[Studyplan] ACIO: Aptitude, Maths, Reasoning and English Essay for Assistant Central Intelligence Officer (ACIO) exam

Studyplan130 Comments

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  1. Prologue
  2. Maths / Quantitative Aptitude
    1. Probability
    2. Algebra, Linear Eq.
    3. Average- Allegation
    4. Time speed distance work
    5. Percentage, profit-loss, SI-CI
    6. Number theory, LCM-HCF
    7. AVP (Area Volume Perimeter)
  3. Reasoning
    1. #1: Chart based
    2. #2: coding n series + alphabet
    3. #3 Analogy, odd man
    4. Non-priority
  4. English
  5. Appendix: Download


In the Assistant Central Intelligence Officer (ACIO) exam, you’ve to face two papers

  1. Paper I: 100 Multi-choice questions from General Awareness + aptitude (=Maths + reasoning)
  2. Paper II: English Essay worth 50 marks

Total time limit: 1 hr 40 minutes

In this article, we see the approach for Maths, reasoning and English.

The approach for General awareness (History, geography, science, current affairs etc.) is given in a separate article: click me

In ACIO 2012 Question paper, the internal breakup was:

General Awareness79
Total MCQ100

Therefore, Maths+ Reasoning=9+12=21= approx. 1/5th of paper was about Aptitude. So cost:benefit is quite good but [email protected]=essential, otherwise following things will happen:

#1: silly mistakes in calculation






#2: formula problem

you won’t be able to recall formulas or you will plug wrong values in the formula=> either way answer will not come. (Example: area of equilateral triangle asked in ACIO-2012)

#3: time problem

  • In maths, Because of problem #1 + #2= your answer will not match the given options A/B/C/D then you re-calculate the whole sum again=time wasted.
  • In reasoning, you’ll take lot of time in each sitting-arrangement/blood-relation / coding-decoding type question. = time wasted

In short, if you want to crack a government / Bank / PSU exam=> aptitude [email protected] is essential.

Maths / Quantitative Aptitude

Donot Fear Maths, Donot Hate Maths. If you basic concepts are clear and you practice enough at home, then most of maths/reasoning questions can be solved without effort or mistake during the exam.

Negative thinking “maths is too difficult, ye mujse nahi hoga”=> you’ll only dig your own grave while others prepare maths and get selected for the job.

For all competitive exams of India, we can classify math topics into following

Regular topicsSSC/CDS/CAT exclusiveMisc Topics*
prepare for ACIOIgnore for ACIOprepare for ACIO
  1. basics (bodmas, surds-indices etc)
  2. Number theory, HCF, LCM
  3. Algebra, linear equation
  4. ratio-proportion-variation
  5. average, allegations
  6. %, profit loss, SI-CI (interest rate)
  7. Time-speed Distance and work (TSDW):includes pipe-cistern, boats streams
  8. AVP (Area-volume perimeter)
  1. Geometry other than AVP
  2. coordinate geometry
  3. trigonometry
  4. quadratic equations
  5. logarithms

(Usually non-SSC/CDS/CAT exam don’t bother much asking questions from this topics).

  1. PCP (Permutation-Combination-Probability)
  2. AP-GP (Arithmetic progression, geometric progression)

(Most govt-job exams nowadays don’t bother with these topics but they were asked in ACIO-2012 hence need to be prepared.)

Preparation Source:

  1. NCERT maths (free download @bottom)
  2. Mrunal.org/aptitude
  3. Any one Quantitate Aptitude book. Even second hand /used copy will work- you don’t need latest edition. Based on their utility for SSC-CGL exam, I classify the Quant books into 3 types:
will work in ACIO + Useful for SSC-CGL; CDSBecause quadratic eq., trigonometry and geometry-theory (non-AVP) is covered properly.

  1. Fast-track to Object Arithmetic (Rajesh Verma)
  2. Sarvesh Kumar (Quantam CAT)
will work in ACIO but Not so useful for SSC-CGL; CDSBecause quadratic eq., trigonometry and non-AVP geometry is not covered in length.
  1. M.Tyra Quicker Maths (BSC publication)
  2. R.S.Agarwal Quantitative Aptitude
Useless for any examReadymade Junk from jholachhap publishers like “ACIO guide book; RBI assistant guidebook; National Insurance AO guidebook” etc.
  1. For additional practice you may go through previous SSC question papers (but ignore trigonometry, quadratic equation and geometry except Area-volume-perimeter.)

