Marksheet and CSE Links

Prelims marksheet:

Mains Marksheet (Interview Board: Mr. RN Choubey):

Apparently the scores in optionals are slightly skewed while ethics is high scoring in CSE 2019 compared to other years. Whichever year you happen to be reading this, I would suggest not getting influenced by this too much. Don’t neglect your optional and focus only on ethics. It’s just a trend for 2019, there’s no reason it will repeat. Prepare as you would anyway.

This is a list of all the content I’ve written about UPSC CSE.

My GS Answer Papers

Resource List

Prelims Strategy

Mains Strategy

How to use a Test Series for Mains

Sociology Specific (read the Mains Strategy before you read this)

Interview Preparation

These are very useful links that will help you if you are preparing (not mine)

Prelims Guessing (AIR 19, CSE 2017 – Abhijeet Sinha)

Book-list, Prelims, GS, Essay, Interview – everything is covered here (Blog of AIR-1, 2017, Anudeep Durishetty)

A brief strategy for Mains which I used to develop my approach (Gaurav Agrawal, AIR-1, 2013)

Note-Making: By Archit Chandak (AIR 184, CSE 2017) – if you intend to make notes, refer to this.

Some Notes

I haven’t been able to put out many notes.

One reason of course is that they aren’t very useful – there are already plenty of topper’s notes there, better than mine.

And even more importantly – my notes won’t make much sense to anyone else because of the way I’ve written them.

I am adding some files here. There are some I think which are useful (mostly those I took from somewhere else, plus a couple of mine).

The others are not much use in my view. Look at them if you want, but I’d suggest not spending much time if you can’t make sense of them (it’s not your fault – I wrote them such that one or two words would help me recall everything). Other notes are very long – they’re copy-pasted from somewhere and I couldn’t bother shortening them.

This is a file with the stats / schemes I googled and used to quote in my answers to make them less generic. Just remembering a few for every topic is needed.

I feel these are somewhat useful: Essay Quotes , Articles,

Essay_Quotes: Might be Useful. List of quotes for essay – some are just quotes I liked so I put them.

GS4 Theory: Not too useful.

Articles (of Constitution) – useful for GS2, GS3 answers in Mains

Some points from 2nd ARC I picked somewhere online. Good points but too long in my opinion (did not want to make the effort of shortening). Worth skimming, focusing on important recommendations.

Sociology: 1st file might not make much sense (has some thinkers’ points). 2nd file is Indian thinkers for SOC-2. 3rd file is very useful: List of points by less known thinkers you can insert into your answers to make them sociological.

My test papers at ForumIAS: Here

Sociology Paper 1: Test papers

Sociology Paper 2: Test papers



Sir can you give me some idea how to develop analytical ability


Thanks Sir, God Bless You


sir will you please share your thoughts about stoicism and how it is helpful not only as exam aspirant but also a human being


Written a post: “What does it really mean to be a Stoic”

Gauri Pandey



Hey, congratulations on your well-deserved success. Can you please share your sociology test copies. Would be of immense help. Thanks, 🙂




Thanks a million!


Sir as i got your insights that prepare limited but use that as unlimited by using frameworks. My only problem with this approach is how to sustain it with 20 questions because if we will write all the general point in almost all questions then won’t it make all the answer similar and will be a cause for lower marks because of the repetitive content so please tell me where i am wrong in this assumption is it because i am lacking in answer writing practice ?


It is not that easy. You still have to read books (I’ve mentioned quite a few in my resource list) – but keep them to the minimum, ideally 1 per topic.

