mukund kumar AIR 54 upsc preparation strategy



Strategy:Mukund KR, AIR 54 (CSE 2019)



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Greetings everyone and Congratulations, as if you are on this page somewhere you have shown courage or atleast has thought to appear for the one of the toughest or perhaps most toughest exam of our nation. Bravo for making that decision !!

However, NO WORRIES at all !! We are here to make it fluid for you with our own time tested strategies.Well, moving on now :


My name is Mukund KR ( Well KR is not to be confused with Krishnamurthy Ramamurthy as it may have occured for fleeting seconds, rather its just shortened version of typical plain KUMAR :P). Moving on, I secured AIR-54 in UPSC CSE 2019. This was my maiden attempt and by God grace and tireless hard and smart work, I could make it to the HOLY PDF of this year.

Brief about my background : I was born and brought up in Madhubani district of Bihar, serious aspirants must have by now read about world’s famous Mithila painting aka Madhubani painting ; YES its same place and my home district. From there only, I did my primary education upto class five. Later on, joined Sainik School Goalpara by qualifying all-India competition in 2008. Hence, I completed my 10+2 education from Sainik School Goalpara, Assam in 2015 and graduated in English Literature from PGDAV College, Delhi University in 2018. My optional subject in CSE was Political Science & International Relations (PSIR).

Moving on, let us talk about imminent Prelims now : The first out of three stages and also most important gateway stage in CSE Examination.

PRELIMS STRATEGY : To begin with, this was the most challenging and terrifying stage of MY TRYST WITH CSE. I was much more nervous on the day of prelims examination, than on my interview day. It was just that I did not wish to waste my attempt in any case. I wanted to make sure that I do qualify prelims, so that at least I would get to write Mains and gain experience even if I flunk there in worst case scenario.

 So, I would strongly recommend that DO NOT TAKE THIS STAGE CASUALLY, this may not make you IAS (as its marks is not added in Mains) but may pretty well stop you from becoming one. Do take it very seriously and give your BEST SHOT here.

Now, some GENERAL ADVICES to keep in Mind before sitting for Prelims exam, as this is coming sooner :

1) Make sure you are well prepared for this stage : If not I would advice, do not hurry as not qualifying first stage itself may demotivate you for further attempts and also cost you one precious attempt. And believe you me, if you are well prepared and sit for prelims and qualify, your morale and energy for Mains would touch sky and you would be confident enough to do well in Mains as well.

By well prepared, I only meant that you have covered syllabus of prelims well in toto and have solved at least 30 Mock paper,including previous year paper of last 5-6 years.

2)  Next Do solve at least 30 Mocks : Before you sit for prelims exam,have minimum of 3000+ questiones practise experience in your hand. Make sure you are doing this following proper and exact way in which UPSC takes its examination. That is you put timer of two hours and strictly adhere to it by completing your paper along with bubble fill up within that time.

3) Take CSAT very seriously : Many  a times,it is also seen that X person could not make in prelims because s/he scored less than 67 marks in CSAT paper out of 200 Marks despite scoring 130+ marks in Genral Studies paper. Hence, make sure you do practice CSAT paper before sitting for prelims. Since it’s a qualifying paper, scoring 33% marks i.e just+ 67/200 and you will sail through easily. For evaluating where you stand in this zone, you can solve previous year CSAT paper of last 5-6 years. I did same. And if here, one is scoring above 120,one need not prepare separately and can go ahead with confidence that you have good command over CSAT and you will sail through it easily.  

If not, than analyse where you are going wrong and work for it. For example, If one is scoring poor in Maths, s/he can bank upon English comprehension and reasoning to get required marks. Depending on your own SWOT analysis, you can choose two section out of three (English comprehension,Basic numerical and Reasoning) to bank upon , and can score pretty well.

4)  While in Examination Hall : It is extremely important that one maintains calm and composure. Do stay confident. Do not have iota of doubt that you may not clear or similar negative thoughts. Just have confidence in you that you are well prepared and will make through, this will give you positivity to deal with questions attentively and with more care. Do not be upset or nervous, just because first few questiones are out of blue. Sometimes questiones ahead is easy ones, so being calm and confident is quintessential to do well in prelims.

5)    Minor tips while solving paper :

A) Read questions very carefully and better read TWICE, especially when it comes to correct / incorrect ; true / false and likes. Do not err here. It would be blunder that would make you repent for life . Be very very attentive and careful here.

B) Do use techniques like ELIMINATION method or negating extremities. However, again sometimes that may be trap so be wise enough to apply these techniques carefully and only when worth it.

C) If you have eliminated two optiones out of four, go ahead and choose one. That is the most safe risk one may take. I would strongly recommend that you attempt that question for sure as per my own personal experience. In most case, cumulative NET SCORE increases.

D) Do spare at least 30 minutes in the end ,to fill up bubble if you are not one who does it simultaneously like me. Do not wait for last minute rush, fill up bubble when 30 minutes are left and then again attempt those questions which you have not attempted yet.

E) Never take WILD GUESS in UPSC. If you do not know,leave it and move on. No need to attempt 100 questiones. You just have to score 120+ in paper 1, and you are safe to sail through even if cut-off goes very high,which is very unlikely seeing last few years’ cut off which hovers around 100 for General category.

6) Do not wait for Prelims result : Take rest of 3-4 days after exam, but do start preparation of Mains thereafter. Do not waste your time. Being more and well prepared is always better in any case.

With these advices and my all best wishes, signing off for now. Will be back SOONER to help you with detailed Mains and optional strategy by the time you complete PRELIMS exam. May the POSITIVE FORCE be with all of us,all the time. Hope to see you all here again post Prelims paper.

Credit : CSE wiki