Permutation combination probability (PCP)

In the late-90s, this used to be the hot-favorite topic for govt.exams, but nowadays rarely comes. However ACIO-2012 did contain two questions from PCP (meaning ACIO paper-setter uncleji still runs with 90s mindset) so you’ve to prepare PCP. Most of the PCP stuff can be solved without any formulas. Go through following articles

  1. [Aptitude] Permutation Combination made easy without Formulas
  2. [Aptitude] Combination: Coins possible Sums (without formula)
  3. [Aptitude] PnC: arrange such that two people Always sitting together?
  4. [Aptitude] PnC: How many Ways to arrange letters of word “RECUPERATE” (Permutation without Formulas)
  5. [Aptitude] PnC Arrange digits in ascending order to form numbers (asked in UPSC 2009)
  6. [Aptitude] PnC: Conditional Selection in Committee
  7. [Aptitude] PnC: Binomial Expansion. How many ways to select one or more out of given Items?

Additionally, I had also uploaded a few short-lectures about PCP on youtube you can see them on:


And then solve maximum questions from your Quant book.

Observe the questions from 2012’s ACIO paper:

There is a 7-digit telephone number with all different digits. If the digit at extreme right and extreme left are 5 and 6 respectively, find how many such telephone numbers are Possible.

  1. 120
  2. 1,00,000
  3. 6720
  4. 30,240

Seven digit phone number looks like this


so we’ve five empty seats, and we’ve 8 gentlemen (0,1,2,3,4,7,8,9). Question demand “all different digits” so we can’t use 5 or 6 again. so five seats and eight gentleman. Order/sequencing of number matters. (Because in phone number 1234 is different than phone number 4321). So this is a permutation problem.

= seat1 and seat 2 and …upto seat5

= _ x _ x _ x _ x _ (because in permutation/combination: “and” means multiplication)

= first seat has 8 option x second seat has 7 options x third seat has 6 options..

=8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4

=6720 Answer C


Probability questions can also be solved with mere extension of Permutation-combination concept. Read the following articles

  1. [Aptitude] Probability Made Easy (Extension of Permutation Combination Concept!)
  2. [Aptitude] Probability : Two Dice problems Sums and multiples

And then solve maximum questions from your Quant book.

Observe the Question from ACIO 2012:

A speaks the truth 3 out of 4 time, and B speaks truth 5 out of 6 times . What is the probability that they will contradict each other in stating the same fact?

  1. 2/3
  2. 1/3
  3. 5/6
  4. 1/21

A speak true=3/4 that means chances of A telling lie =(1- 3/4)=1/4

same way chances of B telling lie=1/6

In probability related question, convert the question into a Statement

Two people will contradict each other, when one speak truth and other is lying

=(A true AND B lie) OR (A lie AND B true)

but in probability, And=multiply (x) and OR=add(+) ;

=(3/4 x 1/6) + (1/4 x 5/6)

=3/24 + 5/24


=1/3 answer is B


arithmetic progressionBasics of Arithmetic progression explained in NCERT Class 10 Chap 5. (free downloads @bottom)
geometric progressionclass 11’s NCERT chapter 9.

Then practice sums from your quant-book. AP-GP does require memorizing a few formulas.

Observe the question from ACIO-2012 Exam

After striking the floor, a ball rebounds to 4/5th of the height from which it has fallen, Find the total distance that if travels before coming to rest if it has been gently dropped from a height of 120 metres.

  1. 540 meters
  2. 960 meters
  3. 1080 meters
  4. 1120 meters

Ball dropping=geometric progression (GP).

Approach #1

The special readymade formula for ball dropping GP case is,

Distance=height x (1 plus rebounding ratio) / (1 minus rebounding ratio)


=120 x (1+4/5) / (1-4/5)

=1080 mts

Approach #2

Distance travelled by ball

=down + {up + down} + {up + down} +… infinite (not infinite in reality though!)

