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TESTIMONIAL & STRATEGY: Juhi Rai, Rank 155, First Attempt, One Year of Preparation – Followed Insights Consistently for all the Three Stages of Preparation




Juhi Rai, Rank 155, CSE-2016

1st attempt, one year of preparation, followed Insights consistently for all the three stages of preparation.


I am Juhi Rai, who secured 155th rank in my first attempt. I first thought of appearing in Civil services exam in third year of my graduation. I began my serious preparation from August 2015.At that time, I had minimum idea about the huge syllabus and this exam. I could not even decide my optional subject for six months and now having finally made it I am delighted to share my strategy with you. I hope you go through this with a little trust in me and faith in your abilities.

First of all, the essential prerequisite of preparing for any exam is to go for a planned approach.  Analyze your abilities and make a time table allotting time to each and every part of the syllabus. One year of time is sufficient if you stick to your plan and focus on your goals. Understand the requirement of this exam. This can be done by going through the past year questions and syllabus which helps us in sorting the important areas for the exam. For example, I did not devote much time to Medieval India for not many questions are asked from this.


Book list:

  1. The magnum opus LAXMIKANT
  2. BIPIN CHANDRA Class 12 NCERT Modern India
  3. R S SHARMA Class 11 NCERT Ancient India
  4. India ‘s struggle for independence
  5. Geography class 11 and class 12 NCERT
  6. G C Leong
  7. Class 11 and 12 NCERT on Macroeconomics, SRIRAM economics notes and VAJIRAM class notes
  8. Economic survey
  9. SHANKAR IAS Environment book
  10. NITIN SINGHANIA Art and Culture
  11. VAJIRAM notes on Science and Technology
  12. Vision IAS current affairs modules and reading THE HINDU religiously

I subscribed to insights on India website and followed daily current affairs quiz based on newspapers. Apart from this, the areas like MINDMAPS,  INSIGHTS  into Editorial ,Transcripts of various TV Programs were immensely helpful in integrating the static part of the syllabus with contemporary developments. Apart from these sources I did not refer to any other special modules or websites. What I believe in is to minimize your sources and revise the syllabus diligently. If I could do this in my first attempt, it’s because I was not lost in the whirlwind of doubts and sticked to my strategy despite people advising me to read multiple books.

What is most important for prelims is to practice test series .This gives you training to solve the paper. Before prelims, solve as many test papers as you can. The insights test series is extremely helpful for  Reverse strategy which I employed in completing the syllabus by learning from my mistakes in test papers.


I had PSIR as my optional subject. For Mains preparation, I did not focus much on the static part because of paucity of time. In addition to prelims sources, I could read only few more notes related to governance issues, security issues, world history. For my mains preparation, specifically for GS PAPER 2 and GS PAPER 3, I focused on the SECURE initiative of INSIGHTS. Even if you don’t get the time to write the answers, go through the model answers and prepare fodder for most of the contemporary events and revise your notes.

Most of the questions in GS papers can be dealt with by not going for huge books, rather by incorporating analytical abilities in your answers and diligently focusing on current affairs. When writing mains answers don’t overstretch a single point, but cover as many dimensions of a question as you can.

Generally, I would like to say that this exam does take a toll on our lives. It does not test your knowledge but also your patience. If you are true to the spirit of this exam, your name is going to be in the final list sooner or later. I feel my responsibility over here to say to the fellow aspirants that start from where you are. Don’t wait for a particular day. There is no limit to what one can achieve. Make music or any other activity as your pastime and refresh yourself after a long day of hard work. Treat yourself when you can achieve your targets. Remember, it’s you who can take the control of steering wheel of your life. Lastly, few lines from ROBERT FROST poem:






Thank you,


A happy follower of Insights till date.