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CSE 2023: Plan/ Strategy/ Daily Routine

A Window for all things CSE 2023. You can type in your ways and means of achieving your goals, your daily updates, strengths and things that might be holding you down. No-judgement, no-tugging, just a healthy discussion to help discuss our way through this long and interesting journey. Lets get prepping!.#CSE 2023
D503,DMand112 otherslike this


Mann hi ni kar raha. Itna mann karta hai to come back on Forum but this is not 2020 anymore. My friends@whatonly ,@AzadHindFauz @sjerngal  and many others are already selected and I am still slogging. I come here and I feel defeated. Isiliye, mann ni karta aane ka yahan. 

Uljhanein badhti gayi, mai jhelta raha...

Waqt ne maidan me utara, mai khelta raha...

Log kehne lage tu pagal ho jayega, mai sunta raha...

Logo ki baato ko man me dabaye, apne sapne bunta raha...

Lekin kaise batau mai in logo ko, jab waqt badlega to mai nahi mera vishwas badlega...

Fir ye pagal in logo ko nahi, pura itihaas badlega!!!!

Keep slogging, bro. Your time will come!

mightyraju,D503and31 otherslike this
An acceptance post.

I have spent the last few days being either hurt or angry. It was my second prelims failure, and one that I wasn't ready for. I am caught in the vicious cycle of blames, of how it was my circumstances that failed me. I know it is no use, and hence I write this post to accept, and let go.
The person I have been blaming the most is my father. He would not allow me to go to a library when I found it impossible studying at home. For no reason at all. I have been obedient so far, never did anything 'immoral' in the eyes of the society. And yet this. Plus, he would force me to get into a job, because it is so hard to get, and so in the 7 months that I had for this attempt, I prepared for three different exams.
That's what is hurting me, and making me angry. But this is not the complete picture. I could have gone to the library had I been a little more obstinate. I could have insisted him for a fully focused attempt all the same.
I know this post is rather negative, but I am writing it as a reminder of how I can indeed control my circumstances if I want to. I don't want to fall in this trap of cribbing ever again.
I accept my faults, and I choose to move on. 
DM,ArchAngel96and31 otherslike this

Since this is the most active thread on Forum, I'll just put it here.

Some of you might remember me. I am a relatively older member of the Forum community and have benefitted a lot when I was preparing from my home. I have made some lifelong friends on this community and would suggest you all to use this platform constructively, especially those preparing from home.

I got AIR 68 this year with Anthropology as my optional. If you have anything that I can help you with, feel free to ask here or send me a message. 

P.S.- Asking here in this thread will help others too. If possible, please ask here itself 🙂

D503,Joeyisthebestand30 otherslike this

Opened Forum today after a really long time. Would be lying if I say that I wasn't missing this platform. 
Just thought of wishing you guys good wishes for every day that you hustle :) 
We are stronger than how we think of us to be. 


mightyraju,Deepak802and29 otherslike this

Hi friends,

So I have decided to move on from upsc preparation. It was impacting my health - mental and physical. 

I have attempts and age left but I do not know if/when I will come back to chase this goal again. May be someday /may be never. 

Thanks everyone for your kind suggestions and tips which you gave whenever I needed help. 

It is difficult to stop thinking about something you have thought about and immersed yourself in hardwork for years. 

On a side note : I think I can write a post/something on " What  not  to do for upsc". But then again who will read? And Why to scratch my old wounds and suffer pain again? Nevermind. 

May everyone get fruits of their hardwork. 


Deepak802,DMand28 otherslike this

Life update for all those kind souls who care about me : Not giving the exam this year. I am focusing on completing my LLB. Telling this because while we are in this preparation, it is so damn easy to forget that there exists a huge & beautiful world away from the civil services examination 

Today, I am here as I thought of sharing some of my learnings as a lot of my friends have started shifting gears towards prelims prep. I felt I should share my learnings with you all. For that I need to give you all a background as well. Here we go : 

I am someone who has failed prelims twice & also managed to clear prelims twice

2019 : I couldn't Crack it mainly due to lack of revision(didn't have short notes + obviously first attempt naiveness), blunders in Economics (Static part) & lack of what I call the stillness of mind. I attempted around 78 Questions & fell short by 4 marks 

2020 :Attempted Vision tests + Revised throughly + Kept still during exam + Made short notes. I attempted 87 questions & cleared by a narrow margin of 2 marks 

