Strategy to cover Polity for UPSC by an IAS Topper

Learn Indian Polity for UPSC: Start with 'Salient Features of the Indian Constitution' from M. Laxmikanth's book. Use the 1-2-4-7 revision technique. Interlink concepts, focus on governance. Practice with previous year questions and mock tests. Prioritize community support and health.

Strategy to cover Polity for UPSC by an IAS Topper

Having cleared UPSC Prelims examination thrice and being a former civil servant, I can confirm that understanding and mastering Indian Polity and governance structure is a crucial part to understanding & solving real world challenges of the citizens of our country. 

Today, I will help you with a complete strategy that I used to build my concepts about the Indian Polity which also helped me achieve top rank in the IAS exam.

Understanding the Basics of Polity

Indian Polity for UPSC deals with the functioning of the government in the country. It also helps you understand the different aspects - legislative, executive, and judicial systems of India and various constitutional bodies in the country. 

For example: You come across the recent amendments in the criminal law bills in the Parliament. To deeply understand this news, you need to have a solid understanding of Indian polity for UPSC and how it can affect our judicial processes. This way, you will be able to think more clearly and contribute effectively as a civil servant. 

But, first let’s look at some data and understand why you should focus on Polity for the UPSC exam. See the trend in the number of questions coming from this subject every year.

Trend of questions in UPSC from Indian Polity
Trend of questions in UPSC from Indian Polity

Now that you have understood its importance, let’s start with my winning strategy for covering Polity for the UPSC IAS exam. πŸ˜„

UPSC Preparation Strategy for Indian Polity:

You must already know that the M. Laxmikanth book is like the bible for Indian Polity for UPSC CSE. Do keep it handy while reading this so that you can mark the strategy simultaneously πŸ“

Parts of Indian Polity book by M. Laxmikanth for UPSC Civil Services Exam
Parts of Indian Polity book by M. Laxmikanth for UPSC Civil Services Exam
  • The initial chapters about the historical background and making of the constitution is also covered in Modern History and creates distractions for many students while starting Polity.
  • Start with the Salient features of the Indian Constitution chapter from the Laxmikanth book.
  • Then, divide the chapters into sections of 40 pages. Example: Create the first section from Salient Features of the Constitution to Citizenship. Second section can be from DPSP to Basic Structure Doctrine and so on.
  • Once you have read the first section, what will you do? Go to the next section, you must say.
  • No, here you have to pause and go back to reading the first section again. Revise it once. Then use SuperKalam to solve some prelims based questions on it. And then when you have solved 15-20 questions and gained a very clear understanding and confidence about the concepts, move to the next section. We will cover the revision part deeply in the next section as well.
  • Many students ask - should we read about State Governments first and then about Central Governments? The Laxmikanth book and its chapters are very nicely organised. So, don’t think of any shortcuts or tricks. Follow the usual order of chapters and it will be sufficient to grasp the concepts.

Revision of Indian Polity for UPSC ✍️

β€œSir, we read all the chapters, but were not able to retain the information. How to revise and practice?” - This is a question that I have received from thousands of aspirants over the years.

I follow a very simple strategy for revision and retention 🎯

  • 1-2-4-7 technique: Understand it with an example πŸ‘‡πŸ»
    • Day 1: Let’s say you read about Fundamental Rights on day 1
    • Day 2: You have a great memory of what you read yesterday. It’s time to revise the topic again and solve some questions on day 2.
    • Day 4: Was it Part 2 or Part 3 of the Indian Constitution in which FRs are enshrined? Revise the topic again on day 4 to clear any confusion. Aah, Part 3 it is. Now I will not forget.
    • Day 7: Do I still remember the key pointers of fundamental rights? Let me revise and write one MAINS answer and evaluate it with Kalam to get a score and track my retention.
    • This simple strategy of revising in intervals has helped me and many others to effectively retain key concepts and terms. Polity is filled with many articles and amendments, and this has proven to be the most effective for UPSC preparation.
  • Interlinking concepts:
    • Any concept that you read for UPSC is not to be taken in silos.
    • You should connect the dots and relate it with examples, current affairs, and your own mind maps can help for best memorization and revision. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ
    • For example, if you read closely, you will find many similarities between the concepts of State and Central Governments. So, you can compare the roles and selection criteria of Prime Ministers with Chief Ministers, President with Governor, Supreme Court with High Court and so on.
  • Governance:
    • Recent trends show that questions related to governance such as committees, their reports, commissions, landmark judgements etc. are increasingly asked by UPSC in Indian Polity.
    • It is covered for both - Prelims and MAINS paper GS 2 of UPSC CSE.
    • Keep an eye on such questions since aspirants focus on familiar terms such as DPSP, Fundamental Duties, Fundamental Rights and often neglect governance related concepts.

Additional tips by UPSC Topper - Super Karthik

  • Previous year questions (PYQs) and mock tests: Practice as many PYQs and MCQs for UPSC Prelims and MAINS and get consistent evaluation and feedback with Kalam to improve your results
  • Community and discipline: Joining a strong but focused community of aspirants - be it a library where you can gather and study, or an online community where you can participate in LIVE sessions and practice daily targets can contribute very positively to keep yourself on track with additional benefits of physical and mental support.
  • Health and nutrition: I have stressed this many times with my mentees and wish to share with you all too. The importance of sound health & nutrition is paramount. Play sports, go for morning walks/jogging - relax and give your body some time daily to reduce the stress and have a calm mind while studying. 🧘🏻

So, apply all these strategies and tips that helped me ace the UPSC exam. Just stay disciplined in this journey and always feel free to reach out to me for any queries.