Civil Services Chronicle November 2022

Utkarsh Dwivedi - 5thAIR - UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021

Utkarsh Dwivedi, AIR 5, CSE 2021, is an epitome of motivation for many civil service aspirants who dream of becoming an IAS officer despite the hurdles. Presenting to you here is an interview with Mr. Ayush Sinha, founder and director of Forum IAS and Utkarsh Dwivedi. Ayush: Utkarsh, a very warm welcome to you and congratulations for securing Rank 5 in CSE 2021. What was your reaction when you saw the results of CSE 2021? Also, what were you doing in Haridwar when the results came in? Utkarsh: Thank you sir. Initially, I was happy and later, the excitement subsided as reality set in that it is time for responsibility. This was my third attempt of CSE and every time I failed, I had no one except my mother to cry about it. So, I went to my relative’s place in Haridwar so that I may not be alone if something were to go wrong again. Ayush: Please tell us about your education and family background. Utkarsh: My family includes my parents and a younger sibling. I have had school education from all across the country and later pursued Mechanical Engineering from VIT, Vellore. I came to Delhi in 2018 for CSE preparation right after I finished my graduation. Ayush: What are your thoughts on people starting their CSE preparation during second and/or third year of graduation? Utkarsh: Though I started my formal preparation after graduation, the informal one started in college itself. It good that people become clear as to what they have to do in life but it is equally important to enjoy the college life instead of missing out on the days later. Ayush: What was your strategy for the preparation of Prelims? What study sources did you refer to? Utkarsh: I wrote a lot of tests. In fact I have been a part of Forum IAS’s Prelims Test Series ever since my first year of preparation. I have also recommended to lot of my friends. UPSC is not only about knowing everything; there will be times when one will have to work on their intuition to get an answer right. I stuck to limited reading sources like NCERT, spectrum, Laxmikant. I joined Forum for test series and by the time I appeared for the exam, I had already solved more than 10,000 questions. Ayush: Unlike the trend where students buy test series during their second attempt of CSE preparation, why did you take the subscription in the first year itself? Utkarsh: Solving questions at Forum helped me realize the areas I needed to work on. Therefore, taking test series is way more beneficial than going for market-available test papers where you can just know the score. Ayush: Despite solving number of test papers, students score somewhere between 60-70 marks. Since you have cleared Mains thrice, what in your opinion are the mistakes these students must have been making? Utkarsh: Solving questions is just one portion of the preparation; analysis of the answers is the second one. One needs to analyse the correct as well as the incorrect options to dig dipper into the topic and to avoid repeating mistakes during the next attempt. This approach also helps in option elimination in case of MCQs. Ayush: How many questions did you attempt for the prelims? Utkarsh: I attempted more than 90 questions because attempting less questions does not take one too far as the paper has become more dynamic and unpredictable. Ayush: How did you deal with CSAT since it has become a disqualifying paper for many students? Utkarsh: I myself scored much less than what I scored in 2020 and the year prior to that. In my opinion, it is best to solve all the previous years’ papers right from 2013 till date and join some program for practice. In areas like logical reasoning and maths, one should make notes on the tricks that would save time. Ayush: One month before the prelims, how did your day look like? Utkarsh: I used to give tests from morning till afternoon and kept the evenings for revision. I used to get good sleep, and often talked with friends to refresh my mind. I would suggest people to solve previous years’ papers in the last week. This will orient the brain to the actual examination pattern. Ayush: Which newspaper did you read and how much did you struggle in notes’ making? Utkarsh: I was always habitual of reading newspaper right from my college days. I read 3 newspapers, viz., The Hindu- Complete, The Indian Express- Editorial and explain page, and The Mint- primer, long story and editorial. Reading the newspaper helps in the Mains as well as during the interview. Ayush – Did you digitalize the notes or had hard copies for them? Utkarsh: I made hand-written notes during my first attempt. Later, I digitalized the notes using Evernote. Ayush: Did you have a specific hack for organizing your notes on Evernote? Utkarsh: I used ‘stacking’ method to organize my notes. I compiled different topics under their concerned subject and different subjects under their respective category (e.g. GS 1, GS 2 & so on). In this way, I had a notebook category-wise and subject-wise. Ayush: How was preparation of the Mains different from that of the Prelims? Utkarsh: In my opinion, both the exams require a different approach. For e.g. preparing notes on the same topic that can be asked in prelims and/or the Mains require an altogether different content. One thing that is inescapable and common for both the exams is practicing as many questions as possible. Ayush: In GS paper 1, questions rarely come from the topics Post-Independence History and World History. Would you recommend skipping these topics? Utkarsh: No, I would not advise to leave any topic as UPSC is unpredictable. One can never be sure how UPSC might frame paper the next time. Ayush: What was your approach for ‘Society’ & ‘Core Geography’? Utkarsh: I made notes of my own for ‘Society’ and also sought help from newspaper. For ‘Geography’, I referred NCERT and notes of the prelims. Ayush: How did you handle all the subjects under GS paper 3? Utkarsh: The students are unable to score

