Monday, March 8, 2010


I am Homoeopathy student wanted to appear for UPSC. I had undergone splenectomy (removal of spleen) due to accident 2 yrs back now I am perfectly alright. Do I fulfill physical requirements for CSE?
No problem. If you are normal and carry out other activities it will not affect your prospect in the civil services. Thy physical fitness is must for only few technical services such as Indian Police Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service and Indian Customs and Central Excise in some extent for other services; it is only a formality in the medical examination

I am a third year engineering student. As I am not comfortable with the engineering subjects I had lost a year. whether I am eligible to take up the civil service exam ? can I take prelim exams when i am in my final year? i am very much interested in geography and history.shall i take these as my optionals and start preparing myself. kindly suggest me.
You are eligible to write civil services even though you have lost one year. only thing is, you have to complete your degree before filling the main application. You can attend your prelims & ming your final year also, provided you are qualified by age wise. If you are not sure, don't waste one attempt.
Normally, we suggest the aspirants to write civil services, after completing degree if they are in UG. If they are in master's degree, they can go for the exams during PG.
As far as optionals are Concerned, it is fine. But you have to remember the following if you are going for these two subjects.
1. The syllabus is vast for both the subjects.
2. Both will be back to back exams where you won't find time to revise the subjects.
3. All the exams will be held continuously without break.
4. History is not scoring well. The success ratio also Poor Compared to many other optionals.
In our opinion Geography is ok. You can go ahead with your preparation. You may think of some other optionals from the given following list. Sociology/ Psychology / Any Indian Literature. We also suggest you to go through the detailed syllabus and previous years question papers, which will give an idea to take an appropriate decision.

What is the success ratio of ratio in History in recent years? This was one of the leading subjects in previous years, but not in recent years, why? How to study this subject in scientific way? Why has it been becoming tougher and tougher year by year? For this the only reason is to avoid Engineering /science stream students? Are any specific reasons to make it tough even in mains.
The success ratio of History in recent years is about 1:25 to 1:32 in the mains. Of course, this was one of the leading subject of civil services. This was a good subject as there was no problem in getting resource materials. Earlier, other subjects were not so much developed. Now, there are many subjects. History questions are normally answered directly if there is a Question about evaluation, elucidating, examining, comments etc. So students are not in a position to give proper write ups up to the standard of UPSC. History is where it was decades ago, other subjects have developed lot. Science has developed a lot. Normally science stream students do well in history, than a humanity background student. One more thing is that the evaluator cannot know about the student's background. When students have started developing themselves to face the UPSC with the help of coaching institutes, UPSC also has started making the papers tougher in setting, as well as at the time of evaluation.

Can I choose zoology with anthropology?
Yes. Both are really good combination also. The success ratio of Zoology is about 1:9 and Anthropology also has the same success ration.
Anthropology is a good subject for Zoology students to understand the terminologies and definitions. So you can go ahead with these two optionals.

I' m a student of veterinary sciences doing the last semester. I want to prepare for CSE. Can I prepare for it while pursuing my post graduation, or I have to drop one year?
You can very well prepare for your Civil Service preparation simultaneously with your post graduation. If your optional is same as in your graduation, it will be an added advantage for a consolidated preparation. Technical subjects like veterinary sciences will have questions of UG level only. The PG level papers are on specialization it may help if you have expertise in that particular area. As far as veterinary science aspirants are concerned , they are at both UG & PG levels . The post graduation will help you get more job opportunities because the Civil Services exams are more uncertain than any other exam.

I want to take History as first optional and English Literature as second optional in CSE . Though I did not study History in Graduation but I have great interest in it. How does Public Administration ,History and Anthropology fare in comparison to each other?
It is not necessary to take the same subject as an optional in the civil services. In India, most of us join a course which is not interesting to us or liked by us most of the time peers and family member's influences than our own decisions. After joining the course we feel that it is not suitable for us. Once we understand the reality and stand of our own, we come up with our wishes.
The civil services exams should be based on interest and liking because it needs intensive and continuous study for at least a year. The tempo can be kept if we choose subject interesting to us.
You may have a liking for History and English literature. In our opinion, both are not advisable because the History's success ratio is really very poor for English literature, one should be really talented and should have some base.
As per the subjects given in the last line, we advise you to go for public Administration and Anthropology. Public Administration is really doing well. It will be easy for you to read and understand.
As far as Anthropology is concerned, it is a good subject for science graduate who studied botany, zoology at the college level, even school level will also do.

I am student of Law. How should I go about my preparation for CSE?
We hope you are aware of the pattern and scheme of the examination. If you don't know, go through these items in the Book first.
Once you have decided to write Civil services, the next step is to select the optional selection of optional is the crucial one in the Civil services.
As you are from the Law background, you may or may not like to take your subject one should select the optional based on his/her interest, understanding ability of the subject, availability of proper / standard books, Previous years trend closeness/relevance of two subjects. If you are keen in opting for law, the other optional may be Public Administration / Sociology / Psychology.
We suggest you to go through the detailed syllabus and previous years questions after you have decided / sorted out some subjects. Among the sorted subjects. something will be interesting and easy for your nature and mental make up. Because Civil services exam preparation not an university exam, which needs one of two days preparation only but CSE preparation needs similar or more hard work through out the year.
Then follow the strategy given in the Book, which will guide you for your success.

What type of mapping questions are asked in the mains exam of geography subject?
The map question may be city, Industrial area, Physical geographical structures like sea, stream, peak, etc. The questions are from Physical, Political & economic geography.
These are available in the previous year question booklet. It is available in the market/ leading shops all over India.
Map reading is there in both the papers one is world map & the other is India Map. Total 120 marks i.e. 60 marks each. You have to mark 10 spots. There are choices also. The map reading should be done / located accurately and 25 words write up also will follow. The evaluation has few break ups out of 6 i.e. Correct map reading / location, write up, key words in the write up etc.

I am 2nd year physiotherapy. I have opted "Public Administration" for prelims AND "Psychology" for mains, how should I start preparing?
Your optional selections are really good. Both are promising and scoring also. The preparation strategy for General studies is already available in the website. The Psychology preparation is already available in the toppers Interview. The book list for Public Administration will be put up soon.
We suggest you to go for General Studies preparation at the first instance.

What books should I follow for "Public Administration" & "Psychology" & "G.S"? When should I take coaching?
Coaching is not necessary. But Coaching institutes make the aspirants to interact with fellow Competitors. A healthy competition makes a person to get ready for any eventuality. Good institutes also shape up the students to written exams well. This also has a drawback that every student in a classroom will follow the same pattern of answer because of the influence of the teachers originality gets good marks in the UPSC. So one should not loose his / her originality even after joining coaching Institutes. So joining in a coaching Institute is purely a personal decision.

Can I choose "English" for Indian Language?
No. You have to take both the papers. You have to qualify in both the exams also. If you don't qualify in the language papers, optional papers will not be evaluated. So English and one Indian Language of matriculation standard is must for qualification.

I am a student of Architecture, presently doing 2nd year of the course. Can I give the CSE if so what subject is suitable for me?
Yes. You can give the CSE. There are set of subjects given by the UPSC. This is available in the book also.
If you have gone through the previous questions & answers of this section have got an idea.
In our opinion, you can go for Geography / Public Administration / Sociology / Psychology. In the prelims, it may be Geography. In the mains one of the remaining suggested subject may be selected. To select the optional, first go through the detailed first go through the detailed syllabus and questions papers.

