CSE 2014, AIR 222

Here I try to present my Tale of three interviews and with it the things that worked well for me.

June 2012 marked the end of my stint with IT. Having reached hostel in Delhi, where I stayed and studied for civil services 2013, the first realization was that I wasn’t alone in the race and I wasn’t any different. Out of first ten other aspirants I met eight were from IITs and other grand institutions. I mention this as I graduated from Amity University better known for things other than academic. This very fact humbled me and perhaps worked in my favor in long run as it “forced” me not only to work hard but work out of my skin.

The start wasn’t good as I happened to be short of information regarding various aspects about this exam like what subjects to choose as my optional subjects. Taking advice of my seniors I blindly went for two of the most accepted combinations then, Geography and Public administration. I have only UPSC to thank that it reduced optional to one. This decreased my misery to some extent and I selected Geography.

Clearing prelims in first attempt was dream come true for me as even that appeared to be a big task. Then started the real “fun” that lasted for 180 odd days. It was MAINS preparation. Looking at the syllabus I decided that I will make my own study material and not rely on any institute. This was one instinctive decision that helped me a lot over the course of my preparation. As I decided this, many friends and seniors warned against the same. Advices rushed in from all corners and headed in one direction. But I stuck to my decision and had faith in myself. I always told myself that though it was a huge risk, it was worth taking.

In my view the trickiest thing regarding MAINS exam is to understand what the examiner wants from you and once you catch the nerve of UPSC you can clear this exam every time you appear for it. Also you need to focus at each and every thing mentioned in syllabus. Once I was having a casual chat with one of my senior and he advised me to learn the syllabus. This was perhaps the most important thing I did. This also tells that UPSC aspirant should keep his senses open 24*7. You never know which thing might help you later.

My first Mains went quite good and I was confident about clearing it. And so I did but as I came to know later, I had performed very poorly in my optional subject geography scoring 156 out of 500. At the same time I did very well in GS securing 340 marks. This acted as a big boost for my second attempt. My strategy and all the risk I took had paid off, though only partially.

Where I lagged behind from others was the personality test round. My interview went quite well. The board was cordial as they always are. The members had smile on their faces. Later when the marks were disclosed I realized that smile meant something else. I managed a paltry 118 out of 275 while the average marks awarded were 170. This was bound to go against me and I failed to secure any rank.

A new week marked another beginning when I started studying for my second prelims exam. Time was less and hence I did the necessary things and banked on CSAT basically. After the prelims when I checked online answer keys I was in shock to see that I was managing a score that according to many was a borderline score. Next two months till the results were again a tough period. It was very important to maintain focus and study for mains.

I focused on my weaknesses this time around and studied geography the way I studied GS in my first attempt i.e. from internet. Learning from your past mistakes is very important. So is learning from your strengths and building on the already strong foundation. Hence I balanced out GS and geography. Frankly, even before appearing for mains I knew I will clear it and I did.

Now the challenge was to forget the 118 horror. I got 14 odd days to prepare for my second interview and I was very happy with the fact that I do not need to study for more time unnecessarily. Having appeared once, I was confident about doing well in my second personality test. Also there was a feeling that I had already seen the worse last year itself and it could not go below 118 “benchmark”.

The interview went well. Soon results were out and I secured AIR222. I was obviously happy and felt that I must have done well in GS and got the personality test monkey off the back. But a friend of mine somehow came to the conclusion that I must have scored less in interview again. I could not digest the fact as securing 222nd rank prima facie means an all-round score. As it happened out to be I scored second lowest marks (110) in interview amongst selected candidates. What it meant was that I scored heavily in mains (822).

The joy of clearing civil services exam was over powered by the disgust of not getting through the final hurdle yet again. Personality test monkey is yet to get off my back. Having faced the same fate twice, I very well realize that problem is not in the process and I need to work on one last hurdle.

I have always found inspiration from different sources. Here is one of them. “There was a point to prove not to others but to myself”- MSD after winning 2011 WC.  As it stands today with my third prelims already done, I am starting my journey for my third interview. And I am very confident that the “Tale of the third interview” will be different and better from my earlier interviews.

CRUX of the matter:

  • Select optional subject carefully. Go for the subject which you can study without burden.
  • Do not rely on institutes. Make your own way. Back yourself.
  • It is very important to decode thinking of examiner. For example in Ethics, why this question is asked? What should be written to influence him/her the most.
  • Work on your weaknesses before it’s too late.
  • If possible, study from internet. It really worked well for me.
  • There is no fixed format for optional answer writing. Innovate!!!
  • Work on inter-linkages. You cannot study everything under the sun.
  • The most important thing…when we interact, do tell me what wrong I am doing. I need your help 🙂



Public Administration Strategy by Tushar Singla (AIR-86)

Hi friends,

I am sharing few thoughts about how to prepare for Public Administration (PA) optional in CSE. But before that, I want to share my marks in CSE-2014:

Total 956 – written 755 + interview 201

Essay 113

Gs 378 (98,95,81,104)

PA – 263 (160+103)

I will dwell upon PA strategy in detail after giving little bit of factual information about my performance in PA. CSE-2014 was my second attempt. In CSE-2013, I got 172 in Pub Ad (94 + 78). And this improvement in PA was not accidental or by luck, but I was confident that I will get around 100 marks more in PA this year. Yes, PA has become quite dicey in recent years due to its unpredictability and rising difficulty levels, but still there is method to madness.

Also, before starting out, I want to dwell upon whether one should take Public Administration as an optional or not as it may be helpful for many of the aspirants who may be in dilemma about it. While earlier PA was natural choice for aspirants, but in recent years it has become quite a tricky proposition. So, I am narrating both positive and negative aspects of PA as an optional, although balance is slowly tilting in favour of negatives in recent years.


  1. No other optional is as similar to work profile of IAS as PA. So, knowledge of PA immensely helps in one’s understanding about true nature of the job.
  2. New GS syllabus has taken out bits and pieces from many optional subjects, but I still believe PA syllabus has disproportionate overlapping with GS syllabus. Not only GS-2, where 60-70% syllabus is quite similar, but even some portion of GS3 (security, law & order), and substantial portion of GS4 can be prepared alongwith preparation of PA.
  3. Easy availability of material (although it may be biggest headache in PA’s preparation) and coaching & test series


  1. Uncertainty: Biggest negative of PA has become the uncertainty and inherent unpredictability in terms of types of questions asked, answer writing skills and number of marks given in exam.
  2. Scholar approach: Gone are the day when mere rote learning would fetch you good marks in PA. Now, UPSC demands conceptual understanding in PA in a far more refined manner and superficiality will not work anymore.
  3. Maximum marks still not comparable to other optionals: While many optionals have highest marks in range of 325-350, and even more may be, 282 (149+133) is highest marks this year (bravo Harshal), and mine may be second highest as far as I know.

