Anudeep is a resident of Metpally town in Telangana. His father is an Assistant Divisional Engineer at Telangana Northern Power Distribution company. Anudeep completed his schooling in Telangana itself. He completed B. Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation from BITS, Pilani in Rajasthan.
WHY CIVIL SERVICES
Anudeep had a long and diverse work experience but he was not satisfied with the work he was doing and the desire to do something bigger and meaningful inspired him to become a Civil Servant.
NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS
Anudeep got All India Rank 01 in UPSC CSE 2017 and this was his 5th attempt. Before this he had appeared for UPSC CSE four times. In his first attempt he was able to clear prelims and mains but could not do well to pass the personality test. In his 2nd attempt he was selected for Indian Revenue Service. But he wanted to do something bigger and better. However,in his next two attempts also, he was not able to get the desired result.
STUDY PLAN AND SCHEDULE
As Anudeep says since he had a regular job, he could not get much time to study during the weekdays. So,he used to make the most of his weekends and study hard.
PRELIMS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST
Along with the books mentioned below, get a printout of the syllabus and read it carefully.
And when you start, he recommends that you begin with NCERT books. Read and revise NCERT books to gain absolute conceptual clarity.
In the book list, wherever he had mentioned selective reading, it means there’s no need to read the book cover to cover. Go through the past five yearsquestion papers to understand the pattern and kind of questions UPSC usually asks.
For the same topic, do not refer to more than one material. For example, take India’s freedom struggle (1857-1947). If you read that portion of Modern history from the Spectrum, there’s no need to do the same again from Bipan Chandra’s book. Read the latter to cover those parts not covered in Spectrum.
Use internet extensively. For examples, YouTube’s PMFIAS channel is an excellent resource for understanding complex Geography topics. In Science & Tech, if you come across a term, say, Blockchain Technology, go to Youtube and see explainer videos.
If you are taking coaching, by all means read their notes. But must note that you cannot just read those coaching notes and neglect these standard books. For example, take Polity topic. A coaching institute’s notes will never cover the complete subject as Laxmikanth does.
For all subjects, you have to superimpose current affairs over it. To illustrate, in Polity topic, apart from reading the static theory part, you need to keep an eye on current happenings also. You need to do this for all subjects.
Ancient and Medieval History
Old NCERT by RS Sharma(Ancient) ,Old NCERT by Satish Chandra (Selective Reading) (Medieval)
A Brief history of Modern India- Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir,India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra ,NCERT by Bipan Chandra
Art and Culture
Fine Arts Book – Class XI NCERT,Centre for Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT) material ,Heritage Crafts: Living Craft Traditions of India -NCERT
Fundamentals of Physical Geography XI NCERT,India: Physical Environment XI NCERT,Fundamentals of Human Geography XII NCERT,India: People and Economy XII NCERTCertificate Physical and Human Geography: GC LeongPMFIAS ,Google and YouTube
Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh,Mrunal.org articles,Macro Economics – NCERT Class XII,Indian Economic Development – NCERT Class XI,Economic Survey (Selective reading),The Hindu,Internet for understanding concepts (Arthapedia, Google, Youtube)
General Science books – NCERT Class IX and X ,The Hindu (Latest scientific terms, discoveries and inventions frequently mentioned in news),Google and YouTube
Government schemes & others
Govt schemes compilation by the website Civils Daily
The Hindu,Civils Daily,ForumIAS
MAINS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST
As you start reading the books, he has mentioned here for GS mains, please keep the following points in mind:
Along with the books mentioned below, get a printout of the syllabus and read it carefully. Your final aim must be that you should have enough content to write a 250-word answer for each topic mentioned in the syllabus.
Go through the past five years’ question papers to understand the breadth and depth of questions UPSC usually asks.
Use the internet extensively, especially for topics like Science and Tech. Your focus must be on gaining knowledge, be it through books or through the internet.
For all subjects, you have to superimpose current affairs over it, especially for GS-2 and GS-3. For both these papers GS-2 and GS-3, current affairs form the nucleus. You will inevitably do a lot of reading on the internet, so use Evernote to organise and highlight content.
Give adequate time for revision. Without revision, you will not be able to recollect whatever you may have read. So,you need to dedicate enough time to it, whether you are giving a mock test or the actual exam.
Many aspirants commit one fundamental mistake: they read and revise, over and over, but never practise. Only by practice you can perfect it.
Mains exam demands not only our memory and intelligence but also endurance. If you lack prior writing practice, writing relentlessly for 6 hours a day and do this for 5 days may cause both mental and physical fatigue to you. The only way to overcome this problem is to practice enough before the final exam.
You must develop the skill to speed read a committee or an organisation’s report and highlight important lines as you read along. In the second reading, only this highlighted portion is what you need to revise.
In GS papers, map of India is your most effective tool for illustration. For example, he drew India maps and labelled relevant parts for questions on river linkage (GS-3), North-East insurgency (GS-3), Inland navigation (GS-1), India’s 18th-century fragmented polity (GS-1) etc. Practise it enough number of times so that you are able to draw and label it under 60 seconds.
You will never feel satisfied with your Mains preparation and there is always a nagging tendency among aspirants to just keep reading and procrastinate writing answers or skip an upcoming test. You must overcome this reluctance through conscious effort. You can postpone your test by a day or two, but don’t skip it altogether.
