Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Marksheet, Optional Subject, Age, Posting

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Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC

My UPSC journey in a nutshell

Aug 2015 : joined PhD
Jan 2018 : decided and started preparing for UPSCย  along with Phd by myself
June 2018: gave completely under prepared 1st attempt at UPSC 2018. Failed miserably
Jan 2019: gave WBCS 2019 preli casually, failed
June 2019 : gave UPSC 2019 preli with ~50% preparation; failed again
Aug 2019 : joined CSSC ATI
Jan 2020 : gave WBCS 2020 preli in-between uspc preparation; scored 121.5: was hopeful to clear preli but cutoff rose to 127 that year. Failed again ๐Ÿ™‚
23rd Oct 2020: gave 1st prepared attempt to UPSC 2020 preli; cleared it in 3rd go
23rd March 2021:ย  Cleared UPSC mains
4th Aug 2021 : submitted PhD thesis
2nd Sept 2021: UPSC personality test
24th Sept 2021 D day of finding my name in the “holy PDF”

Mayuri Mukherjee Booklist UPSC CSE

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
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC CSE BOOKLIST

Botany Optional Preparation Strategy by Mayuri Mukherjee IAS

My optional preparation strategy

Did I take coaching/test series for botany?*

Honestly, i have been studying botany since last 11 years. For most of the topics I used my self made notes/books from graduation and post graduation days. I DIDN’T TAKE ANY COACHING NOR JOINED ANY TEST SERIES FOR MY BOTANY OPTIONAL PREPARATION.

Therefore, most of the things I did for the optional might be disastrous for others.
(As an example, I could give only 10 – 12 days after prelims result solely to paper 2 in my entire optional preparation.
I wrote answers directly in the exam not practicing any proper mock of botany before. Both of these would be sure shot blunder for someone not having her concept cleared very well from beforehand. However, I used to practice a lot of rough diagrams while reading.)

I would therefore restrict myself in discussing certain basic points that might be helpful for the aspirants appearing/want to appear in UPSC CSE with botany optional.

*What are the common concerns faced by botany optional students?*

1.Not so popular
Botany being opted by very few people, too little suggestions are available. As per my knowledge, Dibya Jyoti Parida Sir (AIR 26, 2016 batch) and Nikhil Thawal Sir (AIR 799, 2017 batch) have cleared CSE with botany optional. ( There may be some.other candidates as well that I am not aware of. )

2. Very little overalap with GS papers
A few concept of ecology, biotechnolgy and genetic though might help solving few questions here and there.

3. Huge syllabus
For someone not having botany as a subject atleast in undergraduate level, the syllabus might take a lot of time to complete. Presence of so many facts/information/terminologies need multiple revision of the subject, especially paper 1.

However, the subject is mostly static in nature. As a science optional, difference in interpretation of answers have bare minimum scope. And though I am not very sure, but being an uncommon subject, possibility of setting a very random paper is not so common either โ˜บ๏ธ.

*Few suggestions from my side*

1. Start with the syllabus and Previous Years Questions

1.1 Please consider these two as your best friends while preparing for botany.
1.2 Going through the basic syllabus thoroughly should be the first and foremost thing. (Consider the differences eg. Pharmacognosy only in IFoS if you are appearing for both).
1.3 I have gone through last 10 years of PYQ of CSE and IFoS meticulously.
1.4 The best possible compilation I found is undoubtedly the one given below the DKT strategy video made by Nikhil Thawal Sir, AIR 799, CSE 2017.It has both basic book sources and PYQ sorted topic wise till 2016 at a single place.

2. Define the boundary

2.1 I took a print out of the entire PYQ document and handwritten questions of 2017 – 2019 below each of the 10 sections.
2.2 This (or any other compilation) should be the primary guide to made the boundary line of your preparation. Pick any single topic from syllabus and have a look of all types of questions came in PYQ from it so far.
2.3 This approach is particularly helpful for paper 1 topics where syllabus is very briefly given eg life cycles of cryptograms/ crop diseases/ anomalous anatomical growth etc.
2.4 However, paper 2 comprises of more conceptual topics ( eg genetics/ plant physiology etc) which require much in depth study and solving only PYQs will not be sufficient.
2.5 I won’t suggest leaving any topic completely. (Alternate oxidase cycle and clock hypothesis made me leave 15 marks straight in paper 2๐Ÿ˜Š)

3. Practice the diagrams

3.1 I would say this is the second most important thing one must do after clearing basic concept. I can not remember a single answer in both the papers where I haven’t drawn any diagram.
3.2 Diagrams slow down your writing speed drastically. You can compromise your handwriting with writing speed but doing the same with diagrams is not advisable at all!

3.3 Compared to GS papers, in botany optional you will get only 2/3rd time to write your content as a well labelled neatly drawn diagram will take rest of your time.
3.4 Draw diagrams whether mentioned in the question or not, many a times this also give very good presentation and explanation of answers.
3.5 Not all the botanical diagrams are very simple either and will require good amount of time to be familiar with.