Now, purpose of my write up here is to clear the mist and so much cluttering spread around PA’s preparation and to make you stay away from puerile efforts of going for everything and achieving nothing. Before any prescription, I am spelling out my sources and strategy, if there was any, for PA:

Firstly, I took coaching from Vajiram & Ravi for PA while I was doing job in Noida. The choice for coaching institute was purely for time scheduling reason, and not based on quality of coaching. And I must say, coaching of PA at Vajiram was quite average although I prepared class notes as all others did and it provided me a backup source for quick revision at any time. So, where ever you are taking coaching for PA, stick to it, prepare your class notes and rely on them for quick revision.

Secondly, there are many books in market for PA preparation. In the initial stages of my preparation, I read many books in bits and pieces, be it fadia and fadia, mohit bhattacharya, rajni arora, sharma sidana, maheshwari, class and printed notes from vajiram etc., but it made my preparation chaotic and biggest disadvantage was it deprived me of revision from any one source. So, in my second attempt alongwith my class notes, I made Aribam’s Paper1 and Paper2 as main source and revised both of them 3-4 times between prelims and mains. The most important key is the revision and book like Aribam is the ideal source due to its succinct coverage of syllabus in a comprehensive manner.

Thirdly, for Paper1, along with Aribam, Prasad and Prasad is must read and you should cover every scholar in it even though it may not come under Chapter2. For paper2, in addition to Aribam, Rajni Arora’s Indian Administration is sine qua non. It will provide you comprehensive details about most of the topics in Paper2 and read it as a story book written with lyrical flow rather than bothering about what I will remember or not. It will help you develop an understanding of issues not only from PA’s perspective, but also from overall administrative angle.

Fourthly, many people are asking about which test series to follow for PA. I have attended only Lukmaan Ias test series (karol bagh centre) so can’t have an opinion about other test series’. I wrote only 4 tests out of 14 in tests series and all of these from Paper1 and never wrote anything from paper2 in my preparation cycle in 2 years except 2 UPSC mains paper in Pub Ad (looking at my numbers in PA Paper2 I should have written some tests for Paper2, also it’s not a prescription for skipping writing practice as everybody has different preparation framework).

Despite not writing the full test series, I attended all 14 discussions of PA tests averaging around 4 hours per discussion. Now this 56 hour lecture in PA immensely benefitted me as the diversity, quality, difficulty and innovative level of question papers was quite good and I credit Salamuddin Ansari Sir for covering almost entire syllabus in a comprehensive question answer format in these 56 odd hours. I revised all the test papers and discussion classes during which I constantly wrote whatever was discussed, few times before mains exam. These discussions also changed my thinking process in Pub Ad as well as GS as to how to mould any concept and topic in QA format and quickly write a quality answer in limited time during real examination even if you have not read exactly about the topic (In fact my mains centre was Chandigarh and I came on 10th December to Delhi to attend last discussion of PA)

This combination of class notes, Aribam books, Prasad and Prasad, Rajni Arora, and any one good test series (lukmaan in my case) will substantially cover your syllabus and also simplify and unclog your preparation not only in PA but also in GS. Now, for any additional information on some topics you can always go back to many reports available on internet be it ARC, Punchhi, ministry reports etc, but stick to relevant portion and try to give preference to recommendations of these reports rather than reading every word of reports.

You may have noticed that I have not given chapter to chapter source of books, strategy or preparation schedule as many of you may have expected. It is a conscious choice as my purpose is to make your preparation for PA as simple as possible. I don’t want aspirants to follow some different approach for every chapter and carry different books and sources in your pockets for these like a mechanic carries his tools to repair a destroyed vehicle.  PA is not mathematics and don’t make it one by applying different permutations and combinations for different topics. Prepare it like a story, a well written story whose protagonists have the necessary ability to adapt to changing framework of governance in different contexts.

Answer writing in PA:

After spelling out strategy for PA preparation, I am going to tackle the biggest challenge and sometimes even perceived fear in front of aspirants as to how to write good answers in PA (it may also help in GS).

But I must state here that everybody has different writing style, thought process, level of vocabulary, writing speed, legibility etc. So, there is no strait-jacket way of writing good answers. Personally, I have always been hesitant to write much and as I stated earlier, did not complete even 30% of any test series (both PA and GS). But I made sure that I followed some fundamentals in answer writing and this paid dividends.

There are few prerequisites for following these fundamentals:

  1. One must have basic understanding and knowledge of syllabus
  2. Remember and revise before jumping to answer writing
  3. Evolve some thought process as to how to link different topics with each other and also with current happenings. You can do this by thinking about that topic for as less as 1-2 minutes after reading it.

Now, coming to crux of the matter, what are these fundamentals (in my view):

