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(Cut-Off) UPSC Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) Exam - 2015

(Cut-Off) UPSC Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) Exam - 2015

Combined Defence Services Examination (I)-2015 - Publication of cut-off marks.

CDS (I) Exam. 2015

Academy Written Exam Final Exam
  Aggregate marks of last qualified candidate* Marks of last recommended candidate
IMA 102 225
INA 99 225
AFA 129 264
OTA (Men) 86 168
OTA (Women) 86 172

UPSC Topper Strategy for Public administration Optional by Ranjan Singh ji (Rank-62)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Public Administration Optional by Ranjan Singh ji (Rank-62)

Paper – I and Indian Administration.

Candidates are expected to give examples from Indian Administration while explaining the concepts in Paper – I.”

I will give you chapter –wise detail of study material which “I followed”. U need not follow this. Just follow your own study material but pls follow the basic instructions mentioned above.

1. Introduction: – Vajiram class notes of Gupta sir (best for this chapter), Paradigms of Public Administration by Nicholas Henry(only few pages), New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya . Restructuring Public Administration A New Look by Mohit Bhattacharya
2. Administrative Thought :- Prasad & Prasad, New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya .
3. Administrative Behaviour :- Prasad & Prasad, New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya . Organization Behaviour by Stephen robbins.
5. Accountability and control :- New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya, 2nd ARC report. Fadia & Fadia Paper-1
6. Administrative Law :- Fadia & Fadia Paper-1

UPSC Topper Strategy for Public Administration (Advanced- Unit wise) by Prince Dhawan

UPSC Topper Strategy for Public Administration (Advanced- Unit wise) by Prince Dhawan

Administration (Advanced- Unit wise)

Some standard books for Public Administration are-

There is no need to read all the books from cover to cover. Prepare topic wise in a comprehensive manner. Use examples, contemporary relevance, case studies etc. Read case studies from The Hindu, Frontline, Kurukshetra and Yojana. I must admit here that due to paucity of time, I personally could not refer to Kurukshetra but sometimes I did pick up selective issues and found them very useful.

For those topics that were covered in the class, I first used to read my class notes and tried to understand them. Then, I used to refer to other sources for more details and clarity. For topics that were not covered in the class, I began by reading that topic from at least 2 different books and understanding the basics. Sometimes, I also read the printed material to supplement my knowledge. Then I made my own notes for these topics.

Next, I tried to memorize all that I had studied so that I could recall the crucial points at the right time. I used to do this by reading my notes and underlined portions in the books again and again.

Finally, to gain confidence, I used to write answers to as many questions as I could.

  • Paper-I

1. Introduction:

This Chapter is very important. Read topics from class notes, Fadia and Fadia, and Mohit Bhattacharya. Also refer to IGNOU notes for this topic. The information from this topic can be used in answering questions of other units as well. This is a very scoring area.

2. Administrative Thought:

You must know the theories of various scholars very well. Try to go in as much detail as you can but do not go into unnecessary details. Writing some details (but not all details) gives a unique touch to your answers. Read from Prasad and Prasad. This is also a very scoring area.

3.  Administrative Behaviour:

For this chapter, read from Sharma and Sadana. It is a very good source of information. I also found the printed material of my coaching class helpful. You may want to make your own notes though this depends from person to person.

4.  Organisations:

This is a relatively small chapter which can be studied from any standard book or from the printed material of any coaching class.

5.   Accountability and Control:

Questions from this chapter are being asked lately as it is relevant in the current context. Apart from your class notes, you can go through Sharma and Sadana, printed material and Yojana and Kurukshetra articles. There is a lot of scope of innovation in this topic in the sense that you will often be able to correlate it to news items/editorials in the news papers and you will also find many case studies. If questions come from this area there is ample scope for you to give some unique points that may not be found in most of the answer scripts.

