read 12th plan for mains?

  • manish

    Hello Sir,
    I have a doubt, How the Remittances have positive impact on Global. Correct me if I am wrong – I guess Remittances is good for the developing countries individually.

    Thank you

  • akash kumar

    Can you please tell me a reference book for Physical Gegraphy(besides Leong)

    • you can go for Physical geog by Savindra Singh & only a minuscule of topics from Strahler & Strahler. Do keep the syllabus copy & previous papers(especially last 5 years) with you, each time you study Geog.


    sir medium plays any role to make merit list or it is only performance because being good in english some will to write in hindi because they can expressed morebetter in Hindi than English

  • kishore

    sir,for physical geography of world,what are the topics to be read.

  • deep

    sir how to get command over the english language for wirting ans ………..

  • vinu

    Hello good evening sir
    In today’s editorial of THE HINDU,we have a discussion on Bicycle riding Ban.
    There is a ban on Bicycle Riding in selected cities of Kolkota.Article describes as an undemocratic move,
    Environementally retrograde act. The article consists of a lot of information.
    1. It lists advantages of use of bicycle to the country, and to the environment.
    2. It gives statistics of how many people are using bicycle in West Bengal.
    3. Sir should I summarize whole article in a paragraph?
    4.Here we have a word like ‘environmentally retrograde’…Can we simply write non-eco friendly?
    Is a word like ‘environmentally retrograde’ increases the quality of answer?Or would non eco-friendly suffice?

    Sir it’ll be very helpful if you can tell how to summarise above said editorial in few words.bcz the day before Exam,we’ll be having around 1000 such articles?
    Thanking you sir………….

  • @Insight sir
    1.Did UPSC counts word or just they see it by page fill up & spacing between line-i.e their experience. (i don’t think that they are counting words)?
    2.Also were should one keep focus on – covering all aspects of answer or going one but in depth. (what upsc approves)
    Consider this question: How is Environmental impact assessment (EIA) a decision making as well as project management tool? Discuss major principle & process involved and major initiative of GOI in EIA? – 250 words.
    Here dimension are EIA as decision making tool, EIA as project management tool, Principle in EIA, Process of EIA, major initiative of GOI. If we cover all dimension than we hardly can write 5 lines per dimension.(250 word)
    But if we go indepth of EIA we may not able to cover all dimension in 250 words.
    3. In similar answer – if u were the evaluator which answer u hv preferred –
    a) writing a separate para for each dimension
    b) integrating all & writing in para

    Pls insight sir do reply to this.

    • insight sir pls do reply to this

    • 1) UPSC guys will know by experience how many words one has written. If they have doubts, they will count number of lines and multiply it by number of words in first line.

      +/- 10% of the word limit is Ok.

      2) You should focus on covering many dimensions – it itself gives depth.

      3) For this question on EIA the directive is ‘discuss’, that is why so many aspects are mentioned within the question. When asked to discuss, it is ‘imperative’ to write about various aspects in detail.

      For this question, I would write separate paragraphs but integrate them each other by giving a flow as follows:

      Introduction–> Principle of EIA –> EIA Process (it depends on principles of EIA) –> How it’s decision making tool (it depends on principle and process + externalities)–>Project management tool (project comes at the bottom and policy comes at the top – here, EIA policy/principles/process provide tools for project management)–> conclusion.

  • krishna

    sir,Please clarify whether it is required to read the books
    1.India since independence
    2.India after Gandhi
    completely or some selected topics.If it is then give the the list of chapters that needed to be covered well for GS-1.

    • Go through comments, I have mentioned 2-3 times on the same question.

  • krishna

    For covering world history portion this book-“Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe” is not available anywhere.And the substitute book –” History of the World from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty First Century” got avarage comments from its users in flikpart.

    Can any one totally skip these two books and totally relay on “NCERT Word History” or need to buy any one of the above?

    • You must buy any one of them if you are preparing for next year.

  • krishna

    Is it is needed to cover FRONTLINE,YOJANA,KURUKHETRA -cover to cover.If not please suggest which articles should one concentrate more on?

    • Read syllabus, you will know which one are important.

  • insights sir, do we need to have current affairs knowledge of sports and stuff like that too as nowhere are they mentioned in current syllabus…. thnx in advance sir

    • No, for Mains and even for prelims it’s not needed. But you may have to go through once about important personalities (2 markers)

      In case you are short on time, you may skip it.

  • Anjali

    Insights, I was Marathi medium student in school days but I adopted cursive writing during mains preparation to write fast and opted English medium, I heard cursive writing represents English medium, but my English is not that good as English medium students, will it have any bad impression and will it affect marks?

    • In no way bad English will affect your marks. As long as content is good and you are able to communicate your idea properly, marks will be awarded. I have seen guys with very bad English score high marks in Mains.

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    Hello Insights. Just want to say that I find this platform very helpful. But nowhere did I find about who you are and what you do. Just to satiate my curiosity, would like to know. Thanks. 🙂

    • Hey thanks. It’s there on this site – everything about me. Left side, scroll down and click on the name below the picture of beautiful tower (blue background)

  • Insights,

    A small query.
    Was the IFoS Mains Question-cum-Answer Booklet ruled or unruled?
    Knowing this will help to plan writing in CSE mains in advance.


    • I heard it was unruled.

      • raghusharmag

        Can we use the other question’s space for rough & strike it out. I mean suppose question say attempt any three out of four than can i use rough in 4th & strike it out. is this allowed?(what i m asking is utilizing space apart from rough space provided)

        • You won’t be given options precisely because of this reason and for saving space. You have to answer all the questions.

          Or they will give options and provide space for only required number of questions. Say, you have to answer 3 out of 4 questions, they will give 4 questions without space between them and then provide space for only 3 questions.

          • raghusharmag

            thks sir

  • Mahesh BC

    Please write strategy and preparation on Public Administration. Paper 1 and Paper 2.

    • Mahesh BC

      Please I request you to write strategy and books for Public Administration.

  • ram

    Hello Insights… First i thank u very much for ur effort….. i m preparing for 2014 exam….but it is very hard to complete the core syllabus as well as daily answers & paper reading and to fallow secure 2014 ..if i m not answering one day that will effect next day….pls give me a suggestion

  • monica dixit

    which magazines should i read, i am preparing for 2015….. please reply

  • ram

    i mean how to manage time?

  • azhar

    thanks 🙂
    and one more thing currently i m going through ramesh singh
    so what should be the approach to study it?
    2) i have to read full book or selected chapters?
    3) for pre and mains i m doing ramesh singh + economic survry – is it sufficient?

  • Richa

    Good Evening Sir,

    Please explain how India’s Food Security Act damp the demand of commodities exported by some of the Developed Nations, in world market? Second apprehension by them is the large stock of Wheat and Rice lead to dumping of commodities in Global Market once the fuel security act implemented at full scale?

  • ABC

    Hello Insights sir,
    I am a great follower of your website. Truly your efforts are praiseworthy. The kind of guidance you guys show is outstanding.
    Sir like others I too need your expert advice. I am doing job in a software MNC. And I have started preparing for UPSC too.The problem I am facing is the time crisis.I am hardly able to devote 1-2 hours a day. On weekends the span increases to 5-6 hours. But they aren’t enough. Sir I know that time is limited for everyone. I just wanted to know is there a way to utilize my time effectively. Can you please guide considering my situation?

    Thanks in advance sir!!

  • Sir,
    I have taken Philosophy as can u please suggest me strategy for preparation of philosophy optional as not much guidance about that subject is available everywhere and it would help student community taking philosophy as optional if u help us

  • cool007

    Hello Insights,
    People must have gone through the IFoS mains exam general knowledge question paper that has recently held. The pattern was completely changed. Instead of 15-20 marks question, there were 6-8 marks question without mentioning any word limit but providing one page for each question. So can we expect the same changes in UPSC mains? As they have expanded the syllabus so probably they’ll try to ask questions from each topic. Please throw some light on this.

  • mandip

    I am having serious concentration problem in my studies. Its not related to daydreaming but rather just trivial matters of day to day life and my focus just moves away. I find myself reading the same paragraphs and chapters again and again when I feel I wasn’t concentrated enough and when I remember a few things from it, I feel I have read this before and don’t need it now. It leaves me confused and I end up doing nothing at all.
    Any suggestions for improving the concentration!
    I really need to keep my focus.
    Any advice would be really appreciated.
    And I must admit this is a really good, sincere and honest platform and I am already very thankful to you for this.

  • krishna

    please solve my is very hard to complete the core syllabus as well as daily answers & paper reading and to fallow secure 2014 ..if i m not answering one day that will effect next day….pls give me a suggestion


    My friend told me that Gel ink pens are not allowed to write the exams.Pls clarify ,bcoz i am practising writing in Gel ink pens only.

    • sanjhi jain

      You have to use black ball point.

  • Insight sir what is your mail id?

    • insightsonindia at gmail dot com

      • thk u sir. I hv mailed u an essay with query. if u hv time pls take a look on that.

  • monica dixit

    which magazine should i read, i am preparing for 2015………………………………please reply

    • In two months, you can read Insights magazine 🙂 but now read Frontline, Yojana and any competitive magazine.

  • NAWIN(naveen)

    sir my doubts
    1) Is President and governor immune from criminal cases, during their term in office?

    2) is art-31 is still present what is the position of person who doesn’t have land, if the state is liable to provide him land explain, because it is fundamental right?

    3)if emergency ceases , within 6 months the ruling party need to go for election, but it is mandatory for the party which is having still 7 moths or 1 yr office term and majority to go for election?

    4) How presidential system differ from parliamentary system. if you have ant link get me sir?

    with regards

    nim hudga naveen

  • NAWIN(naveen)

    is kmf and amul are so-operative societies?. sir kmf always running under loss,and state govt providing monetary facilities and appointment of heads and officers also under the control of ruling party. then how can sc rule that rti is not applicable for co-operative societies ? doubt sir

  • manish

    Good morning sir and Happy Durga Puja,
    Do you know what is “Social Darwinism” ?

    • it is hv vs hv nots & finally former will eclipse later

  • Vicky..

    Sir, Yojana has to be covered thoroughly or selectively.?
    And not having read a single edition yet, from which month should I start completing the previous Yojana (Last year’s also ?).

  • alok

    I have opted for geography as an optional for 2014 exam. i have gone through the ncert books on the suubject. i have not joined any coaching for the optional. So will you please guide me for the next step and suggest the must read books and the right approach to go through the subject. By the way i am a B-tech student.

    • Alok,

      I had to write Geography optional paper strategy. For some reasons I could not. I will write a detailed post. It will take few days. Meanwhile you can revise NCERT books and prepare for GS papers.

      • alok

        thanks…. i will do as u suggested.

  • K K

    Is it true that Engg subjects as ur choice in optional fetch u less marks than expected and there is somewat a liitle discrimination on engg subjcts choicers in mains??I am planning to take mechanical as optional.And the other query i have is ‘I heard depth of portion in engg subjcts is high for a undergraduate passout ‘??is it true ??Can u also tell me reasons people got selected in upsc are very less from engg optional in recent yrs.Y??

    Insight pls give me a insight on this thing!!!
    thank u.

    • It is all rumor and depends on how well you know your subject. There are instances of candidates getting 200+ in one paper of engineering subjects.

      Try to solve previous year question papers without referring to any sources. See where you stand. If you are good at all the topics of the syllabus, you can opt it.

      It depends on interest why people chose particular optional. Most engineering graduates choose public administration as they can relate to the subject because of their work experience and other factors.

      • K K

        Thanks!!!this suggstn helps.

  • akash kumar

    While reading the Indian economy(sanjiv Verma) I got a doubt… output/cost is equal to income for factors for production. Can you please explain to me?

    • NAWIN this is the website of sanjivvarma siryou can ask doubts directly..

      • akash kumar

        thank you

        • akash kumar

          Checked the website…that one is for buisness and promotion and not for asking the doubts directly to the writer.

          • NAWIN

            bro u just question, he will replay… i am sure , because as am getting replay

  • Sir, Can you please provide me, the links of pdf of “OLD NCERTS” of history? I know you have already posted it in someone’s comment, but I have lost the track to those links! Sorry for inconvenience!
    Thanks in advance! 🙂
    P.S – This site is like a blessing to me! Amazing and unbelievable efforts by you! 🙂

  • sanjhi jain

    Sir, would you agree that the new pattern at least apparently seems to give more importance to “core”/traditional syllabus as opposed to previous years? From my assessment of last 2 years questions, 90% were out of current affairs. While we will get a better idea only after Mains 2013, what do you think?

    • New pattern will test your core ability to analyze diverse topics. From culture to history to polity to… ethical issues, a candidate should be able to express HIS/HER thoughts in a logical manner.

      If one carefully analyzes, many topics in the present pattern are directly or indirectly related to the current events. Therefore one should equally lay stress on both current events and the syllabus. But unlike previously, one should not read facts from current events. They should try to form opinion on each issue and present them in their words. That is why in Secure-2014, a opinion based question is framed from each article. If one regularly solves those questions, I am sure by next mains he/she will be in a position to score highest marks in mains.

      • Vivek

        wow.. your effort here is inspiration in itself.
        the volume of information which is added here is increasing by leaps and bounds… what a playground .. a playground of marathon .. awesome.. And I am learning the basic skills to play the fair game… currently i am very slow… i need so much digging in every topic… such a pitiable state of my knowledge is…
        but i am trying… specially for a guy who is away from delhi, you are proving to be a wonderful source of information and inspiration. no words can suffice my feeling of gratitude towards you.

        Although plethora of tasks is already on your shoulder, yet my greed is lurking and wishing that Sociology content on writing challenge also be there. my bad 😛

        • Thanks Vivek 🙂 I need questions for sociology. If someone provides them, i will post them.

          Thanks for all the good words.

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    Does anyone have access to the question papers of the recently held Mains exams for Forest Services?

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    Thanks Akash.

  • INSIGHT sir ..having a great respect for your initiatives………following this site and practicing daily answer writting in my register is helping to manage the stress. as the exame is approaching stress keeps on rebuilding particularly for OPTIONAL geography.
    in a very humble request to you and at the same time great expectation from your goodself …………please take a initiative in providing Qs for Answr Wrng for GEOGRAPHY if somehow possible.

    • We will start it next week. Thank you.


    which is the good book for csat

  • Richa

    Sir, Are you planning to give questions for history optional as you are giving for optional subjects (Pub Admin & Psychology).

    • Richa,

      I want to take things slowly. There is a plan to start this program for major optional subjects. There are few people visiting this site now. It needs to get publicity. If more aspirants participate, it helps in developing good discussion. For Psychology, no one has written answers yet 🙂 So, please share link to this blog on Facebook, tell your friends about it, just spread the word 🙂

      • Richa

        Sure sir, 🙂

  • Ruchira

    Hello sir. I am appearing for 2014 CSAT. Firstly really want to appreciate your efforts. I have recently joined this site and I think its really very helpful. I have already bookmarked 3-4 things ffrom this site as my Daily activity.
    Sir, I am taking geography as optional for exam and I wish to self study for the same. I started with NCERT books and recently started with ALS notes for PAper 1 that i got from my cousin.I have few books on Indian geography but my concern is regarding Paper1. Could you please advise what books will be necessary beside the ALS notes. Can u please suggest minimal but the best books for Geog Paper-1

    • For Paper-I, must read books are:

      1) Savindra Singh – Physical Geography (Language is not good, boring but covers syllabus topics very well)
      2) Strahler and Strahle – Physical Geography (For understanding concepts)
      3) Majid Hussain – Models and Theories in Geography (covers many topics from section-B of paper-I)
      4) Majid Hussain – Geographical Thought.
      Above books are very essential for paper-I

      For links to these books, refer here:

      • Thank you so much Sir. I m based in Indore so I order books online. I have been trying to find Savinder singh book since long but is not available. Can I replace this with Majid Hussain Physical geography. Does it also cover the entire syllabus of section A of paper 1? (geomorphology, climatology, oceanography,biogeography and environmental geography)?

        Thank you Sir once again!

        • You are welcome. I have not seen the contents of Majid Hussain’s physical geography. But it is popular these days.

          Yes, Savindra Singh is unavailable online. Link to Majid Hussain is Here.

  • kumar deepak

    Dear Sir
    1.Our normal expectation should be that new
    programs will fail to get off the ground and that,
    at best, they will take considerable time to get
    started. The cards in this world are stacked against
    things happening’ [Pressman and Wildaysky].
    CSE 2012 problem
    I am really finding it difficult to understand this type of question how to approach. problems are:
    1. Should we remain with the thoughts of thinker mentioned in the question but question.
    2. The time of relevance of these people..
    What I understand by this type of question is to answer with all relevant possible paradigms. plz help sir.
    Thanking you.

  • vipin yadav

    Dear Sir can you post/publish THE HINDU- EDITORIAL AND OP-ED PAGE

  • saswat

    I am mired in deep disillusionment and frustration. The reason is I have repeatedly seen that my marks never co-relate with my knowledge of the subject. Recently I gave HCS mains with Sociology and Pub Ad . While sociology and Philosophy were my UPSC subjects which i studied for around 2.5 years. I had to choose Pub Ad because philosophy was not there. I am shocked after recieving my marks while in PubAd it is 80 (just studied for 7 days before the exam ) and Sociology it is 74.
    Almost same thing happens in UPSC. I score more where I expect less and vice versa. I am giving third mains this year. I am really scared. I dont exactly know what is the problem.(except that i have to practice answer writing more) Plz Help.

    • saswat

      Sir, those marks are out of 150(74,80).


    • Saswat,

      I understand your situation.If you think your knowledge was reflected in your answers and yet you didn’t get good marks, then this frustration is natural.

      Send me your two sample answers (GS), I will see if I can help you by analyzing if there is anything wrong in how you present answers. Send old answers unedited. ( insightsonindia at gmail dot com) Please send only two.

      One key to get good marks is to write as simple as possible. Simple doesn’t mean not using difficult words or using simple sentences; it means presenting your ideas in a straightforward manner without beating around the bush and presenting unnecessary details.

      Anyway, send me your answers.

      • saswat

        Thank you so much sir. This is so kind of you to help aspirants. This is such a genuine and helpful initiative.

        I didn’t feel that i could reflect my knowledge to the desired level in those answers. But still I felt i wrote deeper and relevant answers in Sociology (for obvious reasons).
        However, I feel my writing skills are way behind. I need to practice more.
        Thanking Again

  • rut

    first of all I thank you for the guidance.
    i have problems in the following:
    1. measurement of poverty in india
    2. difference between the types of budgets and budget deficits
    3.what all are we supposed to study about a security agency apart from its functions?

  • I have a huge issue when it comes to aptitude.Very bad in reasoning and math.i can do theory easily but wen it comes to direction questions or circle question or math my mind bcums blank.what should i do?:(


      practise man practice get a good book like R.S.AGARWAL or anything ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, it took me just 4 month and i got 166 in prelims paper 2 in 2012 and i am getting around 183 according to answer keys this time in paper 2 prelims ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, stick to a single book and practice everyday

      • Thanks Ashish,but in Aggarwal they just give the answer and i am not able to understand how they got that answer I mean no steps dunno if aggarwal can actually help me?


    i am giving mains this year ,,,,,,,,,,,, i have covered around 80% of my optional (history).
    leaving the geography part in paper 1 GS everything else.
    leaving statutory bodies,various quasi judicial bodies, constitutional posts everything else in paper 2 GS.
    leaving the internal security section everything else in paper 3 GS (i have done security forces and agencies).
    now i am covering paper 4 GS from your blog and revising everything that i have done.
    should i also cover the remaining topics of GS or should i concentrate on revision

    • I think you should read Internal security topics. They are very important.

      If possible, scan through Ram Ahuja’s book for Paper-I. Topics on Indian society are important.

      November should be spent in revising whatever you have read till now and for practicing answer writing.


        i have thoroughly studied ram ahuja’s book sir ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and will internal security material given at website apart from the oxford book be enough ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, because the book is a bulky one and will take time

  • sreerag

    In the geography questions like , “Discuss the role of animal husbandary in the agricultural economy of India with special reference to any one region.” should this region be hypothetical or actual one.

  • Gaurav

    will we have history subject in the optional-writing challenge??

  • venkat

    hello insights,
    thanks for your problem is…………………………………………
    i am confused whether to take political science and international relations as optional…i am going to attend the exam in 2014. suggest if it is better or not since in present pattern of upsc i feel this optional carries an extra advantage over the other. and if it is good then please give me the strategy for political science and international relations.and if not please suggest me a good optional. i am mechanical engineer (passout -2013) and i am 75 % ….thanks in advance

    • venkat

      give me an advice .. i am waiting for your answer … i am in dilemma whether to take this option or not…..

    • Political science is a good optional. But it depends on your interest. Have u seen syllabus and previous year questions? Hope you have.

      Other optional subjects that help in GS are – History, Sociology and Public Administration. They are all good.

      In my opinion, Sociology is a good bet.

      If you want to discuss Political Science, you can do so with some seniors here:

      • venkat

        thank you so much for your reply …..i have gone through the questions and the syllabus… and thought that this subject has a good advantage in attempting in gs papers has topics like international relations and governance part etc . but had a doubt about where to start and when . i would consider your advice and go once again through the sociology option. if possible please post the strategy for sociology and political science.

  • pankaj dukre

    Sir i was doing my engineering and i had got KT’s in some subjects . In our campus placements,failure r not selected.. WIll this affect my IAS selection \interview.??

    • It won’t affect the judgement of the board. But if you don’t remove this fear from your head, your performance might get jeopardized and you may end up getting bad marks and later blaming the board.

      So remove the fear now. Your academic record howsoever bad it is, won’t affect your chance of getting into IAS.

  • Two queries

    1.) My self akshay jadhav,completed post graduation in pharmacy in june age is 25.i want to prepare for upsc in i am started for preperation from august 2013. but i think my age 25 is too more bcoz i saw that the students have cleared the exam are around age of please sir guide me or advice me that i will give an upsc exam or not.i know the age criteria is 21-30. but many students have cleared the exam are around age of 21-24.

    I want your advice sir through mail ([email protected]).

    thanking you

    2) is one year is sufficient for IAS study preparation

  • Pandey007

    Sir, In questions like “Comment on the following:” Do we have to give a positive response to it or negative might work
    eg. Comment:
    Though the Permanent Settlement had serious defects, it gave tranquility to the countryside and stability to the government

  • santosh

    can you tell me. what is the procedure of code of conduct and in which legislative procedure it is mentioned???
    and if any party violates it then what it is procedure of punishment???

    plz reply me fast….

  • sanjay

    Hi sir,
    Is it necessary to read both Rajiv sikri and Muchkund dubey for foreign policy.i read sikri…or this would going for 2014.

  • raghusharmag

    Dear insight sir, can u pls provide IFoS 2013 chemistry paper. I doubt that UPSC will upload them with in time.

    • Rahul

      Dear Vinay,
      Hi a small query regarding the news related to “PERISCOPE” from The Hindu paper; as u r not framing question from there but i think there are some valuable information scattered there itself
      Like 2 or 3 days [may be 16 October] before there was an article regarding IC4HD Project which means International Centre for Human Development Studies which is of first-of-its-kind ie Joint venture…
      Should we take notes from the Periscope or not plz comment about its relevancy?

  • fareed

    Hi Sir, Could you please provide the breakup study plan of a day covering Hindu paper and other subjects for long run. I am confused in preparing a plan and its changing often. For ex Hindu paper – 3Hrs; Optional subject – 2Hrs; GS1 – 2Hrs ; insights: 2Hrs and so on. thanks in advance

  • Ray

    Hello sir, I am writing mains in december 2013.I have been preparing for last 2.5 years I have given serious effort but with the changed syllabus at times I feel that I am just trying to cope with it. My optional is Pubad. I have read a lot but still there are things to cover and revise. I have written just 10-15 answers till now. Should I keep revising the books and hindu cuttings of last 1 year ( which I have arranged nicely topic wise) or give time to answer wrinting too in this last 1 month?

  • KD

    i have doubt about NSA backed PRISM program. the allegations of US snooping on intelligence data of different countries and bugging the embassies of various countries are definitely acceptable as threat.

    but many a times there will be articles which are purely focussing on US snooping on personal data of indians or other countrymen with support of google,facebook and other social networking websites. Parallely they would also write that this is a threat to our government and secret data of various ministries. i don’t understand how support of google and facebook will be a threat to govt data!whats the connect. Ministries aint using gmail and facebook for their routine communication leave aside the confidential communication!!!

    moreover, if somebody is keeping a vigil on our personal emails, then its bd and ethically wrong. but i am unable to understand what purpose would it serve to the seeker of such information!!!

  • Sanjhi Jain.

    1. Will the questions for History Daily Challenge help for GS Paper on History?
    2. I read the Hindu and the ET. Is it sufficient to read editorials from Indian Express and TOI?

    • Some questions from History helps. But as no one is writing, I am stopping it (at least no one is asking for its continuation)

      Yes, The Hindu and ET/Business Standard are sufficient. Reading other papers helps but they too cover same issues with slightly different opinion. Your opinion that matters. So read The Hindu and ET itself.

  • narayan guota

    dear sir.I did my schooling in Hindi medium.after that I have completed btech in computer science. sir I am preparing for upsc 2014.sir I am in complete dilemma which sub should be chosen for mains.sir I can’t do coaching for optional due to financial constraints. sir I have list down optionals as per my priority 1 geography 2 pol. science 3.history 4.sociology sir I am preparing in English medium for the exam.sir I have already completed ncert of all except sociology. sir plz guide me which optional would be best for me,as my writing skills is not good enough.and plz consider my engineering background. plz sir guide me like a elder brother

  • PP

    Sir Why is Jain and Mathur book on the history of modern world is not recommended in the booklist for history optional.

