CSC: Heartiest congratulations to you from Civil Services Chronicle on your success. How are you feeling about it?
Ans:Thank you so much. I am feeling happy for securing a good rank. I am also relieved that my efforts have paid off and now I am looking forward to an exciting and an impactful career ahead.
CSC: What was your inspiration for becoming an IAS officer?
Ans:I always thought of what I could become, using my capacity to study and learn so as to reach out to the society and do something for the poor, marginalized etc. I got my answer, when I came across the UPSC CSE exam which could enable me to become an IAS officer.
CSC: Whom would you give credit to for your success?
Ans: I would like to thank my parents, my brother and my grandmother with whom I lived and who supported me in my preparation. I would also give credit to my closest friends, teachers and mentors who helped me throughout.
CSC: What was the role of your family and others (teachers, friends) in your preparation and success?
Ans:Family keeps you motivated through your ups and downs during the preparation. Your friends help you douse your stress and worries.
CSC: What were your sources for preparation? Which books, magazines, newspapers and online sources were used by you during the preparation?
Ans:I referred to NCERT - 6-12th Social Sciences as basic books along with standard books on each subject. I also used to read Yojana, Kurukshetra magazine, the Hindu as well as Indian Express. The online sources that I used to refer to were PIB and Rajya Sabha TV.
CSC: How much time did you devote for this exam?
Ans:I integrated my preparation along with college. I prepared my optional subject a year earlier before, giving it 4-5 months. I focused separately on Prelims from February 2018 and prepared for Mains before itself. For interview, I started preparing after the Mains exam.
CSC: How did you manage your time in both Prelims and Mains examinations?
Ans:While attempting Prelims, I used to fill the OMR sheet for questions I was sure about at first, and used to leave the rest for revisiting. For Mains, I took 7-9 minutes to answer each question and did not leave any question unattempted.
CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparation or was it separate?
Ans:I prepared for Prelims and Mains in an integrated manner since most of the subjects overlap. