Asad Zuberi Biography, Age, UPSC Marksheet, Rank, Optional Subject, Preparation Strategy

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Asad Zuberi UPSC

Hi everyone, This post will be used as a medium to share my notes, resources and strategy which helped me secure AIR 86 in UPSC CSE 2022. In a 3 year long journey, I have committed some mistakes and did some things well.
The purpose of this channel is to help you with things that I did right and keep you away from the ones which I did not.
In few days, I will share some pdfs of my notes, resources and their summaries.

Free session by Asad Zuberi IAS

Me and my brother and friend Dwij Goel (AIR 71) will be taking a session on strategy that we have used in preparing for Anthropology tomorrow at LevelUp IAS at 11 am.

Both of us managed to score very decent marks both in CSE Mains 2021 and 2022 and the support of Karandeep Sir at LevelUp IAS was immense.
This discussion will be followed by some short notes, diagram compilations, etc which I will upload here in upcoming days.

We are here to help you prepare for this exam. We know it takes a lot of effort, patience and time. We believe in you and you will do great. Happy to help.
Find the link below for live stream of this session :


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
Asad Zuberi IAS Booklist

Few takeaways from my UPSC Marksheet :

  1. Essay and Ethics are extremely important to boost score.
  2. I have a slight increase in PT marks (8 marks) but a huge increase in CSE Mains Marks (50 marks) as compared to 2021 when I was not recommended.
  3. Please work on your optional as much as you can, Anthropology has taken me to a decent rank.
  4. The key to crack this exam lies in doing really well in CSE Mains examination. Our marks in PT are unpredictable and one should try not to lose marks there. Average or above average marks are considered as a good PT score.
    Doing well at mains can take us through to our desired service. Lets work hard for that.
    I am here to help.
    All the best!

GS 4 Strategy by Asad Zuberi

My strategy for GS-4 Ethics Paper (Marks 119)Since prelims is over, let us hope that a lot of us are going to qualify it. This is the best time to prepare Ethics Paper. If you are done with your preparation and have written few papers by the time Prelims results are announced, it will give you an edge.
How to prepare?

Part 1 : Theory
1. Cover the basic definitions from some reference books/coaching material. I used Lexicon and OnlyIAS Prahar Magazine for this.
2. Have an inventory of examples/Quotes/Case studies/Best practices for every value mentioned in syllabus. This is extremely important to fetch good marks. I made this inventory on OneNote using Newspapers, OnlyIAS Prahar Magazine, compilation, Mann ki Baat speeches, etc.
3. Try to open different dimensions to a term mentioned in syllabus. For example, Compassion can be interpreted in Environmental, Governance, Historical, International Relations,etc dimensions. Put them in your notes where you have solved PYQs and revise.
4. Support your argument with a real life example so that “Theory-Example-Application” loop is created for clarity. For example in Compassion, for Governance perspective, PM-GKAY scheme can be quoted.
5. I prepared this subject entirely with Dwij Goel (Rank 71) and Shubhratosh Sharma (Rank 358) on a google meet where all three of us gave our inputs on above points while solving PYQs and made common notes on OneDrive. Try to figure out a fun way to do it like us, this will also add many diverse examples from diverse experiences of 2-3 people.
Lastly, practice and practice more to implement what you have learned in test papers.

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Note : I am uploading some Sample notes of what three of us have prepared. I will also upload scanned copy of complete handwritten ethics basic notes, containing only Theory and definitions by tonight.

All the best!
#Ethics #GS4

Anthropology Strategy by Asad Zuberi IAS

I will start with discussing Anthropology strategy. My discussion is based on following aspects of subject :

1. Resources used by me to prepare this subject.
2. How to start reading and how to make notes for Anthropology.
3. Covering the basics.
4. Value Addition Material : How to add value to your answers. How to report it in your answers. I will enlist some amazing sources for this, will also upload my scanned notes for this section.
5. Answer writing in different sections of Paper 1 and Paper 2. This is important as delivering your content in the most relevant way will fetch you marks.
6. Relevance of Test series, how to evaluate your performance and how to enrich your notes further in this process. (I will upload my test papers too)
7. Attempting the paper in real time, time management and completing the paper.

I will start with these points today itself and will slowly proceed to cover all relevant content on it.