I am from IIT. I think that in IAS main exam taking physics as optional, good student can get above 400+marks but normally student those taking physics getting very less marks near about 300. What is the reason behind this?
This is same for maths........
Why are engineering student normally not taking physics, chemistry and maths? They are taking arts subject. What is your view about scaling?
You are right. This was true in 90s. IITians used to take maths & physics or maths & chemistry and crack it. It was in early 90s technocrats started to top the civil services and the students from arts / humanities front left behind.
The Satish Chandra Committee recommended an introduction of Essay in the Civil services in 1993 as a level playing field for humanities also. IITians found difficulty in writing essay.
Even after the introduction of essay in the CSE mains, the humanities left behind. IITians were ruling the reign again.
In the year 2001, the syllabus of maths, physics & chemistry were revamped. This made IITians left behind the race. The exam pattern of maths being made tough, aspirants don't opt for it.
In fact there is no scaling in the mains. It is there only in the prelims.
These exam reforms made humanities subjects in the driver seat. The justification given for giving importance to humanity subjects are many. So it is the time for humanity / arts subjects in the civil services.

I am from the North-Eastern region domiciled in Assam. Is it mandatory for me to take up a language other than English in the mains?
Those students who are from North East, don't have any scheduled Indian Languages, they need not write the exam for the qualifying purpose. They have to write
English exam and they are exempted from the Indian Language paper exam. If you go through the detailed to notification, it is given.

I've done my graduation in Botany, Zoology& Chemistry Now I'm pursuing my post graduation in Biotechnology What are the possible combination of subjects can I take? Can I opt for Public Administration and History? I'm in 2nd year When is the right time to start the preparation?
There is no need to worry. It will be easy for you, once you start preparing. But these two exams will come back to back i.e. next day like that you will not have time for revising the subject. Though History is easy, it is not & scoring well. The success ratio of History is also poor Compared to many subjects.
We suggest you to take Public Administration and other optional may be zoology / Botany. If you are not comfortable with one of the two, you can think of opting Anthropology. As you are a Science student, Anthropology will be easy for you. It is scoring and the success ratio also very good.
If you have a problem in selecting these two, please go through the detailed syllabus and old questions, which will give an idea to select an appropriate optional.
As far as starting the preparation is concerned, you can start now itself. If you go through the tips given in the Book, which will give you an idea about the preparation also.

Can Indian literature be taken as one of the optionals for Prelims?
Indian literature cannot be taken as an optional in the preliminary. You can take one Indian literature as an optional in the mains only.

I am a B.E in Computer Science. Should I take maths as the second optional? My first optional is Chemistry.
After the change in the syllabus in 2001, maths has become really difficult. Even IITians do not opt for maths The maths result is also not good after 2001. You can take geography as a second optional. Otherwise (if you have good command over language) you can go for public Administration / Sociology / Psychology.

How is maths as a optional subject?
We assume that you must be an Engineering graduate or Maths graduate.
After the new Maths syllabus the Maths score has come down drastically. Normally IIT graduates used to opt for Maths and Physics or Maths and Chemistry or Maths and one of the Engineering subject. Now, they are also changing their plans. It has become tough in fact it is being made tough to compensate Humanities. Please keep this in you mind.
Still students opt for the subject. As we always say that it is the perception by the individual. It also varies from person to person. If you are really interested and determined, you can go ahead with your decision. But you have to keep something in your mind. ie While working for some success, one should keep all angles in the mind. That is the complete strategy and key to the SUCCESS. Hear from all sources but take decision of your own because you are the one going to appear in the Examination.

I am doing B.H.M.S. Our syllabus is same as MBBS except three subject. Medicine, Pharma, Philosophy. Am I eligible for IPS? if yes please tell me that what will be the optional subject.
You are very much eligible . There is no separate exam IPS. It is through combined civil services conducted by UPSC. If you go through the model notification and scheme of examination, you will get answer for all your questions
First go through the tips given in the site.
If your syllabus matches with medical sciences, you can go for it. But you have to be in top among medical optional students. You can only decide about your capabilities. As far as main exam is concerned medical science is the best performing optional.
If the medical science doesn't fit, you can opt for zoology / sociology / psychology for prelims. For mains, you can go for anthropology it will be easy for you.