  1. Put equal weightage to classical as well as applied topics

4.1 Keep in mind the differences between classical topics and applied topics.
4.2 Classical topics like cryptograms, plant pathology, gymnosperms and angiosperms requires rigorous revision and remembering of facts.
4.3 Applied section like genetics, biotech, plant physiology will take more of your time to understand but once the concept got clarified, it doesn’t need intricate revising to remember.
4.4 One must try to divide the reading and revision times differently according to demand of the paper.
4.5 My general observation is that more technical questions are being asked in IFoS paper than in CSE. This should be kept in mind.

  1. Notes making

5.1 Again this depends on your personal comfort zone. I had most of things from my bsc/msc days, and I used them wisely after trimming as per UPSC requirement.
5.2 Make sure you mark plant specific points/examples from botany for common topics. Eg ecology, cell organelles, biotechnology, genetics etc.
5.3 Collecting small case studies from news paper related to new invention /discoveries/ name of scientist/ medicinal applications etc. will benefit in one or two answers ( eg. After Amphan, West Bangal govt planned to sow mangroves in Sundarban to prevent cyclones).
5.4 UPSC allots 2/3/4 A4 size blank pages (roughly with ~1 inch margin both the sidee) to write answers of 10/15/20 marks. Preparing notes and diagrams keeping the space in mind should be a good strategy.

I hope it might help you. All the very best!๐Ÿ‘

Mayuri Mukherjee

Booklist for UPSC prelims and mains by Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee
(Do a little bit of research before picking up any book. But once decided, stick to the sources and revise as many times as you can.)

1. Tamil Nadu class 11 for ancient and medieval
2. NCERT Class 7 to 12 for terminologies
3. Spectrum for modern history

Art and Culture
1. NCERT Fine Arts class 11
2. Nitin Singha nia

1. NCERT Class 11 12
Total 4 books
2. Geography through maps la excellence coaching youtube videos (last 4 years)
3. Random animation videos for concepts

1. Indian constitution at work. Class 11 NCERT
2. M Laxmikanth
3. Bare Acts of constitution for Fundamental Rights + DPSPs + Fundamental Duties

1. NCERT Class 11 12
2. Shankar Ganesh ( know the terms and do research.Shankar Ganesh alone won’t suffice at all. Just use it to get the terms. Once you get the terms, you have to read thoroughly from monthly magazine/ youtube videos/ ncert etc. )
3. Economic Survey and Budget Summary

1. PMFIAS Environment (I had both Shankar IAS and PMFIAS environment book. I found shankar’s style of presentation very uninteresting. Therefore shifted to PMFIAS. Rest is your choice.)
2. National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, Wildlife sanctuary state wise did separately.

Current Affairs
1. Indian Express (I didn’t make notes)
2. VISION Monthly (last  1.5 years)
3. Insights and Raus DNS (selectively)

ALSO READ  Indus Waters Treaty | UPSC Notes

Mostly same as prelims. Additional ones are listed below
1. Sociology NCERT class 11 12
2. Vision booklet on world history
3. TMH post independent history book
4. TMH Internal Security and Disaster Management book by Ashok Kumar
5. International Relations from mains 365
6. SnT from mains 365
7. Lexicon for Ethics (not much useful though)
8. Vision ias mains value addition materials (selectively)

Mayuri Mukherjee
AIR 159, CSE 2020

#copied FB page ๐Ÿ˜Š

Coaching Institutes Joined by Mayuri Mukherjee

Coaching and test series I took during UPSC preparation

****CSSC ATI****

I was a classroom student of West Bengal Govt – run institute Satyendranath Tagore Civil Service Study Centre, (SNTCSSC ATI) from 2019. I was associated with it very closely in all three stages of this exam. (Weekend classes pattern was very suitable for me to attend while doing PhD. I was fortunate to have a very good peer group here. The guidance I received especially during Mains and personality test preparation was un parallel. I wrote 14 mock tests; 12 GS and 2 essay papers, attended 3 offline mock interviews.)

Other than CSSC ATI


1. Insights prelims test series (paid. i found it too difficult. Good for covering static sections eg polity/history/art and culture. They ask very minute details which most of the time may not be relevant for actual upsc exam).

2. Vision IAS prelims mock tests ( I found them good for covering all the basic sources. I got those tests from free website. That made me feel guilty for the copyright violation and therefore I decided to take their paid mains test series โ˜บ๏ธ)


1. Wrote 10 GS mains mock tests in VISION IAS. Joined their GS series of 12 mock tests. (good but expensive. Still I took this as most of the people appearing in mains wrote the same. Good for getting a comparative perspective.)

