Saturday, July 25, 2015

Preparation Strategy

Preparation Strategy 

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE JUST MY OPINIONS AND MY WAYS OF DOING THINGS. IN NO WAY IS ALL THIS WHAT I ASK ALL OF YOU TO DO.

  1. I only prepared the topics I was comfortable with. I cannot mug up stuff so I left the topics which required mugging up. I do not prepare data and I don’t know data for anything. Never mugged up any. 
  2. Left Art & Culture and Environment topics in G.S. and left Map completely in Geography. They required mugging up and I am not very good with that. So I focused on preparing the topics I could handle. 
  3. Started from the basics. I found NCERTs are a must-read. But yes, some subjects require specialised books after that. But I found that you cannot ignore NCERTs. You have to do other books alongside NCERTs. Everything starts from there. Also we need to do them multiple times. 
  4. Mostly depended on online material. Did not go to any one site, but checked multiple sources for everything. I like getting different points of view on everything so I would read as many sources as possible for the same topic. I did not revise anything though, something I should have done. I don’t necessarily recommend doing this because I ended up wasting a lot of time and effort and did not even remember most of the stuff I read. Though using more than one source is always a good idea.
  5. I am extremely, extremely lazy and since Current Affairs requires effort throughout the year, I had to depend on online websites at the last minute for getting my material. But if you can, please read the newspapers daily. Cannot recommend any magazines since I never read any. Do prepare your Current Affairs from the exam month of the previous year. 
  6. I never prepared notes for anything, even when I read the same topic from multiple books. I just went back and read all the books again – mainly for my optional Geography where I consulted more than 35-40 books. I used to underline important stuff in the books but I was too lazy to write it all down. Please don’t take this is as what everyone must do. Do what makes it better for you to remember stuff. 
  7. I used to discuss and debate a lot of stuff with my friends so it helped giving me different view-points and helped my analytical abilities. 
  8. I am not someone who can study throughout the day or something, so my study plan is always about finishing a particular amount of course rather than studying for a fixed number of hours. For example, I would plan to finish 20 chapters in a day rather than study for 15 hours. I did not waste time starring at the same page for a long time and then get up telling myself that I studied for so many hours. Instead I spent a LOT of time on my multiple hobbies.
  9. I did not lock myself away from my friends and family or my hobbies. I somehow found time for everything…..but that might be because I used to avoid studying. I do realise sometimes talking to people can be a distraction because you will end up spending time thinking about the stuff they said and that can take your concentration away from your books when you start studying. Do what works best for you. I couldn’t lock myself away from all the other things I love but maybe you need to. 
  10. I never prepared for Prelims or Interview. I used to directly prepare for Mains and answer prelims based on my knowledge of Mains syllabus. Which is why I never score very high in GS of prelims. I don’t recommend this but this is the reason I cannot help anyone with how to prepare for the prelims. I have given CAT so I didn’t need to prepare for CSAT so don’t know the material for that either. 
  11. I didn’t prepare for interview because I see it as an opportunity to interact and exhibit my personality and thought-process to the interviewer rather than my knowledge. So I get good marks in interviews when the questions are about me and my hobbies and how I would handle situations but I do terribly when asked factual questions of Current Affairs. 
  12. I have been asked many times about when to start studying for this exam – and this is what I believe and did for myself. I think it is important to find another alternate career before you stake your future on this uncertain path. That will give you confidence and a safe haven in case things don’t go your way. This exam needs a lot of hard work, a lot of mental strength and some amount of Luck. So to remove the luck factor, I decided to get a strong alternate career before this drowned me. Also working helped me analyse and see what I was good at and what I could handle. It gave me a lot of maturity and a wider, bigger perspective to things. Something that helped me a lot during preparation. And having a work possibility somewhere out there, keeps you positive and gives a lot of emotional balance. 
  13. I never made clearing the exam as the only thing in my life. I did not connect it to my ego or to my personal success or made it my reason to live. I can’t be that intense about something like this. To me this exam is about what it allows me to do….like help manage things in my country, help improve lives, help make policy changes and work at the national and international levels to make lives better. I did not care about being rank 1 or something, I would have been quite alright even with rank 1000 as long as I get to do the work I want to do.
  14. I never took any test series or interview prep classes. I am too lazy to attend those. But if you need to practise and can’t do it yourself, it is upto you!

318 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome :) Best of luck!

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    2. thanks madam..what you have said is very important to me

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  3. thx maM,

    May I ask ur email id ?

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  4. thx maM,

    May I ask ur email id ?

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  5. I really really like this blog and want to ask that
    what do you suggest to a fresher who want to give exam after 2 or 3 years. where to start and what to start ??

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  6. I really really like this blog and want to ask that
    what do you suggest to a fresher who want to give exam after 2 or 3 years. where to start and what to start ??

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    1. For now pick up the NCERTs. I don't know if the pattern will change but I think the basics of NCERTs will remain. So best start there. Also you can research your optional really well. Sometimes it might go away as happened with Pali Language last year but it helps to at least get some idea. Also start following current affairs and do Polity.

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  7. Hi mam ,

    Best thing about your blog I found you were very honest.Even u did criticism where it was required.And narrated the things simply which u followed during your preparation.
    Thanks for writing this blog to motivate millions in various ways.

