Now that there is a new pattern at hand for both the CSAT and CSE (Mains) Examination, it is not only important to discuss and criticise the changes made, but also it is needed to re-format and re-orient the preparation towards these various levels of examination(s). I would try and initiate a discussion over this topic (either here directly, or on the discussion forum : http://www.worthview.com/forum/#/20130307/getting-ready-to-face-the-changed-pattern-of–2463912/ .
We will come up with the best possible options which could help in making a planned and directed preparation.
The first and foremost thing, obviously, is to go through the given syllabus thoroughly. I have not done this line by line, but definitely have gone through it.
Once the syllabus is understood, for each of the topics, we need to now find the sources from where the preparation could be done. It is of utmost importance from now on that the preparation is done on a ‘selective’ mode. Once you get a material/book/source, it is no more required to read the full book , but read very selectively, as per the syllabus requirements. I also got to know that the four GS papers are essentially a mix of some of the Social science related optional subjects (like, Public Administration, Political Science, Public Policy, Geography, Sociology and Anthropology, and Philosophy). Given this wide range of topics, it is visibly impossible to make a detailed preparation of each of these subjects. Hence a planned selective reading from all of these subjects is the need of the hour. This is also the time to start working in groups. Try and make a group of aspirants from different optional subjects (previously, of course) and exchange various topics from these different subjets. This way of sharing and learning would go a long way in saving a great deal of time while preparing.
For such selective reading, I find the IGNOU material as the best fit. IGNOU provides all its material online ( eGyanKosh site if I am correct) and could be downloaded. One could find almost all the optional subject based topics (even I won’t be surprised if the topics mentioned in the syllabus are ‘exactly’ as they are in the IGNOU curriculum) on the IGNOU sites. So, please go through the site thoroughly, select the topics that you have for the GS papers, download them selectively, and start preparing from those.
I have always been a emphatic supporter of Online based preparation, now I guess this has to be thought of as ‘mandatory’. To cover the vast topics mentioned, it is impossible with books (and even with IGNOU material and selective studies), and preparing from the various online resources is the most time effective and productive method. Please make sure you collect all the online resources for various topics. I must have definitely mentioned a lot of them in the discussion forums or on different posts (please go through them if needed, you should be able to search them on this site pretty easily). For example, for economics, it will be very useful to visit RBI website (RBI.gov.in ) and read all the articles and papers by the Deputy governors and other members. Similarly, PRSIndia, Wikipedia (even for history/culture related topics), Geography related topics (Indian Meteorological Department sites, CSIR etc).
I will try and update more information as we move forward, and I would request each one of you to take the discussion forward so that we could come up with a comprehensive literature for all the aspirants.
All the very best !