Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Notes, Strategy, Marksheet

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Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Biography

Hello everyone
This is Arpit Chauhan
This channel is envisaged to act as a conduit for sharing with aspirants whatever I feel can be important in one’s UPSC journey.

As an initial post, I am sharing my marksheets for CSE 2020 & 2021 (to help me in explaining the difference later)

Arpit Chauhan UPSC Booklist

A brief history of modern India (Spectrum)Get Book
Indian Art and Culture by Nitin SinghaniaGet Book
Certificate Physical & Human Geography by GC LeongGet Book
AtlasGet Book
Indian Polity by LaxmikanthGet Book
Indian EconomyGet Book
Shankar IAS EnvironmentGet Book
Internal Security and Disaster Management by AshokGet Book
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Prelims 2020 Marksheet
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Prelims 2020 Marksheet
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Mains 2020 Marksheet
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Mains 2020 Marksheet
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Prelims 2021 Marksheet
Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Mains 2021 Marksheet

UPSC Mains Preparation Strategy by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

I am starting with MAINS now (as prelims is still long away) and would share with you things as per my understanding of them.

I believe that by the time the result of prelims is declared, one should be in a position to go ahead with answer writing within 1 week.
That is to say that,
2. Do not run behind new resources (provided that you have covered all important ones beforehand)
3. OPTIONAL should be covered before prelims (if not more, then at least once)
4. According to your weaknesses/strengths, practice Essays, GS (part/full) mocks and also optional mocks
5. Decide beforehand (between pre and mains) that how many mocks of each paper/subject are to be given and after pre result, form a TIME-TABLE to attempt them (This will help in time-bound multiple revisions)

Answer Writing Preparation Strategy by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

I believe that by the time the result of prelims is declared, one should be in a position to go ahead with answer writing within 1 week.
That is to say that,
2. Do not run behind new resources (provided that you have covered all important ones beforehand)
3. OPTIONAL should be covered before prelims (if not more, then at least once)
4. According to your weaknesses/strengths, practice Essays, GS (part/full) mocks and also optional mocks
5. Decide beforehand (between pre and mains) that how many mocks of each paper/subject are to be given and after pre result, form a TIME-TABLE to attempt them (This will help in time-bound multiple revisions)

Some people also go for daily answer writing but my faith was more in full length mocks (3-hr ones)
I however, wrote some answers from PYQPs in between mocks (especially for GS-4 and optional)

Tips to write a good answer by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

In mains, try to write more and more answers of decent quality.
Obviously, this is a subjective area but still, some points shall be kept in mind :
1. Addressing the demand of the question should be your single most priority (rest all is just gap filling)
2. keep using headings, sub-headings, diagrams, flowcharts, etc. to enhance presentation (but use them only where they fit)
3. make the work of the examiner easy by not writing unnecessary things
4. use of authentic data/facts/reports along with the source is appreciated (but again, bogus/unsure data shall be avoided)

Writing in the exam hall is an entirely different story, and especially when you see some unexpected questions.
On one’s part, things that would help in writing a good answer are:
1. Crisp, Concise and consolidated notes would be useful
2. multiple revisions (that bring things on your fingertips) shall be given
3. regular answer writing practice along with evaluation & feedback (self/peer/institute) is advisable so that you do not face a time crunch in the exam

COACHING INSTITUTES Joined by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

Due to queries from various quarters, I’m sharing the various forms in which I had been associated with COACHING INSTITUTES

Classroom coaching (Online/Offline) : NONE

CSE 2020
Mains : Mock tests of Forum IAS & Vision IAS (for GS) & Shubhra Ranjan (for PSIR)
Personality test : Mock interviews @ Rau’s IAS, Vajirao & Reddy, Unacademy, Byju’s, KSG & Vision IAS

CSE 2021 :
Mains : Mock tests of Vision IAS (for GS)
Personality Test : Mock interviews @ Next IAS, Unacademy, KSG, Vajirao & Reddy, One-on-one @ Vajiram

Wishes to students by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

UPSC CSE 2022 Prelims results are out

All those who’ve NOT cleared despite decent efforts would be feeling low and obviously so.
But I think that UPSC checks you on many fronts and possibly, handling failure is one of them.
Take a break of a few days and get back to work.
Analyse what went wrong (although that might be difficult in times when paper is so DYNAMIC) and improvise.
No one can be a better judge for you than yourself.
I’ll share some tips for Prelims later but for the MEANWHILE, just bear with all your thoughts and have patience.

To all those who’ve cleared
, I extend my best wishes for mains.
Make the most of the time from now on up to mains as what you do now would play a major role in deciding your selection/rank.
Do multiple revisions, Practice answer writing, look at PYQs and keep consolidating your notes (if u make them) and do not neglect any paper (especially optional).

