Topic Wise Books
Detailed out below is a topic-wise list of books and sources you can follow for the Prelims Exam. While there is a copious amount of study material available in markets and on the internet, try to limit yourself to 1-2 sources for each topic. This helps in revision, retention and keeping the study manageable. we would not advise to further complicate the already complex syllabus by referring to multiple books and then not being able to revise them. Revision is the key and will define how much of what you study you can actually recollect and remember in the exam. For example, a number of books are available on Modern History. However, one can stuck with Bipan Chandra’s NCERT and some sections of Spectrum and read the portions I underlined over and over again.
|Topics ||Sources I Followed |
|History (Ancient)||RS Sharma Ancient History old NCERT|
|History (Medieval)||Romila Thapar 7th or 8th class NCERT and selected sections (only culture part) of Satish Chandra’s 11th class NCERT.|
|History (Modern)||Bipan Chandra XII NCERT + Spectrum |
|Art & Culture||Apart from above history NCERTs, Fine Arts NCERT, CCRT website (topics like Dance, Drama not covered in books), NIOS notes on Science (e.g. Ancient and Medieval era science), UNESCO sites from Wikipedia.Nitin singhania|
|Polity (Static and Current)|| Laxmikanth, Indian Constitution at Work NCERT, Newspapers (Hindu/Indian Exp.).D.D BASU|
|Economy (Static and Current)||Day to Day Economics by Satish Deodhar, Indian Economic Development NCERT, XII Macroeconomics NCERT, Newspaper, Ramesh Singh |
|Science and Tech (Static and Current)||Class 9 and 10 NCERT, Biotech topics in +2 Bio NCERT, Newspaper, Rajya Sabha TV show “Science Monitor”, random Google search on current topics not covered well in newspapers|
|Environment (Static and Current)||GK today booklet, Science NCERTs have chapters on Environment, Some Mrunal articles and videos about international treaties were good, Wikipedia for national parks, Ramsar sites and other such sites.Reading Erach barucha is must|
|Geography – World||XI NCERTs, khullar (both volumes), 2nd half of GC Leong (Biomes)|
|Geography – India (Physical + India)||XI NCERTs, khullar|
|Important Current National and International Events||Newspapers (Hindu/Indian Express) – kept notes and revised them,PIB|
|Schemes & Policies||Not much. Made a list of schemes regularly appearing in news and read about them on government websites.|
|Other Internet or offline sources followed||Did not follow anything regularly. Rather, searched for an issue/topic I did not feel comfortable with and read as much as possible whether PIB (Features section), Mrunal, PRS, IDSA’s ‘ask an expert’, Foreign Ministry’s ‘In Focus’, Rajya Sabha TV’s ‘Big Picture’, ‘Science Monitor’, ‘State of the Economy’, ‘India’s World’ are good sources. No Vision/Insights/IAS Baba. Did some answer writing practice for mains from Insights|
CSAT Prelims Strategy
Since CSAT is of qualifying nature we are going to set its strategy separate from Paper I GS. This will benefit greatly in time-management and also in developing focus for the GS paper. This strategy will benefit those who are struggling with the CSAT paper as well as those who have very few doubts on the CSAT.
First, it must be noted that CSAT will consume considerably lesser amount of time as compared to the GS paper. Since you have to score only 33% to pass the paper there is absolutely no need for you to sacrifice much of your valuable time preparing for it. Keeping these aspects in mind we have devised the following strategy to help you clear the CSAT paper with relative ease. This strategy is very practical and as such it is important that you follow it diligently.
Step 1: Take CSAT seriously
There are candidates who have actually failed to pass this paper. As a result, despite scoring high in GS these candidates didn’t qualify for the Mains examination. So, take it seriously - you must clear this paper at all costs.
Step 2: Evaluate yourself before you begin preparation
- Attempt last year’s CSAT paper and check your score. This will give you an idea of where you stand vis-a-vis the CSAT paper.
- If you score high then keep CSAT on the back burner for now and focus on GS. You can start your CSAT preparation two months before the exam. If you score less - don’t worry – starting immediately, follow this strategy and all shall be well.
Step 3: Get a comprehensive CSAT manual like the one published by Tata McGraw Hill
- A manual such as this will provide you with a one-stop solution for your preparation, the importance of which cannot be overemphasized.
- You do not need to learn everything in the book cover-to-cover. The book is divided into parts and you should pick and choose topics as per your requirement.
- Keep any one day for CSAT practice and solve some questions from the numerous mock question papers found in the book.
- Candidates who are struggling with the CSAT paper should practice at least 1 hour daily. This can be reduced to weekly 3-4 hours or 1 mock paper per week depending on your requirement.
- If you consider yourself extremely weak in CSAT you must take a Test Series with any reputed coaching institute. In any case, taking up a test series helps as it not only keepsyou on your toes, it also keeps you familiar with the CSAT pattern and topics.
- Lastly, in qualifying papers like CSAT you should try to maximize your strengths rather than your weaknesses. The overall aim should be to get basic familiarity with any area you are not comfortable with so that you do not miss out on easy questions.
- There is no point in spending excessive time for a paper that is only qualifying in nature so keep in mind the amount of time you are going to devote to CSAT.
In these 3 steps you have seen that you should take the CSAT paper seriously - but not that seriously. CSAT preparation must not affect GS preparation at any cost. Remember that being familiar with the CSAT topics, regular evaluation (coaching test series or self-evaluation) and focusing on your strengths will get you there. Yet, do not let over-confidence or ignorance stop you from preparing for this paper. You must clear the CSAT at all costs!
To conclude this strategy let us remind ourselves of some very basic things. Things like revision, steadiness, relaxation and motivation. In CSE preparation revision is extremely important - the more you revise the better you remember. Therefore we advise you to revise at least weekly if not daily. Without revision the battle is half fought.
Steady and well disciplined is also necessary as you cannot cover all topics at once. So, go bit by bit, step by step, remain focused and disciplined. Relax as much as you can. Do not over stretch yourself. If you cannot finish a topic in one day, do it the next day. Sometimes, it is more important that you revise your half-finished topics than to finish them without proper understanding.
Finally, motivate yourself, tell yourself that you can do it. You must remain motivated throughout the CSE year - from Prelims, to Mains to Interview. Never let that motivation decrease because without it your daily studies will become monotonous and you will never be able to enjoy the process of preparing for the CSE. Finally, it is said that ‘fear of the unknown is most debilitating’, which is true as you cannot know how the Prelims papers will be set. So, have faith, follow this strategy which many have followed before you with success. Fight that fear with faith and begin your preparation as soon as you finish reading this. Good luck!