Pratik Agrawal UPSC Notes, Marksheet, Biography

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Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper
Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Pratik Agrawal UPSC Biography

Hello guys,
Two days ago a pdf was released which officially recognised my efforts and methods to be good enough in a competitive sphere of examination. I am not an expert or a teacher but just a friend and a person who has managed to overcome the hurdle of prelims, maine and the personality test to get AIR 156.
I am here to share the same with you all.

Some details of my relevant journey:
2020- first attempt
Could clear prelims
2021- second attempt
Prelims- cleared both CSE as well as forest cutoff (official score yet to be released)
Mains- will be attaching the marksheet (Geography Optional)
Personality Tests- Scored 195

Pratik Agarwal UPSC Booklist

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

Pratik Agrawal UPSC Marksheet

Pratik Agrawal UPSC Marksheet
Pratik Agrawal UPSC Marksheet

Prelims Prelims strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Hello Guys!
The initial messages and mails I’ve received is regarding the anxiety and fear associated with prelims.

I didn’t clear my first prelims in 2020 too scoring only around 60 but in 2021, I’ve cleared both CSE as well as IFoS cutoff(scores not released yet).

As much as prelims is a game of knowledge and elimination, it has also become a game of keeping yourself confident and relaxed. It is natural to be anxious for something where you have invested hours of preparation with high opportunity cost otherwise.

From my personal experience I would only ask you to forget about all your tests scores, forget about what you have not revised due to any reason whatsoever and forget about all other factors which might be increasing your anxiety right now.

I am not here to tell you what to revise in last 48 hours but I’ll only tell you to go with whatever you’ve planned and believe that you will qualify. Be confident and fearless.

Attaching one of my test score from 2021 before prelims, 2021 for your reference. And I want to tell you that it was not the only test where I had scored so low.

Motivational Post by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper [Part 1]

Some of must be raring to go and can’t wait for it to be done, some of might be hoping for it to not have come so soon, some of you might be rethinking whether to go for it or not.

In all of the above cases or any other scenario which might be happening with you, just remember one thing that what tomorrow presents to you is an opportunity, it is a chance to do well and show yourself and the world(if it matters at all) that you have done it.

Treating tomorrow as just another day is essential, however easier said than done.

I would reiterate my earlier message, go in with confidence and believe in your ability and judgement. The answer is right in front of you, you just have to fill the bubbles then what’s with all the fear and stress.

Keep calm, be sensible and seal the deal. Don’t worry about the result, have faith in your process.

Get tired and sleep well.
By this time tomorrow, you’ll already be a free bird.

All the best, make yourself proud.

Motivational Post by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper [Part 2]

Hello guys!
Prelims is done for now. Many of you might have checked your scores already, many of you might be planning to do the same in coming days. I would personally suggest you to take a few days off, can be as long as 7-10 days.
Mains is different battle completely, requires long endurance and persistence. Gear up mentally for the same.
Those who feel that they’re not going to make it, I would suggest the same to them. I have experienced high level of mental and emotional issues post not clearing prelims too. I would only ask you to engage into activities that make you happy, and gradually get back into the groove.

In coming days, I would be sharing my notes, test copies, strategy and mistakes which I made in my 2021 cycle specifically.

Hello guys!
Will come up with an analysis for GS1-4 as well as Geography optional in coming days.
Also will write more details about preparation from Day 0 for beginner, preparation for a person without coaching, as well as preparation for a experienced campaigner.

Coaching joined by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

A detail of coaching classes, test series and other programmes I personally took in my journey:(all paid)
1. Vajiram GS classes– 2019-20
2. Guidance IAS Geography optional foundation course(Himanshu Sir) 2019-20
3. Geography test series with Vajiram 2019-20
4. Vision Abhyaas 2019-20, 2020-2021
5. Edukemy Geography MSP programme 2021-22
6. IAS Corridor mapping and tricks course
7. IAS Network evaluation for GS and optional

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Mock Interview joined by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

1. Vision IAS(paid)
2. Forum IAS (one to one)(paid)
3. IASBaba (non paid)
4. Edukemy (paid)
5. Guidance IAS(one to one)(non paid)
6. Unacademy (non paid)
7. Chanakya Mandali(non paid)
8. Samkalp IAS(non paid, voluntary donation only)
9. Insights IAS (one to one)(non paid)
10. KSG (non paid)
11. IASHub (paid)
12. NextIAS(didn’t go for mocks although)(paid)

Some free initiatives and programmes:
Open test on following platforms:
1. Vision IAS
2. Forum IAS
3. Unacademy
4. IASBaba
5. Raus IAS

YouTube channels that were beneficial:
1. IAS Corridor: must follow, have almost watched every video on channel
2. Vision IAS pyqs and strategic discussions + economic survey
3. Edukemy Shabbir Sir for essays
4. Forum IAS videos for motivation and strategic discussions
5. Rau’s IAS daily news analysis
6. Rajya sabha tv occasionally
7. IASBaba Rapid Revision Series
8. Insights IAS Vinay sir’s video for interviews
9. Drishti IAS only Vikas sir’s video on DAF filling
10. Unacademy YouTube channel
11. Abhey Sir’s YouTube channel
12. Atish Mathur Sir’s YouTube channel

Please don’t be overwhelmed by all these names. It was over a period of three years and also selectively. Being at home post covid, I was limited to online options and therefore chose the above.
I have tried to mention every institution’s name, please apologise if missed out on any.

