MAHAJAN MANOJ SATYAWAN
IAS 2016
With guidance of seniors and basic reading of books like NCERTs, Laxmikanth book for Indian Polity


CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Manoj: Planning, implementation and reviewing the progress along with consistent dedicated hardwork were the basic mantras of my success.

CSC: When did you start preparation the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?

Manoj: I started my preparation in 3rd year of engineering in 2014.One should ideally begin thinking about preparing for IAS exam as early as possible (atleast 2 years before 1st attempt)

CSC: How did you start your preparation for the IAS Examination?

Manoj: With guidance of seniors and basic reading of books like NCERTs, Laxmikanth book for Indian Polity, I started my preparation for IAS exam.

CSC: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies both for Prelims and Main examinations?

Manoj: First, I cleared the basic concepts and second, I focussed more on Main examination preparation. I gave 4 months to Prelims examination exclusively.

CSC: What was your optional subject? What was the basis of selecting this particular optional subject?

Manoj: I took ‘History’ as my optional subject. History topics are very to understand because the stories of past can be correlated with present. Since ‘History’ optional covers a good portion of syllabus of compulsory papers of General Studies and Essay, it was almost a natural choice.

CSC: How did you come to know that which sources of reading material are standard?Please give a list of books, magazines and Newspapers.

Manoj: I learnt from guidance of my teachers and seniors. I followed the interviews of IAS toppers. I read NCERTs books for basic understanding. Thereafter I followed the class notes and printed material provided by coaching institute. I also read Civil Services Chronicle and Yojana magazines.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of ‘Essay’ paper.

Manoj: I followed toppers and read carefully ‘Yojana’ magazine and Economic survey. I wrote down section wise quotes and examples to use them in my essays.

CSC: Which is the most difficult part of IAS examination & why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?

Manoj: I think Prelims examination is the most difficult part among all the three stages
of IAS examination. I believe Prelims is the exam of elimination. I solved nearly 50 practice papers of General Studies along with last 15 years question papers of UPSC Prelims examination.

CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims & Mains preparations or were these separate?

Manoj: My preparation
was integrated because many topics of syllabus are common to both, just focus and approach changes.

CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes making?

Manoj: Yes, I prepared notes for every important topic. It is a compulsory task because with the help of notes syllabus can be revised easily at last moment. We should make separate notes for Prelims & Mains examinations.

CSC: Did you attend any coaching institute? How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?

Manoj: Yes. I attended INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY of Shri S. BALIYAN Sir at Delhi. Coaching classes played a very important role in my success. Good guidance and mentorship makes the preparation very easy. I was lucky to get the guidance of S. BALIYAN Sir.

CSC: What are your suggestions for freshers who want to join coaching institute for preparation?

Manoj: The beginners should go for optional coaching first and General Studies should be prepared later. Go for test series. Practice as much as possible through test series after completing the classes.

CSC: What was your style of writing in Mains exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Manoj: I followed paragraph and point format writing style. I directly hit the core parts of questions and gave more focus to solution oriented answers.

CSC: How helpful is one’s academic background in his/her success in IAS examination?

Manoj: One’s academic background decides his/ her sensitivity, thinking process and attitude. I think it plays an important role.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?

Manoj: I prepared questionnaire on DAF (Detailed Application Form) first. Then I gave 6 mock interviews at institute to asses my level of preparation.

CSC: Which types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer all?

Manoj: In my interview most of the questions were related to my village and districts like problems & their solutions. Interview was more focussed on DAF and I answered well.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Manoj: Details filled in my DAF were the main focussed area.

CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to improve one’s suitability for this exam? What is the outside reading one should do?

Manoj: I would suggest extracurricular reading like historical novels and watching series like Pradhanmantri.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?

Manoj: First, understand the exam and its requirements by reading notification. Go for basics and focus on current affairs.

CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Services Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil services aspirants?

Manoj: In 2015 I started reading Civil Services Chronicle magazine. It is very good magazine and it helps in clearing your basic concepts.

CSC: Mr. Manoj, thanks a lot for giving your valuable time and sharing your insight on civil services examination.