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All the best everyoneπŸ‘πŸ‘

Notes making strategy by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

I believe notes making is one of the most crucial part of one’s preparation (although people do clear the exam without notes too)

The size of your notes and your command over them reflects the stage of your preparation.

Initially, your notes would probably be non-consolidated, un-coordinated and spread out in a haphazard manner.
But as you read and revise them again and again (as the static part), more and more things will begin settling in your mind and the size of your notes would eventually reduce with every reading (that is to say, you would figure out the more important part of them)

Moreover, it is equally important to time and again keep adding current affairs content to your notes so that every thing related to one topic (current + static) is in one place.

My strategy was that I made STATIC notes in hard copy form and CURRENT notes in online form (EVERNOTE) and before every stage of the exam (pre/mains), my focus used to be on consolidating them and then proceeding with further revisions.

For Newspapers, my strategy was to keep adding things from articles/news under specific GS papers’ headings on a daily basis in online form (examples of which I shall share later). Similar was my approach towards websites/magazines that I referred to.
{An alternative way is to make separate notes from newspapers (although I avoided this in order to achieve better consolidation)}

Eventually, you would reach a stage where you would be able to revise your notes within hours.
Precise, Concise, Crisp and consolidated notes at the end are a recipe for good marks as I always say that your answer in mains is a reflection of the quality of your notes.

Another important thing to be considered is that your notes should beYOUR OWN and no one’s notes can guarantee you success.
Ensure that your notes are within your reach and do not focus on making notes of each and every thing in an elaborate manner otherwise revision would be time-consuming and tiresome and notes would not serve their intended purpose.

I’ll share some of my notes to make myself more clear laterπŸ‘

PSIR Optional Preparation Strategy by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

Hello Everyone!!

Many of you have asked me regarding my optional strategy. So, here is something.

My optional subject was PSIR (POLITICAL SCIENCE & INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS) although I am a graduate in Mechanical Engg.
Reasons for opting this subject were its evergreen nature, overlap with GS (especially GS-2) and most importantly, my interest in it.

Like rest of my preparation, my optional subject was also prepared without any coaching and solely with the help of books and other material available in the market and Online.

Do remember, your resources and material shall be decided by you based on the time available with you for the preparation phase and your previous knowledge of the subject (if any).

Here I am sharing the resources I referred to for PSIR and the sequence in which I read them.

1. First of all, I read 6 books for PSIR which were :
i) An introduction to Political theory by O P Gauba
ii) Global politics by Andrew Heywood
iii) Political ideologies by Andrew Heywood
iv) Western political thoughts by Brian R. Nelson
v) Does the elephant dance by David Malone
vi) Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri

You can skip v & vi but I would suggest you to read the 3 books (ii, iii & iv) but that too, only if you are a book person and like reading books and making your own notes.
Books are, on any given day, the best source of knowledge. But remember, the aim hereis not reading the book but covering the UPSC syllabus

2. Secondly, I followed IGNOU PSIR material for BA/MA which is important from the UPSC syllabus point of view. This is good quality material and can be easily found online. But again, remember not to read it in the entirety but only what is in the syllabus.

3. After covering all these sources, I referred to Shubhra Ranjan’shandwrittenPSIRnotes available in the market. I found them quiet comprehensive and aligned to the syllabus.
If you do not like reading books and want material in notes form, then these are the notes for you.
Ma’am has covered the syllabus in such a way that appropriate depth and breadth of most topics (especially static part) has been compiled in these notes {although one would still need to put in enough efforts on their own for paper I section B & paper II section B}

Apart from all these things, reading newspapers as well as online articles (as from ORF) shall be done, especially for the IR part (paper II part B).

For example, ORF articles can help one to make comprehensive notes regarding India’s state of relations with major global players (as is demand of the syllabus) and all other topics which are dynamic in nature.

The above is a collections of sources I referred to (as far as I can remember). I’ll add if I recall something else.

In later articles, I’d focus on other important aspects of optional as :
β€”> notes making
β€”> importance of attempting PYQs
β€”> answer writing

Till then, keep studying and learningπŸ‘

Newspaper strategy by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper


Newspapers have become an indispensable part of CSE preparation.
CSE mains especially has become the kind of exam where newspaper reading would give you an extra advantage (more so in GS-II & III)

For example, CSE 2021 questions as :
β€” V-shaped economic recovery
β€” Role of women in judiciary
and many others had a direct reference in the newspapers

As with any other resource, people do clear the exam without following newspapers regularly BUT I’d advice you against it.

