Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Marksheet, Notes, Strategy

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Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

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Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Biography

This is my post for broadcasting my notes and strategy to the larger aspirants community. It’s in the hope that it can help some of the aspirants in figuring out how to go about the preparation.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Marksheet

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Marksheet

Tanushree Meena 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
Tanushree Meena UPSC CSE BOOKLIST

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Strategy

My basic strategy was

  1. I have to finish the papers on time.
  2. I have to answer all the questions.
  3. I need to write In a good handwriting.
  4. I need to make significant value addition through maps, diagrams, facts, figures and examples in all my answers to make them stand out.
  5. I need to have a clarity of thought and expression so that my answer sheet reflects my personality and thinking, the way my mental processing works.

Essay Strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

For essay I had made separate notes containing examples; quotations and famous personalities etc. I used them also for Ethics and Governance and vice a versa.
Final essay paper had both philosophical topics I was a little taken aback but since I had a flair for writing I could write decent essays.
The topics I chose were

  1. Philosophy of wantlessness is Utopian, while materialism is a chimera.
  2. History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

I would devote 15- 20 minutes for brainstorming the essay topics. Even while writing I would write with patience so that any new point or aspect that comes into my mind can be logically arranged in the essay and my essay doesn’t look hurried or haphazard.

I tried to ensure that all my paragraphs were completed within a single page and they did not continue on the next page. Further, I focused on making my essays multidimensional.

I would make notes throughout the year which I studied always and kept eliminating the unnecessary details. Further, I would read these notes and in the very end after giving 1 iteration of Mains tests I made short notes of the nites and all the topics in the syllabus, these were the nites which I would ultimately revise before the exam.

History Optional Strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Maps strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

I relied on Self Study History map material which is good but you still need to practise many new sites. So keep a tab on historical sites in news, mark them on a map.

Spectrum has released an Atlas of historical sites which is also good for dealing with unknown sites. However the atlas needs to be read selectively.

Ancient India strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Readings: Old and New NCERT
Upinder Singh ( Yes that bulky book has to be read definitely)
I also referred to my graduation notes which were very comprehensive since I would complete almost all the readings suggested by my professor. I will upload my notes here.

But they shall only be used for reference because if you do not make your own notes there will be a sense of unfamiliarity which will make it difficult to read them. If you’re unable to make notes at least write down my notes in your own handwriting.

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Medieval India strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Readings: Old and New NCERT
Satish Chandra Part 2
Vipul Singh Part 1

Modern India strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Readings : Old and New NCERT
Spectrum Modern India

Shekhar Bandhopadhyaya : From Plassey to Partition

India’s struggle for Independence and India After independence by Bipan Chandra ( only selective reading of the Post independence book. For the before independence portion I had already made notes of the book in my graduation year so referred to them again)

Modern India by Sumit Sarkar

World History strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper


I followed my graduation notes while filling up the gaps with John Green world history videos and internet.
I never read any specific book for the same.

Test series joined by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

I joined the Test Series by Self Study History even though the tests were good the overall experience was not very satisfactory. I found them a little unprofessional since they constantly kept telling me not give any test during the mains week, thus negating my strategy. Even when I gave one test and sent it to them, instead of being professional and doing their job by checking the test, they themselves decided to not check the paper. This was quite different from how professional test series work for eg. Vision IAS and Forum IAS. They let the students decide their strategy and don’t doubt them.

So you can join the test series there but be sure of what you want. I wrote tests even when they said don’t write them because I was confident of what I wanted to do.

Ethics, Essay and Optional Strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

After Mains I started preparing Ethics; Essay and optional first. My strategy was to strengthen these 3 as they can really improve your score. This was accompanied with regular Newspaper Reading ( I read The Hindu) and watching the show Perspective right from a few months even before prelims ( so I was watching the previous videos). Further I kept reading my self made notes of GS.

Mains strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

I started preparing thoroughly for Mains after the Prelims result. I divided my time into slots:
GS 1 in 12 days
GS 2 in 10 days
GS 3 in 10 days

I had already prepared GS 4 during the 20 days after the Prelims exam and it’s result.

After finishing every paper I wrote a test so by November end I had written 1 iteration of tests for all GS papers and essay.

Thereafter in the month of December I wrote 3 more iterations of tests for all GS papers so during this my entire syllabus was revised 3 more times in December. In the last 10 days I gave 1 more iteration of test for GS 3 and 4 since I really wanted to improve my score and be prepared to my best ability.
I wrote the last 2 tests during the week Mains was about to take place.

In total I had given 18 tests
4 full iterations of all GS papers and 1 extra for GS 3 and 4 since I thought I needed to improve more in them. Specifically the speed part in GS 4.

Test series will only be helpful if you write it in a time bound manner and stop writing the second 3 hours are over. Initially you might exceed the time limit but with time you’ll be able to do better. It will only prepare you for the final day so don’t relax and don’t be laid back in giving tests. Be sincere.