  1. Understand the core of the question: first step is to carefully read and understand every word of the question. You should immediately know from what part of the syllabus the question is coming and what concept to apply, what inter-linkage to be done, and if possible how relevant the question is in practicality in current setting.
  2. Structuring of question: Many people are frightened to see the lengthy question and they jump to single sentence questions. But irony is that a long question most of the times presents structuring on platter, while single sentence require some innovation and thinking in structuring. Anyway, formula to know the structuring is to lay out a brief intro about the concept asked, build nice body having relevant content (more on this below) that must underpin and link the conceptual understanding to the context in which that question is asked, and then sum up with nice conclusion having futuristic, optimistic, practical and not overly-ambitious tone.
  3. Relevant content: There is difference between content and relevant content. While with decent preparation every aspirant can fill 1 or 2 pages for any question but point is whatever we are writing must be asked in question. It’s very good to expand and pay homilies to all and sundry but examiner will give no quarter if you are deviating from the question.
  4. How to write answers when you have not read that topic: In recent PA papers in UPSC, some questions were asked from topics that are very abstract and seem unimportant. Now, good answers still can be written in those questions if you understand the context in which the question has been asked and can apply conceptual understanding . E.g. In this year’s exam I attempted question on governance theory & notion of governmentality without mentioning name of Foucalt even once in answer as I did not know that it was given by him. Same goes with the strategic contingency theory question. But I knew the conceptual difference between theoretical perspective of governance and notion of governments in real time scenarios (this comes from extensive reading). In same way, I knew the concept of contingency theory and question demanded its application in a strategic manner which is again relevant in present economic, political, foreign policy context. I hope you people understand the subtlety in PA answer writing.
  5. Conclusion: Every answer needs a perfect end and good conclusion is beneficial in fetching more marks although not mandatory. But your conclusion must not look separate from your whole answer and must not look like that you have written it for the sake of writing a conclusion. In fact this happened with me to some extent in both essays when I look back in hindsight and it led to below average marks in essay (113).
  6. Capital letters, underline, legibility etc: I have never used unnecessary highlighting of answers, never reproduced statements of scholars verbatim as I never remembered them, never underlined the sentences in answers, and I have quite a poor handwriting. But despite these things, I scored good marks in mains. So, my personal belief is that UPSC examiner does read the answers comprehensively although all these special effects may enhance one’s marks by extra 10-20. But, I was too lazy to apply these. So, if you are habitual to these then well and good.

I have spelled out PA strategy in a manner that I thought would be useful to you although I could have made it more detailed, extensive, topic or chapter wise but these strategies are already available in previous years blogs of toppers and you can read, adapt, synchronize and follow any or all of these strategies according to your wisdom. I also admit that this write up may be far from comprehensive for PA preparation. But the purpose of your preparation in PA should be to aid your overall examination preparation and not to reach a condition where you have to choose between optional and other components of exam while preparing. So, keep calmness and simplify your process, and you are not left behind if you have skipped any one source which others may be following. Have faith in yourself, and have guts to choose your own path.

If still, you have any doubt, comment or drop a message here or on facebook, I will try to answer your queries.

In the end, I convey my best wishes to civil service aspirants and pray to Almighty that you may achieve your dreams.

Best of Luck!!!

How to crack Civil Services Examination : A holistic view ( Nishant Jain Rank 13, Hindi Medium Topper)

Nishant Jain

Rank 13, CSE-2014

First Rank in Hindi/Indian languages medium

In my opinion, Civil Services Examination requires a certain level of maturity and approach. Some students achieve this level at an early age like 22-23 and some achieve it very late. All this depends on our whole upbringing, studies and experience.

In present scenario, when UPSC examination question papers have become very dynamic and innovative, aspirants are also supposed to develop some skills and qualities in them like:-

  1. Integrated Approach
  2. Balanced View
  3. Respecting other’s views
  4. Open-mindedness
  5. Creativity
  6. Writing skills and command over language
  7. Self confidence
  8. Communication skills
  9. Well-arranged thought process
  10. General reading habit

So far as my understanding and area of interest is concerned, I had a keen interest in some areas like-language, literature, culture and philosophy since my student life. Three principles of Indian philosophy became my life changing principles:-

  1. Nishkam Karma Yoga (disinterested action) from Gita
  2. Anekantvad (non-absoluteness) from Jainism
  3. Madhyam Marga (Middle Path) from Buddhism

These three great principles not only help us in our everyday life but also in our UPSC preparation.

Let us talk about prelims first. Preliminary examination of Civil Services is the toughest examination in fact. But it can be handled with some certain techniques like:-

  1. Remaining calm and stress-free on and before this one day examination,
  2. Again Nishkam Karmyoga helps a lot, when you focus on your action only and don’t get attached with the result, you have a psychological edge over other candidates.
  3. Handling negative marking is the key to crack the prelims. There is no substitute of practice while preparing for this phase of Civil Services Examination. Please take help of various test papers.
  4. For qualifying this phase, a candidate must be a keen learner. Diversified study and awareness pays a lot. When we make our area of study comprehensive and become able to connect various segments of General Studies with one another, we get an edge over others.
  5. Always try to learn and attain knowledge. For example, while travelling in metro or on roads, don’t ignore government advertisements like on education, health and taxes etc. Likewise, we must be familiar with AIR, PIB, India portal and other Government media.

Now the most important phase of this examination, Mains Examination begins. Mains examination is the key to achieve final success in this Civil Services Examination. One cannot rely upon Interview but one can give his best for Mains Examination to make the dream come true. I would like to suggest some techniques for Mains also:-

  1. Respecting Other’s views:- When we are open minded and we believe that other’s views are also correct to some extent, then the chances of improving quality of our answers rise for sure. This approach is relevant for all the mains papers including GS- IV (Ethics) and Essay.
  2. Integrated and Comprehensive Approach:- Remaining dependent only on text books and coaching notes will not help. Our approach must be comprehensive and multi-dimensional. Looking things in totality and trying to find a relation among them, pays a lot.
  3. Writing Skill and Command over language:- After 2013, Mains Examination pattern is changed. Question papers are very less traditional and more dynamic. Merely following text books does not pay much. In this situation, the importance of writing skills and language has drastically risen. I have found this thing common among maximum toppers that they had command over the language they opted as their medium and they had excellent writing skills also.

I would also like to add here that if you opt Hindi or any other Indian language as your medium, please make sure that you have command over that particular language and you are able to write well in that language without grammatical errors.

  1. General Reading Habit:- In this age of information revolution and media, our general reading habit other than text books has fallen drastically. If one wants to score extraordinary marks, one must expand his area of reading like books of general interest and magazines like Reader’s Digest, Kadambini (Hindi ) and Aha Zindagi (Hindi) etc. Through this way, our answers become more diversified, comprehensive and interesting particularly in Ethics and Essay.
  2. Essay and Ethics are the game changers:- When you analyze the mains mark sheets, you find that these two papers; GS IV and Essay give marks that are very fluctuating. In Essay, one can get only 50 marks and other one can fetch even more than 150 marks also out of 250 marks. Fortunately, I got 160 marks in essay paper which is probably the highest score. This makes a huge difference. Same is with GS IV. Some candidates get 60-70 marks while some others get 110-120 marks out of 250. It is very clear that if you want to get a good rank, you will have to pay due importance to both of these papers.

Unfortunately, candidates ignore these papers. Some students write their first essay directly in the Examination hall. Please don’t do this. Try to practice more and more for Essay and Case study (GS-IV).

