[Studyplan] Best Strategy & Studyplan for Economics Optional UPSC by Topper Neeraj Kumar Singh (AIR Rank -11/ UPSC CSE 2011) 1st Attempt

My Strategy for Economics Optional
Background I graduated in June 2011 with an integrated master's degree in economics from IIT

When did I start my preparation?
I started preparing for CSE May 2010 onwards. So it was around that time that I started looking into Econ seriously from CSE point of view.

Despite having a degree in Economics I didnt feel that I was prepared enough score good marks in Econ in CSE. Hence I joined Prof Lalwani at Axiom Indian Administrative Service Academy, New Delhi for Econ coaching. Attending his classes brought a lot of conceptual clarity that I didnt have earlier. So at the end I can say that joining his coaching was a very good decision indeed and I owe a large part of my success to him.

Strategy for Paper - 1:

Books Referred Micro :

I tried to use only the standard texts recommended at good universities around the world. I think this is very essential to get the concepts right. I havnt seen the traditionally recommended books for CSE Econ like Jhingan, Gupta etc; so cannot comment whether those books should be used or not. But my advice would be, read good standard and universally appreciated text as far as possible. (But I must also add here that I was used to reading all the text I have mentioned in 'books referred' right from my undergraduate days. So I had a bias towards reading these texts.) I finished the syllabus once before Union Public Service Commission Preliminary Examination. But as I have said above I wasnt very confident about my preparation. Hence I took at coaching from Prof Lalwani. I used to revise class notes almost everyday and devoted a lot of time to understanding each concept that I thought was important. 

Answer Writing:
Writing practice is very essential for Economics because one has to train oneself to speak in the language of graphs. I feel that it is important that as far as possible things are explained through a graph in paper 1. Making good and accurate graphs requires a lot of practice. So I devoted a lot of time in mastering drawing the graphs. Once a graph is drawn the answer automatically flows as an explanation of the graph. I used to write answers frequently and give it to Prof Lalwani to review it critically. In my CSE paper, I tried to include at least one graph in every answer except where it was absolutely impossible to do so.

Strategy for Paper - 2 :

Books Referred:
There are no standard texts I referred for paper 2 preparation. One has to read a lot about the happenings in the economy through various sources.

Some of the sources I referred to are:

 I had tried reading Indian Economy by Dutt & Sundaram / Here initially. I feel that it is an eminently unreadable book. It is very poorly edited and the data are not updated even in the latest editions. It is very poor source of preparation if you are aiming at getting high marks in paper 2. But I admit that at times some topics may not be found elsewhere other than this book. So you may have to go through the frustration of reading some part of this book. 

I never referred to Mishra & Puri's Indian Economy / Here, so cannot comment about that book.

The strategy for paper 2 was to first read up on each topic mentioned in the syllabus from different sources (mostly web sources). Then I prepared notes on each of these topics and did a critical analysis of each of these topics so that I understand them better. I supplemented my understanding with research papers in EPW and editorials in newspapers. I had done all this before writing Union Public Service Commission Preliminary Examination. After Union Public Service Commission Preliminary Examination I devoted most of my time to understanding paper 1 better. For paper 2 I read Lalwani sir's notes.

Answer Writing:
Never did any answer writing preparation for paper 2 because it is mostly about expressing one's opinions on issues and I was confident about being able to do that well.

My advice to aspirants with Econ as an option:

1. Try to read from good text
2. Answer writing practice an absolute must for paper 1. I cannot emphasize this fact more. The more you practice, the better you will score.
3. For paper 2 do not stick to any one text. Try to read up as different sources till you are able to critically analyse the issue from different angles.

My Scorecard- UPSC CSE-2011 Rank- 11 AIR

General Studies Paper-1
General Studies Paper-2
Economics Paper-1
Economics Paper-2
Public Administration Paper-1
Public Administration Paper-2
Total Written




  1. can you please please tell me ...it is like big confusion............khadubhai you are deeply requested ........or anybody who can help me for that matter...actually while applying for upsc ias.. i have filled my application form without much interest as i was not sure of making it...luckly i am 100 percent of making it to main...now..the problem is i dont know...which language i have choosen for essay....i certaily would love to write in hindi..as far as essay is concern...while for gs 1.2,3.. i will prefre english....how to know all this pls tell. me....

    1. You have to write Essay in the Same Language you have chosen or will choose for the Mains. You can't do this that You write GS in English and Essay in Hindi, So I will suggest you to prepare essay in English From now on, or Give Mains in Hindi so you will have to write GS also in Hindi. If you want to Choose Medium English then do prepare essay in English. Do writing Practice Practice and Practice...

  2. In addition i only knew my Registration no. which is 11525777442 ,. can it help me find my status ..pls...my contact no....is 9805260535 if i can be contacted...

  3. what can i get my application status ....i know ....my registeration id... unlike hppsc it is really clumsy to get infromation about your previous application forms..in upsc...but thanks it will meet the purpose for a while...and you are great mean....actully i filled my application really in haste....i m really duck....mine was first attempt ..i thought just to test my self ..luckily paper was easy....and now all this confusion..


  5. Hello sir,
    How helpful is DU UNDERGRAD ECON syllabus in preparing a bse for the UPSC syllabus...

  6. I appeared in graduation eco (H) I want to prepare optional Economics for upsc which book preferred indian economy

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  8. All the provisions of the Indian constitution were framed keeping an eye on furthering the interests of these opportunists. Just to hood wink the masses, the people were granted the right of universal suffrage. Paskolos Internetu