BOOKLIST FOR MAINS-
Essay – No book. Marks 160/250
- Art & Culture – never prepared. But I have heard people say Spectrum is good. No clue cause I didn’t study so please check with others. I left all the questions in the exam – which is reflected in my marks. J
- Independence History – Old NCERT for pre-1857 and Spectrum for 1857 and beyond. I found that the questions need you to not go in depth but just know the topic and be able to analyse it right then and there. So I found reading the fat Bipin Chandra etc a complete waste of time. If you feel like it, then please go ahead but I didn’t do it. Also check out the new NCERT because the important Personalities are mentioned in Boxes in that book.
- Post- independence History – ONLY the new NCERT – India Since Independence. It is a brilliant book which gives everything you need to know clearly and concisely. Also again, the personalities are given in boxes. UPSC hasn’t run out of questions to ask from that yet, so it should suffice a few more years.
- World History – Old NCERTs available as photocopies right from 9-12th. The ones from before the year 2000. They are more than enough. Again, UPSC hasn’t run out of questions to ask from that yet, so it should suffice a few more years.
- Sociology material – did a few coaching materials on the random topics but it was more about my general understanding of Indian Society.
- Geography – can’t help there since it was my optional so I did detailed material on the topics. But Mrunal.org has covered some stuff very nicely and YouTube has some brilliant videos on the basic topics. NCERTs are the main starting point even for the optional people.
- Polity – I only ever did Laxmikant Polity. I find it the best book ever. Haven’t read anything else. But maybe now after the exam I will try reading D.D. Basu just to see what it is all about. I tried it before and couldn’t get past the first chapter. So it was Laxmikant for me!
- RPA – did google search and read stuff from multiple websites and also whatever was in the news.
- Schemes etc – I did from the direct Ministry websites. Also my friend Shikhar used to listen to the news and would force me to listen with him on AIR Fm. Sometimes the news analysis that came after the news would give brilliant points for the schemes. But I hadn’t done ministry websites before and I did it this time. It made a huge difference. Also would google search for schemes of government of India and check out all the results that appeared.
- Current Affairs – I did Vision coaching current affairs. I think they copy paste articles from The Hindu but since I was too lazy to read the Hindu everyday, this worked for me. I did the C.A. right from December of 2013. Last year I did not do current affairs at all, but that was a big mistake.
- International Affairs – I did from Vajiram Coaching material which they bring out around a month before the exam. It was more than sufficient in my opinion.
- Other topics – I did a lot of government documents like reports on the topics and also googled all the topics mentioned and read some of the articles that came up. Didn’t make notes but got a general idea. I did this for the first time this year. Also did coaching material from 3 delhi based coachings – Sriram, Vajiram and Vision. Some topics were good in one source and some in the other.
- Basic Economics – I had done this in Business School so I just brushed it up. Didn’t follow any particular source.
- Economics C.A. – Mrunal.org is a brilliant source. I did it only on the last night before the exam but I regret not paying more attention.
- Government documents and websites for the other topics where needed.
- Referred to Vision and Sriram material for most of the topics.
- Security – I did Vajiram booklet but didn’t find it great. Sriram material had covered some of the topics really well.
- Disaster – NDMA and other government websites.
- S&T, Bio-diversity and Environment – I had in my first attempt finished Wizard Science & Tech (big fat book), so I kept doing it. Bought newer editions where I just had to update on the new additions.
General Studies Paper 4 – Marks 135/250
- Lexicon thin book on ethics
- Didn’t really need to prepare much so no clue. Never did a single case study or read any other book. Can’t help much here.
- I handled Case Studies basis what I had learnt in Business School so there isn't any one technique. Every question requires a different strategy. Some techniques you can google are - PESTEL, Stakeholder Analysis, Value Chain, SWOT and Pro-Con.
Geography Optional – 305/500
- Savinder Singh – Physical Geography
- Rupa Made Simple – Physical & Human geography both
- Majid Hussain – Evolution of geographical thought
- Goh Cheng Leong – Certificate Physical and Human Geography
- K. Siddhartha – Economic Geography
- NCERTs -6th to 12th old and new
- I, even, did ICSE 6-8th - not relevant anymore
- Coaching material for the rest of the topics
- Google searched a lot of issues not given clearly elsewhere.
- YouTube videos on resources etc.
- There were a few other books but none of them were relevant. I tend to buy everything anyone said and they were mostly useless. So just giving a list of the books I read again and again.
- I am terrible at Maps. I can do the world map perfectly but just can't do India Map. I have been known to draw Amarnath in China, exchange Kandla and Mundhra port and basically change the location of every city. I know the big features as they relate to India physical but the small towns and cities and rivers that get asked, I never know. They ask a lot from Current Affairs and since I do my Current Affairs differently, I always get a 0 in map. Though I think I knew some of it correctly this year. So I cannot help with the preparation of the Map.