I recently received a comment on the post Books for CSAT where the valued commenter said that TMH GS Manual is no longer relevant for CSAT preparation. I thought I needed to dispel this misconception as the TMH General Studies guide is somewhat of an iconic reference book for IAS Prelims preparation.
Although the Paper 2 syllabus of IAS Prelims has changed drastically as the optionals have been replaced by a GS paper, the first paper is still as is. The only change in it is that the mental ability part has been shifted to the second paper. So now you need one additional reference book for Preliminary preparation. Still, this does not exclude the book you used to refer till now for the first paper.
Now there are some books in the market focusing on CSAT 2011 like the Pearson CSAT Manual 2011 which are good as they balance both papers nicely. Also the Paper 2 part dealing with mental ability, data interpretation, logical reasoning, comprehension has been authored by Edgar Thorpe who is the highly regarded author of the well known book on Mental ability and Quantitative Aptitude but I feel in spite of this TMH GS Manual is still relevant for the first paper for the following reasons:
- The TMH manual has the best material on Geography, Science and GK amongst all the manuals
- It comes with detailed maps of soils, climatic types etc in the Geography section that are very useful for Prelims preparation
- A detailed section on Indian History covering all the important points in modern history
- A good section on mental ability
For these reasons I feel the TMH manual is still highly relevant for paper 1 of CSAT. In addition to this it also covers the mental ability part of Paper 2. In spite of this there are some areas not covered by the 2011 edition such as:
- English comprehension and passage
- Decision making
- Interpersonal skills
It would then make more sense to opt for the TMH GS Manual plus another book focusing exclusively on Paper 2 of CSAT. But if you don’t want to refer two books then I suggest you get the Pearson CSAT Manual which is also a good bet for the challenge ahead.