Also let me know if any of you want me to write a note on details of the above available choices and telegram channels I joined. Email is mentioned in the description.

Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper Booklist

Hello guys, attaching the book list here.

GS 1:
Art and Culture: Nitin Singhania
Ancient and Medieval: Poonam Dalal Singh
Modern History: Sonali Bansal and Spectrum
World History: Vision Notes
Social Issues: Vision notes and VAM
Geography: with optional so no other source

GS 2
Polity: Constitution Bare Act, Lakshmikant and VAM
Governance: VAM
International Relations: Vajiram static  and Monthly Magazine

GS 3
Economics: Vivek Singh, VAM, Monthly magazine, Selective topics from Mrunal Sir
Environment: VAM and Monthly Magazine
Science and Technology: Monthly Magazine, Vajiram Static Notes- Rahul Sir
Security: VAM

GS 4
Ethics: VAM

Geography optional
Paper 1: Himanshu Sir’s notes
Paper 2: Himanshu Sir’s notes and Khullar

Other important sources:
Economics Survey Vision Summary
Mapping from YouTube and PMF IAS

Please don’t follow the sources blindly, select the sources based on your understanding. I personally didn’t like traditional sources because of lack of colour and pictures. I chose the above books and material based on ease of reading, nice organisation and compatibility of the resources.

UPSC CSE Preparation Strategy for beginners by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Recipe for beginners:

Post deciding that you are going to attempt this examination, I would recommend the following things to you:

1. Choose your optional from the list of optionals available:
For that, narrow down on list to less than 4-5. Check for the syllabus and whether you can read it and understand it. You can also check if good material for the same is available or some good classes are available or not. Then check previous year questions from syllabus points and see whether the questions might be workable. You should be able to get answers of atleast 60-70% of questions based on the material you choose.
You can also look for overlap with GS like Geography has in GS 1 and GS 3.

2. Post choosing optional, choose your sources one by one for GS. You can try hit and trail if you’re confused between multiple sources but stick to the source once you’ve selected that.

3. Reading Newspaper:
Personally I read newspaper for news only and current affairs magazines as a source for the same. Based on your language understanding you can select The Indian Express or The Hindu for English. Please excuse me for not knowing Hindi language sources

4. Reading Current Affairs:
Some choose to read newspaper and make notes, I didn’t do that because of lack of organisational skills and less time, I preferred to read it directly from the magazine(Vision monthly magazine). I read these magazines 5-7 times:
First reading: 5 days 20~25 pages hourly
Second reading: similar to first
Third reading: extensively highlighting the important parts
Fourth reading: sectional reading
Fifth reading: scrolling through the pages quickly and looking for things I don’t remember especially diagrams and tables.

5. Making notes:
Extensive and time taking task, so had identified what parts are important to be self written. Also had attended GS classes so had some form of notes already. But post classes I had organised those notes topic wise according to mains syllabus. I’ll post the topic wise strategy later.
But I didn’t prepare notes for all topics and preferred video lectures in 2x speed for revision.

Mock test score of Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Hello guys!

I’m sharing with you all my tests scores written by me between prelims and mains.
A few observations and key points:
1. I had written only 2 GS 2 test before prelims.
2. Had relied more on PYQs for both GS and optional.
3. I felt I was the weakest in GS IV and therefore wrote more GS IV tests.
4. I wrote only 1 GS III test and lacked practice, hence punished.
5. Evaluation and feedback worked wonders for me in Geography optional.
6. I haven’t been able to figure out less than expected marks in GS I.
7. My essay journey started from 48 marks in two essays before prelims to 120 marks in exam. Worked on it extensively and scored around average marks among those selected.

Answer Writing strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Hello guys!
This post tries to answer two important questions:
1. When to start answer writing in general?
2. When to write tests for mains and when to finish?

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You all must have been writing some form of answers right from school. In UPSC, there’s just a small difference that the answers are more purpose driven.
The aim is simple, address the demand of the question with appropriate facts, arguments and analysis. Doing just this will award you a minimum of average marks in my view and understanding.

When to start writing answers?
A simple yet much complicated process of answer writing requires a question, some blank sheets and ‘will’ to write answers.