For Essay, I would suggest some points again:-

(i)                Essay must be systematic and a well arranged thought process must be reflected in it.

(ii)             There must be a flow in whole the essay. There must be a clear connection among the two consecutive paragraphs.

(iii)           The range of an essay must be wide and comprehensive. Various aspects like-historical, social, economic, cultural, geographical, philosophical and political, must be discussed during the development of the essay.

(iv)           There must be  a visionary introduction in the beginning in one or two paragraphs. The Essay must be concluded with a clear conclusion. The another angle of the topic must also be discussed before conclusion of possible.

Finally, I would like to share some tips for Interview :-

(i)                You are what you are. So don’t try to become like others. Be natural remain calm.

(ii)             Never bluff. Don’t try to befool the board at any cost.

(iii)           Listen to the board with patience. Start answering only after they conclude their question.

(iv)           Again try to follow the principles of  middle path and respecting other’s views.

(v)             Be humble and a keen learner so that they may indentify whether you are trainable or not.

          I would also like to share some tips for Hindi/ Indian Language medium candidates:-

I have felt on many occasions, that candidates who prepare with medium of Hindi or other Indian languages, feel lack of confidence. I would like to suggest some points for them:-

(i)    Please don’t feel yourself loose confident. Think well, write well and answer well without any hesitation.

(ii) Please try to improve writing skills. For this, command on your own language is required.

(iii)  Linguistics and Psychology say that studying in your own language makes you understand the things better. You have original ideas and thoughts. Use them and have edge over others. Fortunately, I got 851 marks in Mains which is the third highest score.

(iv)  Please avoid grammatical errors in your language.

(v)    English is not a language which is too difficult to learn. Please don’t make English a barrier in your journey. Try to remain in touch with English sources like newspapers, TV/Radio discussions and websites.

In the end, I want to share some General Tips for the whole process of preparation and also for life:-

(i)            Have confidence in yourself.

(ii)           Never, Never, Never give up!

(iii)           If possible, try to gain employability before entering into this long preparation process so that you may join any respectable employment in case of failure in the Civil Services examination. This also helps in remaining a person pressure-free during the preparation.

(iv)           Your family and friends play a very important role in your life and your preparation. So don’t ignore them. I would also advise to remain in touch with those persons who have a positive energy and motivational force in them.

(v)             Try to retain the things which you have studied and revised. “It is better to read one book for ten times than to read ten books for one time.”

(vi)           “Your life is your message to the world. So, try to make it inspiring.”



My Mains Marksheet

Essay – 160 Marks.

General Studies – 378 Marks (89+88+77+124).

Optional Subject – Hindi Literature – 313 Marks (166+147)

Total Marks in Mains – 851 Marks.

Personality Test – 150 Marks.

Total Marks – 1001 Marks.

Maths Optional Strategy (Bhavesh Mishra, Rank 58)

Why Maths?

Simply because it is one of the best performing optional subject in UPSC.

  1. Extremely high scoring: If you get your maths optional right then you will make it to the final list. This year Nitish K (Rank 8 ) has got a mind boggling 346 marks.
  2. Certainty: If you have attempted your paper well then you are sure that you will get good marks. For example this year just by attempting 400 marks paper you could get a decent 260+ marks. Even if you don’t get good marks in first attempt you can be sure that you will increase your marks in subsequent attempt.
  3. Fun: Mathematics is a delightful subject and therefore doing maths takes you away from somewhat boring humanities.
  4. Good Impression: The fact that you have taken Maths makes a good impression on interview board members (it happened in my case !). They are very pleased to see that you have opted for a tough optional.
  5. Easy paper: The difficulty level of paper is quite moderate and almost all questions are directly picked from the standard textbooks.

Who should take it?

Anyone who has done B.Tech / M.Tech / B.Sc / M.Sc and has interest in maths.

Myths around science subjects.

Coaching institutions have mastered the art of brainwashing students and creating an atmosphere of gloom and doom around science subjects. There are lots of myths circulating among students. Let’s bust these myths.

  1. Maths optional is only for students from IITs: Definitely not. Anyone willing to put in hard work can easily score very high marks. The best example being Nitish K (Rank 8) who is not from any IIT.
  2. There is heavy scaling: Let the data speak for itself. I attempted 240 marks in Paper 2 and got 170 marks. Now would you call it a scaling?
  3. It plays no role in GS: Yes it’s true that science optional subjects don’t overlap with GS but it’s equally true that GS has never been a rank decider in UPSC. There are 3 major things that decides your rank: Essay, Optional and Interview. Even if one puts in 2-3 years of efforts in GS the advantage in terms of marks would be around 30 marks or so but 1 year of dedicated effort in maths would give you 50+ marks advantage straightaway.

Do’s and Dont’s

  1. Practice, Practice and Practice. The key to success in maths is filling up as many notebooks as you can during the preparation stage. The more you sweat during preparation the less you will bleed in the battlefield !
  2. Don’t read maths book / notes like GS. It is a recipe for disaster. Rather always study with pen, paper and calculator.
  3. While solving examples don’t jump to see solution first. Try giving your best shot and after making sure that you are not able to solve it using your present knowledge then only look at the answer. This will ensure better retention.
  4. Generally we make lots of silly mistakes while solving a question. It is best to catch these errors early and not repeat them in exam hall. The best strategy for this is to maintain a notebook of errors that you usually commit and their mitigation measures. For example, I commit a lot of mistakes when doing Integration by parts and usually the error involves missing negative (-) sign etc. Therefore whenever I come across such type of question I try to devote extra 1 minute to re-check all my steps.
  5. maths.stackexchange.com is the best online resource for preparation. You can create an account and get your maths questions answered within minutes.

Why did I score only 262?

Among all the students in the final list who had maths as an optional, I have scored the least. My paper – 1 was a complete disaster and I only scored 92 marks in it. In fact I could only attempt 160 marks paper and had to leave 90 marks paper completely.

The reasons for the above situation in Paper – 1 are as follows:

  1. Lack of written practice: In many topics (especially statics and dynamics) I used to just look at a question and its solution without solving it first. As a result I forgot the exact method in the exam hall !
  2. Left many topics: I prepared only 25% 3-D, 80% Calculus and 25% Statics & Dynamics and had to pay a heavy price in the exam.

