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CSE 2022: Plan/ Strategy/ Daily Routine

This is an everything thread for all stuff 2022. You can post your daily goals, end-of-the-day updates, weekly targets or any weird thing you use to measure your progress. You can put into words & post the soul-sucking sadness that is threatening to devour you & your productivity. You can write what made your day & let others experience the happiness too, at least vicariously. This is a thread to pick each other up. This is a thread to keep each other accountable. This is a no-judgement zone.


“This is one more piece of advice I have for you: don't get impatient. Even if things are so tangled up you can't do anything, don't get desperate or blow a fuse and start yanking on one particular thread before it's ready to come undone. You have to realize it's going to be a long process and that you'll work on things slowly, one at a time.”

— Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

jack_Sparrow,Fireheartand160 otherslike this


Thanks for starting this thread, mate. 

In March, when the mains results came, I was quite shattered to be frank. I was fully expecting to clear the mains stage at least, and half expecting to get my name somewhere in the rank list, at least at the bottom. However, the result was on unexpected lines. When you devote so much of your time and energy to something, and it consistently gives you nothing in return, it’s draining. It took me all the strength in the world to stand back up on my feet again post my repeated failures at prelims in 2019. I found the strength I needed to do that from this platform. I found a mask I named Patootie. Yet, it is so much harder to find that the second time around, after you’ve been knocked down. This exam is ruthless, and it owes you no debt, no matter how much you think it does. 

So, when I failed mains last time, my immediate course of action was self preservation. I needed to find myself a job. I needed to find myself again. I know how clichè that sounds, because I also agree there is never one you. You keep changing, and your experiences keep moulding you into the person you are at any given point in time. I guess, I needed to find out who I was, outside the scope of this exam. I did not want to tell people I was preparing for an exam. I wanted to feel like anything but a failure, who took on more than he could chew. I wanted to feel worthy again. Of something. 

So, I found a job. I consider myself extremely lucky. And I have performed reasonably well at my job since. I like some of my work, and can live with most of it. It offers a good life. Yet, I am somehow drawn back to this platform and you people, over and over again. I can’t simply shake this off. 

When@whatonly and@AJ_ cleared the paper, I felt that joy in my heart and wondered how their lives would have been like at that very moment. When@MaeveWiley wrote a frustrated and heartfelt post today, I felt every bit of it too. When I read @D503’scomments, I somehow always feel connected with their experience. This community understands and feels, and somehow, I feel there’s a part of me that I can reveal here that one who is not intricately connected with the exam would never understand. 

At this point, for me, it is not even about the job for me. I want to clear the exam. It is as simple as that. It is an intensely personal struggle and it has been for at least the past 2 years. Good thing is, I finally feel that I can truly give my best again towards that goal. The time for austerity is done, now is the time for audacity. “Audacity of hope? “

I missed the mains cutoff by 5 marks.  When I was telling my mom about it over the phone, I broke down crying. I didn’t know that I felt that emotional about it any longer, given I hadn’t touched my books properly for over 9 months. Since I failed to clear mains, I was nowhere close to where I needed to be to get the service of my choice. However, I did feel robbed at that moment. I don’t know why, can’t put my finger on it. However, as time passed, I realised it was the best possible outcome. Maybe I did a few things right. I don’t know what they were and even if I did identify them, whether they would work again. Yet, somewhere in my marksheet, I’ve found my will to try again. 

This forum carried me the last time I was active on it. I’m just trying to stand up again, and I didn’t know where else to go. Thanks for this thread, mate. 2022. Maybe, just maybe. 

ssver2,Oasisand56 otherslike this

Hi guys!

IN this time. Was scoring 100+ in GS and 58.75  in CSAT from 3 keys. Now that scared the shit out of me and I couldn't utilise all these days and was just preparing myself mentally for the worst. Lekin when the result came, hopefully I cleared. Isse yeh seekha tha never trust CSAT keys, bahut hi important days waste karwa sakte hai. And mentally fuck up bhi kr sakte hai. Now just 85 days remaining will give my best shot! 