  • Deepak

    Does anybody have any idea about economic and political weekly magazine….is it worth reading?

  • Visha Sitra

    Sir, Last year accidentally i filled and submitted upsc prelims application form but did not attend the exam. Will it be considered an attempt? pls clear my doubt asap. I am worried.

    • Visha,

      No 🙂 It won’t be considered as an attempt.

      Only when you enter exam hall and sign the attendance, it will be considered as an attempt.

      Don’t worry.

      • Visha Sitra

        Thanks a lot 🙂 I am happy now 🙂

        • Akand Sitra

          Hey Visha!
          Are we related in any way? How come we share the same weird surname!?

          • Visha, please answer him 🙂

          • Visha Sitra

            I guess no….. It is a short form of my dad’s actual name. 🙂

  • Ananya Basu

    good morning sir! my optional is public administration and i am not very confident about it.i am not able to memorize the details and co-relate various topics.wrote mains last year and yet m not very confident about it.m considering sociology for 2014.what do you suggest sir?

    • If you are writing Mains this year with Pub Ad, then don’t lose hope yet. Last year every one suffered with Pub Ad. This year it may be rewarded. Study as much as you can and give your best. Think about 2014 only after December 6. 🙂

      Sociology is a good bet. But there is still time for it.

  • vanand4u

    Dear INSIGHTS,
    Needed your suggestions in writing answers for questions listed here.
    I tend to write answers first in copies then rewrite them on this blog.
    I do it so that I am versed with writing on papers. ( Skipping handwriting for long affects my writing speed and legibility).
    This repetition slows me like molasses (given even a turtle’s speed is too fast for me.)
    Q.1 Should I directly write with keyboards , and later on jump to pen if and when i could see any progress in my answer writing speed?

    Q.2 Coherence in sentences and in between paragraphs is often absent. Never satisfied with my answers. How to mend that?
    Q.3 How to accommodate handle Book Syllabus and Dynamic portion in daily or weekly routine?
    Desire to ace 2014 IAS. 1st task is to reflect positive changes in next 3 mnths.

    Revering your insight.
    Vivek Anand

    p.s.- ‘vinay’ typically means leading, guidance and modesty in Sanskrit.( from wiki). you totally justify your name. Thx

    • Have lost 2 attempts. never reached interview stage.

      • I understand what you are going through Vivek.

        1) On paper just jot down points. On blog write your final answer. Writing speed is a function of depth of knowledge you possess. More knowledge you have, more will be the speed of writing. So, no need to worry about it.

        2) Coherence comes from clarity in thoughts. You should link each paragraph and each paragraph should contain an idea/thought. Linking can be done by taking cue from last line of the preceding paragraph, or by analyzing a new idea related to the one explained in previous paragraph. This gives a smooth flow to your answer. Also don’t worry too much about structure and all – content and logic matters in the end.

        3) For dynamic portion you already have Secure-2014 and new initiative on S&T. First finish all static portion. Once you are through it, you will know what current event you should focus on.

        And thanks for all the appreciation. 🙂 I didn’t know Vinay meant ‘leading’ too! Thanks anyway.

  • Aaru

    Hello insights,
    Hearty congratulations on your monumental effort.
    I’ve come across your website a few days back. Your articles on how to tackle GS were simply fantastic. I’m planning to complete the GS mains syllabus by February starting from the scratch i.e., Ncerts. What’s your opinion? Is it far stretched or am i being realistic in setting feb. as deadline?
    I’ve not yet started writing answers to the daily answer writing challenges. Apprehensiveness has crept in as i have to read newspaper, ncerts and my optional subject. Though i feel writing should be given utmost importance, lack of time is acting as an impediment.
    I’m little slow at reading and understanding the issues. With so many tasks to complete i feel i may break down in middle.
    Please help to allay my fears.

  • alok rai

    @Insights sir, in daily answer writing question no. 1 where we have to tell about greater autonomy of state . word state is representing either India as a state means center or states for more autonomy .. plz clarify it

    • the reference is to the States. Many states are demanding autonomy in decision making processes, finances, security matters, resource management etc. You have to analyze what are their demands and how it impacts our polity (federal structure)

      • alok rai

        thx a lot sir….one thing more sir in 2nd question we have to describe advantages or disadvantages of globalization. means the question says that critically examine the argument that the globalization did not create the caste less society and in critically examine question we have to criticize the arguments so what I have to prove that globalization make the class less society or not.. plz clarify it!!!

  • Doubt

    Hi, have sent my doubt on other pages, should have posted it here 🙂
    My question posted earlier:
    I have a moderate level of stammering problem-which generally increases when am in little stress and sometimes becomes unnoticable too.
    Would it affect in any way in Interview? The reason I asked you is that- wouldn’t my little stammering be misunderstood with nervousness or awkwardness giving negative to my personality. I should not be mentioning this thing to the board as they might feel am too conscious, even I don’t wish to tell the same too. I am not worried about my problem, am Ok with it. But, just a little fear as mentioned above.
    Please give some comprehensive reply, as I have high reagrd and expectations from you .
    Am unable to share this silly doubt with anyone.

    • Doubt,

      The board is considerate and broad-minded. You don’t have to worry about stammering.

      As your stammering is moderate and becomes noticeable only when you are under stress, best way to manage it is to face the board with confidence.

      These little fears inside your mind actually make you more nervous than you would be in normal circumstances. Remember that the board will be very polite and friendly towards you. No need to stress yourself at all. Believe me, if you go inside the interview hall with happy face and you are more likely to come out with more happy face. Fear them not. 🙂

      Regarding hiding about stammering problem, I am not sure if it would be good to hide this problem from them. In my opinion it is better to convey them beforehand about your problem lest they misunderstand your stammering for nervousness. Letting them know relieves you of pressure too.

      As far as marks, it depends on your answers and confidence with which you give them.

    • need not worry at all… mentioning beforehand is not a bad idea either..
      clear mains
      present your true self before interview board
      share your success story here to boost others 🙂

      Visit the link:-

      will help clear ur doubt..

  • Hi Insights,
    If u could clear my doubt..

  • Doubt

    Yes, got answer. But, the thing is that-I don’t consider it as a problem. What I think is that- telling beforehand about my problem would actually make me more self-conscious- and I feel very uncomfortable/unsuitable to tell this to them-as this thing is actually not in my mind as well. Just wanted your comments.And, thanks Vivek.

  • akshay jadhav

    Two queries

    1.) My self akshay jadhav,completed post graduation in pharmacy in june age is 25.i want to prepare for upsc in i am started for preperation from june.2013. but i think my age 25 is too more bcoz i saw that the students have cleared the exam are around age of please sir guide me or advice me that i will give an upsc exam or not.i know the age criteria is 21-30. but many students have cleared the exam are around age of 22-25.

    I want your advice sir through mail ([email protected]).

    thanking you

    2) is one year is sufficient for IAS study preparation

  • K K

    Sir,I am planning to take mechanical as an optional.Unfortunately i couldn’t find any sites,blogs much helpful as this site.Do u know any good sites,blogs for mechanical to follow.Pls help me sir.
    Viewers of this site pls help me if u know any worth follow site for mechanical.!!!
    Thank you.

  • nodesire

    hello insights sir, kindly help me regarding this.. I am completely at loss with the culture part of gs paper.I have been trying to study the spectrum book but it seems to be completely beyond me. It is too boring to study. The nios stuff seems to be inadequate for upsc syllabus. I find the ccrt india website interesting but i doubt whether it would be sufficient. Kindly suggest me about the ccrt website. Would it be enough or not. Thnx in advance. (ur blog is so motivating, i cudnt help mentioning it. 🙂 )

    • since yesterday, i m religiously studying the ccrt website. but still i doubt whether it wud be enough.. plss give some advice

      • CCRT site has content that is analytical. That is its advantage. One thing you can do is to solve all previous year culture related questions.

        If you know some basics you can at least attempt those questions. NIOS+NCERT+CCRT is sufficient. If UPSC asks from somewhere else, you can’t help. Anyway, no one can answer all the questions of GS too.

  • prerna

    @ insights ,

    Sir ,
    There is a book on world history – Wizard by Ankur Sharma.
    My query is , whether this book is sufficient to cover whole Syllabus regarding world history for GS- 1 paper or else i have to study other book also mentioned by you in the links.

    thanks in advance ..

    • Prerna,

      Read any one good book. Just one book.

      I have not seen the book mentioned by you. So can’t comment. If it covers all topics then read it. All books tell the same story – history can’t change.

      I would have suggested Norman Lowe. But as time is less read what you have. Don’t refer too many books for any topic.

  • zeeshah

    respected mentor,
    i fail to routinely visit the blog and work actively due power cuts and net problem in state at times, so i am able to take low-slung benefit from the blog and work on the question posted very late and at times i loose my confidence due to this all.2ndly due to poor speed i write on paper and miss the evaluation by insight and mate comments which are really improvement tools.
    sir in the weekend debate (1 week) i am not able to frame the comments with reference to : ” was the discourse on Development a deliberate attempt by the West to make the South subservient and dependent on it?”
    plz help me with some examples.

    sir! may i please know if there will be 2nd language paper (qualifying one) in mains 2014,. i am abit confused about it..

    high regards!

  • Sir,your work is amazing.increasing FBI likes itself speaks of your work.from when on do we need to note down the points from newspaper for cse2014

  • Sir, I go through your current events regularly.its lucid nature is very impressive.please some more information on AoA,peace clause,the issue on food security.i tried hard to understand ,but could not.
    Atleast provide some useful link.thanx

    • Conflict between Food Security Bill and WTO

      At present India is procuring around 35-40 million tonnes of foodgrains annually, to meet the buffer stocks needs of the country which comes upto around 65lakh crore. With the implementation of the Food security Bill, the procurement would rise to 70 million to feed 67% of India’s population. This would mean, India will have to spend around 1.25Lakh Crore on procurement. But as per the AOA ,the total procurement Price that a country can provide cannot exceed 10% of the total value of production.

      This would mean Indian would exceed the 10% subsidy limit as proposed under AoA, which may call for legal action by the developed countries on india.

      The subsidy limit were pegged at 1986 global prices, but in the current scenario (with inflation and growing population), the subsidy would exceed the limit.

      Hence India is arguing for full allowance for excess inflation so that the procuring price will not exceed 10% limit and also to remove the limits on public stockholding and food aid so that India can go-ahead with its procurement.

      However the developed countries (especially the U.S) have proposed a “peace clause” by which India can exceed the subsidy limit for only 3 years; but this would be a violation of AoA which India opposes.
      (explained by Mohan. Hope it helps)

  • Santosh

    Dear sir,

    Considering the paucity of time for this year’s mains,
    Could you please advise on the ‘should be strategy’ for the preparation on the last month. Should i just revise the things i have already studied or should i continue my answer writings till the exam ?

    Please help sir.


  • Sourabh


    While answering certain question of world limit 200, you answered it in around 150 word and you are convinced that answer is good and all the major points are covered, than is it necessary to add up something more to meet the word limit.
    Please give your views.


  • suguna

    sir iam new for upsc so i need a plan how to study all the subjects for prelims and to mains.

    • Visha Sitra

      are you going to appear for prelims in 2014??

  • prerna

    Could you pls explain how Inter-state council and Zonal council differ in functions.

    Thank you.

    • Zonal Council(ZC) being small and high level bodies are capable of focusing attention on specific issues such as border problems, inter-state trades, roads etc. taking into account regional factors while keeping the national perspective in view while nature of duties of Inter-State Council(ISC) is determined by the President.
      Genesis, Background and Aim
      ISC: Mentioned in Art. 263, they can by created any time by the President for effective co-ordination between centre and states and inter se (among) states.
      ZC: by an act of parliament and headed by the Union Home Minister. They have been created in the backdrop of bitterness among states after states reorganization based on language “to develop the habit of cooperative working” among these States.
      Common b/w them : both are advisory body with common secretariat. both have standing committee
      * numerical – not fixed for ISC / six for ZC
      *functioning – refer the first para
      *chairman – presently PM heads the ISC while ZCs are headed by Union Home Minister.
      *nature – ISC is constitutional / ZCs are statutory i.e. created by an act of the Parliament.
      hope it might help you.

  • Sir, I have a doubt regarding Mains Syllabus!
    Even though I have read the notification repeatedly, some sources( including yours) mention, language paper or 2 qualifying papers in mains which determine further checking of other papers.
    I have not come across this in point in UPSC notification 2013, so can you please clarify if these papers have been abolished? or do they still exist?
    Also, In paper 1 (mains), section 2 ie. English Comprehension & English Precis worth 100 marks is also a part of total?

    In short syllabus defined by your post Mains New Pattern Simplified is in contradiction with notification 2013! Can you please clarify this sir ?

    • There are two language papers – One is English and other is regional language. One must pass both of them. If not their other Paers won’t be evaluated.

      Marks obtained in both language papers is not counted.

      Yes, the syllabus copy i have posted is the one that was published in first notification. After controversy, a corrigendum was published by UPSC.

      Use this copy for Optional and four GS papers’ syllabus.

      • Thanks for the clarification!
        Sir, so do we have in Paper 1(of mains) both papers – (1) Essay (200 marks), (2) English Comprehension & English Precise (100 marks), in addition to 2 qualifying language papers you’ve mentioned ?
        Also does regional paper includes English as a language or is it as per the candidate’s state? This is a real shocker for me, since I am not well versed in writing Punjabi (or even Hindi for that matter of fact), and i’ll have to prepare separately for this! 🙁 Can you please share general tips to prepare regional language paper? Sorry for bugging you with silly questions!
        I have another doubt 😀
        Do we need to remember/learn details/facts etc of NCERT books?

        • You have only Essay (250 Marks). No Precis paper.

          English is not regional language. It is compulsory for everyone. Along with it you can choose any regional language specified in the notification. Both marks are not counted for deciding the cutoff or rank. But one must qualify in both papers.

          To prepare for regional paper download previous question papers and solve them. Their pattern is similar every year and it’s easy too.
          Choose any one language now itself and prepare very well. Do writing practice on paper daily. It is must.

          NCERT is for understanding concepts. But some facts related to culture/arts/architecture/religions is necessary.

          • Thanks a ton sir for your reply!

  • kuldeepgupta

    hello sir,
    sir i want to ask you about the method of learning .
    Sir what should be the perfect method of learning any chapter of any subject. Some says, in civil services the cramming method is best suited , some says dont cram the things, try to get the basic undestanding of subect mattet . So sir which way i should follow? If i try to get the basic understanding of subject matter, then what is way of doing that? In which way i should understand the things? One thing is sure sir , that human mind has a great capacity of memorizing and retaining the visualized things and not the paragraphs and sentences written in the book
    Honestly speaking sir , i have talked so many teachers and students regarding this , but not even a single person was able to give me the answer of this question.

    • Kuldeep,

      It depends on an individual how he remembers and learns. Every one has different aptitude for learning.

      But best method is to read, re-read and write in your own words – it may be a note, or an answer to a question framaed by you.

      This is the efficient way to remember anything for long term purpose. Try it. It works. You don’t need cramming for this exam.

      To understand a concept, you need to refer primary sources, discuss with friends and teachers – no short cut for this.

  • Rupesh Dahal

    from day 1, I am trying to answer those question on daily current affairs given by you, in Secure 2014 section I tried my level best but just reading the news or editorial portion (link provided by you) I cant write even two three lines.
    Sir where am i wrong I see other writing beautiful answer for same question,
    i read each link and try to answer those question but I am not able to answer it. Sir should I quit this exam as all aspirant read same hindu, but they can answer.
    thank you for your support….

    • Rupesh,

      Tell me since how many months are you preparing?

      Those who are writing are preparing for 1-2 years. Some are good in English and grasping. You should never compare with others’ abilities.

      Keep trying. You are completely new to this and it takes time. Do minimum one year of continuous preparation and then try to answer. Till then make small notes. Note down important points. Try to understand concepts.

      Even if you can’t pass this exam, you will surely pass other exams. It is definitely not a waste of time. You will be enriched. My suggestions is – Don’t quit yet. Work Hard. Instead of getting the though of quitting, try to surpass the answers you thin are the best. It’s possible if you don’t quit. Patience is utmost required in this exam. Sometimes I intentionally delay replying. Some people are impatient and they never visit this site 🙂 They simply quit.

      Take it as a challenge and continue with your preparation. This exam is for everyone. You must prove it.

  • vicky..

    Sir ,
    – for the topics -Impact of Globalization and other Indian Society thingy topics, some basic knowledge is sufficient or widespread comprehensive coverage is required.
    – The books on India mentioned by you , must be read or should be read ?

    • Basic knowledge is sufficient. Emphasis should be on social impact.How it has impacted class & caste structure, women, etc.

      Books on India should be read. But after Mains. As you are preparing for 2014, in between your preparation you can read 2-3 books now.

      • vicky..

        Thanks sir.
        Sir Please give History questions too.
        Don’t stop it. At least give world history questions and questions related to our GS Syllabus.
        I will write answers from tomorrow.
        A request 🙂

  • shiv

    Dear Sir,
    I have taken geography as my optional and have taken coaching for that as well but have not read and reference book so far (only class notes). I am unable to answer the questions you are posting in optional section especially on human geography as they were not covered in class. Kindly provide reference link for those questions so that I can read about them.

  • harideep raj

    Sir my date of birth is 20/03/1988. I am from general category. how many chance I have?

  • geetika

    respected sir…

    really scared now to think upsc as preparing from 2009 bt nt able to pass even first stage,left only two attempt….wht i ll do and hw i will proceed….wanna to crack it and also manage my each and every topic nicely… wanna to appear in 2014…

    • No need to get scared. Try to write answers in Secure-2014. Read our Current Events. Finish all 4 GS papers by March. Be focused. Don’t read too many magazines, notes etc.

      • geetika

        Thanx sir and one thing more i want to ask is there any need to join any classes for csat as i m from medical background….plz suggest some practice book so that i ll study myself and will gain self confidence…

        • No need to join classes for prelims Paper-II if you are from Medical background. Do self study and practice as much as possible. Speed and common sense is important in paper 2. Buy this book by Arihant. It is a latest edition and practice from it.

          • geetika

            ok sir..thanks alot sir.


    i’m very happy that the person who is writing in this website is from mysore(place where i also stay). thank u for unmatchable work u r doing.

  • raj aryan

    @insight sir
    please provide the materials for CSAT paper-2 also

  • Ganesh

    sir, i like to thank you for your hardwork u spend daily to devolop this site.
    This is one of the site which helps ppl ilke us to study from home for civil service examination.
    The strategy that u provided for each and every papers is excellent.
    Answer writing challenges for current aff,mains,optionals is amazing.
    Ref books for prelims,Gs and optionals is extra-ordinary.
    your way of responding to questions from the aspirants in mind-blowing though its silly questions u are explaining .
    Sir u are the motivator for aspirants like us.
    kindly keep up this work.. sure, within few days ur website will become one of the most informative and guidance website ever had for ias exam…
    Thank u very much for ur genius works for us

  • Sir,
    Since you have provided with specific chapters to be read for a certain topic in your GS strategies (eg India since Independence/ India after Gandhi), do you suggest a beginner to read, whole book or stick to specific chapters/topics/syllabus?

    • Compulsorily Whole Book. You must read whole book at least twice.

  • Lovely

    Hello Insight…

    First of all i wana say that you are doing awesome job.This will be a perfect platform for begineers like me.

    First i ws in dillema that whether i should take a chance or not because i have no guidence and my parents can’nt afford fees of coaching in Delhi.But when i saw your site i felt very happy because you have clear all my doubts regarding this exam now i gain confidence.Soi have decided to write UPSC-2014.

    But i dont understand that how should i start? I know i have wasted so much time.What strategy should i follow so that i can complete syllabus for matching others in Upsc-2014? Can you please suggest me the right plan??

    There is no source of The Hindu in the place where i am living.So i wana ask that is Secure-14 and current events provided by you are suffient and sometimes i have read it from the internet. Is this fine na ??

  • vishnu dath

    Sir am decided to write exm in ma mother tounge.i hav command in that lanhuage than english. kindly tell me your openion.

  • SD

    Hi Sir..I am not sure if this topic is covered elsewhere..but could you pls throw some light on the issue of WCIT,ITU and ITRs in news starting of this has become important once again due to US influence over internet and Brazil’s initiative..the link of the article in Hindu given below..

    thanks in advance..


    For civil service we need good knowledge in current affairs that is an obvious thing.I am having a good attitude towards civil service and am a usual reader of our local language news paper since my childhood.Currently I started reading Hindu.My doubt is that will it degrade my performance level in exam that i just started reading The Hindu(as it has to be started earlier).


      Yeah, very true Mahesh. One needs to have a sound understanding of the current affairs for this exam. So language is not a hindrance here, since the same news will be covered in both the newspapers. Its good that you have started with ‘Hindu’, since it’s the most sought after newspaper for UPSC. It won’t degrade your performance, rather it will aid in increasing your performance. Look at our ‘current events’ section it will help you in understanding the news better. But do keep reading ‘Hindu’ regulary!

    • shrikant kale

      Sir. I have started preparation….but i am always in confused what to read and how to pls guide me.

  • Kirthi

    Confused on the quasi judicial bodies.
    What are quasi judicial bodies? Why are they formed?
    Do the IT appellate tribunals, NHRC,SHRC, CCI,EC etc. come under the quasi judicial bodies because they have the discretion/ adjudicating powers?Or do they not form quasi judicial bodies? On what matters are quasi judicial constituted – to reduce the pendency of cases in Judiciary ( Consumer Disputes Redressal, Lok Adalat, Administrative tribunals under Art. 323A, 323B) or for other factors( Appellate tribunals in IT etc.)? Should there be a legal basis for quasi judicial bodies(Like National Green Tribunal)? Is there a compulsory need for District/SC/HC judge in quasi judicial bodies?

    Sorry for many questions but im completely lost on this topic.

    • Any administrative body/agency/organisation which exercises its discretion or makes decision w.r.t the rights of parties concerned are known as quasi-judicial bodies. Here the administrative body has the power of adjudication. However, it’s not entitled to make rules; but the decisions taken by the body has a legal affect and it is accepted anywhere in the country.

      Yes, NHRC, CCI, NGT, CIC, appellate tribunals, Administrative Tribunals, Consumer Disputes Redressal, Lok Adalat all come under quasi-judicial bodies.

      Yes, these agencies of government are backed by laws, and are given the power to supervise and regulate in the area concerned. Example: SEBI has the power to supervise and regulate and also adjudicate on cases related to capital market. (I hope this example will clear your doubt)

      Usually the quasi-judicial bodies are headed by a retired Judge but it’s not compulsory for judiciary members to be on board in the quasi-judicial bodies. Example: In CAT, there are both administrative and judiciary members.

      But, election commission is not a quasi-judicial body; it’s a constitutional body which has quasi-judicial functions. Since EC has the power to make rules too, which the quasi-judicial bodies do not possess.

      Quasi-judicial bodies are formed to reduce the burden on regular courts. Here the disposal of cases is faster, less expensive compared to the regular courts.

      For more details:

  • Hello sir…first of all thanks a lot for your priceless help,every UPSC aspirant owe this to you. Sir, I am a 4th year B-Tech student,I have started to prepare for upsc. Due to lack of time (and unawareness of background of any news) I have been very inconsistent in reading ‘The Hindu’ .But I am consistent with the current events provided in your website as it is short and precise and it also delivers the background of the news.
    (1)I wanna know…will it be enough to go through your website to cover entire current events?
    (2)I need your precious guidance…what and how should I prepare at this point of time apart from some basic books ( ncert,TMH for GS etc) as I have already covered them once.
    Thank You.


      Thanks Shikha for your words of praise.
      For your 1st query: The current events that we are providing covers the entire newspaper except for the Editorials. So make it a habit of reading the editorials (this will also help you in CSATpaper- II (reading comprehension)) and just glance through the other news (so that you don’t miss out on any other important news from Hindu)
      2nd query: we have planned to start off with councelling. But for the timebeing you can start with your mains preparation. Go through the ‘guidance section’ in the website to cover all the topics of GS paper (I,II,III,IV). Concentrate on Mains for another 6 months. Also make sure that u abreast with the current events on a regular basis.

      • Sure sir!!
        I am going to cover all the topics of GS and we are eagerly waiting for counselling section as it would be vital for the new players especially when he/she has no one to clear their doubts (I tried to contact many people but rarely any one reverts back,I had bundle of questions before I encountered your site.Thanks again for this wonderful gift!!)

  • tarun mishra

    hello 🙂 thanks to you i have NO DOUBTS as of now . all i want to say is i thank you from the bottom of my heart for your efforts , it’s too amazing and awesome ..and with your identity concealed you’re to me and many like what BATMAN is to GOTHAM , our saviour THE DARK KNIGHT 🙂 thank you

    • Thanks Tarun. I hope no Joker sneaks around! 🙂

  • ezhil

    my name is ezhil and i am studying in madrs christian college ,m.a political doubt is ,how to improve english ,and writing skill

  • sanjhi.

    Sir, for history of India from mid 18th century up to the 1857 revolt, is it sufficient to read the old ncert on Modern India or should I also read some textbook like B L Grover?

    • For this Spectrum book is good(+ Old NCERT). Helps both prelims and mains.

  • sanjhi.

    Thank you Sir.


    dear Sir,

    2014 will be my first and last attempt.I am working full time.if i devote 6 to 8 hours from November onwards on a daily basis, what are the chances of clearing UPSC?

