[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam

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This articles needs to be tweaked further in the light of actual papers of Mains-2013. However should give the basic idea to new players.

  1. Prologue
  2. What is not changed?
  3. Prelims approach
  4. What about the current affairs?
  5. Mains Exam: Change of format
  6. GS1: Culture History Geography
  7. GS2: Polity, Yearbook, IR
  8. GS3: Economy, Environment, S&T, Agro, Disaster and Security
  9. GS4: Ethics
  10. Personal Opinion?


  • Ok, so few days back UPSC released the much awaited notification for 2013  So you already know, what is changed. It is a stale news.  This article is just an overview article for future approach.
  • I’ll upload a full fledged strategy / approach / studyplan for General studies (Mains), combined with all list of topics to be prepared, resources, downloads etc. Yes i know preliminary is over, but it takes time for me to wade through all the books and pdfs myself. You don’t want me to misguide you in haste, do you? hahaha. Besides I’ve other exams to look into IES, CDS, RAS et al.

What is not changed?

  1. Age- attempt limit is not changed.
  2. Age is still counted on 1st August of the given year. (rumor market said UPSC was planning to count age on 1st Jan.)
  3. Vacancies are almost the same (2012: 1037 vacancies, 2013: approx. 1000)
  4. Mains to Interview quota is same (twice the number of vacancies. It was same in 2011 and 2012)
  5. Prelims syllabus is not changed even one bit. (so the approach / strategy for prelims remains one and same.)

Prelims approach

Approach to general studies for prelims, already given long time ago.Here is just a checklist, ask yourself:

  1. I’ve finished reading NCERT, NIOS, Yearbook, Laxmikanth etc. (+static topics from GS Manual) multiple times. I’ve rock solid command over them (or I’ll be revising them often until I get rock solid command).
  2. I’ve tried/ will try myself with the MCQs given in GS Manual.
  3. For aptitude, I’m doing maximum practice at night (so I don’t fall asleep by simply reading some book).

That’s Well and good, you’re on right track.  Now the question that bothers a lot of candidates:

What about the current affairs?

Current affairs itself is quite big. But for prelims, you’ve to concentrate only on the current affairs associated with specific sectors:

High priority current affairs
  1. Environment n biodiversity
  2. Science tech
  3. Polity
  4. Economy.
  5. Yearbook stuff (Government schemes/ org. etc)
Low priority current affairs
  1. International relations.
  2. Misc.GK (Sports, awards, persons in news, books, authors etc): Lists already given for 2012 and 13 click me
  • If you’ve been maintaining notes out of Hindu/Indianexpress past one year, that’s totally awesome. Just keep doing it.
  • But those of you, who joined the game late and or did not diligently read newspapers/maintained notes. What to do now? Here is a firefighting tip. Do any one of the following

Option A:

  • Get a book called Wizard’s Current Affairs 2013. (they publish it every year. Please note, other publication houses also release similar books. Use whatever is easily available to you.)
  • It doesn’t guarantee UPSC  is directly going to asks questions from it. But such book gives an  overview of what happened past one year (in topicwise fashion: bilateral, sci-tech etc.)
  • The book itself is quite thick but you don’t have to prepare everything, just concentrate on the high priority areas. Then you dig internet, standard reference books etc. for topics that are directly indirectly related to it and are “basic” in nature. For example, there is news about Libya, then you check Libya’s location in the map, its capital, its bordering nations and so on. There is some news about Eastern Dedicated freight corridor, then you dig out from which states does this corridor pass through? …..Prelims is not about Ph.D. Prelims is mostly about tricky questions from very basic concepts / facts.

Option B:

  • hit the public library. Pick past 1 years’ current affairs magazines (CST, Chronicle, PD, Wizard..whatever is available).
  • Go through the first 20-25 pages :the important national international affairs are given here.
  • And Remaining pages of magazines is usually filler material (toppers’ interviews and recycled articles on polity), you can read them if you’ve time and mood.
  • But from those first 20-25 pages, note down the exam worthy current affairs, come back home dig net +/- standard reference books as and where required.

^Please note, these option A / B are just firefighting tools. They’d work fine for SSC, SBI type exams. But Current affairs for UPSC is a different game altogether. That’s the reason I’ve always advised people to read daily newspapers and maintain notes out of it. As a UPSC aspirant, Current affairs must be part of your daily routine. If you don’t do it on dailybasis, that’s when you’ve to turn to such (not so reliable) ^firefighting tools.
And don’t put too much of your time in current affairs, because lot of questions come from static part (theory) too.