=120 + {4/5(120) + 4/5(120)} + {4/5 [4/5(120)] + 4/5 [4/5(120)]}…upto infinite

=120 + 2 x 4/5(120) + 2 x 4/5 [4/5(120)]… upto infinite

=120 + 2 x 120(4/5 + (4/5)2 + (4/5)3…upto infinite)

but in such infinite GP series highlighted in bold, the summation formula is S=a /(1-r)

therefore sum of bold part


=120 + (2 x 120 x 4)

=120 + (120 x 8)

=120 x 9

=1080 meters.

Now, Moving to the regular topics:

Basics (bodmas, surds-indices etc)

In the banking exams, usually first few questions have lengthy multiplication division etc. based on BODMAS. While you don’t need that speed-maths ability for ACIO, but basics should be clear otherwise you’ll make silly calculation mistakes in remaining topics.

  1. Simplification (BODMAS)
  • NCERT Class 8 Chap 1
  1. Surds, indices
  • NCERT Class 8 Chap 12
  • Then NCERT Class 9 Chap 1
  1. Roots, squares, Cubes
  • Basics from NCERT Class 8 Chap 6 and 7.

Algebra, Linear Eq.

“Mother’s age was x and daughters age..”; “3 mangos and 5 bananas purchased for…” ; X+1/2x+3=3/8 then find X.

^This type of stuff. Just practice and you’ll get a hang of it.

  1. Basics given in NCERT Class 8 Chap 2 and 9.
  2. Then NCERT Class 9 Chap 4
  3. Lastly NCERT Class 10 Chap 3.
  4. them maximum practice from your quant book

let’s solve ACIO-2012 question

A toy weighing 24 grams of an alloy of two metals is worth Rs 174/-, but if the weights of the two metals be interchanged, the toy would be worth Rs 162/- If the price of one metal be Rs 8 per gram, find the price of the other metal used to make the toy

  1. Rs 10/ gram
  2. Rs 6/gram
  3. Rs 4/ gram
  4. Rs 5/gram

Suppose two metals: A and B. A costs 8 rupees and B costs “b” rupees.

Situation #1

metalpricewttotal price
m+n=24 gm (total qty)8m+bn=174…eq1

Situation #2

Now we interchange the weights

metalpricewttotal price
m+n=24 gm (total qty)8n+bm=162…eq2

now we’ve two equations



add left side to left side and right side to right side

(8m+bn)+ (8n+bm)=174+162



take “8” and “b” common


but we know that total weight of new alloy is 24gms that means m+n=24

8 x 24 + b x 24=336

24 x (8+b)=336=> you get value of b=6

Ans. price of second metal is Rs.6 per gram

Average- Allegation

  1. Wine-Water mixture (Alligations)
Can be solved without formula. Go through http://mrunal.org/2012/03/aptitude-alligationsmixturesalloys.html
  1. Simple Average
complex questions can be made even from simple average. click me to solve them without formulas
  1. Ratio-Proportion-variations
For ratio-proportion NCERT Class 8 Chap 13.
  1. Partnership

Time speed distance work

This involves

  1. Time speed distance
  2. Trains, platforms
  3. Boats-streams
  4. Time and Work
  5. Pipes and Cisterns

All of them can be solved with our universal STD formula. see following articles to learn the concept

  1. [Aptitude] TSD: Average Speed made easy without Formulas (Our Good ol’ STD-Table Method!)
  2. [Aptitude] TSD: Average speed question from CSAT-2012
  3. [Aptitude] Pipes and Cistern problem: 3 pipes, 2 work together
  4. [Aptitude] STD Table: Two complex cases of Time and Work
  5. [Aptitude] Time n Work : P and Q start together but P leaves after some days
  6. [Aptitude] Boats and Streams made-easy using our STD-Table Method
  7. [Aptitude] TnW: How long did the Work last?
  8. [Aptitude] TnW: A is thrice as good as workman as B
  9. [Aptitude] Time n Work: 4 men and 6 women can complete a work in 8 Days then
  10. [Aptitude] Time n Work :Daily Wages and Share in Payment