I'm a pharmacist (B-pharm) and am not able to decide what subject to opt for the prelims 2006. Please guide to choose my subject.
Zoology should be a good choice, as you have some basic idea about the subject. This will be easy for you. If you are not comfortable with Zoology, you can think of Geography/ Sociology/ Psychology / Botany. The second optional may be Anthropology, as it has some concurrence with your subject. You can think of taking Chemistry also as a first optional.
Before selecting the subject, first go through the detailed syllabus and previous years' questions of sorted subjects, which will give you an idea about your knowledge levels for appropriate selection.

I am a pharmacy graduate. I want to appear for CSE. I have not started preparation for the exam. Please guide me how I can start my preparation and in which subject I can apply. Please help me on this point.
For the basic strategy and the preparation, you can go through the tips given in the Book. From General Studies to optional preparation strategy is given in the book.
As far as you are concerned, you can select Zoology/Sociology/Psychology as an optional. If you are not comfortable with Zoology, you can go for either of the two. For the Mains, you can select Anthropology as you can understand the subject well. If you are well-versed with any Indian Literature, you can opt for one of the Indian Literatures as an optional.
We also suggest you to go through the detailed syllabus of the subject and old questions before taking the decision. While selecting the subject, you have to consider your interest also so that the year-long preparation doesn't get hampered. The preparation tempo is maintained throughout till you achieve success.

Please tell me about cut off marks in physics in Prelims
It is about 90-95. It is also to be noted that there is no cut off for an individual subject. The cut off is worked out after totaling both the optional and general studies marks

Is there is alphabetical order of papers in mains scheme?
It is based on number of students. Those subjects with most number of students will be the first paper. Then it follows the order. All the Literature papers are held in one day.

My friends are telling both the IAS and IES exams are same. Is it true?
No. The Engineering services Exam ( IES ) Question papers are more direct and strictly syllabus oriented academic in Nature. With the same syllabus the civil services exams - UPSC exam are more applied , analytical and inferred nature. For this one has to understand the concepts well and able to correlate different subjects in a presenting the answer.
What subjects are advisable for an MBA graduate for IAS exams?
If you are good at Management, you can go for Management. Otherwise you can go with Public Administration. This can be of your first optional. The second optional may be Psychology/ Sociology/ Geography -in the order of preference.

How do the chances to qualifying differ if you take a subject like Management which very few people take? Also why is management taken by only few people even though if is less complicated than other subjects?
The competition is among management students only in the first instance. You have to be in the top among Management students. Normally specialised subjects like Management, Medical Sciences, Engineering, Agriculture are opted by the students from the same background only. Other popular subjects like History, Geography, Public Administration. Sociology are opted by students with different background, When the number of candidates increases, the chances of selection also increases. In the Preliminary selection the percentage of candidates selected from various subjects are more or less the same out of total appearances. There may a little variation. The person scores top in his subject including general studies has the bright chance of selection in the Preliminary. There is a scaling/Normalisation system in the Preliminary Exam, which gives fairness in getting selected from all optionals. In the mains there is no such criteria.
I am doing my final year in MBA. I am keenly interested in CSE. What are the steps I have to take in deciding the papers for the exam?
First of all, you should select a subject which is interesting to you.
  • Then see whether you have any idea about the subject or not. That will help you to understand the subject easily.
  • Availability of proper and standard books.
  • If possible, previous success, or the history of a particular subject
  • Select a second subject whose exam will come after some gap in the Mains examination, so that you can revise the subject.
Can you give the success rate of management subject and the scoreability and popularity of management in civil services exams vis-à-vis other subjects. Also please guide regarding the time to be allocated for preparing management optionals provided I have already studied management during my PGDM at IIM.
The success ratio varies from year to year and from subject to subject. As per the UPSC record one year it is 1:6. The next year it was 1:31. These are the subjects taken by the specialists only. It depends upon the evaluator also. In the first instance, the number of Main appearance was 59. Next year there are 31 persons. Only one qualified. So, there are many factors involved in it. If you see the Interview of Topper - Manish Kumar, you can see the good score. So, it all depends on the individual's performance.
Regarding the time allotment, if you go through the common strategy given by us, you will get an idea where you stand. Accordingly, you have to allot the time. If you are week, give more time and if you are comfortable, give normal time. However, you should not neglect the subject even you have studied well.

