AIR 4 Saumya Pandey Strategy for UPSC Exam Preparation

Saumya Pandey, an electrical engineer by profession, from Allahabad bagged an impressive fourth rank in the UPSC CSE 2016. She accomplished this incredible feat at the young age of 23 and the fact that it was her first attempt after a year she graduated in 2015, makes this feat even more incredible.

This article will provide the details about the UPSC exam preparation strategy of Saumya Pandey IAS. Also featured is Saumya Pandey book list for IAS preparation.

To see inspirational videos of IAS toppers along with their preparation strategies, marks, and optional subjects, aspirants can check the linked article.

Get every day updates about events of national and international importance by visiting the Current Affairs page. Visit the page now!!

Refer to the following links below to strengthen your UPSC Exam preparation:

Strategy for UPSC prelims

Saumya followed an integrated approach for the UPSC prelims and the mains. Although 1-2 months before the prelims exam, she practised mock tests.

For CSAT: Saumya, being an engineer only had to brush up her math skills a few days before the CSAT. She also studied English comprehension before the exam. The CSAT, being only a qualifier, Saumya did not spend a lot of time on it.

GS Paper I: Saumya studied all the NCERTs from class VI to class XII for subjects like history, geography, political science, sociology and science and tech. For current affairs, she followed online sources that featured regular PIB and Hindu editorials updates.

In the Prelims exam, Saumya recommends attempting all the questions that you are absolutely sure of first and then moving on to other questions.

Strategy for UPSC Mains

Essay Paper: Saumya practised essays every 15 – 20 days on current affairs topics.

  • GS Paper I: She studied the NCERTs and only a few other books. She read Bipin Chandra’s ‘India’s Struggle for Independence’; Laxmikanth’s ‘Indian Polity’; and Nitin Singhania’s ‘Indian Art and Culture’.

She also followed the CCRT website for art and culture.

  • GS paper II: According to Saumya, this paper has a lot of current affairs compared to GS Paper I. Here, she focused on monthly magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra.
  • GS paper III: Here the focus was on current affairs, Economic Survey and budget highlights.

For science and tech, she focused on the science supplement of ‘The Hindu’ newspaper.

She also recommends online test series for mains exam so that candidates develop speed and get used to the feel of the IAS exam.

Language papers: Here there are two qualifying papers – one English paper and one regional language paper. Saumya Pandey’s Indian language was Hindi. Even though they are only qualifying in nature, it is important to brush up on your language skills.

Optional subject: For Saumya’s optional subject of Geography, she referred the following books:

Saumya Pandey Geography booklist

Paper I: Physical Geography – Savinder Singh; Human Geography – Majid Hussain

Paper-II: Indian Geography – D R Khullar

She also practised maps from previous question papers. This is important as these questions are scoring.

Strategy for UPSC Personality Test/Interview

The first step in the interview preparation is to fill in the DAF very carefully as the UPSC board will definitely ask questions from what you have filled about yourself. They will ask about your hometown, hobbies, extra-curricular activities, awards and medals.

They will also ask current affairs based questions and also situation-based ones. So, prepare accordingly and practice taking the interview beforehand.

Your answers must be multi-dimensional, balanced and rational.

You can find more UPSC-related preparation materials and other articles with the links given in the table below:

Related Links

NCERT Books UPSC Exam Pattern UPSC Eligibility Criteria
Core Sector Census of India 2011 UPSC Mains Syllabus in Hindi
Asia Pacific Group UN Organs NRC Registration


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