2.EdSarrthi by Varun Jain mains mentorship programme (a new edutech initiative. I could attend only few classes but wrote all 5 tests. I found the instructions good, quite affordable as 5 mains tests were also included.)

In total I wrote 26 GS mock tests (12 in CSSC + 10 in Vision + 4 in EdSarrthi) and 3 essay tests ( 2 in CSSC + 1 EdSarrthi) after prelims and before mains in simulated exam environment.

Optional (Botany)

Neither took coaching nor joined any test series for optional as I already had a decent background in botany.

*Personality test**

1. Attended classes and gave 3 offline mock interview at CSSC ATI (extremely helpful, can’t emphasize enough the importance of being questioned by the serving bureaucrats and academicians of my state)

2. Vision IAS mock interviews : 2 online mocks (quite helpful)

3. Free mock interviews at IASbaba and Civilsdaily (okayish. People after clearing mains suffer from.a peculiar situation
fear of missing out and I was not an exception. Gave these two online mocks for the same reason ๐Ÿ˜Š)

**** Is Coaching mandatory for UPSC preparation?****

A very subjective question. I felt that it gives you regularity by bringing discipline and I personally got a very good peer group at cssc. If you could maintain discipline and regularity by yourself you may not have the need of taking help of any coaching. Whether you join any or not, there is no alternative of hard work and self study.
However, I am not in favour of expensive coaching classes at all. The total amount of money I spent for all the coaching and test series combined was less than my one month of research fellowship.

Mayuri Mukherjee
AIR 159, CSE 2020

# copied from my FB page

Notes making strategy by Mayuri Mukherjee for UPSC CSE

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
I used to remember smaller facts from spectrum like this. This is a compilation of revolts in NE states. Sorry as I wrote few words in bengali.

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Climatic regions: a compilation of last few chapters from GC Leong ( and I never go back to GCL again ๐Ÿ˜Š). Might be helpful for last time revision.
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
I do use colour pencil while preparing but for the recreation or to break the monotony of preparation. I have drawn the same map with same blue gel pen in paper 2 of botany (demarcated regions with symbols) ๐Ÿ˜Š
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Another event where I coloured the diagrams from.angiosperm as I got bored ๐Ÿ™‚
Another event where I coloured the diagrams from.angiosperm as I got bored ๐Ÿ™‚

Which pen is best for UPSC CSE by Mayuri Mukherjee

  • the most common query regarding use of colour pens/pencils in exam*

Give a full 3 hour 250 marks test of GS and optional in simulated environment using as many multicolored pens/pencils as you want to use. You will get the answer by yourself. And I believe someone wrote even a single full length test ever won’t have this question in mind ๐Ÿ™‚

To do or not to?
No one is stopping anyone from use of multiple pens/pencils. Provided you can finish your paper. And please remember no better way of presentation can compliment lack of content in the answer.)

What I did
In paper 1 of botany, i have drawn the floral diagrams with pencil as it was asked in question. In all other places (both gs and optional) where I put diagram/map/drawing by my own. I used the same blue gel pen for writing answers as well as drawing.

P.S. I won’t answer this question ever again ๐Ÿ˜Š

Question asked by UPSC Aspirant to Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
This is a perfect example of information overflowing. And I am very sorry to say but too many coaching centres/websites in market are responsible for creating this craze for current affairs.
The amount of time you are putting for current affairs is not going to help you. You must have realised this after seeing this year’s prelims paper. Upsc is either asking very prominent current affairs or some very obscure facts that nobody is aware of. Better keep your sources limited and revise them repeatedly.
I believe you can limit the time that you spend online. I can tell you what I did. I was blessed in one way that I only get 4 4.5 hours in weekdays for my preparation.
Read any single newspaper (i used IE) it takes around 1 hour of time. I don’t make notes from newspaper as I don’t have time. I read vision monthly and revised it 2 times before prelims. If I don’t understand some polity or economy topic then only i used to watch Raus ias daily news analysis.

Limiting the time you spend online by Mayuri Mukherjee

Reducing the number of online sources you use is the only way to make your preparation streamlined. Choose one or at max two sources( if you are preparing full time) for each subject and revise repeatedly.

Availability of too many resources lured us to look into all of them half heartedly. Please convince yourself that 1 newspaper and anyone monthly magazine is enough if you revised properly.

Any basic standard source will cover most of the things that you will need to clear the exam.. please remember that in UPSC, the prelims cut off is just 46%.
I got only 47.8% (969/2025) but that was enough to secure 159th rank.

Reading anything that you can’t revise later is as good as not reading it in the first place.

Botany notes/answer writing

Unfortunately, i rarely made upsc specific notes for botany. Neither i wrote any mock test so that I can have my answer copies to share with you.

In 90% cases, i studied from books itself. My background kept an advantageous position so that I put minimum efforts in botany.

I have shared two sample notes. You can prepare in that line. All the books I have used are also given. Notes in botany doesn’t hold much value. Being a science subject i preferred it to read and write directly.