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  8. thanks Ira ma'am for writing this beautiful blog..very crystal clear.
    And yes, the teacher's name you have mentioned, i wish god may make him realize that how the beautiful is the relationship between a guru and shishya.
    My wishes with you..aap hamesha khush aur muskuratein rahe..I wish, i could meet you once.
    :-)

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  9. इरा जी ह्रदय से धन्यवाद आपका.. अपने अपना बहुमूल्य समय निकाल कर प्रतियोगी छात्रों के मार्गदर्शन के लिए इतना शानदार लेख प्रस्तुत किया है.. इससे न सिर्फ हमारी बहुत सी उलझने दूर हुईं है बल्कि हमें परीक्षा की तैयारी के लिए एक सटीक और सुनियोजित रणनीति बनाने में भी सहायता होगी .. एक बार फिर से दिल से धन्यवाद आपका ... :)

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  10. madam hw much time it takes to complete entire core syllabus of gs?

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    1. That completely depends on you...you can take 5 years or 5 months. Everyone has their own speed. Best of luck!

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  11. Thanks Ira mam for this eye opener. Please be there as our senior and helping hand :)

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  12. Hi Mam, did the preparation get easier for you as you progressed and gave more attempts? I am just starting and quite overwhelmed by the syllabus.

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    1. Yes it did....by the 4th attempt I just had to browse through the material. Specially for my optional. Best of luck!

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    2. Thank you Mam. Please continue to be the guiding light for us aspirants, otherwise we would continue to be duped by the coaching factories.

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  13. mam is medical science a best optional for medical graduate...as m.s is a very huge syllabus..which may be d good optional to anyone with medical background

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    1. No idea...please check with someone who has done it!

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  14. Hi,
    I am getting ready for 2016 UPSC exam and want to know about the digital strategy of yours as I am a working professional and want to clear UPSC. So please share your digital and share your strategy it will be very helpful for others also.
    Thanks in advance :)

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  15. helo mam, you have used business analysis technique in ethics case studies but what was your approach for 13 theoretical questions,have you drawn any flowcharts there or anything special,plus according to you if average handwriting fetch marks or good handwiting is needed ?

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    1. I don't know about handwriting...mine ranges from good to ok to atrocious during the paper....and no i did not draw flowcharts for the theoretical questions.....i didnt realise there was something that could be graphically shown!

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    2. You're welcome :) Best of luck!

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  16. Congratulations mam
    I want to know what all Website you referred during preparation

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    1. I didn't do any specific websites outside of the ones I have mentioned above. I would just google the name of the topic and read whatever came up as results....so nothing in specific. Only government websites were the specifics...like for schemes on women etc. Also i did google "central government schemes" terms like this...and then read the results... AIR fm was very helpful for schemes and other discussions!

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    2. @Ira: Small doubt. These are random sources. Were you able to recollect sny info from such non-specific websites in the exam?

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    3. Yes. Quite a bit actually. See a lot of topics for GS 3 are vague and not given well in any material. So these helped specially with that!

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  17. Congratulations Maa'm

    Your achievement is great!
    We are all proud of you!

    I am facing the similar case as you have faced earlier.
    I wish to share details with you to get your kind help and advise.

    my email-id is 1992.akg@gmail.com
    Please let me know your email id to send you all relevant details.

    Thanks
    May you get all the success of universe!

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  19. if u were to suggest coaching , which ones will u suggest. i am not feeling confident of preparing without coaching because of risk of going haywire. please suggest .

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    1. I am sorry I did not ever explore coachings....even in my first attempt I took what was closest to me! So no clue about those. May be you can check with others.

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  20. mam ...i have done my b.tech in mechanical stream . there is general saying you can't crack :"ias" with your technical... how far this is true ? choosing optionals is always a big TASK . how to tackle this...? n my final request..please never stop writing blog as most toppers do so aftergr8 storming start.
    respect u..n wish u all success 4m my side :)

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    1. I don't think that is true! A lot of people clear with technical services! Especially with engineering subjects. the only thing that matters is how good you are at the subject. I suggest choose an optional that you love. something you cna study for hours and hours. I took Geography because I love the subject. I did not mind studying it again and again! Even though in terms of the fact that it is the most popular subject, it was not a wise choice. But still, I did not want to change it.
      As per continuing this blog, I will try but I don't think I can maintain any momentum. The pattern changes every year so the new toppers would have more relevant stuff to say than older ones. Also, my general area of interest is not writing about UPSC exams. I would rather write about other problems in society like the problems of people with any kind of disability or issues that girls' face during their lifetimes. But I shall try my best :)

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    2. Your thoughts are commendable.

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  21. Could u please share some of ur written ans... it wud be very heplful in getting idea abt writing

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    1. I am sorry I never wrote any practice answers! Like I said, I prepared last minute so never had time to write anything. My preparation was all about learning about as much stuff as possible and then directly producing in the exam hall!

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  22. Ma'am,
    how you managed time. I am in job .i can manage 7-8hr self study but is this time enough without coaching...thing is that i am posted in Gujrat no coaching here.
    please guide..

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    1. Hi, I am not the best when it comes to time management. I study last minute and just usually manage to scrape through. I did not study with job, since I used to work 18-20 hour days so never had time. 7-8 hours seems like a decent amount of time! Coaching gives you a general direction, but if you already have it, I see no reason why you need it!

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  23. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and all the best!!! I just want to ask you is their any perticular incident happened with you that attracts to choose this civil service path..( anyway you have mentioned for better lives and improve lives in our country) but purticular because from your family also you are the first...and who is your role model ?

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    1. Not really....I don't remember ever that I didn't want to do this! I had 3 things in mind though...I.F.S., I.A.S., and being a doctor. I guess I must have heard about them all...and since I had visited so many doctors ever since I was a baby, these professions attracted me the most!

