Dhyeya IAS versus Vajirao
Kanishak Kataria Strategy
AIR 1 - UPSC CSE 2018
RELEVANCE OF THE SLIDES
▸ My background
▸ UPSC timeline
▸ Strategy adopted for my preparation
▸ Deep-dive into this only if you resonate with my background
▸ Better to find seniors with a similar background and “adopt” their
▸ DO NOT COPY anyone - make your own strategy
▸ Home: Jaipur, Rajasthan
▸ Schooling: Kota, Rajasthan
▸ Graduation: B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Bombay - 2014 Batch
▸ Work experience:
▸ Sept 2014 - Feb 2016: Samsung Electronics, South Korea
▸ March 2016 - May 2017: Two Roads Technological Solutions, Bangalore
▸ No prior knowledge about UPSC pattern, demands; No touch with any of the non-science subjects
▸ Appeared for Prelims in 2014 but without any preparation (Probably scored single digit marks in GS!).
Wanted to get some understanding about UPSC CSE, in case I appear in future.
▸ Quit job in May 2017 to start my UPSC preparation with full focus. No connect with UPSC / GS in last 3
▸ Joined Vajiram (for GS) in June 2017 and IMS (for Maths) in July 2017
▸ Finished Maths syllabus by October 2017
▸ Finished GS coaching at Vajiram in March 2018
▸ April 2018: shifted back to Jaipur and started self preparation
▸ Till February 2018: ▸ June 2018 - Mid July 2018:
▸ Finished Maths syllabus + 1 revision ▸ Maths revision + short notes (No GS in this duration)
▸ Finished basic NCERTs ▸ Started Answer Writing by practicing few online
answers on TLP IASBaba for 15 days. Only 1 hour per
▸ Thorough in all the class notes with multiple
▸ Mid July 2018 - September 2018:
▸ March 2018 - May 2018: ▸ Completion of GS syllabus topic wise + making short
notes for last minute revision
▸ Dedicated study for prelims
▸ Vision mains test series - 8 full length tests
▸ Vision + Vajiram test series for Prelims
▸ 6th March 2019: Personality Test
HOW TO APPROACH?
▸ Self-awareness + understanding UPSC
▸ Few basic questions
▸ Booklist * (Mains oriented)
▸ (Mains Strategy + Answer Writing + Test Series) *
▸ Maths Strategy *
* - discussed separately
SELF AWARENESS + UNDERSTANDING UPSC
▸ Find out the answer for “Why UPSC”?
▸ Most important
▸ Need to sustain motivation for at least 1.5 year
▸ Go through detailed syllabus and Pattern of examination
▸ Precursory look at Past Year Questions for better understanding of what UPSC “demands”
▸ See few blogs / videos by qualified aspirants to understand the basic challenges; not necessary
to follow what they did
▸ Identify your likes / dislikes, strengths / weaknesses
▸ Critical in strategizing and optional selection
▸ Better to devote time here at the start as compared to 3-4 months into the preparation
FEW BASIC QUESTIONS
IS COACHING REQUIRED?
▸ Neither necessary, nor sufficient
▸ Doesn’t guarantee selection - bulk of preparation is self-study
▸ Many students clear through self preparation
▸ As per my experience, most of the coaching only help in guiding “what” to study; No guarantee of giving
▸ Have low expectations from the quality of teaching in the coaching
▸ Don't commit resources into coaching (time and money), if you have shortage
▸ Sufficient guidance available online
▸ If in dilemma, have a look at this link to see the lecture notes: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/
1akaojzp3r9akjo / AADB1gbdSocRWDHHEUSqzQ50a? Dl = 0
▸ Also, adapting to coaching routine can be taxing for first timers
MY EXPERIENCES AND ASSOCIATION WITH VARIOUS COACHING
Vajiram and Ravi:
GS Classroom student (2017-18): Excellent faculty, pathetic administration. Would have left it in 1st month, if not for some of
Interview Guidance (2019): Amazing experience in the 1-1 interaction with Ravindran Sir. No mock interviews.