I am doing 1st B.Sc(agri). I have much interest in physics. Can I take it as one of the optional?
Don't get in to the problem. You may have interest but it is not practical. it will be suicidal. In Civil Services one should have practical approach.
We suggest you to take Botany or Geography as your second optional. Because these two subjects are related to Agriculture. In fact , if you take geography, it will be useful in the General Studies also. So one should adopt a practical and workable strategy

What is success ratio of Chemistry and Telugu literature as optional in mains?
The success ratio of Chemistry is 1:10 and Telugu Literature is about 1:6. This may vary from year to year.

Is Hindi Literature subject good for CSE?
Compared with other Literatures, Hindi is not doing well at all. The success ratio of Hindi Literature is about 1:38.The success ratio of most of the Indian Literatures are about 1:6 to 1:8.

I am graduating in commerce (first year) and I intend to opt for Commerce & Public Admn. as my optionals. I am confused whether to do my CA or PG.
Yes. You can go with commerce and Public Administration. In our opinion, you should go for CA, which has good future. If you compare and CA., CA has better future. Even after completing CA, you can go for Civil services exam.
Civil services exams have lots of uncertainties. It is very difficult to as certain the result. Civil services exam is also like a running race. We don't know about other fellow runners. There are many factors involved in one's success most of the factors are uncontrollable.
So, first do your CA, then go for Civil Services.

I have done my graduation in Commerce stream and now I wanted to opt for Civil Services Exam is that easy for me to opt for it.
If you are strong in your Commerce Subject you can opt for it as a first optional. Otherwise you can think of taking Public Administration. Lots of study of material is available for the subject. Second optional may be Sociology/ Psychology/Geography (If you can do physical Geography well).Please go through the syllabus old questions before taking decision.

what is the success ratio of students of Commerce & Accountancy, Public Administration, Geography as per the UPSC? I had commerce stream in my class XII. So giving 3-4 months time to the syllabus of Commerce & Accountancy which has not been covered by the class XII Syllabus of CBSE is sufficient for good preparation of the subject. Is the level of toughness of the IAS exam of Commerce & Accountancy is equivalent, less or more tough when compared with C.A. & I.C.W.A exams? Please Advice.
The Success Ratio also varies from year to year. The analysis is based on the latest available record. These all are for the Main Exam only.
The Success Ratio of Commerce and Accountancy is 1:9.75; Public Administration is 1:12.69 ; Geography is 1:9.1
The syllabus of Civil ervices Exam is of M.Com standard. We don't think that can be compared with 12th Commerce stream.
Regarding the Exams of CA, ICWA one has to pass, so it is tough in that aspect. In the Civil Services, it is the score matters. Here, it is a running race, one has to compete with many for few posts. So, first go through the detailed syllabus and previous years question papers, that will give an idea. Read the Strategy column in the book. We hope your doubt is cleared.

I am doing 1st year in agriculture. Which choice are better Agriculture and Botany or Agriculture and Geography. Please tell me the ratio of these two combinations.
Both the Combinations are fine. There is about 150 marks out of 600 marks is common in both Geography and Botany, with agriculture. The success ratio of Agriculture is about 1:6 Geography is about 1:10, Botany is also the same, or little more.
There is an added advantage if an agriculture student takes geography as a second optional.
1. Geography is a main component in the general studies.
2. Agricultural geography, climatology, Indian agriculture will be easy for agriculture graduates.
3. Geography is scoring and safe optional.
4. If you read geography, you will have wider knowledge base.
5. Very good material is available.

