[Studyplan] Best Strategy & Studyplan for Medical Science Optional UPSC by Dr. Shaleen, Rank 81 UPSC CSE 2011

My Medical Science Optional Book List :
  1. Human Anatomy—B D Chaurasia books of Anatomy (all three volumes); Embryology from I B Singh;
  2. Human Physiology- GanongGuyton  & A.K.Jain book
  3. Biochemistry-  by U. Satyanarayan’s book.
  4. Pathology-  Pathological basis of disease by Robbins and Cotran, one can also refer to Harshmohan’s book also.
  5. Pharmacology- K D Tripathi’s book or even Lipincott is very good for memory point of view.
  6. Microbiology- D R Arora’s book. And same author’s book for medical parasitology.
  7. Forensic medicine- Essentials of Forensic medicine and Toxicology by Dr. K S Narayan Reddy. It is better to go by the tables that have been given in this book as question are asked directly from there and it is advisable to not to miss them.
  8. (Community medicine)Preventive and social medicine- K Park’s book is sufficient enough. There is no need to refer any special book for the programs of Govt. of India as K Park deals with them in good detail and one has to follow a word limit in writing questions.
  9. General Medicine- there are various books for medicine and no one is complete. I would highly recommend reading only those books which you have referred during your graduation years. Like I followed CMDT(no need to buy latest edition), textbook of medicine by S N ChughEmergency medicine by S N Chugh. I would recommend making notes on certain medical emergencies like asthma, COPD, Status epilepticus, poisoning cases etc. It is better to avoid reading Harrison as one need to prepare any question optimally and not totally. For Infectious diseases one should refer book from Indian author as presentation of Infectious diseases is a bit different in our country than west so avoid CMDT or Harrision for that.
  10. General Surgery- Manipal’s manual of surgery. For Differential diagnosis part one can refer to clinical surgery by S Das.
  11. Pediatrics-  Essential pediatrics by O P Ghai, Paul and Bagga. For d/d one can refer to DR. Mayoor K cheda book.
  12. Deramatology- illustrated synopsis of Dermatology and sexually transmitted diseases by Neena Khanna.
  13. Obstetrics and gynecology including family planning- Obstetrics by D C Dutta. And for gynecology either D C Dutta’s book or Shaw’s Gynecology. Practice questions in flow chart format like that has been given in D C dutta as it is the standard format to prepare for answer writing in medical science paper.

I have tried to give a list of books that is minimally necessary and it is advisable to read that part thoroughly so that one can attempt questions optimally and qualitatively.

Strategy for Medical Science: 

Aspiring and preparing for civil services after becoming a doctor is itself a big challenge and choosing an optional like medical science is a bigger challenge. Even medical graduates with good scores in their graduation years defer from taking it.
But my experience with MS as optional is different. General impression that I have regarding MS is that this subject is more feared. One who is directed and determined can easily handle this bulky subject.
Through this article I will try to clear doubts that most of students carry in their hearts and minds.

When one decides for civil services as a carrier first question is about choosing optional. And it is why Medical science when most of medical candidates are rejecting it?
Dear friends, before deciding about any optional I would recommend you to choose it on rational grounds and not on herd mentality.

It is a subject that you have studied for 5 years already and you just need to revise it while for any other optional one has to start from scratch. So you will have an advantage of prior preparation. Further if something is asked from here and there you would at least be able to attempt something if you don’t know as you understand the pulse of medical science.

This is a technical subject with objective and perfect answers unlike other humanities where answers tend to vary.

No language bar even if you are not good at English you are not at disadvantaged position in this field.

So it is worth to go for this optional.

Though I am an optimistic person but let’s accept the reality of this exam that it is not possible for everyone to clear it either for this reason or that reason. Sometimes it is the God that favours one so as a rescue plan it is better to be in touch of your own subject as if medical science is not read it is so much volatile subject that most of us tends to forget until and unless one is brilliant enough. I am sure  not everyone among us is like that.

Various issues while dealing with MS—

  •  Lengthy syllabus. 
  • Unmanageable as it is lock and loaded with facts.
  • No compiled up material is available in market.
  • No coaching classes.
  • Problems to answer questions especially the one related with differential diagnosis.

Now I will answer each and every issue in detail and one would find that it can be easily handled despite such roadblocks.