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (1/n)

An advice on resources :
Please don’t blindly depend on one stop solutions for Anthropology. Such books and compilations in Question and Answer format lack conceptual clarity and one cannot mug up things without understanding them. I used these books sparingly for value addition or revision only. UPSC wants you to read the subject and it is asking very descriptive and often complex questions in exam which can be answered only after reading text of this subject. Please read Anthropology by Carol R Ember and Melvin R Ember cover to cover, its an amazing book to start reading this subject and develop interest in it.

Resources used to prepare basics of Paper-1 (Please refer to Topics in UPSC Syllabus)
1. Topic 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 8: BrainTree Material, Anthropology Simplified by Dr Vivek Bhasme
2. Topic 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 : Physical Anthropology by P.Nath, IGNOU material, ePG Pathshala Modules
Topic 1.7 : Basic Biology NCERT, Khan Academy Videos on Yourube
3. Topic 1.8 (a) and (b) : Prehistoric Archaeology by Dr DK Bhattacharya, ePG Pathshala youtube lectures, Anthropology Demystified by Akshat Jain, IAS
4. Topic 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 7 : Ember and Ember, BrainTree Notes, ePG Pathshala Modules, IGNOU Notes
5. Topic 6 (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h) : History of Anthropological Thought by VS Upadhyay and Gaya Panday, IGNOU Notes, ePG Pathshala module
6. Topic 9.1,9.2,9.3,9.4,9.5,9.6,9.7,9.8, 10, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 12 : Physical Anthropology by P.Nath, IGNOU notes, Anthropology Demystified by Akshat Jain, ePG Pathshala Modules

Note : For most of these books, I didn’t have to read cover to cover. I just read content relevant to me as per UPSC Syllabus.
Will upload resources for Paper 2 as well soon.

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (2/n)

Resources used to prepare Basics of Paper – 2
(Please refer to the topics given in UPSC Syllabus)

1. Topic 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 : Prehistoric Archaeology by DK Bhattacharya, IGNOU notes, Anthropology Demystified by Akshat Jain
2.Topic 2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 : Indian Anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain, ePG Pathshala Modules, Anthropology Demystified by Akshat Jain, IGNOU notes
3. Topic 4 : History of Anthropological Thought by Gaya and Upadhyay, Karandeep Sir Discussion Class notes
4. Topic 6.1 to 9.3 (Tribal Anthropology) : Tribal India by Nadeem Hasnain, V Xaxa Report 2014 cover to cover reading, Ministry of Tribal Affairs Website, Karandeep sir (LevelUp IAS) Discussion Class notes

Note : To add to this content in both Paper 1 and Paper 2 I have extensively used Karandeep Sirs (LevelUp IAS) Test series discussion Class notes and handouts. They were my one stop solution to reading comprehensively about works of Indian Anthropologists and also for collecting Diverse Case Studies.

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Anthropology Strategy (3/n)

How to start reading and how to make notes for both Paper 1 and Paper 2

1. Start reading a book that gives you a holistic, general view of this subject. I would recommend Anthropology by Ember and Ember. This will form a base and help you figure out things you will read in this journey.
2. I prepared Paper 1 first and then went to study Paper 2. I read introductory chapters like Chapter 1, 8 first and then went to read Socio Cultural Part (Chapter 2 onwards in Paper 1). I then read Theories (Chapter 6). However a lot of people prefer reading Chapter 6 first as it makes it easier to read Socio Cultural Anthropology. Make your choice.
3. Do not make notes in first reading, you will end up writing the same text in your notes. Read it once, then go through PYQ. This will give you an idea of what themes are relevant to UPSC and how they frame questions.
4. Divide Anthropology syllabus in slots and sections as I have done it for you in strategy messages 1/n and 2/n. These sections are similar to each other and makes your preparation easier. Get done with reading, analyse PYQ topic wise, make crisp notes and repeat. Keep revising your notes.
5. Keep your notes very organic, you will have to add content to them in many iterations so always leave space for adding content on them. I will upload some pictures and references of my notes soon.

Lastly, be patient. Respect your optional and fall in love with it. No subject is big or small, you have to put in effort and interest in every subject to score well in it.

Optional takes you to your desired rank and service, keep it close to your heart.

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (4/n)

Covering the basics

This part is just to make you realize the importance of reading the basics well. A lot of students start running behind value addition material for a topic even before covering the basics thoroughly.
Please read the basic books or notes or sources well before you jump on covering the value addition material. Read and revise as much as you can and then start attempting the PYQ, followed by test series. Check if you are able to reproduce the content you have read.
For example: In a question asked on Sanskritisation and Westernisation, if you have not Quoted MN Srinivas, basic definition of these, the relevant factors, etc. adding a value addition example will not fetch you marks.
The examiners want to read basics in a flow. Adding too much value addition content will break the flow of your answer and may not be rewarded. Adding no value addition content may end up in average marks. The key is to strike the right balance.

