IAS topper with Mathematics
Utsav Kaushal secured an admirable all India rank of 14 in the 2016 UPSC civil services exam. His optional subject was mathematics. He is a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. In this article, we bring you a few tips from Utsav Kaushal to ace the mathematics optional in the UPSC mains exam.
For the UPSC syllabus for mathematics optional, click on the link below:
Utsav Kaushal’s tips for mathematics optional:
- First of all, the mathematics optional requires a lot of hard work. You should solve as many problems as you can. Practice alone can help you here. Don’t shy away from hard work!
- It is important that you try and solve the problems on your own. Do not jump to the solution as soon as you see a problem. Learning takes place only when you attempt to solve the problems yourself. Don’t copy solutions.
- Abstract algebra is a topic that is anathema for many candidates. Many are scared of this topic and they leave it altogether. Skipping this topic wouldn’t be a wise move since lots of questions are asked from this section each year. There is no way around it since you cannot afford to skip a chunk of the questions. So, all you can do is practice problems on this topic really well. Adequate practice will definitely help you understand it better and also improve your ability to solve problems.
- Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics is another topic that you have to do. A lot of questions are asked in the compulsory part.
- Dynamics & Statics: This topic is relatively easy and many candidates defer studying it until they have but a few days left for the mains exam, also because they would have studied it in their XI and XII standards. Kaushal’s advice to students is that they do this section initially. Leaving it totally is unwise since you need practice in mathematics no matter how easy a topic seems.
- There are some questions in maths which are in parts. You will be asked to prove a certain theorem in the first part and based on that, you have to solve the second part. Many candidates, on finding that they cannot solve the first part of the question, altogether leave the question. Kaushal advises candidates to answer whichever part of the question they know. It is possible to get some marks in that question and in the UPSC exam, every mark counts.
- Coordinate Geometry: Here, questions are in a set pattern. Kaushal recommends candidates to practice from ‘Analytic Geometry’ by PN Chatterjee.
- In calculus, the theoretical part takes a lot of time and Kaushal advices candidates to take it up only if time permits.
Utsav Kaushal recommends mathematics to all candidates who have a background in maths or engineering. He says it is a scoring optional provided the candidate works hard. His marks are proof enough of the optional being scoring. He scored 356/500 in the optional papers.