Manoj: Thank you.


SAHIL DIGRA
IAS 2016
"Do not lose your hope and do not stop until you arrive at your destination. Persistence always pays."


CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Sahil: Repeated revisions and smart work were the basic mantras of my success.

CSC: When did you start preparation for IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?

Sahil:I started my preparation for the IAS Examination during third year of my Graduation. I think it is great idea to start preparation as soon as possible. College days should be used for preparation.

CSC: How did you start your preparation for the IAS Examination?

Sahil: I started with basic NCERT books. First, I finished Optional subject and then moved to General Studies preparation.

CSC: What was your optional subject? What were the basis of selecting this particular optional subject?

Sahil: ‘History’ was my optional subject. I selected it as my optional subject because it covers a major part of syllabus of compulsory papers of General Studies and Essay. Good performance of ‘History’ optional over last few years was another reason behind selecting it.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of ‘Essay’ paper.

Sahil: I wrote many Essays for practice to get command and expertise.

CSC: How did you manage your time in both Prelims and Mains examinations?

Sahil: I focussed on extensive coverage of topics for Prelims examination. For Mains examination, I studied deeply with limited coverage of topics.

CSC: What should be best strategy to tackle negative marking in Prelims Examination?

Sahil: One should practice as much as possible. Last years’ UPSC question papers of Prelims examination should be solved properly. I did not guess much to avoid negatives in Prelims Examination.

CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?

Sahil: I did not make separate notes. I relied on class notes which were dictated by S. Baliyan Sir and other teachers in Class. Notes are extremely valuable for last minute revision at the time of exam.

CSC: Did you attend any coaching institute? How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?

Sahil: I attended INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY of S. BALIYAN Sir at Delhi. The classes were just awesome. I could get selected only because of personal guidance, constant support and motivation provided by S. BALIYAN Sir.

CSC: What are your suggestions for freshers who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?

Sahil:Coaching classes are necessary but one should join only good coaching institute. Joining any institute randomly just by looking at the advertisement could be disastrous.

CSC: What was your style of writing in Mains examination? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Sahil: I wrote point-wise in Mains examination to ensure that I do not exceed word limit. I learnt it during test practices at the time of preparation.

CSC: How helpful is one’s academic background in his/her success in Civil Services Examination.

Sahil: I believe that one’s academic background does not play much role in this examination. Anybody having determination and dedication can succeed in Civil Services Examination.

CSC: Does this exam provide a level playing field for the rural and economically poor background candidates?

Sahil: Yes. This exam demands persistence and focused effort. Rural students do not lack these qualities in any way.The questions being asked by UPSC do not discriminate between the urban and rural candidates. Anybody can succeed in this competition with good guidance and hard work.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?

Sahil: I took a lot of mock interviews to get rhythm and confidence. I practiced every dimension of DAF (Detailed Application Form).

CSC: Which types of questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer them all?

Sahil: Questions in interview were purely analytical and I answered only 60% of the questions.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Sahil: My subjects of graduation were main focus area. Many questions were asked from graduation subjects.

CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to improve one’s suitability for this exam? What is the outside reading one should do?

Sahil: One should be aware of general happenings around him/her. Habit of reading newspapers should be cultivated to gain awareness of national and international affairs. One can also read good magazines like Frontline and Civil Services Chronicle to have an in-depth understanding of current affairs.

CSC: To whom would you give credit for your success?

Sahil: My family, teachers, friends and God.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?

Sahil: They should study regularly and smartly. Understand the syllabus and nature of questions being asked by UPSC to anticipate correctly. Read one thing ten times rather than ten things one time.

CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?

Sahil: Do not lose your hope and do not stop until you arrive at your destination. Persistence always pays.

CSC: Had you thought of any other alternative apart from the Civil Services?

Sahil: No. I was confident that I will crack it.

CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Services Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil services aspirants?

Sahil: Civil Services Chronicle is a very good magazine though I could not read it much. I got to know about it during my coaching classes. I think it is a complete magazine for IAS examination preparation.

