Today we are providing UPSC Civil Services  Commerce and Accountancy Paper preparation tips & strategies. Now we will teach you strategy of “How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Commerce and Accountancy Paper 2019″. This post is aimed to help you in forming your strategy for Commerce and Accountancy optional for Civil Services Exam, considering its various aspects. Accounting or accountancy is the measurement, processing and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. Accounting, which has been called the “language of business”, measures the results of an organization’s economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors, creditors, management, and regulators. Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants.

How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Commerce and Accountancy Paper 2019

Step 1 : Know the Syllabus – Commerce and Accountancy Paper

UPSC MAINS COMMERCE AND ACCOUNTANCY SYLLABUS 2019. Get UPSC Mains Commerce and Accountancy Syllabus, Paper structure & Applicable Topics covered in UPSC Mains Commerce and Accountancy Syllabus. Earlier we’ve provided UPSC Mains Exam Pattern & Structure for 2018 & 2019 exams .

How is Commerce and Accountancy as an Optional?

It is one of the lengthy optional in terms of time needed for preparation & revision and the larger part of the syllabus is static in nature. The biggest hurdle that arises during preparation is that it requires vast reading and then integration form different sources so that coverage is comprehensive. Supply of study material is limited hence there is more reliance on coaching is increased. It provides advantage as graduation and professional studies are utilized and around 150 marks numerical are there which can fetch very good marks.

Read : UPSC Civil Services Commerce and Accountancy Syllabus 2019

Step 2 : Select the Best Reference Books for Commerce and Accountancy Paper

Commerce and Accountancy consists of two papers i.e. Paper 1 and Paper 2. Paper 2 is full of theory which, in my view, anybody can do it with ease. Questions are straightforward unlike that of Public Administration, etc. Some sort of problem you will face is in Paper 1. For a commerce graduate, I think Commerce & Accounting optional choice is very good. Because these two subjects are your parent subjects and it is easy to you for preparation.  But for a science student it may not be a very wise choice to opt for this optional.

Books for Commerce Optional For UPSC Paper – 1

  • Indian Financial System by M.Y. Khan
  • Financial Management; Text & Problems by Khan & Jain
  • Corporate Accounting by Naseem Ahmed
  • Practical Approach to Income Tax, Service Tax, VAT and Wealth Tax : Problems & Solutions By Gupta & Ahuja

Books for Commerce Optional For UPSC Paper – 2

  • An Introduction to Business Organisation & Management by B.P. Singh and T.N. Chhabra
  • Human Resource Management: Text and Cases
  • Industrial Relations, Trade Unions and Labour Legislation by P.R.N Sinha

Step 3 : Prepare Important Topics

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The preparation for Mains must be over before you start with Preliminary preparation, as the Main exam syllabus covers nearly 75% of the requirements of the Preliminary examination.

If a student has not done graduation with Commerce and Accountancy, the suggested strategy would be as follows.

(1) Surveying the syllabus of Commerce and Accountancy carefully and identifying the completely unfamiliar areas.

(2)  Going through at least 2 basic books with a purpose to acquaint yourself with the unfamiliar areas. You can consider the following books:(a) The NCERT Text Books for Biology–Std. XI and XII

(b) Commerce and Accountancy for Degree Students

(3)  Doing a careful survey of the past 5 years’ Main Examination Question Papers and identifying the areas of significance.

(4)  Identifying the most fruitful areas:

(5)  If we see the Main Examination paper of last few years, then it is obvious that the UPSC can ask even a short note on a topic which is otherwise quite long in coverage.

How to Study Commerce and Accountancy for IAS Mains

Study approach for Commerce and Accountancy

This optional is meant for Patience and Calmness. We need to make different strategies for both paper.

Strategy For Paper – 1: There will definitely be some unpredictable and unexpected questions which need to be smarty avoided in choice. For compulsory questions don’t beat around the bush if answer is not known. Invest the time in known questions & numerical types which will get you easy marks. Even if 40-50 marks questions are unanswered then also around 140 is achievable easily.


Strategy For Paper – 2: Remember for the compulsory questions the strategy will be the same as for Paper 1. Choice making here is more important as you will have a little knowledge of every question shall be there. After choosing careful reading of question is needed, before writing & while writing so that you do not miss any important point.

How to write answers in Commerce and Accountancy paper?

Introduction should be there and can be either indirect through some lines or quotes or direct with general explanation followed by exact definition. Thereafter topic need to be explained in short followed by establishing links with other chapters and focusing on the question again.

Diagrams can be used effectively. Ending of answers should always be visionary or positive with example if needed or with some lines. There should be mixed use of paragraphs and points. Examples should be quoted wherever possible but refrain from using one enterprise again & again in many different questons.

  • Commerce is one of the technical optional and provides advantage to commerce graduates as your college and professional studies are utilized in both paper 1 & 2. There are about 150 marks worth numerical, which can fetch very good marks. Besides, large portion of the syllabus is static in nature.
  • However, Commerce is also one of the lengthy optional in terms of time required for preparation & revision.
  • The biggest hurdle is that commerce requires vast reading and then integration from different sources, for a comprehensive coverage in paper 1 and 2.
  • Since UPSC numericals are very unpredictable, it requires high level of competence.
  • In this scenario, there is no harm in taking coaching if you’re uncomfortable. For example, I did join coaching for Paper-II, since the basics are taught in class and regular test provide a check. Besides, time is saved since you don’t have to refer to material from different sources
  • But a word of caution: coaching helps only around 20-25%, rest is application and hardwork of student itself.

