Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Marksheet, Age, Biography

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Table of Contents

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper Biography

Hello everyone!!
This is Dr.Diksha Joshi (AIR -19 CSE 2021). I will shortly come up with detailed strategy for both GS and medical science optional.
Feel free to ask your queries related to CSE preparation here😊

A brief introduction:
1.Was born and brought up in Pithoragarh,Uttarakhand.
2.Medical science graduate (passed out in 2019.)
3.Third attempt at UPSC-CSE
4.Got AIR-19 (finally😅)
5.Optional:Medical Science(marksheet already shared for both prelims and mains)

Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper 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

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper Prelims Marksheet

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Marksheet
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Marksheet

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper Mains Marksheet

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Marksheet
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Marksheet | Essay and optional paper 2 scores are a little less than my expectations… will discuss in the upcoming post the probable shortcomings in the same

Secret Preparation strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

An honest description and analysis of my previous two attempts:

•1st attempt(2019): Not cleared prelims
Prepared while doing my internship and due to paucity of time and also a sudden shift from science to humanities subjects it took me longer than usual to understand and finish a subject.
As a result I couldn’t finish the syllabus for prelims(eg:had not read ancient,medieval and art n culture) did not revise thoroughly my current affairs and other GS subjects, took only 1-2 full length before actual prelims and never saw those mock papers after attempting them. I attempted only 72 questions in the final paper.Hence couldn’t clear prelims.
My prelims score in 2019 was 83-84(cannot remember the exact score).

*My lessons from 1st attempt:
1.You cannot ignore any subject in this exam some subjects are more important than others but none can be ignored.
2.Revision is a must else it becomes very difficult to recall in the exam hall.
3.Some amount of test papers need to be practiced before the actual exam.

•2nd attempt:2020:(Not cleared prelims again)
After my 1st failure I joined a foundation course at ForumIAS with the hope that I will be able to strengthen my preparation and clear in the same attempt.(A detailed analysis of whether coaching is needed or not in another post but a quick answer in my opinion is NO).In this attempt I worked extremely hard but probably used wrong resources eg: for ancient and medieval relied on coaching material rather than reading NCERTs(which is where question actually come from),solved almost 40 mock papers (full length) but never analysed what was going wrong in each test (my score used to be between90-97 marks and barely crossed 100),completely ignored CSAT, GS mains syllabus was not complete(topics like society,human geography,internal security and some portions of ethics too).In the final paper,I attempted around 82 questions that year and again couldn’t clear the prelims.To my surprise despite my efforts and taking classes my prelims score was only 72marks which was lower than that of my first attempt (cut off being around 92 marks) and this left me in complete disillusionment and I was extremely dejected (yet again will also write on how I overcame this phase and importance of mental health in UPSC prep)

*My lessons from 2nd attempt:
1.Standard sources have to followed for this exam like NCERTs(will post my book list and sources separately)
2.A thorough analysis of mock papers is a must,mindless solving of “n” papers will not help.
3.More than coaching in this exam you need a right mentor who can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and accordingly plan your strategy (more on the importance of a right mentor later).
4.Hard-work alone is not sufficient you have to be smart(especially in prelims as it is only qualifying and does not determine your rank).
5.An integrated preparation is needed for prelims and mains as the two are complementary; a robust mains preparation also helps to boost your prelims score.
6.Calmness in the exam hall is important.Panic,unnecessary anxiety and pressure will result in suboptimal performance and silly errors like wrong bubble marking in OMR.

I have tried to be as elaborate as possible about my previous attempts in this post with a hope that this will help the reader avoid similar mistakes in his/her preparation 😊.

UPSC Prelims Booklist by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Sources used for PRELIMS in my CSE attempt in 2021:
1.Polity:Laxmikant (Fifth Edition), did not refer to any NCERT here.

2.Modern History: Spectrum(2017 Edition),again did not refer to any NCERT here

3.Ancient India: RS Sharma (old NCERT)

4.Medieval India: Satish Chandra (old NCERT)

5.Art and culture: Nitin Singhania Book (2nd Edition).Personally I did not refer to fine arts NCERT as Nitin Singhania book chapter 1 and 2 served the purpose for me.You can choose to refer fine arts book also as per your convenience.

6.Also referred to THEMES (new NCERT) for ancient and medieval history as some information on travellers,scholars,Buddhism etc is given here and UPSC has asked questions from the same in the past.

7.Did not use the Tamil Nadu text book for ancient medieval n art and culture.

8.Geography: NCERT for class 11th and 12th.The book on World physical geography and Indian geography are more important than Human Geography for prelims,so focus should be on doing them thoroughly and revising. From Human Geography do read chapters on agriculture and minerals from Indian geography NCERT book .
Some selective reading of chapter on agriculture etc can be done from class 8-10 Geography NCERT based on your basic knowledge on the topic and time at hand.

8.Economics: Class notes of Anupam Sir@Smart work Labs IAS Academy (very useful for economy and agriculture especially since no standard static source for economy is available in the market)

9.Environment:ShankarIAS book (entire book is not to be read only a few important chapters like climate change organisations ,international conventions and few chapters on ecology etc).Please refer to PYQs for topics that UPSC is asking questions from and then selectively read the book(if time permits I will post separately a list of chapters to be read from this book).

10.Did not refer to any static material for science and technology as coming from science background I believed that I would be able to manage the same.For non-science background students selective reading of class 11 and 12th NCERT Biology book can be done based on time available but current affairs should be primary source to prepare the science and technology section.

10.For all current affairs related topic from polity,economy,environment science and technology,IR and social issues I referred to the Vision IAS monthly current affairs magazine and PT365 before prelims for revision.It is advisable to follow one magazine of any institute of your choice and revise it multiple times rather than reading 2-3 CA magazines.

11.I did not follow any newspaper for prelims OR made any sort of notes (this strategy of relying on a magazine rather than reading newspapers is very different from many candidates but it was a personal choice and therefore you are advised to decide what would be an appropriate strategy for you).

All the sources that I have mentioned above I made sure that I revised them multiple times at least 5-7 times(depending on my weak areas) before the prelims exam and supplemented my preparation by solving test papers for the same.

Please note: The editions mentioned are the ones I used.You can refer to the latest edition available in the market.

Best test series for UPSC by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Test series that I used for prelims 2021:

I followed an approach of following two test series for prelims one test was to be used as a practice and the other one as an exam i.e to test my understanding of the subject and find out my mistakes,weak areas etc to improve my performance.
1.For practice followed Vision IAS sectional test (did not enroll for it, purchased the same from the market and did it simultaneously while I was reading a subject eg: let’s say if I read modern history from 1st jan to 15th jan so would keep solving questions from the sectional test as an when I finish a topic like non-cooperation movement or civil disobedience etc).The purpose is to understand what kind of questions can be asked from a particular topic n to gauge if one is reading in the right direction.
2.For exam like simulation I followed the Prelims test series by Smartwork Labs IAS Academy.(I had enrolled for this test series course). Continuing with the above example so on 16th jan after a revision of whole modern history syllabus, I would write a test on 17th or 18th Jan in full exam like conditions with fixed time, filling the OMR sheet etc and follow it up by the test analysis.
3.For full length test I enrolled for Vision IAS -10 full length test plan  and abhyaas and did that religiously.
4.For CSAT, I again enrolled in Vision IAS – 5 tests plan and followed that.( A detailed post on CSAT will follow soon)

Please note: I will write in detail on how to analyse mock test papers and also on the importance of PYQs for prelims preparation soon.

CSAT Preparation Strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Strategy for CSAT (although my CSAT score isn’t very great but my preparation at least helped me to clear the paper despite committing some silly errors in the actual exam especially when at present many struggle with this paper too).

So here are the things that I did:(pick up suggestions based on your strength n weaknesses)

Sources I used:
1.Dr.RS Aggarwal book for quantitative Aptitude(not necessary to use this book you can pick any other source)
2.Past year papers (preferably from 2017 to present)
3.Vision IAS CSAT test series; a set of 5 test papers (I had enrolled for this course).

When to start CSAT preparation?

1.For anyone not comfortable with quant portions start early,somewhere at least 6 months before your prelims examination.
2.For those who are confident enough choose your preferred time but irrespective of your confidence level solve at least 2-3 CSAT papers preferably PYQs before going for the prelims paper in exam like condition so as to have an idea of how you would perform on the D-day.

How to prepare?

1.Identify list of important topics from PYQs. (I will share a list of topics that I think are important.You do not need to master all of them but based on ur strength at least be confident about a few.)

2.Select a topic let’s say ‘averages’ and practice the questions from the same for 3-4 days. Practice question would include questions from PYQs and any reference book that are using. For practice dedicate 1-2 hours on the day you are preparing the topic( saying this because sometimes we think we have understood a topic let say in 30 min but it is important to consolidate it thoroughly and else once the recent memory fades away you might forget the same).Plan ur schedule in such a manner that u allocate some time for this too.

