[Strategy] How to spend 9 Months? To those failed in CSAT 2012 and want to reappear in 2013

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  1. First Task: Back up plan
  2. Other competitive Exams
  3. PG Degrees via Distance Learning
  4. Why IGNOU’s Distance Learning Programs?
  5. IFS, IES, Statistical Services
  6. Pick up some Activity
  7. Second Task : UPSC attempt for 2013
  8. August to November 2012
  9. January to May of Next year (2013)
  10. Coaching or no Coaching?

To those failed in UPSC CSAT-2012 and willing to re-appear for 2013. What to do for next 9-10 months?

First Task: Back up plan

  • Given the uncertainty involved in UPSC adventures, it is not a good idea to put all eggs in one basket.
  • Please note there are no cut and dry methods of “backup plans for UPSC”, so evaluate all the pros and cons based on your personality and alternative-career ambitions.
  • Those MBBS, CA, IITs etc. need not worry much about “backup”. But for the others ….here are some suggestions.

Other competitive Exams

  • Try for other competitive exams [IBPS (Bank), CPF, SSC, State PSC, CAT,CMAT etc.]  to prevent yourself from getting rusted and as “backup” plan.
  • I suggest all of you subscribe (Free) to Sarkari Naukri Blog. Here is the link . It’ll give you daily updates regarding vacancies in Government, PSU and Bank jobs.
  • The question always comes: How to manage time? Well most of them have overlapping syllabus with UPSC as far as GS is concerned.
  • But some of them are aptitude heavy (IBSP for example) so study two more books
  1. Quantam CAT by Sarvesh Kumar Varma (Arihan Publication) – for the math topics. Do upto Level 2 excercises of every chapter, and you should be able to walk scratch free, through every battlefield from IBPS to SSC.
  2. RS Agarawal’s book on Verbal and Non-Verbal Aptitude. – for Logical reasoning questions.

PG Degrees via Distance Learning

  • Those with optionals like Public Administration, Socio, Political Science, History (ie. courses for which IGNOU offers PG  Degrees), I suggest you pick up Distance Learning Post graduation course from IGNOU. Fees are very low so If you’ve Sociology then go for M.A. Sociology.   (These courses are also available in Hindi Medium)
  • It’ll help you hit two birds with one stone-you  get their quality study material + you get PG Degree at home.
  • Third bird = doing JRF, Ph.D etc and become a Professor in worst case scenario.
  • Yes most PG courses have duration of two years. But according to IGNOU rules, they can be completed in a span of five years. So you can give exam for first year in 2013 and second year may be in 2018.
  • You may try for some other courses of IGNOU like MCA, MBA etc. depending on your alternative-career ambition.

Why IGNOU’s Distance Learning Programs?

    • If you join a regular course from a decent college: fees will be high and, there will be hardly any time left for UPSC preparation.
    • IGNOU courses are quite easy to crack. You don’t have to prepare much for their term end exams (just solve last five years’ paper (available on their official website)- all questions are repeated!).
    • So go to the official website of IGNOU and download the free Prospectus and see details of all the courses offered procedure to get admission.Click me to download that PDF file (ENGLISH).

Click me to download that PDF file (HINDI).

For more, Visit: http://www.ignou.ac.in/ignou/studentzone/downloads/3


  • And IGNOU’s distance learning programs are recognized under UGC so your Degree is ‘legit’ for all Government  job exams.
  • And Given the “academic inflation”, every tom dick and harry is now a Post Graduate. So if and when you go for private company job interviews without PG degree in your file= doesn’t look good.


IFS, IES, Statistical Services

  • You may also go for IGNOU courses in Economics or Statistics to become eligible for UPSC’s Indian Economy Services (IES) and Indian statistical services.
  • If you’re an Engineer (non-IT field) or B.Sc with Agri/Zoology/Forestry etc. courses then try for Indian Forest Services (IFS).
  • But please goto the official site of UPSC and check their notifications and eligibility criteria for each of these exams.

Computer Course Certificate

  • For Bank Exams and some State PSC exam (such as GPSC), you need a fancy certificate to prove that you know computers. (Even if you’re proficient with computers without formal degree or course, you still need a certificate in your file.)
  • So Give an exam called “CCC” [Course on Computer Concepts].
  • It is conducted by DOEACC, [new name is National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology], which is an autonomous society under Government of India, therefore its fancy certificate is ‘legit’ for Government job exams (just like IGNOUs’).

Pick up some Activity

  • For example some NGO work, Part time job, social service or anything else that can look good in your biodata file during Interviews of UPSC, Bank, State PSC or private company. It’s not like you’re going to study for 18 hours a day from 1st August 2012 till May 2013. There are plenty of hours that can be utilized to make your “file” look better for the interviews.