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (5/n)

Value Addition

Why to do value addition?
The role of value addition becomes relevant after your basics are covered well. A good answer will contain some basic description and explanations to meet the demand of question. But to make your answer better, adding a relevant content for value addition may fetch you some extra marks.

What is value addition material?
Examples from Current Affairs, Relevant Case Studies by prominent Anthropologists, Recent Fossil Finds (eg Dragon Man, etc), A good data point in Graphical/ visual form, Some content inter relating concepts across chapters etc.

Sources for Value Addition
I have used a lot of sources to add value to my answers. I am listing some of them here :
For Paper 1 :
Research Gate articles, Reddit : r/anthropology, Britannica Articles, Wikipedia, Google Scholar search (JSTOR, etc), Karandeep Sir Discussion Classes
For Paper 2 :
V Xaxa Report 2014, ePG Pathshala Content, Economic and Political Weekly articles, Committee Sunmary like Bhuria Commission, Shilu Ao Committee, BK Roy Burman Committee, Kharge Committee on TSP, Ministry of Tribal Affairs Website, Indian Tribal,

How to write it in your answers?
This is my personal view that reporting this content with a heading of “Value Addition”, “Case Study” etc breaks the flow of your answer. I try to put this content as “For example” or “A study by…… in …..” etc. I feel like if you are presenting your answer in front of Anthropologists who are checking your answer sheets, respect that they know more than you and try not to be loud about content that you are putting.

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I will upload some diagrams/Case studies etc as an example of my value addition

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (6/n)

Answer writing in different sections

This is one of the most critical parts of any optional subject, if you have read the text well but you don’t know how to present it in a form of an answer, you will not get marks.

Some general tips for Anthropology answer writing :
1. Always meet the demand of question, UPSC is asking very descriptive and analytical questions now. Just writing about the key words of question will not fetch you marks.
2. Never skip basic theory and content for the sake of writing value addition. Examiner wants to read content of this subject and you need to report basic theory first.
3. Avoid making Vague diagrams. This will occupy Unnecessary space in your answer sheet and you may not be able to write relevant text. It wil also give an impression to examiner that you don’t know much about the question.
4. Make relevant neat diagrams and mark details in them. Specifically for Evolution, Archaeology and Genetics, diagrams are important.
5. Maintain quality uniformly throughout the answer. Try writing your answers in a flow.
6. Avoid overloading value addition content as it breaks the flow of answer.
I will cover chapter specific tips as soon as I get some time.

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (7/n)

Relevance of Test Series, Evaluating yourself, Correcting your mistakes and enriching your content

Writing test in an ecosystem which replicates the real Mains Exam in 3 hour duration is extremely important to be able to score well. I was a student of LevelUp IAS by Karandeep Sir Test Series for both 2021 and 2022 attempts. I extensively attempted around 8-10 tests (both full length and sectional) in 2022 and similar number in 2021. Use test series as your Map to cover syllabus in time between Prelims and Mains.

Evaluation and Content Enrichment
Seeking advice on what to improve in content delivery becomes a key here. Work on the feedback and try to complete your test in 3 hours itself. You cannot score well if you are not attempting the complete paper. Further Test Series discussion Classes organised by Karandeep sir helped me to enrich my content a lot. Some questions were directly repeated in Mains 2022 from our tests and this made a huge difference.

I will send my answer sheets in due time.

All the best!

Anthropology Strategy (8/n)

Attempting the paper in Real Time

Completing the paper is extremely important and you need a plan and a great execution of this plan to be able to do that. Following strategy has worked really well for me for both Anthropology and GS :

1. Divide 250 marks into 5 parts of 50 marks each. In Anthropology, this can be 5 different questions.
2. Divide 180 minutes into 5 parts of 35 minutes each and keep 5 minutes extra to sign the attendance sheet, and for compensation, etc.
3. If you have started attempting the paper at 9 am. Take a note of your progress at intervals of 35 minutes, for eg 9:35 am, 10:10 am, and so on.
4. If you are lagging behind, catch up then and there. This will ensure a uniform answer quality throughout your paper.

Lastly, practice this in Tests and then replicate in your exam. This one strategy has helped me complete all the papers in required amount of time.

All the best