Then solve max. questions from your quant book

let’s try the question asked in ACIO 2012

  1. A man decides to travel 80 kilometers in 8 hours partly by foot and partly on a bicycle. If his speed on foot is 8 km/hr and on bicycle 16 km/hr, what distance would he travel on foot?
    1. 20 km
    2. 30 km
    3. 48 km
    4. 60km

Suppose he walked for “t” hours on foot. meaning he spent (8-t) hours on bicycle. (because total time he took is 8 hrs)

Then make an STD table like this:

on footon bicycle

STD formula is: speed x time = distance

Apply it in both cases and fillup cells

on footon bicycle
distance(D)8 x t16 x (8-t)

As per the question we know that total distance he covered was 80kms. Therefore

(distance covered on foot)+(on bicycle)=80

8t+16 (8-t)=80

8t+ (16*8)-16t=80

-8t+ 16*8=80

when you solve this equation you get t=6 hrs. update the table

on footon bicycle
distance(D)8×6=48kms16 (8-t)

Ans. He travelled 48 kms on foot.

Approach #2: Alligiation (Wine Water)

we can also solve this question using alligiation method. How?

first understand the concept explained in following article:

[Aptitude] Alligations,Mixtures,Alloys: Water,Milk,Wine mixing: Weighted Average

let’s check the same ACIO question again

A man decides to travel 80 kilometers in 8 hours partly by foot and partly on a bicycle. If his speed on foot is 8 km/hr and on bicycle 16 km/hr, what distance would he travel on foot?

Since he travelled 80kms n 8 hours, his average speed is

Speed x time = distance

Speed x 8 =80=> avg. speed = 80/8=10

Make the wine-water table:

concentration (speed)8 (foot)10 (avg)16 (cycle)
volume (time)t(8-t)

Apply the visual move, you get two equations:


16-10=t => t=6

10-8=(8-t) =>t=6

In either case t=6

And the distance travelled on foot=> speed x time=8 x 6=48 kms our final answer.

for getting more grip: read following article

  1. [Aptitude] Product Consistency: If Sugar price increases then consumption should be Decreased by What %, Time-Speed-Distance problems,
  2. [Aptitude] Alligation: Advanced applications in Interest rates, Profit-loss, Average Wages (Wine-Water Concept)
  3. [Aptitude] Time n Distance: Early and late to office (shortcut using product consistency method) for SSC, IBPS, CSAT, CAT, CMAT

Percentage, profit-loss, SI-CI

All questions whether it is profit-loss-discount-market price ; or simple / compound interest or population increase / decrease=>all of them can be solved without formulas, as long as your basic concept about % is clear. so first understand the concept from following articles

  1. [Aptitude] Concepts of Marked Price and Successive Discounts (Profit-Loss) without (stupid) formulas
  2. [Aptitude] Compound Interest Rate, Population Growth without Formulas
  3. [Aptitude] Alligation: Advanced applications in Interest rates, Profit-loss, Average Wages (Wine-Water Concept)
  4. [Aptitude] Product Consistency: If Sugar price increases then consumption should be Decreased by What %, Time-Speed-Distance problems,

Now let’s try the ACIO 2012 question

Due to a 25 % increase in the price of rice per kilogram a person is able to purchase 20 kilograms less for Rupees 400. What is the increased price of rice per kilogram?

  1. Rs 5
  2. Rs 6
  3. Rs 10
  4. Rs 4

this question calls for ‘product consistency’ approach

If rice price increase by 25% then consumption must decrease by…20% (how? let’s see)


25% increase= new price is 125%=5/4

now just inverse it and subtract from 1



That means If rice price increase by 25% then consumption must decrease by…20%

But in the question they’re saying “When rice price increased, customer could be 20kg less”

Meaning the decrease of 20kg=20% of the original qty.

Then what was the original qty of rice that customer could buy, before the price rise?

in this question, situation is simple: 20%=20kg then obviously 100%=100kg.

meaning customer was originally buying 100kg rice, for rupees 400. and now he can buy only 100-20=80 kg for 400 rupees.

Therefore, new price of rice per kg =Rs.400/80kg=5 Rs.per kg.