On the other hand my preparation for paper – 2 was excellent and therefore I scored an amazing 170 marks in it 🙂

Topic Wise Detailed Plan of Action

Paper – 1

Linear Algebra

  • Difficulty: 2 / 5
  • If you have not studied it before then you will take sometime in getting used to Vector Space nomenclature. Rest all topics are straightforward.
  • The questions on Diagonalization are lengthy and therefore there are chances of committing errors.

3 Dimesional Geometry

  • Difficulty: 4 / 5
  • I found this topic difficult as the syllabus is vast and questions are very lengthy and difficult.
  • In many questions we simply have to mug up the method of doing questions.
  • The best way to prepare is to revise it as many times as possible. Simply doing it one or two times will not help.

Ordinary Differential Equation

  • Difficulty: 2.5 / 5
  • The number of methods to solve a question is overwhelming !
  • Differential equation with variable coefficient is the most difficult part from this section.
  • All questions from Raisinghania book must be done thoroughly.


  • Difficulty: 2 / 5
  • Single variable calculus is similar to what we prepare for JEE exam.
  • The questions on surface of revolution etc are lengthy.

Vector Analysis

  • Difficulty: 1.5 / 5
  • The most scoring portion in paper – 1
  • There are only 4 theorems and all the questions in the exam come directly from Krishna series book.

Statics & Dynamics

  • Difficulty: 2 – 4
  • If you are covering this topic from 10 marker point of view then it should not pose any problem.
  • However, covering it completely requires a lot of time as the questions are very lengthy.

Paper – 2

Modern Algebra

  • Difficulty : 4.5 / 5
  • The most difficult part of the exam.
  • If you are new to this topic then you will not understand even 10% of what is going on initially. It’s a completely different ball game altogether.
  • Mastering this topic is not at all easy.
  • However, the 10 markers are easy and can be prepared easily.

Real Analysis

  • Difficulty: 3 / 5
  • It has a huge syllabus but questions asked are relatively easy and repeated.
  • Sometimes questions from topology comes and we have left with no option but to leave it.

Partial Differential Equation

  • Difficulty: 3 / 5
  • Methods are quite similar to Ordinary Differential Equations.
  • Requires lots of practice especially in Charpit’s method (although officially it is not part of the syllabus).

Complex Analysis

  • Difficulty: 1.5 / 5
  • One of the easiest and highly scoring part.

Numerical Analysis

  • Difficulty: 1 / 5
  • Easiest portion of the syllabus.
  • No brainer 🙂

Linear Programming

  • Difficulty: 1.5 / 5
  • Very easy topic. Only Simplex method questions tend to be lengthy.


  • Difficulty: 2 – 4 / 5
  • If one prepares from 10 marker point of view then it is not that difficult.
  • However, covering it completely is a difficult task.

Fluid Mechanics

  • Difficulty: 3.5 / 5
  • A difficult topic for those who have not studied Fluid Mechanics earlier
  • In case of time crunch it should be prepared with 10 markers point of view.

Answer Writing (Ananya Mittal – Rank 85)

Today we will talk about how to practice answer writing for GS. Again I would like to caution you that this was completely my style, according to my conditions and availability of time. Other candidates have prepared it differently also resulting in good score. So, analyse and adopt strategies which suit you.

I rate answer writing as the most important part of the Mains examination. Don’t think that since we have been writing subjective exams from our childhood days, it will not be difficult to manage during examination.

Remember and practice the following points:

First – Many aspirants, from the very first day, start asking teachers for questions. Have patience, let your preparation reach upto a level where you feel confident with some topics, then start with answer writing practice. (I started GS coaching in July 2013 and I started answer writing practice in February 2014, when the GS classes were about to get over).

Second – Start giving time to writing practice daily for around 30-60 minutes.

Third – Pick random questions from websites (I preferred www.insightsonindia.com) and try to tackle the questions. (I am using the word ‘tackle’ because during examination you will experience questions which were not a part of your preparation. So, you cannot ‘answer’ them, you can only ‘tackle’ them to the best of your capabilities)

Fourth – My belief is that it is difficult for a teacher to check 100 copies and read 25 answers per copy every day. So, try to write the answer from a teacher’s perspective. He/she would want to see answers written neatly, with headings, important points underlined and all parts of a question addressed specifically. No examiner will try to find whether the aspirant has written a certain point in the answer. You must make important points visible for the examiner.

Fifth – Your answers must be well structured.


Don’t write the body straight away. I prefer to begin the answer with definition of the core idea mentioned in the question. Please refrain from using flowery language and avoid redundant words and sentences.

For example

Infrastructure is the capital asset of a nation. They help in providing employment and income to the population. Infrastructure is a must for any nation’s economic growth. They can be classified into soft and hard infrastructure. (This is good but)

Infrastructure is the capital asset of a nation which helps in its economic growth by providing employment to the population and helps in provision of various amenities such as waste management, transport and communication, tourism, education, health and sports which can be further classified into soft and hard infrastructure. (Here I have tried to squeeze in whatever I have studied in the chapter ‘Infrastructure’ into one sentence with the help of connectors – which, by, and etc) – It reduces redundant sentence/words and keeps the reader engaged.


It is the most important part of any answer. While reading a question derive the number of parts that it contains, i.e.,  what all has the examiner asked from you.

After writing the Introduction straightaway address the first part of the question in  form of a heading and write the relevant points below it (in form of a paragraph or in form of bullets – that’s your personal choice – idea is to keep the answer neat, visible and to write fast). I prefer bullets and numbers for all the subjects except for ethics and social issues.

Similarly, address all the parts of the question separately.


End with your own view. I prefer writing a balanced view after analyzing all the angles, with a futuristic view. Don’t conclude with false assumptions and impractical suggestions. Simply write what you consider right and appropriate.

Sixth – For answer writing take your tests seriously. Again, joining a test series for Mains is entirely up to you. Many candidates clear this exam without writing even a single mock test. But if you doubt yourself then I would suggest you to join one. Take the tests in exam conditions – no institute keeps a check on if you are returning the test paper within the time limit or not. Its your duty to practice time management. When you get back your corrected answer sheets, analyse the comments made by examiner. Observe where you lack  and eliminate those mistakes for your next test. It doesn’t matter which test series you join. Take any and sincerely utilise it.