3.Once you have practiced questions from a topic attempt a few questions in a time bound manner to work on speed aspect also as solving questions within stipulated time is also important.

4.Follow this schedule of choosing a topic n practices questions and 2 months before prelims attempt a few (5-7 mock test) for CSAT in exam like environment. Here u can solve one paper a week.

5.For comprehension portion mostly rely on PYQs as answers is UPSC keys might be different from coaching institutes.Also do not be too dependent on comprehension even if your command in English language is good for the same reason stated above and make it a point to practice few topics of quant.(this is especially a warning for 1st timers).

Do you need classes for CSAT?

Frankly it has to be a personal choice. But we have ample free resource on YouTube so make best use of it. Type a PYQ on YouTube or Google and u will get the solutions with explanation for the same. It works for most people to clear the exam. Just in case u are unable to understand and need more help you can seek help of classes. I personally cannot recommend any institute for the same as I never attended any classes for CSAT. For free channels on YouTube again can’t name any you can choose any based on ur choice.

What should be an optimum score?

Whenever you are practicing make it a point that in full length paper you are able to score somewhere between 90-100 marks(asking you set high standards despite 67 marks needed to qualify because many a times under exam stress we tend to underperform and we wouldn’t want to lose out on CSAT or be in the border and worry whether we will clear or not and thus end up wasting time for mains preparation(saying this coz of my personal experience and I wasted almost 20 crucial days).

What is optimum number of questions to be attempted?
Somewhere between 55-60. This would further vary based on your accuracy level and target score u want to achieve.

Contd from above:

What to do between GS and CSAT paper?

1.You can either revise a few topics or just relax but do not speculate cut-off or check answers as it negatively impacts your CSAT paper.
2.Very important. Please do not carry burden of your GS performance in the CSAT paper. Both are equally important so give them the same focus they deserve.prelims is over at 4:30pm when paper2 ends and not at 12:30pm after paper1.(Know of many who thought they wouldn’t clear GS and messed up CSAT instead so be smart n learn from this).
👆🏻This is especially for someone who is reading this and writing the prelims tomorrow.😊

Exam hall strategy for CSAT:

1.Keep checking the time.
2.Do not get stuck at a question. If u cannot solve it irrespective of the fact that you had practiced it move to the next questions.Each question carries same positive and negative mark. So keep your ego for the question aside.
3.Also be careful with calculations especially in questions with variables. If value of x is asked before marking the answer make sure you have calculated x and not value of y as both Values of x and y would be given in the options.(hope my point is clear)
4.Lastly just like Paper 1 keep filling some bubbles in between and don’t leave it for the end.
5.Carry a lot of common sense. Sometimes a question that looks lengthy is the easiest so read it carefully and ponder a few seconds over it.

Important topics for CSAT by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

List of important topics for CSAT:(Reiterating that you do not need to master all. Pick some that u can understand easily so that u can score decently.)

1.Number System
3.Problems on age
5.Profit and loss
6.Ratio and proportion
7.Time and work
8.Time and Distance
9.Boats and streams
10.Problems on train
11.Alligation and mixture
14.Permutations n combinations
15.area,simple interest

This is all for CSAT from my side. I have not prepared any notes for formulas etc so nothing to share there.Hope it helps😊

Some common questions on coaching for UPSC-CSE preparation to Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Is coaching necessary for UPSC-CSE ?
The ultimate decision has to be one’s own.

My opinion: After an arduous three year journey in the CSE (thankfully it ended well 🥹) and having personally attended coaching I have come to the following conclusion:

1.You actually do not need coaching(classroom programme) for CSE preparation reason being that there is adequate free resource available in the market eg:previous year topper videos, blogs, telegram channels on how to prepare and strategise so the strategy making part on how one should start, what and what not to read,sources and other DOs and DON’Ts are easily accessible. For absolute beginners irrespective of your background visit a few of these sources (watch or read at least 4-5 of them before you plan ur own one) and especially of people who have a similar background and similar strong and weak areas and this will easily help to plan and start.Once you have decided a plan stick to it with relevant changes only if needed.

2.Even for those who have failed in previous attempts revisit these sources to see what did u miss and what and how rank holders did things differently.Again pick and choose what suits you the best.Do not follow any one blindly.(Including me☺️)

3.For beginners most of the standard books are available in the market.Once you have finalised your resources start reading them on your own.( I have already listed the ones I followed for prelims).It is very natural and normal to not understand a few things in the beginning,for that type the name of the topic and add upsc to that and make a quick google or YouTube search.(eg: search non-cooperation movement upsc or What is CRR and SLR upsc).Read more from there and watch a few videos and you are good to go. From my personal experience I can say it is not possible that you will not understand anything the problem lies only in some topics depending on your strong and weak areas and this will help there.

4.Make a time-table and follow that.keep reading your subjects and in a span on 3-4 months(for beginners) u will realise that u r progressing and one way to assess progress in upsc prep is test series(I have already mentioned my prelims test)

So why do these coachings exist and how do they help?

1.To provide you with a right mentor(because like me many of you might not know any one personally who has already cleared the exam before) who can help you with personalised guidance eg: help identify your strengths and weaknesses,analyse your mock test papers for prelims,improve your answer writing skills by extensive feedback on where to add flowcharts,where to make diagrams or how to improve overall answers and for interview with regard to
mannerism,probable questions etc.

How to use coaching institute?

1.For test series in prelims for All India test that helps you know your relative performance.(prelims one can still do without enrolling in any coaching if u have real financial crunch provided u analyse your mock papers well)

ALSO READ  OPEC – Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries : Full Form, Countries, OPEC+, Members, Functions, OPEC UPSC

2.For mains wherein you actually need someone to check papers and provide you with a feedback and like prelims also for assessing the relative competition.

3.For at least 1-2 mock interviews to practice mannerism etc.

What to look for before joining any institute?

1.Whether they provide mentorship or not.This means that is there a mentor who is available with them who can take one to one sessions with you to analyse your papers for prelims or mains and help realign strategy if needed.As there is no one size fits all approach so a personalised feedback is a must. eg: Some suggestion that probably works for me might not work for some other person even if we have same background,optional etc.So be mindful of this fact before joining any institute.

2.If u are enrolling in a classroom programme let’s say current affairs or some specific subject(as many run exclusive programmes for economy, sci n tech and environment,prelims crash course etc).Please see what faculty is present there.

If any previous topper has also recommended some institute check whether the faculty who taught a particular subject is still a part.Don’t go just by name.Be very clear on what you want and ask them if they will provide u with the same before joining.

Coaching Institutes Joined by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper for

1.PRELIMS:Smartwork Labs IAS academy prelims diagnostic test series and Vision IAS only full length and CSAT test.

2.MAINS: Smartwork Labs IAS academy one to one mentorship programme and Vision IAS mains test series(12 tests).Will talk about optional later.

3.Interview is mostly free will vary every year depending on what kind of panel members are they providing you with.

Any other institute using my name was mostly interview guidance.

Answering a query:What to do if already joined an institute?
I don’t know what to say about this as you can’t really do anything about it if it is bad one☹️Probably look for some mentor who is available there who has some right strategy to offer and focus on self-study and choosing right resources.If needed join a different one for test series at least that will help with some direction.Hope this helps😊

Wishes to students by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

For those writing prelims tomorrow there isn’t much gyaan that I would want to give. I know some of you might be very anxious today and that would be evident on your face and voice while others would look cheerful but are anxious within.Whatever be the case just remember that you have worked hard and smart enough in the last few months or years maybe and tomorrow is the day to put all that to use. Go to the exam hall with a sense of confidence and self-belief knowing that victory will ultimately be yours.Those 4 hours (Paper1 and 2) are yours and thus conquer the same.
May the force be with you.

Best wishes 🙏🏻😊

PS:Check that you are carrying your admit card,black ball pens,ID etc and leaving all the stress and anxiety at home☺️Also try and reach the exam centre at least 30 min before time to avoid last minute hassle.

Strategy after giving Prelims exam by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

So finally both the papers for today are over. On preliminary reading paper 1 and 2 seems to be of moderate to difficult level.(too early to predict any cut-off).But don’t rush into checking the answers from various institutes as answer keys might change.My advice would be take some rest for now and wait for a few authentic keys to come.Also check your answers from at least 4-5 keys before arriving at a conclusion.I will try to share a key if possible(any reliable one that I find)But for some time now just relax,after all you have all toiled for quite some time now😊

Is Coaching Institute necessary for UPSC by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper?

A lot of people have been asking me about various programmes being run by different coaching institutes and whether they should join it or not. I have already described in detail what in my opinion should be a role of coaching in your preparation.It is not possible for me advice you where and in which coaching programme should you enroll or whether u should enroll at all or not.Upholding the spirit of transparency I have already described the sources/places I have used in my preparation.I leave it to your wisdom to decide what would be an appropriate place for you based on your needs,strengths and weaknesses as there cannot be a one size fit all policy.