    • Naveen Shekhar

      No. of hours and days don’t matter is the game of how much quality time you give.If one completes the syllabi in depth and in a time-bound manner,he can hope for the success.
      And last but not least,don’t think much on chance/probability.Give your best and increase the level of certainty in this ‘most uncertain exam’.

    • Well, if all those hours are well spent i.e, in practicing answers, remembering what you have read, you might clear provided your interview goes fine.

  • 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.

  • My option for mains is Political Science.I have notes of Vajiram and alos some other reference books.Will that suffice?

    • Yes. Have you finished any one of them? First completely read any one source. Then you will realize if it’s sufficient or not.

  • deepa

    sir i m preparing for 2014. The daily current events are really helpful.
    I m living in remote place where hindu paper comes after 2 days. Going through only your posted current affairs is sufficient? or i need to go through hindu after 2 days of current day?

    • No, our current events is not sufficient. If you have net do go through editorials and other news. Or read The Hindu after two days. It’s worth reading.

  • Soumyadeep Das

    Hi Insights….You are doing a tremendous job.You are true Karma Yogi. Well, I am from a small municipal town of West Bengal and preparing for IAS exam 2014. My preparation skeleton has been reinforced by your valuable works.So thank you.
    I did my schooling from bengali medium school.I am good at bengali speaking because its my mother tongue. Though my graduation medium was english, my communication skill in it is too weak.I am working on english writing.I am confident enough that my writing skill in engish will be improved to the extent of level playing field.It is impossible for me to speak effective english which is decent enough to communicate with the interviewers in an interview(where communicating medium is english).Surroundings here are not favourable for nurturing english speaking skill in me.I am also not in a position to acquire such skill from a professional ELT institute.I know IAS interview carries 275 marks share.Now my questions are,
    (1) Is it possible to appear IAS interview in bengali language while papers are written in english ?
    (2) If it is possible then can I use some english expressions in the interview instead of using exact bengali terms in all expressions?
    Thank you again.

  • vicky..

    Insights Sir
    The today’s History Questions link is not opening. So not able to write the answers

  • shikha1402

    Hello sir…I am a 4th year B-Tech student from IIIT-A and UPSC has always been there in my plan since childhood.That’s why i personally opted to prepare for upsc rather than to join any job (as i would never be satisfied and happy with any other job) but while contacting other aspirants they said that experience does matter in the interview so better take a job for at least one year.sir,help me out in this dilemma(should I join a job for the time being or should I go with what my heart allows?)
    senior aspirants please give your views,it’s valuable!!

    • @shikha1402
      as far as experience is concerned it does matter but not for the sake of interview particularly…as i have many fellow who scored well without job experience…experience will only benefit you for the all round evaluation and most importantly UPSC members have got the habit of asking questions from your past responsibility and undertakings…so we can say it may guide your interview with ease. Other than that …many successful aspirants excelled without job and many with job…the question is how one manage…if you can manage…then no problem..but if u cant manage and going just for the sake of gaining experience..then i would say please dont do…it may hamper the core of your aim ..i.e successfully accomplishing your dream of getting into UPSC….my personal views though….best of luck…do what is feasible and viable for only can better assess your credibility and strengths…

    • Naveen Shekhar

      UPSC is not an exam/interview like that of a MNC.
      Lack of experience will not be a problem.
      You can focus on getting entry in services through UPSC as earliest as possible.

  • Anjali

    Sir, I am totally helpless in Political Science, I am not getting what content to include in answers. Please, if you can give some guidelines how to write answer in Political Science. And please others those who have better understanding than me, please put your points also.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Anjali,

      Wish I could help you here. But, answer writing rules are same for GS and Optionals these days. Same directives are used in all questions.

      One suggestions is: Finish syllabus, at least 80% of it. Revise it and try to remember content very well. Try to fit content well in your answers.

      Another suggestion is: Don’t worry too much. Read questions carefully and answer them. Now concentrate on finishing the syllabus and revising it. All the best.

      • Anjali

        Thanks Sir for your guidance.

        Reason of my worry is this.
        In Pol Sci always there is a statement, by thinkers which is followed by directive comment, and when I checked answer by Dr. Kumud Singh, there is only explanation of thinkers view over that statement and in other notes of Shubra mam same thing is followed,

        But as per directives in GS, you have to form opinion by writing important points about that statement. So I got confused and when I read others answers here in pol sci they are following GS directive.
        So its not clear to me whom to follow.

  • Sir,Recently I have started my preparation for next year.
    But,from past 2 months am bit confused how to prepare notes on different subjects & how to utilize those notes.
    Ld’ you just help me out how to make notes on all the 9 subjects for prelims as well as Optional also.
    My optional is PUB AD.
    Sir,please kindly revert back on my mail id [email protected]
    Thanking you..

  • zeeshah

    respected mentor,
    sir may i plz know when will be the new case study posted. That part is really very helpful. it helps to cover half part of gs-4 very easily with less stress. thanks to your magnanimous effort.

    • Zeeshah,

      We will try to post as many as possible. Thanks for reminding.

  • chikku

    sir,could you please suggest me some books for csat preparation.i have a weak maths base and suggest some good book for comprehension.sir wen will u start prelims daily test.suggest some worth test series of any institute for both prelims and mains

  • Sankalp Kumar

    Hie Admin
    I would like to know, whatever the question you frames from The Hindu and present it before the reader, will also be accumulated for every month in 1 place.
    The same thing for the notes of The Hindu.

  • Mahesh

    Hello Sir,

    I have a query. Are people with Type 1 diabetes eligible for IAS, IPS, IFS and other civil services, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Naveen Shekhar

    How to improve marks of Essay paper with certainty?
    I had got 109 and 90 marks respectively in CSE 2010 and 2011 respectively.Though I was satisfied with my marks of the paper in the former case,but marks in 2011 certainly was a big surprise,and it affected me in the final mark sheet.Then I had expected around 120 at least,owing to the fact that I had written a better essay compared to the last year plus that was related to my comfort zone–Cinema,as well.
    This year when marks of the crucial paper of Essay has been increased to 250,what should be the MANTRA for me ( and all ! ) to get a handsome score?
    Reply please.

    • Naveen Shekhar

      In the second line,’respectively’ got repeated …SORRY

      • Naveen Shekhar

        Please reply………
        I am waiting

        • Sorry. I will reply by afternoon.

    • Naveen,

      Your scores are not bad. The variation in scores occur not because of variation in writing style or approach to the essay paper. It happens because of wrong selection of the topic.

      Choosing a right topi is the most important step in scoring good marks in essay. While choosing the topic, may tend to impress the examiner by going for a ‘different’ topic; or they think from the examiner’s point of view. While selecting the topic, one should assess his own ability to do justice to the topic. Choose two topics and brainstorm on them. See on which topic your ideas are flowing effortlessly. Go for that One.

      Though above insight seems not so important as you already have experience of writing two mains, it is still a most important step.

      Though you might have written an essay which was comfortable to you, there might have been lack of depth in the essay.

      UPSC is clearly expecting deeper and broad understanding of a topic. You have to analyze the topic multidimensionally. You have to weave a interconnecting web around the topic. Use transition and connective words in each paragraph. These words give a flow and maturity to the essay.

      Again there is this drawback in most essays – no connection between successive paragraphs. Each paragraph should deal with an idea and that idea should be linked to next one in the next paragraph.

      Practice 5-6 essays. Observe carefully. You will realize the mistakes if any.

      • Naveen Shekhar

        At times it is heard that a particular score in Essay paper becomes good in a year when average marks remains less(might be evaluators setting different standards and giving relatively lower marks).Is it true?

        • Naveen shekhar

          sir,may i hope for your reply?

  • Twinkle

    Could you please enlist the topics to be read from India Year Book 2013.

    Thanks 🙂

  • geetika

    sir in paper-4 of general studies from where i will read the topic related to challenges to the indias internal security-handy book which i ll finish within 24 hours…

  • zeeshah

    respected mentor,
    thanx for posting case study.

    high regards!

  • anusha

    sir,is chapters 8-14 are sufficient post-independence consolidation & re-organisation or should i read complete india after gandhi book

    • Naveen Shekhar

      If time permits,u can study.But not recommended if appearing in this yr’s mains

      • am appearin fo 2014…i had a doubt -is it necessary to study probs during indira gandhi period,jp movement nd all

        • Naveen Shekhar

          Why not ?
          extend your horizons of knowledge…

  • Mohan

    insights team… are doing tremendous job in helping civils aspirants…….I thank u for this huge work…………….coming to the matter I have one doubt regarding mentioning hobbies for interview…….
    I have habit of observing state and centre politics ( eg. what is the congress party strategy for the next elections, what are the political equations BJP make, why TDP is approaching close to BJP again etc..) when ever I am free……..of course I also see movies etc……….my question is can I mention observing politics as one of my hobby for interview…………
    I am asking u this question because………as a civil servant I must be neutral to politics………… mentioning “observing politics”as a hobby is right on my part as im appearing for civil services exam which must maintain distance from politics….

    • You can be politically neutral while observing political trends too. If you root for a particular political ideology and openly show it, then you are not neutral.

      If you write it as a hobby, certainly there will be a question on political trends, may be from AP or from any other part of India, or about 2014 General elections. Your answer should be completely neutral and academic. If they sense that you follow particular party, then you might invite disaster. According to ARC recommendations, completely apolitical youth are desired for civil services – those minds which are not polluted by politics.

      In our opinion you should mention it only if you are comfortable and confident of giving neutral views about politics in the interview. If not, it’s better not to mention it.

      • Mohan

        sir can u give an example of a political trend question……..and how can I answer it without tending to be a political ideology………

        • Example: Which party do you think would come to power in coming general elections? Would you favor Congress or BJP? And why?

          • Mohan

            my answer to this question is …………………………………..

            Based on the present scenario NDA would like to come to power with BJP as its main stakeholder, because of the bad reputation earned by UPA govt with a lot of scams like 2G, Coal, Helicopter scam etc….Besides there is a mismanagement of institutions of governance………..Further there is a strong message sent to the people that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi can change the path of India from scam ridden governance to good governance……………

            strictly speaking, I favour the govt which is pro-poor and at the same time also encourages market to invest in areas where govt is unable to invest because of lack of finance………….Further I look at the manifesto of each party to know that which is in favour of good governance in reality……And not only congress and BJP are the only parties……the formation of Federal front cannot be ruled out which is mooted by Mamata Benerjee…………..there are several factors which a common man takes into consideration to choose a party…..and one of it may be to give them good governance which is also a principle in DPSP that a govt has to follow in ruling the nation as a whole……..

          • Mohan

            sir…..please can u tell me whether my answer is neutral and goes in the right direction……

  • Mohan

    I forgot to mention my state… from Andhra Pradesh…..

  • Chetan Gowda

    @Insights, Can you please try to elaborate the aspects in this broader heading “Indian Economy and issues- mobilsation of resources”. Can please suggest some good source to read from?

  • Chetan Gowda

    “Indian Economy and issues relating to mobilizations of resources”.


    Thank you So much for this wonderful blog………..

  • geetika

    sir i m facing difficulties while writing answers of secure 2014 as it took 3 to 4 hours for me to write as i started it yest….

    • It’s ok. It is worth it. Questions are related to the syllabus. Once you write, it remains with you for a long time. Keep going. Don’t you think it’s helping you? give feedback please.

      • vinod

        hi insight, i started writing the general studies writing challenge, current affairs daily writing challenge, science and technology, and the currents event section of that day, and it is taking so long time to finish all the above things, and also i am beginner in preparing UPSC just started a month back , i am reading ncert books for 2 hours daily, spending around 4-5 hr on insight website, and my questions is :

        1 . sir do you think i am wasting much of the time in writing only ?, i am very weak expressing the answers, so i am practicing is it good.

        2. Whether i will able to complete the general studies part of prelims, because i am spending daily 4-5 hours on insight website, and only ncert books ?

        3. And another thing is Mainly is revision, the current affairs is piling up in my books, i am unable to revise, but writing answers and ncert only taking much of time for me, so please provide me how to overcome this problem ?

        waiting for reply from any body

  • swati

    Insight Sir…please tell me about normal general cut off for prelims and how the merit for prelims is made by upsc i mean do i need to make separate merit in both prelims paper or the marks of both papers are added and then final merit is being made.

    • Don’t know about the cutoff marks. Nobody knows for that matter. You will know it officially next year in May/June.

      No separate cutoff. Marks of both papers is clubbed to determine the cutoff. To be safe, try to score 270+ from both papers combined.

      • swati

        Thanks for kind reply.

  • Mohan

    sir…please read my answer put by u ……and tell me whether my answer is neutral to politics….

  • tejaswini

    hello sir.. my optional is Geography.. which book should i refer for ” factors affecting land form development” and “fundamentals of geomagnetism”l ? please guide me since i m not taking any coaching

  • Insight sir:pls do provide the reference for saily answer writing. As it helps to quickly access good source if not that day than a day later.

  • i want to appear civil service in august 2014 ,i started my preparation on december onwards ,because iam currently studying 1 ma political science in madras christian college ,if it is correct time to start preparation on december to success in this exam . i read your between the lines ,that is very very useful for me so i already i downloaded and photocopied them .my plan is (dec,jan,feb ) in this three month i want to finish ncert books,
    (mar, apr, may)i want to finish text books(indian polity ,indian history, geography,indian economics) (june ,july ) revisision ,it is possible or not please guide me……

  • saumitra

    what is the difference between public bill,private bill and private member’s bill?

    • i think private bill and private member’s bill has the same meaning.
      difference b/w public bill and private bill:
      public bill:
      – it is introduced in the House by a minister/ introduced by any member of the House other than a minister
      – it has greater change to be approved / lesser chance
      – it’s rejection implies the want of parliamentary confidence(members’ support) in the govt. and may lead to its resignation / no such implication
      – it’s introduction in the House requires seven days’ notice/ one month
      – it is drafted by the concerned dept. in consultation with the law department / it’s drafting is the responsibility of the member concerned
      -all money bills can be introduced by public bill only

      hope it might help you

    • Dileep

      public bill – if initiated by a minister, it is called as public/govt bill
      private member bill – if a public bill is initiated by a member other than minister
      private bill – to confer or exempt special powers (commonly to corporates) and initiated by minister*

      Correct me if wrong…

  • seema

    I want to that in mains exam, is it necessery for good marks to have very good english and vocabulary.
    Bcoz my english is not so good but can explain in simple terms, in layman style.
    But my handwriting is good. I m going to appear mains in dec. And after lots of efforts not able to improve english, as more focus is on gs and optional.

    • Seema,

      Able to explain in simple and layman language is an asset in UPSC exam. They are specifically directed to look for simple and straightforward answers (of course with ample content, structure and depth) But when it comes to language, using simple words and sentences is the best way to express yourself.

      Don’t worry about English now. If your handwriting is good then you have an added advantage. Try to finish reading all topics, practice few answers and go to exam with confidence. I am sure you will score very good marks.

      • seema

        Thank you sir this gives me a positive energy for exam.
        And thank you sir for your efforts throught this site.
        The daily challenges writings helps me a lot,it helps me to know about mains exam’s writing skill, n patteren.
        One more doubt is there sir is that. Is grammetic mistakes took away lot of marks.?

        • Thanks Seema.

          Grammar doesn’t matter much. Examiners know that all type of candidates take this exam and they are considerate. Having said that silly mistakes should be avoided so as to not to affect flow in your answer. Otherwise, as long as there is content and answer is completely relevant, full marks will be awarded even if there are some grammatical mistakes. Why I am confidently telling you this is because I know guys who scored more in mains GS even when their English was terrible. Ultimately it’s you ‘Answer’ that matters.

          • seema

            Thank you so much sir for your valueble directions… 🙂 really going to help me a lot. 🙂

  • geetika

    how i will prepare friday review column from the hindu…

    • I don’t think it’s very important. But you may read it out of interest as articles on art and culture are usually enlightening. After Mains, may be we will come to know what sort of questions on culture part are asked and how important Friday Review would be.

  • Dileep

    @INSIGHTS… Sir, I have recently mailed you one answer of the Ethics case study-21. I did not receive any feedback from your side. I also have asked you few doubts regarding the Ethics paper. Kindly respond Sir.


    • Have you sent any link in the mail? sometimes they go into spam when mail contains a link. The id is correct.

      Please send again.

      • Dileep

        I have re-sent it just now Sir. There was link of your website which I mentioned at one place in my mail…

        Thankyou Sir. Wish to see your reply soon. Good Day

  • seema

    Insights plz give feedback on my doubt.

  • Dear insight sir, how we can increase precision in answer?

    • sir pls do relpy to this

      • Raghu,

        How to answer this question?!

        Precision comes only when you know the exact answer and to know exact answer, you need to be familiar with all the topics of the syllabus. Hence more practice is must.

        Another way is to keep your entire focus on the demand of the question. Sometimes, many wander away from the question while answering. So, reading questions 3-4 times even while answering would help in this regard.

        I can only think of these two things now. Other points I have already told you before about bringing depth etc.

        Don’t worry too much about these things. You won’t have much time to think all of this in exam hall. Practice more and go. In the exam hall everything come out from nowhere. 🙂

        All the best.

        • thank u sir. I too didn’t knew how to ask this question precisely 🙂 . I hv adopted


    hello sir, i am anjali. i am a beginner and didn’t know how to come in track… ur work helped me a lot… but as a beginner… am totally confused..whether i can do this…….and all… sir, am preparing for 2014 exam. am an average student.. completed my m.a in economics. i have vision problem. and this also make me more weak..because it is being danger.. but sir, i would like to prepare… i don’t know what to do…

    • Dileep

      Anjali…The first point to make u aware is that THIS EXAM DOES NOT REQUIRE INTELLIGENCE, ITS A COMMON SENSE BASED EXAM. So need not worry at all. People failing even at school level have topped the exam. You also WILL DO IT. Make yourself strong and start your preparation ASAP. Can you be specific about your vision trouble… But it doesn’t matter to much extent. I am sure you will do your best preparation required. Please elaborate on what exactly you want to know? I can understand the trouble you are going through as a beginner but trust me…first attempt is the best one to give and once you start preparing,,,you yourself will feel it. You will love the essence of the syllabus mentioned. Go through the syllabus thoroughly. I would recommend you to read the “READING BETWEEN THE LINES” pdf made by the officer trainees of LBSNAA, You will come you a firm stand on what and how to prepare. I am uploading the link of it for your reference.

      If you have any further queries feel free to ask the admin. He is doing a great job here and will respond to your questions. His email id is insightsonindia at gmail dot com.

      I suggest you to start reading ncert 11,12 geography and economy(ncert11th) and then recommended books by insights for other topics…. Goodluck!!!

      • ANJALI

        a very thanks to you sir.. i don’t know who are you. anyway i am very happy. i have short sight( power is -13 and there may be the chance of retinal destruction as said by my doctor) and now am under ayurvedic treatment, i have to be hospitalised during november-december. sir, am not in fear of such things. i am ready to continue my preparation even if am being blind. here my problem is time.

        next thing… sir am from a rural area. my family is not much supportive for my preparation and The Hindu news paper is also not available here.
        i am also a permanent visitor of this site. i read that book which you suggested. i can’t read all these things i could n’t follow the essay writing challenge and all…

        • Dileep

          Anjali… its great to see a dedicated candidate like you… reading your reply motivated me a bit 🙂 Good Going… and about your preparation I shall help you out of what all to study. I will make a list of all the sources n books that you have to follow…after which I don’t think you need to look for any online sources(with due respects to all service providers)… you mail your emailID to [email protected]

          • ANJALI

            wow… thank you sir…

    • Anjali, I don’t know what to say. Everything you need to know is already on the site. If your vision problem is serious then, you may have to use offline sources, or go for minimal online usage of net.

      If you want any specific help you can ask for it. We are happy to help you. Thank you.

      • ANJALI

        ya sir, that’s my problem. i want offline sources. but doesn’t matter.. i will try my best.. thanks for your reply sir..

        • Myrtle

          Hi Anjali!
          Appreciate your determination. If it’s not a financial burden, you may purchase a printer (cheapest, black & white). It is not necessary to go through each and every discussion that is taking place here, as this may further hamper your vision. Wish you the best.

          • ANJALI

            sure… thank you..

  • sir which book is sufficient to read for modern history for both prelims and mains?

    • Spectrum book – for facts. For analysis – Bipan Chandra.

      • tarun mishra

        hello sir 🙂 on the same note what role does the book “From Plassey To Partition: A History Of Modern India ” has , i am more comfortable with this book than bipin chandra , or should i only stick to bipin chandra ???? i solely bought it keeping in mind your suggestion/review , kindly suggest 🙂 thank you

  • v.sivanaik

    sir…i am the student of BA 3 rd yr off epp grup .i cnt offr coaching as economically poor…in our vlge net is less availble..sir with wt i has to start my prepartion for civilservices …plz guide me wt what books i has to start my prepartion …to reach my me sme standard books to start my prepartion.

  • shijoy

    hi..So in a month i have my mains n m kinda struggling with hindi..the difficulty is not in understanding hindi but in the way answers are to b written..10 mark passage answer have hardly 3 lines..would they content as imp as the language..i mean would using of high end statistics n facts in essay help or r they jus checking the language..n how to tackle ambiguos questions..for instance 2012 paper had the last question requiring to form sentences on ‘yugn'(combination words)..r we expected to write 2 different sentences or one single sentence using both the a first timer ur expert advice will be highly valuable for me..thanks

    • shijoy

      sirjee..kindly reply

    • Shijoy,

      If your Hindi is decent then you don’t have to worry at all. It is a test of language skills. If you chosen the language then you should be able to communicate in it effectively through written mode – this is the main objective.

      Attend every question. Write in simple words. And come out happily. Key is to attend all the questions. They check only language not content here. It doesn’t mean you should write irrelevant stuff, but marks are allotted to language skills. No need to worry at all.

      Yes, they ask you to write less and write more. It is common for all languages. You should write in as many words as it’s demanded.

      All the best.

      • shijoy

        thanks a ton..with no intention of going overboard by pestering you with doubts,i’ll have to ask one more(actually repeat it) becomes all the more important since you are advising on attempting all questions..last years hindi paper had a question asking to form sentences using the yung(combination) words..i am unable to understand if the words have to b used in two seperate sentences or one sentence..i’ve tried searching but have not been find examples or instances so as to understand their usage..i am expecting the question to b asked again in the same form since it was asked year..

        n thanks a million..expect for gs-1 n optional i have comprehensively covered almost all the docs on ur blog n am relying on them..fingers crossed:-)

        • Naveen shekhar

          hi,make understand d difference in meaning by two different sentences,as far as que related to combination words is of luck

          • shijoy

            thank you:-)

  • abhishek

    hello sir,you and your team are doing a commendable work for aspirants like us.may god bless u for such an endeavour.
    sir,my query is that apart from current affairs which are the areas or topics from which we should make notes for effective reason.please shed some light upon this as i am specifically preparing for 2014 exam and doing topic wise study as u have pointed out according to the syllabus.i spend my time studying a particular topic then after some time make notes point wise and then revise from aim is to study all the topics of all the gs paers and make notes on all topics so that i dont have to go back to the books again as there would be multiple sources instead which i dont want and that shall lead me to much confusion.but i am in a dilemma as to which topics u would recommend on making history both indian and world is vast and the same goes for geography..please provide your suggestions.i shall be deeply grateful to u..thank you once again..

    sir please answer my doubt as i cant come again and again as it leads to time loss..hope u understand..deeply sorry if i uttered something wrong..

    • You should try to make small notes for all the topics of all GS papers.

      Yes it is confusing to know which topics should be covered under each head. For this you may buy this book:

      If you answer questions posted at Secure-2014, you will completely cover The Hindu news – all syllabus related and exam oriented. You can keep answers/notes for each question.

      Aftei this mains, we will get clear idea and taking cue from it, we can suggest which areas are important and how to go about them.

      For now read Insights current events + Secure-2014. And for those topics on which you have doubt, you can skip them and prepare other topics.

  • abhishek

    thank you for replying to my doubt sir.
    sir as u said the answering the questions posted on secure will help me out but since i have recently started my preparation and do not have any background knowledge,then how can i answer those questions?i know u have provided a link.but that doesnot help in itself as we shall gain points by referring to the link but how to provide a background or an introductory part?please shed some light upon this.sorry for the trouble.:)

    • At any point you have to update background information, so why not spend the time on answering Secure-2014 questions? Do some research and answer the questions. It is not a waste of time. But be careful about how much time you spend. Don’t do too much research.

      Yes, intentionally I am not giving direct source. What I am trying to do is the article can be read from many perspectives and questions can be framed extrapolating the content of the article. In the end it helps you a lot as you will be ready to face any uncertain question on a given topic.

  • bhavna

    hello sir, Your site is a boon to all the ias aspirants
    hailing from a smaller town i dont have access to The Hindu because of which i end up wasting a lot of time in browsing the news online and since i am a beginner i am unable to decide what to read and what not . can i rely on the epaper of indian express available online and whether your secure questions and daily current events will cover the hindu newspaper.

    • Except on sundays you can rely on our two initiatives. Answering questions on Secure-2014 is must as I usually give questions from editorials on every day (except Sunday of course), hence you won’t miss editorials too (they are not covered in Current Events – in future we will try)

      And thanks for kind words.

      • bhavna

        Thank u very much sir for addressing my query

  • sanjhi.

    Sir, for ethics, apart from case studies, can you also start daily questions on the syllabus? Its a whole paper and lot of theory and therefore very scary. If you are waiting to see this year’s question paper, please start it after this year’s mains. Thank you.

    • Yes, waiting for this year’s Mains paper. Honestly don’t know what kind of questions they would be asking.

  • Manu Raghav

    As i started late(started preparing two months before prelims) for this years mains and exam approaching next month, will it be sufficient that i follow the above mentioned links and articles for GS IV? I have hardly done with the remaining GS papers.

    Manu Raghav

  • sanjana

    hello sir ur work is very noble. i stumbled into this site accidently while blindly navigating through the net for guidance. sir i want to prepare for ias 2014. i yet have to start my preparation. wat i want to ask is dat, is the available time sufficient for the preparation ? since i m completely new i want ur guidance in planning my studies as well. eagerly waiting for ur reply 🙂

  • sanjana

    And Geography is my optional. i m scared because everyone tells that its too vast.

    • sanjana

      sir plss reply 🙁

      • Yes it is indeed vast. But if you are interested then you can sail through. Look at syllabus and previous year questions. Then decide it finally. Be open to other optional subjects too. Have a look at sociology, political science also.

  • geetika

    respected sir i solved the comprehension passage easily but facing difficulty in solving reasoning that is not able to understand from where i will start to find solution…

  • Jagadish

    Respeted mentor,
    Sir still compulsory qualifying regional paper exist for exams from 2014 or it has been omitted. Please reply

  • Manu Raghav

    As i started late(started preparing two months before prelims) for this years mains and exam approaching next month, will it be sufficient that i follow the above mentioned links and articles for GS IV? I have hardly done with the remaining GS papers.

    Manu Raghav

    • Question paper will have 50% questions on case studies and other 50 on theory. Spend 10-15 days on theory part. I suggest you to buy a book or coaching material at this point of time instead of going through all the links above which may consume more time.

  • ankur babbar

    hello sir,
    i am writing for the first time here, i am following your site for the past one month and i must say this is one of the best so far…
    well i have started preparing for 2014 from this month only and i am very new to this . sir i want to know is it important to read 2 newspapers ? and if yes then which one … well i am reading hindu only . . thanks in advance sir..

    • Thanks Ankur.:) If you have time, well you can refer 2 Newspapers; else read Hindu thoroughly and you can go through the important editorials of either Indian Express/ Economic Times(Only if you can manage).. Also refer our Current Events & ‘Questions on Current Events’ so that you get an idea on what to focus and what not to.. Since most of the times Upsc aspirants get carried away by the amount of information available with them.

      • ankur babbar

        thanks for your valuable suggestion sir ….:)

  • Mohan

    sir…….can u please provide current events in pdf form….?

  • thank u ur guiding many aspirants as a gud teacher especialy u r acting boon for students who cnt offer dubt frm side sir wt ncert i has to start my prepartion or wt what i has to start …my prepartion..and my mother tongue is telugu sir but i had alot prblm in wrtng telugu .so i want to take hindi as language paper,in hindi also i am sme wt poor hw to imprve my hindi. Sir plz reply me sir ur the nly guide for us.

  • Nikhil D

    @Insights – Vinay sir, I would like to know your thoughts on current India-Nigeria drift. Nigeria has directly issued threat over expulsion of Indians from Nigeria, if India doesn’t pay heed to their demands. I consider this situation as very troublesome for India in future perspective. If India, succumbs to Nigeria’s demands and act according to their wishes, it will have long term impact on India as Indians stay all over the world. Any country could pressurize India using same tactics. What can be the most appropriate diplomatic fallout in this situation?

    It’s quite well know that Nigerians in Goa are largely involved in drug and human trafficking. The actions India is taking to bring peace – law and order in the area. How can government of other country interfere in our internal matters and make us dance according to their whims?

  • Kaushal Singh

    I started preparing for UPSC from August of this year and I start facing trouble with current affairs, though I regularly reads newspaper but I can hardly absorb 10-20 percent from them because there is so much content to read and remember. And I am also having problem with reading NCERT books, not with the language but with remembering the inside content. When I finished the Economics and start preparing for Polity, I suddenly felt that I am start forgetting the economics.
    Please help Sir.

    • Don’t worry Kushal..This happens with everybody. The only ‘mantra’ for this weakness is read and re-read. That is revise as many times as possible. You can Keep sunday as your revision day, where you can revise whatever you have prepared or read for the entire week. One more important thing here is focus on the ‘concepts’ rather than trying to remember everything in the news, this will reduce half your burden. As GS is very vast, you must know what to read and what not to 🙂

      • Kaushal Singh

        Thank you sir for your helpful reply.

  • siddharth shukla

    Sir, this is my first post on INSIGHT.I am glad to join it. I m preparing for IAS 2016 and simultaneously I m enrolled in B.A . this is year my second year .sir what should be my strategy?

    • Welcome to Insights !! Siddharth go to the ‘Preparation guide’ and explore the website more to know about ‘how’ to prepare for this exam. Also our ‘Secure- 2014’ this is specially for the beginners. All the best!!

    • Kamlesh

      Make your foundation stronger with sound basics which can be achieved from ncerts and daily news analysis of any newspaper more specifically The Hindu or Indian Express whichever is available.After you have command over basics go for optionals and deep study.

      • siddharth shukla

        Thanx sir ….

  • sayoni

    thanks a lot sir for ur efforts to guide the civil service aspirants.sir i hv a problem and would like to request you to solve it out for me.i read books as well as the hindu regularly but i dnt knw how to frame and write answers.sir should i first search the answers in the internet then frame them or what,ijust dnt knw anything.whnever i go through any question i feel as if i dnt knw a result my moral goes down.please sir help me out.i am ready to work hard as much as you say.

    • Sayoni,

      No need to get demoralized. This happens to all.

      For The Hindu, go through questions given in Secure-2014 ( Every day many people answer questions there. You too can attempt them.

      For subjects, we will start Topic-wise questions program in December with an aim to finish all prelims and mains syllabus in 4-5 months. Till then keep reading basics.

      PS: We will start it in December – it may be last week too.

      • sayoni

        thank u sir for your support.

  • tarun mishra

    hello sir 🙂 what role does the book “From Plassey To Partition: A History Of Modern India ” has , i am more comfortable with this book than bipin chandra , or should i only stick to bipin chandra ???? i solely bought it keeping in mind your suggestion/review , kindly suggest 🙂 thank you

  • Kamlesh

    Sir in this age of internet is it suitable to study at home or should one has to study in delhi.

    • Internet has made things easily affordable and accessible to one and all!! One can study @ home rather than going all the way to Delhi for your preparation. Always optimize your resources than simply wasting it:) This exam requires perseverance, smart-work and the ‘right direction'(which our website is providing you). Finally, its your call:)

      • van

        very very true words

      • Kamlesh

        What r the advantages of preparing at delhi

  • IAS aspirant

    Insights is doing a great job. If a person spends whole day(to cover science,current events,daily answer writing,so on…) on insights website as it very very helpful then how to utilize the time in reading the other subjects to complete the syllabus.
    Could be plz provide me approximate break up of hours in covering insights website. How many hours an aspirant has to spend on this website to cover everything.

    I know it depends on individual but still plz provide the breakup.

    Expecting a reply.
    Thanks in advance:)

  • Hello Insights,

    Great work, great site and most important thing is that admin is active and takes pain to answer all your queries. Hats off.

    I am planning to appear for cse 2015 and presently I am working in an IT firm. Next year I am planning to leave the job and start preparing full time for it around november . Can you please tell me till next year what topics shall I cover and what should be my strategy for clearing the exam in the very first attempt.

    Thank you

    • Sir please respond

      • Thanks Anchal 🙂
        You still have a long time to go:) By the time you quit your job, you can easily cover the entire syllabus of GS paper and also possibly even your optional subject(if you can dedicate atleast 3-4 hours per day and maximise it during the weekends).For clearing this exam all you need is – perseverance, smart-study and a mentor to direct you through your preparation process. This website will take care of the last part :). Under the preparation guide, follow ‘How to prepare for Mains General Studies Paper’ you will get more insights on preparation strategy for GS. Also keep yourself abreast with the day-day current events on regular basis and reading NCERT books will give you a strong foundation.

  • Gaurav Sharma


    Please throw some light on below doubts,
    1 – Are there any arrangements made in Delhi by UPSC or by particular states for ‘their’ candidates, for candidates called for interview.
    2 – In interview what is the usual practice –
    (a) Does the board members ask questions in between each-other or
    (b) Once a member finishes his 5-6 questions and then the next takes charge
    3 – What is the usual set-up inside the interviewing room.
    For example in the SSB interviews, usually,
    (a) the candidate’s chair is put at around 8-10 feet from the interviewing officer’s table so for the candidate and there is nothing to rest his hands upon and (b) it is just at 1-2 feets from the entrance and (c) the room is usually 15-20 feet x 8-10 feet, in dimensions
    4 – After going through a vocabulary book like word power made easy etc and getting comfortable with the words, should a candidate use ‘those’ words while writing the answers in mains ?
    (a) while writing answers for GS papers
    (b) while writing answers for optional paper (say, for political science optional).
    In my view, the evaluators are also professors from different universities having a habit to read newspapers and journals on regular basis so there should not be any problem for them in understanding the words which I THINK ARE DIFFICULT WORDS because i just learnt them from a vocabulary book. But in the interviews of many toppers – we should use simple language and simple words.
    Because if one makes active efforts and uses the words, the words he has learnt will naturally appear in most of his writings without extra efforts.

    • Gaurav Sharma

      Hi Insights,

      Any thoughts on the above ….

    • Gaurav,

      1. Usually candidates stay at State Bhavans at subsidized rates. For examples, candidates from Karnataka stay at Karnataka Bhavan where facilities are very good and rent is very low (subsidized)

      2. In interview, first Chairman initiates with a casual talk, then each member asks his/her quota of questions, and finall Chairman again asks few questions, wishes the candidate and sends him off.

      3. In the interview room, usually UPSC Member’s chamber, it is very casual and friendly, you will be made to sit very close to members. It’s like Dinner table conversation (Chairman will be sitting opposite to you and two members left and right of you.)

      4. Absolutely there is no need to ‘use’ those words consciously unless they flow into sentences from nowhere. The more simple your answer looks, merrier it makes the examiner. 🙂

      5. Of course those professors won’t search dictionary when you use difficult words. Thing is those words must fit into the context in your answer, if not, it would appear as ‘show off’, hence disdain towards your answer by the examiner.

      It is simple – this exam is intended to test your ‘understanding’ of various issues. If your answer proves it then your mission is over. You can pack your bag to LBSNAA 🙂

      • Gaurav Sharma


        Thanks a lot,
        One more thing, please suggest which one of the below two is TRUE.

        (1) Although the candidate does not know whose panel he is going to be assigned to till before half an hour to the interview, the panel members know, in advance, who are the 8-10 goats in their quota for a particular day. So from a panel member’s point of view, at the night before the interview, he may / may not have to do some homework to look at the candidates’ profiles / to prepare questions for a particular candidate and then asking same questions / questions on the same lines, the next day. Although there may be some random / follow-up questions formed on the spot.
        (2) Interview questions are formed and asked on the spot.

        • Gaurav Sharma

          Hi @INSIGHTS,

          Please share your thoughts on this matter . . .

          • Gaurav Sharma


            Any views on it ….

        • Interview questions are formed and asked on the spot. Everything is done on the date of candidate’s interview.

          They solely ask questions based on your DAF. And this DAF would be given to them on the day of the interview.

  • Gaurav Sharma


    For the candidates preparing on their own, could you also please suggest some online library (with free or paid membership) where political science books – USUALLY SUGGESTED FOR INDIAN UNIVERSITIES COURSES, can be found.

    • Gaurav Sharma

      Hi Insights,

      Please suggest ….

    • Try this site, but you need username and password. See if you have professor friends, they will have it.

      • Gaurav Sharma

        Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Would examination of a statement mean bringing the other side of the issue also?

    Suppose “Gandhian strategy of non-violence has its own limitations”. Examine.

    Insights, please help. I got a little confused over it while answering the first question of Pub Ad Day 20. Please refer to the comments therein for focussed guidance.

    • Naveen shekhar

      hi aditya,
      in ‘examine’,the emphasis is on why and how.little critique(why not and how not )also required.
      means the opposite of the statement is also the need,though to a little extent.

      same for the words-‘discuss’,’analyze’ and ‘debate’.

      • Hi Naveen,
        Don’t go deep into this. All that UPSC needs is a balanced answer.! Hence if you can incorporate both postives and negatives in your answers and conclude it with your opinion makes your answer look more balanced. However, only when the word ‘substantiate’ is used one needs to assume the statement to be true and proceed. But here too, one can express his/her opinion in the conclusion if you don’t agree with the statement.

  • Mohan

    sir …..ur doing commendable job……..thanks for ur efforts…..coming to matter sir it will be grateful to u if u provide current affairs in pdf form so that it will be helpful for aspirants who can’t access Hindu paper …………waiting for ur reply….

  • Nikhil

    sir, i will be making my 1st attempt in Aug 2014. i have been studying since june 2013 and have finished one read of all NCERTs, Bipan Chandra,Laxmikant and GC Leong. i am planning to devote 3 months before the prelims for prelims study as i can manage csat (having studided for CAT earlier) . how should i study for mains in the remaining months i.e. from this november to july end? your advice will be much appreciated, thank you.

    • Nikhil,
      One should have an integrated approach to this exam. Both prelims & mains preparation has to go together. Focus more on the concepts rather than facts. Prelims will be automatically taken care of, since most of the prelims questions also tests your concepts.
      Revise whatever you have studied till now and start off with the GS papers (II, III, IV, V). When you have covered 50% of the GS syllabus you can start with your Optional’ subject or if you are comfortable now, then dedicate a couple of hours from this month itself parallely. Also practice writing regularly, we have provided a platform here, make the best use of it.

  • sayoni

    good morning sir.sir i just want to know that i want to appear in 2014 so should i study one subject at a time and complete it entirely or should i go for 2-3 subjects a day plus current affairs on regular basis.i will be grateful to u sir if u suggest me what to do,thank u.

    • sayoni,
      current events needs to be done on a regular basis (daily). As far as the subjects are concerned it’s upto you, since each person is unique and has his/her own approach. Most importantly it depends on one’s interest! Whenever you feel bored you can switch between the subjects else you can continue with the same.

      • sayoni

        thanks a lot sir for guiding me

  • jackson

    sir, i heard about kit upsc study kit for 2,3,4, papers.what is your openion on this,,please guide me..


    could you plz give next weeks essay challenge.wanted to write at least one more essay before exam and now the exam vl start with essay paper.

    • This Sunday we will give two topics.. The more you write, the better you get. 🙂


    sir could you plz give some points each on socio economic political aspects of states division.

  • shikha_the_indian

    If we are equally balanced with geography and pub ad what should we go for? will last year poor performance of pub ad continue? also mention the order in which we should start our continue our preparation. your effort for gs ppr 1-4 is the best but we need it to be linked as to which topics are continuous and related so as to have better understanding. For example what topics to be studied initially so that we can cope up with hindu. aI know its a difficult task but you must be having the knowledge (at least much more experience thatn us)thank you again for this super effort

    • shikha

      awaiting reply.

  • nimal

    i have compleated new ncerts…is it necessary to go through old ncerts as well? (to clear prelims now iam relying on newncert+paper+preperation done for mains gs+your website)
    please reply…

    • Its not necessary. But if you have any old NCERT’s and if your concepts are not clear only then you can refer the Old edition. NCERT’s and regular reading of the Newspaper will give you a strong foundation; later on its just that you need to build on it. That is update yourself with the daily events and link it with the concepts that you have learnt.

  • RV

    Sir the October magazine is splendid work 🙂 Could you plz tell us till how long should we be regular with newspapers before the mains ?Editorials are fine I mean d minor tidbits like Person in News , Current related stuffand others !

    • Thanks RV 🙂 You should follow news regularly till 15-20th November. Question papers are usually set 10-15 days before the exam.

  • Bhoomika Shetty

    Respected Sir,
    I would like to thank you for providing us guidance for Civil Service Exam. This is very much helpful for all especially newcomers and those who cannot afford for coaching classes

    Sir my doubt is about current events
    When do we have to start the current events (serious notes making process) if s/he is preparing for 2014? Also is it compulsory to read magazine (for current events)?

    Sir I also have a problem in writing answers. I am a regular follower of insights but some how feel it very difficult in communicating my thoughts I have read your articles about increasing the quality of the answers many times but my real problem is to begin an answer and continue it with an uninterrupted flow

    It would be a great help if you help me overcome one of my biggest weakness Thank you

    • Bhoomika,
      If you are preparing for 2014, then you should have been following the current events from july-august. But it’s not late, start off from today itself. It is not compulsory to read a magazine  If you are following our current events & Hindu newspaper regularly its more than enough. But you can always refer to good/ selected articles of a magazine of your choice. Articles of Kurukshetra and Yojana are good.
      This happens with everyone Bhoomika. You don’t have to worry too much on this, instead keep on writing answers regularly; you yourself will find the difference over 2-3 weeks. For the flow of your answer you need to have clarity and basic understanding on the topic that you are writing on; and as far as the structure is concerned, you need to practice regularly.
      What you can do is read an article/editorial write whatever you have understood. After 2 days, go back to the same article re-read it and again write it in your own words. Check both of your writings- the previous and as well as the answer that you have written now. You will surely find the difference. Keep doing this until you can express your thoughts well.
      Only practice makes a human perfect!! 🙂

      • Bhoomika Shetty

        Thank you very much sir I will surely do these right from today Thank you you once again

  • sagar kurukshetra magazine must to read with yojana, frontline, chronicle, indian express? And sir m really confused between ramesh singh & dutta sudaram as m preparing to appear for 2014 pre n mains..looking forward to ur reply.

  • HJ

    hello sir.firstly thank u from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful work…I have attempted in 2013 but could not clear :(. i have one doubt which may sound silly but it troubles me.sir i come under OBC category and have the caste certificate but the caste name on it doesnt match with the central govt list, as there is a one letter sir is it ok or should that match letter to letter with the central govt list?
    Hope you answer my query ….THANKING YOU once again…

  • Tuks

    I am in confusion about optional between Mathematics and Geography.I have completed B.E.Mechanical Engg.I am interested in maths and it is my favourite subject since childhood.also i am interested in geography but not as much as maths.and i think i will score good in maths than geography.pls suggest me which subject i should choose for main 2014.

  • Aj

    sir ,
    For Modern Indian history part,how is this Groover and Mehtha book?.

  • arvinder

    Hi sir, there are 22 days remaining for the mains. This is my first attempt and I have geography as my optional and i haven’t prepared much for the the map portion, perspectives and regional development planning part. In the GS portion i had studied bipin chandra for history and DD Basu for constitution before the prelims. Now i am confused regarding how to revise whole syllabus again. please suggest me a way out. The plans don’t work out like when i start revising in geography i end up putting whole day for one chapter even if i had planned for 3… For the GS portion i am relying on the syllabus covered in als and mrunal etc

    • arvinder

      i feel like everything is messed up and i wouldn’t be able to revise whole syllabus …. please reply as soon as possible

      • hey ,
        i am also giving mains and my optional is history. we both have the same problem i haven’t covered the map part of optional also and my optional also cover some part of gs-1.
        this is what i am doing (all dates are of november)
        10 – history paper1, 11 – history paper2, 12&13 gs1,
        14&15 indian polity gs2, 16&17 international relations gs2, 18 gs2 remaining, 19 s&t and eniviroment, 20 disaster management and enviroment, 21 remaining gs3, 22 history full revision, 23&24 gs1,2,3 full revision, 25 to 30 2 hr daily for revision of optional and gs1,2,3 and rest time map gs4 and answer writing

        please do suggest if you find something wrong or need any help ,,,,,,,,,,,

        [email protected]

  • manish

    Hi Sir, You had told that in few days you would start thread for Pre and Mains prep 2014 which will be completed before April/May(I guess).
    How you have planned for it? You have already provided topic wise books and material to read. Are you planning to go topic by topic or some other plan in your mind ?

  • ACP

    Sir, i started my preparation just a week back …what should be my strategy ?…should i finish off mains portion first and then worry about prelims?… i feel if i prepare gs mains part first , it invariably covers prelims portions paper 1..
    .please reply sir….

  • shikha

    (hi admin reposting) If we are equally balanced with geography and pub ad what should we go for? will last year poor performance of pub ad continue? also mention the order in which we should start our continue our preparation. your effort for gs ppr 1-4 is the best but we need it to be linked as to which topics are continuous and related so as to have better understanding. For example what topics to be studied initially so that we can cope up with hindu. aI know its a difficult task but you must be having the knowledge (at least much more experience thatn us)thank you again for this super effort

  • md moshahid faizan

    Please tell me from where I can get set practice questions for prelim paper 1(gs)

  • Vicky..

    1.Is Public Institutions in India to be read cover to cover ?

    2.And there is another book : The Burden of Democracy. Do you recommend to read that too ? :

    3. Regarding Paper-4, i.e., GS- III, I always see its syllabus and get confused. I am not able to consolidate whether I know them or not. When I think which portion I dont know or havent read, I dont find any topic left. I feel that all of them are umbrella topics. I want a firm grip on all of them. What should be done ?

    • Vicky, You can buy his books. They are sharp and deep in their analysis. As you are preparing for 2014, you can read it. It definitely helps.

      Regarding GS-4 or any other paper, we will be starting a topic wise initiative in December. It would help you all, hopefully.

      • Vicky..

        Sir, now I have large collection of books. So making notes of points out of them are necessary or do I need to give them a second reading after some time, probably after 2-3 months ?

  • raghusharmag

    @Insight Sir, Did we need to give subheadings in Essay like below,
    Body para headings
    Or just hv to write in simple format. U scored 120, what strategy u followed? Can u pls mail some of ur written essays & if remember structure ofd that 120 than pls do post it.
    Stuck between two school of thought, one saying if I use subheadings i will seriously improve my essay and other saying it will compromise flow.

    Pls help me out of this.

    • Also did upsc watches minute grammatical error like a or the in essay?
      Pls do answer to both queries.

      • No. UPSC actually don’t mind such mistakes. They actually test your ability to organize and weave your thoughts around an idea and its presentation, not English skills. 🙂

    • Raghu,

      It depends on the type of essay topic you choose. If you choose topics such as “Is India ready for world leadership…” you can use sub-headings. If the topic is such as ‘Tagore’s thoughts on education’….. you may not use sub-headings.

      There is no strict rule actually. Observe lead articles in The Hindu, or in Sunday Magazine – some articles would have sub headings and some won’t.

      • raghusharmag

        Thk u sir…really thks

  • Sir,do we need to go through the state elections related stuff from the newspaper.?
    ~ thanx

    • No. They are not important unless you have Political Science as Optional. But you can read them out of interest though.

  • sagar kurukshetra magazine must to read with yojana, frontline, chronicle, indian express? And sir m really confused between ramesh singh & dutta sudaram as m preparing to appear for 2014 pre n mains..looking forward to ur reply.

    • See Sagar, basic is u hv to know concept whatever u read. If u do more & more analysis of any current event say on dimension of political,social,economic or say on inclusion, equality & how it will impact weaker section & thus taking india to positive direction than it completes ur coverage. Always remember whatever u are going to say u shd be able to back that on reasonable & rational ground.

      So now any thing u study for GS or optional follow any source(even a news paper with internet is enough) but with satisfying above condition

  • IAS aspirant

    In preparing UPSC exam the very important thing an aspirant need is motivation every now and then. I have read the article placed in Insights website and its awesome. The only thing i need is something which keeps motivation high in all aspirants to crack the exam. Please suggest.

    Also plz could you provide the break up of hours for studying different subjects in a day so that it would help in long run in completing the syllabus.

    Plz reply

    Thanks in advance.

  • Bhoomika Shetty

    When do we have to start the current events (serious notes making process) if one is preparing for 2014? Also is it compulsory to read magazine (for current events)?

    • For Prelims 2014, start from May 2013. It is not compulsory to read Magazines if you are regular with Newspaper.

      • Bhoomika Shetty

        Thank you Sir

  • seema

    Helo sir. 🙂
    Sir i have doubt in rp act 1951:
    that the amendment made in it is.. Any person convicted and get punishment of 2 years or any person convited for any crime whose punishment is more than 2 years?
    Plz explain it if possible.. 🙂

    • seema

      One more doubt.. Juvelin justise act 2000..before this act the age of juvelin was 16?

      • seema

        Sir plz help me by clear doubts…

        • The following points must be understood before delving into the issue:

          What is there in Art 102 and 191?
          They contain the conditions under which an elected MP and MLA respectively can be disqualified. There are essentially 5 conditions: office of profit, unsound mind, undischarged insolvent, not a citizen of India and under any law made by Parliament.

          So, in accordance with the 5th condition the Parliament enacted RPA 1951.

          What is there in Art 102 and 191?
          They simply convey one message: In case of an MP or MLA being disqualified under any of the circumstances mentioned in Articles 102 or 191 respectively, such MP or MLA’s seat “shall thereupon become vacant”.

          What is there in section 2(e )of the RPA? It defines an elector as a person whose name is entered in the electoral roll of that constituency and who is not subject to disqualifications mentioned in section 16 of the RPA.

          What is there in section 8(4 )of the RPA?
          It has given an exception to the seating MPs and MLAs wherein upon conviction they are given a 3 months period to appeal in the High Court. There disqualification ceases until the disposal of their appeal.

          What is there in section 62(5)of the RPA?
          It debars persons who are in jail or in police custody from voting.

          So what is the problem?
          The exception was being misused by the MPs and MLAs keeping in mind the judicial delays. They continued attending parliamentary proceeding ,framing laws and acting as active members of the executive.

          So Lily Thomas and Prahari NGO challenged the constitutional validity of section 8(4 )of the RPA.

          What did SC say?
          It declared section 8(4) of the RPA ultra vires.
          The constitution had mandated the Parliament to enact laws for disqualification under Art 102. So Parliament enacted RPA. But the parliament is not authorized to create exceptions because as soon as a person is convicted Art, 101 will come into picture. And as we all know the Parliamentary laws can not supercede Constitutional provisions, the SC struck 8(4) down.

          Can candidates who are in jail or detained contest elections? What SC had to say???
          If a person has been convicted or taken into custody or has been detained, he loses his liberty and thus becomes ineligible for filing his nomination for contesting any election.

          Counter arguments:
          Possibility of misuse by the political parties.
          What about activists turned politicians.?? If the same is applied then many present leaders would be disqualified from the Parliament.

          62(5) debars them from voting and not contesting elections.
          Moreover it is a matter of interpretation by the SC which had relied on 2(e) for the definition of elector. There is difference between voter and elector!!!

          Current status:
          RPA amendment in the pipeline…The ‘nonsense’ episode…!!!!!

          With 8(4) , SC declared it unconstitutional on the ground that if a person is not eligible to be a candidate to be elected if there is criminal cases according to 102 article, then elected representative who is convicted, how it can still govern us while being convicted. There is ambiguity that on one hand we are saying convicted person can’t stand for elections and on the other hand by being elected and then if some criminal case. They can happily file APPEAL and enjoy..

          8(4) says that MP or MLA who is convicted can file an appeal in higher courts within 90 days and there is provision that no action will be taken on them for 90 days. Within this period they can file an appeal and they usually file it. Our overburdened judiciary is not so quick to handle the cases and so these appeal remain pending and our CONVICTED POLITICIANS still rule us..

          2) regarding 62(5),Patna High court give its decision in 2004 in Chief Election Commissioner v. Jan Chawkidari case that “when a person in custody was disqualified to vote he/she was also disqualified from contesting the elections”.

          HC gave its decision that person convicted is not eligible for Voting and accordingly is not an “elector” and is, therefore, not qualified to contest elections to the House of People or the Legislative Assembly of a State because of the provisions in Sections 4 and 5 of the 1951 Act.

          ELECTOR : It is a person whose name is on the electoral list.
          VOTER : who is eligible for voting but may not be on the electoral list.

          Recent 10 july SC judgement says RP (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2013, which says “… by reasons of the prohibition to vote under this sub-section, a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector.”

          So they mean that person who is on the electoral list whether bein in jail or not is able to vote and contest elections..

          ( Actually the case is if electoral roll has been prepared and after that person is caught in criminal case, even then he is able to vote or fight elections)

          jan Chowkidar case of Patna high court was supported by SC but by formulating R of P(amendment and validation ) Act 2013…Parliament invalidated the same and as per this Act ” a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector”. And regarding Lily Thomas case, SC said section 8(4) as unconstitutional but political representatives unanimously passed the second Amendment of RoP, 2013 . Then came the uproar from civil society, episode of Oppsition party and most importantly Rahul Gandhi(as we all know what he said, being Vice body consulted him before bringhing ordinace ). Thanks to such episode that the ordinance was pulled back…..

        • Seema
          this is for you

          • The Hindu: By quickly amending the electoral law and apprising the Supreme Court of it, the government has managed to set right an anomalous legal situation for those who faced disqualification merely because they were in prison during election time. On July 10, 2013, the Supreme Court upheld a Patna High Court judgment that said being in prison or in lawful police custody will disqualify a person from contesting elections. Under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, conviction in a criminal case, entailing any sentence in respect of some offences and a jail term of at least two years in others, will disqualify a person from contesting elections to Parliament and the State legislatures. Another provision, Section 62(5), bars voting by a person “if he is confined in prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police.” It makes an exception for those in preventive detention. It effectively means that anyone in police custody or in jail, whether convicted or not, is ineligible to vote. The High Court accepted an argument that if those in prison do not have the right to vote, it means they are not ‘electors’; and that if one is not an elector, one is ineligible to contest. This is because only registered voters can contest elections. It was an interpretation that perfunctorily overturned a sound principle in electoral law that one suffers disqualification only on conviction and not at any earlier stage in criminal proceedings.

            The Supreme Court upheld the High Court order the same day it handed down a landmark verdict striking down Section 8(4) of the Act, a provision that protected sitting legislators from immediate disqualification on conviction. Perhaps overzealous about cleansing the electoral system, it failed to note that the High Court had mixed up the temporary bar on voting imposed on a person in jail with loss of basic eligibility to contest. Losing the right to vote for a particular reason could not have been interpreted as amounting to removal from electoral rolls. The government filed a review petition, but also decided to amend the law. The amendments now enacted make it clear that the bar on voting by prisoners will not mean that they will cease to be voters. And the term ‘disqualified’ will be limited to the listed circumstances and cannot be expanded by inference. It is not uncommon for political activists to be arrested on the basis of a first information report. If the courts’ interpretation were to be accepted, it would mean potential candidates could be disqualified from contest at the FIR filing stage itself. This is one instance in which legislation to overrule a court verdict was eminently justified

  • rahul gupta

    Hi Guys and Gals,

    I want to know which coaching institute notes are best for Civil Services Geography optional??Some people have suggested me about Neetu Singh,Alok Ranjan and Vision Ias geography material.

    Please guide me in solving my query.

    Thanks and Cheers

  • Anjali

    my concept on directive “Discuss” is not that much clear, I read article on site 2-3 times still not getting, please if possible explain it with one example. Thanks in advance.

    • Anjali,

      When asked to Discuss, you should explain all aspects of an issue.Here you should explain both positives and negatives.

      Example: (from Pol Science 2012-Paper-II)

      Discuss the implications of ethnicity and nation-building in South Asia, and their impact in the relations relations of states within South Asia.

      In the above question, you have to explain about ethnicities, struggle between them and governments, efforts of government in nation building, impact of various groups, etc etc, so the question itself is giving hint i.e to discuss various issues from multiple angles.

      Here no need to give opinion and all. Just plainly explain what’s happening.

      • Anjali

        Thanks Sir.

  • Karthik

    Vinay Sir,

    Please guide me on dynamic, analytical questions in GS Mains
    I am preparing for 2014 full time. I covered some parts of Polity, Economy.
    I checked 2012 GS Main question paper to get idea about how questions are asked. When I faced questions like this, I dont have any clue over these.
    For ex a Polity 5 marks question: (even though studied President clemency I cant able to write needed; I didnt read articles regarding these in Hindu those time)
    * ‘The exercise of executive clemency is not a privilege but is based on several principles, and discretion has to be exercised in public considerations.’ Analyse this statements in the context of the judicial powers of the President of India. 20 What are the Rights within the ambit of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution?

    Also Economy 10, 15 marks questions
    * Why is international trade perceived to have failed to act as an “engine of growth” in many developing countries including India?
    * Why have the resource rich African and South Asian countries remained poor for decades? Explain.

    These looks like most of GS main questions are entirely analytical, dynamic, opinion based (like essay paper questions). And its impossible to write a meaningful answer with just recommended books; unless read news paper/ Frontline articles, editorials about that specific aspect. Sir is this observation correct?

    Sir I am following your daily current events, secure 2014 questions. I understood, practicing answer for those questions are must for attending mains questions. Sir anything more needed in this aspect?

    Please clear me about role of dynamic, analytical questions in GS Mains
    How much I need to concentrate on dynamic aspect? Also please give suggestion on Frontline, Yojana, Kurushetra? Is these magazines are essential? If so how to cover these?
    Please guide me. I am more thankful to you 🙂

  • IAS aspirant

    Please answer,

    In preparing UPSC exam the very important thing an aspirant need is motivation every now and then. I have read the article placed in Insights website and its awesome. The only thing i need is something which keeps motivation high in all aspirants to crack the exam. Please suggest.

    Also plz could you provide the break up of hours for studying different subjects in a day so that it would help in long run in completing the syllabus.

    Plz reply

    Thanks in advance.

    • manish

      I had the same question, few months back, you have asked. But I realized that one must complete Basic Books and reference book well before the main exam without any other thinking (like I will become an IAS officer, this year I will definitely crack, friend will like me etc etc.) You can take your time to complete it but be focused. You are going to write this exam for yourself and so think and analyze whether you have covered the topics well or not? That is only motivate you.
      I heard from IAS topper last year that this exam is such like that “only doers can crack not thinkers”.
      Once you prepared you can battle in the field.

  • sulin

    hi insight, i started writing the general studies writing challenge, current affairs daily writing challenge, science and technology, and the currents event section of that day, and it is taking so long time to finish all the above things, and also i am beginner in preparing UPSC just started a month back , i am reading ncert books for 2 hours daily, spending around 4-5 hr on insight website, and my questions is :

    1 . sir do you think i am wasting much of the time in writing only ?, i am very weak expressing the answers, so i am practicing is it good.

    2. Whether i will able to complete the general studies part of prelims, because i am spending daily 4-5 hours on insight website, and only ncert books ?

    3. And another thing is Mainly is revision, the current affairs is piling up in my books, i am unable to revise, but writing answers and ncert only taking much of time for me, so please provide me how to overcome this problem ?

    waiting for reply from any body

  • good evening sir i have a query i have just bought economy book by RAMESH singh can u guide me how to utilise this book from mains point of view.i have already given by state public service exam so not a new comer to basic concepts…pls help me sir…tq

  • nishant yadav

    hello respected sir thanks a lot for ur amazing superb posts for preparation sir i hav a doubt regarding topic called SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT the link u hav provided directly goes to the social justice and empowerment ministry WEBSITE wherein a hell lot of information is given so we are a bit confused wht to prepare and how as u hav provided direct links to all topics kindly sieve the material or help us for a book on this topic

  • Akand Sitra

    Hi Insights,
    Can you tell me what is the usual cut-off marks for the Indian language qualifying paper?

    • Naveen Shekhar

      As I have heard it varies from year to year……depending upon the degree of toughness of the paper…..mostly it revolves around 100-120

      • Naveen Shekhar

        out of 300

    • Anjali

      its 40% given in path finder, you hope for the best at least 150.

      • Akand Sitra

        Thank you Naveen and Anjali. 🙂
        How many people usually fail in it? 😛 😛

        • Naveen Shekhar

          on average,a really big chunk fail in the qualifying papers as the annual UPSC reports 2000-2500 every year out of 13000 or so

          • Naveen Shekhar

            and it robs them even opportunity to see their marks(after final results) in the remaining papers(it goes without saying that they are out of selection criteria irrespective of marks in main papers)…..

  • chinchu

    sir, is it necessary to buy” Environment & Ecology: Biodiversity, Climate Change and Disaster Management : General Studies for Civil Services (Main) Examination – Paper II and IV 1st Edition” ? or is it enough to read the materials given in insights?
    sir, pls do answer..

    • That book is not necessary. We are running separate Science and Technology Q&A section. All questions are related to the syllabus and you can either go through references provided or the answers written by aspirants for extra information.

      If money is no constraint for you, may be you can buy the book. I have given link to it at ‘Reference books’ section – it is mostly for non science students as a reference book.

  • Ritu

    Dear Sir,
    I have doubt about GS I syllabus….
    One of the topic says: Role of women and women’s org., population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and remedies.

    Sir please clarify what does THEIR PROBLEMS AND REMEDIES mean here. Is it referring to whole of the topics above?

    Thanks in advance

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

      • Ritu

        Thanku so much Sir

  • sanjhi.

    How to prepare for the language papers? English and Hindi. Am appearing in 2014. Thanks.

    • You don’t have to prepare separately for the language papers. More than the content you write, they would be checking your hold on the language. Reading English newspaper regularly will take care of the English language paper. For Hindi, just go through the previous years papers. The Language papers will be only of high school standards, you don’t have to fret over it 🙂

  • kamlesh

    sir ji, meri handwritting itnni achi nahi to iska mains par kitna effect pdega.i am belong to hindi midium.

    • good handwriting is an add-on. It won’t affect your marks much, but make sure that it is legible- with adequate spacing between the line and the words. Try writing daily, over a period of time your handwriting will improve. If you are not comfortable in English, then you can still choose Hindi’ has your medium.

  • Hii @insights Very Helpfull site Ur doing a great Job…
    I have few questions like:

    1)iam preparing fr 2014 attempt I started making notes frm this nov-only
    Is It necessary to read all the articles frm thehindu from jan-2013 for mains exam in 2014??

    2)How to practise basic answers as i cant find questions anywhere all questions wherever i see are mostly dynamic and analytical…

    3)As Iam Preprng frm Novmbr only should I leave 2014 attempt and give a good attempt in 2015 as iam nw 21 years old So,that I get a decent Idea On all happenings frm 2014-jan.. Or It’s Nt a prbl as I havnt prprd frm May-2013??

    4)Can U explain dis quesn “what are climate effects On Global tropical cyclones” I mean What the Quesn is abt cyclones or their effect or climatic effects when cyclone occurs??

    • Hii insights Could You please Reply….:(

      • ganeshram1991

        for u now…basics are important than current since u have started preparing from November itself u have time….for both prelims and mains so dont waste this attempt ….good luck buddy

    • Myrtle

      1) Not necessary, notes from Nov’13 should suffice.
      2) Clear your basics first, answer writing should not be a problem.
      3) Prelims is in August this time, hence you are not late for 2014 attempt. Not a problem that you did not start from May-2013. Better late than never.

    • Asif,

      1. You can start with May-June 2014.
      2. Once you complete all the basic readings, you will gain sufficient knowledge to write answers to analytical questions. But even if you are new, try to answer them. More practice would help you later.
      3. You can still give 2014 attempt. There is still lot of time left for 2014 Prelims.
      4. You should know what’s tropical cyclones first. They are dependent on specific ocean surface climate and any variation in this temperature affects their behaviour.
      You should briefly explain what’s tropical cyclone and then explain how climate change affects them.

  • seema

    Sir plz guide me in hindi and english language paper…how to qualify it..? 🙂 i know it is a silly doubt but as exam is near and my tension, nervousness are increasing… 🙂 plz help me insights… 🙂

    • Dileep

      check for last 2yrs papers and see if you can answer them…. that is the only way to get qualified in both these papers.. simple….! If you have enough time….read a hindi newspaper too for the terminology flow which you need while writing…! Goodluck…

      • seema

        Thank you dilip… 🙂

    • Seema,

      I know by reading some comments here you might have got nervous. Absolutely there is no need to panic. These papers are very easy. Key is to answer all the questions seriously. Some people act smart and answer few questions thinking it would make them eligible. And some people choose different language other than their mother tongue but don’t practice enough.

      Solve two years papers in exam condition today itself and be relieved. 🙂

      • seema

        Thank you… 🙂
        Sir i already practised two years paper.. But still how to confrm that what i solved is enough to qualify…!

  • amar

    hi insight Can we get the quesetion fr anthropology optional ? as the other optional paper question on daily basis…

    • amar

      along with the the answer fr it

    • No. Unless more than five people commit themselves to writing answers.

      • Anjali

        please don’t keep this criteria and don’t stop posting questions for Political Science, I regularly write, actually I was not having laptop yesterday, so was not able to write all questions.

      • chetan gowda

        mains date is closing by. So, many might have preferred not to type due to paucity of time. please dont stick #5 criteria for dynamic optionals like Pub ad, Pol Science, Geography, sociology as most of these issues turn to be imp for both prelims and mains.
        Thank You 🙂

      • Dileep

        Sir, If you give questions daily then I would submit answers accordingly for anthropology. But I prefer unit wise questions. Please think over and let me know. And Sir, I have mailed you about my ethics case study answer. Please check once…

        Good Day

        • Can you send unit wise/topic wise questions for anthropology. If you send them in a word format, it would be easy to post questions.

          I know i have not replied to your mail. You still have plenty of time though. Thanks 🙂

          • dileep

            I do not have questions Sir. And about my ethics mail… Did you see it atleast? :p 🙂 I will search online for the questions of anthro and will let you know…

  • IAS aspirant


    As I am starting my preparation from November 2013 Is it possible to crack the 2014-exam in the very first attempt. Plz answer

  • Akand Sitra

    Did anyone write the Indian Forest Service exam???
    According to mrunal’s blog, out of 1000 people who got shortlisted, only 500 people bothered to write the exam!!
    For 85 seats!!
    It is so easy to get into IFoS this year!! Lucky guys!!!!

    • Naveen shekhar

      still,the best 85 would get the cake

      • Akand Sitra

        Shit, The IFoS Mains results are out already!!
        That was super fast!!! They corrected in just one month wow!! Yeah, just 500 people no..

  • Saurabh

    Sir can you please write an article explaining different dimensions and approaches to questions taking into account the directive words( Critically exmaine, examamine,comment etc.)
    Will be great help to me and many others as well.
    Thank you 🙂

      • dileep

        Sir, I know it is very tough for you to spend time in giving us so much information. But I would like to ask for one more help from you. If you can arrange the questions paper wise, it will be easy task to go ahead.. And kindly make a feature of attachment available to upload the copies of written answers. Because writing it and then typing here will consume lot of time…If we write on paper and take a snap of it then it will be a good option I think.
        Final request is that if you can come out with some model answer for each GS paper and Essay(atleast the structuring part), it will be an added advantage for the users too…
        About the Prelims tests you mentioned.., will it be topic wise or conglomeration of whole GS1?
        I am awaiting to see a model answer from you!

        Thankyou 🙂

        • We will post questions topic wise soon. All the questions asked so far would be rearranged later. It would be immensely helpful if you can help in this instead of passively seeking help.

          Regarding the arrangement for uploading scanned answers, we still don’t have resources to upgrade the site. Once things work out, we will do everything possible to make the site user friendly.

          We can provide just a synopsis. We are planning to do this when we start topic wise posting of questions. Already there are excellent answers to all the questions on the site. It takes little effort from you to choose them. Please do so.

          Prelims tests would be Topic Wise but it will be a complete paper. For example, first test will have questions from polity, history, geography, but all will be topic wise. Then we will frame questions on current events from this May to next July.

          Thank you. 🙂

  • sky

    sir ,,i want to clear some doubt regarding pub admn ,,i entangled in schlors ,, and not able to move fwd ,,as it is confusiing me as more small sclolars are just adding up , and not able to interrelate them confortably ,,, plz help me out ,, i m doing frm prasad , rt nw

    • Segregate the thinkers into 3 era’s – Classical thinkers, Neo-classical & Modern Thinkers.
      Get the overview of each era.
      For example, The Classical thinkers had a ‘mechanistic approach- focused on Structural aspect’. The Neo-classical- focused on ‘behavioural aspect’ and the Modern thinkers had both structural and behavioral aspects. More or less most of the thinkers of each era had the same aspects to convey. Read on these lines, then you will find the thinkers interesting. 🙂

      • sky

        thnxs sir fr ur helpful directions ,,, i’ll keep in mind wht u said ,, 🙂

  • suhasini

    hi sir… i started my preparation from july.. i finished one reading of lakshmikanth, bipin chandra and gho cheng leong and ncert books and have been preparng for csat simultaneously. i havent revised anything, i feel that i have forgotten everything 🙁 i really have to clear the exam in my first attempt as i hv lots of personal problems. can you pls guide me further. i can’t afford to go to tuitions. and my optional is geography in which i m very much interested. sir pls pls guide me further. waiting for ur reply.

    • Dileep

      Suhasini… Dnt lose hope… Keep reading. Re-read the above books again. Dont just read, know what it is conveying… Try to get old Q.papers of prelims and check how Questions are being asked… For clearing prelims you need to be perfect in csat and also in polity, history, geo.. Read economy by ramesh singh… it is important too… I wish I could help further but… ask specifically what you need more… Once go through the menu in the website.. you have everything here…

      • suhasini

        hi dileep thanks a lot for ur support.. i want help in planning out my studies, like division of days according to the syllabus. yeah i constantly refer question papers. i m finding difficulty in remembering current affairs. i started studying current affairs seriously from june. i want to know whether i m on the right track and wat else i hv to do to clear the exam in first attempt

        • suhasini

          Are you preparing for 2014, dileep?

          • dileep

            Yeah 2014. I hv planned to do optional n 2gs subjects by January… Mail me [email protected], will suggest few more ideas of preparation n strategy.

        • ganeshram1991

          dont spend too much energy and time in current the basics very thoroughly for science part if u go through previous year prelims paper u will find that they have asked question testing one’s basic and thorough understanding of the subject.i have covered some portion of the gs so if u need any help..i can help you also i can mail u notes for those case….if u dont have time for that.
          1.for science read and understand the basics
          2.for environment again basic concepts and some current events associated topics like biosphere reserves,sanctuaries,endangered animals their habitat ,if any environment related conventions takes place gather info about it and make notes.
          3.for polity make sure u are thorough with the basic features like amendments,judicial review,parliament supremacy,constitutional supremacy,(most people make mistake here or they fail to understand this)then rest of the topics like union govt,state govt,constitutional bodies,statutory bodies make tabular columns and compare and read it(i have prepared for these if u want i will mail u).then focus on panchayat raj and other new features(try to memorize the key articles for these and then do discussions with others or teach it to someone….that will raise a number of doubts and u will try to find answers for those..that will help u get a better idea)
          4.for history read ancient and modern first and if u have time then read medieval.for modern history divide it into topics like constitutional developments,social reform movements,educational reforms,civil and tribal uprisings ,gandhi movements spectrum modern history and prepare notes and then memorize it first for few days after that read bipan chandra..only then u would be able to recollect it in the exams. (i have studied for these by preparing tabular columns and found it easy to remember.and i am ready to mail u ).

          if u complete these topics then u can be assured that u will be in a position to answer 60% of the questions.after these just sit back relax and read current affairs,schemes,space related questions,economic terms etc( follow for these u will understand these things better)
          1.first dont get cowed by others….everybody have their own weak and strong areas
          2.if u find it tough to remember anything break it into simple topics and read it by parts.associate it with any names of ur friends..relatives..cine stars..or use funny names so that u will recollect it every time u see that name.use can use mnemonics
          3.even if u cant complete alll the topics just make sure u are thorough with the completed topics .

          everbody goes through these tough times . so its normal.i went through the same thing when i started studying for very tensed ,couldnt decide on any books ,source etc…not sure whether i was going on the right track but after sometime when i started revising the same topics again and again with my notes i got a clear picture .so all the best for u and always ready to help.

          • Hi Ganeshram, if you can, send your prepared notes to my mail “athenapalla9 at gmail dot com”. Thanks for your tips

          • @ganeshram1991, could u plz send your notes to [email protected] thanks in advance

          • Nikhil D

            @ganeshram1991, it will be very kind of you, if you can share your notes with me too. Thanks. My id is [email protected]

          • suhasini

            hi ganesh:) thanks a lot for ur guidance.. And if its possible for yo to send ur notes pls send it to [email protected].. And once again thanks a lot and lot:)

            • suhasini

              and my optional s geography.. Can anyone guide me hw to cover d vast syllabus?

              • Maaduri

                Please mail it to [email protected]. It would be of great help. Thanks

                • krishna

                  hi ganesh:) thanks a lot for ur guidance.. And if its possible for yo to send ur notes pls send it to [email protected].. And once again thanks a lot and lot:)

          • kalyani

            Hi Ganesh, thanks for the tips. If you don’t mind can u please those notes to me as well. my id is [email protected]
            Thanks again

          • priyanka

            hi ganesh….
            can u plz send ur notes…..
            my mail id [email protected]….

          • praveen

            Hi Ganesh.. can u send your notes to my mail id “[email protected]” would be of great help to me..thanks in advance..

          • Vinodkumar

            Hi, Ganeshram ,I was very fascinated by or suggestion ,so plz send a copy of notes to my email Id., I,e. [email protected]

          • Arpit Gupta

            hi ganesh….
            can u plz send ur notes…..
            my mail id .is [email protected]

          • ramesh

            sir pls send u r notes to my mail…[email protected]

      • Sudha

        Whats your optional Dileep??

        • Dileep


    • Suhasini,

      While reading make small notes. Unless you write after reading a text or anything, everything evaporates after few days.

      It is with personal problems that you can clear this exam. They keep you constantly motivated. Though, at sometimes, you might get few hours to study, but make use of those hours for gainful studies.

      Follow strategies given for all four GS papers on the home page.

  • Navni

    Hi insights,

    I am starting the preparation now so plz let me know what should be the strategy for 2014 exam. Below is the one which i have planned,

    1) Hindu News paper
    2) Insights website
    3) NCERT books — All NCERT books to Complete by this month end

    Once NCERT is Completed then will go ahead further.

    Let me know if this fine.

    • Dileep

      all ncerts?? Try to read them selectively.. not every ncert is important. As I see… Ncert 11,12 geo, Modern india-ncert (bipan), economy 11th ncert are important… others can be ignored. other sources are fine. But some standard books are there which have to be read for sure…

    • sachin mayekar

      Go to ‘MRUNAL’. He has written an aritcle on ‘BOOKS’ on left side column . Click that. Go to the end of the article, he has given essential ‘NCERT + NIOS’ material in zip file. Download it. No need to read all ncerts. Just the above material ur work vil b done. Best of luck

    • Navni,

      Did you finish reading all NCERTs? Hope you did. In case you have done this, now try to finish all GS Mains papers one by one.,

  • rakesh

    Could you please suggest me a daily study plan as i am starting my preparation now for 2014. I am not working and want to dedicate fully for upsc. So Please help.

    Awaiting for reply.