Vision IAS: Enrolled in Mains Test series in 2018 at Jaipur. Evaluation is overrated and can be misleading. Regularly referred
to some relevant compilations (365s) and supplementary materials.
Triumph IAS: Wrote 3 essay tests online. Evaluations not as quick as promised, but final UPSC marks in a similar range.
IMS: Enrolled for Maths coaching. Notes are of excellent quality. But didn't rely fully on the coaching. Multi-tasked and
finished syllabus on my own. Otherwise would have left behind in GS.
KSG: Enrolled for Mocks. Very good experience. Khan Sir helped a lot during the preparation phase.
Ianugrah: Personalized guidance and tips which helped me prepare well for UPSC interview. Would recommend to students.
MY EXPERIENCE AND ASSOCIATION WITH VARIOUS COACHING (CONTD.)
Chanakya / Dhyeya: Enrolled for MOCKS ONLY. No classroom experience. Mocks helped in final preparation.
Samkalp: Gave 1 simple mock and 1 group mock. Both of them helped in the final interview. But experience is subjective
based on the panel in mock.
Miscellaneous Online Platforms:
Unacademy: tried in my 1st month of preparation but didn't find it relevant. Not a regular learner.
IASBaba: Followed TLP platform for Answer Writing Practice (AWP) after Prelims. It helped me a lot to get started with
AWP. Quality of questions is good. But no guarantee of getting answers evaluated due to volume of submissions.
Insightson India: utilized for prelims MCQ practice. Didn't find Mains answer writing platform relevant for me. Preferred
IASBaba more for their quality of questions.
ForumIAS: utilized for prelims and few offline tests at home.
IS IT NECESSARY TO STAY IN DELHI?
▸ Life in Delhi / ORN is a struggle for many
▸ High cost of living - somewhere around 2 lakh annually (excluding coaching fees)
▸ Poor quality of living - hygiene / food / infrastructure
▸ Pollution + health issues
▸ Relatively easy access to resources / materials / notes (though you can get them shipped to your place or read online)
▸ Easier to find peer group (need to be careful though)
▸ Whole environment is full of UPSC aspirants, so easy to get motivated (only if you stay in ORN and nearby areas)
▸ Timely course correction if you are heading in the wrong direction
▸ Make this decision by yourself. Don't move just because everyone else is doing / has done it.
DECIDING OPTIONAL - MOST IMPORTANT DECISION
▸ Decide the subject which you like to study
▸ It will act as a source of refreshment away from monotonous GS syllabus
▸ See the syllabus, PYQs, talk to seniors with similar background / interests and then decide
▸ Stick by the decision which you have made; don’t get swayed easily by others’ opinion
▸ In case of any confusion between 2 optionals, try to study one of them for 7-10 days and see if
you are liking it. Continue if you like it, else try the other one. But do not get stuck for more than a
▸ Finalize and get started with the optional asap. Aim should be to finish at least one revision before
dedicated prelims preparation.
▸ Mathematics as optional - discussed in Maths strategy slides
HOW MANY HOURS DID I STUDY DAILY?
▸ Irrelevant question!
▸ Number of hours to study is highly subjective
▸ Study for your own satisfaction. At the end there shouldn't be any regret that you could have done
▸ This can be 6 hours or 10 hours or 15 hours depending from person to person and time to time.
▸ But stay consistent in your efforts.
▸ I studied 10 hours (including coaching and newspaper) in initial phase which later reduced to 8-9
hours. But in the last 2 months of mains preparation it increased to 15 hours.
▸ Do not leave your hobbies completely. They help you get refreshed. Watch movies, play sports, sing,
dance - do whatever you like to do, but with self restraint. Do not lose sight of your ultimate goal -
TO FOLLOW ...
▸ Mains booklist
▸ Mains strategy
▸ Maths strategy
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