2021 :This was the attempt that pained me the most. This is where I was most prepared but still I choked. I was so shocked to see sports questions & I couldn't digest that questions were still so difficult for me despite putting in so much efforts. None of my friends & even I till this date cannot believe that I attempted only 68 questions. I fell short by 4 marks again. This is the attempt that made me realise about the need for a strong mental state and how "Losing your mind in the face of a crisis(here - shocking prelims paper) is a good way to become crisis itself" 

Then began the roughest & the toughest phase of my life from Nov 2021 to June 2022. This year I decided to Join FORUM IAS test series & thoroughly analysed the PYQ. I realised medieval history including name of kings is bound to increase given the trend from 2020. Thus, I made short notes from Satish Chandra as well. This time, I didn't want to leave any stone unturned. 

I focussed more on understanding & inquisitively thinking about things that appear. I used YouTube, watched a lot of documentaries to FEEL things. This time I also decided to completely ditch Vision (despite massive FOMO) . I just couldn't stand the dry language. Instead I relied more on PMF IAS Current affairs notes & Only IAS Videos. Another thing I focussed was on being anti fragile (concept by Naseem Taleb) & develop nerves of steel. I gave all Forum tests at center & attempted Abhyas. While Vision did simulate UPSC in terms of toughness , I still found Forum SFG & Test series question, the most relevant. Vision's questions irritated me a lot. I still don't know why 😒

Again in this attempt, I could only attempt 81 questions. I had only one principle : I will not make any random Tukkas (But do know that in my humble opinion - Prelims cannot be cleared without taking risks & making intelligent guesses) . Hence I was satisfied with even 81 questions. As per keys, I was scoring around 102-106 and cleared the cutoff 

While this was my journey, following are my learnings 

1.Short notes + Revision: For me, it was impossible to revise anything without short notes.So if you believe you have time, please do invest on making smart & short notes

2.Practice for Randomness. After the COVID shock, countries are moving towards developing resilient economies. UPSC aspirants too need to develop anti fragility & resilience. This can only come by facing shocking papers. Then come back & analyse how you could've fared better. List those things down & try again 

3.You MUST know what NOT to study. Prelims test series provide a lot of random stuff. You must learn to separate the chaff from the grain. I don't know how a new aspirant can develop this skill. But I believe this is a very very important skill and Seniors are able to do this very easily. They are able to eliminate the FOMO & still carry massive confidence 
Also, I never studied any frog species that was discovered or random facts. I knew I won't be able to remember them. Hence eliminated them completely. I never focussed on Polity current affairs as UPSC has stuck largely to the static part only. For rest, I believed that TS would make for it .

4. Method in madness : Develop a method & STICK TO IT TILL the end. Which test series you'll practice, how you'll Revise & how you'll analyse. Understand WHY are you practising or WHY you are reading a certain book/chapter. Once the objective is clear, your efficiency would increase a lot. For eg- I never focussed on making notes out of Vision Abhyas as I felt my only aim was to simulate & not develop content out of it especially as it is held in April end & May. But with Forum & SFG (Till April), I did make notes

5.Do what works for you: Vision current never worked for me. I found it very very dry. Even for Mains, I couldn't stand the document (Still don't know why) 

6. Study everything (especially biotechnology) with inquisitiveness & interest- In all my 4 attempts, this has always helped me solve some questions easily. Watch youtube videos to understand concepts (Discussed above too). Those who have given 2022 prelims -(Watch from 33:00, At precisely 36:00, Fungi is discussed)

7.The last learning (for life & not prelims) that is very close to my heart is I began to appreciate ALL those around me who were putting their heart and soul in to the preparation . It didn't matter what score or what result they got or whether they would make it or not. I began to respect them solely for the efforts that they were putting in. I don't know how relevant this is for the exam. But whenever, I went to write Prelims test, I felt very very proud of all my peers who sat along with me, each going through their own struggles, and coming back test after test. Maybe some of us were not moving in the right direction but all of us fought like fierce warriors and that's what mattered !  

At the end I would say : Feel free to ignore anything that you're not able to connect with. I am just posting this because a lot of peers messaged me that they had benefitted in some ways from some of my posts. Hence even if one of you benefits from this, I would be content. All the best to ALL OF YOU. Go get it this year ! 😁

P. S : Putting it here as I couldn't find the relevant Prelims thread. If there is separate thread, do let me know please. 