    Thank you

    • Rakesh,
      Go through the ‘preparation guide’ and with the time that you can put on ‘daily-basis’ prepare a study plan on your own. Since each person is unique and has his/her own interest it is always advisable to prepare a plan by yourself. It gives you the flexibility in your approach and reading 🙂

    • ganeshram1991

      whats ur optionals?
      start preparing for your optionals along with the prelims.and also try to complete one or two gs papers too.after prelims u wont have time as u need to revise a lot of topics and practice answer writing a lot(u have to do this from the beginning itself).based on your optional it can vary.

  • ganesh ram

    friends u have taken political science as their optional.i need ur opinion regarding choosing books for paper2 political science.i have
    1. does the elephant dance politics by andrew haywood
    apart from these two books should i read any other book for the theory and concept part in paper2.its the theory part i am worried.there are too many books and i dont know which one to go for.since i dont want to waste time by doing trial and error method..i am asking ur opinion.i read world focus magazine and follow MEA and ipcs websites for current events.
    1.are these enough or should i read some other books too for understanding the concepts?
    2.would be glad if seniors provide their valuable guidance

  • RV

    Respected Vinay Sir ! Time has come to burden you with one more request 😀 ! Sir based on your UPSC experience and if you could spare the time to prepare some mock papers for GS papers ! This would be an ideal time for us to go through them and finalize the final stages of our prep ! In any case thanx again for all your splendid efforts ( i know reiterative but cannot thank you guys much for the guidance 🙂 )

    • RV,

      Thanks. Indeed I wanted to give 1-2 mock papers 10 days before Mains for each paper so that you guys could solve them in exam conditions at home. Thanks for the reminder, we will do it soon. 🙂

      • SAURAV

        plz include an essay paper too in d mock test

        • We will do that. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • manish

    Hi everyone…
    Can anyone tell me the different between judge and advocate?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  • hello sir,
    i had completed nios and ncert11 12 economy now reading ramesh singh but dont know should i cover whole book or selective chaptrs… and how to find some topics of mains like food processing..etc

    sir it would be great if you please tell me the chapter of ramesh singh.. so that i revise it again and again..
    i am following holistic approach for subject.. i am preparing two subject alternatively…eco n geo..and have to complete in end of december
    plz reply

  • ashutosh

    Please explain Tagore’s thoughts on nationalism.


    Nehru’s nationalism was both composite and egalitarian. Analyze

  • prerna

    Sir please provide a reference for the below question :-

    Q>> Comment on the geopolitical interests of USA in the WANA region

  • Dileep

    @Insights! Sir, I have sent you a mail consisting of my ethics case study answer. Kindly review it and give your suggestions please…. I have poured in some more requests for your consideration.. Please have a look at them and make it possible as it helps many users here…

    Good Day Sir…

  • lakshmi kanth

    can you please provide the strategy for geography optional preparation.

    • kranthi

      if you got any usefull content regarding geography optional plz share with me …………..

  • Sujit

    Hi insight,
    I am in early stage of preparation for next prelims. After seeing your questions understood i need to read more from hindu. But it taking around at least 3 hours to read& take notes. I hope it will reduce as practice.
    Shall i continue this or focus more on basics like ncert, standard books to read GS portion first?

    expecting your reply sir

    • sachin mayekar . This link might help u 4 reading hindu in less than 1 hour. Continue reading hindu it helps in comprehension reading & vocabulary. U should simultaneously cover GS portion as it vil help u to link the GS topics with current affairs.

  • Anonymous

    UPSC has not mentioned which color ink to be used for writing the mains examination? Can one use either Blue or Black? Because prelims had explicitly mentioned a black pen. Any information on this?

    • Myrtle

      You may use either blue or black ink for writing the mains examination.

  • Irwin

    thanx sir for ur unbelievable efforts in guiding us …:)
    sir i am in a problem from the last month ….i always make plan at night bt next day after reading 1 or 2 chapters i again start making new plan and if i continue on previous i am never able to complete it bcoz my mind and enthusiasm are active only for half day…due to this i am always in stress as i have appeared in 2012 and 2013 prelims bt failed…
    pllzzzzzzzz sir help me
    thnxxx a lot 🙂

  • Naga

    Insights Sir, Plz help me..
    Sir, plz tell me what numbers and Schemes of Govt to remember in economics. I m appearing for the first time, I m totally confused which are important and which are not. Unable to remember all schemes mentioned. Plz reply me earliest sir..
    Thank you…

  • nikhilesh

    Sir , please provide the strategy for geography optional preparation topic wise as you have already promised. Please do not delay.

  • Naveen Shekhar

    While writing answers in GS Mains papers,Can we draw diagram/flowchart at appropriate places?
    Over-use should be avoided?

  • Aspirant

    Can someone tell me the relation of FTA and TRIPS ?
    If possible please explain,
    How would that impact Indian pharmaceutical industry negatively?

  • aseriouscandidate

    Dear Insights,
    due to some pressing circumstances, i have to work while study. I know the abilty to crack the exam along with job is subjective. But still i wanted to know, your opinion, if i manage to study 4-5 hours every day do i have a chance to crack the exam.
    Please reply

    • vivek

      it’s subjective.
      however with the determination as your nameline suggests, you can accomplish your objective

  • roshni

    sir, could you plz explain how funds are devolved from centre to states? in the context of rajan panel report, its not clear to me as to, what is divided according to gadgil mukherjee formula. what are the different components of plan assistance to states?

  • Neha Mani Mishra

    Hello admin,
    I find your sight to be a great source of valuable information for serious aspirants. Thanks for the efforts. It really means a lot to candidates like me. I want to ask you certain things related to the exams.
    1. I have been studying really hard but as soon as I read the questions in your daily writing challenge, it seems like everything has evaporated. How can I retain the information that I have read?
    2. What are the sources from where we can write authentic answers to the questions asked by you?
    3. It generally takes a lotttt of time to find the relevant material for practising answer writing. Any suggestions sir?
    Sir it will be a great help if you can really suggest me something to do about the above mentioned issues.

    • Neha Mani Mishra

      It must be ‘site’ not ‘sight’ in the first line…sorry for the typo!!!

  • shikha1402

    hello insights, please tell me a genuine book for previous year’s questions preparation for:-
    (1)prelims- paper 1
    (2)mains- gs
    please let me know the right material for prelims paper-2 as well.
    I am confused due to availability of so many books in the market.
    thank you.

  • Mohit

    Hi Vinay,

    What is the difference between river bed and river bank? Asking you specifically since your optional was geography 🙂

  • yogesh arora

    I am about to begin the prep. for Civil services… would u mind telling me what method of study is suitable to deal with this vast syllabus… making notes of all these books will take a year or more with SQR3 method…!!!
    (Since the objective is not to specialize in any topic like ECONOMY or POLITY and to just form a strong base) Is there any other approach which u think is less exhaustive and more fruitful …. ???
    In short how are you dealing with books??

  • xxxx

    i just want to know if insights on india website is from insight ias academy ?????????????????????????

    • qwerty

      no..its not…..

      • xxxx

        i wish to now the organizers of insights on india website

        • We are just two committed individuals and we are expanding as a professional team.

          You can enter your real name and openly discuss it here. Or if you any queries, you can clear them at: insightsonindia at gmail dot com

          We are not part of any coaching centre from any city.

  • pravallika

    sir,how to prepare for international relations

  • lokesh

    sir im new to this . im from
    hyderabad, doing my general
    2 nd year . my aim is to become ias
    officer and do some thing tothe
    district where i born . my quiery is
    how i should start my
    preparation,what is syllabus , which
    books i need to refer im from
    commerce background so im weak
    at science and maths , at the same
    time in hindi also being a south
    indian im very poor in hindi as my
    mother tongue is telugu , what is
    process , what to do from right now ,
    by looking all the posts and quierys
    im little bit confused, please give me
    basic fundamental details regarding
    civil services exam pattern ,
    process , how many years it will take
    to complete this exam cycle , which
    books should i study, im very
    interested in general topics , i .e
    geography, knowing about new
    places, what is the basic quality an
    ias aspirant should have, i know its
    respect towards nation , but beyond
    that, how to start my preparation ,
    which books should i read,how
    many hours constant study is
    sufficient to get fruitful results also
    as my friends said to go to coaching
    centre , but i dont like to do
    parroting like a parrot , i want to
    learn the basic aspects regarding my
    country, and im very anxieted to
    read again those school books, as
    my friends said you should read
    atleast 18 hours a day, you should
    study all the school books upto
    graduation le el again is it true ,
    please sir give me all details .
     Reply

    • Anil Reddy

      Hi dont need to read 18 hours per is impossible for humans.if you read 8 hours everyday with basic understanding and clarity on any topic is enough,you wil get success.
      And one more thing about reading all the books upto graduation are not just read concern ncert books of 11th and 12th grade to have basic idea.once you got the basic idea you can start your preparation by following this site.

  • Vipin Yadav

    Dear Sir… Pathfinder civil servvice main examination book is only available on amazon.I have no bank account or can i find it. Please suggest me?

  • olivia

    dear sir,
    please help me to over come this problem
    i do not have a habit of reading much i usually loss interest over the topics so easily while reading . for civils i need to read so many long texts and i have to comprehend them in a precise manner which i find so difficult …even for answering daily gs challenge i need read so much to answer . please give me some suggestions

  • sumit gupta

    Hello Sir
    I am preparing for the IAS 2014. in my last attempt i got 230 marks (in pre 2013, on the basis of answer keys of BIG institutes) but did not get threw. iam a *Hindi medium* student. i am finding many difficulties regarding the content in hindi, that is the biggest challenge i am facing in UPSC preparation.
    Apart form the less book, less institutes less open forums to discuss, i believe We hindi medium guise have lots of potential to crack this exam.For assuring our selection please also start discussion forum for us as well. i have internet can you please tell *us* some links which will be helpful for hindi medium student.
    It will be very helpful for hindi medium students.

  • Rev

    HI Sir,
    I’m preparing for the ias2014. I just started my preparation. I am going for prelims coaching… I’m ready to work hard with 100% sincerity. But i’m totally confused…. How to prepare notes for general studies?? should it be in points or paragraph?? bt preparing notes for each topic is time consuming…so will i have time to revise afterwards?? Sir plzzz do reply… I rally wanted to clear in my first attempt itself.plz help me sir…

  • shijoy

    Insights vaale bhaiya…paranoid me is back with his everlasting problems with ‘yugms’..ive started gettin skeptical about them..infact cynical..goin through many more previous yr hindi question papers i have realised they have been asked many a times before(epiphany. yeah)..i have tried findin yugms online but with lilttle success..could u send me([email protected]) one of those saviour pdfs of urs ,which for other topics i have religiously read,containing a comprehensive list of yugms..buyin a hindi grammar book at this stage would b preposterous if not outright ridiculous..thank you..


    Sir I am having doubt regarding my writting style,it is cursive.Is it a disadvantage ??

  • sam

    hello sir …i hav done my BA in hindi medium..i wish to give upsc civil service exam and ssc cgl in english medium . Is this allowed ??

    • Anil Reddy

      Yes.This is allowed.Though u have done your BA in hindi medium also,u can give attempt for upsc and ssc exams in english medium.

    • sumit gupta

      Yes. i have done the same.

  • hello insights sir am ravi pls tell me hw to prepare international relations and hw to score???

  • aseriouscandidate

    Dear Insights,
    I have completed reading world history from NCERT book. Now having completed it the Book on world history by Norman Lowe became available which was not available initially. Now i am confused, should i read from Norman Lowe Book also, or will the Ncert Book on world history suffice. please advise.

  • krishna

    Anyone please give me the list of books for preparing public ad.paper 1&2 .I desperately need to know which book to follow and which not.i will be grateful.

  • A Sharma

    Thanks once again for this portal. Can you please throw some light on the importance of the sports section. How much importance does sports have in GS papers.? Shall we make separate notes for it from the newspaper or reading it from any monthly magazine would be sufficient.

    Thanks and Regards
    A Sharma

  • abhishekps782

    hello Sir,
    I am thinking of taking anthropology as my optionals. But i see dearth of resources and fewer people opting for it . How do i need to go about the preparation for it …Quite confused….standard books will suffice or i should go for a popular optional .pls help


    for essay introduction,can we start with narration of a relavant incident or sorry.for eg usually in climate change related essays,i have seen an approach like a conversation between 2 persons after 50yrs which moke us feel about impact of climate change.can we take such an approach sir??also can we use first person in our essay….eg saying like..”so i agree with it….”like that….plz reply sir

  • Anjali


    my concept of term geoplitics is not clear, I do not understand much of it. Please if you can, elaborate it.

    • chetan gowda
    • chetan gowda

      Geopolitics is the analysis of the interaction between, on the one hand, geographical settings and perspectives and, on the other, political processes.

      Geography includes:
      The settings are composed of geographical features and patterns and the multilayered regions that they form.
      political processes include:
      The political processes include forces that operate at the international level and those on the domestic scene that influence international behaviour.
      Both geographical settings and political processes are dynamic, each influences and is influenced by the other” (Cohen 2003:12)

      This definition in general also covers the idea of critical geopolitics with the inclusion of domestic factors as influential in international politics.

      However, it needs to be understood that within the critical geopolitical strand, ‘geopolitics’ is understood to be a plurality rather than a singularity, which implies that there could be multiple geopolitical visions of a particular event or phenomenon of international importance and consequently multiple interpretations.

      • Anjali

        Thanks Chetan,
        it will add to my knowledge.

    • It’s about how geographical factors influence politics at the international level. Nations are entities defined by their extent of boundaries and frontiers along with influence they wield beyond those ‘geographical’ lines and spaces in their own interest.

      India has ‘geopolitical’ interests in the Indian Ocean, in Afghanistan and in Africa. When we say this, we mean that both politics and geography are at interplay. For resources of Afghanistan, for stable borders in its neighborhood, for energy and border security, India has geopolitical interests in that country.

      Here geography includes both human and physical. Resources, people, borders, rivers, all influence international politics.

      That’s why we keep reading news such as – America’s geopolitical interests in Middle East (read Oil) etc.

      • Anjali

        Thanks a lot sir,
        You replied so quickly. And its in layman’s language so I understood in a better way. I checked dictionary meaning several times but tends to forgot it. Thanks again.

  • hello sir ,
    i am giving mains this year, but for some unforeseeable events for last 1 month i have been struggling to study for even 2 hrs daily. This is what is left and covered paper wise.

    history (optional): i have not covered the map portion but rest is very well done, i have practiced mains paper from 2003 – 2010.

    gs paper 1: leaving geography part i have covered everything a few topic not in much detail but enough to give me confidence.

    gs paper 2: i have not covered the following topics,
    1. statutory, regulatory and various quasi judicial bodies
    2. welfare schemes for vulnerable sections
    3. issues relating to health, education, human resources
    4. issues relating to poverty and hunger

    gs paper 3: leaving infrastructure, investment model, extremism, cyber security and money laundering, i have covered rest but not very deeply

    gs paper 4: i have practiced around 60 case studies, read about Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, J.S.Mill, Karl Marx, Gandhiji, but i have not done anything else.

    i am giving every second i can to studies now, and i am fully dedicated of getting through this time please guide me through.

    thank you

    PS: i sent the same to your email too

    • Vijay Pateriya

      whats the diffrence between Analysis,comment,examine and elucidate.

      please help….its quite confusing
      and it exacerbates when “critically” gets associated to them.

      • Vijay Pateriya

        sir,please dont provide link to your earlier article written on this as i hve already tried to understand it but not successful.

        • hi Vijay,
          will you please ask your doubt separately rather replying to my doubt.

      • Analyse: Go in depth with important part/point & check their credibility.
        Comment: You hv to give ur opinion for overall topic & hv to back that with comment/justification of main points
        Examine: A very thin line b/w it & analysis – the question with ‘analyse’ hv broad coverage where as examine is mostly limited to that particular line.
        Elucidate: Make it clear by backing & justification
        Critically: hv to give credible opinion (which is possible only after looking positive & negative).

        However do not be confuse a lot on this…simple case is for any question u hv to write clean & clear answer with logical flow & proper backing.

  • sruthi.y

    HI sir,,,, iam unable to write a good answer and am not having a perfect plan to prepare as well… am just going through GS part and i left my optional…. sir please help me out to cover the syllabus along with optional as i want to appear for 2014 civils……… sir my optional is anthropology… shall i join for the coaching or preparation at home is enough…. help me out sir

    • dileep

      Answer writing will come good only with better preparation 🙂 For anthro no need to waste money on coaching. If you are from delhi get any institute material(lakshmaiah/braintree) and also supplement it with P Nath(physical anthro), Majumdar (social anthro) and Nadeem hasnain(paper-2). All these 3 books should be read selectively and not cover to cover. check for previous papers and make a list of repeated questions and practise them writing. more than 50% of the questions are repeated in anthro optional. And for GS preparation, try to finish the traditional topics first before prelims. That will also help you in prelims. Meanwhile selectively do dynamic topics regualrly…

      • sruthi.y

        Thank you so much and will u please suggest me which material to read for gs papers 2 3…. or the one suugested y insights is enough

        • dileep

          For the traditional part read polity-lakhsmikanth and economy-ramesh singh… And for the rest you have to rely on multiple books or best find good material online…

  • sagar

    Sir which book to refer for ancient Indian
    Map I have decided to take history as optional

  • aseriouscandidate

    Dear Insights,
    there are a lot of activities going on internationally, which could be relevant for CSE, such as WTO negotiations and Warsaw Environment meet. Now my query is do we need to follow these everyday from newspapers or should we wait till conferences like these get over and then see what all from the outcome of such meetings is finally relevant. ?
    please advise.

    • While these events are covered daily, you should spend some time to know background information. For example, to know what’s happening in Warsaw, you should know how climate change debate began, Kyoto Protocol, Setting up of UNFCCC, Its reports and their impact, carbon trading mechanism, about GHGs, about the demands of developed countries and developing countries etc.

      • aseriouscandidate

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Is there any book or from where we can find these compiled in one single place or will we have to scourge the net??

        • For October events this magazine seems to be Ok –

          December first week you will get compilation of this month’s events – they would cover all important events comprehensively.

          • aseriouscandidate

            Its Insights Magazine!!!
            nice touch of humor there!!:)
            Keep up the good work.

  • seema

    It is necessary to attend all the question..if we attemp few questions then is it ok! Will it give wrong impression to the checker?

  • kranthi

    sir, after seeing your blog, i was surprised by quality of stuff that was on your blog ,and i left my coaching and started preparing at home now i am struggling to get balance in my preparation, most of my time is consumed in answering only half your questions and i have started my preparation just a month back now i have a lot of static part to be covered for prelims ………iam not able to handle this……i have no problem with studying for long hour or understanding concepts ? all i want to know how to plan newspaper reading, secure-2014, science and tech, ncerts,magazines, yojana, kurushetra, and all maina gs1,2,3,4,5 so on …….on day to day basis

    plz suggest me a ideal study plan……..i mean how to organise these things ………….

  • vipin yadav.

    Dear Sir when will you publish Test Series 2014?

    • It will commence from December 3rd week or latest by the last week 🙂

      • qwerty

        sir cant it be done before that…#waiting eagerly

        • I think it’s not possible before that. We want to frame original questions and detailed solutions, so it takes time. Moreover, prelims is in August last week. There is plenty of time.

          Try to finish Mains GS papers in the meantime.

          • qwerty

            k sir…i will 🙂

          • mkkeee

            sir , plz suggest how could be a daily routine of csat-2014 aspirant in organising newspaper,secure2014,science &tech,yojana, kuruchetra,magazines,aptitude, etc……..

      • vipin yadav.

        Thanks Sir…

  • einstein48

    sir plz mention about the news papers to be read especially for economics section

  • Sir’..what is meant by alternative conception of gender?

  • Naga

    Sir, What may b the negative impact if Citizen charter is added to fundamental rights?

  • Naga

    Sir, Can u plz suggest any Book for geography in question and answers type format?

  • kumar

    sir , plz suggest how could be a daily routine of csat-2014 aspirant in organising newspaper,secure2014,science &tech,yojana, kuruchetra,magazines,aptitude, etc……..

  • prasanna

    Why did Doha Development round and subsequent WTO talks fail? Examine. (200 Words)
    sir give some points to this please

  • dr NAVEEN

    can anyone provide a compilation of GS mains answer writing who is not writing mains this year
    thanx in advance

  • geetika

    as again writing my doubt of not consistency in my prep of civil services exam…
    again and again doubt in my mind how to proceed ahead….
    my aim is ias nothing else bt not capable for it bt one thing sure in my mind if i have right direction and right guidance i ll be in top ten….really need a good mentor…..thanks sir.

    • Hi Geetika,

      You can specifically tell us where you are erring or missing the track. First step is to identify areas in which you are bad and good.

      Start working on areas where you are weak.

      Also, becoming IAS is a dream, we agree, but don’t take pressure by becoming desperate. Plan well and execute them. You will succeed.

      We will give few simple steps. Follow them religiously.

      1) Mug up the whole syllabus. Prelims+Mains. Write them many times.
      2) Divide topics according to your interest. Make a good list of topics which interest you the least.
      3) Start working on them topic by topic.

      Or you can,

      1) Daily write answers at Daily Answer Writing Challenge. From next month we will post topics according to the syllabus.
      2) Answer secure questions.
      3) For Prelims Paper-I you may join any good test series, or buy a question bank and practice daily.
      4) For paper 2, solve problems daily.

      Never ever accumulate many books in front of you. It confuses you.

  • Jics

    Hello Sir,
    Inspite of planning & revising the same several times i fail to execute the same. Also the consistency in studies is missing. As I am working i have less time for studies. Sometimes i self motivate to study but lack of time makes me feel inferior & low. Altho’ i have plan to quit my job(PSU) in April, I want to manage & utilize the available time till then.
    No internet facility at work to use for my studies if at all i find time.
    Prior to joining the job my confidence level was high and used to study for more than 10hrs. But now it is not even half of it.At the max i get 5hrs, but reading Newspaper n browsing itself takes >3hrs.
    Could you please suggest me a plan/strategy. I welcome suggestions even from other aspirants.

  • kumar

    ya newspaper is draining our energy like anything……….plz comment ur suggestions mr insights

  • sanjhi


    From my perusal of last years’ question papers, I notice that UPSC has asked questions from catchy headlines that appear in the various state versions of the Hindu (eg. phytoremediation, Advertising Standards Council of India, etc.) Naturally, all such news does not appear in any one edition, and it is extremely time consuming to go through the whole website of the Hindu everyday.

    I am sure that to an extent, you are taking care of all such news in the Current Events and Secure 2014 section, but just to put it out there, I request you again, if possible, please pay attention to all such news from the Hindu.

    I remain a grateful visitor of your blog. Many thanks.

  • ias aspirant

    I want to know how to plan newspaper reading, secure-2014, science and tech, ncerts,magazines, yojana, kurushetra, and all mains gs1,2,3,4,5 so on …….on day to day basis. Plz answer

  • himanshu singh

    insights please tell me the tips for handling mains 2013, which i missed,
    i saw a notice on site about the topic to be disussed between 4-5 pm unfortunately couldn’t access it. please tell us………..

    • himanshu singh

      sorry a typo it is actually discussed not disussed

  • dileep

    Sir, where can I see tips on answer writing on this website… Sorry couldn’t find. Kindly anyone attach the link…

  • Atul

    sir i am writing q’s in secure segment as well as in debate section
    sir i have askd for ur valuable suggestions X there i know sir its not possible to comment to everyone but sir i wud be highly obilized to u if can pay some attention to my writing segment. (askd help frm other aspirants also but no one did)

  • Hi Insights team, firstly thanks for coming up with such a nice portal. I have a personal query about the eligibility for the exam. I have been working for past 7 years in Bangalore at a finance firm and have crossed 30 years of age this year. I never took the Civil services exam or prepared for it. However I am an OBC candidate with Bihar domicile. My personal income from salaries are well above 6 lac per annum in past 3 years.Whereas my parental income as been nill for the same period as they have been jobless. Will I get the age relaxation?

    • Shyam

      Yes you will, income criteria is related to parents and not to candidates.

  • friends ,can you tell about toppers marks in 2012 and 2011 mains

    • Rajeev

      I reckon the topper in 2012 edition Harshita V. got around 1193 marks

      • dileep

        Haritha* 🙂

  • rahul singh

    Insight sir i am beginner and 2014 is my first attempt but i am not able to choose my optional as i have shortlisted two optional anthropology n sociology but both of them i hacent read but till am fro engineering background and read biology till 12 class so help me in choosing my optional.please tell pros and cons of tbese optional and which is best suited for me

    thank you

    • dileep

      Sociology has much of its part in GS too. It will be a good choice…see the syllabus of both. Anthro is also a good one to choose(my optional). Best thing about anthro is no out of syllabus questions come(atleast we can be sure of), and many questions are repeated from previous years. no additions in the syllabus as there has been very little research in the field…

    • rahul singh

      Thank you brother for replying…as your optional is anthropology so would you plz tell me the basic books and strategy for optional anthro…and how much average time require if one study daily for 4 hours ….any dynamic part???
      Thank you brother

      • dileep

        dynamic part appears in the paper2…. with 3-4hr a day you can finish the syllabus by feb if started now.. Books – lakshmikanth institute material and standard books are – majumdar(social anthro), P Nath(physical anthro), nadeem hasnain-paper2.

        I have been mentioning lakshmikanth material for many. But I am not student of his. only thing I wana convey is that the material is good and apt for UPSC anthro…

        • rahul singh

          Thanks brother as a mentor could you plz tell me from where should i start the optional anthro i meand initial topic …it would be great if you tell me the topic slots means which topic should be covered first n then…and also one common thing i want to know from you brother how will you study the subject.i means you start making notes from very first reading or only read or understand by writing or first full reading than notes….brother actualky am a beginner thats why asking u such a dummy question..but just aware of that it is not a unicersity exam..
          Brother if time allow u plz reply..
          Thank u!!!