Number theory, LCM-HCF

  1. Divisibility, remainders
  2. LCM and HCF
  3. Unknown numbers from given conditions
  4. Fractions-comparisons.
  1. my article explaining the concept of HCF, LCM click me
  2. NCERT Class 7 Chap 2, 9 (fraction)
  3. NCERT Class 10 Chap 1 (divisibility)
  4. Finally practice sums from your Quantitative aptitude book.

let’s check Questions from ACIO 2012

Three bells chime at intervals of 48, 60 and 90 minutes respectively. If all the three bells chime together at 10 AM, at what time will all the three chime again that day

  1. 1 PM
  2. 2 PM
  3. 8 PM
  4. 10 PM

This is an LCM question

LCM of (48,60,90)=720 (how to find LCM has been explained in above article)

Meaning they’ll ring after 720 minutes (but we’ve to convert it into hours): 720/60=12hrs

If bells rang together @10AM then they’ll again ring after 12hrs. (Imagine wall clock’s hour hand moving)=after 12 hours the hour hand will again come @10 but it’ll be night= 10PM answer is D

Finding last two digits

This was also asked in ACIO-2012

  1. Find the last two digits of : 15x37x63x51x97x17
    1. 35
    2. 45
    3. 55
    4. 85

Make pairs of two number, just focus on last two digits.

15 x 37 =15(30+7)=150+105=last two digits 55

63 x 51=63 (50+1)=3150+63=last two digits 13

97×17=17(90+7)=1530+119=last two digits 49

Now we’ve three new numbers: 55 x (13 x 49)

13 x 49=13 (40+9)=520+117=last two digits 37

now we’ve two numbers

55 x 37 =55 (30+7)=1650 + 385=last two digits 35

Final answer: 35.

AVP (Area Volume Perimeter)

  • Basics explained in NCERT Class 8 Chap 3, 11.Then NCERT Class 9 Chap 9, 12, 13.
  • Lastly NCERT Class 10 Chap 13
  • in your quant.book you’ll find the consolidated list of formulas and demo questions.

Let’s check the question asked in ACIO2012

A circle is inscribed inside an equilateral triangle touching all the three sides, If the radius of the circle is 2 cm, find the area of the triangle.

  1. 15 root 3
  2. 18 root 3
  3. 12 root 3
  4. 12 root 2

Aptitude-acio-2012-avp-triangle problem

In equilateral triangle, if you draw a median, then the center of incircle divides it in 2:1 ratio.=>total length is 3 parts.

Meaning 1 unit =>total length of median will be 1 x 3 =3 unit

We know that radius is 2cm. 2 unit=>total median length will be 2 x 3=>6 units (cm)

Then you run Pythagoras, you get side “a”=(12 / root3)

Aptitude-acio-2012-avp-triangle problem p2
And for equilateral triangles the area is=(root3)/4 x a2
Plug in the value of “a” and you get answer=12 root 3.
Aggarwalenough of maths, let’s move to…


As per ACIO-2012 paper, this portion punning more or less parallel to other exams minus non-verbal ability.
the Recommended Book is as usual: RS Aggarwal’s Modern Approach to verbal and non-verbal reasoning . Then the question is, how to prepare reasoning in systematic manner in the given time?
Do it in following way

#1: Chart based

  • This includes: Direction sense test, Sitting arrangement (rectangle, circular, building, lecture schedules etc.) and blood relations.
  • I club them together because in most of them you’ve to make rough diagram / chart / table to solve it. prepare them in following order:
Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
1.Direction Sense Test.8
2.Sitting arrangement: circular6
3.Sitting arrangement: rectangle6
4.Sitting arrangement: “table” based e.g. lecture schedules, job-car-cloth color, building-car-newspaper etc.6
5.Blood relations5,6
6Number ranking time sequence12
7arithmetic reasoning15

#2: coding n series + alphabet

Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
2alphabet tests10
3.Alpha-numeric sequence puzzle11

#3 Analogy, odd man

Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
2.Oddmen out3 (chapter title is “Classification”)