Current affairs strategy for UPSC-CSE (PRELIMS) by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper:


1.I referred to Vision IAS monthly magazine from April 2020 to April 2021 and then used the PT 365 of Vision IAS and selective portions of updated PT365 by Vision IAS.

2.Use government schemes PT 365 very selectively as that material sometimes becomes bulky so,here focus on recent schemes.

3.Did not read or make any notes from newspaper (this was a personal choice as after my 2nd attempt I had double minds of whether or not to appear for UPSC,so didn’t follow any newspaper and relied only on magazines).This does not mean that newspaper should not be read because as is evident from prelims 2022 newspapers are important part of preparation however, making notes out of a newspaper again has to be a personal choice.

4.Since I did not make any notes I cannot share any notes and also cannot advice on how to make notes out of newspaper.


1.Read at least one newspaper the Hindu or Indian Express.This is important for beginners because they will get more holistic view by doing this and will also help to pick what news is to be read carefully from the magazines when u refer them.

2.Refer to a monthly magazine by any institute of your choice but do not read multiple magazines.You have to read one magazine multiple times.Due to their FOMO some aspirants keep referring to multiple sources to expand coverage, you have to understand that UPSC asks question from most important topics and any standard institute will have those topics in their magazine.

3.Do not get lured when some institute claims that some fringe topic came from their magazine.Trust me those 2-3 questions were/will not be the ones that will hinder ur selection.

4.Refer to current affairs of at least 1.5 years before your exam date. UPSC is asking contemporary affairs NOT current affairs eg: ques on vaccines ,miyawaki, biorock,T and B cells in prelims 2022 have been in news in last 1.5 years (and given in all the standard places) not just few months before exam.(I hope my point is communicated)

5.Do not ignore your static portion by focussing too much on CA.

6.Any beginner who does not understand can make use of videos on newspaper analysis or some websites like vision and insights that upload daily CA. However,keep in mind that in the course of  preparation u are understanding things (especially after 3-4 months into prep).I can’t name any video source as I didn’t use any.

7.MULTIPLE REVISIONS (5-6 in number) and CONCEPTUAL CLARITY is very important for CA prep as well.

8.Solve CA tests also after u are done with CA of one month(I have already mentioned my sources).Choose what is convenient to you.

9.Whenever u see a question of CA in a test and u don’t know the answer simple technique is to type the topic followed by the Hindu or Indian express eg: ‘Miyawaki the Hindu’ and if that topic was in news within 1.5 years approx then it is important and u should read it carefully. For other new CA topics in a test read them once n if u think they enhance ur understanding on a topic or are important then note them in ur CA notebook/magazine else can be ignored.

10.Any topic that is in news,its static portion also has to read very carefully from the book eg: contempt of court if in news read that topic from Laxmikant as well


Sources I used:

1.A PDF uploaded by Anudeep Durishetty Sir (AIR 1) in one of his blog(you can find that by a quick google search).This PDF contains list of topics important for essay and is based on the topics asked by UPSC in the past.

2.Use the above topics and prepare quotes, anecdotes,some data points and dimensions on the same.

3.Prepare max1-2 pages notes on these topics.You have to only write keywords that will help in revising a day before the exam or in the morning of the exam day.

How to find quotes on topics?

1.Simply google the topic eg:quotes on health or quotes on women empowerment and go to images section of google (advantage is u don’t have to read articles and images are easy to read as 1 quote per image).

2.Note the quote in your notes.

3. DO NOT have too many quotes on one topic,5-6 are sufficient.

4.Choose ones that are easy to remember.(preferably short ones)

How to use these quotes?

1.Can use them for introduction or conclusion of your essay.

2.If u don’t remember the exact quote u can still use the keywords in the body of your essay eg:Corruption is like a cancer …..(search this one in google u will see it is long but u can just use this word or line in ur essay).

3.Understand the essence of quote and use it if not verbatim.

4.Try to use a quote at multiple places if possible.eg:If a topic is on health you can use still use a quote on women empowerment saying good health will lead to women empowerment ….However,make sure that you are not forcing a quote somewhere.It should look natural and should not break the flow of your thoughts.

Do you need to remember who said the quote?

It is best if u can but even if u can’t best thing is to remember some keyword there and use it wisely(as explained earlier)

To be continued….☺️

Continuation of essay strategy :

How to prepare anecdotes?

1.For people having creative bent of mind or ones who read extensively use ur imagination to create a story that aligns with the topic.

2.For others we read so many inspiring stories, news etc in the newspapers, hear it from friends n family so use that information to create a story. eg:”life is a long journey between being human and being humane”(PYQ) so here u can write something like person x on day of Mumbai terror attack was a terrorist and person y was one who was saving others risking his own life …..while both are humans …..but not humane.something on the lines could be an anecdote here.(PS: I got this idea by watching MUMBAI DIARIES ON AMAZON PRIME meaning that any thing u see/hear etc can be converted into an anecdote).SO for this ur general awareness n practice will help.

3.Use the knowledge of GS subjects eg:topic is “winter of discontent will be made glorious summer”start with British colonialism….jalliawalah Bagh incident….quit India followed by independence yet not satisfied…..finally green revolution….self-sufficiency etc (this is just to give u an idea how u can use ur knowledge)

How to prepare points/dimensions?

1.Pick points from society, history, polity articles, constitutional provisions, economy data points, any committees, ethics notes about thinkers, examples that u use in ethics etc.

2.For those writing exam next year they can develop a habit of reading a few books to improve their knowledge, writing style etc.

What to do after data collection?

1.Practice,Practice and Practice.

2.Write at least 10 essays b4 going for the exam. it will take only 15 hours (2 essays in 3 hours)

3.For those writing mains this year u have 100 days. so don’t ignore this part.

4.Practice a few philosophical essays as well (at least 5/10)because UPSC now is focusing way too much on that aspect.

How to write an essay in a test/exam?

Brainstorm for at least 15-20 minutes(at least) before you start writing.While brainstorming increase ur horizons/dimensions and think from social, political, economic, cultural, environmemtal angle about a particular topic.Use the space rough work ….it is given for this purpose.

LASTLY practice is the most important aspect.Do not go the exam with a false sense of confidence.Always remember any sincere candidate who is going to be a probable rank holder would have practiced a few essays beforehand.

I am sharing a few essay papers I have written (these are only for reference).You can choose your own writing style)

Again saying these are only reference essays written between prelims n mains and certain changes in writing style would have been incorporated based on the feedback so do not try to copy everything ( especially saying this for beginners).This is just to help u understand how to write an essay😊

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper PDF Notes

This message is for those who are hopeful of clearing the prelims cutoff and write their mains with medical science optional this time (2022) that I do not have any handwritten or self-made notes on the subject to share.I mostly read from the books I referred to in college.Since their isn’t much time now before mains my advice would be that u too should focus on reading from the book without wasting much time in making notes (if u haven’t already) and finding someone else’s.Read ur books for the topics given in the syllabus( as u have read them in college it will be much faster) and keep checking the PYQs too for optional (2015 onwards) this will be of immense help.For all others I will post a detailed strategy for medical science optional in a few days.

Pen used in UPSC CSE Mains Exam by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Pen Used in Mains
Some of you have been asking about the pen I used to write my mains papers so it is the one in the picture.No particular reason for choosing this one except that someone very randomly told me that it is smoother than the others.You can choose any pen with which u can write comfortably 😊

Optional Subject Preparation Strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

A post on optional subject:

What is a good optional ?

A good optional subject for anyone is the one which keeps the aspirant engaged that is it matches with your interests or background (eg:a graduation subject) else one might not feel like reading it for long which will lead to underprepared optional and thus, poor marks and the other parameter is that sufficient guidance is available in form of test series, mentor support,material, coaching classes (if needed) etc.
Also I believe an optional subject should be your strength as unlike GS papers which u have to do whether u like it or not but for optional UPSC gives u an opportunity to choose so be wise and pick one that gives u an edge over others.

Is medical science a good optional for doctors?

YES, the reason being :

1.You have read the subject for 5.5 years (including internship) so you have sufficient knowledge base of the subject.

2.Syllabus is a little less than MBBS PROF. Exam so if u could pass that u can do well here too.

3.No new material is needed, whatever books resources etc that u used in your college days can be easily used here.

4.Being a technical subject if the preparation is done well and smartly there are high chances of scoring good marks and thus better chances of selection in the final list.

5.Because of the previous background/knowledge even if an unconventional question comes up in the paper u can easily solve it to get some marks rather than leaving it (eg: choledochal cyst in 2021 med science paper) however, in a new subject it might not be the case.

Issues/ Challengeswith medical science optional paper ?

1.Time management can be challenge as whatever one reads for optional part cannot be used in GS papers unlike some other optional subjects.