Seventh- Time Management while writing answers


I tried to write all the answers with an average of 7 minutes per answer. Now the method I am going to tell you is very mechanical. (I used to face a lot of problem in completing all 25 questions and I knew that somehow I have to attempt all. So, during mock tests I devised this method).

I used to make a chart after entering into the exam hall – example –

1st  – 9:00 to 9:07

2nd  – 9:07 to 9:14

Till 25th – 11:51 to 11:58

After completing each question I used to strike off the question number in the chart. This chart gave me an idea if I am running late or not. By what time I should complete, lets say, the 10th question. A sense of loss of time makes you nervous at crucial moments. So, if you have this chart, you remain a bit relaxed and assured of the remaining time.

Eighth – Always underline important points. Just the phrase or the word but not the complete sentence.

Ninth –

For ethics I preffered writing in paragraphs, but for case studies I followed a different structure. The structure goes as follows –

First heading – Issue/Dilemma/ Problem

Second Heading – Stakeholders Involved

Third Heading – Options available

Fourth Heading – Evaluation of those options – which consists the effect of each option available on each of the stakeholder.

Fifth Heading – Conclusion or the most suitable step which can be adopted.

We all know the ethical and moral stand, but what makes your answer distinct is the treatment. While watching a singing reality shows sometimes we think – this singer is not able to catch the sur (note), so for each subject you must catch it’s sur. It must look like an answer for the ethics subject. Use the ethical principles like honesty, sympathy, compassion and constitutional principles like rule of law, right to equality etc to give that charm to your answer.

Answer writing is not as difficult as it sounds. It looks difficult only because we know that we are not devoting time for it. Practice it for a month continuously. You will definitely feel the change.

How I used to Practice?


I started answer writing practice in February 2014 when my GS classes were about to get over. Everyday I only used to practice writing the bullet points and frame a definition in my mind for introduction paragraph for 9-10 questions posted by www.insigtsonindia.com, but I never wrote complete answers at home. They post these questions daily  from the day’s newspapers. My strategy was to frame at least 7-8 points for each question. If I used to fall short of points, I tried to consult my friends and teachers for some more points. I did this for two months religiously and left it when prelims were approaching. It was a 45-60 minutes daily exercise.

After prelims I joined Vision IAS test series for general studies and tried to apply my learning during the tests. I gave importance to the comments I got from the examiner and constantly tried to refine my answer writing skills.

For case studies (ethics) I consulted Lexicon book and devised the above mentioned structure after reading 8-9 examples.

I will deal with answer writing for Geography optional in a separate post.


(Ananya Mittal Rank-85 CSE, 2014)

The chronicles of Doodlebean and Public Administration 

“…an optional is an optional
Neither it is yours nor mine
If it’s yours it will be a cause of worry
If it’s mine it is a cause of pain again..”

This is an eternal,omnipotent and omnipresent truth in case of Public Administration in the post-2011 era of UPSC.

It all started in 2010 when I used to attend the Public Administration classes of Vajiram and Ravi. Believe me Mr. Rajesh Gupta is a Master of the subject. Still there was a void.. A sense of vacuum ..like… Concepts ko samajh rahe the lekin yaad nahi ho raha tha.. There were so sooo many thinkers.. Kisko yaad kare, kya yaad kare??

Then a class test was announced and I scored shamefully low. All determined to change my optional but Gupta Sir suggested some improvements. I decided to give it a last shot and.. Bang! I was among the Top 5 in those gargantuan batches of Vajiram. My batchmate then n today even — Mr Kapil Joshi can corroborate the same. 🙂

The art of inter-relation,  co-relation, making diagrams, extracting case studies etc…. I developed these over the last 4 years.. Will be dealing with them in the following write up.

Let me take a pause to clarify a few things —

1) Regarding the new syllabus or the leaked syllabus –
The biggest libraries of the most famous colleges of Delhi University are incapable to address the requirements of the novel thinkers. I am working on the same. Will update soon.

2)Don’t ignore the basic syllabus at all. Likh lo.. Note kar lo. As u know UPSC is unpredictable,  I will not be amazed if December 2015 will bring a pleasant surprise for pub adm optional people.

3) Will take up your queries here and there in the blog. Hope this approach helps everyone.

Query 1
” I finally got the IIPA Journal’s gist book, yay or nay?
Or what about the art of answer writing in this era of vagueness?? “ — Pranjal Singh

Ek baar mere Mentor bole the — ” Doodle! Mujhe ye mat btaao ki tumhaare paas kitni kitaabein hai yaa kitne journals tumhaari library mein hai.. Ye btaao ki tum kitna yaad rakh sakti ho??”
Remember Mahatama Gandhi –Trusteeship Theory–the amount of property which is of your immediate use belongs to you. For the rest you are just a trustee. For instance,  if you can use Former CAGs statement  from these IIPA articles in any of your answers THEN IT’S WORTH IT OTHERWISE NOT.

Aisa kuch hota hi nahi hai. Achhe resources padhiye. Zyaada se zyaada retain kariye. Newspaper ki case studies ka istemaal kariye. Ek diary maintain kariye jisme most important two liners likhiye jise alternate days par revise kare.Diagrams bnaaiye. STRUCTURED ANSWERS likhiye jo practice se hoga. Will upload some of my answers in the next session.

Let us assemble the resources first
-Rajesh Gupta Sir – Class notes
-Radhabinod Aribam book for paper 1 and 2
-Shubhra Saxena Super 50
-Mohit Bhattacharya New Horizons
-Nicholas Henry -selected readings
-ASPA journals – pick up as per your retention power
-IAS Portal monthly pub adm magazine
-IJPA journals
-Case studies from THE HINDU,  INDIAN EXPRESS
-Rajni Goyal

Query 2
“Write about Paper 2 answer writing, where to find examples and case studies to quote??
Should we relate concepts of Paper 1 in Paper 2?” –Harshini Gopal

In the Newspapers there are numerous case studies which come on a daily basis..See!! If an article comes on the op-ed page that DBT has not worked properly in Kotkasim District then you can pen down the same in your diary with 1-2 reasons and reproduce the same in the Policy Implementation question in the exam..Or an article on the legacy of the PSUs.. Learn 2-3 facts like how much employment they provide,  contribution in GDP and it will lead to an increment in the quality of your answer… Or if a news item on page 2 that a ‘transparency mela’ is being organised in so n so district of Rajasthan then you can mention it as a new experiment in social auditing.

