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TOPPER’S STRATEGY: GSS Praveenchand Rank 64 CSE 2018, Mathematics Optional


GSS Praveenchand

Rank 64 CSE 2018, Mathematics Optional


About myself

GSS Praveenchand. Rank 64 UPSC 2018 IAS topper

I am GSS Praveenchand. I have secured AIR 64 in UPSC Civil Services 2018.

I belong to East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. I did my B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Patna. Later ,I have commutative experience of 3 years in software firm, where I worked as a team lead.


Brief about why I want to become IAS

I wanted to become IAS mainly because of my mother. She had planted this idea in my mind. She used to tell that family doesn’t mean only parents and siblings, but also our society. She believed that happiness of one lies in happiness of the society. This has shaped my personality very much.

Later as a student leader in college, I realised that public service is what gives me real satisfaction. So I have decided to leave my high paying job and attempt civil services. Unfortunately, both my parents are no more, as l lost my mother during early age and father before my IIT exam. It is become of them I am here, so I want to dedicate my success to them.


My Journey with UPSC

I have given total 3 attempts in UPSC civil services. During my first attempt, I have reached up to Interview but couldn’t make up to the final list.  After the result, I was extremely disappointed as I had lost closely. I thought of

leaving my preparation as I had exhausted my financial savings.

During that phase, my sister ( Mounica)  and friends ( Bharadwaj and Ekant Sharma ) stood by my side. I rejoined my previous company after giving prelims. In my second attempt I have secured 512 rank and was allocated Indian Information Service(IIS). I have resigned from my private sector job and joined IIS training. Simultaneously,  I gave my third attempt and secured 64th rank.


My book list and sources



  1. Brief history of modern India by Rajiv Ahir.
  2. Tamil Nadu history book – 11th class for medieval India [ pdf available on internet also ]
  3. RS Sharma old NCERT for Ancient India
  4. Indian cultural heritage – Fine Arts NCERT, CCRT website
  5. NCERT – Post independence 11th class
  6. World history – VisionIAS booklet


  1. NCERT 11,12 – total 4 books
  2. YouTube channel – Mrunal Geography playlist for better conceptual understanding , if needed.


Indian society , 11th class


  1. Indian constitution at work NCERT
  2. DD Basu – Introduction to constitution of India ( you may follow Lakshmikant as suggested by many others )


  1. Introduction to macroeconomics – NCERT
  2. Indian economy development – NCERT
  3. Government budget
  4. Economic survey
  5. Sriram IAS economy booklet
  6. YouTube channel – Mrunal for better understanding of concepts ( very good source )

Science and Technology

  1. 6,7,8,9 class NCERT


  1. 12th class biology last four chapter on ecology and environment

Diaster Management

  1. Last chapter of Indian physical geography
  2. NDMA website
  3. International frameworks like Sendai etc


  1. Sriramias classroom notes


  1. Ethics Integrity and Aptitude by Arihant Publications
  2. Previous year question papers of UPSC

Current affairs

  1. The Hindu news paper – last page, first page , editorial pages , national pages , business page, international pages, , science and technology page.
  2. com website – daily current affairs and secure
  3. VisionIAS monthly compilation

Government schemes

Focus on schemes that comes in newspaper , economic survey and current affairs booklets

Previous year question papers

  1. Prelims examination- very very important
  2. Mains previous year question papers since 2013


My Strategy


In this stage, I was fortunate to score good marks in all the three attempts.

My prelims paper 1  scores in all the attempts are as following :


In 2016  :   138

In 2017  :   150

In 2018  :   120


What I did for prelims ?

  1. I have read basic books listed above , especially those important for prelims multiple times. For some I have made my own notes, for others I highlighted within the text books.
  2. I used to do test series of Insights and VisionIAS. After giving every test, I used to go through the explanations very carefully. In every question, I used to read about other options as well. For examples, if a question is about National park, with four options : Corbett, Kanha, Kaziranga and Gir. I used to read basic information from first few paragraphs of WikiPedia or from relevant websites. This process I have used for all the questions. This has helped in better retention, clarity, apart from expanding my knowledge base.
  3. I have gone through previous year question papers of UPSC prelims and revised important questions couple of times.
  4. For current affairs, I have referred to the sources mentioned above.



My booklist for mains remained same.

