For CSE and IIT aspirants

Mathematics part-1

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

Before starting with the strategy I would like to answer a common question: What is the final score vis-à-vis correct attempt? It is true that there is heavy moderation of marks in science subjects especially in mathematics. But despite that it is possible to score very high. I got 390/600 in CSE-2008 and 427/600 in CSE-2009.  My final score and correct attempt paper wise is:

2008: Paper I
: I got 184/300. Correct attempt was 261/300. Paper II: I got 206/300. Correct attempt was around 250/300.

2009: Paper I: I got 209/300. Correct attempt was 300/300. Paper II: I got 218/300. Correct attempt was 285/300.

In the correct attempt I have counted only those answers which are absolutely correct. Paper I is relatively easy so the reduction is huge. Also do not confuse the term scaling down as only multiplication by a constant factor (some says scaling is 0.6 or 0.7). The statistical formulas are more complex and the subtraction part has larger weightage I guess (seeing the mark trends of all the students in last 2 years).

General tips for preparation:

1. While preparing one should not be bothered about the moderation/scaling. Target should be to score maximum possible marks.
2. In Paper I try to cover all the topics. If time does not permit then cover dynamics and statics from 12 markers point of view.
3. In Paper II focus on the topics: Complex Analysis, Linear Programming, Partial Differential Equations and Numerical Analysis. Rest of the topics should be covered from 12 markers point of view.
4. Make a fair copy and practice all the previous year questions in it.
5. Practice with pen and paper(Many aspirants take this point casually and just read the solved examples)
6. Do at least 3-4 papers in exam like conditions.

General tips while attempting the paper:

1. Ordering of questions does not matter. Attempt the questions which you know the best at the start.
2. Try to finish each question in the 75-80% of the allotted time. For example, a 15 marks question has allotted time of 9 minutes. Try to finish it in 7 minutes. Rest 2 minutes must be spent on revising the answer. Rechecking entire paper at the end may not be possible. Try to work out the answer quickly in rough space. All this is important because wrong answer may carry heavy penalty.
3. All the trivial calculations (like simple integration, algebraic and trigonometric manipulations) can be done in rough space to save time (I believe that showing them in answer might not carry any weightage).
I will also upload some of the answers which I wrote in the paper. In the next articles I will be sharing the detailed strategy for both the papers.
  1. Excellent post

  2. congratulations sir ,

    i am a maths h student.. i dont have a command over the the subject (basically linear algebra riemann integral and mechanics) …. but i do have an interest towards maths … but do u think interest should be considered the only criteria to pick maths as an option?? was it taxing when u took maths.. and more because u took a difficult optional like ee?

    • @abhinav: for maths aptitude should also be a criteria apart from interest.. maths was not taxing for me as most of the syllabus was covered in my graduation.

  3. thanks a lot prakash for this blog

    but please tell how to write the answers – i mean i did around 240 and 220 marks correct in paper 1 and 2 but got 148 and 97!!. So please upload your answers especially those relating to numberical analysis as i think i messed up those.

    Also mention where to do questions like those which came in paper 2 this time (like one in which we had to show the convergence of root and one of complex analysis relating to residues (both were parts of compulsory questions) ).

    Also i want to cover dynamics and satics (paper 1 ) and mechanics (paper2 ) from 12 markers point of view as u have said. please tell how should i go about this.

    thanks in advance

    • @sanyam: i will try to upload soon. it is not possible that you come across all the question before exam. what i do is try to finish the paper quickly and keep some time to think over them. for mechanics and dynamics see all the 12 markers which have come in last 10 years. try to cover the theory required to solve them. and practice few more examples related to that.

  4. one more thing – did u write any theory of methods in numerical analysis ( like what is regula falsi , what is lagrange interpolation ) or proceeded directly o get the answers?

    • @sanyam: i did not write any theory, not even explained the terms in lagarange interpolation formula.. focus should be on getting the correct answer and that too quickly.

  5. hello prakash , can you share your algorithms with us, as i found it incomplete or wrong in BT material…i have prepared mechanics and hydrodynamics well but these questions are time consuming and some of my friends told me that this portion is not so scoring.what is your view? this time i will cover algebra also.i am familiar with all major theorems of algebra but not good with proofs.please share with us any special technique to master algebra.

