PSIR - Strategy, resources & discussion - ForumIAS

PSIR - Strategy, resources & discussion

Hi peeps. Let’s do this!

1. Previous papers from 2009 (both papers are in the same PDF):here

2. Topic-wise PYQs: here 

3. Look for PDFs of books here: b-ok.cc

4. Model answers from SR:here 

5. OnlyIAS notes, if you need extra matter for a few topics:here 

6. SR notes,

Bajrang Lonikar,Saloni2607and91 otherslike this


Hey guys. Posting this here because I posted so many things here and I am worried someone might take it too seriously :/

I have done quite poorly in PSIR. 119+129=248. I am shocked - expected to do so much better. Was saved by other papers. 

So just a disclaimer to take everything I've posted here with several generous pinches of salt 😅

dalpha,keshrisp348725994and17 otherslike this
Gym krne se answer writing ki speed badh jati hai ? Any research ?

Writing Karne se writing speed badhti hai

Aurora,EiChanand14 otherslike this

Hello junta, is your thread too crowded? Is your optional getting too "Political"?

WORRY NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come join us at History Optional thread and begin your fun life!

There you will have ample space( no crowding)

Personal attention to each comment will be provided.

We value each member as a family.

Come, join the true camaraderie and feel the bliss.

Come, join History. :)

Just_restless,EiChanand12 otherslike this
@nerdfighter That’s for kids, this is for legends :D

Just_restless,EiChanand12 otherslike this
We have a thousand splendid comments, people! 🎉🎊🥳 everyone feel a little happy for a few seconds! 
Rewl1,Porusand12 otherslike this
Ek kaam karo, sab PSIR hi optional le lo. :((((
EiChan,Conquerand10 otherslike this

Beauty of PSIR, not only PSIR people but history people are also part of thread, one mathematics guy as well. Wallah Wallah. :P

P.S Anthro bhi hai yahan.

Just_restless,Conquerand10 otherslike this

Shubhra Ma'am notes were 100% solely part of my prep. Nothing absolutely NOTHING beyond them. This was a conscious choice since i prepared after prelims mostly.

Her crash course notes are a gold mine for paper 2. In paper 2 i attempted 2 ques in 2B part all thanks to her notes. 142 in paper 2 only because i could quote books and scholars from her crash course answers. 

In paper 1, it seems i need to add more content for which i think test series, pyq and selected reading of standard books might help. 

Although this time csat is stuck so not so hopeful :(

Porus,noOneand10 otherslike this

Hi. I took Shubhra maam's crash course cum test series (2018 mains) and GS Score Chaubey Sir's in 2019 Mains. I'll give a brief feedback. While I myself couldn't make the best use of them, I hope this helps you all nevertheless. 

Shubhra Maam

I'd taken her usual foundation course beforehand. Those notes are good- more focused on giving background + giving lot of fodder for us to pick and choose. However, it doesn't focus much on exam specific answer writing approach (understanding the question-structure-way of presentation-academic rigour etc). The crash course fills these gaps. The sectional papers go to decent depths, the question range is good (I think they sift through top Universities graduate/post graduate level papers as well). The extra material is also quite useful to have a more diversified content from the foundation notes. Quotes from scholars and book references are particularly useful. She didn't do the entire syllabus with us, kind of mixed bag from all sections. More focus was on 2B since the foundation doesn't cover it well and plus it is super dynamic. Also, the batch size is huge, which helps in guaging peer competition and even learning from topper copies. 

I did have some issues, as follows:

1. The content gets overwhelming. If your PSIR syllabus isn't complete or notes half way done just after Pre, then it gets really confusing as to what should the focus be on. The stakes are higher if its your first attempt. 

2. Method- I'm not fond of her style of teaching via dictation. It gets slow, monotonous and you feel like this thing could have been done in more rushed manner. So most of the tests would be analysed this way- she'd give an initial idea of understanding the question, the approach to be adopted, and then dictate the answer.  

3. Evaluation- With the number of students involved, it is fair to assume she doesn't check your papers. 

Overall- If your content and notes coverage has been decent, this crash course really adds the killer shot without you getting overburdened. If this coverage is anyway excellent on your part, then the crash course might not have much value. Sadly they don't offer just the test series without the crash course.

