UPSC IAS topper strategy by Rishab Jain, AIR 23, CSE 2018

UPSC IAS topper strategy by Rishab Jain, AIR 23, CSE 2018

Tips on Prelims

Hi guys,
This is Rishab. I’ve cracked Prelims in all my three attempts. I’ll share my last month strategy with you guys.

1. Solve as many mocks as possible. And if you’ve solved them, then revise them periodically. I had solved somewhere around 50 mocks and revised them twice.

2. Work on your map daily. Every year geography has so many questions on map. Don’t skip map for the next 30 days. Cover India and World map thoroughly in the next 30 days.

3. Analyze your plus and minus. Know your accuracy level in getting the number of questions right and wrong

4. In the last one week, focus on Polity and History. They’re factual subjects and you need to remember facts accurately. Hence learn them thoroughly in the last few days such that you can remember.

5. Geog, envi and economy are conceptual ones. So complete them now when the stress level is low. Later the stress can get very high which may lead to a situation of underperformance

6. Don’t compare yourself with any of your friends. That’ll do more harm. You make a plan and stick to it.

7. Finally be confident about your prep

Tips for Prelims :

1. Practice doing a mock with some sort of disturbance. You’ll be writing test in govt schools with no working fan, horn sound, dancing tables etc. Get used to these.

2. When you’re writing the test, the invigilator will come and give the attendance sheet to fill in. Don’t make mistake in that. Also there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the entire 2 hrs. The time may be 5-10 mins short. So be mentally prepared to face any challenge in the examination hall

3. Enter the hall just half n hour before the commencement. If you go there you’ll find people reading books which you’ve never heard of. Ignore them.

4. Eat a healthy BF. Possibly something less oily and spicy. Keep you well hydrated from now itself. Decide your meal diet from now till the exam. Don’t eat oily stuff or outside food.

5. Revise a lot. This one month of revision = year long prep. So revise properly. Don’t read anything new now. No use.

History looks like an hard nut for all. Let me share a very simple and effective strategy.

1. Focus Revision on Modern India- You get minimum 7-8 questions from this… And particularly Gandhian Era, peasant revolts, Governor Generals and Socio Religious movement

2. Those who haven’t touch Ancient/medieval. Don’t go for it know.

3. Focus on art and culture particularly
Architecture, north eastern Dances, festivals and tribe. Be thorough with
Sikhism and 10 Sikh Gurus, books of Dara shikoh.

4. Go thorough Vision pt 365 for art and culture

5. Finally solve all previous year Questions from History ( very important) to know variety of questions + there are repetition in history (polity to some extent).

Revision- smart revision is key guys
All the best!

There’s a question about what’s a good attempt? How many questions should one ideally do?

My strategy :

First reading : Usually 35-40 question with an accuracy of 90%. This is the most crucial part. In this I’ll read all the 100 questions, mark the right ones, eliminate the wrong 1-2 options in other questions and eliminate those questions in which I’ve no idea

Second reading: 35-40 questions. Usually these are the questions n which I’ve eliminated two options and struck with two. The probability says 50% will be correct. With correct guesses this percentage will improve to 70%

Third reading : those questions with just one option eliminated. And those questions where I’ve a gut feeling about the right answer. Mark in such a manner that 50% of questions you get correct.

So in total, 85 for civils and 90+ for forest is must.

Now, how to know our accuracy level?

Follow the simple steps

1. Solve any mock. During the marking process, put some sign adjacent to the question. *, # or anything to mark that as your first attempt, second attempt etc.

2. Now after checking the entire key, go attempt wise analysis. See what’s your accuracy in the first reading attempted questions, second one etc

3. Attempt more no of mocks to practice and improve your score.

 Economics is where people are facing a lot of difficulties. So here’s a plan for you guys

1. Total 12-16 questions. Few questions from core economics (both conceptual and terminology based), one or two question on any report released, two to three questions on any govt schemes, budget and economic survey based questions, one or two in agriculture, industry, Current affairs etc.