2.Less guidance for UPSC( unlike the support available for PG prep)so majority of it has to be done by self-study.

3.Not many test series programme are available.(in my opinion they are not really needed but due to FOMO we all want them and ultimately end up joining some that are available).

4.Some factual portions eg:anatomy need repeated revisions (but that problem is there with every optional).

PS: I cannot comment on whether medicos should pick medical science or some other optional (eg:anthropology which is a common query).I have listed the pros and cons that I feel with Medical science optional and leave the ultimate decision to you😊

GS 4 Ethics Preparation Strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

My approach to GS Paper IV (Ethics) :

1.Atul Garg Sir’s class notes for ethics (covers both section A and case studies part)
3.Previous year topper copies uploaded on Vision IAS portal
4.Good copies of the test that I was writing.(for those unfamiliar when u write a particular mock test any institute would upload 2-3 good copies of that particular test so that others can learn)

How did I use the above resources?

1.For class notes I read them multiple times, literally till the time most of the definitions and examples were in my muscle memory.(Maximum reading was done between prelims n mains).

2.Googled some examples of the topics that I wanted to change or for some definition that I wanted further clarification on .

3.Topper copies n good copies to understand the writing pattern for ethics answers and examples.

How much of my ethics preparation was done before prelims?(answering based on a common query)

1.It was done to the extent that I had the notes ready from Atul sir’s classes(that I mentioned earlier)and I read them 2-3 times to know what is there in my notes and where is it written by which I mean that topics like aptitude and attitude are in the beginning and corruption and RTI in the end.

2.But this wasn’t of much help as when I began writing ethics paper after prelims I was completely blank and almost in tears thinking that in such a short span I will not be able to cover it. But with repeated revisions,right feedback and one to one guidance on how to write ethics answers (all thanks to one to one mentorship programme at Smartwork Labs IAS Academy) I saw a drastic change in my ethics performance and in mock that I was writing at Vision IAS my score improved from (95 approx to 126 which was the highest score in that All India test.)

Why did I mention POINT 2 above ?

NO intention of boasting my skills or how I did some wonders but for the following two reasons :

1.Those writing mains this time and worried about ethics, do not get disheartened just focus on revising ur notes and take feedback on the test u are writing, analyse a few topper copies and u will see visible changes.Ethics is actually not that difficult as it seems just adopt a right strategy.(So don’t panic and start doing)

2.For those preparing for next year write a few ethics answers before prelims(at least PYQs) so that u have some confidence and do not feel confused right after prelims.(it is always good to learn from the mistakes of others,mine in this case)

To be contd…

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
The red star marked points show how I added my own examples in the ethics class notes.It helps to make ur answers a little different and interesting.You do not have to do it for every topic but try doing it for some especially where u can get some examples either from the newspaper or previous topper copies or a google search.Again these examples are mostly from something I read/heard in the news.It looks difficult in the first place(though it isn’t 😀). try doing this for some portions if u can and it will be helpful.This exercise can also be done by those writing mains this year 😊
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Again I did not make any separate notes or so to say my own notes out of the class notes that I was referring to ( source mentioned in an earlier post).But I tried to note down some quotes etc or this philosophy comparison( as done in the picture)sometimes.This exercise wasn’t done in a single day.Whenever u are reading/revising u can keep adding points. I often used the last page/s of my notebook to do this.The advantage of this exercise is that it helps u to revise very factual points like the above just b4 a mock n also in the time between GS 3 and 4 papers.So,don’t focus too much on making separate notes but u can always separately note down some pointers while u are reading.I hope my point is conveyed😊
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Again when u have read a topic multiple times try to consolidate information like how to used a sticky note to do the same.Here think of not only what content u will write about a topic but also how u will present it eg:I thought of this triangular representation if such a topic is asked and practice this in your mocks as well to see the response of the copy checker.
Another picture shows how I tried to make a table of difference on code of conduct n ethics from my notes.But this has to be done after u have read the topic multiple times n have understood it fully.
PS:This exercise will again be more useful for those writing mains this time.Those who are preparing for next year do not get intimidated with this.You people have time,so keep reading n revising ur notes n gradually u will understand how to do it😊

Basic Tips for Ethics by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Winding up basic tips for ethics paper(Important for those writing mains 2022):
1.Revise ur notes multiple times and internalise the ideas
2.Practice writing answers
3.Take Feedback on any test that you write and if the feedback u take is right n also that u follow it,ur performance will improve and so will ur Confidence level with regard to the paper☺️

For those asking about my ethics papers,they have been already uploaded in the “Vision IAS”resources portal.Those are the only 3 papers that I have written for ethics.You can download them from there for free😊

A lot of you also wanted to see my checked papers but most of the feedback that I took for my ethics answers was from the one to one mains mentorship programme of “Smartwork Labs IAS academy” so,the comments or suggestions mentioned in the checked papers wouldn’t reflect the changes I subsequently incorporated. So,in opinion there is no point of analysing those checked papers.Writing style can be easily understood by the papers uploaded on Vision IAS portal.

This was all the advice that I had for ethics from my end😊Now,for next few post I will focus mostly on medical science optional as many wanted that part to be covered.

Medical Science Optional Booklist by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Sources I referred to for medical science optional:

Paper I:

Anatomy: B.D.Chaurasia
Embryology: I B Singh
Physiology:A K Jain and Guyton and Hall
Biochemistry: Vasudevan
Pathology:Harsh Mohan
Pharma: KD Tripathi
FMT : college class notes
Microbiology: Baveja

Paper II :

Medicine: Mathews
Derma and Psychiatry : UPSC medico notes
Paediatrics: college class notes
Surgery : Sriram textbook of surgery
OBG: Dutta for both Obs and gyane
PSM : Park (used the one from college days itself n updated schemes from current affairs)

*I had enrolled for UPSC medico course for optional but didn’t use it except for derma n psychiatry notes and referred to only the standard books I used during MBBS times.So,for all the medicos I think  it would be best to use the same books u used in college.

*I had mostly taken a picture of the portion of the topics from the books listed above (using adobe scanner) and taken a print out of same,so as to compile all notes together.I didn’t make any notes separately except for a few topics that I thought were spread over many pages in the book or were difficult to understand(but the number of such topics is very less).Will share some of the notes so that they could be used as sample on how to make your own ones(if needed)for medical sc optional😊

ALSO READ  India–Malaysia Relations | UPSC Notes

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper Notes

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Sample notes that I made for a topic in microbiology(med sc optional):

I found this topic was very lengthy in the parasitology book and on analysis of PYQ u will see that similar questions are repeated so,I made short notes in 2 pages that covers important areas n helps to write to the point answers.
U can try this exercise for some topics like this one (Those writing mains this year, now do not waste time making notes if u haven’t already. Focus more on revision that will be more rewarding)😊

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
This is how you can go about making some pointers for Pharmacology. Focus should be there on “Mechanism of action” and “side effects”and that too those side effects which are specific to a particular drug.Rest as medicos know, if not anything nausea,vomiting can be written anywhere 😂. And every time u revise also focus on specific terms in MOA and S/E (eg : in the picture above I have tick marked some S/E which r specific) so that u are able to write precise answers in the pharma section 😊

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Again in physiology some portions that I found difficult to remember and which were often repeated in PYQs, I tried to make such kind of notes for them so that revision before the exam becomes easy😊

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Here the red star mark shows a point,I thought was important and thus highlighted the same n also wrote a “Q” indicating that I would be a probable question.I decided that based on my analysis of PYQs n also test that I would write.This way I marked in the magazine itself n kept revising it😊

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Something that I thought wasn’t important,I marked the same also,so that while revising,I don’t have to refer to it again.Marked in purple here😊

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
For some topics wherein only one information was important so I just marked that eg:the index here or an award that is who announced it etc (marked in green here) so,that way while revising things become a little easier 😊
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
For some topic where u find an extra information that you think is relevant and not given in ur magazine then add a sticky note there like one shown in the picture.In this way all information about a topic is available in a single page n thus,easy to revise😊
Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Instead of adding a note(as above) sometimes u can just write some important points in any space available adjacent to a particular topic like one shown here 😊

How to make diagrams in Medical Science Optional for UPSC CSE by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Addressing another common query with regard to making diagram in MS optional paper:I think u should try n make a diagram wherever possible for the following reasons:

1.Makes ur paper look attractive.Thus,higher chances that examiner will take interest in reading ur answers and if written well then will definitely reward with good marks.

2.Making diagram saves time rather that writing text.Thus,time management issue is addressed.

3.Diagram occupies less space n more information can be presented.

4.Also diagrammatic representation shows that u have a better understanding so the topic(eg: an X-ray image or USG representation will show that u not only theoretically understand the illness but also know how it will look there if a patient visits u with the same and as a doctor clinical knowledge is the most important thing.)

Whether to make diagrams with pen or pencil?