The point is just books aren’t sufficient- everyone reads almost the same stuff. Necessary but not sufficient.
You can’t just pull out points from thin air. They become generic only after you read, once you understand the syllabus (try asking someone who doesn’t read much about the challenges and solutions to agriculture – you’ll probably get a blank). Once you understand an issue, you don’t need to memorize much – that’s what I mean by generic.
Questions are too different to have similar answers.
It’s not like you can appear for the exam without reading anything and write the same stuff everywhere. It is that when you read something, you understand it from all dimensions without getting bogged down by facts (see Gaurav Agrawal’s blog – he used the example of inflation, I used other examples in mine). There are broad topics from which you write your answers (Disaster management, Security, International relations, Agriculture, Industries/Economy, Social issues, Environmental issues, Administrative/judicial/political issues and so on). For static topics like history, polity – it’s a little harder because you can’t still need to know specifics as well on topics like Quit India movement etc (but you nevertheless put generics too).

I think of it like: Generic answers with a little sprinkling of facts, committees, statistics, specific details as per the question to make it less generic.
See Anudeep Durishetty’s answers or even mine (his are better I think). I’m guessing you haven’t seen any answer sheets yet. You need to spend time reading through them. Only then you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Rishabh Garg

Hi Pratyush really impressed by your take on the CSE exam, completely changed my perspective on how to approach this exam. Few questions:
Did you come up with Generalistic approach (focus on breadth not depth) and learning facts and stats after prelims result or was it a gradual process? Also, how did you prepare for ethics?


I had the basic idea from the outset, it got refined over time.

Ethics is mentioned too in the strategy specifically- one book (Lexicon in my case), simple definitions, examples standard framework for all questions.

Rishabh Garg

Hi Pratyush,

Thank you for the reply.

One doubt – You mentioned you read Ancient & Medieval history like a story. I am not able to do the same. Firstly, there are not many figures, unlike fine arts books which not only makes things interesting but also helps in retaining. Also, they are not in chronological order. So how did you approach both these subjects? after reading from the book did you supplement with any other strategy?
Request you to also throw some light on your strategy for Art n Culture.

Reply as per your convenience.
Thank you in advance.

Aditya Sharma

Hey pratyush, thanks for the advice and help.
I’ll be writing this year’s mains right after my graduation and with physics optional so there’s a bit of time crunch. I was planning to make final consolidated notes of GS by compiling toppers notes on each syllabus keyword since I’ve enough background knowledge in GS by now to expanding into complete answer by keywords just like you mentioned.

All I wanted to know if you’ve referred to any toppers notes then who were they?
Currently I’m using :-
– Abhijeet sinha
-Tanmay Vashisth sharma
-Anudeep Durishetty
-Kanishk kataria
-Rushukesh Reddy

If you any other topper’s notes in mind which are good, please let me know.
Thank you.


I used mostly Nitin Sangwan’s notes, and some of Anudeep Durishetty’s

Vishal Patil

Hi Pratyush, the page ‘Mains Strategy’ provides amazing clarity. It is filled with fresh content. I read it twice and I concur with the principles mentioned. It will be inspiring if you can write another blog with newer insights or even share some unfinished ideas. I am knowledgeably aware that this approach can be perfected with some practising.


Sir, did you makes notes from the current affairs monthly compilations you read? If yes, were they handwritten notes or soft copy? Please reply sir. Thanks in advance


Sir are notes really helpful or they are waste of time.


Congratulations sir!
I just went through your mock test answer sheets and they gave excellent clarity about how to exactly approach an answer.
Thank you so much for uploading them.
This was the exact way which you used for writing your final mains exam??


hello sir ,
it would be helpful if u could provide us ur gs test answer copies


I chose sociology and feeling depressed like its very difficullt to memorise thinkers name. And i am somewhat weak at mugging up things. please suggest way out.

shubham sharma

Hi Pratyush,

i am a UPSC aspirant and looking for the coaching, I saw your name on the Plutus IAS result So is it a coaching for the UPSC. Please reply

Aman Maheshwari

Dear sir, can you share your CSAT strategy as u have a very decent score. Sir i am not able to attempt more than 35 questions, how can i improve my score so that i make it with some margin.
Thankyou very much.


Hey Pratyush. Can you share your essay answer copy as well? Thanks in advance

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