The more you sweat in practise the less you bleed in war.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Answer Writing Timetable
This is how clearly I had divided the time for writing every answer. I tried to follow it while writing test series as a result I was able to do the same in the final Mains exam.You can even see I have made calculations to estimate the overall time I would devote. This is the sort of planning you need to score good in Mains.
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Timetable
This was my timetable after Prelims. I tried to follow it as much as possible. There were days when I didn’t follow it, but overall I guess I managed to follow it around 75-80%.
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Revision Timetable
This is how I had divided the days for revision. Since I didn’t start immediately after Prelims I had lesser number of days to prepare for Mains and had to use them judiciously.
The units mentioned in the optional section are the units of syllabus.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes

I will share the notes for all the GS Papers with specific division into topics. However, a word of caution, if you have your own notes refer to them only. You can use references from my notes and include them in yours. But don’t doubt your notes or hard work because only that is going to give you the confidence in mains which is also equally important.

Further, if you’re expecting to write mains but have not made any notes till now, try to devise a way to reduce your work. Right now it might not be possible to make notes for all the subjects, so you might as well refer to my notes directly, but include current affairs references in them.

Notes making strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

How to make your own notes in the most effective way?

  1. Read the text once or twice before you even begin making notes.
  2. Make sure the source contains all the required information.
  3. If there is something missing find the other source material to cover it up before you begin writing notes.
  4. Prefer digital notes for current affairs since you need to update them.
  5. Begin writing notes in the format- Introduction; Body- Issues, Solutions, Government Measures, Way Forward ; Conclusion
  6. Revise the notes regularly.
  7. Short notes of these shall be made in your own handwriting after 3 or 4 revisions in A 4 size sheets.
  8. Since after so many revisions you would internalise a lot of information keep revising the short notes.
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I had made Notes which were to be revised monthly, then shortened them into weekly notes and by the time of exam I had almost 3-4 pages notes which were to be revised on the day of the exam and before it.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes

Maps Importance in UPSC – Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Maps are a very important part of GS 2 make them at every opportunity you get. I would make very detailed maps in IR questions as you can see from some of the examples attached. Make them self explanatory and entailed, however, you need to practise to make them as quickly as possible.

You can see that not only would I mention countries etc but I would also talk about the issues and challenges across the area. This gives an impression that you’ve sufficient knowledge about what you’re writing rather than just superficially answering.

International Strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

For IR I entirely relied on Newspaper and Vision Monthly Current Affairs for Note Making. (Literally no other source was followed)
Further, after prelims I once flipped through Mains 365 for IR in case I missed any of the topics and further added the relevant information into my notes.

Notes on Society and Developmental Issues by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

These can be used in GS1, 2 and some parts of GS 3. Examples from them can be mentioned in Ethics and Essay, so read accordingly.

You’ll notice that even though the syllabus is different but at the same time there are many overlapping themes which may make you confused as to where shall you categorise such topics. In order to ease the confusion you can always make notes which are to be used across papers as per demand of the question.

By doing this you won’t have to make multiple notes and at the same time you’ll have the confidence of covering the syllabus.

You’ll also notice that in the notes of this section I’ve referred a lot to NITI Aayog Strategy for India @75, the source material for this is the Summary of Niti Aayog Strategy available on Drishti IAS official website. It is a good source material and provides authenticity to your answers since you’re quoting government sources.

Some of these are direct topics from syllabus while some are mixed and incorporated. This is so because I remembered the syllabus and was well aware of which portion is supposed to be written under which topic of the syllabus. Here you’ve to be careful to not mix up the information and use it to your advantage.

If there is still confusion let me know in the comments.

I’ve still not yet shared the notes for static portion of Society and Indian culture which I made from Sociology NCERTs of class 11th and 12th. They’re relevant for Paper 1 specifically, I’ll share them tomorrow or day after.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Booklist

Sources and Book List

GS 1 booklist and strategy of Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

World History- John Green World History Videos and Notes of Optional from Graduation ( already shared on the channel)

Post Independence History- Bipin Chandra; Political Science NCERT( Made notes and incorporated them in my Optional Notes); Relevant Videos from Study IQ and Amit Sengupta Sir’s Channel

Modern India- Prepared with Optional but I had Read Spectrum and Shekar Bandhopadhyay multiple times

You can also watch Study IQ History Videos by Aadesh Singh Sir, he has a very interesting way of explaining the Topics which made it less boring for me.
Also for Modern India revision Amit Sengupta Sir had made 2 long videos, one of around 2 hours and the other one for 50 minutes or so. I have listened to them and watched them multiple times. As I have often shared that I would out videos on 2x and sleep with earphones, so a lot of information was internalised in this way as well. Sometimes when you feel exhausted this was a good way of revising without doing any extra mental labour.

Geography- All the NCERTs of 11th and 12th. Notes have already been shared. ( Made a hell lot of diagrams and maps).
Watched Rajatanil Solanki Mam’s videos on Mrunal’s Channel multiple number of times once in detail thereafter for revision at 2x.
Also followed Amit Sengupta Sir for geography as his way of teaching and explaining was something which suited my taste.