Another concern is regarding “Cutoffs possibly getting high” because IFoS and IAS have common preliminary exam. My point is: Just read revise and practice. Leave rest in the hands of God. Don’t enter the exam hall with the cut off mindset or negative marking will dig your grave.

That’s for prelims. Now let’s move to Mains.

Mains Exam: Change of format

Before (upto 2012)After (2013)
Regional language paper.
Marks not counted in merit.
300Same as Earlier300
English Paper. But marks
not counted
in final merit list.
300same as earlier300
General Studies2 papers6004 papers (new topics included)1000
First optional2 papers6002 papers500
Second optional2 papers600Removed0
InterviewYes300Yes but marks reduced275
Merit from 2300.
Merit from 2025

What is removed from general studies?

  1. Statistics and data interpretation topic removed from General Studies (Mains).
  2. Public Health, Health education and ethical concerns regarding health-care, medical research and pharmaceuticals topic removed. (It is no longer Explicitly mentioned under syllabus, although doesn’t prevent UPSC from asking this under GS3!)

GS1: Culture History Geography

#1: History and Culture

  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Same as usual. NIOS, IGNOU tourism studies, Spectrum book on Culture.
  1. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  2. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
Same as usual. Bipin Chandra +/- Spectrum +/- GS Manual.

#2: History of World

  1. events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries,
  2. colonization, decolonization,
  3. political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  1. NCERT.
  2. http://Mrunal.org/history
  3. Any one book: Norman Lowe, Jain and Mathur or Arjun Singh.

#3: Socio stuff

  1. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  1. For Post independence India, use Bipin Chandra: India Since Independence. (Ramchandra Guha’s book not giving good cost:benefit ratio.)
  2. Starting point is IGNOU MPS 003 India democracy and Development.
  3. Then there is Decent material scattered in IGNOU Sociology, political science and Public Administration (BA, MA).
  1. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  1. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  1. Effects of globalization on Indian society
  1. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

#4: Geography

General StudiesBefore change2013
Preliminary examGeography = Physical + World  + IndiaSame
MainsGeography = only Indian Geography.Now Geography = Physical + World  + India.

Now, Let’s check the syllabus of geography (general studies)

Physical Geography

  1. Salient features of world’s physical geography.
Starting point is NCERTS / GS Manual.
  1. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.,
  2. geographical features and their location.
  3. changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
Starting point is NCERTS + GS Manual + NIOS biodiversity + selective reading of IGNOU Disaster  Management.+Indian Geography by Khullar.

India and World Geography

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent
  1. Starting point NCERTs
  2. then Mrunal.org/Geography
factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

GS2: Polity, Yearbook, IR

#1: Polity + rights issue

Basic Constitution

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions basic structure.
  2. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States,
  3. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  4. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  5. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  6. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  7. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Starting point is: yes you guessed it right, the great M.Laxmikanth. Then DD Basu if you’ve time and mood.
  • +net digging and newspapers for new stuff e.g. right to education.
  • Also Mrunal.org/polity
Advanced topics

  1. issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure,
  2. Devolution of powers + finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  3. Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  4. Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  5. Representation of People’s Act: Salient features
Starting point is (again) IGNOU MPS 003. Then again lot of good stuff scattered around in IGNOU Public Administration, Political science and sociology.Also newspapers, columns, net digging from current affairs point of view (e.g. Pressure groups –> Lokpal)
Rights issue

  1. Vulnerable sections: protections, Betterment: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies.
  2. Vulnerable Sections: Welfare schemes.
  • Starting point again our good old Laxmikanth.
  • For welfare schemes, INDIA Yearbook, list of topics given here click me
  • + newspaper + official websites of respective ministries.

Yearbook, Welfare schemes

  1. Ministries and Departments of the Government;
  2. Government policies for development in various sections.
  3. Social Sector development: Health, Education, Human Resources.
  4. Poverty and hunger: Issues relating to
Basic functions and overview of policies given in India yearbook. After that, Newpapers, Yojana Kurukshetra, official sites of respective ministries.12th Five Yearplan PDFs click me. (they contain truckload of fodder points).

Public Administration related

  1. Governance: Important aspects of
  2. Development processes and the development industry
  3. the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  4. transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  5. e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;
  6. Citizens charters
  7. Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • Respective chapters from IGNOU BA, MA Public Administration.
  • 2nd ARC reports click me (selective reading).

IR / Diplomacy

  1. India and its neighborhood- relations.
  2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  3. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,
  4. Indian diaspora.
  5. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Approach remains same as earlier.

  • Starting point is selected topics on international relations from IGNOU BA (Political Science) click me
  • Dispora strategy given separately click me
  • Then IGNOU MA (Political Science) MPS 002 click me
  • + newspapers, magz, net digging And
  • Mrunal.org/diplomacy

GS3: Economy, Environment, S&T, Agro, Disaster and Security

For a paper worth 250 marks, UPSC has packed way too many topics here!

#1: Economy

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  3. Government Budgeting.
12th FYP plan PDF files.Basic of budgeting is explained in Laxmikanth, Ramesh Singh etc. But hardly any direct-static questions come in mains. So this is mostly yearbook, IGNOU (Economics) newspaper and current affairs.+ Mrunal.org/economy
  1. Effects of liberalization on the economy.
Basic given in NCERT Class 11 economics. More can be found in Ramesh Singh, Netdigging.
  1. changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  2. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  3. Investment models
Basic given in India Yearbook.Then IGNOU (Economics BA, MA) selective reading, Newspaper columns, 12th FYP pdfs for more fodder points.

#2: SnT + Environment

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  2. Achievements of Indians in science & technology;
  3. Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  4. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  1. Starting point is India Yearbook.
  2. Then The Hindu’s Sci-tech portion, net digging and
  3. www.Mrunal.org/snt
  4. +/- Spectrum’s book on Science Tech.
  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  1. NIOS, IGNOU material on Environment-Biodiversity.
  2. India Yearbook
  3. Official site of MoEF
  4. Newspaper columns, Yojana, Kurukshetra.

#2: Agro

Now this is a new topic introduced in 2013.

  1. Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country,
  2. Irrigation: different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage,
NCERT geography,  GS Manual+ Indian Geography Khullar etc.
  1. e-technology in the aid of farmers
  2. Farm subsidies: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies
  3. minimum support prices;
  4. Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security;
  5. Technology missions;
  6. Land reforms in India.
  • Starting point is INDIA Yearbook, List of topics given here: click me
  • Official website of Agriculture ministry.
  1. transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints;
  2. Animal rearing: economics of
  3. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain managemen
  • Yojana-Kurukshetra old archives + new issues.click me
  • food processing already covered in my article series. visit mrunal.org/economy


1.         Disaster and disaster management.Selective reading IGNOU MPA 018


1. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandateThis is given in India Yearbook. Click me for the topicwise list
2. basics of cyber securityAlso given in India yearbook. More stuff can be found the previous writing competition held at Mrunal.org/Write2Win

For the remaining topics:

  1. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  2. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  3. Challenges to internal security through communication networks,
  4. role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges,
  5. money-laundering and its prevention
  6. border areas: Security challenges and their management
  7. linkages of organized crime with terrorism

For above topics, Lot of revision friendly content available in the previous writing competition held at Mrunal.org/Write2Win

+newspaper and net digging.

GS4: Ethics

Lot of vague topics added. Anyways, first let’s check the topics for which exact material is available

Probity in Governance:

  1. Concept of public service;
  2. Philosophical basis of governance and probity;
  3. Information sharing and transparency in government,
  4. Right to Information,
  5. Codes of Ethics,
  6. Codes of Conduct,
  7. Citizen’s Charters,
  8. Work culture,
  9. Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds,
  10. Challenges of corruption.

Ethics in Public Administration

  1. Status and problems;
  2. ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;
  3. laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;
  4. accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

For ^above topics, you’ll find content scattered in around in

  1. IGNOU MPA 011 and 013
  2. 2nd ARC reports.

Remaining topics

  1. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values
  2. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  3. Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  4. Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  5. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  6. corporate governance.
  7. ethical issues in international relations and funding.
  8. +Case studies

Personal Opinion?