Frankly,It’s ur choice.I chose to make it with a pen coz of the fear that pencil would fade with time(rather baseless argument😅 coz papers are usually corrected in a span of 1-2 months)

Should Color pencils be used?

Yes,wherever possible n if time allows.But just in case u are unable to do that still make a diagram that would do😊

Did I use histo pencils in pathology diagrams?

Personally I did not.If you can nothing better than that. But keep checking the time.It should not happen that u are answering one question perfectly and not answering the other one at all.

At last practice making these diagrams b4 doing that in the exam else it will become a little challenging 😊

Preparation Journey of Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper from 2019 to 2021

Since 2019 today was the first time that I did not have sleepless nights before a result and the first time that with my shivering hands and a racing heart, I didn’t have to open a PDF published by UPSC to check if my roll number figures in it or not.Technically,then I should be happy (honestly I feel relieved that finally everything ended on a good note) but also since today’s result is out there is a sort of uneasiness that I feel.Don’t know what exactly is it.Maybe just a reminder of that time when I was one of those whose name wasn’t there in the list.A time when I would sit alone in my room and wonder what is it that I didn’t do and others did , think that I made a wrong choice by writing this exam and with tears in my eyes wonder why is God so unkind to me and will good things ever happen to me.Today for those who did not find there name,I don’t know what is it that I should say that will calm the storm in your mind and probably the answer is NOTHING(been there twice and I understand) and thus I refrain from saying anything but leave you with these musical pieces that I often heard at various stages of my preparation that gave me some courage,some positivity and some strength to rise after a fall.Hope that this music heals your pain too.

Best coaching for UPSC-CSE by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

I have already described in great detail about what should be a role of coaching or a particular institute in your CSE preparation.At the same time I have also mentioned what help did I take from a particular institute in my 3rd attempt.(Now,I have also pinned the same post for anyone who wants to revisit it)

However,everyday I see one or the other message asking me about my experience with coaching or their respective programmes and also queries of whether one should or shouldn’t join the programme of a particular institute.

Clarifying this whole issue one last time and thereafter will not answer any queries on this topic:

1.The institute that I joined or their programmes that I joined (already mentioned),I had a good experience there which means that the services delivered were as per my requirements in a particular stage and I give them due credit for the help they provided to streamline my preparation.In short my experience was satisfactory and in line with my needs.

2.The institutes that I didn’t follow, I thought that they didn’t help me in the way I expected/or my needs eg: course completion, mentorship support,adequacy of test etc.

3.Also I have no idea of programmes of any institute that I didn’t join or in-fact the current status of the programme that I joined.(as every year institutes also get better or worse however,to find that out we will have to wait for next year’s result)

My advise:

1.First analyse for yourself what kind of help do you need with regard to your preparation for this exam.(classroom support,mentorship,test series etc.) and I cannot decide that for you. Each one of you will have to do that on your own.

2.After step 1, look for programmes run by various institutes that can help you with the same.

3.Sort 2-3 institutes of ur choice and then on the contact number mentioned on their website, please contact their team,help desk or the concerned person that will address your specific doubts.

4.Lastly use your wisdom rather than someone else’s words(including mine) to decide what is best for you.As there can never be a one size fits all policy 😃

Reiterating that any decision of joining a particular institute has to be an individual choice. The consequences of the same will be borne by you and only you. So,decision has to be made based on ur needs only. And always remember that just joining an institute is no guarantee to your selection.They can only support you with your preparation and in no way are a substitute to your hard work and efforts.
I have clearly mentioned whatever I had to and this ends the discussion on this topic from my end.

And for anyone who cannot afford the coaching part or thinks can do without it,that again is equally good as many have done that in the past so can you.😊

Suggestions for medical science optional paper 1 by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Some basic suggestions for medical science optional paper 1:

The nature of the paper is very factual and for most of us it’s been years since we read those subjects plus I admit that those subjects are a little boring.However,greatest advantage with this paper is that it is more rewarding than Paper 2 as there are sure shot answers here unlike paper 2 wherein u will always be confused in differential diagnosis,investigations n treatment (what n what not to write).

My advice:

1.Read topics of this paper multiple times.Only repeated revisions work here,no shortcuts or tricks can replace the time it deserves.

2.For those aiming for next year do one to two topics per day for portions from 1st year MBBS as they r relatively more factual (eg: u pick hip joint on one day and other topics that u like maybe forensic or pathology)

3.If u are finding some portions of anatomy or physiology difficult then do watch some videos on YouTube meant for mbbs students by typing eg:blood pressure regulation mbbs  or cavernous sinus mbbs . This will be like studying the topic again in a class (a reminder of the college first prof days😅) n then reading from ur standard book.

4.For FMT, toxicology portion is vast. I did it very selectively.Maybe u can do 1-2 Poisons in a day n pick those asked previously first.Cost benefit here is low in my opinion so do it judiciously.

5.In the gap between GS n optional paper during mains, I would advise to focus on revising paper 1 more than 2 as here information is very very factual ( used factual word quite a lot today😪🙊)

6.Rest looking at n solving PYQs n practice is the key to crack this paper of MS optional.

PS: I don’t have any notes that I can share because I made notes based on my convenience and have already shared some to act as reference and rest I don’t think would be useful. So,if u like u can make ur own notes or read from the book directly.Both the options are fine depends on how u can learn better.😊

Also for those writing mains this year no special suggestions except that finish all portions of the syllabus for this paper as u have enough time n keep revising n looking at PYQs.👍🏻😊

Suggestions for medical science optional paper 2 by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Some suggestions for medical science optional paper 2:(for paper1 already discussed and pinned)
1.In medicine portion it is not necessary to remember dosage of drugs however,some common emergency condition such as MI
I would advise to remember the dosages also if possible .

2.A lot of questions are repeated from the dermatology,radiology, psychiatry and paediatrics portion and thus,knowing answers of all the PYQs is extremely important. These four topics can help increase your overall score if prepared well,you can always attempt that optional question(1/5) from section A wherein these topics could come handy.

3.For dermat,practising a few histopath diagrams if possible would be advisable.
You can easily find those diagrams from a google search.

4.Pediatrics again dosage not important but try to remember for some condition eg:cyanotic spell which is an emergency situation.

5.Psychiatry focus on social aspect of treatment as well such as CBT etc apart from the drugs to be prescribed

6.Don’t ignore topics from the orthopaedic section.They are few in number but can be scoring eg: Colles’fracture (2021). I used Maheswari book for orthopaedic. U can use any, that u used in college.

7.For surgery,focus on causation and treatment part as signs n symptoms are usually given as a part of the question. Eg: cause of gall stone or treatment of bleeding ulcers etc.

8.For cancers in my opinion there is no need to memorise the staging part as questions are generally not asked.Rest your choice here.

10.OBG again read those flow charts given in Dutta( in case u use the book as reference) they can be very handy to revise.
Here again,some questions are repeated such as APH, C-section etc so prepare those answers well in advance.

11.PSM: u can use the edition u used in college and for new schemes u can always supplement using CA that u refer for in GS. Some chapters like epidemiology n nutrition etc are very lengthy in the book.So,keep looking at PYQs to understand what kind of questions could be asked n prepare accordingly

12.Make diagrams wherever needed.Answer to the point and focus on differential diagnosis which is important.While mentioning D/d do not restrict yourself to the portions mentioned in the syllabus rather think like a doctor and have a wider perspective. Practice this b4 u go to the exam hall so as to recall things faster.

Questions asked by UPSC Aspirant to Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Taking this doubt as it is often asked

Ques: since you didn’t read  newspapers, did you feel you had difficulty in writing mains? As a learning, would you have done it otherwise?

My answer: I didn’t have any difficulty in writing mains for most of the questions as I thought that magazines covered most areas well and repeated revision of the same helped me consolidate many topics that I was able to present well.

However,Yes,in retrospect I would have definitely read the newspaper.I don’t know if I would have made notes out of it because I am yet to learn that art but I think had I read newspapers,I would have better presented some of my answers with better examples,data points or current news and this I believe would have improved my overall GS score(mostly in paper 2 and 3) and maybe the rank(though there is only gratitude for what I got but we all always wish for better😊).
Would thus,advise to follow one newspaper n supplement it with one CA magazine.

Ques:Do you feel that Vision’s monthly booklets/PT 365 sufficiently covers CA or did you refer to any additional sources like coaching CA notes from previous attempts?

My answer:For vision magazine I think it did a decent job as a lot of topics were covered and I used that source only.For 1-2 days I tried referring to other material also but realised that I won’t be able to remember so much. No point reading something that u cannot revise and therefore,I decided to follow only Vision magazines.
This was a personal choice,opinions may vary here.

