UPSC & Memory Tricks

UPSC preparation has been more about how well we can manage the information in a coherent and organised fashion, so that relevant facts can be easily recalled during exam. In recent, I have got a couple of mails in this regard and hence today I intend to share three broad strategies that I used to follow:.

Mind maps. 

Mind maps proved to be a very valuable tool in remembering and revising the various points of syllabus. Usually, I will put a single word in middle of a blank white board/sheet and keep on scribbling on it – making branches and putting the relevant knowledge points in bubbles. I used to do it spontaneously, without reference to any reading material. Thus, this act used to be no less than vomitting my brains in most logical fashion. The output used to be a short summary of whatever I knew then about that topic written in middle.

Following mind maps were made for organising the syllabus of GS papers and Physics:


Electrodynamics Mindma

Try it once. At any odd hour of the day, take a break from your routine and jot down your memory in this way. In fact, you can plan to revise whole of your syllabus in this way – starting from one node and branching out till the very last link of knowledge that you have.

Memory Curve:

Once, I came across the concept of Forgetting Curve or Memory Curve on Quora. It impressed me a lot. If you will follow this curve, you will find that our memory works exactly the same way. After remembering for the first time, we forget it very early; and it is only with repeated revisions at proper intervals that we are able to retain it as whole.

Maybe it is the reason that it is said for this exam that – don’t read 10 books 1 time, but 1 book 10 times. Whatever new we are going to read, we are definitely going to forget unless it is revised periodically.

 Image result for memory curve

Therefore, have an adequate mix of revision and reading in your preparation. Say after first 2 readings of basic texts, 3 hours can be given on each day for 3 days in a week for revision of whatever had been learnt before.

Using MNEMONICS and Desi Jugaad

Who can forget the best mnemonic – VIBGYOR to remember all the colours of rainbow in order of their frequency (or wavelength). It’s an effective tool to remember large pool of information in a very short, simple and orderly manner.

Similarly some desi jugaads can be also devised (especially in Physics) to remember trickier facts. To mention one, I used to find it difficult to how to recall that which one of Wien’s law and Rayleigh Jean’s Law was derived by assuming that lambda is smaller. I often used to get confused between these two. So I remembered it with jugged : ‘ chota naam means choti lambda’– meaning since Wien’s law is shorter in name thus always assume smaller lambda in its derivation.

I have jot down what all I used. Even though I couldn’t give more of examples of these techniques and how exactly I used. Nevertheless, I hope even this much would help.

Good Luck to all of you! Cheers!



Hello Friends,

This blog is an attempt to share my preparation strategy for Civil services examination. First of all, a brief background: I am a graduate in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from IIT Guwahati. I graduated in 2013. Afterwards I worked for about 16 months in an oilfield MNC (Schlumberger). I resigned from the same in July 2015 and came back home to prepare full time for the civil services examination.

CSE 2016 was my first attempt and I chose Physics as the optional for I had confidence on no other subject and the very reason that I would get to study it again pushed me to come forth to appear in this exam.

In rest of the posts, I would try to sum up the various sources I studied from and lastly to share the owed credit for it all.

~ Prateek Jain (AIR 82 CSE 2016)