Shraddha Shukla - 15thAIR - Rajasthan Judicial Services Examination, 2021

CSC:Achieving top slot in the Judicial Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success. Shraddha: Thank you. CSC:Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Judicial Services? Shraddha: From childhood, law always fascinated me as a tool which keeps our social and individual interest in a harmony and when I thought of pursuing it as a career, I got to know about Judiciary and what all it stands for. CSC:Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Judicial Services’? Shraddha: In my 10th Standard, I decided that I would pursue law and go for Judicial Services. Since no one in my family has ever pursued law and me being of State Board topper in senior secondary exam (science stream), everyone expected me to pursue engineering or medicine; but I was confident about my decision. CSC: You must have read Toppers’ interviews in newspapers/magazines; what inspired you the most? Any particular success story which has influenced your journey to this result? Shraddha: Yes, I do read toppers’ interviews in newspapers/magazines and the thing that inspired me the most was their determination and hard work. One such story which inspired me was of Akanksha Tiwari Ma’am (Rank-1, UP Judicial Services 2018). CSC: Was JSE a planned decision or your parents’ wish? Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the preparation and number of attempts? Shraddha: It was my decision for which I had to convince my parents who were initially skeptical because I had no background in legal field but later on they firmly stood by me. I was not sure about the time-frame but I always desired to clear it in my very first attempt. CSC:What was your first step when you were really serious about making a career in Judicial Services? Shraddha: As I had already decided my goal during school days, I embarked upon that path. I joined Banaras Hindu University for BA.LL.B (Hons.) and after that I joined Ambition Law Institute for my preparation. CSC:Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this news of your success? Shraddha: I had a feeling that I would pass the exam but anxiety and fear before the result is a common tendency among all the aspirants. And after the results, it was like dream come true. I was filled with joy and my years of hard work had finally been paid off.CSC:Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e. Career in Judicial Services? Shraddha: No, I was not preparing for other career opportunities. CSC:While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Judicial Services? Shraddha: It was not a career opportunity for me but it was my dream to become a Judicial Officer which shaped my life accordingly; and I was not deviated by other things. CSC:'Time Management' is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers. Did you come across such a problem during this period? If yes, then how did you manage things? Shraddha: I used to divide the time to each subject according to its weightage in the examination. Mock papers helped me to overcome the problem of time management in writing mains. CSC:List some of the magazines, newspapers, books, etc. which you read for 'General Studies’ preparation. Shraddha: I referred Civil Services Chronicle, Indian Express, The Print, Live Law and Frontline. CSC:How did you prepare yourself for Interview? When and which Board did you face? How did your interview go on, how much time it lasted and what were the questions asked during the Interview? Shraddha: For Interview, I used to have discussions with my fellow aspirants on legal topics, jurisprudence and current scenarios. I faced Hon'ble Justice Sandeep Mehta's Panel. My Interview went on for 20-25 minutes. They asked me questions from law subjects and general awareness. CSC: What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like JSE? Shraddha: Since RJSE is conducted in both languages (Hindi and English), language is not a barrier; but one must choose the language in which he/she is comfortable. CSC: Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation? Shraddha: Yes, it does. The environment you grew up in, your cultural belongings and demography, etc. becomes part of your character and stays with you. CSC: According to a recent report published by reputed survey agency, Civil Services Chronicle is the largest read Career & Competition magazine. What is your opinion?Shraddha: I found Civil Services Chronicle very informative and precise. It helped me immensely in preparing the G.S. part of JSE. CSC: What is the secret of your success? Shraddha: Hard work, determination, supportive family and friends and healthy competitive spirit. CSC: To whom would you like to give the credit for your success? Shraddha: I would like to give the credit for my success to God, my family, friends and teachers & entire Team of Ambition. I want to extend my special gratitude to Mr. Alok Kumar Ranjan Sir (The Headmaster, Ambition Law Institute, Delhi). CSC: Tell us about some basic things an aspirant should give emphasis to? Shraddha: Writing Skills, Time Management, Conceptual Clarity and Learning Ability. CSC: Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants. Shraddha: Solve previous year questions and practice answer writing and read the Judgments of Hon'ble Supreme Court. CSC: Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future

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Prelims Specials

In this special section, we have come up with comprehensive content on ‘Public Policies and Welfare Schemes’. This is an important section of the UPSC syllabus as every year, many ques­tions are asked from it. The policy inputs/ guidelines are directly asked in the Preliminary exami­nation. Also, it forms an important aspect of answer writing. Based on an analysis of the previ­ous years’ Civil Services Preliminary examination question papers, the following aspects of each scheme have been incorporated:

Launch Date, Nodal Agency, Objectives, Target Groups, Key Features/Guidelines, Significance/ Impact/Implications, and Concern Areas.

Apart from factual content, a brief analytical overview has also been included for the benefit of our readers.

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