Paper 1 and 2 have to be necessarily interlinked in order to fetch good marks.

Query 3
“Another important aspect is Contemporary Thinkers.. Now questions are framed from new thinkers presenting pub adm paper in foreign universities..?? “
–Ram Naresh Sikaria

Exactly.. I’m working on the same.. Will update on that..Simultaneously keep referring to ASPA.They do contain many contemporary thinkers.

Query 4
“Add relevant points for general studies paper 2 in comprehensive manner if syllabus wise its good” — Yogesh Unde

Sirji I’ve already covered the same in my blog

One of the most frequently asked questions is — “Yaad nahi rehta..kya kare?”
Seriously I never had a jadhi-booti for the same.. But I would like to ask – “kabhi kisi se mohabbat ki hai?” Jise hum yaad rakhna chaahe wo yaad rehta hai.. Infact din-raat wahi yaad rehta hai… Uski pasand naapasand(Critical analysis),  quotes and quotations etc.. Isliye ek baat ka dhyaan rakhna.. Only one case study which you have retained and able to reproduce successfully in the examination hall can raise the bar of your answer to an unprecedented level.

Query 5
“Please focus on Paper 2 answer writing and relevant current affairs material “ — Dr Bhagi Manda
I’ll be sharing some sample answers in the next round.
Refer IJPA JOURNALS and IAS PORTAL magazine for current affairs update on pub adm.

Query 6
“For once n all tell us whether we should read less and think more in pub adm or should expand our study material? “ Ankur Kumar

Don’t go beyond the resources which I have mentioned above. No need actually… Regardin thinking.. YES! Start inter-relating chapter 1 and chapter 2 or chapter 9.. I can swear on that front that co-relation exists. It’s just that we need to work a little harder.

Query 7

I have joined coaching for pub ad. Please share how to make the most of it.

I am able to grasp all the concepts but while writing answers i am not able to understand what is a correct, good or very good answer. 

for examples:
1. a commit bureaucracy is not suitable for democracy. commet.
ans: I will explain what is commit bureaucracy, explain that bureaucracy is to provide stabilty and continuity. should be politically neutral to provide a balance in polity. ex of contrast in ideology of BJP and CPM and an IAS has to implement their policy as an instrument.
other side of argument in brief: +ve of commit bureaucracy ex of china.(unable to think of flowchart or diagram)

2. field of pa is field of business(wilson). comment.
ans: briefly mention that during times of wilson american administration was facing issues of corruption red tapsim etc. he wanted admn to be separated from hurry and strife of politics.
mention about similarities in public and pvt admin.
other side: in developing countries like india equity more imp than efficiency. we need bussiness but more of welfare.
briefly mention the difference in public and private admn.

Please let me know how to improve my answer writing skill. I am writing daily but not seeing much improvement in the presentation and quality.“–ksonu

Aapke answers kharab nhi hai bilkul bhi.
The most amazing part of the framework which you have provided is that you have grasped the essence of the questions asked…not an easy job,i must say!!

The deficiency stays in presentation – diagrams and flowcharts
Content: case studies or examples from present day India. For eg the recent initiative of O&M in the country which are directing pub adm towards business like approach.

Query 8

doodlebean for starters, kindly share the secret James Bond books that you referred and plz plz plz oh Lord(ess?) write answer to the questions that you attempted whatever you remember that you wrote.

Kindly provide guidance towards answer writing and how should paper I be tackled owing to the vague questions that came 2014 year.

What are you expecting in 2015?

Will you keep helping us from Academy also? 

Would you ask the other toppers too to come up and save the lesser mortals like me?— PS10000

Resources share kiye hai maine upar.
Detailed answers are already there on the pub adm paper discussion thread on forum.
2015 will bring a pleasant surprise — gut feeling.
I will — Doodle promise.

A request to the other toppers.. Please come forward and assist the pub adm juntaa…

READ-REVISE-REPEAT-READ…. should be your motto for the next few months..

Miles to go. Milestones to achieve.

Jai hind.Jai Bharat.

Electrical Engineering Strategy for CSE Mains

Electrical Engineering Strategy- by Neelabh Saxena, Aman Mittal, Anunaya Jha

For Electrical Engineering, Prakash Rajpurohit Sir’s (AIR-2 in CSE-2009) blog has all the relevant information.

Following is the link.



With additional inputs from my side I am also writing the strategy I followed in my preparation.

  • Theory and numericals both are scoring. Attempt theory as well if you are stuck in numericals i.e. not able to solve them or having paucity of time in completing the question paper. Just give small examples in your theory answers say a small RC circuit or any gate to emphasize your point made in theory.
  • But one needs to understand that Electrical Engineering requires a lot of effort. The syllabus is vast and many books need to be prepared for the completion of the course. However, the needs of UPSC Civil Services Exam are not very stringent and only basic knowledge of the topics mentioned in the syllabus will be sufficient to score well in this examination.
  • At the beginning, I would strongly suggest the aspirants to go through the papers of previous years and ascertain the level of difficulty for themselves. It would be useful if the aspirants actually try an attempt one of the papers to see their comfort level with the topics they may have already covered in the college. It is not necessary that you may have excellent grades in the college, but a general interest in the subject is necessary to overcome the rigors of the syllabus over the period of preparation.
  • In my personal opinion, the optional papers of electrical engineering are similar over a period of time. The questions are generally similar, with many repetitions over a period of time. The papers of the last 10 years are a pointer to the same.
  • Another point of note is that UPSC will never tend to ask extremely difficult or out of course questions. This makes this optional more predictable with a higher probability of scoring in the upper spectrum.
  • The most important thing is the use of internet for the course. There are many topics which seem extremely difficult and have not been done in college graduation, especially those in digital communication, coding theory etc. For this, I would advise the use of electrical lectures available at NPTEL. For communications part, I used to refer to the site http://www.radio-electronics.com. Another useful site for electrical engineering is the http://www.electrical4u.com .
  • Given the nature of the exam, I strongly suggest to all the aspirants to at least cover the syllabus once, and prepare the previous year’s papers even if the detailed strategy as provided later is not doable.
  • The solutions for the previous years ESE papers is also a useful asset for the aspirants as it covers almost the entire spectrum of the course.
  • The book list given below is not the only source. Try to cover the subjects from books you have studied in your college and keep these books as reference only.


