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TOPPER’S STRATEGY: Dr Nandhinidevi K, Rank 54, Medical Science Optional



Dr Nandhinidevi

AIR 54 CSE 2016

Optional – Medical Science


With the vast syllabus I found it really hard to get an idea about the exam process when started And all the articles I read about preparation were on extremes of the bar , Too simple or totally unachievable.

I would like to give an overview on my preparation (This may not be the perfect guide , But I have tried my best to sum it up ) Hope this will be helpful in someways atleast 🙂

Nandhinidevi IAS Marks

 My Prelims Booklist ( I got 134 in prelims GS1 )

HISTORY- 6-8 NCERT 11 12 ancient,  medieval and modern India

 India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra

Class notes

And I made separate notes on INC meetings – president- decision

And timeline of events.

ART AND CULTURE – class notes, NCERT

(Focus on architecture , Dance , music , paintings and literature  )


GohChengLeong certificate physical geography

Class notes

International organisations related to current events

ECONOMICS – institute material , notes

Economic survey

And Ramesh Singh Indian economy

POLITY– Laxmikant

Class notes

ENVIRONMENT – Shankar Institute material

Class notes


Current affairs – focus on Space technology and defence 


The Hindu and Insights daily Quiz

Any monthly magazine ( I followed institute magazine )

Yojana kurukshetra ( to know about new schemes ,  programs and their specification)


Workout Previous 2 year question papers


MAINS preparation ( focus on Essay , Ethics and Optional )


I literally started my Mains preparation after prelims (except for most parts of  History and geography, since it was covered during prelims prep)

GS 1

History –same books as prelims

 (give more importance to Modern India and culture )

Made notes on important events , leaders and their impact on Indian Independence

World History- 9,10 Ncert , class notes and Book by ArjunDev 

Post independence – Bipan chandra India since independence

GEOGRAPHY – the same as prelims

SOCIOLOGY – class 12 NCERT 2 books



Governance , constitution , polity – Laxmikant , institute materials and notes

Social justice – current events

Acts and Bills

International relation – class notes and current events



Economic Development – Economic survey and Ramesh Singh

Science and technology – current events

Agriculture – institute material

Internal security and disaster management – book by Ashok Kumar IPS

Environment – current events



Lexicon and class notes

And Insights secure questions



I looked into previous year question papers and toppers answer sheet to have an idea.

Wrote 4 essays before mains.

(Analyse the trend of events )


Mains test series I attended in shankar- Mainstorming .

And subscribed to Insights Mains Test Series ( I didn’t write answers , I framed an outline of answer and checked whether I could address all aspects in given time )


OPTIONAL -Medical Science


(Stick to the syllabus)

Books – UG books are sufficient

Mark the syllabus

And also the important Topics given by Roman Saini and revise them.

I made notes for 2nd paper(easier to revise and frame answers since 2nd paper will be regarding cases)


Didn’t write any test series for optional



Preparation was mostly on DAF- Hobbies and medical field


Common mistakes that I noticed

  • Prelims is not just about mugging up facts- understand the concepts
  • People fear to attempt more questions because of negative marks ( try to attend atleast 70-75 questions starting with class test series – so that you will learn how to crack the answer )
  • Don’t subscribe to too many test series – its time consuming ( stick to one test series genuinely and you can use other test series inputs with respect to current affairs)
  • Analyse previous year question papers ( for prelims and Mains )

Hope this was useful 🙂

All the best!