Commerce Paper1

  • For CA students who have not joined any coaching classes- refer to your CA PCC/IPCC material, instead of putting time in different standard books.
  • You can also rely on coaching class, but only after prudently analyzing past year questions.
Topic & Prep. Source Remarks
Financial Accounting : JR Monga & DS Rawat(For AS) OR Material of CA PCC.
  • Focus more on Accounting Standards and presentation (for numericals) should be taken care of properly with working notes.
  • No need to practice again & again. Just mark the important adjustments/questions and refer them only in subsequent revisions.
Cost Accounting: Maheswari & Mittal plus theoretical part from either book itself or some compilation like CA PCC scanner. Also material of RANKER’s CLASSES (RC) provides very good compilation of numericals and theory. OR Material of CA PCC can be referred. Emphasis should be given on theory equally.
Taxation: GirishAhuja OR CA PCC. One can go in depth initially and mark important adjustments and later on focus on basics itself. Again theoretical portion is important like exceptions to any section/rule etc. Overall questions are of graduation level only.
Auditing : CA PCC notes for relevant topics or Aruna Jha or Compilation from RC.
Financial Management : RP Rastogi OR CA PCC notes plus relevant topics from CA Final can also be seen. FM has been the most wicked portion for past few years but don’t try to control this part as question have wide range. Just see you’re aware of different models/concepts/terms that come along.
Financial Markets and Institution :Relevant Chapters from Indian Financial system by Bharati V Pathak or any other book and newspaper cuttings provided by RC. Keep track of steps/initiatives by RBI,SEBI,IRDA etc.
  • I did not prepare this section in detail, since it is highly unpredictable and I suggest not to waste much time in it.
  • For paper 1, exam day revision is impossible and therefore make chaperwise notes of important formulae and adjustment which are tricky especially for Acct,FM and Cost.For tax,one can go in slight details also.

Capsule for Exam Hall

  • In exam hall patience & calmness holds the key since there will definitely be bouncers (unpredictable & unexpected questions). You’ve to smartly avoid them in Choice and for compulsory questions don’t beat around the bush if you don’t know the answer.
  • Rather invest the time in known questions & numericals.
  • Even if 25-40 marks questions are unanswered, still you can achieve 140 easily. Try to attempt more numerials than theory.

Paper-1 Analysis

2015 Paper was highly unpredictable and high level of difficulty was there with average score being 100 only for many candidates.
2014 In 2014 exactly opposite paper was set. Questions were easy.However,in both the years mix of theory and practical was there.

How to prepare Commerce Paper2

  • I followed Rankers material and class notes sincerely for paper 2 together with good reading of basic books mentioned below and compiled all of them in around 80 pages Organization Theory and Behavior, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations.
  • Organisation Theory & OB : SP Robbins OT book (for different models/terms/concepts),Singh & chhabra. SP Robbins OB book(only relevant chapters) PLUS RC notes and answers.
  • Human Resources Management (HRM) : CB Gupta,RC notes and answers.
  • Industrial Relations : RC notes are sufficient.


  • Here preparation should start with a general reading & developing the conceptual clarity with subsequent reading focusing upon important definition by authors/thinkers, establishing links with other topics/chapters and current corporate practices.
  • After reading the definition & basic explanation try to think before studying in detail.

Notes making for Paper-II

  • Note making is very important here wherein diagrams,verbatim defintions(by thinkers),examples & only core points should be noted without explanation.
  • Topics from all sources should be integrated at one place.
  • Important lines from class notes should be on the lips like NR Murthy says “ our most important assets walk out everyday and we have to make sure they return” in context of HRM.

Capsule for Exam Hall

  • For compulsory question same as for Paper 1.Choice here is more important as little knowledge of every question shall be there.
  • So,after choice careful reading of question is needed before writing & while writing also.
  • Make use of all chapters and topics in your answers but basic tone of answer should be maintained like for HR answers,focus more on such dimensions and less of OB etc.Also avoid GS type and general answers.

Answer writing

  1. For Long answers-Introduction can be either indirect through some lines or quotes or direct with general explanation followed by exact definition.
  2. Thereafter topic need to be explained in short followed by establishing links with other chapters and focusing on the question again. Here give a pause,read the question again & think again. Diagrams can be used effectively.
  3. Ending of the answers should always be visionary/positive and solution based with example if needed or with some lines.
  4. There should be mixed use of paras and points. Examples should be quoted wherever possible but refrain from using one enterprise again & again.
  5. For short answers, write the basic definition and then directly hit the core.
  6. Ending should be solution based. For merit/demerit/feature use diagram or points.
  7. Test series can be joined for practice.

Step 4 : Prepare Previous Question papers

How much time it takes to prepare?

4-5 months, if you study Commerce and Accountancy 12-15 hours per week. This should be enough. Also, it depends on how much can you recall your graduation concepts.




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