Indian Culture and Society
Made handwritten notes from NCERTs and many other miscellaneous sources which I can’t recall. I would note down every topic from the syllabus on an A 4 size sheet and would then make notes accordingly.
I would also use current affairs examples a lot from the nites I had made in Miscellaneous section. Before Mains I even followed the Mains 365 to ensure I’ve covered all the topics.

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GS 2 booklist of Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Topics related to Polity and Constitution- Factual Part from Lakshmikant ( Few Pages of Short Notes – still forgot the article number in the Legislative Council Question)

Governance- Notes from Multiple online sources, newspapers and what not. (I will share them soon.)

IR- Notes from Newspaper and Vision Monthly Current Affairs (I’ve already shared them)

GS 2 strategy of Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

GS 2 is all about examples and information you give to support whatever you claim in your answer. So quote a lot of examples and committees. Make maps in IR, and you’ll be good to go.

GS 3 booklist of Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Economics + Infrastructure
For static topics I used the Internet extensively
Read NCERTs for 11th and 12th
Ankit Agarwal Sir’s videos on Study IQ
Perspective TV show on Sansad TV

Agriculture – Vision IAS Monthly Current Affairs + Internet for static topics

Environment- Vision IAS monthly current affairs+ Down to Earth YouTube Videos+ Shankar IAS Book (for Prelims)

Science and Tech- Vision IAS Monthly Current Affairs + YouTube for conceptual clarity ( Sleepy classes etc)

Internal Security- Vision IAS Monthly Current Affairs ( I had made notes as per requirement of the syllabus)+ Internet for the topics not in current affairs.

Disaster Management- Notes which I’ve already shared
Make sure to make maps in internal security, Disaster Management and Environment questions.

When I say I followed the Vision Monthly current affairs magazine, you need to understand that I had made notes out of that and didn’t just read the magazine again and again. After making the notes, I would also add information from newspapers and videos etc if I found it to be relevant.

GS 4 booklist of Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Justice series by Michael Sandel Harvard University
YouTube Channel The Philosophy of life
The Lexicon Book for Ethics
Internet for search
Notes examples throughout the year to be quoted in ethics and essay in a separate notebook
Anudeep Durishetty Sir’s Notes

Even though I already had my notes for ethics, I once again. I compiled all of this information in my notes, which I made all over again when the Prelims was postponed so that I had well organised notes.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes and strategy

I focused so much on note making because I am somebody who is very organised and if my notes were mixed up it would also reflect in my answers. So, as a result when I had well organised notes and information that reflected in my answer sheet. I was well aware as to which information and topic was to be taken up from where. This is the level of clarity which your own notes give you.

Therefore I would suggest you to make your own notes, use my notes for as much reference as possible. But only when you make your own notes you’ll have confidence and mental clarity.

I had a lot of confidence in my notes, I didn’t feel the need to refer to anything else. I only referred to my own notes in the end.

Wishes to students by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Congratulations to everybody who has cleared Prelims, you’ve finally cleared the first stage. This shows your resilience and determination.

All the very best for Mains. Put your heart and soul into the preparation.

For those who couldn’t clear for XYZ reason, Don’t worry, It’s okay. Right now the world may seem to be falling apart but I can relate with you more as I couldn’t clear it for 4 times.

So don’t lose hope, if not this time you’ll clear next time. Just have faith in your hardwork and be persistent. Believe in the goodwill of yourself and your parents, this is just a test. Work harder, my Mother would always say that if you couldn’t clear the exam after so much hardwork it means there is still scope for improvement. Try working more hard, as that’s the only way to success in this exam.

Success can be delayed but not denied.

Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes
Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper Notes

1 year strategy for UPSC by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

Yearly plan
12 months
Started with subjects which were exclusively for Mains eg. Ethics so that over the period of one year I am done with Mains preparation before I appear for prelims.

Kept At least 2.5 – 3 months in the end exclusively for prelims.

20 Days Ethics
3 months Optional
1.5 months GS 1
1 month GS 2
1.5 months GS 3

Throughout the plan I had bigger days every fifteen days or after every subject schedule, so that if in case I am unable to complete my target I can use the buffer days for that. They were also essential to incorporate my exhaustion and breaks whenever I felt tired from regularly studying.

Time aarrangement by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

I would allocate Maximum time to subjects like
Polity
Economics
Geography
Environment
History

Other smaller topics like
Governance
Disaster Management
Security
Welfare schemes
Science and Tech
World history
Etc

I gave them lesser time as the syllabus is very specific and it doesn’t require one to prepare or study too much.

Current Affairs strategy by Tanushree Meena UPSC Topper

For current Affairs I would follow daily current affairs through YouTube and Insights IAS summing it up with Vision IAS monthly current Affairs magazine. I didn’t make notes of current affairs for prelims as it isn’t of much use you can use any material by institutes for eg I used PT 365 and that was more than enough to cover the major portions.

For prelims focus on strengthening your basics- conceptual clarity and analytical ability during those two hours is the most important part.