Please refer to the very first post of mine for more clarity.

Question asked by UPSC Aspirant to Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
I am sorry to say but this messege shows how we are parting away from our basic reading habits and lack the willingness to by ourselves. A detailed booklist has already been provided. Such basic queries will not be entertained further.

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
You can’t decide each question wise. target answering roughly 80/80/90 in each hour. Be extra cautious in 1st hour where we had least productivity. Develop your own strategy by writing atleast 5 6 full length tests
You can look at toppers copy to get better idea.

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Being a full time researcher, i never had the time to practice daily answers.
After prelims, I got all my test copies evaluated. Comparing with toppers answer copies/model answers given by institute might help. And you will gradually develop the sense with writing more tests.

My interview transcript. I scored an average 165 marks in the interview while i thought it went well. However, I have accepted the subjectivity associated.

UPSC Interview Transcript of Mayuri Mukherjee

Date 02.09.2021 (AN); 1st to go
Board: Sujata Mehta maam
Edu: BSc honours and MSc in Botany ;PhD (thesis submitted in August) from CSIR lab
Optional : Botany
Home state: West Bengal

3rd attempt, 1st interview With mask on all the time. Not even asked to remove to verify it.

CP :

  1. Introduce Yourself.
  2. You are going to be a doctorate very soon. After working so long in super specialised field do you think you will like the work of very generalist IAS?
  3. Do research scholars get the respect they deserve in society?
  4. Young IAS or IpS officers get better respect or not? Have you ever interacted? (Mentioned bharat darshan trainee visits to our lab here)
  5. How are they? Were they arrogant or willing to interact?
  6. Should we continue research on gm crops?
  7. Why we are not accepting it? Why USA accepted but UK dont?
  8. Will there be any illl effect of gm?
  9. As a botanist, will you be in favour of promoting gm crops?
  10. What you do as popular science communicator? (Hobby)

Member 1

  1. After Covid, do you think we need more trees for immunity boost or pure air? Are we doing enough?
  2. What else can we do to increase tree cover in metro cities?
  3. Long talk on iraq, syria,libia. They are building extremely good infrastructures eg. flyover even better than delhi. Despite having autocratic ruler. Why?
  4. Don’t you think law and order could be better maintained by autocratic govt?
  5. How many districts are there in India?
  6. As a DM of any of these districts after few years, what will you do to improve state of affairs?
  7. What are SDGs?
  8. Do you think India can achieve the SDG goals as promised?

Member 2

  1. Why the development of wb is kolkata centric? Why places like coachbehar and jalpaiguri are getting ignored?
  2. It’s not about infra only, do you have enough educational institutions there? (Mentioned 2 recently opened univ there)
  3. Why WB don’t want to share teesta water? Why is the river so important?
  4. Do you think we took advantage in farakka treaty by not listening to Bangladesh demand?
  5. Are there any flaws in these treaties?
  6. Talk about some work permit and free movement between indo bangladesh. Do you think we can open border for local people in bengal?(said it will increase illegal migrant issue)
  7. But won’t people will be benefitted. They can go work in day and came back to india at evening. (Said we can do it in pilot basis, then open up if positive response and maintain proper transparency and safety measures)
  8. You have studied in bengali medium. What you think about DU discrimination between cbsc and state boards. In 10+2 level, how can we bring down the disparity? (Talked about neet. But will be difficult in social sci. Still a common minimum syllabus may help)
  9. You said same syllabus. But do you think you studied at presidency college say someone from munger will have the same capability as you have? (Said capability is individual but education environment will take more time to be same)

Member 3

  1. What was your thesis topic?
  2. Significance of it?
  3. Most of the faculties in iit and other educational institutes are Bengali. Why bengalis prefer academic so much? (Mentioned less conducive env for business here)
  4. Can’t laxmi and saraswati go together?
  5. You organised women entrepreneur conclave. How you see the idea of startup for research scholars?
  6. Prosopis julifera. Invasive trees. How could you control? And 2 3 follow-up questions
  7. You talked about NEET. Which state is constantly opossing neet?
  8. What was their argument? (Gave wrong answer. Said language but he said rural people disadvantage. Accepted and said sorry)
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Member 4

  1. Name 4 biodiversity hotspots of india
  2. Have you ever been to assam/ arunachal/ Meghalaya?
  3. Are north eastern states poor? (Said poor if we see infrastructure but rich in biodiversity and ethnic diversity)

Essay Preparation Strategy by Mayuri Mukherjee

Essay: my two cents

I scored a very poor marks of only 113 in essay. Therefore I am not at all the best person to talk about it.I will limit myself to few things I did

1. Made framework of both essays in the beginning. Helpful if you mismanage the time in the exam hall. (I did the same but somehow completed both as I made both the frameworks beforehand)

2. I couldn’t remember quotes. And I can’t write an anecdote. Therefore most of the time I used to start my essays with any historical/mythological story or important reports/facts. Choose what suits you.