UPSC Topper Strategy for Electrical Engineering Optional by Prakash Rajpurohit (Rank-2)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Electrical Engineering Optional by Prakash Rajpurohit (Rank-2)

Electrical Engineering

For Electrical Engineering, I personally feel that Prakash Rajpurohit Sir’s (AIR-2 in CSE-2009) blog has all the required information that one needs to know. In fact that is the main reason why I am so late in writing a post on Electrical Engineering. I did not feel the need to provide any extra information other than what was mentioned on his blog.For the book list, please refer to:

Paper – I

  1. Circuit Theory: This topic requires continuous practice. One should solve as many numericals as you can from A. Chakrabarti.  Even though I couldn’t do it due to paucity of time but solving IES papers may help.
  2. Signals and systems: In this topic, one must remember the formulas by making a formula sheet. As Prakash Sir has mentioned, for DFT/FFT, refer to Oppenheim’s book on DSP.
  3. E.M. Theory: Read chapter 6(till 6.29), 7 and 8 from K.D. Prasad. Practice some numerical examples. Sometimes the book solves them in a long way, but you must do them in the shortest way possible. For Smith chart and impedance matching refer Jordan & Balmain. Make the list of formulas and practice all the derivations.
  4. Analog Electronics: Diode, Transistors and Amplifiers can be done from any book. Topics that are to be covered from JB Gupta are: Oscillators, Op Amp, Wave shaping circuits, Multivibrators, Waveform Generators and Power supplies. You will have to practice numerical from IES papers since JB Gupta doesn’t have many numerical. Also, in this chapter practice derivations well and make sure you do not do mistakes in symbols.
  5. Digital Electronics: I referred to R.P. Jain for this topic. It is a very good book that covers all the concepts and also provides sufficient numerical practice. Please stick to the syllabus while reading this book.
  6. Energy Conversion: Try to cover everything given in the syllabus from Ashfaq Hussain and make good command over all the numerical given in the book. It covers topic from IES point of view. Do all the questions asked in the IES exams thoroughly.
  7. Power Electronics and Electric Drives: Topics to be covered are Chapter 2(characteristics of diode, BJT, MOSFET, IGBT), chapter 4-Thyrister(complete), chapter 5 – Thyrister commutation techniques (complete), chapter 6 –Phase controlled rectifiers(Leave dual converters), chapter 7- Choppers(Leave Thyrister Chopper circuits and multiphase choppers) , chapter 8 –Inverters(Leave force-commutated thyrister inverters, current source and series inverters) and chapter 12-electric drives(complete). Cover all the derivations (like deriving expressions for particular type of rectifier or inverter) as well as working of circuits. Note that this book can be difficult to read at first due to extensive coverage of topics. But you must nevertheless go through it. At first, focus on the concepts. You may leave the numericals at the back of the Chapters since there are sufficient solved examples in the book. Do not just read the examples, solve them yourself.

UPSC Topper Strategy for Geography Optional by Mangesh Kumar (Rank-4)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Geography Optional by Mangesh Kumar (Rank-4)

Geography :

How to prepare for Geography

Geography is a good subject with the civil services point of view. During last few years it comes out to be one of the most favourite choices of Civil Services Aspirants.  The basic strategy for geography starts with study of NCERT books.

UPSC Topper Strategy for Essay Optional by Puneet Gulati (Rank-319)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Essay Optional by Puneet Gulati (Rank-319)

Essay :

Essay is often seen as a poor cousin of the other more important papers in the Mains Examination. While GS and each of the optionals are worth 600 marks each, Essay contributes a small 200 marks to the total. But just like the interview, these 200 marks often prove to be the Waterloo for many candidates. In CSE 2009, UPSC has been particularly strict in giving out these 200 marks. Not many candidates managed to score over a 100 marks and there have been a shockingly high number of double and even single digit scores in the Essay this time. While none of us can justify the extremely low scores given out by UPSC, I do think that there does exist a strategy for tackling the Essay paper, which, if adopted and implemented thoughtfully, can reap a decent 50-70% mark in the Essay. Such marks will ensure that a candidate does not fail to make it to the list just because of poor showing in the Essay.

