Gautam Vivekanandan AIR 211, CSE 2022: Shared Timeline with UPSC Aspirants

Dear Aspirants,

I wanted to share with you my upsc timeline for preparation and the ideal timeline I had planned but couldn’t completely follow. Planning is crucial in competitive exams, and having both macro and micro plans can help manage your studies effectively.

Here’s the timeline I followed:

1) May 2021: I started my full-fledged preparation, dedicating around 8-9 hours a day. Prior to this, I had completed studying Geography and Polity while working at TCS.

2) May to November 2021:

  • Completed all standard books.
  • Covered a part of the Optional syllabus.
  • Read Current Affairs Magazine.
  • Managed to complete a magazine every 12-13 days by reading 8-10 pages daily.

3) September 2021: Joined Vision IAS classes.

4) December 2021: Covered GS1 as per the syllabus, creating one-page notes for each topic and practicing 8-10 previous year questions. Also attended online classes for my Optional Subject (English Literature) with Prof. Radhakrishnan from Kerala.

5) January 2022: Covered GS2 in a similar manner, along with Current Affairs and attending my Optional Subject classes.

6) February 2022: Covered GS3 in a similar manner, along with Current Affairs and attending my Optional Subject classes.

7) March to May 2022: Focused on Prelims-specific studies.

  • Revised Polity 3 times using my notes.
  • Revised Modern Indian History (MIH) 3 times using my notes.
  • Revised Economics, Geography, and Environment twice.
  • Revised Science and Technology, Ancient and Medieval History, and Art and Culture once.
  • Took 30 mock tests, scoring well in only 10.
  • Did a quick revision of Current Affairs 3 times.

8) June to September 2022 (after Prelims, before Mains):

  • Devoted 70% of my time to preparing for the Optional Subject.
  • Revised notes for General Studies (GS) as I didn’t have time to read books again.
  • Prepared short 0.5-page notes for GS4 (Ethics) topics.
  • Wrote around 10-12 essays.
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9) September to December 2022: Took a break due to exhaustion. Although I had planned to study in November, I couldn’t.

10) December 2022 to January 2023 (before the interview):

  • Focused on reading two newspapers.
  • Prepared topics based on my Detailed Application Form (DAF) and Current Affairs.

11) March to May 2023 (before the result):

  • Started preparing for Prelims due to the cyclical nature and unpredictability of the exam.
  • Revised MIH, Polity, Economics, Geography, and Environment.
  • Used PT 365 for Environment, Science and Technology, and Polity.
  • Took 11 mock tests.

Now let me share the ideal timeline I had planned but couldn’t fully follow:

1) May to October 2021:

  • Read all standard books.
  • Complete the Optional Subject.

2) November 2021:

  • Focus on GS4 (Ethics) and essay preparation.

3) December 2021:

  • Cover GS1 along with answer writing practice.

4) January 2022:

  • Cover GS2 along with answer writing practice.

5) February 2022:

  • Cover GS3 along with answer writing practice.

6) March to May 2022:

  • Concentrate on Prelims preparation.

7) After Prelims (July to September):

  • Write 15-20 essays.
  • Take at least 12 mock tests (3 sets of GS papers).
  • Take at least 3 sets of mock tests for the Optional Subject.
  • Prepare a data bank for GS papers, including data, statistics, schemes, and reports.

8) After Mains (October & November):

  • Read Current Affairs magazines.
  • Prepare short subjects like Society, Social Justice, and Governance, along with the Optional Subject.

As you can see, I wasn’t able to follow the ideal plan completely. However, the timeline I did follow was close enough to what I aimed for. Remember that planning is key, and having a well-structured timeline helps manage your studies effectively. Adapt the macro plan to fit your needs, and create monthly and daily plans (micro) to ensure everything aligns with the macro plan.

Best of luck with your preparation!


Gautam Vivekanandan

Resources for Mains

I want to share the resources I utilized for my preparation, categorized by General Studies (GS). Please find the details below:

  1. GS1:
  • Geography: Studied 11th and 12th grade NCERT textbooks, GC Leong’s “World Climatic Zones,” and current affairs (CA).
  • Ancient & Medieval History: Initially read the NCERTs, but later switched to Vision class notes.
  • Art & Culture: Studied Chapter 1 of Nitin Singhania’s book and supplemented it with class notes.
  • Modern History: Read Bipinchandra’s book on modern history (class 12 edition) once.
  • Post Independent & World History: Covered the topic through class notes, although I couldn’t allocate much time for it, so I had to skip some aspects.
  • Society: Utilized Rushikesh Reddy’s notes available online and supplemented them with relevant information from current affairs (CA).
  1. GS2:
  • Polity: Studied Laxmikant’s book, referred to class notes, and added extra information from current affairs (CA).
  • Governance: Utilized class notes and created a short summary of the 2nd ARC reports.
  • International Relations (IR): Referred to Mains 365 materials.
  • Social Justice: Utilized class notes and supplemented them with current affairs (CA).
  1. GS3:
  • Indian Economy: Studied the 11th grade NCERT textbook, 12th grade Macro NCERT textbook, class notes, summary of the economic survey, and current affairs (CA).
  • Agriculture and Allied sectors: Created my own notes (I will upload them here soon) and referred to current affairs (CA).
  • Science and Technology (S&T): Utilized class notes and current affairs (CA).
  • Environment: Referred to Vision IAS value-added material and supplemented it with current affairs (CA).
  • Internal Security: Utilized class notes.
  • Disaster Management: Utilized class notes.
  1. GS4:
  • Ethics: Created short notes by referring to Vision IAS value-added material based on the syllabus.
  • Case Studies: Studied topper copies for reference.
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This list only includes the resources I used. I will cover my strategies for each GS separately and share them here in the upcoming days/weeks.

Gautam Vivekanandan Marksheet

Gautam Vivekanandan Marksheet

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