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  25. In continuation of above question mam is one year preparation with work is suffice if we get 5-6 hrs self study time.I am aware of hard work involved and strategy but you boost my confidence that one should have an alternate career.Dr.akash Sharma

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    1. I think if it is 5-6 hours of productive study (which means no starring at the same page or reading the same line) for one full year, then it should be more than enough! But I am no expert!

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  26. For those who are giving you lectures regarding aspirant-mentor relationship, Coaching institutes can be best described as business enterprises with a morally corrupt determination...At least you have the guts to say it out in open, unlike other toppers (although most of them would agree to it).
    Even I would do the same if I qualify. Hats off to you Miss Ira...

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    1. Thank you. I am not trying to bring down coaching institutes because some of us really need the help. Some teachers do excellent work and need to be recognized. I have been a teacher myself of Spanish in a private institute and I used to spend 2-3 hours extra after class just explaining the concepts to those who had issues. I think being a teacher is the most noble profession on earth and private coachings give the opportunity to those of us who don't want to do it full-time, to lend our expertise. But we should be true teachers when we do it. Students need to be the first priority.

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  27. First of all congo mam
    i have taken admission in graduation this year in Hansraj college . Can u tell me some tips which i should follow from now onwards so that it will be easy for me in the preparation strategy

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    1. Hi! I think it is too early to worry about UPSC. I would really recommend you to please first finish your graduation and do get some kind of other job opportunity in hand. Preferably, work for some time. Once you have solidified an alternate career, then start your prep for UPSC. You have enough time! Who knows, the patterns may change again by the time it is your turn to give the exam, so I would really recommend you to for now focus on the present things!

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  28. Thnks mam i really like this blog..

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  29. to be honest ,u hve given me more confidence..i hve been preparing since 2013 and more or less the same way as u mentioned am preparing..me too cannot spend a lot of hours together infront of books and am certainly terrible at mugging up things..i must say you ,yours is one of those honest n genuine review i hve ever read and thanks for that inspiration..congrats for ur great success and wishing u a good future in the service..

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    1. You're welcome :) and Thank you so much! Best of luck!

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  30. Sorry,but If u did not know the Maps how u got such a huge marks in Geography.

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    1. At least she is candid and admitting she didn't do maps.We should be grateful as she is taking extra efforts and guiding us, rather than ask her such questions.

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    2. My optional is Geography ok. dats y i asked her. I want to know how she scored such a good marks in the optional paper. nothing else. wdr she went through only the concept the current affairs or the maps becoz mainly all the question in Optional and Mains they ask question related to Maps and location only..
      and it was not a question it was my doubt.

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    3. If you notice, I scored very high in paper 1 and not paper 2. I think other people have around 168-169 in paper 2 while I have 137. Plus this year the map question was comparatively easy, so I knew some of it, like I have mentioned in the post. :) I am very good with the other portions of Paper 2 so I did decently there. Map was only 20 marks this year.

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  31. Hello ira mam...i want to know how many subjects we have to select for it.....n how many subject wil be der for prelimanry and mains...

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    1. Please see the notification for the exam. That will give you a better idea :) Best of luck :)

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    3. Thanku mam...i just want to tht where should i chech notification for exam...and can u suggest some book for political sceience

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    4. Thanku mam...i just want to tht where should i chech notification for exam...and can u suggest some book for political sceience

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    5. It is there on the UPSC website generally or you can just google search it...that is what I normally do. Sorry I don't know any books for Political Science. Never took that optional. Best of luck!

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  32. First of all congratulations for your grand sucess .
    I'm persuing BA(geography )from DU ,and i want to prepare for UPSC ,though its my 2nd yr ,mam can you please give me some tips,and tell me the way i should study , and which subjects are imprtnt so that i can prepare them now ,n from where i should study .
    i will be highly oblige and thankful to you , !!

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    1. Thank you. I have already mentioned everything here. Also every subject is important. It is a very balanced paper now so better not leave anything. Start studying from the subject you find most attractive. For me that was Geography so started that. But you start wherever you like. Best of luck!

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  33. Ira the invincible.
    Hi Ma'm.Best wishes.We expect your daring innovations in administration. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you so much :) God bless you too!

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  34. Congrats ira ... can you please share your mock answer scripts and notes like gaurav did last year ... it will be great help to aspirants

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  35. Congrats ira ... can you please share your mock answer scripts and notes like gaurav did last year ... it will be great help to aspirants

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    1. Sorry I never wrote any answers...never practiced anything. I have never attended any test series either. I directly wrote in the exam hall for the first time. Gaurav Sir was a much more sincere candidate when compared to me. You can use his style as a benchmark I think!

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  37. hearty congrats dhi....iam preparing for prilims dis year.. and it is the first tym im writng it.im bit confused about wat to do and wat not to do.. bczz der are no one to guidee me.i had a thought of taking coachng in delhi will it would be helpful to me? many timess i came to vamshadhra hostel HRD to meet you but i dint get dat chance... plese dhii.. suggest me books which help outt me in prilims..
    EAGERLY WAITNG FOR UA REPLYY DHII.. PLEASE HELP ME OUT..

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    1. Hi Hari Lakshmi, sorry if you made unfruitful trips to meet me. If you feel you can't handle things yourself, you can take coaching. It helps give a starting point for those who can't do it on their own. The books for prelims are the same as those for mains. No major difference. Best of luck. Do make sure you do your current affairs.

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  38. mam please suggest for current affairs section for ias 2015 as static portion has been completed but this section i did not prepare at all. can i use daily current affair section and rstv/lstv section of insightonindia.com for it. please reply as soon as possible because only 26 days to go for exam now

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    1. I did not prepare for Prelims. Try using multiple sources for CA so that you cover all possible news items. Best of luck!