All the best everyone ♥️

Deepak802,Auroraand38 otherslike this


» show previous quotes

Calling it a day, too early today. Will watch some movie. This sudden news of upcoming result would take time to sink in. Won’t fake it, but i am as much nervous as much I am excited.

Reviewing now - meditation resumed, Stock Exchange missed, Jammu Kashmir considerably done. My love for the land has ensured i went too much in depth and not dimensions. Will correct it in coming days. Below average day overall.

Targets for March 17 (day 18)

1. No plans as of now, would post by night what all I did.

Good luck dostoen, may tomorrow be a good day !

PS - I will write two letters to self. One tonight, another tomorrow night. Will keep both of them confidential.

Today was not a good day. Flunked in Mains once again. Doing it consecutively is not ordinary. It’s extra ordinary. This entire cycle has been very much confusing for me. Clearing prelims effortlessly, flunking in mains with efforts. I shall work on changing orientation towards Mains, and it will take time. Will ensure good enough answer writing practise. Meanwhile, some of my best friends have cleared this stage, I am just so happy for them and family.

Reviewing now - watched some random stuff here and there, nothing concrete. Watched a movie just now - The Lunchbox, could relate very well.

Targets for March 18 (day 19)

1. No major targets as such - my father sahab has planned to take me somewhere on a short vacation, i am just very curious.

2. Will look towards psc mains, limited days are left, limited choices are left.

Haar nahi maanenge. A battle is lost, war still remains.

D503,dalphaand33 otherslike this

Good luck to my old and new fellas who cleared prelims this time. I didn't appear this time but was rooting for you all. You all are brilliant irrespective of the prelims result.
Various regulatory bodies' exams are on the card in the coming days/months and for those who couldn't clear it, the opportunities are nigh! Please keep the motivation high. 

Please pray for my RBI mains tomorrow though. Good luck!

DM,Auroraand28 otherslike this

Came across a passage that resonated with me deeply and reminded me of this UPSC journey. 

"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.”

Haruki Murakami (in Kafka on the Shore) 

Loved reading this. Putting the book on my reading list. This reminded of a poem I keep going back to in difficult times.

Sharing it here: Kahlil Gibran, Fear

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,

but of becoming the ocean. 

Apologies for the poor formatting. 
D503,chamomileand26 otherslike this
Scoring around 80 according to different keys.I don't think there's a scope for clearing this time. Wasn't able to study or practice before the exam too. I somehow was feeling saturated. But I feel wounded, and stuck now. I think i am done with the journey now. But felt was so close last mains and could definitely do really well this time.I have invested some good 4 years and i feel so lost. Sure, I've learnt so many things , but i am left with no skills or degrees for the job market. I definitely feel i can't go back to an MNC and want to do something impactful. But i am genuinely tired of being unemployed and having my life on hold. All i have is a fistful of dreams broken now. Just late night rants. I have found solace on this platform many times, just felt like saying this here. 
GaryVee,Masked_marveland25 otherslike this
6th attempt. 6th mains. Last attempt. Bas ho jaye yaar.
Aurora,GaneshGaitondeand25 otherslike this


@Celeborn Can you please tell how you analyse toppers ethics copies? What things should one look for and how much time should we give to them? 

Depends on how much time you have and what are your needs.

1) If you're not giving Mains and otherwise have enough time, one of the best things you can do is to either write or mentally frame answers to questions and then compare them to toppers answers. I did this in Feb last year for one week and it did help improve my understanding and confidence a lot. 

2) If you are giving Mains this year or are lacking time, just read through copies and try to analyse how answers are being written. This includes stuff like 

(a) What are being written as intros/conclusions? 

(b) How the answer is being structured. Are subheadings separately mentioned? 

