Strategy:Rushikesh Singareddy, AIR 95 (CSE 2019)
I am Rushikesh Singareddy. I hail from Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh. I have done my graduation from IIT Delhi in electrical engineering (2011-15). I cleared UPSC CSE-2019 with an AIR-95. This was my 5th attempt. I also cleared the exam earlier in my 3rd attempt (AIR-374, CSE-2017). I am presently working as an officer trainee in Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS).
My journey so far
1st attempt (2015 CSE) -- Reached interview stage. Missed the final cut-off by 20 marks.
2nd attempt (2016 CSE) -- Couldn't clear mains stage. Missed the mains cutoff by 26 marks. I was completely shattered after this attempt. It took lot of time for me to gather the strength to give the exam again. It was my toughest phase.
3rd attempt (2017 CSE) -- Secured AIR-374. Got into Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS).
4th attempt (2018 CSE) -- Couldn't clear prelims. Missed the cutoff narrowly. This did not pinch much as it gave much needed time off the preparation and allowed me to attend the Foundation Course at LBSNAA.
5th attempt (2019 CSE) -- Secured AIR-95.
From the very first day of my preparation, I had started making my own notes. These notes helped me to revise quickly, remember things easily and condense vast amount of information into simple words of my own. In short, they simplified my preparation. I tried to make them comprehensive so that i need not refer to any other source during my next reading or during revision stage. They mostly cover the entire static portion of all the 4-GS papers and also contain some current events of the past 1-2 years. I have classified them in multiple sub-heads according to the syllabus.
I have uploaded my GS-mains notes in the below link
Prelims and essay notes have been uploaded in the below link
GS-1,2,3 answer writing tips
This year I made few minor changes in my presentation and the way I write introductions and conclusions to my answers.
While introducing any answer, I usually start the answer in 3 ways -- a) Defining the key word in the question; or b) Writing a statistic related to the topic of the question; c) If there is any current affair relating to that topic. You can start with any of the 3 depending on the question and availability of the information. This is a good way to start an answer as it clearly sets the context for your body. This approach also saves time as you don't have to waste time on thinking on how to introduce your answers.
While concluding my answers, I connect the topic of the question to a larger goal. We can use SDGs, ideals of preamble of our constitution, Gandhian philosophies, Indian ancient traditions, etc., to connect to a broader goal or idea. For example, if there is a question relating to water scarcity, one can conclude by connecting it to SDG-6. In order to do this, one should practise this approach in mock tests.
- When ever I wrote a sub-heading, I used to put a small square box to highlight it. Then i used to draw a straight line below it to ensure proper alignment of points which I used to write under the sub-heading. It looks clean and neat.
2. If you are short of time, one can use this approach to cover any part of the question.
3. Use of maps to indicate something across India.
4. Use of maps to show border related issues
5. Use of some basic flow charts
GS-4 answer writing tips (Case Studies)
I start my case-studies with a subject matter (Summarising the case broadly), stake holders and values involved. This acts as a good introduction and gives good structuring to the answer. Writing stake-holders allows you to analyse the case from everyone's perspective and ensures comprehensive coverage.
Optional booklist and strategy (Electrical Engineering)
I have scored 347 marks in electrical engineering in CSE-2017. Electrical is highly rewarding optional but the syllabus is huge, so it takes time to complete and master it. As there is no availability of ready-made material, you have to rely on reference books for completion of any topic in the syllabus. This adds to the difficulties. But this is a very rewarding optional and it can propel your rank if you do well in the examination. All it takes is continuous efforts and right amount of problem solving practise.
- Circuit Theory: I referred A. Chakrabarti (Dhanpat Rai). Complete all the solved examples and unsolved problems from the book if you have time. Focus on Network Theorems, various parameters of expression of two-port networks and graph theory (often ignored).
- Signals and systems: I had used Sanjay Sharma as my primary book and Oppenheim as my secondary book. They cover the syllabus very well. Please do all the solved examples from both the books. For DFT and FFT have a basic understanding from a source you like (I have used youtube videos). The formulas can be very confusing in this. Please have a sheet of paper and write down every formula and revise it often.