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  39. Hello ma'am . Found this blog very useful.
    Right now i'm in 3rd year of my engineering.
    I must start preparation.

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  40. Ira, thankyou for this wonderful article. It is very helpful for planning Mains preparation and equally beneficial for improving answer writing. Finally I believe that it is not necessary to read big books, but its more expedient to be perfect in whatever I read. This article in itself is a template for constructing an answer or an essay.
    Thanks again, will try it is me writing on a similar note the next yr.

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  41. Ira, My name is Sandeep Gupta. I am an Educational Consultant with the United Nations. I run a UN-Affiliated Program Know The World in 77 Hours. I have written a mail to you about something specific. Please read the mail and do get back to me.

    Do watch what the participants say about my free-of-cost UN-Affiliated program:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5yAtenCrsM

    Thanks a lot.

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  42. thanks a lot ma'am. u r an inspiration for every student who is preparing for UPSC or any other competitive exams.. god bless u..

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    1. Thank you so much :) Best of luck! God Bless you too!

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  43. Ma'am,your humble nature is very inspiring.

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  44. Hello mam i am handicapped and my height is 5 feet 5 inch. Can i be selected for upsc services?
    Some people are discouraging me because my height is not 6 feet and i am handicapped too. Please help me.

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    1. Height is a criteria only in I.P.S. and PH are anyway not allowed it in. So don't worry! Go study hard and give the exam! There is reservation for PH people to help them come on an equal footing with others. Best of luck!

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  45. Mam I m a marine engineer just started the preparation.presently I m doing history in insight and planning to do economics before December and after that I m planning to devote my time for engineering services examination.mam pls suggest me that it is a good decision or I should focus fully on ias. My optional subject is mechanical engineering.i m reading NCERT,pls suggest any other guideline for history and economics,books and teachers.

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  46. Hiii Ira, can u plz tell me ...how to prepare for gs n optionl? ..topic wise or book wise?

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    1. Topic wise. Some topics will need multiple books. And not everything needs to be done from all the books.

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  48. please,mam share link for downlod vajiram notes

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  50. Hi Mam,,I am 28 years of age,Is it right to start prepare for this exam?If so then how to prepare .Please guide.

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    1. It is never too late. If you are in any category, the age limit is higher. For general you will be able to give a couple of attempts. Best of luck!

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  51. Respected mam, i forward my message to your inbox of face book account but i am sure u r getting thousands of messages from the time when every one became aware of your selection again in the civil services and as now u topped the exam so its quit obvious that more people will be added in your followers list.......here my concern is just to greet you what i already did in face book for you though words are very different there but still it doesn't matters.....i was eagerly want to greet you but was helpless...daily i check my message box in expectation that you will reply but it didn't happened and till now ..... many congratulation to you mam and u inspired me alot though we never talked and even never watched each other but some day i would like to meet you in future and want to share my thoughts with you mam......i respect u alot and daily with my some friends i use to share your success....i searched for you and also u past struggle for respective post in the services which was before denied to you by dopt....anyways mam thank u so much and i am sure u will give ur best for our nation.......lots of love from my side mam.....all the best.

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    1. Thank you so much :) It is so sweet of you to say these things. I probably did not get your message on Facebook or it did not give me the option of replying. Sometimes it doesn't allow me to respond if the message has been sent from a phone. Best of luck with your future!

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    2. hello mam, i want to tell u first thank u for the motivation u gave me though indirectly but it helped me alot mam...as i am not here for seeking help from u but only to greet u ...i was feeling so helpless to greet you as i messaged you on face book but i already knew that u will get my message in others folder but as i belive God some ways help me so after fews weeks u updated and share this blog through ur fb id and trust me mam i was so happy and suddenly visited your blog to greet you....mam i want to share smthing with you, i am getting emotionally attached with you as i like ur attitude and nature alot .....as i am also very emotional but don't know why i feel like there is smthing in u which makes me attached to you...mam i want to share with you that i hv only one idol since from my 1st year of law that was Abdul kalam sir and i always followed his teaching and his news only ...the day i heard about his death i broked into tears and was in trauma for some days when i put my comment on ur blog that was the next date of his dimise .......at night of 27 july mam i was not able to control my tears i want smthing so that i cn overcome that then i suddenly browsed on you tube and watched ur video on that .....i also watched ur interview on ddnews through youtube named as Tejaswani.....and on rajyasabha as well few days back .....mam i love your nature alot and i want to tell you one thing now u r my second idol....i never able to meet kalam sir but mam i would like to meet you at some point of life to hv ur autograph mam as may be for others u r upsc topper but for me u topped my heart and makes me smile always and still don't know why but i love ur attitude and nature......i also want to be a civil servant so that i cn serve to people and my country as i want to do smthing good for poor farmers and want to do smthing for child trafficking and women safety ....i many time raised my voice against eve teasing but want to do smthing good through some machinery......so that i cn implement through a legitimate way and my area of focus also belongs to women safety...so i am about to start my preparations mam i need nothing more than ur blessing mam......i am thankful to u and God that he gave me second opportunity to let u know how i feel for u as i tried on face book but failed....now i am soo happy that u r reading my views which i hold for u ......i hope i will meet you and will able to get a autograph of u and i need nothing from u else .....would like to be part of ur sorrows and joy in future ...hope i cn see u in future ......always take care of ur health mam and be happy always like u r now i wish for u ....be in touch atleast through here ..never let this blog go wasted or dead please mam...i hv only this medium to communicate with you as ur friends limit on fb is also exceeded so i cn understand ur problem there .....take care .......