(c) If it's in point format, how is maximum content being conveyed in minimal words 

(d) How the spacing is between lines and subparts

(e) How the page looks at a glance

(f) How examples are being written (how many words typically used per example, how many examples in an answer, what kinds of examples etc) 

(g) How diagrams are being used (how much space it takes, where exactly it's placed) 

(h) How specific types of questions (for eg. Quote based questions) are being answered 

(i) Specifically for case studies, what are mentioned in intros conclusions? Is stakeholders mentioned every time? What all are being answered? What keywords are being used etc

(j) Presentation styles across both sections - how are words highlighted (underlining?/boxes or circles?); how options, merits, demerits are being written in case studies; how subparts/subheadings are shown etc 

This isn't an exhaustive list. You can always learn lots from these copies. In particular, always try to notice if any innovation has been used (no matter how trivial). Even small things if implemented well make a difference. 

3) Topper Copies can also act as repositories of examples, diagrams, quotes. In particular, they're extremely useful because they were written in exam condition thus the content is most suitable for replication in the exam hall. For instance you may learn lots of quotes. But some may be confusing or difficult to recall. Others may not be relevant and useful everywhere. Quotes contained in topper copies are quotes that they used in exam setting so it indicates it's possible to recollect them clearly + it's relevant to the kind of questions being asked in ethics papers. Same goes with examples and diagrams. 

Again, if you're giving Mains, don't spend too much time on this. Completion of syllabus and revision is much more important. I personally went through 2 copies in detail and just glanced through a few others last year before Mains. 

Keep it in your to do list. But do it when you're otherwise tired and don't feel like studying. 

DM,sonderand25 otherslike this

Hi guys!

The results came. Out again. 

This was my 3rd attempt. 3rd Mains. And 3rd straight setback at this stage. This one hurt the hardest though. 

Yesterday was spent in processing the pain and trying to introspect on the mistakes I made. There are a lot of things I need to work on. Some changes I need to make in my approach. Changes I'm confident of implementing because of the support system I'm lucky to have, especially here. 

I want to thank this community. This thread (and particularly the 2021 daily routine thread) are my favorite threads. I've made some great friends here, learned a lot from everyone and found motivation every day to work better. And now I hope this thread will help in keeping the desired level of discipline, consistency and intensity. 

It's time to get back to the grind now. This still hurts; but the only way to heal the pain is to be better and ensure a positive result next time. The next 6 months is do-or-die. 

Targets for today:

1) Polity 

2) Newspaper 

3) CA August 10 pages 

4) Maths PYQs 

5) TLP 

Have a great day! 

chamomile,ThePhenomand25 otherslike this
All these months of hardwork and yet two days before the D Day is when realisation hits, that we’ve actually done nothing substantial and there hasn’t been any improvement. Clearly, there’s no exam like UPSC prelims.
GaryVee,ArchAngel96and25 otherslike this
  1. SFG targets plus backlog of yesterday -- backlog remained as it is
  2. Newspaper -- done
  3. Current Affairs monthly Jan -- did not
  4. Clear as much backlog of newspaper notes as possible -- cleared some more
  5. Walk --skipped :/

Today's targets 17/02/2022 --

  1. Jan CA
  2. Newspaper, clearing some more backlog
  3. SFG syllabus
  4. Walk

D503,chamomileand24 otherslike this

In. 6th attempt ..1st Mains

Aurora,GaryVeeand24 otherslike this


D503,DMand24 otherslike this
Moved to Delhi, done both the levels of SFG. Attempted offline tests n everything possible but couldn't make to the pdf. Remember consoling people last year post mains, now I know what it exactly feels like. Don't know what to do. The problem is not that I didn't clear, the problem is that this time I was expecting to clear.  Stay strong fam!
D7,June_Osborneand22 otherslike this
  1. Take CSAT test --done
  2. SFG syllabus --done
  3. Newspaper --done [notes pending]

Today's targets 14/02/2022 --

  1. Test analysis, solve unattempted questions(practice more, improve speed)
  2. Newspaper
  3. SFG syllabus
  4. Clear newspaper pending notes