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Which newspaper to read?
You can read any newspaper you like but the most commonly followed ones are The Hindu & The Indian Express
Personally, I followed The Hindu and referred to Explained section of The Indian Express

How to read Newspaper & make notes out of it?
Reading newspaper in minimum time is a skill that would come to you by practice.
Initially, people read The Hindu for even 4-5 hrs on a daily basis. This is a wrong approach.

Try to finish the newspapers & making notes out of them (if you wish to do so) in 1-1.5 hrs max.
For current, as mentioned in my earlier posts, I preferred making online notes (on Evernote & Quip)

Let’s say you’re reading an article on Health/Education sector in India. Then try to incorporate any important data/facts/reports/commissions/way forward from it into your GS-II subheading of Health/Education.
Do not dwell on any article for too long or focus on memorising the writer’s point of view on the issue.

Some people tend to make notes from newspapers at a separate place altogether. That’s another way of doing things but I preferred otherwise.

Articles on abstract topics or those devoid of any data/facts are not of much use and can be skipped.

Try to make newspaper reading and making notes out of it a habit. If you are able to reflect in your mains answer copies the current context in which the question has been asked, it would always be beneficial for you. Also, for that particular answer, the entire content would be provided by newspapers in some form or the other.

Focus on just the important parts of the newspaper as Editorials, etc. and do not read them just for reading them but try to  extract from them as much as you can.

Should You join coaching FOR UPSC Preparation – Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

Hello people!
This is a bit subjective post on a bit sensitive issue which I am going to write due to queries regarding same by many of you.

******The necessity of coaching******

As already mentioned in previous posts, I did not take any online/offline coaching for GS/optional in any of my attempts.
Hence, my opinion is susceptible to be a bit biased but I would try to give you a balanced view here (as far as possible).

How coaching can help?
β€” save your time
β€” reduce efforts on your part
β€” provide regular guidance
β€” make you part of the ‘competing crowd’
β€” tell you what to study and how to study

How can it act against you?
costly affair for many
β€” environment can demotivate you if your commitment is not deep-rooted
β€” guidance can get mixed with mis-guidance
β€” one size fits all approach might not be suitable for all

Why I didn’t go for coaching?
I believe that UPSC is an exam for which coaching is neither sufficient nor mandatory and self-study has no substitute. I felt during early stages of my preparation that this exam can be cleared by one’s own strategy without need of hand-holding.

What mistakes aspirants do at coaching?
Based upon my interaction with many aspirants currently/previously in coaching, I feel the following things (Disclaimer : This is only an outsider’s point of view)
β€” many teachers ask you to neglect basic books and claim that ‘notes are sufficient’. Based on my opinion and experience, neglecting basic books is not a very good strategy
β€” aspirants complain of not getting enough time for self-study due to constant hustling between GS & optional classes
β€”aspirants constantly keep comparing themselves with others around them (on just 1-2 parameters) and get demotivated

One shall clearly understand that it is not the responsibility of any institute/teacher to get you selected and no one can guarantee that either. The fees you pay to any institute is for the classes/material/guidance and not selection and it invariably remains the same whether you’re selected or not and your institute will anyhow find many students to claim them as their own no matter your result.

Coaching can show you the path but it is you who have to walk. Don’t depend too much on coaching and do not blame them if not selected.
If you feel the need and can afford it, please attend coaching but remember, it is not a pre-requisite for this/any exam.

Also, it is perfectly possible to clear this exam without any coaching and many people have been doing this year after year. Whether at coaching or on your own, your efforts are needed to beat the competition.Have faith in yourself and do never feel afraid if you’re on your own without any coaching.

Always remember : Your selection is your responsibility and yours only.

Keep studying πŸ‘ and you shall make it

Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Instagram I’d

If you want me to write on any specific topic, you can message me on instagram at : arpitchauhan_20

Timetable for UPSC Preparation by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper

In response to queries asked by aspirants among you, I am addressing the issue of

Time management shall focus more on making the most out of the given time rather than giving in more and more time.
It is always better to study productively for 4 hrs rather than sit with the book open for 10 hrs with your focus elsewhere.

Time management would entail that you manage to find out the required number of hours to study on a regular basis.
Myfocus used to be :
1. Choose the syllabus to be covered keeping in mind he deadline/exam date
2. Once you know that you have let’s say 9 months for study/revision before you start attempting mocks
3. I would then fix monthly targets (lumpsum and never too precise)
4. These monthly targets would then make way for weekly and then daily targets
5. Completion of these daily targets can take any number of hours. Hence, I never focused on a fixed number of hours to be given daily. It varied depending upon daily productivity.
In this, if you’re not able to complete daily target on any given day, try to give in more efforts the next day and try to cover up the weekly target at any cost.