Current affairs preparation related suggestions by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

For CA prep,I see a lot of queries some of the points I have already discussed (pinned the post to revisit) and some others taken up here :

1.I did not make any notes for CA either from the magazines or from newspapers.So,I would request not to ask again n again to share the same as I have none. Someone who wants to make notes look for some other rank holders who have shared the same.

2.I have referred only to Vision IAS monthly magazines of 1.5 years b4 the date of prelims n mains exam respectively and supplemented that with PT 365 n mains 365.
MADE NO NOTES.But revised them multiple times(by which I mean endless times till I entered the exam hall). The only objective was that any question coming from my source should not go wrong at any cost.

Sharing some sample pages from one of my CA magazine to act as reference of how I highlighted n marked while reading CA.Hope it helps.

Moreover,I believe most of you are too afraid to start n looking for easy solutions to things.Trust me in this exam there is absolutely no substitute to hard work and your consistent efforts.And many techniques come naturally but only if u dare to start 😊

Modern History Preparation Strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Source for modern history:
(Works well even for absolute beginners n those with a background in the subject can freely choose their source for the same)

Spectrum is definitely a good source and can be used forbothprelims n mains part without doubt. I used ONLY spectrum and revised that multiple times so as to remember almost everything that is given in that book especially the portion between 1885 to 1947 which is the most important part of modern history syllabus.

Do we need to refer to any other source?

1.NCERTs are a good source for any subject in your CSE prep as they are the basic books and same is the case with modern history. So,those of you who are facing any issue such as not able to understand something from spectrum then u can always go back to ur NCERTs for that topic.Here,again I think NCERTs of 11th and 12th would be more important especially the new NCERT of “Themes”,even if u are a beginner. In my opinion for modern history there is no need to read NCERT books from class 6-12 . I personally did not read any NCERT of any class for this topic.

2.Other reference book like Bipin Chandra etc, I did not read them ever (not even casually).So,it is ur discretion whether u would want to read these books or not.Since I haven’t read them so, I cannot advise whether they are good or not.

I think this should make it clear as to what should be read for modern history as in my opinion spectrum alone is also sufficient and maximum u can use one other book along with that,it could be ur NCERTs or some other reference book but my advice would be first try and read spectrum and see if u can comprehend the text there and if yes then read that multiple times as that would the best thing to do.
REMEMBER any source u pick revise that multiple times, if u cannot revise it and recall the facts in the exam then there is no point of reading it as well.
Even if someone is using any coaching material keep correlating the points from from ur spectrum.

So,now stop contemplating about the source and start reading.😊👍🏻

Will continue further on modern history in the next post….

How to read Modern History by Rajiv Ahir IPS (spectrum publication) for UPSC CSE?

Disclaimer: This suggestion is for beginners or those who haven’t figured out yet and are struggling with this book.This is applicable for both prelims and mains.Also,this is a personal opinion and only a suggestion,you are free to choose whichever way yields maximum output for you.

1.Start with Chapter:”Beginning of Modern Nationalism in India”all the way till chapter:“Independence with Partition”.This will cover maximum portion between 1885 to 1947 which is the most important aspect of Modern History syllabus.

2.Then read the following chapters:
•Economic Impact of British Rule in India
•Development of Indian Press
•Development of Education
•Peasant Movement 1885-1947
•Movement of working class
•Survey of British policies in India
The above chapters are also important as questions are invariably asked from this section too.

3.The chapter “Constitutional,Administrative and Judicial Developments”, here constitutional part can be read either from spectrum or from 1st chapter of Laxmikant book(however,some acts of missing in Laxmikant if u refer that then do cross-check from spectrum).I personally did this constitutional portion from Laxmikant and NOT from spectrum.
From this particular chapter”Evolution of Civil Services in India,Police system,Military Rule and Development of Judiciary”portions are important as questions are asked from here.Rest development of local bodies is also an important topic.

4.Then read Chapter on social religious reform movement (2 chapters for the same) and 2nd one is more important.

5.Then read Chapter “People resistance against British b4 1857” again very important.In recent times many questions especially in prelims asked from here.N then read chapter on  “revolt of 1857”.

6.For the following chapters read the whole chapter 2-3 times and then revision can be done from summary given in the end of the chapters.You can add ur own points in the summary also for these chapters.In my opinion these chapters are less important but even then should be read:
•Advent of the Europeans in India
•India on the Eve of British Conquest
•Expansion n consolidation of British power in India.

7.Lastly chapters on post independence,I did not read them from here so,u can decide accordingly for yourself as I cannot comment on the same.

8.Appendices at the end of the book are also important and helps in quick revision n thus, should be read.

9.Chapter 1 and 2 not important for exam perspective and can be left.

Finally whatever u are reading keep checking the PYQs both prelims n mains.More than anything else that will guide you what should and should not be read for ur CSE preparation😊

Mnemonics for UPSC CSE Exam by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Some hacks to memorise things in ur CSE preparation:
(Will explain by using examples from Modern History but this technique can be more or less used for any subject during ur preparation)

Trick 1: Make mnemonics

Will illustrate by following examples:

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Example 1: Here for Bombay Presidency Association I made the mnemonic TMT which stands for Tyabji ,Mehta and Telang. So,every time a question comes on this topic TMT is what flashes my mind.

Why did I choose TMT ??
1.Very obvious that it forms the initial of their surnames
2.Medicos would understand TMT also stands for Tread Mill Test done for cardiac patients☺️😅

Logic here is mnemonic should be such that u can easily remember.It could be from our local language/mother tongue, any terminology that u are familiar with already and can relate to like TMT here for me.
Every time u revise keep reading the full forms also.It should not happen that u only remember the mnemonic n not the actual text of it.

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Here to remember the chronology,I used a mnemonic EPL Associate Bombay Madras .
EPL came from modified version of IPL☺️and the rest does not make sense.😅But still after repeated reading,I kind of remembered it and never got a question wrong from here, even if I had not revised these things a day b4 the exam.

Message here mnemonic doesn’t always have to be a sensible thing.It could be anything that helps u remember things and reproduce in the exam.

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Here for 1st tick,I made the mnemonic of PKM again deriving from its initials P for  Prafulla chaki,K for Khudiram Bose in M for Muzaffpur case.

In the 2nd case the mnemonic goes like AAB(sounding aap,my derivation from the AAP party) again not very logical thing but helped me remember this fact and often a question is asked from here.

The idea overall is to use some objective tricks to ease the learning part.Else history becomes too factual and sometimes boring also(was the case with me too) but instead of cribbing,devise ways to overcome this.
Also this post is only to guide you on how to make mnemonics.Do not start making only mnemonics now and wasting ur time. If u are unable to make one it’s still ok because u cannot make it for everything and sometimes u can learn even without them.Ultimately what matters is that u are able to recall n reproduce☺️😊

What should you do after giving Prelims exam by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

It’s been sometime now since the CSE prelims result was declared.For all those who are writing mains,must be in the full swing of their preparation however,it is high time now for all the others too who could not clear this time,that you guys analyse what exactly went wrong either in your preparation or on the day of the exam.

What in my opinion is an ideal thing to do is to sit with ur prelims paper and honestly review it as to how did u perform in an individual subject/area both in paper 1 and CSAT.

1.First make of list of questions asked from each subject/area and see how many questions did u attempt and how many did u get correct that is to analyse ur accuracy in the area.

2.The next step is to find out the reasons for good,better and bad performance in an area.

3.A good performance needs to be replicated in other subjects as well(such right source, adequate revisions etc) and a bad performance need to be avoided.This will also tell u what should not be done going forward now.

And it is extremely important to do this analysis now so that u do not forget(as the memory fades away) as to why did u mark a particular question correct/incorrect. How sure were you when u marked an answer? And did you actually read those questions that u couldn’t answer and if the answer is YES then why couldn’t u answer them and if the answer is No then why did u not read.

Most importantly to analyse what sort of silly errors did u commit in the exam hall including your anxiety levels on the day of the exam that is one of the factors for a poor performance.(infact u will have to work on this area too if u the over anxious kinds during ur preparation)

Here,I am posting an analysis sheet that I made after I failed my 2nd prelims to ascertain where did I precisely go wrong.(you can use this as a reference to create one for yourself). For the longest time I had this sheet posted in one of the walls of my room and this very picture being the wallpaper of my phone while I was preparing for another attempt as a constant reminder of the mistakes that I made and a long journey of hard work and perseverance that I have to traverse b4 I see my name in the”holy PDF”.

ALSO READ  e-commerce in Indian economy - Notes for UPSC IAS

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Notes
Analysis of prelims 2020 paper 1 that I did in October 2020.

How to finish UPSC CSE syllabus on time?

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper Guidance
You will never know ur limits until you push yourself to them.
I had written this message sometime in between prelims n mains when “less time”and “too much to do”made me feel disillusioned and throughout this journey you will all have innumerable such days when you feel like nothing is working out and in those days probably ur spirit to not give up and pushing ur limits will lead you to where you want to be in life.
I am sharing this today with the hope that it gives u some motivation to fight a little harder to achieve ur dreams.We all go through our share of struggles before we achieve our aim.It wasn’t easy for me and won’t be for all of you too but what is assured is this pain that u feel as an aspirant will end the minute you see ur name in the list.