3. As I am not a social science student, my content pool of socio – economic – political issues are limited. I knew my limitation and tried to choose two topics which are poles apart so that I don’t have overlapping content for both. (I wrote being humane and technology the underlying string in this year)

4. I avoid writing essays on topics where I have even a small doubt of understanding the meaning. I never thought whether all others are writing the same or not.

5. For abstract essays, questioning the theme given (why this is given/ can there be an alternative/ is there any other way of interpretation?)  and dividing it part by part helped making the framework.

6. I would suggest writing 2 essays at one go. It will let you feel the mental tiredness while writing the 2nd essay that you have to go through in the exam day.

I wrote only 3 essay papers (6 essays) in my entire upsc journey. The more you write, the better it is offcourse๐Ÿ˜Š

Best wishes๐Ÿ‘
Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Marksheet

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Marksheet
My final marksheet
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Someone asked me how I used to read from/highlight monthly magazines. I found this is my gallery. Hopefully it will give a brief idea
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
I never made any comprehensive notes for prelims. I used to make these kind of rough diagrams/maps for remembering/revising things in a better manner
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Made this too from 2 3 issues of vision monthly.
Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes

Current Affairs Preparation strategy by Mayuri Mukherjee for UPSC CSE

Vision IAS monthly or PT 365? Which one to use

1. Follow either of any.
If you are regular, monthly magazines are always better to read at the end of each month. It will also help revising content of each month.
  Picking up PT 365 2/3 months before prelims would be more painfull as you have to revise them well atleast 2 3 times. (In both the cases I am considering one is reading any one newspaper sincerely for last 1 year)

2. For prelims, i used monthly magazines as I had been reading them regularly since last 1 1.5 years.
Eg. For 2020 prelims, i read monthly from June 2019 to August 2020.
( I have revised highlighted portions from these 15 magazines at least 3 times before prelims 2020).

Revising from monthly magazines before prelims

Pick 3/4 booklets at a time. Read and revise same sections from all  of the magazines in a day. For example, Setting a target of revising polity and IR sections from three monthly magazine in a day is better way of remembering contents than reading each sections of a monthly.

3.For mains 2020, I directly used mains 365 and not any monthly magazines. (Minute revisions of mains 365 is not required. Use them for value addition to your answers eg. Committee names and recommendation/stats/ reports/ diagrams eg EIA steps )

Current Affairs for botany
Not of much importance. You don’t need to do anything separately.  Keep an eye open and make few points while reading newspaper/monthly magazines you feel can be useful for value addition to your optional answers.
Eg. Planting mangrove saplings in Sundarban by WB govt after amphan / use of vetivers for drought controlling / use of lemon grass and other aromatic plants as biodefence by UK govt etc etc.
Don’t spend too much time..RoI very low

Previous UPSC toppers blog/channel etc that Mayuri Mukherjee followed during her preparation

I found many of their advices excellent for mains perspective. Essay quotes/gs notes/ answer writing and essay writing strategy/ value addition

1. Anudeep Durishetty Sir IAS AIR 1– blog

2. Hardworking Human — Manish Kumar Sir  IAS AIR 61  — youtube and telegram channel.

3. Dr. Suyash Chavan Sir IFS AIR 51 — youtube channel.

4. Dr. Mittali Shetthi ma’am IAS AIR 56 — blog and youtube videos

5. Anshuman Rajhans Sir IFoS AIR 11 — youtube and telegram channel (very helpful for prelims)

General studies for mains

This year 761 candidates have qualified UPSC CSE 2020. Please consider this (or any other) writing of mine as one of the 761 ways of clearing the exam. There were 760 other ways of clearing cse 2020 too. So just follow what suits you and develop your own strategy.

Reading materials

1. Please go through my previous post where I shared my booklist for prelims and mains.

2. I started with subjects exclusive for mains (society, world history, ethics internal security etc).

3. I have completed static papers first eg GS 1, GS 4 and optional and dynamic papers eg GS 2 and GS 3 at later stage (mains 365 came later in my preparation)

4. For current affairs, other than mains 365, I keep reading Indian Express till december end.

5. I didn’t get time to read 2nd ARC, NITI Aayog action agenda etc. but followed budget and economic survey.

Mains mock tests/ answer writing

1. I managed 1.5 months leave from my lab since 14th of november. I wrote all my mock tests (26 GS and 3 essay) in 45 days time that i have.

2. I gave all full length 3 hour tests. Gave 14 tests in proper 3 hour morning + 3 hour afternoon simulated exam conditions.  I was scoring constantly between 85 – 100 105 in all the tests I wrote therefore not taken the marks very seriously.

3. Writing 6 hours per day continuously for 3 days create physical and well as mental exhaustion. Please be prepared beforehand by practising enough mocks.

4. I **followed
strict introduction – body – conclusion** format in all gs  answers. I have prepared few major facts/reports/figures beforehand to be used in multiple intro/conclusion. eg. India has a land of 2.4% but  supports 18% population and 7% biodiversity of the world

5. As I had very less time, i did small value additions to my written answers and use them as notes. In both side of margins of any page where an answer is written, I keep adding few facts/extra points/current affairs/ examples from model answer/others answer copies uploaded etc. Just before mains, I kept revising the answers I wrote.

6. I frequently used maps/diagrams in my answer geography/history/art and culture/ IR/ internal security etc. Keep practising free hand drawing of indian map (extremely helpful).

7. I found 1st hour of answer writing least productive. Therefore I tried to be cautious in 1st hour. I tried to write 80 – 80 -90 marks  in 1st – 2nd- 3rd hour.

8. I generally wrote all 10 markers in first 1.15 hour and rest of the time for writing 15 markers. I always wrote sequentially from question number 1 to 20 for GS 1, GS 2 and GS 3 ( changed my strategy in actual GS 3 and mismanaged the time). For GS 4, I wrote case studies in first 1.5 hour and then answer part A questions.

9. Finishing the papers was my 1st priority at exam hall and I was satisfied just by writing each of the answers within time ๐Ÿ™‚. However, I don’t believe in just filling the pages and never wrote beyond 150/250 words. In random questions I wrote only that much I knew ( eg Persian literature I wrote 1.5 pages for 15 marks).

Mains was my most favourite part among three stages of exam. I thoroughly enjoyed writing answers for social science subjects after  more than one decade of my 10th board.

Compulsory Bangla paper strategy for UPSC CSE by Mayuri Mukherjee

(I wrote the compulsory language paper’s strategy for Bengali. I don’t have detailed idea about other languages. But in general, keeping few basic facts must be helpful.

  1. Go through last 5 6 years of PYQ from upsc website
  2. Don’t do basic spelling mistakes in language papers.
  3. Questions are easy. But don’t leave some of them just because it’s qualifying in nature and you are too overconfident)

Only 75/300 is required in Compulsory Bengali. Anyone who has any kind of Bengali reading habit has no reason to worry about this paper. I gave handily 3-4 days, 2-3 hours a day, that too after passing prelims for Bengali.

  1. After Prelims I downloaded last 5 years compulsory Bangla question paper from upsc website, did not read any separate book.
  2. Essays usually come from gs1/2/3 general socio-political topics. I think it is better to add some aspects of administrative perspective, practical advice, current affairs than literary quality.

I wrote essays on national education policy, referring to Rabindranath’s Tota Kahini and Achalayatan, which I read in high school.

  1. Very simple Bengali grammar and construction questions. Check Antonyms, Antonyms, Sandhi, Samas, Karaka from previous year questions. If you have forgotten once, take it from any Bengali grammar book. I didn’t need it.
  2. Expansion and summarization, Bengali to English and English to Bengali translation. There is enough time to sit and write in the exam hall.

There were two suggestion from my side..

  1. The questions are easy, but Bengali spelling mistakes are very noticeable to the examiners. Take care of that.
  2. I will not answer all the questions as I have to get only 75, it is better not to have this overconfidence.

Mayuri Mukherjee Answer writing copy

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
As I found Mayuri Mukherjee’s PSIR mock test copies (that I never wrote) in GSSCORE/IASSCORE website. It shows how unprofessional and casual a coaching centre could be while claiming the name of toppers. Be careful.

Motivational Post by Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
The single piece of advice I followed blindly during my mains preparation. All the very best ๐Ÿ‘

Pen used by Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Pen
The most silly picture an aspirant keeps secretly in her/him phone thinking someday it will be worth sharing๐Ÿ˜Š.

I wrote all my mock and actual tests with Linc Meeting pen  fitted with Linc Ocean gel refill (a very cheap pen, Rs 10 for pen, Rs.4 for refill). And I was practising with the same pen for last 2 years. (Linc, corrected)

PS : these refills were used for writing 29 mock tests plus 9 upsc papers and all other rough scribbling i did between prelims and mains

PPS : one must remember that ANY PEN that one finds suitable is the best for her/him.

Reason behind sharing

UPSC is a long long journey. Finding motivation out of smaller  achievements always work better than any toppers talk/telegram post ๐Ÿ˜

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes

Being a full PhD scholar, I hardly get time to make holistic notes. I fully utilised the blank spaces given in any book.
These are few pages from.Tamil Nadu class 11 history textbook.
These might look messy, and I frequently used words in my mother tongue. (Writing difficult words in mother tongue helped to remember those better, you may also try)

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The way I studied NCERT geography books.. Highlighting important facts, writing extra things you collect by googling (๐Ÿ˜Š), drawing small diagramsโ€ฆ These small things will come handy while revising.
Hopefully it will help
Ps: i.never made any separate notes for either preli or mains

Notes making out of basic books

Whatever I have posted or will post, those are just few of the pages from the basic books.
And how I have highlighted/ added some points/drawn small diagrams and figures for easy understanding/memorization.