CSC: Mr. Sahil, thanks a lot for giving your valuable time and sharing your insight on Civil Services Examination.

Sahil: Thank you very much.

MANER NASIR IQBAL
RANK 753, IAS 2016
"Good Guidance,Patience,Smart Work Paved the way for Success"


CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Nasir: Good guidance, Patience, Smart work and Consistency paved the way for my success.

CSC: When did you start preparation for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?

Nasir: I started my preparation in June 2013. I think one should start preparing for civil services examination in the last year of graduation.

CSC: How did you start preparation for the IAS Examination?

Nasir: I joined coaching classes to prepare. I followed the guidance provided by my teachers honestly with full commitment.

CSC: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Main examinations?

Nasir: I divided the syllabus in simple and achievable targets so that the entire syllabus of General Studies can be covered for both Prelims and Main examinations.

CSC: What was your optional subject? What was the basis of selecting this particular optional subject?

Nasir: I took ‘History’ as my optional subject. ‘History’ is the most relevant subject from General Studies, ‘Essay’ as well as interview point of view. I analysed that more than 25% of questions in IAS Prelims examination come from History. In Main exam also History covers more than 400 Marks. ‘History’ optional provides background for all the four papers of General Studies and the Essay paper in Mains examination.

CSC: How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard? Please give a list of books, magazines and papers.

Nasir: Guidance of my teachers and the advice of seniors helped me in identifying the right study material and books.

I read NCERTs for basic preparation and then I relied on the class notes provided by INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY, Delhi during my coaching classes. I followed ‘The Hindu’ newspaper regularly.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of essay paper.

Nasir: It goes hand in hand with the preparation of General Studies because topics and issues are common to both.

CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?

Nasir: For some topics I made notes. I mostly relied on the class notes of my coaching classes. Notes are important because they help in quick revision at the last moment.

CSC: Did you attend any coaching institute? How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?

Nasir: Yes. I took coaching for ‘History’ optional and General Studies. I joined INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY of S. BALIYAN Sir in Delhi. The classes and regular tests helped me a lot in ensuring direction-oriented study. The continuous guidance and support provided by S. Baliyan Sir made my preparation easy and I could crack Civil Services examination.

CSC: What are your suggestions for freshers who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?

Nasir: Coaching classes are necessary but rather than going by publicity, one should cross – check the performance of institute through close friends and seniors. I myself joined coaching after discussing with friends and I found INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY immensely helpful.

CSC: What was your style of writing in Mains exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Nasir: I focused more and more on what was being actually asked by paying attention to key words, prefixes and suffixes of questions.

CSC: The trend suggests that professionals are more successful in civil services examination. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Nasir:No, not necessarily. Whoever is hard worker, will clear this exam.

CSC: What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking in Prelims exam?

Nasir: One should attempt only those questions which are known. Guess work should be avoided.

CSC: How helpful is one’s academic background in his/her success?

Nasir: Academic background does not help necessarily, but sometimes humanities background may help.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?

Nasir: I prepared my bio-data related questions elaborately. Mock interviews also helped me a lot in preparation for interview.

CSC: What types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer all?

Nasir:The questions were mostly from my DAF (Detailed Application Form). I did not answer all the questions.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Nasir: No, most of the questions were general in nature.

CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading one should do to improve one’s suitability for this exam? What is the outside reading one should do?

Nasir: One should read Newspaper regularly. General understanding of what is happening around plays an important role in civil services examination.

CSC: To whom would you give credit of your success?

Nasir: Parents, my teachers, myself and well wishes of my friends.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?

Nasir: Follow your dream and commit yourself fully to civil services preparation.

CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?

Nasir: Failure is the stepping stone towards success. Never stop, keep striving hard and you will definitely succeed.

CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Services Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil service aspirants?

Nasir: I read Civil Services Chronicle magazine occasionally. It is very good magazine as it covers issues very well. Every aspirant should read it.

CSC: Mr. Nasir, thanks a lot for giving your valuable time and sharing your insight on civil services examination.

Nasir: Thank you very much.