After you’re done with above topics, if time permits, do following “non-priority” things from RS Agarwal’s

topicchapter in RS Aggarwal’s reasoning book
Input Output7
Logical venn diagrams9
Mathematical operations13
logical sequence of words14
insert missing characters16
Data sufficiency17
Eligibility tests18
situation-reaction, assertion-reasoning, verification of truth19 to 21.
logical deduction (syllogism etc)section II of his book
non-verbalend part of his book

Reasoning questions asked in ACIO 2012

coding decodingcoding decoding
  1. If in a coded language MADRAS is written as LBCSZT, how would BOMBAY be written?
    1. APNCBX
    2. APLCZZ
    3. CPOCBZ
    4. CQOCBX
  1. If under a certain code the Word CARROM is written as BZQQNL, which word will be Coded as HOUSE
    1. GNTRD
    2. INVRF
    3. IPVTF
    4. GPTID
sitting arrangementblood relations
  1. Five persons A, B, C, D and E are sitting in a row facing you such that D is on the left of C; B is on the right of E; A is on the right of C and B is on the left of D. If E has only one neighbor, then who is sitting in the centre?
    1. A
    2. B
    3. C
    4. D
  2. A four-person team from Asian Paints is painting Foolan’s house. Mehmood is painting the front of the house. Ramesh is in the alley behind the house painting the back . Jeevan is painting the Window frames on the north side and Sudhir is on the south. If Mehmood switches places With John, and John then switches places with Sudhir, where is Sudhir how?
    1. in the alley behind the house
    2. on the north side of the house
    3. in front of the house
    4. on the south side of the house
  1. In a family of five persons, Dinesh is Jairam’s son and Gopal’s brother while Meeta is Gopal’s mother and Jayanti’s daughter If there are no step brothers or half brothers in the, family which of the following statements is true?
    1. Jayanti is Dinesh’s mother
    2. Meeta is Dinesh’s Mother
    3. Jayanti is Jairam’s grandmother
    4. All the above
  2. Rahul’s mother is the only daughter of Monika’s father. How is Monika’s husband related to Rahul’s?
    1. Uncle
    2. Father
    3. Grandfather
    4. Brother
DBT (Direction Based Test)Puzzle Test
  1. ln an exercise, Krishnan walked 25 metres towards South and then he turned to his left and moved, for 20 metres, He again turned to his left and walked 25 metres. Thereafter,he turned to his right and walked 15 metres. What is the distance and direction of his present location with reference to the starting point,
    1. 74 metres North East
    2. 60 metres North
    3. (iii)35 metre East
    4. 40 metres South East
  2. A man is facing west. He turns 450 in the clockwise direction and then another 1800 in the same direction and then 2700 in the anticlockwise direction. Which direction is he facing now?
    1. (i)South -West
    2. (ii) South
    3. (iii) North-West
    4. (iv) West
  1. Indira is three times older than Yogesh while Zaheer is half the age of Wahida. If Yogesh is older than Zaheer then Which of the following statements can be inferred ?
    1. Yogesh is older than wahida.
    2. Indira is older than Wahida.
    3. Indira may be younger than Wahida.
    4. None of the above
  2. four sisters-Suvarna, Tara, Uma and Vihba are playing a game such that the loser doubles the money of each of the other players from her share, They played four games and each sister lost one game in alphabetical order, At the end of fourth game, each sister had Rs.32. How much money did Suvarna start with?
    1. Rs 60
    2. Rs 34
    3. Rs 66
    4. Rs 28
1. If it was Saturday on 17th December, 1982 what will be the day on 22nd December, 1984(i) Monday(ii)Tuesday(iii) Wednesday

(iv) Sunday

1. One term in the following number series is not correct. 15, 16, 22, 29, 45, 70 Find out the wrong term?(i) 16(ii) 22(iii) 45

(iv) 70


Unlike SSC/IBPS/LIC/CAPF/CDS, here you don’t have to face any grammar, comprehension, vocabulary, idioms or phrases. You just need to write one essay worth 50 marks.

Copy pasting the ACIO-2012 Question paper

Write an essay in English language in only on any one of the following topics is not more than 400 words. (50 marks)

  1. India’s Space Programme
  2. Causes of corruption in India
  3. How to deal with left wing extremism.
  • Depending on your font-size/handwriting, 400 words meaning ~4-5 pages (single-side).
  • To write a decent essay, what you need is decent points. Essay can be on variety of topics, so ideally you need to keep reading newspapers, magazines, and some good books from library on regular basis. After some months, you have good points on almost every topic.