  • Circuit theory, signals and systems, digital electronics, EM theory, Analog communication are easy to cover and scoring as well. You should try to cover all topics in these subjects. Start your preparation with these subjects if you are an Electronics and Communication Engineer like me.
  • Circuit theory should be conceptually very clear. Don’t get confused by the circuit conventions of different books, stick to your conventions and answer will always be the same. The fundamentals of solving a circuit are very relevant in other subjects like analog electronics, EMT, Analog communication, machines. So be thorough with this subject to do well in numericals.
  • Analog electronics will require conceptual clarity. Millman Halkias is a very good book but time taking. Go for it if you have sufficient time in hand. Cover op-amps from Gaekwad. For basic electronics i.e PN junction and diodes Streetman is very good….read it selectively according to the syllabus.
  • Since the paper is of EE, questions from ECE stream are relatively easy.
  • Electrical Machines- go in depth if you are a core EE. Ashfaq Hussain is a good book. Even for ECE and other background students cover the theory portion, graphs, derivations and basic numericals.
  • Power electronics- cover topics from bhimbra as given in detail below.

Paper 2…

  • Whether you are from EE or any other stream…this paper requires power system and power system protection to be covered in detail. Finish off these subjects at the earliest as they are time taking.
  • For power system Ashfaq Hussain is a good book. Cover it for entire syllabus. Refer Wadhwa if you don’t understand any topic from this book. Cover all derivations as they may be repeated in 2-3 years.
  • Power system protection- TMH book Badriram Vishwakarma is good. Read it properly.
  • Control systems, Measurement are very scoring…practice control questions for last 10 years from IAS/IES papers. Do all bridges and their derivations properly from Sawney selectively sticking to the syllabus. Practice oscilloscope and digital instruments block diagrams.
  • Microprocessor- for 8085 and its peripheral devices do from Gaonkar. Cover it completely.

In 2-3 years questions from 8086 can be asked. DV Hall is a good book or you can read 8086 from any research paper/journal online. But cover 8085 properly.

  • Digital Communication- cover theory and derivations. If numericals come- either they are very easy that can be solved by your theory knowledge else they can’t be solved so no need to go after numericals.

Reproducing Prakash Rajpurohit sir’s blog with my inputs :-

Electrical Engg Strategy

Paper – I

  1. Circuit Theory: In this topic one should be fast in solving problems. Best way to gain speed is to practice regularly from IES papers of both electrical and electronics. Do questions from single IES paper (there are 3-6 questions every year) within time limit.
  2. Signals and systems: Here also speed is important. It is better to make a formula sheet and revise it regularly. For DFT/FFT, refer to Oppenheim’s book on DSP.
  3. M. Theory:Read chapter 6(till 6.29), 7 and 8 from K.D. Prasad. For Smith chart and impedance matching refer Jordan & Balmain. Make the list of formulas and practice all the derivations.Can also go for IES coaching notes for theory.
  4. Analog Electronics: Diode, Transistors and Amplifiers can be done from any book. Topics that are to be covered from JB Gupta or Gaekwad are: Oscillators, Op Amp, Wave shaping circuits, Multivibrators, Waveform Generators and Power supplies.
  5. Digital Electronics: Mano is sufficient for the part of syllabus which it covers. For topic left like Timer (look at chapter on 555 IC Timer), Comparator, S&H circuit refer to JB Gupta.
  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.
  8. Analog Communication: Cover chapter 4(AM) and Chapter 5(on FM and PM) from BP Lathi. Random process(chapter 1) can be covered from Haykin. And Noise(chapter 4) can be covered from Singh and Sapre. Also cover AM AND FM practical modulation and demodulation circuits from Singh and Sapre.

Paper II

  1. Control Systems: Nagrath and Gopal is sufficient for all the topics. Practice from previous year IES and CSE papers.
  2. Microprocessors and Microcomputers: Cover chapters 1 to7 and 9, and parts of chapter 8 and 10(from which questions has been asked in IES exams), In peripherals cover 12, 14, 15, 16 (Focus more on whatever has been asked in IES papers).
  3. Measurement and Instrumentation: Cover all the instruments given in the syllabus thoroughly from the Sawhney. Here also guide will be IES questions.
  4. Power Systems: I did this topic from Nagrath and Kothari as I already had covered the book in graduation. Practice solved examples of both Wadhwa and this book. Or go for Ashfaq Hussain or any book you had in your graduation.
  5. Power System Protection: Chapters of Protective relays and circuit breakers (from Wadhwa) cover large part of the syllabus in much better way. For microprocessor based relays refer to TMH book.
  6. Digital Communication: For PCM, DPCM, DM refer to chapter 6 of Lathi. ASK, PSK and FSK are covered much better in Haykin. Information theory and codes can be covered from either of them. Chapter 1 and 2 of Forouzan are to be covered for data networks and 7 layered architecture.

Electrical Engineering(Mains) Booklist

Paper I

  1. Circuit Theory:A. Chakrabarti(Dhanpat Rai).
  2. Signals and systems:Oppenheim and Willsky. For DFT/FFT, refer toOppenheim’s book on DSP. For better coverage of z-transform, refer any Indian author.(I had Sanjay Sharma’s book)
  3. E.M. Theory:K.D. Prasad. For Smith chart and other minor topics left refer Jordan & Balmain.
  4. Analog Electronics:J.B. Gupta. For topics like feedback amplifiers and any other topics not covered well in that book refer Sedra & Smith.Or Millman Halkias, Gaekwad, Streetman.
  5. Digital Electronics:M.Morris Mano, RP Jain
  6. Energy Conversion:Ashfaq Hussain. For topics not covered in detail referFitzgerald.
  7. Power Electronics and Electric Drives:PS Bhimbra
  8. Analog Communication:(a)Simon Haykin (b) BP Lathi (c) Singh and Sapre(TMH)

Paper II

  1. Control Systems:Nagrath & Gopal
  2. Microprocessors and Microcomputers:RS Gaonkar
  3. Measurement and Instrumentation:AK Sawhney
  4. Power Systems:(a)Nagrath and Kothari (b) CL Wadhwa or (c)Ashfaq Hussain
  5. Power System Protection:(a)CL Wadhwa(only chapters of  psp, circuit breaker)  (b) Badriram &Vishwakarma
  6. Digital Communication:Same as Analog Communication. For Data Networks and 7-layered architecture I referredForouzan(TMH).