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    3. I am sure you will achieve your targets. Best of luck :) I pray for India that people like you get the opportunity to do the things they want to do.
      Also, I will try to keep this open, but since I will not really have anymore tips post this, it will be difficult. You can leave comments on my posts and send messages on FB though. Thank you so much for all your affection. It puts me in awe and is so extremely humbling. I am going to try my best to be worthy of it all :) Best of luck again!

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    4. thank u for ur kind wishes mam ....i am following u on face book and will message u there from onward, hope u will able to figure out my identity there as well......may be mam after ur joining u will not be able to carry on this blog regularly due to work load so as u gave me the other option of face book so mam i will msg u there to let know ur well being.... i hv strong faith on u that u will do alot for our country and there is not a single doubt for this...mam u already gave me tips as i watched all ur videos and recently watching ur video updated by Mrunal sir so thats enough for me but yes i need ur blessings alot mam.....Lady u rocked .....love ur attitude and yes ur sense of humor is amazing ..i laughed alot while watching ur video updated by mrunal sir.....lots of love for u mam...take care of urs as u r precious for me and many people who hv a strong love for u in their heart.......from now i will be connected to u through ur face book...again i hope u will identify me....

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  52. Thank you so much mam for ths blogs..

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  53. very very very congratulation DEAR maamm for this great success. thank you very very much for this very very very important and useful BLOG for us.DEAR MAAMM WISH YOU A VERY BEAUTIFUL AND NICE JOURNEY FOR YOUR NEW JOURNEY OF LIFE AS AN IAS.

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    1. Thank you so much! and you're welcome :) Best of luck to you too!

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  55. hello mam
    I M DOING B.TECH.(ECE which is not an optional subject in ias) FROM NIT ALLAHABAD(3RD YEAR))(after clearing JEE-Mains) exam. AND I M GOING TO COMPLETE IT WITH 18 YEAR OLD.
    SO I WANT YOUR GUIDE ON HOW TO START PREPARATION AS I HAVE SO MUCH TIME FOR APPEARING IN EXAM.
    SO HOW TO START PREPARATION????
    JOIN A COACHING OR NOT??????
    (since i can appear in exam first time in 2020 bcz of age limitation)

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    1. Why don't you start the preparation on your own first and see how it goes? It would be better to take coaching at a later stage if you really need it. Best of luck!

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  56. मैडम .
    उम्दा सुझाव ..शुक्रिया

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  58. Ma'am kind request to tell whether use of some report etc or eg to substantiate our point is necessary for geography optional ( ppr1 partB, ppr2) or not??

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    1. I couldn't think of any reports, so did not mention any! But if you can, maybe you can mention them! Best of luck!

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  60. Hello Ira Ji,
    Congratulation on your great success and wish you to do great in your career to help society, as you had mentioned in your interview with Raveesh Kumar NDTV. I am decided to follow your actions as an IAS, to get inspired. From by 12th standard I had a dream to be an IAS to help poor people directly. The basic reason for this was injustice done to my father by District Magistrate office and that caused my father circling around the courts for almost 20 years to get a partial justice. Also with time I had realized that I can serve the common people directly with my decision and can probably change their routine living. The struggling tenure of my family resulted in my study in a financially weak situation and I also depended on taking tuition to get some money. Such an experience of enjoying teaching motivated me to decide an alternate goal to be a teacher in IITs, or reputed universities or institutions. With this I continuously flowed in this direction and completed my PhD in Physics (from ISRO labs) in March 2015. Just after this I have moved into a Lab. of China to work as a Post-doctoral fellow after which selection in good universities in India is easy. In this long way of chasing my alternate career and partially helping my family, I have become 27 years old. Each year when the results of UPSC comes, I get distraction and feel to prepare for IAS as this is my goal since my teen age. I gave this long introduction to help you to realize my desire for IAS but lack of study especially for it, being involved in science. Now I wish to give 3-4 hours daily to prepare myself for IAS for the attempt I can avail. Please sincerely suggest me should I do like this or leaving this I should concentrate on my goal to get a job of a teacher in Indian Labs or universities. I am completely confused and just wanted to take your suggestion. I do realize that your reply may not completely solve my dilemma but wish to get your kind response. Can you brief the success trend in this exam with Physics as an optional subject? Please suggest me as per your ample experiences and I will be thankful to you. [Sorry for this long question, however wish to see your kind reply.] Wish you all the best for your service towards the nation. ---- Sincerely, Wageesh

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    1. Rank 3 is from Physics optional. So Physics is a good optional. But personally, I think the country would benefit more with you as a teacher. I genuinely think that is the best way to help our country. We need good teachers more than anything else. If we had good teachers, many more of us would be a part of the story of the rise of India. The standard of teaching is a serious concern for the nation currently. There are so many more people who can be IAS/Civil Servants. But only you have the skills to be a Teacher. None of us can do it. But if you really want to do IAS, then go ahead. I am sure you will do a great job there as well. Physics is a good optional. Best of luck in whatever career you finally choose!

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    3. Hello Ira Ji, My heartiest thanks for your encouraging reply. I wish to be a good professor, if I fails to be an IAS, however there I will get a some what different audience. Hope to appear for the exam in coming years to free myself from repenting for life time that I did not even tried for this....I wish to help/interact common people largely even being a teacher. I desire to be in your contact further, although you being busy in admin services may discontinue to see this blog. I believe you will be keep writing on several social issues, if possible kindly let me know the platforms of your further writings/thoughts. May God bless you with peace and success !!
      -- Sincerely, Wageesh

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  61. Hi Ira if somebody like me wants to crack this without coaching because I don't have any kind of means to pay heavy fee. Then what will you suggest a candidate like me. Please answer me what can I do for it. I have net access as my resource & guidance from the blogs of toppers like you.