The strategy that I propose for the essay is based on my own experience as well as what I learnt from my English teacher during my school days. In CSE 2009, I scored 140/200 in the Essay. I wrote on “Good Fences Make Good Neighbours”.

1. Preparation for the Essay 

Regular reading is the only stable and time-tested way to prepare for the Essay. There is no short-cut to improving one’s

language. One must read and learn to apply what one has read. Those attempting the paper in English, should read the Editorials of papers like the

Hindu, the ToI, Indian Express, Hindustan Times etc. One should also try remembering some quotations that one comes across while reading books etc. Maintain a notebook/word document for keeping track of such quotations. Let me recommend here “Inspite of the Gods” by Edward Luce as a valuable read on India before you go for your Mains. Practice Writing Essays for those who are not very sure of their abilities to tackle Essay paper well. Write at least 4-5 essays before sitting for the Mains in Oct-Nov this year.

2. Attempting the Essay Paper

a. Choosing the Essay – This is the most critical but curiously most under-rated part of the paper. Choosing the right topic to write on is half the battle won. Spend at least 5-10 minutes carefully studying the topics. Many candidates pick up a topic and start writing and then realize they don’t have enough to talk about. They end up wasting time as they try choosing another topic later. This year there were 5 topics:

i. Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death?

ii. Are we a ‘soft’ state?

iii. The focus of health care is increasingly getting skewed towards the ‘haves’ of our society

iv. Good fences make good neighbours

v. Globalism vs Nationalism

The candidate must study each topic and decide which of these topics gives him the maximum number of ideas. Mind-mapping or jotting points may help. Take up each topic and ask yourself, “What can I say about this?” For some topics you’ll not be able to proceed beyond two lines. I felt this when I looked at “Handicrafts” and “Healthcare” questions. Both these essays are asking us questions – Do you agree with the statement? (explicitly in the case of ‘handicrafts’ and implicitly in the case of ‘healthcare’. In fact, all other questions are doing this, except “Globalism vs Nationalism”). Candidates must answer the question no matter which of these two topics they choose. 

Writing a general answer without taking a stand when the question is asking you for a stand will not fetch you high marks because then you would not be answering the question. Hence, please, please, please answer the question. In my case, I realized I would not be able to handle either of these topics even if I agreed with the statements because of very limited knowledge about the arguments ‘for’ or ‘against’ the topic. Having rejected these two topics, I examined the other three. I thought about the question on “Soft” State. It was an inviting topic but I realized that I would not be able to provide any interesting insights into the issue. Moreover, I was worried I may inadvertently overlook some important arguments. Hence, I decided to examine the other two questions – Good fences and Globalism vs Nationalism. Topic 5 offered a discussion based essay where there was nothing obvious to agree or disagree about except maybe that there is necessarily a clash of ideologies (this could be questioned), while topic 4 required me to take a stand. I spent some time thinking about the arguments I could offer in both essays and realized that ‘Good Fences’ offered me greater creative license. To me, this was important as I was free to offer a much wider perspective on it. In addition, I could recall the poem – Mending Wall (by Robert Frost….I had studied it in class X) from which the line “Good Fences Make Good Neighbours” was taken. Moreover, I felt that this essay would be attempted by fewer candidates because of the nature of the question. (Please note that this criteria helps only those who are fairly sure of their ability to handle the topic. If you are not sure of your language or knowledge about the topic, please choose topics entirely on the basis of what may be easier to handle)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Psychology Optional by Ms. Shena Aggarwal (Rank-1)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Psychology Optional by Ms. Shena Aggarwal (Rank-1)


Psychology is widely preferred as an optional subject for civil services examination. The usual reasons for the same include- it is an easy subject, it is a safe subject, it is considered a scoring subject etc. I would advice someone to chose this subject not for these secondary reasons, but if you develop an interest in the subject and wish to know about it more. This is the most important thing because only if you enjoy studying it, then you can give your best efforts.

