Monday, May 3, 2010



• Now I will turn to SHORT-TERM PREPARATION which everybody wants:-


• For this you need 4-6 months in hand. Plz read:-

1. The Hindu articles & analysis (At least read some 500-1000 Articles from Hindu & in one FILE keep the best 100-150 Articles & Revise them.)
2. The Times of India Editorials (Sunday Edition. The SUNDAY TIMES & “NOT” the DELHI TIMES!!! )
3. The Oxford Book of Essays edited by John Gross( Read some good Essays) (Selective reading)
4. The Penguin Book of Essays(Read some good Essays) (Selective reading)
5. The Book of Essays by Spectrum & quotations given at the back. Remember 200-300 good Quotations which you can use in any Essay & use them liberally.
6. Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Quotations
7. Oxford or Rupa Book of Quotations
8. Competition Success Review Book of Essays (2 Vols for Juniors & 2 Vols for Seniors). CSR publishes GOOD Essays in Essay Competitions. So you can pick points from them …
9. Read sometimes The Economic Times Editorials (Left hand side only. The 3rd editorial on the left lower corner helps in Essay. Also “The Debate” (for, against & neutral) that comes in Tuesday )
10. Make 2-3 diaries full by QUOTATIONS, DIFFICULT WORDS & their meaning, Who said what etc.

• Try to write in simple, effective & in an expressive manner. Every sentence of your essay must have a FORCE which should shake the examiner …If you have mastery over FLOWERY language, then go for it. Or else write in a simple, straightforward & concise manner.
• I write in a flowery language with LOTS OF QUOTATIONS & difficult words.

Hope this detailed guideline on Essay helps …


  1. sir pls write how to write essay in long term prp. from the Hindu open page,literary,book,business reviews n magazine?what are the sections present in an essay?

  2. thanks sir for a nice help..

  3. Dude.. u say short term and u are giving a list that will take 4 years to complete.. please help people in the right direction.. in the name of direction please don't append mis..

  4. Hello folks.. just a word of caution.. you guys can always refer to shubras blog.. she has given a more scientific approach to tackle the exam..hope it help.

  5. i quote " Try to write in simple, effective & in an expressive manner "
    1 quote "I write in a flowery language with LOTS OF QUOTATIONS & difficult words."

    Again you are negating your own stand. both the above two remarks u made are contradictory and i am sorry but this list is absolutely unnecessary. Ppl who buy this not only waste their fathers and their hard earned money. They end up wasting precious time.

    I am sure u are doing a great job by taking out time to help aspirants but at the same time dont create a lot of hype around the already complicated exam. Help ppl with a short yet swift and productive method to tackle the exams.. ppl who need any help just ping me or mail me.. my mail id i am aspiring to the coveted service.. thats all u need to know abt me..

  6. Hi Bharath,

    I knew some misperception will creep in.I will try to clear it.See when I give a list of books it does not mean that you have to read them cover to cover.For example I have given the Oxford Book of Essays,the Penguin Book of Essays.Both has 80-90 Essays in them.You should read 10-15 Essays which you like.I liked J B Priestly,Charles Lamb,Aldous Huxley.This is JUST FOR PICKING UP "THE STYLE" in which they write Essays.IN UPSC NO ESSAY FROM THESE BOOKS IS GOING TO COME WHICH YOU CAN WRITE DIRECTLY.Just to know how to write in an EXPRESSIVE manner.

    Secondly,you can write in 2 ways :
    1.In Simple but Expressive manner
    2.In Complex & Expressive manner

    The First Option is difficult.ONLY NOBEL LAUREATES LIKE V S NAIPAUL can write in that way.That's why I prefer the second option.You can get 140-150 marks in both styles but it MUST be expressive & forceful & based on your convictions.I applied the second method & got 140 each in 2 mains.So just suggesting some GOOD READING MATERIAL LIKE NOVELS,POEMS,ESSAYS etc.It does not mean that you will read ALL THE POEMS in GOLDEN TREASURY.Just read some 30-40 poems.In 30 mins you can read 5-10 poems & remember some catchy lines from them which will come handy in Essay.

    If you desire to be in IAS & other allied services you MUST develop the habit of separating the RELEVANT FROM THE NON-RELEVANT.Before reading an Essay ( i.e. after reading its 1-2 paragraphs) you should be able to say WHETHER IT IS RELEVANT FOR CIVILS OR NOT.If you FEEL it is relevant u can read,or else JUST IGNORE.