    I also appreciate you the way you told us through your blog about ALS Institute & Mr. Jojo Mathew boldly. You are a courageous soul.

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    1. Hi! I have given all the things I did. I have also mentioned my book-list. Google search is a big help usually. You can join forums and discuss the relevant books and material with other candidates. Best of luck!

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    2. Thank you very much for you wishes. May God bless you and give success to you..

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  62. Please reply I really want to know your views on my post.

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  63. Hello Ira ma'm,
    I just want to say Thank You on behalf of all the people who read your blog. After getting AIR 1, still you read the queries and gave answers as possible. I read all your blogs , all your replies to asked you and in turn, get my confusion cleared and many other people may also get their answers. So on behalf of all those n me Thank You very much.
    I, personally preparing for Upsc since 2010, gave 3 unsuccessful prelim attempts. Reason is simple I didn't give my 100%. I'm skipping exam since last 2 years. Now target is prelim 2016 . I'm going Delhi for coaching next September'16.
    Economics n Current Affairs are weak points, choose Pub Ad for mains.
    Seeking your advice.
    Do coaching for interview must..? Or one can have a Good interview without coaching..?

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  64. Hello Ira ma'm,
    I just want to say Thank You on behalf of all the people who read your blog. After getting AIR 1, still you read the queries and gave answers as possible. I read all your blogs , all your replies to asked you and in turn, get my confusion cleared and many other people may also get their answers. So on behalf of all those n me Thank You very much.
    I, personally preparing for Upsc since 2010, gave 3 unsuccessful prelim attempts. Reason is simple I didn't give my 100%. I'm skipping exam since last 2 years. Now target is prelim 2016 . I'm going Delhi for coaching next September'16.
    Economics n Current Affairs are weak points, choose Pub Ad for mains.
    Seeking your advice.
    Do coaching for interview must..? Or one can have a Good interview without coaching..?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome :) I never took coaching for interview. If you think you have some weak points you cannot see yourself, then you can take it or you can ask some friends to take your interviews and point out your problem areas. We used to do that a lot during my MBA. To be honest, I don't know how good the coaching for interviews is! Maybe check with other people who did take it. Best of luck!

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    2. Thank you very much madam that you spare some of your precious time for guidance. Wish you best of luck for bright future.

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  65. Hi Mam, Thanks for your guidance through this blog...
    Just curious to know what was your alternate career choice...?
    Did u join job in between your attempts?

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    1. You're welcome :) Best of luck! And no. I would go back to my career as a Manager in Sales or Marketing/Strategy. I had worked for 2 years and so it would not be so difficult to find a job in the field again.

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  66. .......ira didi....i have just all ncert old & new and sided books for that and all online metarial....is it enough for pre& mains??

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    1. I can't comment on that....I have mentioned everything I studied. You can maybe compare with that! Best of luck!

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  67. Mam how to keep consistency for one year since it is a long process please suggest tips for year long hard work without getting out of track

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    1. It is ok to take a break sometimes! But if you want it hard enough, you have to come back to it. Keep reminding yourself that you want to really do it. Also you should want it for yourself and not for someone else. Best of luck!

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    2. Thank you very much I am preparing for ies mam but struggling for consistency

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  68. Replies
    1. You're welcome :) Best of luck!

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    3. Dear Ira Didi, U are an inspiration for every student like me who is preparing for West Bengal Civil Service Exam or UPSC or other exam...Thank You Didi

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  69. Ma'am, do you know any UPSC topper who cracked the exam with Mechanical Engineering as an optional this year ?

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  70. @Ira HELLO MA'AM. First of all I wish you congratulations for clearing the civil services exam and getting the TOP rank this year. FEELS REALLY GREAT TO HAVE SUCH A GRITTY LADY OFFICER who despite being handicapped,cracked down one of the toughest exams of India. KUDOS AND RESPECT TO YOU MA'AM. :)


    Anyways Ma'am I want to ask you a help regarding my career.
    I graduated as an engineer in 2014 and I'm still struggling as a fresher after 1 year. Which career is better for me: a. Get a government job and prepare for the IAS or b. Take a private job, do an MBA from an Indian or a foreign university?

    I WAS REALLY SHOCKED AT FIRST WHEN I GOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ALREADY HOLD A B.E. FROM NSIT AND AN M.B.A. FROM Reputed FMS COLLEGE. :O
    I mean how you first managed your MBA education and then after that suddenly going for IAS exam??? I have no idea what to do first because I fear of age gap and if by chance I got selected in an MBA college,THEN WHEN I WOULD GIVE MY EXAMS?? :(

    Really confused ma'am!!! Please help me out. :(
    Hoping for a positive reply from your side. Thanks and regards.

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    1. Thank you so much :) I always wanted to become an IAS officer. You need to answer these questions to yourself
      1. Why do you want to be an IAS officer? Is it to escape your struggling career? Why are you still struggling?? Do you think you will be happy as an IAS officer if you aren't happy with your current job?
      2. Do you want to be an IAS officer cause you want to become Secretary to the Govt. of India and have power and status or because you want to serve the nation?? If the former is the case, then give the exams now. But if the case is that you want to serve the country, then how does age matter? At whatever age you come in, you will still get to serve the common Indian. So do your MBA, get a good knowledge of the world, and then give your exams. You will anyway do better in the exams with an MBA because MBA teaches you how to think in crisis and how to add a bigger dimension to your answers. Please understand that I am not saying power and status is bad, they give you a bigger platform to change the world in some cases.

