Monday, 22 October 2012

Short Reply

Hi Guys and Gals,

Am sorry, havent been very prompt in replying nor posting. I am traveling at the moment and will be able to properly respond only after the first week of November-so do bear with me till then. Meanwhile a brief preliminary reply to some queries:

Interview prep: please check out the following post on Interview tips .

Material for  PubAd paper1 compulsory questions: well, like most of you, I too was stumped by the questions. I think UPSC is trying to throw coaching centres off their game.  The only theorist I had heard of was Pareto in the 'Pareto optimality' and 'Pareto improvements' question-but unfortuntely didnt know anything about the two concepts. The remaining statements were related to our syllabus and am sure you must have read them too.
For eg in 1(c)"Man's motives in different subparts of the same organization may be different". Discuss.-  I wrote about importance of 'unity of direction', matching individual goal to organizational goal, pitfalls of 'goal displacement' etc. So although I didnt know the theorist Edgar Schien, I am telling myself that i wrote something sensible there.
Similarly for 1(d) "leadership is 'incremental influence' - I wrote about employee-oriented leader, leader as amateur psychologist, etc-basically one could have drawn upon leadership theories.

So what I am trying to say is that if we know our basics correctly then we can surely answer questions in a satisficing manner. Nonetheless value addition is imperative to keep up with UPSC. I dont know definite books to read but can suggest a way forward.
  • Start with your defined syllabus. 
  • Second, when you pick up a theorist, try and research a little about him beyond the coaching notes. Read up the wikipedia entry on his life- that may clarify his theory, put forth other ideas of his. 
  • For eg: Q3(a) asked about features of Simon's bounded rationality- my coaching teacher, Mr. Mohanty, had only told us about satisficing . But when i was randomly reading Simon's nobel prize speech, I came across the concept of search for alternatives. Unfortunately i didnt know about aspiration adaptation. So, what I am saying is that use the internet and read around the theorist and theory as well. 
  • Thirdly, always know about the history of a concept and its current relevance. This means that you will have to refer to recent developments on the issue. 
  • Fourthly, read about the theorists' collaborators or the thinkers who have contributed to a particular line if thought. 
  • Fifthly, a number of foreign universities put up material on theories and theorists-refer to those cause they are authoritative texts.
  • And more specifically, research the thinkers that were asked in the exam-read about them- dont think ki is saal pooch liya to agle saal nahi poochenge. All information and knowledge is valuable. 
  • Next, check out the past year question papers, and see if there are any concepts or thinkers you havent heard about-if so look them up and make notes.
I dont know how much dividend this approach will yield, but am sure whatever knowledge you accumulate will have a positive impact on your answer. If others have suggestions, do write in cause collaboration in this exam is very important for success. :)

How I gathered topics of relevance and what you can also do: will address in detail later, but for starters- I tried to read the newspaper (Hindu and Business Standard) thoroughly everyday and make notes- just this task would take up 4-5 hours daily.So do devote time to reading the paper and understanding the issues and all their linkages. Try and read a business paper as well.
I tried to read some books that we all think of reading but maybe never get around to like: Economic Survey, ARC2 Reports, magazines like The Economist, Foreign Policy, EPW. Try and do this as regularly as you can. The magazines will give you different insights into the issue which may not always be there in the Hindu. 

Lastly enjoy gathering knowledge. You never know what you read will come handy. For eg, last year I generally read up on Louis Baker and his architectural principles-must have spent a good day or two dreaming about the perfect house and what it would be like-and lo and behold- I waxed eloquent about Baker in the GS paper [definitely a little too eloquently :P]. Then again, I generally read about Kullu Dussehra, contemplating a visit there,  and came to know that they dont burn the effigy of Ravan as he was a Shivbhakt, and used this info in an answer on 'Great and Little Traditions' in Sociology.

So, my point is enjoy knowing about stuff and learning about it. Expand your interests. Secondly, do not confine yourselves to books to gain knowledge. Whichever city you are in, pay a visit to the museums around, go watch cultural performances, visit historical monuments, participate in discussions etc.

Analysis of Exam pattern, CSE2013:  will write at leisure about this.

So, basically I couldn't be concise but this is definitely a preliminary response. Will get back to you all in a fortnight's time. Till then, enjoy the break.


p.s.: @ Ashish and Anonymous who address me as 'Ma'am'- please call me by my name- we are all equal comrades in this exam and in life. :)


  1. Thanks a ton for getting back with an informative post.

  2. What did u write for this question:

    Policy judgements comprise reality judgements, value judgements and instrumental judgements' [Geoffrey Vickers]. Elucidate.

  3. Hi Spruti...
    Today while surfing. I come across your blog..
    Really it is very excellent work for aspirant us who are studying in remote area i mean apart from Delhi..
    Would you please upload all your article in one file and prove link on your blog..
    Thank you in advance..


  4. Hi Spurthi,

    When do we resume here?