The ‘when’ question is more related to the hesitance/resistance rather than anything else.
There is no appropriate time and it is never too late to write.

You can always start as soon as you have read even one chapter, for general studies, often even not reading anything might turn out to be enough to right an answer.(happiness question in GS 4)

When to write tests for mains and when to finish?

For mains, writing tests must establish following aims at some point of time:
1. Finishing paper on time
2. Test of answer writing skills
3. Test of content
4. Plan and strategy for the paper

Establishing the above aims can be simultaneous or independent.

I personally started writing tests after completing some substantial portion of syllabus.

People qualifying prelims must understand that the answer they right will directly earn them the coveted job they wish for. Thus, the practice is essential to execute the plan on final day.

It does get tiring but it is very rewarding.

You can start on the evening of the day you write prelims and end on the morning of essay paper, who’s stopping you. Or you can write a test on the last day before essay paper too. There’s no rule for it.

Remember, be confident, tests score hardly matter, they’re just indicative.

Don’t be worried if it would’ve be too late to write a test, everyone has a different plan and strategy, I know single digit rank holders who used to write even four days before final exam.

If you want to take one thing away from this longish post, just remember that you must break the hesitance and write. Write absolutely anything but start writing.

All the best, keep going!

Independence Day wish to students by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Happy Independence Day Wishes by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper
Happy Independence Day everyone!

We have got an opportunity to contribute in a journey which could take us from 75 to 100.

Irrespective of how bureaucracy is perceived, what future work culture would be like, how transfers and politics might affect you, if you have a pure heart and commitment towards the country, you’ll make an impact. Believe in your work and your judgement and you’ll find many others like you, hope is what binds nations together.

While we celebrate our Independence Day every year, we have a chance to make our future generations proud just the way our national freedom struggle heroes made us proud.

It is you who is the Human Resource India wants,
It is you who makes the demographic dividend,
It is you who will work tirelessly to reduce poverty and inequality,
And it is you who will help India become the country you desire it to be for yourself.

Take a pledge, whatever you do in your life ahead, do the best you can, strive for excellence and make India smile in glory.

Mains Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Hello guys!

One week to go now, it’s time that you start sleeping well, work on your routine and get into your final revision lap.

Mains is a marathon and much like a marathon it requires discipline and commitment. Believe me, it is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting.

You must have already invested hours, days and weeks in your preparation. And now it is time to get returns of this investment. Irrespective of course coverage, tests written, marks achieved, everyone is going to get a blank answer sheet and the calm, composed person who’s able to perform the best will get through.

Make sure you are now able to focus on essentials and not worry about everything else going around. All of it is white noise. In two odd weeks, you can change your future forever.

Utilise this week judiciously. Studying, revising until last moment is a personal choice but ensure just one thing that you’re well rested to keep your mind fresh.

I have personally known people who while writing mains had no table chair to write and sat on the floor, had seen short circuit in the class while writing the paper and still weren’t distracted, had faced neural damage on the writing hand and didn’t stop either. We don’t have to do such great things, we only need to keep our focus on our target and do our best which is in our hands right now.

Don’t let anything stop you now, last night was a timely example that hard work will give you the returns, a champion already faced 1021 days of constant battle to do a thing which he had already done 70 times before, no one currently playing had done that and no one currently commenting on him had either done that. Still he regularly practiced and got to it. He himself mentions the need of a rested, calm and clear mind.

Keep going now, and you’ll get a good 2-3 months break post mains.
Arise, awake and stop not, until the goal is reached.

Will write to you all once again before mains.

What if rather than what if not

We tend to think what if we are not able to do something like what if we fail in prelims or fail in mains, or may be get rejected on a proposal, or waste our precious years of youth in between piles of books irrelevant to future ahead. But for a generation which has the access to the world on its hands, world full of opportunities, living in a time when getting popular requires only a 60 seconds video, living in an age where there’s all randomness and no pattern at all, even what if not is clearly abstract.

In this age and time, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to think what if we are able to do something?
What if we clear prelims, mains and interviews and get into the services, how nice would that be?
What if we read an extra chapter today, and tomorrow and everyday, how nice would that be a month from now saving some extra few days?

There’s often no iota of doubt in any person’s ability or the amount of work one is putting in. The doubt lies within oneself, the doubt lies in one’s mind when one questions if the work put in and the ability is sufficient or not, why not consider it sufficient for once and believe in ourself.

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You have tried everything right, but the doubt, anxiety, fear remains, why not try this small thing too, try being confident and believing that all that you have done will earn you what you deserve.

So let’s try this, whatever syllabus left now  is irrelevant, whatever data or report you’ve forgotten is not important and whatever magazine you had to read and not read is now not necessary, what is necessary is your calmness, your confidence, and your belief to use the opportunity in front of you and be the best. Seize the day, you’ve already burn like a sun, now it’s time to shine like one.