However: given that not many weeks are left before the ACIO exam- what to do for Essay?

@the bottom of this article, I’ve given two things

  1. IGNOU India democracy and Development zip file. This PDF set contains lot of fodder points to approach most of the social/democracy/Development etc. topics related essays.
  2. Topic wise Huge list of essays, from previous UPSC, LIC etc exams.

Fundamental principles remain same like UPSC Essay: spend the first few minutes on brainstorming the idea. Then rank those ideas, start writing essay: introduction >> body (+/- pros, cons) >> conclusion. (click me for more on Essay tips)

Then every day, you try to solve a few essays in your head: Brainstorm for the idea, what will I write in this essay? Can I write 400 words or not- if not then dig books/google for the content.

Also write a few essays on your own every week. (If you don’t have writing practice, then you won’t be able to maintain speed doing the actual exam)

there is no dearth of readymade essay books in the market, but that type of firefighting/desi jugaad, I don’t find it very helpful because such books are either outdated (only reprinted, not updated after 90s), and or don’t cover all the necessary topics. But still, if you want to refer to any books, you may use Spectrum Book of Essays or if you have anyother book- that is also fine. You don’t have to reproduce the same essay verbatim from those books, you can write the essay in your own words- but try to avoid silly grammar/spelling mistakes, write as neatly as possible, without any scratches.

Appendix: Download

NCERT Mathematics

Mathematics Class 8Download
Mathematics Class 9Download
Mathematics Class 10Download
Mathematics Class 11 (Only AP, GP)Download

Essay writing

  1. for Essay fodder points: IGNOU booklet India Democracy and Development (MPS-003)
Click Me
  1. for additional Essay practice: big list of mock topics
Click Me

The strategy/approach for GA/GK portion of ACIO exam is given in a separate article click me

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  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

So far 130 Comments posted

  1. bruce

    if i start studying now , say like 25/8/2013.
    iam coward, and a looser and failure , i dnt have guts, i just seen the syllabus . i have the material for group 1 appsc books 2012 and civils upsc 2011 books and this particular to back me up .
    my question is can i start now and make it go to the interview round

    1. ashu

      dn’t underestimate urself & u r not coward becoz giving such daring exam needs guts.just have a gud start..besties

    2. Francis

      U r daring enough guts to atleast face it. however 1c graduated u should find it easy to cope with the studies of class 5-10 very easy, it will be like revising. So buddy just now focus what u want to do now…Best of luck.

  2. ngangom meetei

    Thanks U very much

    1. puneet

      best of luck!!!!!!!1

  3. Pocahontas

    sir do u hv any idea about cut-off previous years

  4. madhav jagtap

    thanks sirji..keep godd work going on…

  5. avinash

    Respected Mr. mrunal:
    I would appreciate you for your such type of yeoman’s service,
    but mr. mrunal,i would like to say that your explanations of the questions of maths/reasoning are so lengthy,while these questions can be solved with short cut.. am i right..??
    pls revert me,

    kind regards,

  6. Wasim

    Thanx sir thanxxxxxxx for your help here

  7. rocky

    sir can u please suggest sample esaay topics to have glance look …….?

  8. sabya


  9. rocky

    sir can u keep some topics related to essay for acio ib..

    1. harish

      most probably they may be asking essays relating to current situation such as capitive punishment women empowerment or are women safe in this country tellangana issue i mean is divinding a state good or bad for the country

  10. chandresh arya

    Helpful material…..Thanks for post this material


    sir i have color blindness nd i had apply for acio, now i think if i will disqualify in medical test, than why should i place my energy in this exam,
    sir pls make is it ok or not that i have color blindness nd i apply for this exam as soon as

  12. harish

    good work sirji for aspirants like us who have brains but could not utilise it in the right way

  13. RAJESH

    sir can tell me the cut off marks of 2012.

  14. Pratyusha Reddy

    Sir what is the previous cutoff and is their any negative marking?

  15. UD

    whats the job profile…
    please soe one tell..