I never made separate notes. I didn’t have the time, either๐Ÿ˜Š. It’s a personal choice whether you want to /have enough time to make notes or not.

Difficulty/Importance of any fact is very subjective and the same goes with the highlighted portions. Identify the areas you tend to forget and highlight them accordingly. This will only come with repeated revisions.

Don’t call them notes.. just use it as template for highlighting.

Personally, I don’t believe in the usefulness of READYMADE NOTES. I don’t think they will be of much use in upsc untill you personalise them according to your capability and demand.

Your aim for note making should be reducing your efforts, stand out from others in content and presentation and not reinventing the wheel.

Sample notes for botany
I am reposting this file as requested by botany optional people. This could be used as a template for mains notes making.

I rarely made notes for botany. However, I have few notes from my bsc/msc days that are too much for upsc.
I preferred to read directly from the sources. I have mentioned the sources i used, rough botany answers, and botany optional preparation strategy in my earlier posts.

CSAT Preparation Strategy by Mayuri Mukherjee

A few things about CSAT paper that I did

  1. Thankfully Csat was never been an issue for me. I never aimed at very good score but somehow managed to solve 40 42 questions in the exam hall.
  2. I was always very skeptical about english comprehension passages. Therefore always tried not to attempt them as much as possible.
  3. My entire focus was to solve arithmetics and logical reasoning (basically all other questions except csat) etc. As I was clear which ones to attempt, I could save some time by not reading most of the passages.
  4. I had practiced last 5 years of upsc CSAT papers did nothing extra as I was getting around 100 in each.

For those who are not confident in maths

I believe in this case there is no other way than giving more importance to csat. You can only improve your maths skill by practicing.
Dedicating some hours to csat/maths every week and practicing one mock in 7/15 days must be there in your routine.
Though I never practiced csat from any books other than UPSC PYQs, the book wriitten by RS AGARWAL has a good name in this field.

Comments on Mayuri Mukherjee Preparation Strategy

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Strategy comment
I don’t generally comment. Taking my advice is completely one’s own decision. I have clearly written that my answer may not make everyone feel good but that won’t change it.
But I can assure that nobody will be more happier than me if someone can prove me wrong by writing mains in bengali.

Poster presentation competition at Vigilance awareness week by Mayuri Mukherjee

Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC Notes
Somehow, somewhere we start living in our dreams even without realising it..
(I made this for a poster presentation competition organised at my institute in 2018. just felt like sharing.)

PC wallpaper of Mayuri Mukherjee

PC Wallpaper Mayuri Mukherjee UPSC
This was the wallpaper at my workplace for last 2 3 years. Bidding goodbye to the place and people in lab that was my second home for last 6 years was tough..

How to check your own answer writing copy of UPSC by Mayuri Mukherjee

Value addition/ checking one’s own mains answers

1. As I have been telling always, i never made comprehensive notes. Like standard books, I did utilise the blank spaces in each of my mock tests for adding extra points.

2. After writing a test, the value addition could be done by writing down points/facts you missed in your answer. You could take help from any/all of the sources listed below…

2.1 Going through the basic source you already read before.

2.2 googling certain facts/events/articles/incidents

2.3 model answers given by the coaching institute

2.4. from toppers/others test copies of the same test

2.5 the feedback you received from coaching institutes

3. This test copies with value added material will become the most handy material for last moment revision before mains.

4. I am uploading few of the sample answers and value addition from EdSarrthi test copies. ( Link of all the tests I wrote in EdSarrthi is given already in this channel, please check the pinned messages)

Mayuri Mukherjee
IRS(IT), AIR 159 CSE 2020

Please think twice

A general observation

95% of the comments I found below each of my posts are very generic in nature and/or had already been answered by me in the same platform multiple times.

There is a very serious concern. What made me highlight this (i could easily ignore) apparently trivial looking issue is that..

This shows how casual we are in our approach while preparing for one of the most competitive exams of this country.

1.We are not ready to go through previous posts containing all the data and information.
2.We are not ready to find the answer by ourselves rather we keep waiting when someone will come and find the answer for us.
3.We are not ready to do the hard work by ourselves and expect any ready-made material/coaching institute notes can sail us through.
4. We don’t try to understand the violation of intellectual property rights/copyright issues involved.
5. We never go through more than 100 pages long UPSC notification and ask questions like can we write mains in regional languages? Can we give interview in my mother tongue?