How to cover core economics easily

1. Use shankar ganesh to brush up the easier concepts

2. Go to and download his PPT on economics. They’re one of the best freely available resources for economics. Revise those PPT.

3. Solve 3-4 mock tests on Core economics. I’ve solved Vision ias and ShankAr ias mocks. You can also do that. Check the syllabus and solve them. If already solved then revise them.

4. Solve UPSC CSE PYQP on economics. Use Disha’s past 25 years solved Qp book for that.

Current affairs
1. Read budget speech and all the important schemes announced in it. Don’t just focus on read the schemes but go to their website and see them in detail

2. If you’ve made economics based daily CA notes well and good, revise them. If not, pick up any two institutes prelims  CA module and revise them properly. This is just a shortcut but you can click few questions.

Govt schemes
1. Your focus must be on the latest schemes in the budget or so. So focus more on these. Again, coaching institute booklets are available. One can refer them if personal notes are not available

1. Most of them will be covered by current affairs modules. If not, then download reports module pdf from

Some tips
1. Go to and check the FAQ’s and recent announcements. Every year one question wrt RBI or banking does appear. So checkout Rbi website once.

2. Use for recent updates on any schemes. It’s a website run by the IES officers. So it’d be very helpful for you guys.
One tip wrt Prelims

Those who are preparing ancient India, focus more on Jainism and Buddhism. In the last few years I see one or two questions asked from these topics. Your NCERT’s knowledge won’t be helpful here. So dig deeper. Spend few hours in analyzing about these religions. Buddhism is a favourite topic for UPSC. Don’t spend a whole day behind the topics. Just 2 hrs of research is enough. Solve the PYQP of UPSC prelims on these topics. All the very best


1.Comparing your last year’s marks,  whether it is high r low, whether prelims, mains or interview.
Situation of past is different from this year.

2. Giving less priority to any subjects. It will cost very dear.

3. Avoid  reading any new materials now onwards. New facts are completely fine. But not material.

4.writing too many marks. Few Will be confident. Not suits for many. Instead try to read those mocks with solutions. But be specific. Don’t worry about the Marks. Focus on your mistakes.

5.  Don’t read  in depth now. It will eat our time. Give revision whether it is conventional or current affairs.

Keep your material very precise.
Basic books are more than enough.
Keep Atleast 4-5hrs daily for this.

2. Take only one CURRENT AFFAIRS material.  If u had any own written notes, or any  online source  familiar to you better.
Try to cover one month per day from now onwards.
So two revisions  are completely possible. – 3-4 hrs daily.

3. Revise the test series questions which you did this year.  This is most important. Take one r two question paper and read with solutions. Spend 2-3hrs daily.

4. Whenever you want to relax, solve one previous year question paper. Vishal or wizard will be better. But revise it next day with your friends or alone.

5. Read one chapter from introduction to fine arts n give glimpse in India year book.

6. Spend 1-2hrs for csat. Solving previous year qstns are enough.

7.spend 30mins for map  before sleep.

Last 20 days tips for Prelims

1.By this time pls start Revise what you have done so far.

Whether it is convention, ur own currentaffairs notes r any thing.

This is the right time to revise all your stuffs.

2. If you are preparing for any state public service exams like TNPSC which will come next month or July, pls press PAUSE button for a while.

Now focus entirely on prelims.

3. If you are still going to work couldn’t get leave, try to workout 6hrs per day apart from your office timings.

If u have any buffer in office – solve previous year questions and current affairs.

4. Most important – find your strong area and weak area at this point of preparation.

If you are not clear about your strong area, solve any test questions of concerned subjects.
Eg: I feel I m strong in history, but I do more mistakes when solving the questions, then   alignment is needed.

Just go through the uncomfortable or  less confident areas in that particular subject is enough.

So without hesitation  please cross check your belief and fact.
Try to align quickly. on your weak area is of utmost important.
Spend 30mins – 1hr extra for that subject in your daily schedule.
Try to solve maximum questions here.
The basic idea is how we are managing these questions decently.