The subject has 2 papers- paper 1 deals with the theoretical aspects and basic principles of psychology, while paper 2 talks about applied psychology and its use in various fields. After knowing this, the first step one should take is open the syllabus and go through it thoroughly. UPSC tends to limit itself to the syllabus and so should us while preparing for the exam. Also, knowledge of the syllabus gives us an idea of what is expected of us, and how much we have to cover.


Next come the most asked about questions- What books to study, whether to join coaching or not, which coaching? My approach towards this has always been to study one book multiple times, rather than multiple books one time. The usual books followed are-

  • NCERT Psychology
  • Morgan and King- paper 1
  • Baron- paper 1
  • Ciccarelli- paper 1
  • Applied psychology by Smarak Swain- for paper 2

There is no need to study all of these books. I would suggest all to read the NCERT and any one of the other books for paper 1. Try to read NCERT books cover to cover, these would help to develop an understanding of all the basic concepts and would cover most of the topics in the syllabus. After that, one can also do certain topics from one of the other books- usually Baron or Ciccarelli. The book on Applied Psychology is a concise text by Smarak Swain, especially for the purpose of paper 2 . It basically covers all the topics.

UPSC Topper Strategy for Improving Essay Writing

UPSC Topper Strategy for Improving Essay Writing

Improving Essay Writing :

Lesson #1: An essay should be for a general person and not a subject expert
Last year I wrote on the PPP topic which was from my subject area (Economics). So while writing the essay, I put in many higher economics concepts like lemon’s problem, information asymmetry, agent – principle problem. I thought this would give my essay a killer punch. But this didn’t and couldn’t have worked as the persons checking the essay are not economists – they may have other background. So I should have written an essay without the use of any technical concepts and phrases, in simple simple language only. This is what I did this time.

Lesson #2: Points should be covered in sufficient depth
While practicing last year, I used to write in detail about whatever points I was writing. It used to take around 1900 – 2000 words. I used to send my mock essays to my friends for feedback, and a friend wrongly advised me (and I believed him) that I should cut down the length to around 1200 words. I did that in the exam but the result was that I couldn’t cover any of my points in the needed detail. If you look at my past year’s essay, you would find I began a point, wrote one sentence about it and then immediately concluded it. Now I am not saying that 1200 words essays are not good, but just that one should write as much as the proper coverage of points in the essay demands. It may be 1200 or 2000 or 2500, but coverage should be proper. This year I worked on it and covered my points in somewhat greater detail.

Lesson #3: Wide range of points should be covered
Last year, I later realized, I had covered only a narrow range of points and that too from a limited economist’s perspective. I had neglected the social, political, cultural aspects of the problem and as such my essay was not comprehensive. So this year I worked on it and tried to cover S&T issues from as wide angle as possible and as many relevant points as I could think.

UPSC Topper Strategy for Sociology Optional by Mr. Rajanvir Singh Kapur (Rank-92)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Sociology Optional by Mr. Rajanvir Singh Kapur (Rank-92)



(This contains independent topics which are not much interconnected with other areas and can be studied separately as a slot.)


1. Sociology – The Discipline:

(a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology.

(b) Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences.

(c) Sociology and common sense.

2. Sociology as Science:

(a) Science, scientific method and critique.

(b) Major theoretical strands of research methodology.

(c) Positivism and its critique.

(d) Fact value and objectivity.

(e) Non- positivist methodologies.

3. Research Methods and Analysis:

(a) Qualitative and quantitative methods.

(b) Techniques of data collection.

(c) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.


A. Introducing Indian Society:

(i) Perspectives on the study of Indian society:

(a) Indology (GS. Ghurye).

(b) Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).

(c) Marxist sociology ( A R Desai).

UPSC Topper Strategy for History Optional by Surabhi Malik (Rank-51)

UPSC Topper Strategy for History Optional by Surabhi Malik (Rank-51)

History Optional

This is a subject where strategising becomes paramount; since the expanse of the syllabus itself appears insurmountable. Since you are preparing for exam purposes here and your primary objective is not, presumably, the ‘love of learning’ , it becomes important to begin, as I like to put it, backwards.

