How to score high in GS Paper 2: Strategy Revealed by Tanai Sultania (Score 108)

GS Paper 2 strategyHello everyone, I am Tanai Sultania, AIR 63, Civil Services Exam 2016. In my previous article, I had discussed in detail about sociology optional and also uploaded my test copies. In this article, I will be discussing my detailed strategy; resources and most importantly, answer writing for Mains-General Studies Paper 2.

This is one paper where there is a huge variation in marks-ranging from 60s and 70s to 100s and even more than 110. Thus the paper often acts as a make or break paper for many aspirants.  I have scored 108 marks in this paper.


GS2 Booklist:


  • Current Affairs:The Hindu + Vision Current booklets

I saved few newspaper articles, important reports, government schemes, special reports (Only Summary Reported in Newspaper. Do NOT read acrual report) by WEF, UN, IMF,WB etc on evernote software to revise multiple times.  This helped me a lot as I could directly correlate many questions to schemes, policies and reports of government.

Also many scheme/policy based questions were asked directly or indirectly this time. Whenever I used to write tests/answers, I used to connect with these schemes and reports by searching on evernote. This helped me in remembering the exact keywords, objectives and points used by the government in their official release.


  • Laxmikanth: To understand the basics of all topics especially Parliament, state legislatures, judiciary ,various bodies- constitutional and statutory. The functions and powers of different bodies and organizations, their analysis along with respective constitutional articles are very well covered and remembering them helped me a lot in answer writing.


  • Vajiram notes: SHGs, Role of civil servants , Transparency, accountability ,   E-Governanace


  • Google and Wikipedia, Current Affairs, PIB , Special reports by WEF, UN, IMF etc for welfare schemes, bodies, social sector, health, education etc

I just used keywords and some points from the summary of reports from The Hindu and saved them on evernote.

  • International Relations: Current Affairs.
  • International Bodies and Mandate: Google + Wikipedia
  • Diaspora Topic: Vision Handout

Answer writing:

Focused a lot on answer writing and structuring them with proper headings, subheadings, inculcated habit of underlining important words in answer practice, using words like- ‘way forward’ and ‘what to do in future’ or conclusion to end answer on positive note.

As discussed above, used key points from reports in introduction and conclusion part to give more credibility to the answer.  Also correlated and connected most answers with constitutional articles, government policies and reports/indices by important bodies like WEF, IMF, WB, UN etc.


  • Example  Question: Professor Amartya sen has advocated important reforms in primary health and education. What are your suggestions to improve status and performance?
  • Answer Structure: After mentioning the reforms advocated by Professor Sen, I used schemes which government has bought in for both primary health and education and focussed on their status and performance. For primary health, I also used the recently launched National Health Policy of Government and put forward the points needed for their effective implementation. These points were repeatedly quoted in many editorials.


Used similar approach in The question on National Child policy– used various schemes – on education, protection health, nutrition like ICDS, ICPS, Rashtriya Bal Swashtha Karyakram, RTE, Nai Manzil, Mid Day Meal, Child Labour policy, schemes on IMR etc to focus on implementation part


  • Example Question: Demographic dividend will remain only theoretical unless manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by government to enhance capacity of our population to be more productive and employable.
  • Answer Structure: Here while answering the 2nd part, the regular revision and correlation of schemes came to full use as I could quote multiple schemes – National Skill development mission, PM Kaushal Vikas Yojna, DDU Grameen Kaushal vikas yojana, Skill components in NULM and NRLM, USTTAD , Nai manzil and Nai roshni along with the targets and years fixed for their implementation, The keywords and terms used by the government in the scheme.


In questions like Factors responsible for India’s low rank in Integrity index and has India adequately responded to demands of LPG started in 1991, studying of some points from reports and indices of important organizations helped me write credible points .I used parameters from Ease of Doing Business Index to show India’s response to 1991 reforms and also the parts where India lags and the schemes launched to cover up for the lags ( UDAY, coal schemes, insolvency act, NPA resolutions, HAM for infrastructure etc)


Points in some other answers:

  • For the Lieutenant Governor and elected representatives conflict question– There was a point in an editorial about how in many countries around the world – capital is a UT and administrators similar to LG exist, still they work smoothly due to some initiatives by the government and how India can learn from it to reduce conflicts.


  • For the Article 370 question, in conclusion part,I used points from Dilip Padgaonkar interlocutor group on Kashmir and also some views from editorials in The Hindu which talked about resolution of the issue.


  • For the question on role of non state actors, I used role of voluntary sector and NGOs, role of non state actors in Defence sector (Dhirendra singh committee report), role of non state actors in Track 2 initiatives in IR etc and concluded with points from National policy on voluntary sector.


  • For the CAG question– I mentioned the powers of CAG as in Article 149 w.r.t centres and state accounts( This was the first part of question which many missed). After answering the second part, I gave examples of scams, increased PPP projects which increase importance of CAG, CAG being called a paper tiger as despite powers it is not able to audit implementation properly and also Paul Appleby’s view(Given in Laxmikanth in CAG chapter). I concluded saying that it would not be overstepping and rather we need to ensure proper audit of public money without causing delay or paralysis.


For International Relations part, It is necessary to analyse multidimensionality of any issue – strategic, geographical, economic, political, environmental etc as UPSC is asking specific dimensions on any particular issue.  Also future aspects need to be prepared like relevance of important bodies like SAARC, WTO, UN. Keeping few points ready for such important organizations always helps as IR questions are at the end and precious time can be saved by preparing in advance .SAARC and WTO were constantly in news hence it could be predicted that questions would be asked on them.


Finally No, I didn’t know the answer to the question on McBride commission. It is mentioned in the question paper itself that content is more important than length of question so please remember quality matters and not the quantity.


All the best! You can leave queries in comments section. I will be happy to answer!

6 thoughts on “How to score high in GS Paper 2: Strategy Revealed by Tanai Sultania (Score 108)”

  1. How should I revise current affairs? (For pre+mains) because it is difficult to revise from the monthly magazines.. . Please suggest a good methodology

  2. Sudhanshu Shekhar

    Hello bhaiya….How many questions u attempted, pls tell me how to fasten my answer writing speed? Coz currently i am able to write only 13-14 answers in the given time.

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