Father Wallace, a renowned Gujarati author and Maths Professor in St.Xaviers’ College, Ahmedabad. Once a TV reporter asked him, “Lot of students in class 10 hate mathematics. So, What is your advice to them?” I was watching TV and hoped that he’d give some awesome set of formulas that will completely demystify mathematics even for the weakest student. But all he said was:

“Mitro maare Etlu j kehvaa nu ke tamne gume ke naa gume, bhanvu toh padshe j!”
(Friends all I’ve to say is, whether you like it or not, you’ll have to study.)

Same applies to the pattern change, you can welcome it, you can condemn it, but as long you’re in this competition business, you’ve to play by UPSC’s rules. Anyways for the sake of timepass reading, here are my opinions.


  • Most of the General studies syllabus (mains) can be covered using IGNOU, Yearbook, Yojana Kurukshetra, newspapers etc. So atleast the reform is not heavy on your pocket (in terms of having  to buy lot of new books / material).
  • Thanks to IGNOU’s material, self-study is easily possible. (available on egyankosh.ac.in)


  • Reading so many PDFs on computer screen =painful on eyes.

Overlapping topics

  • Each mains paper has 3 hours duration so UPSC can take maximum two papers per day. Now, suppose today is GS1+2, then tomorrow will be GS3+4.
  • Here comes to issue: you’ve to prepare similar topics again and again for two days because of their overlapping nature. for example:
  1. Social empowerment in GS1, and next day Inclusive growth for GS3.
  2. R.T.I, citizen-charter etc. as [Polity] topics for GS2 and next day for Ethics under GS4.
  3. Role of civil services in a democracy (under GS2) and next day almost similar thing for Ethics under GS4.

So it feels as if the topic-list is compiled in haste, and that Agro topic in GS3 (+including supply chain Management!) sticks out like a sore thumb.

One Optional still kept

  • Instead of two, now you’ve to pick only one optional. Makes it difficult for senior player to decide: which subject to keep and which one to drop. (especially when UPSC is yet to deliver marksheets for Mains 2012).
  • UPSC should have removed both optionals. That way, people have to spend less money on books / coaching + more time sparred to pursue any career backplan/ other exams.

Faster results

  • It still takes 1 year to finish the exam. Very painful especially for those who fail in mains and have to reappear in next prelims within 2-3 months.
  • UPSC Should have converted prelims into a computer based MCQ test like IBPS/LIC to hasten the result delivery.

On an unrelated note:

  • If we look at the larger picture, everyone has to give so many exams simultaneously (UPSC, State PSC, IBPS, SSC, LIC, CDS, CAPF….) These should be combined into only 2-3 exams for combined recruitment into all these jobs.


Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

802 Comments on “[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam”

  1. I am in dilemma regarding optional.Its my 1st serious attempt and had decided Pub Ad and Geography as optional.
    Now I am confused to choose between two.I am revising Geo since 6 months so more relaxed in that while have not touched Pub Ad much except few readings.But also Pub Ad Have more contribution in GS.

    1. And also m not much concerned about mains right now but just a thought.

      1. Forget mains now. Focus on prelims, clear it, that gives you confidence. No optional is inherently bad or good, both the ones you’ve chose are decent ( like good material available, good coaching, scoring etc). I would recommend PA considering it is highly relevant to the post you are applying for. PA questions are tough to answer is something different altogether but it’s worth keeping the effort + your ethics + governance etc. gets covered under it! All the best :-)

        1. Not worrying much for mains but cant help thinking about optional.And no doubt that now PA got an upper hand.

          1. This year pub Ad was a disaster

    2. without being diplomatic i would strongly suggest you to keep geography…play on your strengths girl….+ pub ad is a bit unpredictable nowadays …so why take chances

  2. is the age criterion going to change next year?

    1. unlikely, given the general elections are coming.

      1. sir i have created a android app for your site.check the app and review it.It took a long time to create but dont take much time to review and rate it.friends download the app and read the stuff on mobile.(supports all versions of android).

  3. Great work……………….

  4. sir i am not getting my answer.

    1. Repeat your queries here

      1. Yes Sir. I want to become an ias officer nd m professional working. my financial condition is not gud thts y m not able to take coaching nd i will appear in 2014. My question is my date of birth is 5th december 1987.I belongs to general category. so wht will be the my last attempt year. Plz sir guide me. plz plz.