This post is not to humiliate or to hurt anyone rather to make you realise are you doing things correctly?
Are you aware of the depth and seriousness needed in the posts you are aspiring for?
Are you doing enough hardwork in your own style to compete with 10lakhs aspirants?
ARE YOU PREPARING YOURSELF to be the future bureaucrat who will have to make all the critical decisions then and there by herself/himself with the limited resource and information she/he had?

No topper, no coaching, no material can make you a civil servant. You have to be one by yourself!


Time Management tips for working UPSC Aspirant by Mayuri Mukherjee

Few suggestions from my side for time management (might help.working aspirants)

The most important thing as per me is developing the right mindset. Contrary to popular belief, DON’T IGNORE YOUR WORK and never try to snatch times during office hours for upsc that one shouldn’t.
We should RESPECT THE JOB that has allowed us to be financially empowered. We must remember that we are aspiring for serving the nation and have to write an entire paper on Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude.
Integrity and honesty are two core essential values of any civil servant.
If someone’s work ethics is being compromised, that is not something expected at all from any future bureaucrat.

In addition to this, the GUILT feeling one develops by not doing their work properly won’t let them actually concentrate in study nor help their professional growth in long run.

I am just sharing few things I did to utiLise maximum time that I had..Please focus on RoI (Return on Investment)

Suggestions from my side

1. Try to stay at a place near to your workplace so that you can save time. (I used to stay at a place that was at a walking distance of 15 20 minutes from my lab.)

2. I didn’t make any notes from newspaper or standard books. Neither i have to devote much time to optional (thankful to my background not everyone had that luxury).

3. I always preferred full length tests over sectional ones. Rarely did daily answer writing practice.

4. Listening light youtube lectures (mostly rstv or strategy lectures) during lunch time. Not much useful though.

5. Skipping basic ncerts from 6 to 10 . Basically limiting the sources. Never read old ncerts, Ramesh Singh, DD Basu, Bipan Chandra, Norman Lowe etc.

6. I followed 1 news paper ( IE ~ 1 hour per day) and 1 monthly magazine. Raus daily news analysis only if some detailing is needed in economy and polity part.
Don’t spend unnecessary time watching youtube videos on daily news that have very poor RoI.

7. Weekdays I spend around 10 hours in lab. Had only 4 4.5 hour to study. 1 hour in newspaper reading and rest in GS + optional.During weekends, my whole day was spent in CSSC for attending lectures.

8. I managed 1 month leave (sept 2020) before prelims and 1.5 month leave before mains in this year’s attempt (my PhD fellowship got over by this time so had no issues taking leave). In April and May 2020, the 1st phase complete lockdown also gave me good amount of study time. In these days I have studied an average of 10 to 12 hours per day.

9. I practically was on no holiday no weekends no leave since 2019. I never took long break from lab for travelling in last 6 years. Neither had much time left for social or personal life/hang outs/movies/functions. Had gone through multiple failures/ extreme depression/ inferiority complexes/ demotivation/dissatisfaction.

All the sacrifices were worth it

However, these are part and parcel of any upsc aspirants life. I am blessed to have very supportive parents, supervisor and very few good friends.
PhD life also taught me to be patient and to keep doing hardwork without any immediate result.
The diversity of upsc syllabus never made me feel bored. And I had my lab as a place of stress reliever from too much study for upsc and vice versa. When I look back, I found the journey beautiful.
The too specialised research and the vast generic preparation together with their stark contrasting nature somehow made me sail through all these years. I am thankful that I could submit my thesis and finally able to secure a good rank in the holy pdf.

PS: I felt my supervisor deserved a special mention here. Without her support i could never be able to manage both phd and upsc. Had it been any other lab, in 90% cases i had to leave phd in between. The way she supported my decision despite knowing she is losing a trained researcher is unparallel.

It says upsc is all about 99% hard work and 1% luck. I fortunately had that 1% share with me.

Mayuri Mukherjee

Tagore hall, LBSNAA Quotes

Tagore hall LBSNAA Quotes
This quote is framed at the front wall of Tagore hall, LBSNAA.. (I am yet to find the exact source and original bengali version of it)
Thanks to Mr. Rahaman for mentioning the source.
With my limited knowledge, I feel this is kept in front of academy classroom is for the gradual realisation of the immense responsibility that is put on the shoulders of the trainee civil servants. One can definitely argue, but other than politics and medicine there are very few professions that give one the opportunity to create a difference of such scale.

Prelims 2022 Result of Mayuri Mukherjee

After attending the Foundation Course at LBSNAA, Mussorrie, I took EOL (Extra Ordinary Leave) and appeared for prelims 2022. However, I couldn’t clear it. Though this messege should be posted a couple of weeks earlier, it took me some time to overcome the hesitation.

Sharing few short notes that I made in these two months with a hope that it might help some way or the other.

My UPSC journey ended here. My journey as a civil servant is yet to begin.
I am grateful to the learnings. Accepting all my successes and failures with equal humbleness.

Dr. Mayuri Mukherjee, IRS