Strategy to prepare MS during 4 month period available b/w prelims and mains :
Once you have decided to go for MS I would suggest you now stop thinking to change your optional. Once decided means now no turning back.

Preparation of medical science has three phases that one has to complete in 4-5 month time period available.

Phase 1- Perspective phase
Phase 2- Retrospective phase
Phase 3- Perspective again

Phase 1 :
 Time available is up to prelims result declaration (usually 2 months). During this one needs to complete prescribed syllabus. Be specific and stick to the topics. Refer all those standard books that you have read during your graduation years. No need to go for any PG oriented book. Once you have completed this syllabus get ready for a more challenging phase- the phase 2. Purpose of this phase to refresh your memory about the topics that you had studied during 1st year and might have forgotten. It is like refreshing the text.

Phase 2
 : Retrospective one is the most challenging phase. One has to prepare previous year papers.

Start solving previous year papers. Begin with the latest one… yes questions they tend to repeat in Medical science (one more reason to choose MS).
Make notes short telegraphic ones as you need to recall only certain key words and rest you can write.

My experience says that one would take 2 days/ paper (actually 4-5 hrs per day) to make notes. So if one targets to solve 10 papers it would take 20 days (don’t forget you are under a mission)

By the time you will complete notes making you will find that some questions are repeating and a smart guess can be made for next year paper. (No other optional allows you that flexibility).

Those who are still left with energy and wants to put in more can write a one simulated test. When I wrote one I learned a lot. I would like to share-

  • Unlike papers of humanities there is no word limits prescribed for questions in MS paper but if one tends to write a complete answer one would not be able to complete the paper. So it is better to be smart enough while preparing and restrict your answer roughly to the limit of 250-300 words. Or roughly 100-120 words per 10 marker.
  • Practice diagrams beforehand. No need to waste time in making a very artistic diagram.  Just make it clear enough to be understandable.
  • Wherever possible write in points or flow chart format.
  • For PSM questions one can cite certain examples from newspaper. “The periscope” page of “The Hindu” newspaper is helpful sometimes.

Phase 3 :
 This is bit lighter one. Time slot varies according to the number of days available in b/w one’s optional. Revise all your hand written notes first and those areas that one feels uneasy with. Memorize pneumonic that you might have prepared.

Exam day : 
I call it as D-day. Don’t revise at least 30 min before exam. Take a rest. And say this all is well.
Once you enter in examination hall get down to your seat and when question papers are allotted to you immediately start marking the questions that you are going to attempt and write down key words or differential diagnosis that that you are going to write in that question as one tends to forget.

This process must not take more than 10 min. and after that start writing with speed as you have to complete your paper in a limited time frame. Believe me 3 hrs appear like 1hr on that day.

 After you have completed your paper before tying it just go through once whether you have attempted all questions and none is left. It’s a kind of recheck before submitting your answer sheet.

If possible do mention question number and respective page number that is given on the top of answer sheet and if u can’t because of time shortage don’t get tensed as you won’t be penalized by the examiner for that. They do understand your situation and the level of stress you might be going through.

Anyways just go ahead as you have prepared well with a strategy and practiced well. Don’t forget “all is well and all will be well”.

Meticulous practice and sincere efforts are key to success in this exam.

My Scorecard- UPSC CSE-2011 Rank- 81 AIR

General Studies Paper-1
General Studies Paper-2
Medical Science Paper-1
Medical Science Paper-2
Public Administration Paper-1
Public Administration Paper-1
Total Written



Source: DR. Shaleen Rank-81 CSE-2011.


  1. Sir.Am a nursing graduate can I opt ms

  2. Sir.Am a nursing graduate can I opt ms

  3. Sir.Am a nursing graduate can I opt ms

  4. Sir.Am a nursing graduate can I opt ms

  5. At your own peril !

    better take Psychology or some other subject

  6. Is it needed to memorise staging of diseases like all cancers, etc...? As they have only mentioned etiopathogenesis, clinical features, investigations and management in the syllabus..

  7. Sir,can a B.D.S Student opt medical science??

  8. Hi sir , I'm B.Pharnacy background.. is it ok to choose medical science as optional subject. Most of syllabus we covered in b.pharma , so please suggest me to select a correct one. Thank you sir

  9. I too a pharmacy graduate. Please help me.

  10. I m also a pharmacy student want to take ms as optinal reply me plz

  11. During that time sir "Dr. Shaleen" which Post you have gain