          1. Mrunal Sir, thank u so much. U r rockstar. Really thanxs.

      2. Thank u so much sir.

  5. I have applied for upsc2013 .But my signature in the form is blurred.Should i Apply again? Before applying do I have to cancel my previous application ? Please advise .Thanks in advance

    1. yes you can apply again.
      UPSC will consider only application with higher registration number (i.e. the latest application filled by you).

      1. How do I know if UPSC finds my picture/signature acceptable?

      2. Thanks a ton bro.Hats off to you.

      3. sir i have also applied for upsc 2013 and my sign i looking blur , so which part i should fill again part 1 or part 2 ,,

  6. will be appearing this year but have zero expectation,have just started studying since december,have lot to cover,therefore my target is 2014.You have not mentioned anything about ethics and human interface,emotional intelligence concept,ethics in ir and funding,it would be of great help if you could throw some light on these topic as i am most confused about particularly these topics,where to study from?

  7. i am preparing for 2014. with sociology as optional . how should be my strategy

    1. Chk prince dhawan’s (air 3rd rank) blog for the sociology strategy…

  8. Sir…. Does NCERT of 12th class i.e Modern India…is sufficient from Pre’s perspective..or should i go for anything else…but in a specific manner…

    1. Material of any coaching centre – read it well.
      Read TMH manual or Spectrum etc to fill up the conceptual holes left by coaching centre etc.


      Read all NCERT’s as required, which all years to read depends on how much you already know and how much time you can allot to it.

      Basic approach is to read any decent material (only one) many number of times until you are perfect and then read other books to plug in any loop-holes.

    2. NCERT especially the new ones wont suffice at all. You need to go for Old NCERT plus relevant section from TMH.

  9. Sir my birth date is 5th dec 1987. i will apply in upsc 2014. But now m not getting how many attempts i have? Sir plz tell me what will be my last attempt. sir plz plz tell me i need uor guidance. M professional working, thts y asking this question. plz make it clear.

    1. now u’r 25 , 2018 wil b the last

  10. Sir, Give me some information on Central Labour Service Exam. When does the notification come out? Is the exam held every year

  11. Sir, Please give me some information on Central Labour Service Exam. When does the notification come out? Is the exam held every year and also suggest some books for reference

  12. sir
    i m not able to download the material from egyan kosh. i tired making account but it is not working. can you lease explain how to download it?

    1. I’m going to compile the courses in zip files and put them on separate server but it’ll take time.

      1. Wah (THANK YOU)100000000000000000……………………..

      2. Thanks a lot Mrunal. :) :) :)

  13. sir please provide all study material for main exam in the form of hard copy…whatever price you will charge it fine anybody can pay this amount easily. actually problem is that very hard to find good study material for upsc student

  14. hello sir …… regarding magazines …. which magazine should i go for considering prelims …. CSR / competition wizard / civil service chronicle ???????

    1. I feel CSC has edge over wizard in terms of contents.

      1. thank u … but a word from mrunal sir will make me happy

  15. sir can u plz tell me dat when Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC)will announce its notification 4 PCS-2013??? sir plz help me….

    1. 23rd march probably….

  16. Hi sir,I applied for cse 2013.My signature looks good(i hope so) while applying,After i finished applying,i download that application,but sign looks some what blurred..My friends are saying it’s ok.Even if they reject,they will intimate and give 10 days time to reapply..Is it so??Please clarify sir..I am in dilemma whether to leave as it is or apply again..Please clarify..Thanks in advance..

    1. you can apply again. upsc would not give you any time to correct it. so its better to apply again as it allowed by upsc. now onwards please make good scan and ask someone who knows how to re-size photos and signature with good final image. and yes use marker for signature than scan it.

      1. hello mehul i have dought that my applicationt also get rejected due poor quality image, can i apply again and which part application i have to fill again part 1 or part 2 .

    2. What matters is peace of mind.
      if this signature thing is giving you sleepless nights, better file a new form with sharp signature image.

    3. Re-apply. To cool your nerves, hit a mail to UPSZC support services or call their toll free number. A new registration is recommended, 100 bucks isn’t a big deal :-)

  17. please provide direct pdf download of IGNOU material (all) what you mentioned above , also please guide us from that pdf’s which selective chapter and topic one need to read. please do it if you can.

