Importance of Prelims by Amit Tolani: IAS Rank 151 in his 6th attempt with Sindhi as Optional Subject

Name Amit Suresh Tolani
Rank in CSE 2015 151
Total Attempts in CSE 6
Optional Subject Sindhi Literature
Medium English

Education

Class 10 percentage of marks 78%
Class 12Percentage of marks 77%
Graduation: College and marks 62%
Post-graduation: College and marks
Any other course CA

IAS Score: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Amit Suresh Tolani: To reach a destination, step1 is to start-ACT upon it. There is NO substitute to Hard work

IAS Score: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?

Amit Suresh Tolani: Divide the whole syllabus in smaller milestones in the form of different subjects and complete one subject at a time; solve questions of past exams (I did for past 15 years) and then get to next subject.

IAS Score: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?

Amit Suresh Tolani: My strategy was to secure prelims first and then initiate to focus on Mains. However, I started the preparation of my Optional along with my preparation of Prelims.

For prelims, I completed the basic books and solved more of objective type questions (from both past years papers and insights on India Test papers)

For Mains, I focused more on Newspapers and solved Vision IAS and Synergy test papers.

GS Preparation for Prelims (Summary)

Study material / Guidance Polity : Laxmikant (special focus on Tables & boxes)

Modern History: Spectrum (special focus on chapters summary &

Economics: Shankar Ganesh

Geography: NCERT (6-12)

Mapping: World Map K. Sidhartha (Focus on Asia & Physical Map), Prem Patel-Indian Map

Environment: NCERT Biology-12thStd (Ecology section-special focus on tables & summaries) + Shankar IAS. (priority to NCERT because it will develop basic concepts)

Basic Books
Current Affairs The Hindu Newspaper + Vision IAS Current affairs

GS Mains Preparation (Summary)

Paper Study Material/Guidance Current Issues Source Answer Writing Practice
GS Paper 1 World History-Old NCERT;

Geo/Indian History/Culture-source is same as prelims

Vision test series (2 years)
GS Paper 2 News Paper-special focus on International relations Secure Mains-InsightsonIndia.com
GS Paper 3 News Paper-special focus on International Economics & security

Economic Survey

CBSE booklet on Disaster Management

Secure Mains-InsightsonIndia.com
GS Paper 4 S. K. Mishra Sir Class at GS Score, Jawahar Book depot – MNM series book on Ethics 2 case studies every day

Optional Subject Preparation  (Summary) – ‘Sindhi Literature’

Study material / Guidance Paper 1:

Grammar book –An intensive course in Sindhi

‘Sindhi Itihas’ by BherumalMihirchandAdvani

‘Sindhi Sahitya and adabjitarikh’ by DrLekhwani

‘Sindhi Sahitya jo Itihas’ by DrJetley

Paper 2:

1st hand reading of all books mentioned in UPSC syllabus (Will be issued for free by ‘National Council under Ministry of HRD for Promotion of Sindhi language; contact details available on its website)

Basic Books
Current Affairs
Answer Writing Min 2 Pages of Answer writing everyday

Test series guidance under DrBhojrajLekhwani, Pune

Any other

IAS Score: How did your prepare for essay.

Amit Suresh Tolani: At least 1 Essay each Sunday for the practice; Compare with others in order to improve. *Do NOT neglect essay at any cost because if the student is well prepared in essay, he/she will get high marks but if not prepared, marks will be substantially low. Eg: Marks may range from 90(low)-140(high)

IAS Score: Did you adopt any specific strategy for GS Paper 4?

Amit Suresh Tolani: My strategy was to focus mainly on the case studies. I used to solve 2 case studies each day from insightsonindia.com and compare my answers with others and jot down the good points or examples from other’s answers.

Students should collect the examples of important personalities. This they can use them in the answers.

For eg: Integrity & Courage – Ex CAG Vinod Rai

For Efficiency & Professionalism – Mr ShriDharan (MetroMan)

For Probity & Uprightness – Ex IPS Officer Dr Kiran Bedi

For Knowledge without Values – Mr RamalingaRaju-Satyam Scam

For Knowledge with Values – Mahatma Gandhi

IAS Score: What were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard?

Amit Suresh Tolani: ToppersBlog: Superman returns; Gaurav Agarwal, RachitRaj, Mrunal.org

IAS Score:  What is your advice on notes-making for other aspirants?

Amit Suresh Tolani: Always make short summary notes as they helps to- Register the information mentally (as we put in proactive efforts to prpare the same) Quick reference

IAS Score: How did you manage your time during the preparation?

Amit Suresh Tolani: I used to study in 2-2.5 hour slabs and small tea breaks. When bored, I used to solve objective type questions or watch something entertaining to refresh myself.

IAS Score: What was your style (paragraph or point format) of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Amit Suresh Tolani: My answer writing style was Point form.

I used to break the question into 2-4 headings to be able to write answers accordingly.

For Eg: In 2015, Que in Geo (paper 1) -‘Explain the factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents. How do they influence regional climates, fishing and navigation?’

Break of the ans for this ques will be in 5 parts-

  1. What are Ocean Currents?
  2. Factors responsible?
  3. Influence on Climate?
  4. Influence on Fishing?
  5. Influence on Navigation?

IAS Score: So much focus is being given to Test Series, both for Prelims and Mains, in your opinion how useful are they, in the course of a preparation process? Which Test Series did you join and how useful did you find it to be?

Amit Suresh Tolani: VERY important part of preparation for both Prelims & Mains because it shows us the mirror of our preparation level. It happens many times with students that they complete the book but still do not score in exam. Here the test series are of special relevance because these help students to assess how well he/she has understood and learnt the subject not just completed the books. It helps us to NOT be over confident.

For Prelims, I suggest previous years questions and Insights on India test papers

For Mains, Vision IAS Test papers.

IAS Score: Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?

Amit Suresh Tolani: My friends were sincere upsc aspirants who helped me in my highs and lows.

Break the syllabus in short milestones.

Keep yourself entertained to avoid monotony and breakdown.

IAS Score: The trend suggests that professionals or working people are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Amit Suresh Tolani: Absolutely NO; your sincere efforts are required irrespective of your background/caste/creed/academics/skills etc. One has to slog in some or the other way.

IAS Score: Which sources you referred to prepare for Contemporary Issues.

Amit Suresh Tolani: The Hindu, insightsonindia.com & mrunal.org

IAS Score: Given the recent boom in online initiatives to support an aspirant, which were the platforms that you find useful enough during your course of preparation. Please list the sites.

Amit Suresh Tolani:

insightsonindia.com

mrunal.org

IAS Score: What is your advice to the candidates who is still in the process of preparing for this examination?

Amit Suresh Tolani: Work Hard & Give more and more tests.

IAS Score: Your word for future aspirants

Amit Suresh Tolani: Have faith in yourself!

Amit Suresh Tolani Mark sheet

Paper Marks
Prelims GS-132

CSAT-105

Essay (Paper 1) 118
GS 1 (Paper 2) 99
GS 2 (Paper 3) 87
GS 3 (Paper 4) 102
GS 4 (Paper 5) 95
Optional 1 (Paper 6) 131
Optional 2 (Paper 7) 137
Written Total 769
Personality Test 149
Total Score 918
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