      Don't answer me these things. Answer yourself. Do a self-analysis of why you are trying to move away from your present career. Is it because you do not truly enjoy the work and you want to do something else with your life or is there some other reason? If you lie to yourself, you will not be happy whatever path you take. Best of luck! I hope you make a wise choice based on what you really want from life!

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    2. @Ira well thanks so much ma'am for your reply. :)

      But still ma'am I AM VERY MUCH CONFUSED REGARDING MBA STUFF.

      I mean right now I am 23,looking out for a job. Then having 2 year work exp.,I would be doing M.B.A.,then again I would be doing MBA JOB and till the time I would start preparing for IAS,my age would be around 29-30,MEANS ONLY 2-3 ATTEMPTS??? :O

      I mean how is it possible to handle out such age factor scenario in this??

      That's why I asked you the actual reason that what should I do first!!! Please help me out on this thing.

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  71. Congrats Ira! All the best. If possible, keep us posted on your experiences as IAS

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    1. :D Seeing how lazy I am, I doubt I will! But let me try! Best of luck to you too!

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  72. Congrats Ira! You are an inspiration to many. As a lazy bum myself,was able to connect with many of the things you said!!!
    On a lighter note,I read that you did not watch TV except for football. Which Club do you support? :D
    All the very best for your future endeavours!!!

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    1. FC Barcelona! Visca el Barca! Go Messi!
      Thank you and best of luck to you too!

      Delete
  73. Hi Ira mam,

    Good morning!!!
    Advance Independence day wishes!!
    Wish you all the very best for your future endeavors!!!!!
    Watched your sessions at SPIPA morning!!!
    Honesty at its best. Thanks for all your support. We are fortunate to have people like you around us. Every time I hear you, honestly some inherent energy gets pops up in my mind.

    Thanks for all your support despite having busy schedule.
    I am an aspirant of 2016, I am preparing geography as optional.
    Please be active on the blog as and when time permits you.
    Once again thanks for your support.

    Thanks,
    Swaroop

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    1. I don't think I have too many new things to tell about the exam anymore! I will try to be active but it will be hard....But you guys can all connect with me on FB!
      Best of luck! I hope you clear soon!

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  74. Hello, Mamm..I simply want to know. What should be the strategy for the beginners. Sometime confuse from where to start class 6 ncert books or 9th ncert book.And what after. Lakshmikant or D.D basu..please suggest best way to prepare with ease.I already asked you mamm on facebook didn't get any response.

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    1. Start from 6th if possible....the old ones...specially for Geography. If you can't then try 9th. If you have done Laxmikant, then what about History? It has 3 parts plus art and culture... and Economics? Try doing them from NCERTs. And then from the specialized sources!

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  75. Happy independence day mam.
    Mam I am doing self preparation for geography optional, but my background is engineering. I read your blog where you mentioned your strategy and book list, apart from those should i keep coaching institutes notes as of shashank sir, shabbir sir, neetu mam or someone else, as I don't want to lag from their students.
    And to judge how good is my geography writing skills whose tests are the best.

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    1. You can take any ONE coaching material since they are all mostly the same. They do cover some of the topics not given clearly in the books. I never gave any test series so no idea about that...you can check with other candidates. Best of luck!

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    2. Thanks mam for such a prompt reply.
      I owe you a great debt of gratitude. You are a beacon of hope for me.
      Mam even I had a bitter experience of coaching at Delhi, when I asked at vajiram to reduce the GS fee based on earlier exams which I qualified and weak financial conditions, they refused.
      Now even I take a vow to qualify exam without their coaching, so I request you to please help us in clarifying our doubts,I know it is difficult to maintain your blog but please be active though other mediums.

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  76. A hearty congratulations for your grand success Madam and great respect for having great thoughts. I wish everyone became like u.

    I need your help in answer writing approach since it looks me very difficult to mug up facts and figures, although I think I can give my opinions good enough.

    Thanks in anticipation. :)

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  77. hello mam

    congratulation

    Mam i am preparing from last few months with the help of mrunal.org and unacademy.
    I am from himachal and thinking to prepare self , but not able to decide how to check my answer writing .
    as i am medium grade student not good in answer writing.
    please help.

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  79. Hi Mam, firstly hearty congratulations on your achievement. I work for in IT firm at USA. I am ambitious towards the civil services. My question is that, in the blog you have mentioned that you search for different sources to gather best information. During this exercise, all the sources may provide same intro information which kills our time and we tend to get irritated on reading same information from different sources. However, some useful information would be available in the end or middle of the article. At these scenarios, what could be the better strategy to avoid the waste of time by reading same information and read the best information. Once again, wish you all the best on your new role:) awaiting for your suggestion!!

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  80. congratulations on your success
    Mam I want to know how much handwriting matters for mains.
    My handwriting is not good does it cost me lot of marks in mains

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  81. Ira Madam,,, please write an article for motivating disabled candidates preparing for UPSC exam.

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  82. Gud eve mam,congatulation for ur success,,,i VISHNU PRABHAKAR is in veterinary (3rd yr),,,hv my UPSC exams in 2018,,,but wants to start my prep from now,,,but does not know how to start n proceed further,,previously ,,struggled a lot for medical,,but failed,,,this time i do not want to fail,,,,so ,,,i need ur guidance,,,PLS BE MY MENTOR MAM,,,I NEED IT MOST
    VISHNU PRABHAKAR
    e mail-vishnu23021990@gmail.com
    whats app-9905952728

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  83. Dear Madam I would like to Congratulate for your success. i request you to share your training experience in LBSNAA so that it motivate the aspirants.