All the best!
विजयी भवः

Timetable of Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Attaching some excel sheets with how I used to plan:

Some pointers to understand:

  1. 1st attempt sheet has sources mentioned and I was never sure about them, it included choosing between class notes and books. Looking back I find that this dilemma led to lack of proper revision.
  2. Also 1st attempt sheet includes prelims 2020 analysis which was foundational for me in understanding the loopholes, it was a honest analysis on how I couldn’t address the demands of the questions, what I felt during the exam and after it.
  3. Attaching the second attempt(2021) calender as well as the third attempt(2022)
  4. You will find multiple sheets with same dates because these plan were too idealistic, and I had to change it every time I reassessed my preparation.

What you can take with you after seeing these sheets?

  1. Each day is important, even the day you want to take breaks on. Plan at once till the day of the exam as if you will clear the exam surely.
  2. After planning monthly, go for weekly planning based on your subject preferences and targets. Be sure of what tests you want to give and how many you want to give. In each week’s plan, take into optional GS overlap if any, it avoids duplication.
  3. After weekly plan, do a daily plan which realistically includes the festivals, your birthday, your important days, etc. and keep a buffer for that.
  4. Be flexible and consistent, all my 2020, 2021 and 2022 plans didn’t go out as imagined as Covid lockdown postponed the exams. Also I always planned for failure because of lack of confidence and the uncertain nature of upsc. When I gave 2020 prelims, I knew I won’t clear, when I gave 2021 prelims, I checked only CSE results because I couldn’t even imagine that I could clear forest cutoffs, in fact my friend called me and said that my name is in that list the next day, and I was shocked. And in 2022, the personality tests, final results and prelims was all in 40 days, couldn’t even understand what to do and how to do.

I would reiterate this that plan clearly, it clears the clutter off your mind. Make sure you take into account all the factors. After you start implementing, be flexible and believe in your plan and have faith in your hardwork.
Be analytical, it is major demand in UPSC CSE preparation.

Maps Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper [Part 1]

Hello guys!

Attaching my maps practice pdf, some of my writing may not be legible, some of the locations may not be pin point accurate but I don’t think that’s required in general studies, may be required in geography optional however.

The pdf titled basic are the initial practice pdfs where I drew the locations on the map after studying it from lectures on YouTube and atlas. For me mapping was essential for prelims and mains.

Disclaimer: Sharing for your reference only, not be used as notes or study material at all. It is a work of a student like you all, please do not rely on it for certainty. At the minimum, please draw these maps yourself even if you want to copy it as it is.

Maps Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper [Part 2]

For learning mapping:
Sources used:
1. IAS Corridor lectures- the state wise mapping course which gave me content for a few states but more importantly taught me the framework on how to proceed, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for lifetime

2. Sudarshan Gujjar Sir mapping on YouTube, came across very late, a month before prelims and found it useful for revision. But he covers it too comprehensively, I would recommend you to have a basic understanding of maps first and then go for it.

3. Current affairs magazine

Party with friend – Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper
It was great meeting some fellow aspirants. When we speak to people involved in the same process as us, it feels calming to know that you are not alone. Everyone faces problems and dilemmas in preparation, but those who work consistently towards it, those who don’t give up and set foot in right direction ultimately win.

Current Affairs Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

How I planned my current affairs or how I would plan if I were to start now?

I planned a Simple schedule
Every magazine- morning 1 hour- 20-25 pages
So 5 days each- 1 magazine
In a month 6 magazine
In 3 months 18- ideally required

But you have to do November 2021 to April 2022
Suppose you start tomorrow
By October end-
Nov 2021
Jan 2022
In November
In December
Here November magazine would not be available yet
Then go for second reading of above talking 3 or 4 days
Suppose 4 days taken from December 6 on wards
November 2021
Jan 2022
January onwards
November 2022- 5 days
December 2022 – 5 day
Then third reading taking 3 days
And so on

2023 Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

2023 Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper
2023 Preparation Strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

UPSC CSE Interview Preparation strategy by Pratik Agrawal UPSC Topper

My plan for interviews preparation

  1. Will be floating a Google form for around 100 people only.
    Might add others post results depending on it.
  2. A telegram group would be formed where:
    a. I’ll share my experiences, preparation methods and suggestions.
    b. Will provide general recommendations on filling the DAF.
    c. Will share a basic outline of the process and how to go about it.
    d. Might take one-on-one mocks at a later stage.
    e. Will recommend how to best use various options available in the market for this particular stage.
  3. The group will not be:
    a. A one-on-one discussion or personalised DAF discussion place. Enough options already exist.
    b. The group will not include any classes to teach anything or material sharing specifically.
  4. Purpose of forming group:
    a. to help those who are new to the process majorly.
    b. Help tackle the myths associated with Interviews
    c. To provide something I would have wanted at this stage in my attempt.