  • deepak raj

    for the period form mid 18th century to 1857, are the first few chapters from old ncert by bipin chandra sufficient?

  • Hi Insights,

    Kindly post the science and technology daily writing challenge questions. It had improved my writing skills a lot.

    • We are not stopping it. S&T will be posted 4-5 days a week as it’s difficult to source questions every day.

  • seema

    Plz send me the link of summary of best ans. In daily writing challenges. Which u gave earlier in diwali..but some how it was deleted by me and now i m not getting it on site..

  • IAS aspirant

    I want to know how to plan newspaper reading, secure-2014, science and tech, ncerts,magazines, yojana, kurushetra,mrunal, and all mains gs1,2,3,4,5 so on …….on day to day basis. Plz answer

    Waiting for your reply badly. Plz reply

    • Morning – read The Hindu for 1-2 hours with possible questions in mind that may appear in the evening in Secure-2014.

      Morning – 2 hours – answer GS answer writing challenge.
      Afternoon – 2 hour S&T answers
      Evening – 3 hours Secure -2014 answers
      Evening – 2 hours – Use it for Optional
      remaining time – read magazines, solve MCQs.

      every day you can devote 10 hours effectively and your preparation would be complete.

      • IAS aspirant


        Then what about static portion preparation.

        • 2 hours in the morning for GS (every day topic wise questions will be given) + Optional 1-2 hours.

          dynamic portion is Secure-2014 + S&T.

          I mentioned it in the above comment.

  • Hello Insights,
    Is “Certified Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong” enough to cover geography for prelims?
    I am following:-
    (1)Certified Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong,
    (2)Geography of India- Majid Hussain
    are these two books decent enough to cover the geography portion for prelims and mains both? If something else is needed then please mention it.
    Thank you!!

    • In addition to NCERT texts, these two are sufficient. Don’t read Majid Hussain entirely. Read it selectively.

      Also keep an eye on current events related to geography. For example, cyclones – why they frequently occur in Indian Ocean/Bay of Bengal; Earthquakes/Tsunami – why they occur more at pacific Ocean? why they occur etc etc.

      • dileep

        Sir, Is Majid hussain a must read book? Can I prefer Strahler for world geography? And what is the best source for the distribution of key natural resources?

      • Sir,
        I am naive to decide what should be read and what should be left from this book. I would really be thankful if you could precisely mention it.
        (Only when your time permits :))
        Apart from ncert and current events,I am strictly following only those books that you have mentioned.I guess other books that you have referred for prelims (Laxmikanth for polity,economics by ramesh singh and sanjiv verma, from plassey to partition) are not selective and must be read thoroughly.

        Thank You!!

  • prasad

    Hello sir,

    Please provide some guidance for the aptitude/ maths section for the prelims paper 2

    From where should I begin….please help

    Thanks you.

    • dileep

      See the last 3year papers and you will urself come to conclusion on what to prepare much.. Then take any TIME/CL material and prepare. that should suffice. Or if you need a book then go with arihant/rs agarwal

  • What is Delegated Legislation?

    • dileep

      Admin – Sorry for attaching link of another website…Had to do it as it is better explained…

    • dileep

      I will explain you in brief…
      It is the exercise of minor legislative power by subordinate authorities in pursuance of a statutory authority given by the parliament. It is usually granted to govt or other statutory corporations like Universities, local bodies and so on…(crude meaning – Legislators outsourcing the law making work(partially) to the executives)
      as we are a welfare state, there is a complexity of activities and all should be met equally.
      relieves the pressure on legislature
      expedition and opportunity for experimentation in the better governance
      power enhancement of the executive
      may seek to oust the jurisdiction of the courts
      enhancement of personal liberty
      abandonment of the functions of the legislature too
      in UK – parliament has unlimited powers to delegate
      in USA – Judicial supremacy, separation of powers
      in INDIA – before 1947 no delegation of legislative power except conditional legislation
      after the Delhi Laws Act – Legitimized delegation of legislative power

  • nishant yadav

    insights ….hello resepected ….sir i dint get the answer for my query which was postel previously pls do kindly throw some light on my issue as it ll also help to all others coz u havnt provided any link to the topic given above

    “nishant yadav
    November 11, 2013 at 11:17 am
    hello respected sir thanks a lot for ur amazing superb posts for preparation sir i hav a doubt regarding topic called SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT the link u hav provided directly goes to the social justice and empowerment ministry WEBSITE wherein a hell lot of information is given so we are a bit confused wht to prepare and how as u hav provided direct links to all topics kindly sieve the material or help us for a book on this topic”

  • sachin mayekar

    Sir when vil u post integrated pre + mains strategy

  • nimal

    sir is secure-2014 is meant for mains (2013) candidates only??is it okay with THE HINDU+Insights current events for 2014 prelims?(and later giving more importance to secure 2014 near 2014 mains exam?)

    • There is 2014 in it. It is for 2014 aspirants and as well as for those who write Mains this year.

      Giving importance to all three would enhance your preparation level. It will make you more competitive.

      Except for few in India, nobody writes every day on current events and GS papers while preparing for IAS. And those who write, would make it to the top.

  • nimal

    …..there is more regional contents in secure 2014,which helps indirectly but not directly(is that so?)

    • There are 3-4 questions on regional news, but they are related to the exam. if you think they are irrelevant, you can skip them. 🙂

      If you think they help you indirectly, then it’s still helpful. Questions are such that you won’t find answers in the given links. You have to Think and find answers. It cultivates analytical thinking.

  • Praveen

    Hi Sir ,
    Could you please let me know how to prepare for CSAT .I need your help when it comes to numeracy and analytical ability questions sir

    • It only comes through practice. Solve more questions. It is not possible to teach them on this site right now.

      If someone comes forward to do so in future, we can start an initiative. But keep practicing daily.

  • seema

    Sir plz post question on civil liability for neuclear damage rule..

    • Ya sure.

      • seema

        Thank you sir 🙂 🙂

  • swayam

    is there any problem to prepare civil services course in hindi if yes then wht is that

    • There is no problem. Many are getting good ranks with Hindi Medium.

  • dr NAVEEN

    sir in article 310 there mention “civil post”
    what does it mean? does it include doctors, engineers and postal and other central services. plz clarify

  • Sir,
    Please tell me, what must be read and what must be left from “Geography of India- Majid Hussain”. I would really be thankful if you could precisely mention it.
    Apart from ncert,current events and Insight’s magazine,I am strictly following only those books that you have mentioned.I guess other books that you have referred for prelims (Laxmikanth for polity,economics by ramesh singh and sanjiv verma, from plassey to partition) are not selective and must be read thoroughly.
    Thank You!!

  • geetika

    sir i asked one question u nt answered my question….is it irrelvant…
    bt no sir its relevant for me…waiting for ur reply.

    • Replied to your comment. It was a relevant question.

      • geetika

        thanx sir…u are really my mentor…decided to fo;;ow ur suggestion and m happy as u help me to move ahead with confidence and i ll relegiously followed u sir…

  • Gladiator

    I am beginner. Pls correct me if i am going wrong Regarding the article – , it is going beyond my head. This is what i understood.

    Article is about secular stagnation which means (japan-like) stagnation in economy in which it is difficult to spur growth by conventional methods because of already existing zero interest rates.

    The article goes on like — situtation is similar to 19th century because of 4 reasons:-
    1. Formerly and now normal methods of stimulating growth did not work. In such a case, we need to adopt radical ways
    2. what are driving factors of growth? – Presence of hidden growth factors. So summers view – US growth includes bubbles
    3. Inequality. Left argues this is due to decreased demand caused by stagnation in wages, lack of wages and shrinking middle classs. Other argument – inequality is due to over-consumption.[Lost in the 4rth parra -> Third , there is return to the question of …….]

    In such a secular stagnation, solution proposed in article was -> high unenployment needs to be considered as a norm rather than exception in decidingaggregate public spending despite this has several complicated arguments( What side effects i did not get? I am aware of philips curve that when spending increases => demand inc => unemplyment decreases. This is fine but what negative factors come)

    Lessons for India:-
    Since this takes care of exploitation, inequality, the solution proposed above (taking high unemployment into account) can be adopted in emerging nations in short-run.

    Pls correct me if wrong …..

  • Mendax

    Can anyone give me a example that shows the difference between rule utilitarianism and kantian universal law imperative. …really confused between two?????

  • Sir’
    I am focusing 2014 mains exam.could u suggest some methods in improving writing skill?…bc’z i am facing some problems in making answers in simple English..i am waiting for ur responds..

  • smit shah

    what is actually secular stagnation ? i can’t made it clear from following article …please help

  • Gladiator

    can you explain How smart grid helps in lowering peak demand?

  • dhanya

    want to knw on preparation for psychology optional.n essay writing style in it n te books to refer

  • seema

    Plz post question on sailent features of rp act 1951. 🙂

    • It was asked at Secure-2014. Yesterday too asked a question on the topic. Hope it was helpful.

  • qwerty

    sir u had said that on nov 16 that by a weeks time u would put up the plan for prelims….im eagerly to see how it works….plz post it as soon as poosible
    # road to success

    • Hmmm now time has come. I will post it.

  • Rajib halder

    I heard that huge cash required for PREPARATION OF IAS.
    Is it right?
    How much money required for full purpose(i.e. Computer+printer+books+magazins+etc)?

    • If the resources are used smartly, then you just need a system and a internet connection.
      And more importantly your valuable time 🙂

  • garudan


    kindly say whether we have to read science NCERT from 6th to 10th fully without leaving any chapter else selective??

  • geetika

    goodevening sir…

    I planned to buy two books-pearson manual for paper 1 and 2…
    i thought my decision is right bcz i planned for self study..
    the purpose is to solve mcq daily and as u suggested,i dont knw the reading stuff…
    wht u think is it right or any other book according to ur suggestion…

  • Karthik

    Hi Insights, for want of a better place, asking my question here.
    Question regarding compulsory language Hindi paper –
    1. In the essay, do we need to have “Prasthaavna”, “Upasamhar”, “Vishay”, etc as subheadings? Or just paragraphs will do?
    2. In the comprehension passage, is it okay if we mostly repeat the relevant portion from the passage in the answer or would we be required to use our own words to describe it?


    • For language paper, it would be better if you put subheadings.

      It is ok to repeat sentences from passages but do it so only if it exactly fits the context.

      • Karthik

        Thank you Insights!

  • Ravi Prakash

    Sir, in Prelims Paper-II , you didnt gave any questions regarding APPTITUDE, REASONING…… etc,,. If u give such topics also it will be more useful for preparing.

  • ankur babbar

    sir, can you please post the strategy for Prelims for beginners, if possible… it would be really helpful…

  • aseriouscandidate

    Dear Insights,
    Eagerly awaiting for your study plan for prelims.
    Humbly request you to look into it.

    • I will do this as time has come for it. I won’t give a particular date, but it will be published in few days. Thanks for all the patience.

  • vikash kumar

    sir i bought all the books mentioned on your website…i was zero before starting the preparation(for ias 14) in the month of october and november i read few of the books(indian foreign policy,plassey to partition ,indian polity laxmikant,indian economics by sanjiv verma) and current i am not zero…initially i was reluctant to the business part of the news paper but today i love it..sir someone told me that whatever u study..should be synchronized with my mind before prelims and must before for this initially i started making notes for revision…but from a week i had prepared audio notes for the revision purpose and I am liking it too …but is it an illusion of my mind that it will help me to synchronise these stuffs or is it okay …please help me…also sir as u have mentioned that each GS paper could be covered in 20 days if some one is serious…so sir as per my current speed i will be able to cover the whole static GS syllabus before march…and rest of the months for revision, answer writing and covering the dynamic GS syllabus…sir I cant afford coaching for the preparation so I need your suggestion please help me if possible…

    • Actually we didn’t get what you meant by ‘synchronization’. Is it ‘remembering’ everything you read?

      As you have explained above, your strategy is bang on track. Keep going. Only way one can ‘synchronize’ or remember vast amount is by revising them repeatedly. Allot a day in a week and month to do so.

      We are happy that our suggestions (books, papers etc) have worked for you.

      • vikash kumar

        thanks sir…will disturb u again…and ya i meant remembering…:)

  • Tarun

    In paper III, salient features of representative of people’s act is mentioned. Which act we have to refer here RPA 1950 or RPA 1951?

  • What is the way to excel in economics as i have read the NCERTS MICRO and MICRO fully, but still not able to understand the terms which are coming in daily newspapers sir…plz suggest me a way!!

    • Nikhil D

      You can refer to for better understanding of economic terms. He has explained it in very simple but non technical manner. Just search the ‘term’ which you have not understood in the search area on his blog (for eg. – LAF – liquidity adjustment facility), and probably you might find an article related to it.

      You can also refer to the book – Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh. The author has very well categorized all the important terms and aspects of the economy.

      Hope these two things help.

    • sachin mayekar

      To digest newzpaper economy section u need 2 read:-
      1. Indian economic development (11th ncert)
      2. Macroeconomics(lolz u have already read it)
      3. Nios economics
      4. Indian economy – ramesh singh
      5. Reading the above 4 books will solve ur problem

      • Gladiator

        can u suggest me which book is better? – Indian economy – ramesh singh
        OR Dutt and Sundaram. Some are suggesting me the former and some latter. Wrto Mains, which is suggestable? I am looking for 1 book which if i go thru should suffice for Mains. Pls do suggest

        • sachin mayekar

          Hey Gladiator,
          Go for ramesh singh
          Dutt & sundaram is for economy optional

        • Both are good, but for GS part go for Ramesh Singh.

          • Gladiator

            Dear Insights,
            Can you provide your review about 2 books? I mean in what way Ramesh singh is better? May i know if u have any plan of starting classes anywhere or already classes are in progress. If so, i may be interested.

  • sayoni

    sir can u please tell me how much time does one need to devote in this site.i know it varies from person to person,but still sir can u please mention the approx time.please sir it will help me a lot to set my time table.

    • As you said, it depends upon person to person. On this site, for Mains – All fours GS strategies are there. If you are studying one at a time, you may have to devote 1 hour for it. For secure-2014, minimum 2-3 hours is must. Current events, you can read it in half an hour. For answering daily answer writing questions, 1-2 hours max. So, it comes to minimum 4-5 hours every day. But if you have speed and practice more, time spent on the site might get reduced. (Real time spent on THIS SITE would be less as links take you to OTHER sites and there is also lot to work offline)

      • sayoni

        thank you sir

  • suryakant kumavat

    Hello sir …
    i hv confusion in my mind for no of attempt of cse… birthdate is 18 nov 1982 .. (cat – obc )
    sir how many times i wil appear for cse..? 1 or 2….? sir please….

    • You still have two attempts. Belated birthday wishes 🙂

      • suryakant kumavat

        thanks sir….

  • Aditi

    Sir, to introduce myself I am a chartered accountant…just left my hefty paying job for a dream to be an ifs officer..I am following ur site since july and cannot express my gratitude for this amazingly splendid help by u and urteam..I am from north india so cannot take ur offline classes….bt hope u will always support us online same as offline….will requet you to put up a prelim cum mains strategy for students aimimg upsc 2014….let me know how we should move on wd studies to complete it well in time wd time left for revision….thanks and regards, aditi.

  • alok kumar

    Hi insights….. suggested by u I have gone through the ncert books n gc leong books twice n nos I m focusing on my gs part.. but it will be kind of u if u would post the geography optional strategy part at the earliest…. I never doubt your commitment to serve the students in the best possible manner..I can understand the time constraints also…so whenever u get free do post it as I m not taking any coachings for t subject…your guidance will serve as a jaddi butti for us..

  • DV

    sir first of all thank you so much for your selfless efforts in guiding aspirants.

    sir, kindly throw some light on your test series.what i want to know is, whether all your tests will cover the complete syllabus or initially you are planning for topic wise tests followed by complete syllabus tests. please tell me the tentative beginning of the test series,if possible. iam asking as it would be help me to plan my studies.Thank you.

  • Sathvik

    Dear sir,
    Who are the state actors that create challenges to internal security.
    Does this mean GOI and govt of neighboring countries that are involved in activities that create threat to internal sec. ? Can u please help me find good source for this topic.

  • Sir, recently i came across website et-in-classroom. Where compiled articles from ET classroom from year 2010-2012 are given. Its pdf of nearly 235 pages. Can u hav please rough look at it and suggest is every article imp. In that?

  • Avinash Baby

    Sir If it’s possible can you post some questions from the new addition to the existing syllabus? Like world history , security forces and operations etc…That will make the book reading more effective. Thank you sir

  • Vicky..

    Sir, is November edition also covered in Yojana 2013 ?

  • Hi insights,

    If laxmikanth and dd basu on introduction of constitution book are same.? When i saw the introduction part in the ddbasu it shows the same introduction as laxmikanth shows. So iam in dilemma to follow either laxmikanth or get DD basu kindly help me insights.

    • Buy D D Basu for Mains. Laxmikanth for Prelims.

  • Gladiator


    In Mains strategy, it is given than 20 days for each paper. In History, we have Bipin chandra 2 books( each has around 40 chapters) , Guha each of around 300-500 pages. For an average student like me, i presume i can read each book around 15-20 days – each day – 2 chapters. Do u think can i complete whole of paper I in 20 days? How should i manage? Assume i spend around 5 hours for GS .

    • Gladiator

      Some times i , after seeing the contents of so many(around 20 books), fear can i manage the whole of these books including retention in some 6 months time. Pls provide me some pointers on how many hours do i need to spend(My reading speed is around 110 /min). I am spending around 4-5 hrs for GS

  • Gladiator

    pls suggest where i can find relvant material for “Investment models” for GS?

  • anand

    my plan is to complete optional till feb,,from 1st march till august 6 months is there…should i do only pre exclusively in this time or also i should revise optional side by side ..just want to know ur vews..

  • rahman

    i am Rahman 26 year old, from a remote village of malappuaram district,Kerala. currently am working with my father.he is a hill produce dealer.
    frankly telling i don’t have any academic background. i did my graduation in BA English from calicut university as distance. i couldn’t fetch good marks but passed with 42%. and never read more books …
    i want to secure cse 2014..i heard about insight through my friend when i shared my wish.
    i just went through the upsc syllabus topic by topic.its quiet interesting…….
    so pls guide me sir from where to start??? how to start??/.

    • Rahman,

      Good to know about your ambition. You can do it. You don’t need high qualification or degrees from reputed institutions to pass this exam.

      We liked your honesty.

      We would like to suggest you to go through all the articles and comments posted on the site for a week. Especially read comments and our replies to them.

      When you are done, please revert here

      • rahman

        as u said i just went through important articles,comments ,through your replays and got a clear picture of upsc .Also bought “pathfinder” and analysed syllabus topic by i think i need a plan and strategy for preparation.
        sir what should i consider while making my plan??
        sir as you mentioned in on of your replays, i planed to start a journey of adventure to explore surprising question,to tackle unknown question,to unlock the door of UPSC.


      Hai rahman bhai..i am at mukkam near ur malappuram district and working as a doctor.and me too wish to secure cse 2014.without coaching class..and me was in a great starting dilemma like you as this is my first shot at upsc..from my own various searchs yet,.i am telling u a few my own relevant suggestions..first of all its found that TMH publishing house’s CSAT paper 2 is almost enough for prelims aptitude dn’t wory about it..secondly try to take our malayalam literature itself as an optional subject as its syllabus is easy to digest for we keralites in a short span of time without boredom and many kerala toppers like Haritha V Kumar,Alby John,Muhammadali Shihab,etc etc took it..but remind you that the optional paper depends on ur taste and keen interest on subject..if you wish to get malayalam materials for distant study then please search at trivandrum or a blog named civilservicemalayalamcoachinginkerala by a 2010 malayalam topper jobin s kottaram…and thirdly try to follow besides fine updated articles publishing in…and i am suggesting two important malayalam books before starting study to get a thorough foundation..[1]’Ningalkkum IAS nedaam’ by S.Harikishore IAS [2]’Civil service pareekshakalile malayalam’ by Dr.Mini Nair..You can do e- purchase of almost all renowned books for CSE via at ur ‘ulpradesham’ [remote village]…dear,also try to read the blog written by malayali IAS 2012 topper Dr.Alby John…k,tk cr. .

      • rahman

        thanks sajjad bhai.

  • ritwik sharma

    please guide me that joining a coaching institute is a must?
    actually i want to prepare for ias 2014 on my own but finding myself in a dilemma

    • Joining coaching is not must. You can do it on your own. But assess your strengths and weaknesses first. if studying alone for a long duration of time without losing motivation and determination is your strength, then do self study.

      Even if you want to do self study, you need a guide. Do refer this site or any other good websites for this. All the best.

      • ritwik sharma

        i am in complete agreement with you over this. Kindly tell me some good websites to get reference

  • hslc

    can anyone please tell what the cut off for English compulsory paper is likely to be?

  • Harsha

    Sir can you guide on how to prepare for Language paper(HINDI)..the books,materials etc…


    sir, i have just now only started my serious study for cse 2014…until now i had been collecting various online and offline sources for exam and it certainly had gave me a good base…sir is this time duration of one year [now onwards almost ONE YEAR before next mains- 14th Dec 2014 naa] enough to crack next prelims cum mains if i will give my full efforts…??…

    • Vipin Yadav

      IAS is only exam like as 12th CBSE exam.Do intelligence hardwork with full efforts.. 10 Months are enough for it.Be Patience.


        Mr.Vipin Yadav, much heartfelt thanks for rectifying my starting dilemma…eventhough i dn’t knw u directly, my prayers with U dear..may almighty GOD bless u forever..

  • gladiator

    Pls sugest me basic reading material for S&T

  • aseriouscandidate

    Could any one please explain this economic transaction in plain english.
    “Oil companies were now sourcing their entire dollar demand in markets, but added it would consider re-opening a special swap window on rare days of strong green back demand”
    taken from today’s Hindu newspaper, business section.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Sherlock Holmes

      As far as I can understand, it means that Oil marketing companies from India are now buying dollars from the market (currency exchange markets) to pay for their imports. Earlier during the Rupee slowdown, RBI provided them dollars directly so that they don’t buy it from market and the demand of dollars in the market could be reduced. Now with the Rupee becoming stable, RBI has allowed them to buy dollars from the market only.

      “but added it would consider re-opening a special swap window on rare days of strong green back demand” : This means that if the Rupee fluctuate again, then RBI may provide them dollars again so that they won’t need to source it from market.

      • aseriouscandidate

        Thank you sherlock. very well explained.

    • Rajeev

      The whole text means that though oil companies want the payment of sales in US dollars, its flexible with it under the circumstances when the USD (green back) is in high demand or becomes sharply expensive.

      • aseriouscandidate

        thank you rajeev. it is clear now.

  • Hi Insights,

    Your work on daily writing challenge had helped the candidates who are writing mains exam much of the work is being covered. Sir if possible can you add daily one question on the Indian geography based on river, mountain etc. It will cover the entire syllabus and iam very poor in geography if you post the questions i ll get a chance to learn geography. And it give me a chance to analyze my skills on geography. Its my humble request sir..

    • Thanks Kiran. Ya sure, we will cover Geography questions too. Actually, few questions which came today were covered at Geography Optional section, but guess many didn’t notice the section.

  • Vicky..

    Sir, What are the kind of sheets given in this year’s mains ?
    Are they ruled or plain ? Did you get any information ?

  • charlie

    sir, i need ur guidance i have just come after giving my mains.this is my last attempt.earlier gave interview in 2011 . in essay i never get gud marks .i take too much pressure. this time i tried but was not happy iwrote 13 pages but quality i didnt lyk after giving 1st paper i was a bit relaxed, but after 2nd i just went in depression. i fight till end i tried to attempt but few answers i got on a wrong footing and international relations answer not up to the mark. sir , please guide. sorry for sounding like a looser. this year for the first time i wrote answers from quiz 50 onwards and practiced . although my mind was always tensed .i know its late but if possible guide ..

    • Charlie,

      Ever since I saw your comment, I started thinking what to and how to reply as I completely understand your situation.

      As you admitted, taking pressure is not at all a good thing. It adversely affects your performance. This exam should be ‘enjoyed’, I mean it. When you go inside the exam hall, go there with a sense of adventurism, with a curious mind – to explore surprising questions, to tackle unknown questions. Try to answer every question with a sense of enjoyment. When you enjoy this process, you will perform well.

      Mains is just a part of a exam – see it in parts. Clearing mains doesn’t ensure instant IAS, so don’t think about IAS and don’t pressure on yourself thinking about the last attempt or thinking about failure or success. Just enjoy all the papers.

      You have performed decently so far. At least now remove pressure from your head. People who didn’t become IAS officers, later became Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers. 🙂

      As a friend, one simple suggestion: Love what you do 🙂 Still there are three papers. You can do wonders. Please see the positive side – you have given interview and you can tackle any question with just your residual knowledge. Don’t take pressure. Answer every damn question with a purpose and speed.

      It’s not late at all. Tonight I will upload two documents on Paper 3 questions from current events and one on S&T. Just scan them and familiarize with questions.

      Hope this small unsolicited lecture helps you. 🙂

      All the best.

      • Thank you can beat pressure by enjoying process..

  • isha gupta

    sir, I want to know that how should i organize my studies so that till prelims i am prepare my gs for both pre and mains and csat and my optional along with revision. i m facing very much problem in this. as this is my third attempt i don’t want to waste it. please guide me

  • gladiator

    In Strategy for paper gs paper 3, regarding Inclusive growth ” ‘Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth’.” Link is not working . It points to vol 1 of 12th 5 year plan doc. So do we need to go thru whole of Vol 1 of 12th 5 year plan for Topic “Inclusive growth”


  • gaurav

    problem about the ecconomy and sci. tech….. what can i do for these upsc subject..

