Only Hard Work and Right Strategy helps you crack Prelims; says G Surya Sai Praveenchand (AIR 64; CSE 2018)

Only Hard Work and Right Strategy helps you crack Prelims; says G Surya Sai Praveenchand (AIR 64; CSE 2018)

admin Last Update on: 06 Aug 2021

G Surya Sai Praveenchand B.Tech (Electrical Engineering) from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna has achieved brilliant success in Civil Services Examination 2018.

He secured 64th rank in his third attempt.

He shares his preparation-plan and his views about various stages of examination.

G Surya Sai Praveenchand

(AIR 64; CSE 2018)

Optional Subject: Mathematics

Number of Attempts: Three

Previous Selections: Secured 512 rank in UPSC 2017, in his second attempt

Medium (Language)

Medium of writing Exam - English

Medium for Interview - English

Nature of Examination

Civil Services Examination preparation is bit unpredictable. It requires motivation and patience as exam process is long drawn.

One should keep herself/himself self motivated. It will be helpful if one is surrounded by positive minded people during preparation.

Also, try to keep some backup options. In my case, backup option was going back to job in software industry.G-Surya-Sai-Praveenchand-AIR-64-CSE-2018-IAS-Topper-earlier-selected

Views about Preliminary Examination

-      Definitely there is a luck factor in Prelims, however I believe that it can be overcome with hard work and right strategy

-      Reading NCERTs, basic books, current affairs, previous papers and mock tests from good institutes is sufficient  to clear prelims

-      One should revise the above mentioned books and mock papers very well to gain clarity and confidence

-      Enter the examination hall with enthusiasm and positive mindset, definitely you will clear the exam

Role of Optional Subject

In my opinion, optional selection plays very important role in final result.

For instance, I have secured 342 marks in my Mathematics optional this year. It has a crucial role in my success.

So, one should choose optional after proper ground work.

Targeting General Studies

Since 2013 importance to General studies has grown many fold. One should prepare basic books first and try to link the topics with current affairs. General studies preparation should be restricted to basic books and some standard books.

I would like to emphasise that, one should enjoy preparing general studies subjects. As it helps us develop a perspective towards various issues. I have always enjoyed preparing General studies.

My approach towards each paper:

Coming to approach towards each paper

General Studies - 1

One should thoroughly prepare NCERTs and standard text books. While writing answers in mains, quoting specific facts, examples and dates will help to score good marks. In social issues part, give examples from current affairs. In Geography, prepare the diagrams from NCERTs and use them appropriately in your answers.

General Studies - 2

In GS-2, first one should be thorough with constitution and governance aspects in our country. Using constitutional terminology, quoting relevant articles of the constitution and supreme courtjudgements in the answers plays key role to write good answers. One may use diagrams in international affairs part. E.g. Map of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) if a question on BRI is asked

General Studies - 3

This paper can be divided into economy, science & technology, disaster management, environment and security.

    1. Economy can be studied from NCERTs and some standard text books. One should keep an eye on Economic Survey & Government of India’s budget documents. There is lot of scope for flow charts and diagrams in economy. So, one should practice such things during preparation.
    2. Science & Technology can be largely prepared from current affairs. Do watch out for latest happenings about the keywords mentioned in the syllabus
    3. Disaster Management can be studied from NCERT and NDMA website. Through study of disaster life cycle and various international conventions like Sendai framework, etc will help to write well structured answers in mains.
    4. For environment, I have studied 4 chapters of 12th class biology ncert book. Apart from that, environment current affairs notes from The Hindu has helped me
    5. Coming to security, I have referred to sriramIas class room notes. I augmented this with my notes from The Hindu newspaper.

General Studies - 4

One should prepare each term mentioned in the syllabus and make notes in their own language. I used to pick examples from my daily life and current events. I have referred to Ethics & Integrity book of Arihant Publications, one may use this book for selective reading. After prelims, I have practiced previous year UPSC questions. I have revised those questions as well.

Essay Paper

For essay, I have made framework for previous year essay topics. Framework included aspects like

-      Dimensions to be covered

-      Examples from regional to international level

-      Quotes

-      Recommendations of the committees

I used to practice, 1 essay every week after prelims.

Interview (Personality Test)

I faced Professor Manoj Soni’s Interview Board. It was scheduled for 22 Feb, 2019

I was asked many questions relating to my Bio-Data, current affairs and some situational questions.

Questions asked during Interview

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

In my case, I got below average marks in Essay and Interview. Good marks in Essay and Interview can boost the rank to top. So do focus on them.

As far as my score expectation is considered, I expected better marks in my interview, but I have got below average marks (157).

I might have went somewhere wrong.

Also Read: Success Story of G Surya Sai Praveenchand (AIR 64; CSE 2018)

Book List


  1. Brief history of modern India by Rajiv Ahir.
  2. Tamil Nadu history book - 11th class for ancient and modern India [ pdf available on internet  also ]
  3. Indian cultural heritage - Fine Arts NCERT for culture.
  4. NCERT - Post independence 11th class
  5. World history – Vision IAS booklet (PDF also available)


  1. NCERT 11,12 - total 4 books
  2. YouTube channel - Mrunal Geography playlist for better conceptual understanding


Indian society, 11th class


  1. Indian constitution at work NCERT
  2. Lakshmikant - Indian Polity book


  1. Introduction to Macroeconomics - NCERT
  2. Indian Economy Development - NCERT
  3. YouTube channel - Mrunal for better understanding of concepts ( very good source )
  4. Government budget of that year
  5. Economic survey if that year
  6. Ramesh Singh book - selective reading of syllabus


  1. 6,7,8,9 class NCERT
  2. Current affairs from The Hindu


  1. 12th class biology last four chapter on ecology and environment
  2. YouTube channel - unacademy environment playlist
  3. The Hindu current affairs
  4. Shankar IAS environment

Current affairs

  1. The Hindu Newspaper - editorial pages , national pages , business page, international pages, last page, first page
  2. website - daily current affairs
  3. website daily quiz
  4. Vision IAS monthly current affairs booklet - that comes after every month. Helps in revising and covering missing topics

Government schemes

Focus on schemes that comes in Newspaper, Economic Survey, current affairs booklets

Previous year question papers of Preliminary Examination- very-very importantG-Surya-Sai-Praveenchand-AIR-64-CSE-2018-IAS-Topper-earlier-selected


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