Physics, Ethics and Interview – by IAS Manish Bansal (AIR 53, cse 2013)

IAS Manish Bansal (AIR 53, cse 2013) shares his approach on Physics optional, ethics paper and Interview here... He got 258 marks in Physics, clearly entitling him for the title of Feynman of the batch :-P. In addition, he scored an outstanding 100 marks in the ethics paper and 198 in the interview. So presenting …

Political Science Optional Preparation – by IAS Himanshu Aggarwal (AIR 28, cse 2013)

Friends, below is the post on political science preparation by Himanshu Aggarwal (AIR 28, cse 2013) - the most charming person of our batch :-) He has medical background, yet scored very well. He can be reached on . I am merely hosting his post, the entire content is his. ***********************************************

UPSC / IAS Preparation: Political Science – by Subject Topper Rajat Sen (255 marks, cse 2013)

This post is written by Rajat Sen (AIR 319, cse 2013, Pol Sc. marks 255, subject topper). I am merely hosting it. His fb profile is and email id is . He had no formal background in the subject and is an engineer, yet look where his love for the subject took him! …

UPSC / IAS Prep: Philosophy Optional – Dinesh Bishnoi (212 marks optional)

This post on Philosophy optional preparation has been written by Dinesh Bishnoi (212 marks in Philosophy in cse 2013). I am merely hosting this post. He may be reached on In this post, not only does he tell us about the subject and topicwise books and strategy, but also dwells a great length on …

UPSC / IAS Prep: Management Optional – Nagendra Singh (AIR 120, CSE 2013)

Nagendra Singh (AIR 120, CSE 2013) is an alumnus of IIM Shillong and scored 230 marks in Management Optional. Very few people take this subject as it is considered to be 'unmanageable'. Nagendra Singh tells his experiences here. For any queries, please contact him on his fb profile: Note: I am merely hosting this …

PubAd Hidden Topics: Lohit Matani (AIR 182, CSE 2013)

Friends, people often complaint of butchering of pubad or pubad junta being punished by upsc. A big reason thereof is the recent trend of asking unconventional or 'out of syllabus' questions or questions which hit our face directly. Lohit Matani (AIR 182, CSE 2013) has written this wonderful article where he decodes such questions and …

UPSC / IAS Preparation: Geography Optional by IAS Chanchal Rana (AIR 7, CSE 2013)

This post has been entirely written by IAS Chanchal Rana (AIR 7, CSE 2013). I am merely hosting it. Please direct your queries to him on his fb a/c or ***************************************************************** Disclaimer: All that the esteemed reader is to find below are based solely on my experiences with the subject for 3 consecutive …

UPSC / IAS Prep: Psychology Optional Strategy by IAS Ravi Ranjan (AIR 92 CSE 2013)

Hi, this article on psychology optional preparation has been written by Mr. Ravi Ranjan (AIR 92, CSE 2013). His facebook page is . I am merely hosting this on my blog. Pleas direct all queries to him. Thanks, Gaurav. ************************************************************************************* Hello everybody! In this note i am going to share the strategy i followed …

History Optional Strategy

Hi, This post is divided into 3 parts..

Part 1
The main purpose of this post is to reblog the history preparation post by Gaurav Gupta (part 3). However, I too had history optional last year (cse 2012) and got 235 marks in it. Gaurav Gupta has given his book list. Additional books referred by me are here:

1. From Plassey to Partition by Shekhar Bandopadhyay (best book, most scholarly work I read)
2. “Bharat Ka Itihaas” (hindi) by Aashirwadi Lal Srivastava
3. “Madhyakaleen Bharat” Part 1 and Part 2 by Harish Chandra Verma
4. Delhi University Compilation for Ancient India, Medieval India and Modern India.
5. Romilla Thapar on Ancient India
6. Europe Since Napoleon by David Thomson
7. For map, I got a book “Indian Historical Places” by Dr. H.C. Jain and also a blackboard and chalk and duster. My father would then take a quiz where he would take the name of the place and I would mark on the board and tell stuff about it. Of course this is no longer the pattern now.
8. A. L. Basham.
9. Satish Chandras for medieval.

Still I found my preparation lacking. There were some questions which were asked out of the blue. Basically in History, historians often debate among themselves on various topics. A question may be asked out of that debate and to get good marks, we have to read those debates and write material discussed there. Although I haven’t read it, I am told the book by BL Grover on modern India which has many such debates.

My notes for history optional can be downloaded from my other post..

Part 2

D. Amarkesh (AIR 217, cse 2012) is one of the strongest history students I know. His notes are available at

Amarkesh Notes

Amarkesh Notes Alternative Site

I will request him to add more.

Part 3

3. I am reblogging here the History optional preparation post by Gaurav Gupta who got 239 marks in it (highest so far heard). Pls direct all queries to him at or his blog


Abhipraay: The Blog

History as optional –

First of all one should take optional based on his interest as this subject is you would be reading for next 1-2 years or more so you must have zeal to go deeper, read new books by new writers to learn and understand various perspectives. And that is why I took History as optional despite being told by some people that it is not ‘scoring’, or it has ‘large syllabus’. However once I decided, I made sure that I should not get such thoughts. In UPSC all subjects are scoring provided you are answering what is asked.

Other benefits of History as optional (once you have decided that you have interest in it) –

  • I take history as very scientific, analytical and objective subject as you have to frame your answer based on historical evidences/facts and records.
  • I liked to read about how was our past…

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