- E.M. Theory: Do not go beyond Sadiku for this. The chapters 9,10,11 entirely cover your syllabus. Do all the solved examples and attempt unsolved if time permits. If you have time then glance through KD Prasad to not to miss out on anything important (Only after completing sadiku).
- Analog Electronics: I referred J.B. Gupta. It is an extensive book that covers the topics really well. Do it very patiently. Try to cover only those portions which are in the syllabus and leave the rest. Do all the solved examples. Apart from this, I solved problems from ACE mains ESE material. This is to gain better practise.
- Digital Electronics: Morris Mano is the book you should refer to for this chapter. For timing circuits (555 timer) and comparators refer to J.B. Gupta (same book as suggested for analog electronics). Apart from this, I have solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Energy Conversion: I referred Ashfaq Hussain. Try to get good grasp of all the solved examples. Apart from this, I also solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Power Electronics and Electric Drives: I referred PS Bhimbra. This is also a time consuming book and requires good patience to complete it. It requires two to three iterations to understand the topic completely. Chapters that needs to be covered from the book are chapter 2, chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 7 (multiphase choppers), chapter 8 and chapter 12. Don’t forget to complete all the solved examples. Questions are directly lifted from these example problems.
- Analog Communication: I referred Simon Haykin and BP Lathi. But there is also a very good NPTEL course which covers syllabus in its entirety. In fact the course contents are such that it seems the syllabus is directly picked from the course. So, pick any source you like and complete the syllabus. Apart from this, I solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Control Systems: I referred FF Kuo. This is again a very good with enough examples and good coverage of theory part. Focus must be on time domain analysis, frequency domain analysis, stability criteria and state variables. I have also solved problems from Control systems by V.U.Bakshi U.A.Bakshi (Technical publications).
- Microprocessors and Microcomputers: I have referred to Ramesh Gaonkar. The book is an easy read, so you can complete it easily. Refer online for some peripheral devices which are not covered well in Gaonkar. The guide will be previous years questions of both IES and civil services. I also solved problems from Satish K. Karna. It contains good problems on assembly language programming.
- Measurement and Instrumentation: The primary book I referred is made-easy written notes. For the topics like spectrum analyser, signal conditioning, etc which are not covered in made-easy book, refer to Sawhney. Do refer to previous years questions of both IES and civil services for better understanding of types of questions being asked.
- Power Systems: I referred Nagrath Kothari. Do all the solved examples of the book. If you have time you can also pick up wadhwa and complete the solved examples.
- Power System Protection: I referred Badri Ram and Vishwakarma. There is no need to refer to any other book as this covers the entire syllabus. Focus on circuit breakers and digital protection as more number of questions are being asked from those topics. Also please remember the schematics of various protection schemes.
- Digital Communication: The best book for this topic is JS Chitode (Technical publication). It covers almost all the topics very comprehensively. I have referred to Forouzan (Chapter 1 and 2) for data networks and 7 layered architecture, as they are not covered in Chitode very well. Do not neglect this part as 10 markers are constantly being asked from this.
- Take a printout of the syllabus copy. Once you are done with the topic, check the syllabus and highlight the left out sub-topics. Cover these sub-topics very thoroughly.
- Do not neglect solving problems. This is the most important part of your preparation. Solve the problems along with your theory.
- Do the previous years questions of CSE and ESE. Last year Made-easy has come up with 16 years solved papers for CSE too. This is very important as same models of questions are asked.
- Join a Test series. This will help in improving your speed and improve the way you present your answers. Although the final answer and the correct approach are more important, but the way you present it (writing down the formulas you use, clearly showing step-by-step approach, etc) also matter.
- Be good with the theory part, especially for paper-2. Remember things like advantages and disadvantages whenever relevant. Also please remember all the derivations.
- Notes making. As the syllabus is very huge, please keep a book where you can update all the formulas and important derivations. This can be useful material for your revision a day before the examination.