I want to know about Medical Sciences as an optional paper. I am a dental Graduate, currently doing my internship, and my knowledge of medical subjects is confined to in and around the mouth (at the max. about head and neck) even though we read about all the main medical Subjects. I don't want to change my optionals.
There is a strategy already available in the site. First go through it. Then go through the detailed syllabus and the previous years question papers of Medical Sciences. This will give an idea about the subject, whether to select a particular subject or not.
Here you have to keep one thing in the mind - only Medical Graduates will appear with this subject. Can you withstand with them? When there is a competition among the specialists, one has to double sure before opting for the subject. One has to top among the fellow optional holders, so that the chances of getting selected is bright. This is a running race, not the qualifying exam/University exam.
As far as your second optional is concerned, Kannada will be a better chance because of its high success ratio.
For the first optional, you have to think about it. The success ratio of History is far below standard. You can think of opting for Sociology/ Zoology (As this subject will be easy for you as you have some background). Still, whenever you have a doubt, you are always welcome to clear them with us.
Please follow the common strategy (Litmus Test ie Reading the detailed syllabus and previous years question papers before jumping into any conclusion) before selecting the subject.
I want to take Maths and Medical Science as my optional subject.
It is really a rare combination medical person opting for maths. It is really interesting. As you have stated that you are comfortable with maths and can give long quality working hours.
In our opinion, medical science is the best among all optionals. The success ratio also 1:3. This is highest among all optionals.
After 2001, syllabus change maths becomes really tough and tough. Even IITians don't go for this optional. So, you have to revisit your decision. Please go through the previous years questions and try to solve it. If you can perform it well, you can go ahead.
If you find it difficult, follow one of the following optionals. Anthropology / Psychology / Sociology. Normally medicos go with medical sciences and one of the above.

I have completed diploma in optometry (3yrs) and I received a certificate from FOREC. I have also done my fellowship (1yr) from. Am I eligible to appear for CSE?

Diploma may not be taken as a degree. You have to have a degree to appear for the exam. Even diploma holders in Engineering do AIME to write civil services. You can do a degree in an arts subject, which will be easy for you. There are Institutes giving course / degree in one sitting exam also.

Can we opt management as a subject for prelims?

No. It is an optional in the Mains only.

I have done B.Sc Medical and MSc Biotechnology. I am thinking of taking botany and zoology as optionals. How do you rank NCERT books regarding these subjects?

You can go ahead but NCERT books are for basics only. They are really good.

I am not comfortable in writing essay. Please suggest the way to improve.

Practice marks perfection. If you go through the previous year questions, you will get an idea. Normally the essay covers all spheres of General studies like, society, Women, current Affairs, science etc. One has to have good writing skills and to know correlating facts.
The UPSC tests a person's writing skills, diction, presentation, facts & figures, arguing capacity discussion, problem solving etc. So, the essay should have introduction, body of contents and good conclusion.
There are books available in the market, which may give small tips but you have to have your originality.

Please suggest the topics to be prepared for general essay paper or any books for reading.
There are books in the market for Essay preparation. But these books can be taken as an guide and that is not the entire spectrum of essay preparation. Normally these topics are based on some theme and it should be supported with the latest trends. For example, there is a topic on Women Empowerment, the question may be any form i.e. direct/ indirect/twisted/inferred. Here one should synthesize his/her thought and how to go about/present about. If you read the tips given in the book, you will get some idea.
Essay writing is not memorizing something and vomiting in the exam hall. One should give proper and sufficient examples for his/her arguments. These supporting points will not be available in one place. This has to be consolidated with lots of reading. This will not come overnight. So, Essay doesn't need any special preparation. If you are preparing the General Studies well, that is more than enough. Essay is nothing but consolidating the facts and figures studied in the General Studies, present it in a cohesive and orderly manner. In the Essays, not only the base knowledge of a person is tested but also synthesizing power, presentation skills, coherence of thoughts, argumentative power with supporting facts, diction etc.