Art and Culture-
An Introduction to Indian Art – Class XI NCERT Centre for Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT) material Heritage Crafts: Living Craft Traditions of India -NCERT
A Brief History of Modern India- Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra (Read selectively)
India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra
World History: Patterns of Interaction by McDougal Littell. For UPSC, read only from Chapter 22 to Chapter 36
NCERT Sociology Std XI and XII, ARC 2
Fundamentals of Physical Geography XI NCERT India: Physical Environment XI NCERT Fundamentals of Human Geography XII NCERT India: People and Economy XII NCERTicate Physical and Human Geography: GC Leong PMFIAS, YouTube, Google
Polity, Constitution (static)
Static Portion:Laxmikanth ARC - 2 Current Affairs:The Hindu The Big Picture on RSTV CivilsDaily current affairs materialInsights/ForumIAS for topics not covered well by CivilsDailyPRS India for latest legislation All India Radio
Budget Economic Survey (gist)NitiAayog 3-year Action Plan report
Environment and Ecology
Shankar IAS Book
Fundamental reading: CBSE book
Vajiram Notes and current affairs
2nd ARC reports: Ethics in Governance, Promoting E-gov, RTI, Citizen-centric Administration, Personnel Administration. Read all ARC reports completely, memorise only recommendations.
Google, Vajiram printed material
Previous Year Question Paper
ANSWER WRITING APPROACH-
To write a comprehensive answer Anudeep suggests aspirants to focus on a few key areas while writing answer:
You can start your answer either by introducing or defining the topic asked or you can start with data related to that topic.
Present both the positive and negative side of the subject in question
Use subheadings to make your point clear and important
If you have not given data in the introduction, suffice your arguments with some data in the body
Mention reports released by national and international organization to add more validity to your points. For example, you can mention SC judgements, Economic survey report, ARC report, WTO reports, UNO reports etc.
Add diagrams to your answer to make it look different and easy to understand.
Relate your answer to some ongoing current events wherever possible
Have multidimensional approach while writing an answer.
Essay distinguishes itself from GS in the sense that in GS marks will be awarded purely for content. But in essay, examiners will pay special attention to not just your content, but also to the language, coherence between topics and the way you organise your essay.So you must take adequate care to arrange your views and ideas properly and not commit any fundamental spelling or grammatical mistakes.
To write a comprehensive essay-
You will get most of the fodder points for writing from your GS papers only. Besides this you can read non-fictional books, referring to different magazines like Yojana/EPW/Economic Survey and collecting stories, anecdotes and quotes will help you.
You must keep your language simple and quick to understand. Keeping your sentences small helps you maintaining the fluidity in your writing and saves it from becoming complicated.
There is no need to memorise complex words for writing a good essay. But an occasional use of powerful words, or adding a good phrase definitely gives your write-up an edge.
You can be a little innovative in your subheadings. Instead of using bland subheadings such as ‘Benefits of Nuclear Energy’ we can use headings like ‘Nuclear Energy: Promise or Peril?’
OPTIONAL PAPERS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST-
As Anudeep suggests, if you are a complete beginner in Anthropology, your focus must be on gaining conceptual clarity and not on quickly completing the syllabus. Always remember that on the final day, it’s your clear understanding of the subject that lets you write good answers and not how much you have read.
For absolute beginners, Ember and Ember is a great book to start with. When he began preparing for Anthro in Jan 2017, he started with these books. Though only selective reading is recommended.
Attempt as many Physical Anthropology questions as possible. They are largely static with immense scope for diagrams which makes the answers more scoring. You shouldn’t go wrong on those.
Answer like a specialist. Definitions, introductions, criticisms must be scholarly. That is, you must also mention Anthropologists’ name, their work (year of publication too, if you remember), and its criticism by other thinkers.
Physical Anthropology – P Nath
Anthropology Simplified – VivekBhasme (very good source for diagrams and answer structuring)
Anthropology – Ember and Ember
Indian Anthropology -Nadeem Hasnain
Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain
Anthropology Simplified- Vivek Bhasme
The Tribal Culture of India – LP Vidyarthi
January 2014 edition of Yojana- Tribal and Marginalized Communities
Sharing his interview experience Anudeep says his interview began at around 3:00 PM and went on for 35 minutes. He was asked questions on a diverse set of topics: Aryan migration, hate crimes, meditation, Artificial Intelligence, Swachh Bharat and why he wanted to get into the IAS. He had anticipated and prepared for some of those questions in prior, so he could answer them well. After the interview, he was glad with his performance.
Anudeep had attended a few mock interviews also to prepare himself better for the Personality Test. Attending mock interviews are important for aspirants to understand the pattern of interview, to get familiar with the interview environment and for getting over the fear of facing the interview panel.
Anudeep’s journey of becoming an IAS officer was long. He gave his first attempt in the year 2012 and last attempt in 2017. The journey was full of ups and downs. He got selected as IRS once and failed also in many attempts. He also decided to quit after his 4th attempt. But one thing that played the crucial role in this entire journey and finally got him AIR 01 was that after every failure he analysed his mistakes and learned from it.
As Anudeep says, at the end of his UPSC journey, he stands with a firm newfound belief that when you own your failures, you become a better person. And when you work hard to overcome your problems, you win. And you win big.
ADVICE FOR FUTURE ASPIRANTS-
Based on his personal experience, as he had decided to quit this exam but then he took up the battle again and was able to secure rank 1, Anudeep suggests aspirants that its better to try and fail than never trying.