  18. Sir,i am not able to register (part 2).the window opening after clicking the link for part 2 reg says “Certificate error:navigation blocked;We recommend that you close this webpage and do not continue to this website”. what to do?

    1. Install the security certificate which is available in upsconline official website.

      1. thanks bro! but i don’t know why even after installing the certificate i couldn’t get it done through IE.Opera rescued me finally :)

  19. what are the nios books and where can i download or buy them

    1. NIOS stands for National Institute Of Open School.

      Just like IGNOU for bachelors and masters degree, NIOS provides study materials and guidance for “distance mode” secondary(upto 10th) and senior secondary(11,12th) students.

  20. Sir,

    I am new to preparing for UPSC. Can U tell me what is GS Manual and from where to get it ? Also, preparing for the Pre I have problem with GS only as my Aptitude is good. Kindly tell me some static material for getting GS.
    I have been reading ur web notes regularly.


    Pawan Kumar

  21. Please suggest some good online/professional mock mains paper simulation test series,I am delhi Based.

  22. hello mrunal sir first of all i would like to thank u for the job which u r doing to assists ias aspirants.sir i would like to inform u that it is not possible to download the ignou study material from egyankosh as many a times site shows some error.would like to request u that u please look into the matter and make it easy for all aspirants to get ignou materials.please do the needful,with regards
    sonu singh

  23. The change though was obvious, bt the way they redesigned the syllabus of Gs giving chill 2 spine….seems they all were in haste, seeing 11:40 pm(the last metro)…! Dp agarwall saab.! U caught us unguarded…

  24. awesome work done by you. for new comers.

  25. Hi Mrunal!!
    Good Job Dear!!
    I just have a request. Can you compile all the articles from The Hindu regarding Environment and Science-Tech. That would be really helpful. I know you did it once and that was a great relief for many of the aspirants following your blog.
    please consider my request.

  26. is there any passing marks in compulsory English paper in IAS mains -2013 ??

  27. Mrunal

    For GS paper 2 are we supposed to read Subhash Kashyup : Our Parliament?

    1. Mrunal
      please suggest

  28. Which book helpfull for hindi medium student.

  29. How to confirm if my application is accepted?please help

  30. it is hard to me find ignou note for mains exam….please help

  31. Sir,
    I am preparing for CS-2014. So tell me which class of NCERT book is to read. It is from 7th to 12th class or 9 th to 12th or only 11 and 12.
    whether i should follow new NCERT or OLD one. And note making of NCERT is essential for exam purpose or simple reading is ok..please suggest

  32. Hey Mrunal….

    Can u confirm me the geography book you mentioned above..??

    Is it World geography by majid husain
    Indian And World Geography (Paper-1) by majid husain…

    1 more thing. which book is better for G.S mains as well as prelims in addition to
    1-> N.C.E.R.T(6-12)
    2->TMH manual
    3->Certificate physical and human geography by Goh Cheng Leong

    options :- Khullar / Surinder singh/ Majid husain/ Physical Geography(Savinder Singh)

    Waiting for your reply

    Thank you

  33. mrunal sir kya sach mai aap meri help nai karengai.

  34. Do we really need to look at pib.nic news? I am asking this because most of the important updates are given in the Hindu,competitive magazines and your website.On some days,the news at pib is just too much data and it takes precious time.Please respond.

    1. the statements made by PM/FM in some conference, joint statements with some foreign country,
      ^they provide fodder for descriptive + interview.
      +briefs related to some scheme, defense training exercise

  35. sir ,not able to access the material from ignou history .tired making account but it is not working.could you help

  36. upsc notification put on hold…

  37. Sir,

    please tell me the full of strategy to qualify in prelim – 2013.
    Also suggest some books.
    waiting for your reply.
    thank you,

  38. Changes to UPSC exam suspended on 15th March 2013

    After huge controversy in Parliament today regarding removal of languages paper(Hindi,Marathi etc.) and making English mandatory, the govt. has put their decision on hold for time being. UPSC will clarify soon on this decision.

    If changes will be made then only in languages section, the optional paper will remain one only Not two.

    ADVICE- Concentrate on Prelims now, no need to panic.


