Art & Culture TopperSpeak UPSC Preparation Strategy


This article has been written by ForumIAS Member @doodlebean selected in the CSE 2014. This article is intended to be used by aspirants preparing for CSE 2015 Prelims to quickly brush up “Art & Culture” whose significance has only increased in Civil Services Prelims. However, aspirants who are preparing for 2016 may use this 20 day formula to quickly prepare Culture *forever* in twenty days.

Art and Culture is one area which I dreaded the most. UPSC is so much in love with this topic that the demon exists not only at the Preliminary stage but in Mains too.

So, let’s do something. Let’s give some days to this topic and live the rest of our UPSC years like a King. There will be no more anxiety in the preparation from Art n Culture side after this.

OK…. gather the ingredients first.

1) NCERT (should ideally take 7 days)
Do these in small classroom sessions. They should be fun, like beautiful pictures of temples and all the accompanying characteristic features like vimaana, shikaara, torana etc in one sitting. Read them like a 5th standard kid; curiosity in mind , eyes looking for itsy-bitsy tiny-winy details.
From 6th to 10th standard — read them twice. Cut the pictures and paste them in a notebook, and write notes on peculiar features of the same.

2) CCRT culture notes (should also take 7 days)
Do these like homework. Last year 95 percent of the culture questions were from these notes only. You have to reverse the procedure here. You will get notes here, and have to supplement them with pictures. Search for pics, and attach them to temples, dances, musical instruments etc, and notice each and every detail which is written in those notes in these pictures. The link to CCRT website is here.

3) Our very own Nitin Singhania’s Culture notes (5 days)
I promise, it will not take more than 5 days to complete this. The PDFs are available here or here. (ForumIAS staff: The pages may take some time to load, so be patient).

Believe me. Just put a “poorna viraam” (full stop) on Art and Culture preparation after this. No bulky books, no extensive notes, no coaching to be attended. If you invest these 19 days wholeheartedly, it will take only 3 days to revise the Art and Culture part just before exams. A cake-walk in the literal sense of the term.

4) Over your preparation, strictly follow The Hindu and The Indian Express. You cannot afford to miss even a single topic related to Art n Culture. Whether it is an op-ed article on the GI tag for Kanjeevaram Sarees or ASI talking about restoring some ancient sites, nothing should go unnoticed. This is a steady and unending process, but will not take more than five minutes everyday.

Ek baar try to karo 😀

Best wishes
ForumIAS Moderator

ForumIAS Gyan Articles are written by experienced ForumIAS members and are aimed at guiding aspirants. They may be original articles or may be picked up from comments posted in on