This message is especially dedicated to those writing mains this time.Do not let go of this golden opportunity and waste ur time at this point for any reason.Give ur 100 percent and if ur efforts are in the right direction you will surely succeed.

Addressing few doubts related to mains answer writing(AW) for UPSC CSE:

When should you start AW if u are an absolute beginner?

I think for absolute beginners,u should first read ur major subjects like history,polity,economy etc at least once before u start writing answers and this should take around 3 months (if we keep one year timeline in mind and also that first reading would generally be a slow one).
After that when u start reading these basic subjects again that is when u are 3 months into the preparation is when u can start AW.

How to start AW after above step is complete?

There could be 3 ways in my opinion to start:

1.You could use Mains PYQs to start writing.Look for any book or institute that provides answers to PYQs and there are plenty.You could find them by a google search.Any standard source will give you 4-5 major points to be written in a particular answer and that could help to understand how to meet the demand of the question.

2.You could also use previous topper copies.Many institutes upload the copies of the selected candidates and they are available freely for download.Choose copies of those toppers who have an educational background similar to yours or same optional subject or have scored good marks in the subject whose copy you are referring to.(Here DONOT try to replicate the answers written by toppers or don’t think that just coz a selected candidate has written that answer so,it is a perfect one.Remember those answers were written when they were also aspirants and they too would have incorporated certain changes with time.So,use your wisdom and just see if u have met main demand of the question)

3.Enroll for a year long mains test series.Right after you finish a subject,write the mains sectional test for the same and get it evaluated.Take feedback and implement the suggestions given.Schedule a mentor call if u cannot understand how to exactly implement the suggestions given post evaluation.

Is daily AW a good idea?

Opinions may vary here but I personally feel it is NOT.
Reason being almost all the daily AW questions (available on various portals)are taken from editorials of the newspaper and are largely based on points given in those editorials and UPSC would not ask questions based on one particular editorial and as beginners due to this we often begin preparing editorials rather than the theme of the topic and for static subjects also sometimes the questions are not related to the subject you are currently reading or could be from a topic you have not read till then which creates panic. So,a good idea would be write when u have finished a defined syllabus so,that u can also track ur progress.

To be contd…..

When should one join mains test series?

Appropriate time may vary from person to person but if you are an absolute beginner as I said earlier u could try out any of the above 3 ways for ur answer writing practice initially. However,u can start writing mains sectional test once u have finished one subject and subsequently keep writing as and when u are done with a particular subject/topic.

For those in their 2nd or higher attempt,
I think it is a good idea to start writing answers with the help of mains tests right from the beginning.It helps you to cover all portions of ur syllabus like society,disaster management,security etc that we often tend to ignore and if u follow the test schedule then in fact you can cover the syllabus also well on time.Moreover,a robust mains preparation will help strengthen your prelims performance also.

Time management while writing answers?

An ideal time to write a 10 marker would be 7 min approx.(70 min total here) and a 15 marker would be 11 min approx.(110 min total here).However,it becomes difficult to finish every question in this designated time slot but what is important is that :
1.Do not give too much time to one particular question and ignore others.
2.If some extra time is taken at the start of the paper(which usually happens in first 30min until the flow sets in) has to be compensated by writing very fast towards the later half.

Writing fast is the key to manage time which means most of the information should be in ur muscle memory so that time isn’t wasted in thinking there in the exam hall and this of course would need practice,practice and practice😊

Which questions to attempt first 10 or 15 marker?

Actually no hard n fast rule as to what to attempt first.The best approach is to start with questions that u can answer comfortably especially in the first 30-40 min so, that u become a little confident about the paper also.I never followed a set pattern and mostly attempted those questions first that I was confident about and later devoted  last 30-40 min to those questions that required some additional thinking.
Here,practice would come handy as there would be a few questions that you would have practiced before the actual exam maybe not verbatim but the underlying theme or context so,such questions could be attempted first😊

To be contd….

How to write a good introduction to your answers in UPSC CSE Exam by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper?

Some suggestions to write a good introduction to ur answers:

A good/appropriate introduction to a question would vary from topic to topic but some broad pointers could be followed:

1.In questions related to History a brief introduction that could link one event to the other or give a brief idea of chronological events n it’s significance could be used.

2.In Geography related ques. a definition of the key terms or some data points eg: percentage of minerals, crops etc could be used.

3.In society again some data points that u could source from ur current affairs or some appropriate definition eg:definition of caste if a ques. is related could be used or percentage of disabled,migrants etc

4.For polity related question introduction with a constitutional provision like constitutional articles,a definition,or citing some current event could be a good way to start.

5.For IR again mostly citing some recent happenings would help OR mandate and formation of an organisation eg:QUAD,BRICS etc

6.Economics mostly data from ur current affairs,budget,Economic survey is a good way to start.For some topics both definitions n data points could also be used together like Fiscal deficit related ques.start with definition n then give data of what is the present FD.

7.For disaster management common definition like earthquakes or percentage of prone area based on NDMA reports could be used and easily prepared beforehand.

8.For security you could cite some recent happenings eg:any terror attack,drone attack,cyber attack etc or common definitions eg:critical infrastructure,naxalism etc could be used

Mains answer writing strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper:

What is most important aspect of an answer?

In my opinion addressing the coredemand of the question is the most important thing. Whenever u see a ques the first step should be to underline/encircle the key word and think of 3-4 major points on how u will address “that” aspect of the question(in the mains exam though do not underline or encircle in ur QCA booklet,this excerise is mostly for practice).Thereafter,ur introduction should set a premise to what is about to follow in ur body.This is how to u can at least tackle 60-70% of ur question and rest followed by writing a optimistic n future looking conclusion.
Identification of core demand and addressing that will mostly come with practice and revisiting ur answers once u have written them as usually in first instance whatever answer we write seems like a good one so,it is always advisable to re-read it after 2-3 days to see what could be improved.In addition if u writing answers as a part of a test series then looking at the model answers,good copies or taking feedback from ur mentors could be helpful to improve ur answers.

How to use model answers of mains test papers?

Use model answers to check if u have addressed core demand of the question.Suppose a model answer has 10 points about a particular answer and if u were able to write 4-5 main points in ur answer then more or less ur answer is satisfactory.
Secondly,u can also use these answers as a source of enriching ur content.eg: if a good data point is given there or some point that u think is important but was missing in ur answer could be taken from that model answer and added to ur notes.See,it is not possible to read too many books due to lack of time in the preparation but smartly using these model answers can help to cover a lot of areas with a limited resource.

Should u make notes out of model answers?

For a completely new topic u can make one page note by noting down most important points. Whereas for those topics that are already present in ur notes and some points are missing u can simply add the points taken from the model answer to ur own notes rather than making altogether different set of notes which in the end will make it difficult to revise stuff.
Another technique could also be to highlight the points in the model answer itself and keep revising them as n when needed(however,I do not find it very appealing as it results in information being in silos on a particular topic which again is counterproductive for ur revision)

Presentation aspect of answer writing:

1.It is NOT necessary to make flow charts and diagrams in every answer.ONLY if u think that such a representation can enhance the delivery of ur content without compromising on the quality that u should use these techniques.Moreover,when and how to use flow charts,diagrams etc will also come with repeated practice and thus,deviating ur answers after u have written them is important.

2.Giving headings in ur answer:
I feel right after ur introduction one heading should be given before ur body that is like with the demand of the question and gives examiner the hint that u have understood the demand of the question asked.
Do not give too many headings in one answer as it makes it look clumsy and reduces the effectiveness of ur headings also.

I have tried to cover as many aspects of mains answer writing as possible in this written mode. But it important to remember that answer writing can only be mastered with repeated practice and there is no substitute for that. No amount of advise/guidance will ever be able to replace what u will learn on our own as u keep writing and improving.Therefore,do not ignore this part and start practising😊.

If there are still some doubts related to answer writing u can post them here and I will try and answer them. Also requesting to read the previous post on answer writing before asking ur doubts and not to ask the same doubt again and again and spam this comment section☺️

Questions asked by UPSC Aspirant to Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

I have picked some questions that were asked n that I thought were not dealt or not covered enough for rest please go through the previous post and some remaining questions I will take up as and when I find time 😄

Q.When we start answer writing shall we read it first with all required sources or just write it ? As reading it may take more than an hour so writing this way should b done or not ?

A.For writing answers you don’t have to refer to multiple sources.Read one basic source and one additional source if at all needed and u can write after that. However, most important thing here is to read ur basic sources multiple times.More than reading it is important to be able to replicate what u have read. Moreover,some addition to ur notes can be done with solutions of the answers that u write.Answer writing needs repeated writing and corrections to achieve desirable state suitable to the needs of this exam. Keep writing

Q.How to approach for Ethics Answers specifically?