On what topics should one concentrate while preparing for essay?

The essay is a test of ones world view and orientation in life besides ones ability to express things in clear perspective. One should not cram /mugup topics for the essay but try to develop a holistice view about isssues in life and ones surrounding as a educated and socially conscious youth of India would.

I am a computer engineer & currently pursuing my MBA from the top Business school in India. I am planning to take CS examination in 2007. I plan to opt public administration & pschology as my optional subjects. Kindly compare psychology with Geography. Kindly also let me know the best subject for prelims among public ad, pschology & geography.

Your choice is fine. Public Administration and Psychology are really doing well. The success ratio of Public Administration is about 1:14. Psychology is about 1:6 and Geography is 1:10
All three subjects are popular optionals. It is opted by the candidates from different streams of Educational background.
For Public Administration, one should have good command over Language. This will be little useful in the General Science Preparation. One can score 350 plus in the mains if he/she do it well.
Psychology needs an understanding and logical conclusion. So, one should have good understanding of theories and its application and inferences. It also needs relatively good command over Language. It is also scoring.
As for as Geography is concerned, it is little easy compared to above two subjects. If one does the map reading well, score will be high. It is useful in the General studies paper also

Please give some reference books for Bengali compulsory paper for CSE (mains)
There is no special book for language, compulsory paper. The questions are Matriculation standard only. But it covers all the classes from 6th to 10th. You can just glance through the State Bengali Language Text book.

I am a student of MBA with specialization in HR and I am graduate in B.Sc.(M). I want to appear for CSE. Please Guide me. Please also help me in choosing the best study material.

The details about the Preparation and tips are available on the book. First go through the details of model notification and scheme of Examination. Then select the optional subjects for the Prelims and Mains. Once you are clear with it, go to the strategy for preparation given in the book. Follow the steps given in it.
As you are a Maths and Management person, you can think of taking Management as one of the optional subjects. If you are not confident in Management, you can think of taking Public Administration as a first optional. If you are strong in any Indian Literature, you can opt for that Literature as a second optional. Otherwise, you can think of taking one of the following as a second optional. i.e Geography (you may opt this as a first optional also)/ Sociology/ Psychology/ Anthropology (If you have interest in Genetics, evolution etc).
Above all, you should go through the detailed syllabus and previous years' questions papers and your interest towards the subject. If you decide the optionals based on the above facts, it will be easy for your Success in the Civil Services Exam. For the preparation strategy, read the tips given in the book.

I am a software engineer working in a top notch s/w products company. I did B.Tech in Electronics & Communications branch. I have planned to go for History & Geography.
Both History and Geography are fine but you have to consider the following before going for these two.
1. Both has vast syllabus
2. Both are useful in General studies
3. Both exams ( in the mains ) will be back to back or just two days gap.
4. Approach to both the subjects are different.
5. Both are general and popular optionals, it is easy to read. But Geography will be little tougher ( Physical Geography ) than History.
6. Geography is better scoring than History.
7. Past years shows, the success ratio of Geography is three times higher than History.
8. One has to have good analytical capacity to give Scientific approach to arts subject like History.
As far as Correspondence course is concerned, History has more outlets than Geography. But we suggest you to go through the previous years questions and come to a Conclusion.
Other subject for optional may be Public Administration/ Sociology/ Psychology.

I am in the first year BA (History) from Distance education. I also work in night shift (8-4) for an IT company. How should I prepare that I build up my base strongly because I want to clear CSE the very year I become a graduate. Also, I wish to choose Geography as an optional subject. Is it the right choice though it is not on my BA course? How should I begin, right from the timetable to the study doses? I am even ready to give up my job for the preparation. How should I prepare for civil services exams?