    1. Sir, I want to know is the notification on hold is for English language only or is it for the entire new syllabus? I am indifferent to allowing students to give exams in regional languages but I will be saddened if the new syllbua (with a special focus on GS) is also on hold and will again be changed. Anyone please tell me

  39. UPSC notification has been suspended!

  40. hi mrunal thanks again for explaining the syllabus in a crystal clear way but there is some controversy regarding medium of exam as regional language aspirant are asking that this is not level playing field if they are not allowed to write in their vernacular medium.
    even the government has suspended the changes made in UPSC(mains)13. as on 16 mar 2013.what the fuss is all about can u please elaborate the final shape of notification ………..

  41. What is GS Manual ?
    Sorry I’m new here.

    1. GS manual has “History, Indian Polity, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity, Science, General Knowledge”. In short, in engineering parlance an “All in one”. :-)

    2. it is a thick book which includes all the topics of csat paper 1. example TMH General Studies, Upkar’s GS etc

    3. my two cents:

      GS Manual by Tata McGrawHill (or McGrill) is what can be called a ‘tome’

      To read it is like to be confined in a cage . It hampers your curiosity and kills you with ennui. What can be worse than wasting your precious money is to curb your enthusiasm.

      The better option is to “seek and destroy” i.e. have some flexibility in your sources . for eg. to read about environment and biodiversity , S&T go to google and wikipedia . This way you feel like you are interacting with a subject matter and it’s like sailing your ship by adjusting the mast rather than going where the wind takes you .

      What lures most of us laymen about Mcgrill is the one size fits all ease it appears to give. But it’s like getting internet explorer free with microsoft windows when actually you wanted google chrome.

      McGrill can be a basket with all your eggs in it.

      As they say, don’t put all your eggs in one basket

  42. now that i have to majorly depend on ignou mterial…how do i access it? it ask for some enrollment [email protected] sir HELPPPPPPPPPPP …..

    1. you’ve to register a (free) account on their site.

  43. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-upsc-rule-seen-to-be-discriminatory/article4513314.ece?homepage=true


    anybody having any idea what’s going on??
    i mean are we gonna give exam this year or not?????
    i thought one of the reason for UPSC being a constitutional body is to keep it out of ambit of petty regional politics(in defence of UPSC)….(against UPSC) UPSC should have taken atleast congress party if not entire UPA into its confidence coz putting of on hold after 10 days of publication of notification doesn’t give good impression about HOMEWORK DOING CAPABILITIES OF UPSC
    and one of the MP is asking for IMPEACHMENT OF UPSC CHAIRMAN for this….for which no word to tell

    I am full-time employee so its difficult for ppl like me to plan coz my leave application states leave from 1st may to 26th may,2013

  44. soooo now the notification is onhold……….

    1. mrunal sir as the updation still unclear from UPSC shouldnt we concentrate on basic books at first

  45. Hello Sir
    I have been following your google news reader subscriptions for 6 months now. Today while I logged in Google Reader to read The Hindu news, there was a message displayed which said Google Reader will retire on July 1,2013. I want to ask if there is any other better RSS reader where the google Reader subscriptions XML file can be exported and the same news items can be read?
    Please help.
    Thank you

  46. sir thanx 4 clearing our doubts .. bt y upsc keep on changing its pattern ..i hv purchased a brilliants tutorials correspondance course worth rs.18000 of 2011-2012 vch include gs pre nd mains material, aptitude material nd material on two optionals pub ad nd socio ..nd nw upsc has changed its exm patterns by removing 1 optional making my loss to its full extent ..nw wat i vil do wid dat material ..is it still useful for me ..plz help

    1. if someone buys any garbage from some factories that doesnt mean upsc should not change the pattern for his sake ….. dont overely on coachings…

      1. garbage ?? wat do u mean by dat .. i purchased dat material coz my college professor also read d same material for ias nd she also cleared d exam successfully bt couldnt join coz of sum personal problms nd she told me dat d material is excellent nd i should purchase it ..dats y only i did dat ..

        1. No material is garbage…..yes it will not be useful for a optional but since both your optional r humanity so u will find indirect use. Also do update the material.
          All i can recommend is stick to a source(a source mean which cover syllabus…brilliant will not cover complete syllabus – ignou is good & easy)explore it,revise a lot, comprehend always, write more more answers.
          Plan ur studies such that u conceptualize your idea always & remember what ever u hv studied..

          Write more & more answers with dia most of job will be done.

        2. Jo hai padho , sab material acha hai ..

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