Second Task : UPSC attempt for 2013

August to November 2012

  • Devote entirely to finish the syllabus of your two optional + GS (Mains)
  • And make revision notes of both optional subjects and for Static portions of GS Mains, including 2 marker freedom fighters.
  • ^ this is essential / compulsory / must/ no excuse.
  • Apart from that, you can
  • Prepare Skeletal essays for last 19 years’ papers. http://mrunal.org/2011/12/analysis-essay-topic-trends-in-last-19.html
  • If literature is one of your optional- then go through all the good reference books and write high quality answers for all of last 10 years’ UPSC papers. (reason: in most of the literature Optionals, the questions are repeated.)
  • + Maintain current affairs diary from daily newspaper reading. How to read newspapers- already explained in this article: http://mrunal.org/2012/06/current-affairs-ias.html
  • So next time whenever you clear prelims, much of your time will be saved in doing first hand study / notes making. And then you have to only do revision + current affairs + answer practice.

January to May of Next year (2013)

Coaching or no Coaching?

  • Some of those who failed in CSAT 2012, are asking “should I get coaching for next attempt?”
  • Well, coaching is not the panacea for UPSC. And please donot have the mentality that “I failed in CSAT-2012 because I did not have coaching.”

Mrunal recommends

113 Comments on “[Strategy] How to spend 9 Months? To those failed in CSAT 2012 and want to reappear in 2013”

  1. Hi,
    Can you tell me where to do that environment part for prelims..???

    1. @monika

      environ part..pick it up from ncert social science books..
      1.SELECT and read from geography book from seventh to 12th
      2.SELECT and read from ncert science books from 7th to 10th std
      3.HINDU S&T…these are fundamentals..you have to build on that after that with conf that are conducted acroo world..few imp alone
      4.nowadays UPSC questions on endangered,extinct animals..so just glance thro enironment survey of hindu..remember just GLANCE
      5.your biggest weapon here is common sense :P

  2. Mrunal please rply to my queries……

  3. Cud u provide with a brief plan on preparing for
    geography GS (pre n mains)? Is there any book for geog. apart from Ncert (similar to what laxmikant n ramesh Singh are for polity n eco)? (I mean simplied n to the point). kindly reply.

  4. waiting fr reply @mrunal………….:(

  5. Regarding goeg. preparation I am actually
    looking for a single book that will be able to cover static portion. Any other option apart from ncert and gs manual?(like maybe majid hussain etc. )

  6. Is it possible to get the Public administration/or any other notes without doing PG.Registrations for distance courses are over i think.

  7. Sir, my question remains unanswered regarding
    a single book for geography preparation for prelims n mains (gs) apart frm ncert.
    Kindly oblige me

    1. Given the nature of questions in last two years,
      NCERT, GS Manual, India Yearbook + current affairs = good and sufficient. (both mains and prelims)

      if you want extra preparation, then go for Khullar’s book on Indian Geography or
      Majid Hussain’s book on “India and World Geography”.

  8. pls answer me ……

  9. Mrunal 1st of all,my Regards to you for giving guidance and sharing the knowledge which you pertain regarding Civil Services.

    Mrunal,there is doubt which i want to get clear from you,Brother i am 02/04/1983 born from General Category,and working in an MNC after completing my MBA From IBS.

    Mrunal i just want to know that am i ill be eligible to give the 2014 Prelims as per age limitation or 2013 would be the last chance for me to have a go at UPSC Examas per the Age limitation of 30yr.

    Request you to kindly,help me with the calculation ,so ill decide whether to go for 2012,or 2014.


    1. for General category age limit: you must not be 30 years old on the 1st august of the given year. so calculate accordingly.

      1. mrunal sir can u pls guide me fr notes writing m highly confused n evn my ques is still un answered pl reply me

        1. Observe the notes of Neeraj Singh, Om Kasera and Kshitij Tyagi.

  10. helloo sir

    Is management is the good option for IAS or not

  11. Hi Mrunal…i have failed in my second attempt in pre exam…since my family’s financial condition is not good so i have to acquire a job (else in a private sector,as none of my govt exam got cleared this time),i m in a huge dilemma wether i should go for upsc or for my responsibility towards my family..plz guide me..
    i am a general candidate

    1. Best job would be lecturer or lab-assistant in some college. [or similar jobs with low work load].
      Then there will be sufficient time and energy left everyday for UPSC preparation.
      All the best.

  12. sir m waiting for reply

    1. Management is a good optional.
      but according to UPSC rules, you cannot take Management + Public Administration combo.