    The aim is TO BE WELL-READ.Which I mentioned.It will help you in PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT (WHICH CAN'T BE DONE IN 6-12 MONTHS).So the earlier you start doing these things,the better.Due to this wide reading habit many from JNU & DU get into Civils.Some others also get by applying short-cut,i don't deny that.But probability is less for them.

    Now the choice is yours.Whether you want to travel the HARD PATH or you want to play with fire.I have seen many friends in Delhi trying the short-cut in Essay & getting 80-100 marks consistently in 4 Mains.

    My primary aim was to develop the reading habit in IAS Aspirants with some good reading material & not to give them READY-MADE food.

    All the best ...


  7. Hi,

    IAS never comes THE EASY WAY.Never take short-cuts.All IAS toppers say so !

    Reading habit should be cultivated right from childhood.Many aspirants in Delhi also don't know the names of some good novels,poems,Essays etc.My effort was just to give some names & sources so that people don't pick ORDINARY Novels & Essays & deceive themselves that THEY ARE READING "SOMETHING" CREATIVE WHICH WILL HELP IN ESSAY.Read "SOME" NOVELS,"SOME" POEMS,"SOME" ESSAYS & NOT "ALL".I have mentioned "SELECTIVE READING" which means reading 10-20% Essays which "YOU LIKE".You may not like Charles Lamb,you may like Jawaharlal Nehru.It is all Personal Choice.I like both.

    Still,if somebody feels,that Essay can be prepared in one week,by reading 10-20-50 articles from The Hindu,
    "again",I wish you All The Best ...


  8. Just wanted to share how V S Naipaul(for example) writes in a "SIMPLE BUT EXPRESSIVE STYLE".See in the 2 sentences there is not a single difficult word,still the sentences are highly expressive & meaningful.

    1. As Willie's father says: "In the beginning I felt I had trapped myself. But very soon I found that the role fitted. I became easier and easier with it, and I understood one day that, through a series of accidents, tossed as in a dream from one unlikely situation to another, acting always on the spur of the moment, wishing only to reject the sterility of our life, with no clear view of what was to flow, I had fallen into ancestral ways".
    2. Willie himself has: "no idea of what he wanted to do, except to get away from what he knew, and yet with very little idea of what lay outside what he knew".

    If you want to know how to write in "COMPLEX AND EXPRESSIVE WAY" you can refer to Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie or The God of Small Things by Aundhati Roy.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Though I am neither an IAS aspirant nor one, but as an engineer what I feel VS Naipaul is just reading out his own mind, and it is equally expressive and forward as saying "No" for a cup of coffee if you don't want one.
      I don't feel expressing a point of view needs ornamental or King's English , instead it can be very specifically articulated with real facts and figure and can be presented in a similar way.
      Though from a field where things are accepted better if they are to the point. But I sincerely believe that this is the demand of society rather using too many protocols which are reflected in written communication if complex and not using words which are little known to others. It looks like speech of Lord Budhdha following the language of masses instead of Sanskrit which was representing classes.

      (Software Testing Engineer)

  9. sir,
    am an ias aspirant.plz post one of ur essays here sir,so dat we'll know how to approach an essay paper,and how presentation should be....

  10. Sir please give ur guidance about how can i prepare for upsc while pursuing my

  11. 2-3 diaries of Quotations and Difficult words!!!! Many of the aspirants may remember doing such things during their college days as self- improvement exercise. But for a focused, time bound preparation of Civil Service Exam, nothing can be more intimidating and misguiding. So guys get your priorities right, as for Bijay - congrats you were plain lucky,like many others.

  12. Hi Pragya, this has to be a continuous process. I started doing this Diary thing from 2nd year Graduation onwards & during preparation for Civils whenever I got some free time I used to revise my Diaries. This helps in memorizing quotations & difficult words. Its a continuous process ... I repeat.

  13. Hi Vijay,

    Thanks for ur help to us. Few questions:

    1. How much ur score was in 2007 mains (wanted to know to understand a little bit the variability in essay scores)?
    2. Did u give mock essay tests? If yes, then
    a) how many?
    b) between prelims and mains or even before prelims?
    c) how many hours and in what way did u prepare before writing a mock essay?
    d. how did you select 5 mock essay topics to make it exam like experience.
    e. how did you get your essays evaluated?

    Thanks again,
    Eager awaiting your kind reply.

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