You have not mentioned your age. You are still in the first year of degree (History). History & Geography as optional, are good, but taxing due to the vast syllabus and these two exams will follow each other just after General Studies exams. If you can manage revision without any time gap for your before the exams, it is fine; Otherwise you may think of taking some other optional like Psychology/Sociology or one of the Indian literatures you are well versed with.
Regarding the job, don't leave it at any time because Civil services exams are highly uncertain. If you clear Prelims, you can take three months leave for the Mains preparations, you can even take one month leave for the prelims.
Regarding time management, it is difficult as you have odd duty hours. It is only you who can decide about the time management - like how many hours for rest, entertainment, and other core activities. Keep your priorities on top and design a time table and follow it sincerely. Don't waste your holidays.
On what basis candidates will be selected for mains through prelims if one subject say (geography) opted by more people and other subject by less people what will criterion for selection
There are many theories we heard from different sources. There are two methods it is highly possible.
1. Proportionate method
2. Normalization / standardization method
In the proportional method, for example, the total selection to be made is about 10,000 out of 3,00,00 students means.1:30 will be the selection. i. e. one out 30 candidates in every subject will be selected irrespective of their score.
In the second theory, one optional (highest appearance) will be taken as a standard optional and the scores of this optional kept as it is. Then the score of other optionals are normalized / standardized with that optional. For example, the top mark of the standard optional is 270/300 means. One optionals top score is 250/300 then it will be equaled with that score of 270. If any another optional score is 290/300 means. The score is bought down to 270/300. Then the score of General studies is added to it. Then final ranking is given. UPSC is saying this selection process, as secret one. So, nobody knows the reality except the UPSC's Exam department.
In our opinion the second process is the standard one. But whatever the process, one should be in top among his/her own optional holders.

I am in 2 nd year MBBS. I have studied in Kannada medium upto 10th std, so i am weak in English Speaking .But I am interested in science subjects. what are optionals suited for me.
Don't worry. There are people who study in Vernacular medium till 12th standard and directly enter college (professional degrees like yours) in English medium. Believe in yourself, you can improve English:
1.Follow some standard English newspaper
2.Listen to All Indian Radio New and spotlight regularly.
3.Always try to speak in English with friends
4.Try to speak / open discussion in English in your class also
Initially, you may be committing mistakes. Don't worry about. Within some period, you will cope up the situation.
You can go with medical Sciences and Psychology / Sociology / Anthropology. 


  1. i am in the first year BA (Psychology, Journalism,Optional English)student from regular class in Bangalore. How should i prepare that i build up my base strongly because I want to interesting IAS officer but it's really our aim. I wish to choose psychology as an optional should i prepare for civil service Exam?
    please suggest me...... i was waiting ur replay and it's me ID.

  2. i am a first year mtech student at iit kharagpur.
    but i want to choose my optional subjects from arts.kinly help me.i m looking forward geography as my optional subject.which other subject can be a best match with it?

  3. I have 10+2,3 years Diploma and MCA distance education (Sikkim Manipal University lateral entry) am I eligible for Civil Services. I am very much eager and depending upon your answer only I need to prepare, there is no one who is firmly saying I am eligible or not, whom I need to contact for the right information :(

  4. Are public administration and geography exams conducted back to back? Will I have sufficient time gap for my preparation between these exams? Also please suggest which subject is better between geography and psychology for mains.

  5. I'm a student of MCA,and i want to take anthroplogy and public administration as my optional subjects for main in IAS exam.Is it good for me to take those subjects as optional?suggest me for better optionals for me.

  6. iam mbbs graduate and my age is 28 years i want to become an ias officer can u tell me how many attempts are left for me to clear the priliminary test

  7. iam a graduate in nursing.can u suggest me the optional subjects.