Their online interface is good (I had both offline and online access in 2018) and they also check your copies well in time. If you've cleared Pre and need a particular test copy to be checked faster, you can request and they comply. It happened with me then. They also uploaded class notes just in case you missed a lecture.

GS Score

I chose this because there were a couple of toppers, getting 320+ in PSIR and crediting him, in recent years. Shubhra maam has the market, but to me, it seemed more of a 280-300 marks max market. Since most PSIR students are relying on SR notes, the niche factor that pushes your score to 320 (I felt), must come from somewhere else. 

Positives- The method to understand and approach the question, I felt, was better here. He is also the one who's evaluating your tests. Sadly these were the only positives I had.

Limitations- Very limited peer group; question range not as expansive; supplementary content not much useful; very bad website interface (I had joined online module this time) and a bit unprofessional with the evaluation timelines. There was one test I attempted i think a month before mains started, and they probably forgot to evaluate. I also didn't bother at this stage. And I was surprised to find it evaluated and sent on mail after my GS papers in the 4 day break :P

SR has a big team and institutionally, very professional in handling such nitty gritties. 

I hope this was helpful :)

Monkey D. Luffy,Rewl1and9 otherslike this
Villanelle,Rewl1and7 otherslike this
Ye PSIR wale konsa chawanprash khate hai?
Just_restless,EiChanand7 otherslike this
Fellow lol-mates, how would you approach the question “critically assess the changing nature of the concept of national security.” (2014/15 marks) what critics would you quote?

This is how I would approach it. I have not revised since mains so I'm not able to think of scholars immediately, will update if I find anything else.

1. Start by mentioning the historical evolution of the concept of security, and how it has been linked with the concept of the state since the start (the state evolved to provide individuals with security of life, among other things)

2. Realist view of security (as the starting point) - seen through the lens of power, maintained via balance of power, deterrence etc.

3. Mention contradicting views (to show how change has come about, ideologically) - critical view, feminist view, social constructivist view. 

 Maybe a feminist school quote here (Ann Tickner). Also a criticism of the security dilemma concept which arises from the realist view.

4. Barry Buzan's securitisation theory, showing how issues are "securitised", which broadens the ambit of what we call national security 

From there to 

5. New challenges to security (to show how change has come about, threat-wise) - cyber attacks, drone attacks, info wars, biological warfare etc.

6. End by saying the realist conception of national security as one of, if not the most, important functions the state still holds, but the other schools of thought may be helpful in synthesising a new, broader understanding of national security that can take into account the new circumstances mentioned in the previous para.

D503,Rewl1and7 otherslike this
» show previous quotes» show previous quotes

That was for leisure. And a long time back. It is a beautiful book. UPSC is a different game altogether. 

Just_restless,Villanelleand7 otherslike this
JSMill,Villanelleand6 otherslike this

How to make crisp notes for psir.. I had made earlier and later ended up writing the whole thing which again has become bulky.. it's like everything seems important to me. Should I segregate things like - quotes of thinkers in one place, keywords in another, critics in one.. 

Please suggest 🙏

Hey. It really helped me to think of my notes in levels.

Level 1: I made notes from all books except SR notes. Never went back to those books again.

Level 2: Made notes combining level 1 notes and SR notes. Enough detail that I could just revise from these. Arranged according to syllabus list. Revised multiple times. 

(Did this is mindmaps for 1A, and handwritten for others for lack of time. If you have time to make mindmaps, please do it! It really helped me remember things. In the exam I could visualise my mindmap for 1A and navigate it inside my head. Mindmaps rule.)

Level 3: A few days before the exam, I scribbled keywords, scholars, book titles etc. Just a random collection of words that wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. This is best done at the point where you just need to see the keyword to recall everything related to it. 

In the 5 day gap between GS and mains, I gave 4 days to revising my level 2 notes. On the 5th day and on the exam day, I revised level 3 notes a few times. I think it really helped recall things quickly in the exam. 


Level 2 Gramsci: 

Level 3 Gramsci