SAMPADA SARAF
I ST RANK MPPSC-2017
Take Study as a Pleasure not a Burden


CSC: Achieving top slot in the coveted Civil Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.

Sampada: Thank You.

CSC: What preference in services you had opted for and any particular reason for priority?

Sampada: I had opted for administrative services as it provides a greater opportunity to serve the masse.

CSC: 'Success is sweet' - Were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news?

Sampada: I was confident after my last selection and had therefore filled only one post preference of Deputy Collector. But RANK-1 came as a pleasant surprise.

CSC: Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services?

Sampada: I used to have discussions with my mother during my school days regarding ways to address the problems of the society. It was during one of these discussions that I realized that civil services is one of the best mediums to work for the society.

CSC: Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make a career in 'Civil Services'?

Sampada: I started my preparation during my college days.

CSC: Was CSE a planned decision or your parent's wish?

Sampada: My parents guided me towards this field but never imposed anything. Motivated by their guidance, I decided to opt for it as my career.

CSC: 'Time Management'- is a key factor making preparations as well as in writing examination papers, be it Prelims or Main Examination. How did you manage things?

Sampada: I practised a number of Mock Tests for both Pre and Mains Examination and tried to improve my writing speed and quality of answers.

CSC: The first step is the most difficult; how to prepare? Which optional subjects to pick? What to read? How much to read? Many such questions come to your mind when you really get serious about Civil Services Examination. From where, did you get the right advice?

Sampada: My mother provided me with the initial guidance regarding the Newspaper and Books to read. After this, the core guidance was provided by DHYEYA IAS, for General Studies and Goutam Academy Jabalpur (for MP Special) for a holistic strategy to crack CSE.

CSC: What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Preliminary Examination preparation? How much time and effort you divided for each?

Sampada: I have been pretty confident about the aptitude test, hence just used to revise the main formula for Paper-I, I used to solve previous years papers and revised NCERTs and other standard books.

CSC: What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Mains Examination (Written)?

Sampada: I tried to manage my time better by practising answer writing. I compiled my own notes for the topic of the syllabus which were hard to get from anywhere.

CSC: Was there any special for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper? Which topic you picked up this time and why did you choose this particular topic?

Sampada: The essay had to be written in Hindi. I assembled some quotes from various sources and tried to cover every topic from multiple dimensions.

CSC: How did you prepare yourself for Interview (Personality Test)? When and which Board did you face? How did your interview go on, how much time it lasted and which type of questions were asked during the Interview?

Sampada: I believe personality isn't something that can be built over a period of a few weeks. It can however be polished well. This polishing was done by revising the key point of all subjects and working on my presentation skills under the guidance of Siddhartha Gautam Sir.

My Interview was in Mehra Sir's Board. It lasted for 20-25 mins. Questions were mainly focussed on my views regarding various contemporary issues, especially related to women.

CSC: In your opinion at which Educational Level should one start preparing for Civil Services and what should be the minimum period of time required to prepare for Civil Services Examination?

Sampada: Starting early
definitely gives an advantage but it is not a sufficient condition. Minimum 8-10 months is required.

CSC: What is the importance of medium of examination for exam like CSE?

Sampada: I believe the perceived difference is only a myth. As far as I know, this is the first time an english medium student has achieved the top rank in MPPCS. Thus, both mediums have equal chance at success.

CSC: In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing an examination like Civil Services?

Sampada: They provide a summary of the month's current affairs and touch certain topics. Which prove useful for both Pre and Mains Exam.

CSC: How do you rate Civil Services Chronicle Magazine? Do you find it close to your expectation?

Sampada: Civil Services Chronicle Magazine is certainly helpful for state services exams.

CSC: To whom would you like to give the credit for your success?

Sampada: I credit all the successes of my life to my mother, father and brother who have supported all my decisions throughout. I am also grateful to all my teachers for providing me knowledge beyond books.

CSC: Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Sampada: Never consider studies to be a burden. Enjoy learning new things and take pleasure in this journey of CSE preparation and sooner or later your will certainly reach your destination.

