Warm Greetings!

I was brushing through The Hindu in the morning , a usual daily chores all of a sudden i happened to get a call from one of my college mates. He was talking so excitedly and wanted a small help from me. He wanted to guide his daughter in her journey to civil services and then he gave the phone over to her. 

Chitra was a bright girl , she had a good knowledge about civil services already , after exploring her interests , I left it to her to ask questions, as I always believe questions bring solutions. The very 1 st question she posed to me was how  should I be planning my next 1 year to crack CIVIL SERVICES exam 2021 ?. 

Well it was the questions not just in her mind but also you who is eagerly reading this article . So that’s so common and that’s the same reason I am going to put everything which I had explained over the call as words in this article .


  1. The Syllabus – The Beginning and The End 
  2. The Hindu – Read it or You will regret
  3. The NCERTs – Back to School
  4. Standard Books – So Standard they are
  5. Test Series – Time to Evaluate 
  6. Answer Writing – Work Hard to Achieve
  7. Optionals – The Silent Warrior
  8. Ethics – be moral To yourself 
  9. Essay – Just Write it !


1.The Syllabus – The Beginning and The End 

Syllabus is like the direction signs you find in roads. Evolving times had converted into google maps by itself . Such is the importance of Syllabus that u dare not miss out reading it.

Sometimes i even advise people to memorise it 

CSE syllabus link –

Following points will help you out ,

  1. Know each and every point of syllabus 
  2. Take a copy and paste it in your study room , that helped me a lot !
  3. Know to orient subjects whenever you come across a topic
    1. For instance : when you hear news of India and China in loggerheads , you should be in a position to orient that news under the syllabus International Relations in General Studies Paper 2  


2.The Hindu – Read it or You will regret

I have seen many aspirants mugging up the monthly compilations of many private institutions and failing miserably in Prelims itself . All I could say to them is that they left behind the cheat code , and went behind something that is not at all going to work. Your ‘The Hindu’ is going to be your one and only cheat code in this preparation. All though other News Papers add value but you dare not leave behind The Hindu , Believe me I am not advertising here , just helping you to make effective preparation .

Do check out this link – How to Read the news paper

And we also present to you the IBH NewsPaper , a paper that simplifies you preparation delivered daily in you mobile –

Points to note :

  1. Skim through the entire newspaper early in the morning 
  2. Make notes out of editorial – small bulletin points will do !
  3. Know what to read ! – don’t waste time on politics
    1. Read politics only if you have some constitutional or legislative importance
  4. Don’t miss out on the Sports column , I am not asking you to read each and every line . Just know what is happening. Facts may help in prelims and Ethics answer writing 


3.The NCERTs – Back to School

If you haven’t read NCERTs in your schools , then do read it. It is going to be the base for everything. If you’re in a self study mode , you cannot afford not to read these great things. They are crafted so that the concepts flow very easily into our brains everytime we read them.

List of NCERTs to read, Link –

Do follow these points :

  1. Practice notes making from the very beginning 
  2. Make pictorial representation of points 
  3. Flow charts , diagrams , will help you more in revising 
  4. Note down the facts and data – but cross check them as these books were published long back. It’s your responsibility to be updated on this Ministry of Human resource can’t spoon feed you data 😉 !


4.Standard Books – So Standard they are

Once you are done with NCERTs it’s time to sharpen your swords , brains I mean.

List of Standard Books , Link –

Points to note :

  1. Standard books are so standard that you cant leave them out 
  2. Most of the times questions are directly picked out famous authors like Bipin Chandra
  3. Do know every topic and try to relate the same with what you have read in NCERTs


5.Test Series – Time to Evaluate 

Taking Tests is the only key to crack prelims easily. You can take a 100 MCQ test weekly once when your prelims is some 10 months away and taking one test every 2 days is being advised when the prelims is less than 3 months away.

Points to note 

  1. Subscribe to a test series and make sure take it regularly
  2. Do the followup after every test, with the key and explanation that’s being supplied 
  3. Feel free to talk to mentors to know your weak areas
  4. The key to crack prelims is Elimination – master the art of elimination 


6.Answer Writing – Work Hard to Achieve

I would suggest you write one 15 marks answer every day ! and get it corrected by your mentor. This is a part of daily answer writing. This is more powerful than a Mains Test Series since it keeps you always writing. Though you should also take a Mains Full Length Test Series.

Both in synergy is going to keep your marks in mains above the green line 

Incase you need support to Daily Answer writing – feel free to explore this –

Also explore this video to understand more on answer writing –

Points to note :

  1. Practice answer writing daily 
  2. Get it evaluated by your mentor. Keep on bugging them to know your weak areas
  3. Explore new forms of writing – don’t lose your uniqueness
  4. Explore flow charts , diagrams etc in answer writings


7.Optionals – The Silent Warrior

Facts say a 3rd of your mains mark is contributed by your optional subject ! . 2 papers of Optionals will decide your destiny. So gets you gears lubricated to also drive Optional wheels 

Points to note :

  1. Choose your optional wisely 
    1. Look for the one which suits you 
    2. Look for guidance , materials etc
    3. Choose between dynamic and Static optional – whatever you choose , its your option 😉 
  2. Allocate time daily for optionals , since they for a 3rd of your marks 
  3. Practice answer writing daily for optionals also 
  4. Be strong in concepts , they will help you when interviewers fire questions at you 


8.Ethics – be moral To yourself 

General Studies paper 4 is one area where either score high or low , there is no median in it . Though the syllabus is very little you can make flowers bloom when you express the small things in your paper well !

Its all about expression of answers in a ethical point

Explore this article to know more on Ethics –

Points to note :

  1. Follow a single source , don’t keep loading various foreign author books 
  2. Look for case studies in The Hindu – keep not of them 
  3. Express you answers in a direct and ethical way 


9.Essay – Just Write it !

The only mantra to master the Art of essay Writing is practice. Practice makes a man Perfect !  Practice also makes a man write smoothing essay,

This article by Mr. Madhubalan IAS , will inspire you and also make you master essays –

Things to keep in mind :

  1. Practice Essay Writing 
  2. Practice Essay Writing
  3. Practice Essay Writing

Yess !! that’s the only mantra !! 


I hope i have given you detailed strategy to face CSE 2021. Do prepare the exams with high spirits , Hard work never fails 😉


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