    LOKESHA

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  84. Hi IRA Can you please help me in one more way by SHARING YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECT GEOGRAPHY's STUDY BOOK LIST & SOURCE OF STUDY MATERIAL
    THANK YOU very much.
    May God Bless You.

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  85. Hi Ira,

    Wonderfully written! Precise and each point makes sense.
    U write in a way, that i could connect to. And make me release that YES this can be done.Thanks a tonne !
    And, CongratulationzZ!!:)

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  86. Ira whatever you giving to other is you and this is the best part of your blog.

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  88. Hi Ira
    If you can please upload your answers for GS Mains 2014 based on memory, It will be a great help and serve as a benchmark. Please take your time but it would be a great help if you do so.. Thanks

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  89. Hi Ira
    If you can please upload your answers for GS Mains 2014 based on memory, It will be a great help and serve as a benchmark. Please take your time but it would be a great help if you do so.. Thanks

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  90. Hi Ira Mam, I just starded preparation of UPSC. So where have to start me??

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  91. Hi Ira,

    Congratulations !!!

    I am preparing since 2013, I started with Polity(Lakshmikant) and history (Bipin Chnadra Pre and post Independence). However i have not started with the NCERT. I mostly relied on the online resources and spend a lot of time on laptop as i am working for a MNC so i get a lot of time to study online. I study a lot but i am not specific in that like i start studding what ever i get online . Can you please tell me the online resources which is helpful for preparation and NCERT book for class 6-12 or 9-12 or 11-12. ?

    i want to give a serious attempt this in 2016 and 2017.

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  92. Hello Ira Congrats..!!!

    I'm preparing for mains and tried to search mains 2015 question papers over the internet but i could not find on any site. As you have all ready appeared so can you please share the copy of question papers for 2015.

    I would be so thankful to you.

    Thanks,
    Brijesh Kumar

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  93. hello Ira
    will you please share your favourite books in novels and fiction

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  94. Hello ma'am..

    Congrats for your achievement...

    I have started preparing for civil service just a month ago.. I have a dilamma whether it is really advisable for me to prepare for IAS as I am already at the age of 29..
    Though I have tried giving 100% of my efforts, somehow the above question comes to my mind and hinders my preparations every now and then..

    So I need your suggestion whether it is ok to start preparing at this age(29)...

    I would be really grateful if you could give a piece of advice...

    Thanks

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  95. Hai mam congratulations for u behalf of ur securing rank in ias
    i wanna ask u that which news paper would u prefer for ias aspirants becz i always go for indian express and people say that we need to refer the hindu which i dont like to read.
    Please help me in this regard

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  96. hello mam ..How to improve writing skills ?

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  97. hello mam ..How to improve writing skills ?

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  98. Dear mam, I am just want to congratulate you for your patience and success and a BIG congratulation for Your all round success.

    if there is any parameter for success and overall success. . . like upsc gives you Ist rank but in Real manner you are The All rounder topper in gaming ,friends, genius to finish book in a few hrs.......an ALL ROUNDER all time.

    Finally you prove a Quito in a very beautifully manner........" A WINNER NEVER QUIT AND A QUITTER NEVER WIN "
    ALL THE BEST AND LOT OF CONGRATULATION FOR YOUR OVER ALL "All rounder" Victory.

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  99. Mam, Is it important to UNDERLINE your answers in mains paper?

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  101. Namaskar mam,
    Do we have to start studying NCERT books from class 6th?? I'm lil' confused regarding optional. I love maths but last time when I touched it was way back in 2007..don't know whether my bond with maths is still strong as it was till 2007..i have cleared SSC so i am pretty much ok With aptitude part but again this will help me in csat but not in optional. Mam can you throw some light on maths as an optional. I am a govt employee & get 7-8 hrs to study so is it a sufficient amount of time for maths preparation? Maths is not going to help me in GS unlike other optional subjects so should I stick to it or go for an optional like geography?

    In future I would like to c u write & discuss some relevant topics regarding upsc so as to enhance our thought process.

    Thanx in advance

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  102. Hello mam thanks a lot for sharing your strategy.
    It's very helpful.
    My name is pooja yadav. I aspire to be an IPS. I came delhi this week to join coaching institute which starts from the very basics as I have no knowledge about anything for this exam
    I had gone to ALS and shriram. I found ALS good but they are charging too much
    My parents are ready to invest in it though we are not exotically that good.
    So I just want to make sure that the institute is worth investing for a fresher like me.
    It would be great if you throw some light on this.
    Thanks!

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  103. Hello mam thanks a lot for sharing your strategy.
    It's very helpful.
    My name is pooja yadav. I aspire to be an IPS. I came delhi this week to join coaching institute which starts from the very basics as I have no knowledge about anything for this exam
    I had gone to ALS and shriram. I found ALS good but they are charging too much
    My parents are ready to invest in it though we are not exotically that good.
    So I just want to make sure that the institute is worth investing for a fresher like me.
    It would be great if you throw some light on this.
    Thanks!

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  104. Hello mam thanks a lot for sharing your strategy.
    It's very helpful.
    My name is pooja yadav. I aspire to be an IPS. I came delhi this week to join coaching institute which starts from the very basics as I have no knowledge about anything for this exam
    I had gone to ALS and shriram. I found ALS good but they are charging too much
    My parents are ready to invest in it though we are not exotically that good.
    So I just want to make sure that the institute is worth investing for a fresher like me.
    It would be great if you throw some light on this.
    Thanks!

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  105. pls csat be baare me bta do kuch

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