CSC: Thank You very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavors.


SHUBHANWITA
IAS 2016
"Analyze past mistakes and work accordingly to improve"


CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Shubhanwita: Hard work, discipline, consistency and smart study.

CSC: When did you start preparation for IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?

Shubhanwita: I started my preparation for the IAS Examination during 3rd year of my graduation. I think one should start preparing for civil services examination during graduation.

CSC: What were your strategies for the IAS Examination?

Shubhanwita: I began with the basic textbooks i.e. NCERTs and Laxmikant, etc.

CSC: What were your strategies for lengthy syllabus of General studies for both Prelims and Mains examinations?

Shubhanwita: I chalked out a strategy and followed timetable religiously. I attempted a lot of tests.

CSC: What was your optional subject? What was the basis of selecting this particular optional subject?

Shubhanwita: I took ‘History’ as my optional subject. It is very easy and static subject. One can link and correlate the events with present times. ‘History’ optional provides background for all the four papers of General Studies and the Essay paper in Mains examination.

CSC: Did you follow the myth that only so called popular optional should be opted?

Shubhanwita: No. I selected optional subject on the basis of its relevance for General Studies papers, static nature of syllabus and recent performance in IAS mains examination.

CSC: How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard? Please give a list of books, magazines and papers?

Shubhanwita: My parents and teachers guided me to the sources of reading materials. Classes and notes of Shri S. Baliyan Sir were the main source. Additional sources were: Upinder Singh–Ancient India, Satish Chandra-Medieval, Bipan Chandra, Grover and Grover-Modern, Norman Lowe – World History.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of ‘Essay’ paper.

Shubhanwita: I wrote an essay every 10 days.

CSC: How much time did you devote for?

(a) Prelims -1 month exclusively.

(b) Mains – 4 months exclusively.

(c) Interview -1 month exclusively.

CSC: Which is the most difficult part of this examination and why?

Shubhanwita: I think the Main examination is most difficult part of this examination.

CSC: Did you prepare any notes?

Shubhanwita: No. I did not prepare any separate notes.

CSC: Did you attend any coaching institute? How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is overall opinion about the coaching institutes?

Shubhanwita: Yes. I attended ‘INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY’ of S. BALIYAN Sir at Delhi. Coaching institute help us improve our preparation level.

CSC: What are your suggestions for the freshers who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?

Shubhanwita: Select your institute wisely because you need best guidance to crack civil services examination.

CSC: What was your style of writing in Mains exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style?

Shubhanwita: I wrote in points and followed introduction – main body-conclusion format while writing answers.

CSC: The trend suggests that professionals are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for humanities and social science background candidates?

Shubhanwita: NO, I am from humanities background and I cleared the exam in first attempt.

CSC: What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking?

Shubhanwita: Avoid making wild guesses. Follow elimination method to arrive at the correct answer.

CSC: Does this exam provide a level playing field for the rural or economically poor background candidates?

Shubhanwita: Yes. Every aspirant faces the same questions and has same chances of success.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?

Shubhanwita: I gave a lot of mock interviews.

CSC: Which types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer them all?

Shubhanwita: Interview board asked questions on my background, optional subject and some varied questions on Current affairs. Yes. I answered all the questions.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Shubhanwita: No. There was no such specific area.

CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to improve one’s suitability for this exam?

Shubhanwita: One should read non-fiction books and cultivate newspaper reading habit.

CSC: To whom would you give credit for your success?

Shubhanwita: Parents, god, teachers and hard work.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?

Shubhanwita: They should focus on building their foundations by reading basic books like NCERTs.

CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?

Shubhanwita: The candidates should not lose hope, be patient and persevere. They should analyze past mistakes and work accordingly to improve.

CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Services Chronicle magazine? How far do you find it relevant?

Shubhanwita: I am reading Civil Service Chronicle magazine from the early days of my preparation. It is a very good magazine and covers issues very well.

CSC: Ms.Shubhanwita, thanks a lot for giving your valuable time and sharing your insights on civil services examination.

Shubhanwita: Thank you very much.


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