UPSC Topper Strategy for Economics Optional by Gaurav Agarwal (Rank-1)

UPSC Topper Strategy for Economics Optional by Gaurav Agarwal (Rank-1)

Economics :

So How to Prepare Economics Optional?

Stages of Preparation

There are multiple stages of preparation in a subject like Economics.

– Stage 1: In this stage, we just focus on understanding what we are reading. While reading, we must understand the concept fully. We will forget the thing 2 days after we have read it, don’t worry. We will not even understand half the questions which have been asked in previous years, don’t worry. We don’t even have a clue of how to write answers in the exam, don’t worry. Just ensure you understand what you are reading and finish the syllabus.

– Stage 2: This begins after the syllabus has been finished once. In the second time, we again focus on understanding what we are reading. This time we would find, it takes less time to understand all the stuff and most of it seems familiar once we read. Our retention would increase at this stage. Read, re-read, revise the syllabus 2-3 times, ensure that we can recall without any aid what was said in a given topic / theorem and can reproduce it on paper. At the end of this stage, we would still not be able to even understand half the questions in the paper.

– Stage 3: Many questions in the eco question paper are not direct i.e. they ll not ask write abt XX theorem. These questions are indirect and we won’t even know which theorem / model to apply! The aim of this stage is to identify which model to apply. This can only come if we sit down with previous years’ question papers and think and think and discuss with others on what model to apply for a particular question. by now we have internalised all the stuff, we can not only reproduce the entire model / theorem on paper but also understand when and where to apply them. We will be able to answer most (90-95%) of the questions in previous years’ question papers now.

(Download) NCERT Book For Class XI : Biology

Biology : Class 11th



Chapter 1 : The Living World
Chapter 2 : Biological Classification
Chapter 3 : Plant Kingdom
Chapter 4 : Animal Kingdom


Chapter 5 : Morphology of Flowering Plants
Chapter 6 : Anatomy of Flowering Plants
Chapter 7 : Structural Organisation in Animals


Chapter 8 : Cell : The Unit of Life
Chapter 9 : Biomolecules
Chapter 10 : Cell Cycle and Cell Division


Chapter 11 : Transport in Plants
Chapter 12 : Mineral Nutrition
Chapter 13 : Photosynthesis in Higher Plants
Chapter 14 : Respiration in Plants
Chapter 15 : Plant Growth and Development


Chapter 16 : Digestion and Absorption
Chapter 17 : Breathing and Exchange of Gases
Chapter 18 : Body Fluids and Circulation
Chapter 19 : Excretory Products and their Elimination
Chapter 20 : Locomotion and Movement
Chapter 21 : Neural Control and Coordination
Chapter 22 : Chemical Coordination and Integration

(Download) NCERT Book For Class IX : Social Science: India and the Contemporary World (Part - I)

Social Science: India and the Contemporary World (Part - I) - Class 9th

Table of Contents

Section 1: Events and Processes
i. The French Revolution
ii. Socialism in Europe and the Russia
iii. Nazism and the Rise of Hitler

Section II: livelihoods, Economics and Societies
iv. Forest society and Colonialism
v. Pastoralists in the Modern World
vi. Peasant and Farmers

Section III: Everyday Life, Culture and Politics
vii. History and Sports: The Story of Cricket
viii. Clothing: A Social History

(Download) NCERT Book For Class XI : Indian Constitution at Work Political Science

Indian Constitution at Work Political Science : Class 11th


Table of Contents


(Download) NCERT Book For Class XI : INDIA - Physical Environment Geography

INDIA - Physical Environment Geography : Class 11th


Table of Contents

    1. India — Location
    2. Structure and Physiography
    3. Drainage System
    4. Climate
    5. Natural Vegetation
    6. Soils
    7. Natural Hazards and Disasters


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