A.A detailed post on approaching ethics is already available( now pinned) please have a look there.

Q. Can we write some answer regarding social issues without mentioning relevant data & related schemes and still manage to get good marks

A.”Some” yes and u might get average marks there but “all” no .
So, it means that u need to prepare data points and related schemes for society answers but yes in the exam if there is some question that u don’t know the answer to then u can always write some points without data or points.

Q. Mam, can u tell how to prepare for medical science optional. What should be the strategy for paper 1 and 2.

A.Already dealt. Please see previous post

Q. Mam actually I’m reading g.s , optional and current affairs but  by the end of the end of the day the thing Is i  could not manage time for answer writing mam…

A.Firstly u don’t have to write answers everyday. Designate days to practice answer writing eg: every Sunday you would practice questions of the topics u have read. And if u still face time manage issues then u need to realign ur timetable and maybe do 2 things in a day

Q. Good evening , wanted to know the word limits or page limit  for your answers in medical science optional.

A. For 10 marker 2 pages approx ,15 marker 3 pages and 20 marker 4 pages. But more important than filling pages is that u have written answer to what was asked if the demand is met it is not necessary to fill pages

Q. Mam please answer just one question Can we use google to write pyq answers or write without google help ??

A. You can in the beginning but keep in mind that it should not become a habit. U also need to learn to analyse n start writing on ur own

Q. Mam i am facing issue to completing paper on time.

A.See the following points n make improvements wherever needed:
1.If u are unable to recall while writing u need to revise more
2.If u write slowly work on speed
3.If u are writing too much content in one answer then work on balancing and giving equal weightage to all questions.
4.A personal opinion,if the problem still persists and u are writing mains this time then start with 15 marker first so,that ur overall marks increase

Best Hindi Compulsory book for UPSC CSE by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Booklist
People writing mains and need some reference source for the Hindi language (compulsory) paper could refer to this book to have some idea on how to approach that paper.
(I referred to the same book).
Do not give too much time to this paper as it is only qualifying but don’t ignore it completely as well,at least go through these past year solved papers (based on ur confidence level about the paper) maybe for half n hour or an hour,a week b4 ur mains exam 😊

Environment Booklist for UPSC CSE by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

There is a lot of confusion about sources to be used for environment section :

•in my opinion u should follow one static source that could be ur class notes( if taken coaching) or any standard book available in the market. I used the one by Shankar IAS academy( it is apparently the most famous source is the upsc student market).

•supplement this static source with ur daily current affairs from the newspaper or the monthly magazines that u follow. CA are extremely Important for environment so,do not ignore this part.

To help u guys a little with the static portion, I am posting the index of myShankar IAS academy book for environment ( it is the 5th edition.You can correlate with ur updated edition) that I used by marking the important chapters in pink,that I believe will help u strengthen ur basic concepts of this area. For all the other chapters u can read them based on ur own assessment of ur understanding of the topics and their respective importance in the exam based on PYQ analysis.

Again the chapters marked are strictly from my personal opinion so,use ur wisdom to pick what is most relevant for you😊

PS: Apologies if the below images are a little jumbled(but all chapters have been covered).

Questions asked by UPSC Aspirant to Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

In my town how can I avail current affairs magazines every month..??
..here neither books nor any other material is available !

This could be a common query therefore,addressing it.You could either download the current affairs magazine from the respective portals/websites of popular institutes or the one u are referring to. These are available free of cost.
Here, u have two options
1.either read the downloaded magazine in ur laptop/phone/tablet etc OR
2.get a print out of the same from a nearby shop if u prefer the hard copy.

In case option 2 is not available and u still want a hard copy then u could order that from popular photocopy shop in ORN, who can deliver it to ur place. Some names that I am aware of : ( not at all endorsing them,please find their contact numbers through google and check for the best option and price for yourself)

2.Atul Photostat
3.Sparkle copiers

You can also explore other places that u know of 😊

Question:For medical science optional can we use short forms, like for Acetylcholine- Ach
Benzodiazapins- bnz
Gama aminobuteric acid – GABA

Answer: YES, for standard abbreviations u can write in short forms However, I will still suggest that whenever u mention the term for the 1st time pls write the full form n in bracket mention the short form and whenever it gets repeated in the answer u could write the short form then to save time.

For all other queries related to medical science optional like how to start, whether it is a good optional or not etc please refer to the earlier posts ( I have pinned the same ) 😊

Any other doubt (that has not been taken already) related to medical science optional can be posted here in the comment section especially those of you writing mains this time have some doubt about MS optional.
I will try to answer them ☺️

Q.How to select the question that needs to be answered from the compulsory ones?

A.In the compulsory ques section ie ques 1 and 5 of both paper 1 and 2 need to be answered so, you have no choice here but among the other questions that u are suppose to choose there select that question that will fetch u max marks
Eg: if u know only 3/5 sub parts in ques 2 and 4/5 in ques 3 then, choose ques 3 over ques.2 thus,it is important to give some time to reading question paper(5 min at least)so,that u choose the best ques for yourself.

One strategy here could also be to prepare some sections well so such as I did sec b for paper 1 and sec a for paper 2 so,I knew that I will choose one additional ques.from them.
Hope this helps☺️

Q. Should we stick to the syllabus of medical sciences or should we read anything extra (not given in the syllabus directly)?

A.My advice would be to stick to the syllabus and PYQs and devote any extra time u have to ur GS preparation .

Q.how close can we switch entirely to gs before 16 september?

A. A right time had to be an individual choice and will depend on how confident u are about ur optional or ur GS subjects and not just “feeling”confident or under confident but an objective assessment by seeing if u are done with all portions of ur syllabus and have covered ur PYQs.

If I were to talk about myself then from 26th dec,I only did GS (my mains started 7th Jan)

Q. is it highly necessary to get our answers evaluated? ……

A.If u can find someone to evaluate ur answer it would be the best thing however,for optional like medical sc or some others availability of evaluation is less so, u could practice some answers beforehand and be in a self-correction mode to improve and then u are good to go

Q. If possible, please provide the pdf of the textbook/reference book of the scanned topic that you have created.  Because it is not realized how much portion of the textbook is covered in the syllabus.

A.there is nothing new in my PDF it is the exact same text written in the standard books. As far as how much to cover then check syllabus and PYQs and nothing beyond that is to be done for medical science optional

Last 5-6 days preparation strategy by Dr. Diksha Joshi UPSC Topper

To all those writing CSE mains 2022:

With just a day left for the start of your those crucial 5-6 days for which you have been slogging for the last 3.5 months of late and year/s before that, it is very obvious that the anxiety levels are at their peak. The manifestation of this anxiety could vary from feeling like studying too much, eating too much, sleeping too much to not reading anything at all, feeling restless and having sleepless nights.What I would want to tell you here is anything and everything that you are feeling today and would feel in coming few days is absolutely normal and is uniquely yours.So, the very first step to succeed in this process is to understand your emotions and accept them.Now,it is not the time when you would read something new or that “only that” would come in the exam that you read today or tomorrow so,keep all your fear and anxiety aside and enjoy the exam process and trust me the day your last paper would end,you would have a sense of accomplishment irrespective of your performance therefore,just flow with the flow of the exam cycle.

Some DOs and DONTs  in my opinion for the coming days :

1.Keep print out of your admit card (2 copies) and keep your ID, stationery,watch etc ready. Also, make sure your travel arrangements to your centre are in place.

2.A day before Essay paper,read some notes that you would have prepared for this paper.Do not read anything new.Just in case you have no notes,simply read the essays that you have written in the last few months.And remember the best is essay is written only with a calm mind so,go with that winner attitude.Try to sleep early maybe by 10 pm (only indicative ) because the coming days would be really hectic.

3.After essay, you would get some 6-7 hours for next day’s paper (saying 6-7 because I believe that u should sleep again by 11 pm ) so, that you are fresh for the next day.Revise only those things that u find difficult . It is not humanly possible to revise everything so,don’t take load of not being able to revise.

4.Again when you come back after writing 2 papers consecutively you would feel dead tired( at least I felt that) here, you will have 2-3 hours that day so, prioritise and revise most important and factual things and even if u cannot revise anything just have a good night sleep and most things would be sorted.

5.For language paper do some basic reading for the topics you find difficult ( based on PYQ).no need to worry much here as it is only qualifying but at the same time don’t be overconfident as well. Work in moderation.

6.For optional paper again revise the most factual information and if you can’t understand anything then just read some answers that you have written in the last few months.

You would have noticed that I have emphasised too much on sleeping/resting and not on studying because most of your study time is over now and what you need in coming days is a fresh,calm mind and self-belief and you are good to go.So, trust yourself and your hard work and a bright future awaits on the other side.😊

God speed !