Edit : In 2022 Prelims, I had set D and I am telling you I could only attempt around 20 questions from the first 50 questions. But I tried to keep calm and from 50-100 Qs were relatively easier. I came back with greater confidence and attempted 81 as explained earlier 

Also I have added a YouTube video to illustrate the inquisitiveness aspect in point 6.Also, This doesn't mean you should watch dozens of documentaries. Just be Inquisitive 

mightyraju,DMand26 otherslike this

P.S. this is longer than I thought it would be, you can save your precious time by not reading😂

:ghost: Hello Everyone!

Life update + Story Time 

You know how 'people say' that nice things happen, when you are least expecting them, or something like that.

So, nice things have happened! 🍋🌶

I got through JRF, I had not expected of course, given the circumstances I wrote the paper in...

Despite filling the form the day it was out, my centre was about 600KMS away & admit cards came out 48 hrs before the paper.

No prior city intimation or anything. I had almost given up on writing the paper, but somehow traveled last minute, to a city I had never been in, w/o any stay plan, you can imagine the state of revision and stress.

Train mein I applied for another job interview, got a callback and in a week I had a job, it was strange, really!

Because for the last one year, I had thought kaun hi hire karega, kya hi skillset hai mere pass, I even thought ki kisine apply nahi kiya hoga isiliye hire kiya mujhe!:ghost: 

(Job applications were becoz of constant looking at me with hope & pity at home, and me looking back at them with guilt)

Anyways, fast forward to JRF result day, wasn't really expecting to get through until a friend of mine was like, dekh toh leti yaar!

So, I checked and I though NTA had uploaded the wrong results 😂 so I re downloaded and mera hi result tha😂 

lekin phir log poochne lage ki PhD kab join karogi😅

Today, I have many things I wished for an year ago, but I want more, perhaps that's what life is, you keep moving, you keep working & things start looking like they are falling in place.

In reality, they are never falling in place, there's always something more, something better, something greater. 

These things have also sent me off track a little. But, day by day, inch by inch, I'll get back on track. I have moved cities and would prolly move again in a few months. But, I'll keep putting in effort everyday and see what comes next🤘

Until then 

Fingers crossed & prep mode on!🙋

mightyraju,D503and25 otherslike this

To all those who have given the exam yesterday, whatever you’re feeling right now is THE REALITY OF THIS EXAM. In a few days, people will make you feel that the exam was doable. They’ll make you feel that cutoff will also decline na, so why worry. You had to do only 40 right. But you know how flawed that argument is as you’ve experienced how all this actualises in the real world D Day environment. 

Trust me a lot of commercial interests will make you forget this feeling that you must be having right now. Make sure you capture how you’re feeling right now and know that you might feel exactly same way the next year. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE AT ALL

UPSC prelims 2023 was extremely ARBITRARY, RANDOM and no need to even feel sad about this. 

Be very very proud of your efforts, result is only an external validation that we seek from outside world and anything external won’t make you happy. Just try and stay true to yourself. If you did, Amazing because that’s all that counts.

P.S : I am not trying to demotivate anyone who wishes to give another attempt. All I am trying to tell you is PLEASE MAKE AN INFORMED CHOICE. Don’t think this won’t happen to you or this won’t happen again :(. All I am asking you to do is HAVE A PLAN for such an event.

D503,DMand23 otherslike this

For this week, I'll try to work hard, remaining completely isolated from any outside factor which can influence my mood. Will prepare well for SFG, but won't check the rank list. Will only focus on the mistakes I made, and how I could not have made those. For the next week, will only open one website: academy.forumias  (only 6:50-9:00), and will try to do my best to understand the fact that I have to study some things which I don't like to study; that I have to study some things in moderation and not try to become an expert on them, and that there are many things I wish to read and to do, but there is more than enough time to do them later on.

I will also try to make my daily schedule and study hours unnegotiable, and not let my body or mind interfere with what needs to be done. 

I am usually not so dramatic, but for at least this week, I am non-existent as far as society is concerned. Best of luck everyone.

DM,GaryVeeand21 otherslike this

Today, after many years, I sat upright on a Table-Chair, and studied for 3 Hours straight, without getting Distracted, or feeling Anxious and Overwhelmed.

I'm beyond Elated right now, and just wanted to share this little victory. This would have been impossible for me, just 20 days back.