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BUT ALWAYS, keep in mind that :
β€”> Your targets shall be realistic. Never chew more than what you can’t eat.
β€”> Set targets according to your strengths/weaknesses
β€”> Allot ample time daily towards material as newspapers, etc.
β€”> Rather than being disheartened on not being able to finish a goal, focus on covering the goal in the longer term instead

The basis of time management is the simple fact that
‘Certain things can wait during your preparation phase. Nothing is more important than this exam while you’re preparing for this exam (Or any exam for that matter). If something is not related to my goal, then it simply doesn’t exist for me for the time being.’

Once you realise what is at stake and the competition you’re facing, I hope Time management would come to you automatically. It is an indicator of maturity in your preparation.

Your Time table would depend upon your particular conditions.
For example, time table would be different for coaching and non-coaching availing students. It’d be different for college students and full time aspirants.
Hence its always better to frame your own time table adding and subtracting what suits/doesn’t suit you. But my simple advice would be that take time for things other than studying too like physical activity, etc.

So, whatever your time table be, stick to it and try to figure out what works for you and keep modifying it.
As they say Improvise, adapt, overcome.

Keep studying πŸ€ŸπŸ‘

Essay writing strategy by Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper


Essay if the first paper of CSE mains.
It is among those papers where one can be least sure of their marks.
Still, people have achieved good marks in Essay year on year.

Although I believe that a hard-bound strategy on essay writing is not easy to formulate as the nature of topics can vary year-on-year.
Still, there are some points that I would like to share with you that could help you to get some edge in essay paper.


Prepare quotes on certain topics as education, inequality, peace, etc. Also, prepare some quotes from famous people as Gandhi, Mandela, MLK Jr., etc.
2. For society/economy related essays, etc. one can easily use the knowledge from GS papers.
3. Practice at least 3-4 essays with special focus on philosophical ones.

1. It is very important to :
     i) decide which topics to attempt
     ii) figure out what to write on that particular topic
It is not wrong to give even 30-40 minutes of your 3 hrs for this exercise.
Because if you go out to write without knowing what to write, you’ll run out of thoughts in just 3-4 pages
2. Choose 2/8 topics very diligently
3.Make a framework of how you’re going to write 1000-1200 words on that topic beforehand.
4. Try to start your essay by a quotation/anecdote/newspaper report, etc.
5. Always give subheadings and try to cover 1-1.5 pages under one subheading
6. Try to incorporate real life examples and avoid repetitions
If running out of thoughts, one good approach is to start thinking about dimensions of the topic and make subheadings out of those dimensions.
For example, dimensions can be :
Social, Political, Cultural, Economic, Historical, Legal, Environmental, etc.
8. In my personal opinion, it is always good if you can end your essay with that same anecdote, etc. with which you started.

One should try to write the essay in as lucid language as possible and there’s no need of using very heavy words/flowery language.
Remember, your essay should be easily understandable and the examiner shall feel the urge to read more and more without the need to put in extra efforts.

All the bestπŸ‘

Arpit Chauhan UPSC Topper Booklist, Notes, and resources

Hello people

I will be sharing my booklist and Resources that have been asked by many.
This shall come handy for non-coaching/coaching guys.
This list is perfectly fine for self study guys and they shall not be bothered about missing on any magic notes of coaching institutes.
Although I’ll try to write here whatever I can recall, it’s practically impossible to mention each and every source that one has come across in all these years.

I’ll share what I read and what you can avoid (as I now feel) GS wise.
I’ll keep editing in case I remember anything important later

And again, importance of PYQs can not be stressed enough while searching for the direction in which you should study a book

GS-I :


i)Ancient : R S Sharma (Old NCERT for Class-XI)
ii)Medieval : Satish Chandra (Old NCERT for Class-XI)
iii) Modern : Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum) & Bipan Chandra (India’s struggle for independence) β€”> You could follow any one.

I also followed new NCERTs of history (nearly all of them i.e.; 6-12 β€” felt useful for prelims)
Apart from this, I also read Tamil Nadu state books on history for class XI & XII

2. Art & Culture :

Fine ArtsNCERT textbook for class XI
Art & culture videos by Ms. Ishani Pandya (Mrunal sir)
Also, the history NCERT books (especially R S Sharma & Satish Chandra) cover certain part of Art & culture.
So, read these 2 books keeping in mind the compartmentalisation of the syllabus.

3. Geography :

NCERTs (all) β€”> only books referred for Geography
I took help from many websites and youtube videos to understand the theories and concepts
I feel G C Leong can be avoided (I read it twice but it doesn’t seems to be much useful now)

4. Society :

Although no specific source was followed by me, I’d say that if you want to study for this part, go for Sociology  NCERTs (class XI & XII)

For issues as Poverty, Urbanisation, etc. I looked up to data,reports, etc. from internet/newspaper, etc. and any recent developments in news