    • ok, i have to write them again. yes dont waste time in going for 8th question of paper II. i dont have any technique, only advantage i had was that this course was part of the curriculum at iitd.

  6. hi, i have attempted this year’s PT with electrical as optional and was planning to take maths as the second optional. i want to take coaching from some institute as i think it can speed up my covering of topics so as to complete it before mains. after some search i am planning to join either dips or dias. (though i am heard of other institutes like ims, chanakya etc, i shortlisted the former two because dips focusses only on maths and dias has AIR-40 this year). i know u dint take any coaching, but can u help me in picking one, as you might know the experiences of any of your friends with maths as optional.

  7. Hi Prakash!

    Congratulations on your successs!

    I wish to take Maths as one of my optionals because most of the syllabus has already been covered as part of my academic curricula at IIT-B. I read your post about the books, and the syllabus is very much self-readable, but still I have enrolled for the 1st Module (Linear Algebra) at DIAS (New Delhi).

    I intend to finish off the syllabus in the next four months. Is that being too ambitious or should I give some more time and expand my mathematics preparation over 6 to 7 months? Also, some books do contain topics outside the UPSC syllabus. Do you think it is always good to cover that extra mile?

    Looking forward to your reply,

  8. thank prakash.. it is of invaluable help… it is nice to see that people with mathematics are doing good in the exam…

  9. what’s the difficulty level of fluid mechanics… i find mechanics little tough … infact mechanics is the only portion of mathematics that i am not confident of .. should i consider maths as an option???

    • @alan: difficulty level differs for different individuals. do not decide about maths only on the basis of single topic.

  10. Hello Prakash, congratuatlatin on your success. I wanted to ask about preparation regarding pure mathematics subject e.g abstract algebra, real analysis and Linear algebra. How did u start reading these topic. I have been trying hard over last 6 month to get mastery over these subject but no result. which book did u refere except krishna series.

    • @ajay: i have written separate post for booklist. i did not have to prepare these topics separately as they were part of my curriculum at iitd.

  11. hello prakash, congratulations on ur success.
    can u please tell me which all chapters to study from the textbooks?
    It would be very helpful.
    Thank you

  12. thanks for reply.. we dont have abstract algebra in our curriculum in iit kgp.. could you suggest a good coaching centre and a good book to start with for abstract algebra.. thanks

  13. congrats for your success!

    Can you please suggest a good coaching for maths in new delhi?


  14. do we need to cover area of plane sections for conicoids in solid geometry
    is bhambri enough for modern algebra?

    • @sanyam: no, plane sections are not in the syllabus. i think bhambri is enough.

  15. Hi Prakash, Congratulations on your success. I am new to this civils exam and I have not completely made up my mind to go for civils. But looking at your post, I had a doubt. What do you mean by moderation in science subjects and what criteria is adopted?

    • @yeshwanth: it is done to bring parity between different optionals(maths is objective and humanities subjects are subjective in nature)

  16. congratulations sir ,

    i m confused 4 the optionals…because in my (ELECTRONICS) exams i have analysed that i can score marks in neumarical & mathematical type subjects but m week in essay type & theoritical subjects…also in theoritical subject exams i have shortage of time…….so should i prefer to EE & MATHMATICS or not…..sir actually i belong to private state college not any NIT or IIT…

  17. sir plz tell me the reason….so that i can be familiar about the preparation

    • @praveen: competition in maths is very tough, most of the candidates are from iit or from math background. scoring here is different from school/college as there is heavy moderation of marks.

  18. Hi Prakash,

    Is the correct answer always leads to maximum marks? or the method to get right answer carries more marks
    Do you have the scores of mathematics toppers or average marks of maths mains attendees or trend of maths scores in mains?

    • @bhaskar: obviously i am assuming you arrived at the correct answer by using right method. but most of the questions do not have multiple methods(they are just formula based). you need to get the correct answer to get good marks. in proof based question approach matters.
      both times(2008,2009) i got the highest marks, average is around 160/600 both times.

  19. d moderation in marks is affected by no of applicants in that subjects..if yes,then this thing should be taken care of when selecting the subject…

    • @dheeraj: not much. literature subjects have very few candidates still most of them get very good marks.

