Sakshi Sawhney, All India Rank 6, UPSC Civil Services Exam 2013
Below is the to the point and straightforward strategy followed by Sakshi in her quest for IAS.
I am actually the wrong person to be giving you advise on this. I got only 23/200 in my first attempt(I had attempted PPP in India) and 80/250 this year (Colonial Mentality).
For Tips On Essay (From Insights), Click Here
The booklist given by Insights is more than sufficient for the various GS papers. Other than that what I did was:
a)I memorized the syllabus by heart.
b)I read the newspapers thoroughly keeping the syllabus in mind and maintained separate notebooks for the notes from the newspapers. I also maintained a glossary page. It is useful if you have this for every subject- it helps to read the newspaper effectively, utilize a good word for concise writing, helps in revision and may also be useful for essay. eg. ‘caged parrot’ (in reference to SC on CBI) or ‘open regionalism’, etc.
c) I would update these notes with relevant online content- eg. Pib.nic.in; insightsonindia.com, mrunal.org, relevant IDSA/PRS articles.
d) Reading Yojana is very very useful especially for Paper II
e) Selective reading of EPW and World Focus
f)Lots of revision and re-revision= daily answer writing especially from insightsonindia; weekly revision of notes. Never leave revision for the end because then you may not get down to doing it.
Law is a rather vast syllabus and the current pattern of questions shows that one cannot afford to leave out topics like IPR, etc. while studying. Thus, start early and revise constantly.
I followed basic books:
- Torts- Bangia
- International Law= S.k. Kapoor (very repetitive) or Starke ( if there is enough time- especially basics such as Treaty, Custom, etc)
- Constitutional law MP Jain OR VN Shukla
- Contract= Avtar Singh (question on Agency or Partnership always comes)
- IPC= Gaur/Pillai + pay special attention to the Offences Against Property
- AK Jain Dukkis strictly for revision purpose for all subjects+ small Acts= Sale of Goods, Partnership, Arbitration, IPR.
Most aspirants face issues with respect to how to prepare for Paper II especially with respect to case laws. First of all, use the AK Jain Dukki to figure out which are the important cases for Paper II- since the author has to be brief he has most likely concentrated only on the most important cases. Secondly, don’t be stressed about case laws, if you cannot remember it then use an illustration. Something is better than nothing and it shows the examiner that even if you cannot recall the case law you do understand the concept.
You have been preparing for this test your entire life since it is a personality test. Don’t try to change who you are.
While preparing for the interview- first of all try to frame as many questions as possible from the DAF. (even circulate your DAF to peers and parents for questions from as many perspectives as possible). Answer them before a mirror confidently.
For all current affairs- don’t try to memorise a newspapers’ views. But try to analyse and form your own opinion. Discussing it with others helps to see whether you have thought in a balanced fashion or not.
Finally, someone gave me really good advise before my interview- “if you go in to the interview room as an IAS officer you will come out as one.” Basically have the confidence of the person you are aspiring to become.
All the best!