  • Soumyadeep Das

    How do we count words in an answer? What about article and preposition?

    • count words in the first sentence and multiply this number with number of lines in an answer. If you go there with practice, you don’t have to count in the exam.

      • abhishek

        Now, UPSC will be providing answer booklets with space assigned to each Question so nobody has to worry about words .Isn’t it so INSIGHTS?

      • Soumyadeep Das

        Do we consider articles and prepositions as words? I mean do we count article or prepositions while counting words in an answer?

        • You don’t have to count them. +/- 10% of the word limit is allowed.

          As UPSC said, content is more important than length.

  • aseriouscandidate

    Hello Insights,
    Have attempted to write an answer in history as studying History at the moment. Would you be kind enough to assess the same and give me your valuable feedback?

    The mainstay of Mahatma Gandhi’s movements was rural India. Elucidate. GS (2003) 150 words

    Mahatma Gandhi having practiced his political methods in south Africa had realized the power of the masses. When to returned to India he sought to harness the same power. The masses resided in rural India, which became the wellspring of his movements.
    Each and every action that the mahatma took was taken after making an objective assessment of how the masses would take it, be it the initiation of mass movement in the non-cooperation movement in 1930 or the suspension of movement in the form of the Civil Disobedience e movement in 1919. He did not stop this. When was not actively leading a mass struggle he was working away trying to bring more and more people in the fold and raising their political consciousness through community service, spinning of yarn etc.
    Gandhi himself when confronted with the question as to how he planned to take on the might of the British Empire, he said “with the might of dumb millions”.
    He was clear that If british were to be toppled it had be through the masses.

  • IAS aspirant


    Simple question but UPSC is all about this. “How to think analytically and how to attempt the questions. Does reading more and more develops our analytical way of thinking. How to develop this. Please suggest.

    • Reading more makes you think, but writing about what you have read in your own words actually helps in cultivating analytical skills. Add to this informed discussions and debates. One should read standard texts and magazines also. Key is to synthesize in your own words whatever you read or hear and put them on paper.

  • Arpit Gupta

    hello sir,
    i am spending nearly 4 hrs on insights everyday…
    on secure 2014,S&T daily,and current events daily.
    in addition to above stated activities,i spent nearly 45 mins on various other editorials(the hindu&IE) everyday
    i am now skipping reading the hindu exhaustively as of time constraint.(spent only 30 mins,earlier it took my 3 hrs everyday)
    will it affect my preparation?

    • If you are reading The Hindu while answering secure-2014 questions, then it is ok to skip reading other articles. But still then, we suggest you to at least glance mains news once from hard copy.

      Otherwise your strategy is good. Do write every day about what you read.

  • rohit

    Hello sir,

    Sir i started with secure 2014 answer writing. But sir,because of lack of content and base, the quality of answers are not good.Sir please help me how to take care of this.Should i go for whatever comes in mind or should i first prepare the base and then go for answer writing.

    Thanks & Regards,

    • IAS aspirant

      Sir same her, plz answer for this

    • Rohit,

      Don’t worry about quality in the initial stages. Do continue writing and also reading basics. Over time, you will see improvement in writing. Key is to read a lot – relevant materials.

      Don’t wait to ‘create base’ etc. Just write and write. (after reading good sources)

      • rohit

        Thank you so much sir….

  • P_G

    Hello vinay sir, your initiatives like writing challenge, secure 2014 are worth praising. I just stumbled upon this blog two days back and from then just checking every corner of this site. Regretting that why I didn’t find this before. Any ways I am a 2014 aspirant and my preparation is in prepatory stage right now, mainly focusing on d prelims hurdle for now. I want to know when u r starting weekly prelims mock tests as I wanna enroll myself for that.

    • we will update about test series program. We want to give the best so taking time to devise it effectively. Thanks for appreciating this site. Tell others about it too.

      • P_G

        Ya sure, I have already told my friends and they might have started following it too. Sir can u please chalk out a strategy for prelims cum main for 2014 aspirants. I am reading ncert, laxmikant, bipan chandra these days along with news paper.. but still need a streamlined plan for guidance.

  • Naga

    Sir, If Possible, Post questions on ethics so that it will be beneficial for tomorrow’s exam. not case studies. Similar questions like in mock exam.

  • Zenia

    This site is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G 😀
    Superb efforts insights! The content, suggestions seem genuine!
    The aspirants/crowd of site seems serious and focus!
    I have actually discovered a treasure (of knowledge) today! 🙂
    I am in my final year of graduation and I am planning to give an attempt next year (since we have prelims a little later than usual)! Dear insights, how should I proceed with my preparation (an integrated one for pre and mains?) apart from following newspapers, magazines and Ncert on regular basis?
    Why am I not able to see prelims strategy like GS ones!? 🙁
    Plz suggest!

    • Zenia

      Sir & Seniors
      Plz suggest!

    • We will put prelims cum mains strategy later. You need to have an integrated approach.

      First try to finish Mains syllabus. All Papers. In tandem also keep reading basic books for Prelims. Prelims is all about basics.
      Thanks for appreciating the site. 🙂

  • reeti

    hello insight sir ,i want to ask if one want want to be an IPS officer ,so all the procedure is same as that of IAS or sum other physical test or different sort of interview is dere ,? plz answere my query sir

    • Everything is same: one exam and one interview.

      You should not be colour blind and there few more medical standards are there.

  • Vipin Yadav

    Dear Sir you published daily the hindu Qus. and important news detail.But my Qus. is i am regular reader of qus. that website. i am not purchase Hindu hardcopy.Does it need? please suggest me?

    • ritwik sharma

      yes you do.

    • You must read The Hindu. At any cost.

  • Santosh

    hello sir.many many thanks for your precious efforts in leading the IAS aspirants to the path of success and sir i really need your help and guidance for prep. of IAS Exam 2015. Can i clear the IAS PRELIM. 2015 with NCERT Books only from class viii to xii

    • Santosh,

      No. You can not clear prelims just by reading NCERT books. Buy all the books necessary and read them well. You can finish all NCERT books in one or two months. Prelims is in August 2014. What will you do till then? Read all standard texts. For books list:

      • Santosh

        Hello sir,
        Actually..what should a working professional do to clear the ias exam. How much time should be devoted for prep.

        • Santosh,
          Try to dedicate 3-4 hours on the weekdays and stretch more (8 hours or more) during the weekends. There is nothing to worry, since many of our friends have managed to cleared this exam, without quitting their job. All that you need his perseverance, dedication and most importantly the right approach for this exam. The last criteria is taken care on this website 🙂

          • Santosh

            Thank u very much sir for ur valuable suggestions….Sir actlly. i want to appear for 2015 exam after one and half year of prep. what do u suggest on this.

  • Deepen Panchal

    Not sure if this is answered:
    Working in IT(1.5yrs – dont like my job much, only keeps self-sufficient)+ preparing for UPSC – to leave or not to leave the job ? Fear, drawbacks, reality check,exp anything you could share. P.S: you are doing a Superb stuff !
    I have recently started the battle, not a long timer.

  • Arpit Gupta

    Sir,one request..
    I want to practice answer writing in the sheet similar to given by UPSC this year(i.e for 200 words,they have given some 3 pages,but ‘ve no idea how much this space exactly is, as we don’t know the size of page).
    So with the help of this years aspirants,if you can design a similar answer sheet and upload it in pdf form,it will be beneficial for 2014 aspirant to structure well their answers within specified words and space.
    it will give us idea that how much space needed for how much words.

    • width of writable area is 16 cm. Paper length is smaller than A4 size.

      We will do this after exam.

  • Sherlock Holmes

    I’m in a fix. When I try to answer the Secure-2014 questions, I take up very much time around 15-20 minutes per answer. Now, the changing mains pattern does not give much time to us to think over the question, and we have to pour our true self. So sir, please guide me that shall I continue taking up 15-20 minutes for Secure-2014 answers or shall I try to finish them in 7 minutes (180 min / 25 question) by not making any research and writing what I know about the issue. Thanks 🙂

    • Sherlock Holmes

      PS: I will be appearing for exam in 2014.

    • You should continue to take more time till your concepts are clear. As you are learning now, it make sense to spend few extra minutes. During mock exams, which you may do yourself on weekly basis, try to stick to 7 minutes time limit.

      It is imperative to do research and write as it helps in understanding the topic from many dimensions. You might have noticed the difference already.

      • Sherlock Holmes

        Thank you sir. Really the change is noticeable. When I was writing my first answer, my hands just froze. Couldn’t understand where to start but the situation is better now, thanks to you 🙂

  • aseriouscandidate

    Hello Insights,
    I know you are busy. right in the thick of things. But could you please evaluate my answer that i have written below.
    Please try.

    Thank you.

    The mainstay of Mahatma Gandhi’s movements was rural India. Elucidate. GS (2003) 150 words

    Mahatma Gandhi having practiced his political methods in south Africa had realized the power of the masses. When to returned to India he sought to harness the same power. The masses resided in rural India, which became the wellspring of his movements.
    Each and every action that the mahatma took was taken after making an objective assessment of how the masses would take it, be it the initiation of mass movement in the non-cooperation movement in 1930 or the suspension of movement in the form of the Civil Disobedience e movement in 1919. He did not stop this. When was not actively leading a mass struggle he was working away trying to bring more and more people in the fold and raising their political consciousness through community service, spinning of yarn etc.
    Gandhi himself when confronted with the question as to how he planned to take on the might of the British Empire, he said “with the might of dumb millions”.
    He was clear that If british were to be toppled it had be through the masses.

  • Zenia

    Insights Sir are you for real? Aapke charan (feet) kahan hai? 😀
    No, seriously the amount of time you seem to be devoting to this site is equivalent to a serious aspirant’s time and effort! And the content, initiatives running on this site are commendable! I have been exploring this site from top to bottom and the best part is the materials are easy to access, recent and organized, saves so much of time! 🙂 And honestly your reply’s to other comments have solved major doubts but I still have a few more to ask 😛

    Secure initiative – I tried answering questions(of 4th dec)! Though you do provide reference links, there are questions for which the content is not enough from those articles (250 words), from where to refer relevant content? Also should a person write on his/her own or answer after seeing/referring to those articles!
    Current Affairs – A-M-A-Z-I-N-G efforts! Sir how do you organize or even manage so much time? 🙂 It takes me 2.5 hours to read the hindu extensively! :(
    Promised Prelims cum mains strategy – Shall wait (im)patiently! 
    Offline coaching – In South ? 🙁 I really wish I could join and learn from you!
    Sir I read somewhere one should prepare in accordance to Mains and prelims will be covered automatically and since you also have mentioned the same how much time (approximately) one must devote to cover mains syllabus? Will 4 months be sufficient (excluding optional)?
    Thank you for this site! Count me as (from now on) one of your regular visitor +reader +student of this site 🙂

    • Zenia

      I have two more things to say! One, I don’t know why nobody else has mentioned this (or is it only me?), sometimes I don’t understand editorials of hindu especially international and at times even politity based! I do understand what the article is about but a major chunk of info goes above my head. 🙁 What do I do in this case? How do other people overcome this problem? Plz suggest!
      Second, I think this should be posted in feedback section but I am writing it here only. Insights Sir, you should make FAQ based page! This way you’ll be relived of answering same question twice and aspirants also can avoid going through large no of comments! 🙂

    • Zernia,

      Yes we are for real 🙂 Thanks for the compliment.

      When you love what you do, time just breezes away. Current affairs section is updated by my friend Mohan. We two look after the site and now and then our readers help us out. You too can join hands and contribute what you are best at.

      Yes 4-5 months is sufficient for completing Mains papers. Do this first and then spend 2 months exclusively for Prelims.

      After Prelims you can revise and practice writing for Mains.
      Regarding answering secure -2014 questions, you have to do little research on your own. Let it be quick. We don’t believe in feeding everything. Questions are framed to kindle your interest and make you think. 🙂

      Thanks for joining our group. You can invite others too. Thank you.

      • Zenia

        Sir I’ll contribute for this site to my best ability 🙂 As of now I can contribute by participating in various initiatives and make this site lively! 🙂
        Thank you for your words of advice, I was in real confusion, for how to proceed with my preparation, now I can devise a strategy for myself 🙂

  • Hi Sir,
    Its me again. I am very happy that i came across this website.One of my IAS aspirant friend suggested me to visit this website.
    I really appreciate your efforts to build edifice for the country and for the individuals as well. 🙂
    I am seeking similar response from you. Here is my concern:
    I am a B.Tech guy.I am doing a job in a software industry from the last 3 years.I have decided to go for Civils one year back.I am preparing for the same but have no idea that where I am right now. I am not able to manage my time effectively whatever I get. This may be because of the stress and work load of my office.

    Please suggest me to cope with the pressure of the Job and time management. Maximum i get 4 to 6 hrs to study in week days.Please advice me something for the better utilization of time.

    Thanks & Regards
    Saurabh Somvanshi

  • Astha Kaushik

    hello SIr,

    i am an aspirant of UPSC and had appeard for same in 2012. gave intrvw but 🙁 :(. and i did not even appear for Pre as due to my job i was out of India the. however, now i hv decided to appear for it again with double dedication.thing is that i cannot quit my job due to financial constraints. one of my friend suggested about your site and interactive guidance. i v selected my optionals Pol Sci. please guide me as i want to know from whr should i start !! scratch level ??? also, i belong to PWD (HI) category ?? can u tell me its cut off ?? i reside in Mumbai. plz help me in prepation. need ur guidance.
    can u tell me how many attempts are thre for Gen PWD category ??


  • aravind kumar

    m preparing for 2014 civil service . now I having trouble taking keyword from side by side preparation. is there is any idea or guidelines to taking keywords and how I order keywords for each topics and subject ? I need a clarity on taking keywords for mains

  • Abhilasha

    i m preparing for 2014 civil services and right now i am solving pub administration paper 2009. i am having difficulty in question no.5(a) that is ” There is no doubt that departmentalization is fraught with complexities. these are in part technical, in part political.” Discuss . please can u help me with this question

  • Hi Insights,

    Your initiative of daily challenge had even challenged the so called institutions which are based in newdelhi. Sir your work is very appreciable and sir when you ll post the test series for upcoming prelims because i failed to clear this year prelims. And sir kindly continue the daily writing challenge questions. Because it gives me the idea of framing the questions and give us time to get revised and remember. And sir if possible include an question on Indian geography that cover all round coverage syllabus.

    • Narinder Pal Singh

      Yes sir, please cover INDIAN GEOGRAPHY, INDIAN HISTORY, WORLD HISTORY, ECONOMY PLANNING + CROPPING PATTERNS questions. This will provide us all around mental exercise.

  • charlie

    hi sir, i have tried to give my 90% more than i have done in previous 3 attempts tried to put in my efforts without much panic. i dont know how well i have performed . sir i need to know if u can tell me anything with respect to my optional prep. i have always been out of the selection because of the optional that i have chosen philosophy .always got better marks in pub ad but chose this tym philosophy. i hav taken a leap of faith but given less efoorts this year in philo..

    • Charlie,

      Happy to know that you performed better today. 🙂

      Philosophy has always been a scoring subject. Again, take it easy. Revise the materials you studied. Go there and answer all the questions.

      In Optional subject, key to score good marks is to answer all the questions. At any cost you must try to answer every question.

      If you changed the subject out of faith, your faith won’t deceive you. Go there and take up the challenge. 🙂

      All the best!

  • S.K.

    Insights sir, This site is awesome, from a few days only I have started viewing this site. Can u please tell how to cross check the answers to the questions of secure 2014 as just links to various articles are given??

  • Guy Fawkes

    First Great congratulations for the brilliant work.
    Few trivial doubts I practiced answer writing and I write 250 words in a page. My handwriting is small but fairly legible, also the page is a4.
    I assumed upsc also has a4 sheet and wrote all answers accordingly.
    Should I increase word / line spacing? I am scared as I have written CAPF exam based on this calculation. Also I know this question is annoying but can you tell me how much is the difference in actual writing area?

    Suggestion – Please keep a donate page also. Effort no matter how kind needs support, even wikipedia asks for donations. When others can fool people in Delhi you guys deserve some minimal amount.
    (I am not promising I will donate a fortune but would like to help a little)

  • Naga

    Sir, Can you please tell me Which atlas is best..

    • For general purpose, Oxford STUDENT Atlas is the best (not SCHOOL atlas)

      If Geography is your Optional subject, also buy NATMO atlas.

      • Myrtle

        Sir, May I know the difference between ‘school’ and ‘student’ atlas? Is the ‘student’ atlas better? Thanks

        • school atlas is for school children – i think for those below age 14 (but not sure) and student atlas is for students in higher education. It has more info than the school atlas.

      • Where can i buy Natmo atlas..?

  • dear sir,
    could you plz suggest me sources for precis writing practice(online or some books).

  • Rajeev

    Can anyone clarify if personal income of a candidate is not counted for evaluating one`s creamy layer status in OBC category? Please Reply.

    • personal income is not counted. Only parents’ income is counted.

  • Indian87

    Am a working person recently got transferred from Bangalore to Hyderabad.I used to stay in vijaynagar only..I may miss the offline classes but for sure will take online classes / test series , if INSIGHTS opens.

    Also would like to know what can be the reasonable schedule to cover both prelims & mains.

  • Abhilasha

    sir please give me the answer of question i asked yesterday…..


    dear sir, In the book Indias Struggle For Independence-Bipin chandra……what r the topics important for MAINS….it is taking more time read …pls suggest what r the important eras …..Is notes preparation compulsory?

  • VIJAY from Bhopal


    All the GS mains (4 paper) has been over .after analysis all the 4 paper . any new strategy suggest by you for aspirants – Like ( minimum reference book list) OR you post any new strategy for 2014 in near future.
    Thanks for great work

  • Sherlock Holmes

    @Insight Sir,
    Currently I have 3rd edition of Laxmikanth and I have completed it one time and reading it for the second time. But now, there is 4th edition of the book in the market and it has some new chapters related to changed pattern. My question is that should I buy the 4th edition or instead buy DD Basu (I don’t have it yet) , or buy both the books. Thanks.

    • Buy D D Basu. No need to buy new edition of Laxmikanth.

  • jasneet

    sir, i have sent u message on ur email id. If u culd take a moment to see that and help me in deciding . Thanking u!

  • Naga

    if u want to suggest one book among From Plassey to Partition – A History Of Modern India and Bipan Chandra, which one do u suggest sir.. I want to read only one book sir.. plz suggest..

    • Going by this year’s questions first book is a good choice, but we never know UPSC’s behaviour. But read any one book as both are popular and have been received well by most readers.

  • LeninWO7

    Can sedimentary rocks form at earth’s surface by hydrological system?
    In my knowledge it is “yes” but I have got it wrong in exam??
    Can anyone say about it?

  • Akshay Agarwal

    Several foreigners made India their homeland and participated in various movements. Analyze their role in the Indian struggle for freedom.

    Can the answer to this question be written in points?
    Like 1) A.O. Hume – and 2 sentes abt him
    2) xyz


    DEAR SIR i did btech from computer science.sir i am in complete dilemma to choose a optional subject.sir i did my schooling with hindi medium.sir my writing skills is not good.sir i have shortlisted these 4 subjects
    2 political science
    3 history
    4 sociology
    sir plz giude me which should be the best for me consider my backgorund.sir i am preparing for upsc 2014 and my medium of written exam is english

    waiting for ur reply

  • Abhilasha

    sir I completed my engineering in 2012 with honours…and now I want to prepare for ias …I am in dilemma that am I too late to start since mostly people start preparing at the time of graduation only.
    Secondly my writing skills are not so good though I am from cbse board.Should I start preparing myself or I should leave ?

  • sandeep

    sir please suggest me book for past 15years prelims question papers and analysis

  • rakshit

    Admin, please provide an insight on BITCOINS?? not able to understand anything about it

  • Sapan

    hi to admin
    first thank you for give regular details and current affairs…
    my question is this why always focusing on hindu newspaper there r several newspaper who has rich and necessary contents …

  • vyshnavi

    hie sir .. actually i am a fresher starting for prepation for csat 2014 … actally the problem is .. i am not used to read newspapers .. i find it difficult to read the whole content of the news paper and take a note … would it be sufficient if i follow your daily current afairs in this site … please reply 🙂

    • No Vyshnavi. You must read the original newspaper. It is difficult in the beginning but if you persist, later you will begin enjoying the paper. You can clear this exam only if you read and understand real newspapers.

      Current events we post is for quick revision at the end of the day. It’s not substitute for the original paper.

  • sandeep

    sir please replay i requesting suggest me book for past 15years prelims question papers and analysis

  • ritwik sharma

    could you please tell me about the approx. cut off marks for indian forest service for 2013 pre and mains both for general category

  • sir,
    plz suggest some sources for precis writing (online or some books)…….

  • sir,
    for static part of S&T is a combination of ncert science books IX and X and tmh manual is sufficient?

  • Jai

    Hi 🙂

    Is there any new initiative coming up for GS Paper 1(Prelims, 2014)? If yes, by when? Thanks!

  • Bindiya Agrawal

    Asking emerging countries to reduce emissions more under the present circumstances
    is the equivalent of asking the emerging economies to pay for their future possible ‘crimes’ while asking everyone to forget the actual crimes committed till date..comment…

    • The present text says that the developed countries have been unethical/irrational in matters of global emission reduction efforts. Rich countries(US, EU, Japan, UK etc.) form only about 15% of the world`s population and contribute to more than 70% of global Green House gas emission. They are doing it for centuries. It is therefore the responsibility of these rich nations to go for maximum emission cuts and should not expect developing countries like BRICS, who have to cater its larger population, to do it. The global warming crime has actually been committed by them and should not be forgotten and must be a part of negotiations.

  • sanjay

    Hi insights and all,
    I have a query regarding word limt in ans…whether to count small words like, ‘is’ are,am etc in the word count or let them uncount……a silly ques

  • charlie

    @ insights
    hi sir, i gave my philosophy today,i have tried. lets see because i always scored bad in philo but in each attempt i tried.still i chose philo … lets see.

    • Charlie,

      All the best. Hope you will get interview call. Good luck. If possible, please send Philosophy question paper to
      insightsonindia at gmail dot com

  • qwerty

    sit the link for test series is not working

    • qwerty


  • gladiator

    It is written in strategy for mains that each paper can be done in 20 days if serious. Can you pls tell me is it really feasible? FOr each topic there are several references. Birds eye view gave me that the references you suggested are really awsome. Pls suggest how many hours is suggested for an average person with no high reading speed of 110-150 words per min. Awaiting eager for your reply ….

  • Aayat

    can you suggest the strategy for sociology paper 2? can IGNOU’s BA and MA material be studied for paper 2?

  • Hi Sir,

    As per the recent pattern can we ignore “PERSONS IN NEWS” and 2 markers? Please let us know.


  • rakshit

    sir , where we can get magazines of month aug , sept , nov ???

  • Hi Insights,

    If possible can you post Anthropology mains paper..

  • Abhilasha

    sir pls reply

  • Vicky..

    Sir Please check your mail .

  • Mayursinh Chauhan.

    hello sir, my self mayursinh chauhan, i have also taken up challenge-2014 of upsc. & for that i have also lefted my bright career of Mechanical Engg. now sir, i am bit of the confusion i have baught all the books which you have suggested for my optional subject, i would like to mention that i have chosen SOCIOLOGY as my optional…now i don’t understand that in which book the syllabus topics are lended. so plz. can you provide the list that i.e. from a.r.desai’s sociological background in indian nationalism book we are required to do only, say 1,3,5 chapters only. like wise for the other books. sir, i understand that you must be busy & it is not easy to give each & every body a satisfying answer , but i think like me, lots of will have the doubts regarding this so plz. sir help me out with this. & if anybody has this answer then plz. post on this website & plz. sir help me out with this. one more thing if possible then also mail me the relevant details on my personal mail id : [email protected]. this may help not only me but it helps a lot other.

  • anonymous

    sir i want to know one thing that there is a rumour that upsc is going to delete the compulsory papers in mains 2014 is it true

    • Manmohan

      dear friend……don’t trust such rumours…be ur self and go on with ur preparation……….

  • Manmohan

    sir……..please upload Telugu compulsory paper………

  • mark

    sir update on test series….?

  • shn

    sir………I am an IAS aspirant…….I have one doubt………….My father expired when I was a kid( at the age of 1 year)…… mother married a man who was already m married…… my SSC certificate it has been not mentioned that my father was expired…………..and in my neighbourhood 2 families are hostile to our family………….and our neighbourhood knows that he is my step father…………my question is when I select for IAS concerned district officials will come to my village and enquire about me and my family ( as I have seen this scene in many films )………….my question is will this have any affect on my selection ?…………..

    • @shn,
      My sympathies for you and your circumstances, which are unfortunately tough. As far as my common sense goes, your selection will never be affected by your family circumstances, so relax and start studying seriously.
      I got one more serious and honest suggestion, if you could please ask your very personal doubts and queries directly to Insights via there mail ids, it would be better.
      Its my very honest advice and don’t want you to take it otherwise.

      • shn


  • shn

    if my neighbours tell anything bad about my family……will it have any affect on my selection….?

  • rohit

    hello insights,
    it is my humble request to please give your analysis views on the optional papers here most of the seniors are scaring beginners by giving their comments like very toughest paper…never seen this type of paper from last 20 yrs…hence for the beginner it would be cumbersome situation how should they decide their optional??