  13. Sir

    I failed in first two attempts to clear Pre in 11 and 12.
    Gave both attempts during my Job till june’12. Left it expecting positive result this time.
    Graduated from IIT in ’10, I now have two years of experience in Automobile sector, but I do not want to go back to that sector.

    Now i am in dilemma, If I sit for year long I will be in great pressure to crack Pre13 but I will have more time for study, classes and If I join a consultancy (as I want to switch sector and I believe it will be too late next year )I may again fail.If it was my Ist attempt I would have definitely sat idle but I am very afraid of the Pre exam now.I feel it is very unpredictable and If i fail next year there will be no backup.

    I joined test series for both optionals in June and studied half of both although not satisfactorily.

    It is difficult to put all emotions and anxieties, please guide.

  14. thanku so much sir,I have taken management+ economics as my optionals…could you provide previous year management papers

    1. Old papers can be found at UPSC’s official website.

  15. and also tell me from where can I purchase the complete package of management syllabus or please suggest
    books for this optional

  16. Dear sir,
    I’m PG diploma from IIM L.
    Am I eligible for IES( Economy services)

    1. check their notification on official website of UPSC.

  17. sir when i study hindu science &tech i am not able to recognise which part is important for mains kindly answer me

  18. Hai Mrunal!i like your website very much and I appreciate your work(sometimes i also feel why couldnt I) to guide the aspirants of upsc.You not only guide them to upsc but you also try to explore other career options,that means you are actually showing them the differents path to come up in their lives.Right now i have a doubt…..one of my optional is telugu literature…planning to attempt 2013….how hard should i struggle for literature…my other optional id pub-add…i thought i should put more efforts in pub-add.should i need to put extra efforts like gathering notes…etc..etc…in telugu literature?pls suggest me the correct way of handling my optionals
    ……………….pls reply

  19. sir,
    all blogs are very informative indeed..but i dont know why but after failing in 2 attempt i am just not able to put my efforts as i know i can do it…and above all the change pattern change pattern…can you tell me EXACTLY….how should i start with new stratergy and books should i start with..

  20. Hi Mrunal,

    I am working in the BPO Sector with an overall experience of 6 years in this field. I have gone through the tips you have given for working professionals. But I have to work in shifts and work load is too much. I have started following your tips, however not very confident as I am unable to retain what I study for a long time. But I want to target 2013.

    Not sure how to go ahead with it and make it a success..Could you please advise?

  21. good, I am also prepare for UPSC I am new , I want to becoming IPS, I am done BA , I am hindi midium, what book I am read to being IPS, plese help

  22. Sir,first of all many many congratulations for your sincere and genuine effort.I want to ask about the pattern and syllabus change for mains exam expected for2013.should we focus on preparing only G.S or continue to prepare for optional papers as well.time is limited but things are not clear yet.

  23. Hello sir
    there s news like upsc will change there mains pattern by next year, s it true sir?

  24. sir.i am a fresher engineer.i want to prepare IPS exam.what should i have to do&which material should follow

  25. Hi sir,
    I am shiva prasad studying in 5th semester,i wanna start preparation for civils examination how should i start initially later on how should i continue also guide me how to manage my academics with the preparation for civils

  26. sir aim 2nd year student doing mechanical engg,and i have started preparing for CSE following your post .i daily manage to read THE HINDU but some of my senior suggested me to hold for another a year as i might loose interest in CSE.SO PLEASE GUIDE ME AND GIVE YOUR SUGGESTION.

  27. Hi mrunal,

    I have been regularly following your blog and it’s simply awesome. I have a degree in mass media from University of Mumbai and now studying Dentistry, in third year.
    Luckily we had subjects like Modern World history, Sociology, Political Science and IR, English literature, etc. as part of our curriculum, hence things are coming handy to me now.

    I started preparing for UPSC CSAT from September this year and ultimately targeting 2014 Prelims.(although I am planning to appear in 2013 prelims with best efforts,but yet to finish my BDS)

    I have been following the book lists prescribed by you. So far, I realized my weak points as – Irregularity (bound with every exam), totally weak with current affairs (although i try reading news and collecting the gist from The Hindu website plus CSR magazine).

    -> I have to shuffle my studies between Dentistry and UPSC preps. which is a task itself

    -> Given the optional system, (if it continues) I have thought of Anthropology and Medical Science (closes to my present degree)

    -> Is this time frame of Sep. 2012 to April 2014, sufficient enough given the calculated irregularities, total lack of focus at times ?

    Please help regarding the same with your valuable advice.

    With regards


  28. Sir,
    I am thankful to you for valuable infomation.

  29. thank u sir for your valuable suggestion u r doing awesome job again thanks to u

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