  16. giri

    I need ACIO 2013 answer key and cut-off

  17. vasant

    When i saw for Lucent’s GK Book on flipkart it shows 2011 edition. should I purchase it for the preparation of ACIO?

  18. Chetan Pankaj

    36 days to go for ACIO result..


      I have also cleared the written examination of ACIO Grade-II/Executive. My interview is on 14/1/2014. in lucknow
      MY MOBILE NO. IS 9807657284

    1. pandurang

      SSQ & AF- bilingual form ka font kharab hai……..are you facing same problem….??

  19. vk

    cleared acio exam(7th exam of the year) for continuously 3rd time, failed once in interview and skipped one interview, plz share interview experience

    1. dev IIT R

      share ur interview experience bro…

  20. dexter

    plz post interview call letter link

  21. jeet

    Even i have cleared the exam and my interview is scheduled on 17/01/2014
    congrats to all of my brothers…..any tips for interview will be helpful and appreciated !!!!!!!

  22. salim

    i have also cleared.can any1 tell how many people have been shortlisted ?

    1. pandurang

      approx 4000……..definately less than 4000 to be precise.

  23. swapnil

    i hv also cleared ACIO 2013 .mine is on 14th jan is der anyone on this date..any information about interview..how to crack?

  24. chaudhary

    Cngratz evrybdy… I too Cleard acio.. My dream job! Any suggestions?

    1. lav

      dude how u prepared for acio…please give some tips

  25. RANI

    Can anyone tell the total marks allotted to interview..150 marks for written and how many marks for interview?

  26. ANUJ

    4000 people clared the exam of acio 2

  27. BOND

    I too gave this exam…but nt able to clear this time…congratulations for those who hve cleared….plzz tell wat was der expected score in paper 1???

  28. vaibhav pandey

    hi,i have been informed by sms that i have been shortlisted for interview.
    but i don’t have my registration id as well as my roll no..i have lost them,can anyone suggest me that how can i get my roll no or my registration id.

    1. VIBHOR

      from ur mail account

  29. sourav




    please help here

  30. hema

    my interview date is jan 16 2014. first time so please share helpful tips to clear interview friends

  31. swati

    plz guide for interview .is there any phsical test in it.my interview is on 16 jan 2014

  32. Nilanjan(Guwahati)

    Thank you Mrunal for these stupendous explanations……. have been following your articles since long without any intentions of appearing any exams. But, there is such an enigma in your site, couldn’t help but… ekbar to try banta hai 🙂 Thank you… for your unprecedented guidance.

  33. AmitRochates

    Mrunal sir,

    My DOB is 08/07/1987, age 27 (on the closing date i.e. Nov 9), however i am not able to apply online. I sent an email to ACIO helpdesk even they said that i am eligible however the system is not accepting it. They said Age matrix is build in the application & it should accept. Please advise what i should do in order to apply. SOS !!!

    1. Aanya

      You already completed 27 years on 8/7/2014 so on the closing date you are 27+ …. You are not eligible

      1. AmitRochates

        Ok. Thanks Aanya.

    2. osho baba

      did u mention that u r 27+.. ??if help desk is saying eligible then u must be eligible..call them…

  34. kumar

    Hii can any one tell me what to fill in Home state option while filling ACIO form.
    should it be same as correspondence address state ?

  35. sreepal

    please any one tell me ….how would be the paper 2 in acio….other than essay what they r gng to ask…can any one please tell me….thanking u

  36. sreepal

    please any one tell me ….how would be the paper 2 in acio….other than essay what they r gng to ask…can any one please tell me….thanking u….

    1. ravi

      in paper 2 essay only

  37. aastha

    links to download maths ncert are not working..unable to download….pllzzz help!!!

  38. MERAJ

    marvellous job… Mrunal sir

  39. Very useful materials for acio exam. thank you

    sir please suggest the essay topics for 2014 acio exam .that will helpful for us…

  40. sandeep

    hi sir .Can u keep some essay topics on ib acio plz sir thank uuuu

  41. LIZA

    ACIO Admit Cards released.

  42. yoginder

    Please post some expected essay for acio exam 2015

  43. sru

    great work..thanks a lot sir

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