Hey, everyone! I made this account using a Temporary Phone No, from some site I don't remember, to safeguard my Privacy. I believe in Free Access to Resources. So, if you see any posts from this account Selling anything or trying to scam, they wouldn't be from me. Someone would have gained unauthorized access to this account. Best recourse to prevent such a thing would be to delete the account, but Forum doesn't provide that option.
mightyraju,Deepak802and21 otherslike this

Back here after a long time

I had completely lost interest in upsc months ago. honestly didn’t study for 2022 so not clearing didn’t surprise me. (Couldn’t skip it cause I started pursuing upsc right after graduation) Marks were borderline too. I had texted@Neyawn one day before saying I didn’t study but I wrote it either way. If I could skip it I would but never mind.

out of 3, I have written 2 attempts with such bad preparation 

FOMO and being locked up at home severely affected my mental and physical health. And even if I had got through prelims god knows how I would handle mains

Finally I think I have enough time to revise restrategise and practise enough for next year and it seems doable to me. I have joined a job (that I love and always wanted to pursue apart from this). Will be joining Eklavya and required test series.

I need to ingrain it in my head that it’s doable and I won’t prepare Half heatedly this time. Pressure won’t make me bend and I will do what’s needed. Job security is definitely working for me already and always depending on forum and insights to get to the list

so hello you all!! Hope to have a good and successful time ^_^

mightyraju,D503and21 otherslike this

Today my 6 year old headphone lost a limb and that prompted me to introspect about my own tortuous journey into the abyss of cse. Am i also not being worn down by circumstances, chewed by the sharp teeth of time,consumed by profound grief and guilt,  undermined by my sheer lack of discipline. My hairs are graying , my health is deteriorating , my parents are growing old, my friendships have passed into the black hole of oblivion. What am I doing with my life.

A mocking voice came wafting from next room : making a mountain out of a molehill.

"It's just a headphone silly",shouted my sister over her lungs in her quirky voice.

" Would it have killed you to feign some sympathy", said I.

" I don't have any sympathy for petty bourgoise who plunge into existential crisis for a stupid overpriced product of a capitalist system that exploits the labour of the third world poor workers ,and that makes a lot of noise about sustainability and ESG corporate pradigm to whitewash its products; and then sell these products to the same gullible bourgeoisie who lap it up, thanks to the blietzkrieg of modern marketing techniques that have succeeded in transforming the multidimensional man into a unidimensional consuming man who defines his identity in terms of what he owns, and of which brand", came the retort.

Needless to say my mood was runined and i knew exactly the thing that could cheer me up. So , i went out to have a pizza at bominos. After that i went to the shopping mall to buy some expensive branded tshirts (made in Bangladesh in a sweatshop) , and some Jodhpurs at a steep discount( they said it's limited time deal so my fomo kicked up and i forgot that they have been offering the same discount since forever. Great strategy, mark your product at 7k give 3 k discount and it's still expensive af) . nevertheless, After suffusing myself with capitalistic gratification , my senses were pleasantly calmed. Took an uber back home and gladly reasured my self with ' Isn't life amazing'.

Oh! About those headphones. The company just released a new improved version which will make me feel as if the celestial nymphs themselves are  doing a live concent in front of my eyes. This made me wet at my mouth, that is to say i was salivating like Tommy , my neighbour's dog. Cant wait to get my hands on them, that is to say the headphones , not the dog. I hate dogs. They remind of my own pavlovian conditioning.

mightyraju,dalphaand20 otherslike this

हताशा से एक व्यक्ति बैठ गया था

व्यक्ति को मैं नहीं जानता था

हताशा को जानता था

इसलिए मैं उस व्यक्ति के पास गया

मैंने हाथ बढ़ाया

मेरा हाथ पकड़कर वह खड़ा हुआ

मुझे वह नहीं जानता था

मेरे हाथ बढ़ाने को जानता था

हम दोनों साथ चले

दोनों एक दूसरे को नहीं जान ते थे

साथ चलने को जान ते थे।

So  lets be that invisible hand to each other as said in poem , walk together and keep pushing ourself and others .lets be the motivation for each other as said by Harivansh Rai Bachan ji

- raah pakad tu ek chala chal pa jaayega madhushaala

Deepak802,MikeWozniakand20 otherslike this


This is most probably my final post on forum community and any thread in here.
I am finally moving on from the upsc phase of my life. I have prepared from 2017-22. Made a lot of mistakes particularly during initial years.
I have been associated to forum (the institute) and the community here since 2020. It has been a very learning and enriching experience, especially considering how lonely the preparation journey can be.
I could not succeed in the civil services examination but am taking a lot of learnings from here.
This is a comment to express immense gratitude for the community and the people here. 
Take care all of you. Work hard, achieve your goals and never forget to smile.
Adios :v:

GaneshGaitonde,Foucault1and18 otherslike this

Gloom and uncertainty have been plaguing my productivity for many days now. Nature did try to alleviate my gloom yesterevening by putting up this show. Hope it puts a smile on your face too!
Happy sunday fellas 🌈☀️

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”
mightyraju,Deepak802and17 otherslike this

Well, Boy went on a date with himself!

mightyraju,D503and17 otherslike this


Hi friends,

So I have decided to move on from upsc preparation. It was impacting my health - mental and physical. 