I used to dedicate 50% of my time to General Studies and other 50% to prepare my optional  i.e. Mathematics

Here my focus was on improving answer writing. For that, I used to practice 2 questions from InsightsonIndia secure initiative everyday after prelims. Apart from this, I used to practice VisionIAS test series at home.I used to go through the answers of main test series provided by the institute very carefully. I had revised every test at least 3 times. This helped in preparing various probable questions, as well as in bringing clarity to my answers. Further, due to this exercise, I was able frame answers in the exam hall in short duration, which has helped me to complete paper in time in all the papers.


Coming to approach towards each paper


General Studies – 1

One should thoroughly prepare NCERTs and standard text books. While writing answers in mains, quoting specific facts, examples and dates will help to score good marks. In social issues part, give examples from current affairs. In Geography, prepare the diagrams from NCERTs and use them appropriately in your answers.


General Studies – 2

In GS-2, first one should be thorough with constitution and governance aspects in our country. Using constitutional terminology, quoting relevant articles of the constitution and supreme court judgements in the answers plays key role to write good answers. One may use diagrams in international affairs part. E.g. Map of Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) if a question on BRI is asked


General Studies – 3

There is lot of scope for flow charts and diagrams in economy. So, one should practice such things during preparation.

Science & Technology can be largely prepared from current affairs. Do watch out for latest happenings about the keywords mentioned in the syllabus

Disaster Management can be studied from NCERT and NDMA website. Through study of disaster life cycle and various international conventions like Sendai framework, etc will help to write well structured answers in mains.

For environment, I have studied 4 chapters of 12th class biology NCERT book. Apart from that, environment current affairs notes from The Hindu has helped me

Coming to security, I have referred to sriram Ias class room notes. I augmented this with my notes from The Hindu newspaper.


General Studies – 4

One should prepare each term mentioned in the syllabus and make notes in their own language. I used to pick examples from my daily life and current events. I have referred to Ethics & Integrity book of Arihant Publications, one may use this book for selective reading. After prelims, I have practiced previous year UPSC questions. I have revised those questions as well.


For essay, I have made framework for previous year essay topics. Framework included aspects like

  • Dimensions to be covered
  • Examples from regional to international level
  • Quotes
  • Recommendations of the committees
  • I used to practice, 1 essay every week after prelims from InsightsonIndia weekly essay challenge.

Personality tests

My scores during 3 personality tests are following

2016  : 179 ( Vinay Mittal Sir Board )

2017  : 179 ( Sujatha Mehta Ma’am Board )

2018 : 157 ( Manoj Soni Sir Board )


What I did for Interview ?

I have thoroughly prepared my Detailed Application Form (DAF). I have made around 30 keywords and from the DAF and prepared notes on each word in “question and answer” format. I also used to practice speaking out my opinions on current affairs in front of my laptop camera. I have also recorded such videos and introspected my way of answer delivery. Apart from these, I used to practice with my friends (especially with Utsav, Rena, Deepak and Rickey ; I am thankful to them )  , where we used to take mock interview of one another. This was extremely helpful. I also used to watch Shahrukh khan speech from “Chak De India” and listen to “Enthavaraku” song ( from Telugu movie Gamyam) to boost my confidence on the interview day.

Since interview tests one’s personality, it helps if one can groom it during the preparation. Honesty and integrity, problem solving skills, leadership qualities, etc  are key aspects that are being tested here. So developing them during the preparation can certainly help. Don’t fake your personality, go to the interview with open mindset. Be yourself and give your best on the day. I have always enjoyed interacting with experienced members during the interview, so will you.


I have scored 342 in mathematics optional. I will write a separate article dealing with that.


My mark sheet


GSS Praveenchand. Rank 64 UPSC 2018 IAS


GSS Praveenchand. Rank 64 UPSC 2018Closing words…

If I can clear the exam, then each one of you can also do the same. I strong believe that anyone can learn anything, provided they have passion towards it. If you think becoming an IAS and serving this great nation is your passion , then no one can stop you from becoming that. I wish each one of your All the Best.  Always remember, civil services is just one avenue to reach your goal, there are many other avenues waiting for you ,so don’t get disheartened if you can’t clear this exam. Find your passion in other fields and move on. Our country will move forward only if each one of us contributes in our respective fields, so let us do best in what ever work we do.

Jai Hind!


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