6. This is the time to get fear over  CSAT.
My suggestion is – spending an hour regularly in afternoon & solving previous year questions is highly enough.

7. Focus on clearing forestry cutoff. So clearing civil service prelims  will be easier.

8. Take ur mock test marks  light. Instead of marks focus on  your repeated mistakes.
Analyze ur mistakes and try to take calculated risk.

Definitely this will improve your confidence and marks.

Sleep well.
Dont disturb your sleep cycles at this moment.
Go with the flow.

Take note on dehydration.
Drink lot of water

Do any activity  like yoga r walk for 20mins either in the morning or evening.

Stay positive.
Whenever you feel low,
Take a short break – 10-15 mins.
Relax yourself.
Solve some puzzle kind of questions.
Come back to normal mode again.

Dont worry about optional, mains or interview or any other personal issues or any problems.

Aloof yourself.

Focus only on prelims.
Definitely you will..
20days are really magic.
If you put yourself completely.

What should you do before going to prelims exam hall
Final Count Down to 2019 Prelims and Gateway to your Dreams have begun…

Make sure to take this things on the day of Prelims.
*Hall Ticket with Instructions page along with the mentioned ID proof*
1. Two Black Ball point Pens
2. A whitener ( But try avoiding its use)
3. A Watch
4. Water with Glucose ( Very much Important)
5. Take some Chocolate to give you instant sugar rush and energy

Have shot of coffee between GS and CSAT. It will keep your brain awake and alert.
Keep drinking lots of water.
Manage your time in the exam hall. Do not panic.
Don’t go with any expected questions, topic … Just go with confidence.

Years of toiling and hardwork is destined to meet success. Don’t let it go for impatience, fear, low confidence.

1. Reach your center before time. Don’t take a chance. ( People in Anna Nagar Chennai don’t be dependent on OLA or share taxi services. Last minute cancellations are bound to happen. Have a back up transportation)

2.  Check list
 👉Hall Ticket with Instruction page
👉ID proof as mentioned in Hall Ticket
👉Black pens and Whitner
👉Water with Glucose
👉Some Chocolate for Sugar rush
👉Self Confidence💪

History Strategy

Paper 1

1. Focus less on theory more on Mapping part. Practice it atleast 2 hrs/week.
Make your own material for revision don’t rely on others

2. Analysis previous year paper and Check your areas of comfort to answer. One need not study entire syllabus. We do get choice.
So check how questions are aligned

3. Workout atleast last 10 years paper .
Questions are more often then repeated.

4 make a list of easy to remember sources and facts that you can quote

5. Write your answers in mix of points and paras….

6. Draw maps only when questions demands.. don’t force your self to draw diagram for sake of it.

7. Answer should have minimum fact …facts are only to substantiate your stand

For those who didn’t clear prelims…

Especially those who were on the borders…

* missing the entry to mains by very few marks is very hard to digest.

* it may cost very dear.

*but it is not the end, may be its not our turn.

* in this preparation, patience is the greatest lesson I learnt.

* be patient.

* think again, if you r planning to quit, why u started??

* going down is ok, but coming back with more stronger & more vigor is the game.

*  going through our failures is good to our mental state.
Only then we can come out from failures very quick.

* “Take a control on your hand.
Just think what is in your hand now”

*If  u have applied for  TNPSC/ CAPF/RBI
Focus on these  now.

*Channel your depression in a more positive way.

 *But don’t give up.

* if u didn’t apply any other, pls focus on optional &
 prepare essay n ethics.
Till October   we can concentrate on this.

*From October or November, join any test series with good discussion for prelims.

Because test series will give a lot of tactics,
Self discipline,
Atleast 50% you will finish the subjects either consciously or not.

Knowing our persistent mistakes
Applying our logic n testing our common sense.
Subjects we need to concentrate more.

So prepare n plan for your next attempt.
Take  calculated risk.
Work continously.
Delay is not denial.