  20. Hello Prakash,
    I too have the same optionals as you & wrote the mains 2009. though I think the attempt was good, I got very less marks. Please post the proper answer writing method to be followed.
    Also please post strategy, book-list etc. for Electrical Engg. also.


    • @sunpreet: i have already posted the booklist of ee optional. i will be posting strategy soon.

  21. Hi all,
    here i have created a group for the UPSC maths ….those who have taken maths as one of the optional paper ..are welcome for this group….in this group we can discuss with each other our doubts..and also we will follow prakash’s suggestions……

  22. Hi prakash,

    For numerical Analysis which book of Jain and Iyengar to refer, “Numerical methods problems and solutions” or “Numerical methods for scientific and Engineering Computations” ? Seeing forward for ur reply.

    • @vinay: i had “Numerical methods for scientific and Engineering Computations”.

  23. Hi Prakash,

    Here I am putting some grievances of Mathematics optional in civils mains.If these grievances are made known to UPSC,then it may respond positively.Is it possible for you or any other aspirants to make UPSC known about these?(by writing letters or in any other way).I am sending a letter to UPSC.If others also do their bit,then maths optional students may get some benefit.
    Please check

    • @ram: the step is good, but whatever you have written is your observation and there is no objective truth attached to it. i mean upsc does not say anything about partial marking. but still lets see what is upsc’s reply on this.

  24. hi prakash,
    i want to choose maths as one of my optionals for 2011 ,but i m totally new to this subject,and there is no coaching available for this subject in my city. i dont know how to go about preparing this subject.i love maths as subject because of its objectivity, but, since there’s no coaching available at my place should i reconsider taking maths as an optional because there is no coaching available for clearing my concepts

    • @ajay: if you feel you are not comfortable without any coaching in maths, then definitely you should go for some humanities optionals.

  25. Congratulation sir,
    I choose mathematics as one of my optional.I am comfortable mostly except few topics like Modern Algebra and mathematical analysis.Can you tell me some basic tips so that i can tame these topics.Again i would like to know”‘IS THERE ANY STEP MARKING FOR AN INCOMPLETE QUESTION?”

    • @ranjan: one should read these topics 3-4 time to have a good understanding. i am not sure about the step marking but i think it should be there.

  26. Congratulations sir,
    I was starting my prepration with MATHEMATICS as an optional,as there is lack of guidance for this subject,so u have suggested strategies and books for the prepration,would it be sufficient enough or we have to go for anything extra than this,Sir can i get your mail id gor future correspondence as it is a year long battle & we may be requiring your valuable guidance at every step,
    Thank you Sir

    • @varun: i think these are sufficient. even if you are able to get time after doing all this i will suggest repeated practice of what i have written.

      • Thank you Sir for your reply,But sir i would like to ask one more thing if we see the past year results why the average marks & selection rate of maths so low,because as we see people from iits,nits would be mostly taking this optional as they are considered to be one of the best brains,then what according to you would be the reason that maths is so much discouraged,even if we anlayse whatever optional we take,we have to perform outstanding in that so why not maths as one of them, ones again thanks alot sir

      • @varun: i think because variations in marks in maths is large. few people can score extremely high(much higher than the average marks) and after normalization average score in maths drops down.

  27. Dear friends, any idea about maths cut off for prelims for 2010? I understand its funny to ask this now, just 2-3 days before result. but any idea?

  28. Sir can u pls tell me the name of shop from where i can get krishna series books in delhi. i am really finding it very difficult to get those books.
    Thank You

  29. Hello Prakash,

    1) You’ve repeatedly said there is high competition in maths and students from iits and nits attempt this. Do you outrightly mean students from local colleges can’t score in maths even if they have aptitude and interest in mathematics?

    2) If I answer a question (non proof one) completely, still I wont be getting full marks? If yes on what basis do they give marks? what should be my strategy to get full marks?


  30. Hello Prakash,

    Sorry for asking this silly question but,

    What do you mean by aptitude exactly? – I love mathematics since my childhood. Though I never prepared for iit, I always loved to solve maths problems some how or other. and of course many a times I failed to solve some tough questions. Does that mean I do not have aptitude but only interest.


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