I have attempts and age left but I do not know if/when I will come back to chase this goal again. May be someday /may be never. 

Thanks everyone for your kind suggestions and tips which you gave whenever I needed help. 

It is difficult to stop thinking about something you have thought about and immersed yourself in hardwork for years. 

On a side note : I think I can write a post/something on " What  not  to do for upsc". But then again who will read? And Why to scratch my old wounds and suffer pain again? Nevermind. 

May everyone get fruits of their hardwork. 


As your name suggests tum brave ho to admit this. Many people stay on in this preparation merely due to the sunken cost fallacy. But if there’s one thing I know its that nothing truly goes to waste, this might sound really cliche but that is the truth. Jo seekha h yaha, and I don’t mean merely in terms of knowledge, but in terms of mental resilience and work ethic will stand you in really good stead. So jao mere jabaaz khub aandhi toofan karo!

Deepak802,DMand17 otherslike this

Some unsolicited suggestions:

1.Current affairs:Follow only 1 source diligently. If you pick up last 2-3 year PYQs, can see the utility of doing heavy current affairs material. Not much. So no point in going crazy over current affairs. But at the same time it's important to cover major topics in news, and some important factual things.

2.Test papers:It is always tempting to practice new tests instead of going back to already solved ones, and analyzing mistakes, revising weak topics, etc. So instead of running behind XYZ tests from so many places without a plan, just stick to those one you have been already doing, or have planned to do or atleast restrict to some number of FLTs (5,10,15 20, whatever works for an individual), as there's going to be a flood of test papers in the market from now on. And due to fear and anxiety, we tend to keep increasing new tests, and new material.

3.PYQs:Focus more on PYQs after/with some practice of FLTs, because that's going to help more than new random test papers. Focus on repeatedly asked topics more. Focus on easily doable topics from tough subjects which have been asked multiple times. 

4.Weak areas:Figure out your weak areas. We all have. Areas from where there has been regular questions in prelims but you're still getting them wrong in test papers. Focus more on that. Then focus on areas which seems to be important (as per test papers, PYQs, own analysis), but you're getting questions wrong. Revise them properly. Then common things which we keep forgetting, revise them more.

5.Random things in test papers, current affairs material:If there's some topics which are not important at all as per PYQs, but still being asked in test papers or given in current affairs material, then it might not be that important. Just gain some knowledge and move on. No need to go crazy over those "new areas", which may be random, and even irrelevant at time. We can find those more in sectional tests than FLTs.

Hope this helps! :) 

Tanaya_C,Foucault1and17 otherslike this

Got a newfound love for life. Love you zindagi!

I was hospitalised for the last 15 days, in the initial days my fever was hovering around 101 all the time even after heavy paracetamol. Blood tests, canola, syringes and all the painful tests I had gone through. Sometimes I felt Im losing myself in the war, even the doctors scared me as reason for high fever could not be diagnosed. It was so painful that words wont be enough to explain.

Not only my experience but I heard about a 4 month old baby admitted in the hospital. In the emergency, I heard noises of family of a man in 30s crying who died of an accident. My nurse told me about another man who died in ICU. One of my roomates had to go through MRI to spot a blood clot in brain which was causing hazy vision to him. A diabetic aunty who was not able to move her right hand beyond a point after a road accident. An alcoholic college boy had destroyed his pancreas or liver I couldn't remember to whom the doctor said youll die in 3 months if you dont quit alcohol. You get to know many things when you stay such a long time in hospital.

I came home today. Heaven. We take most of the things for granted, quality time with family and friends, all the UPSC pain everything is a blessing. Every painless breath is a blessing.

Naukri aur chokri, you get these desirable and life is set we used to say in college. These 15 days changed my whole perspective for looking towards life. Healthy and a painless life is indeed underrated

And I swear from today Ill never crib about shitty things like career and UPSC. 

'Love you zindagi'

mightyraju,D503and17 otherslike this

Sending double the luck your way too! 🫶🏼

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”
mightyraju,Deepak802and16 otherslike this
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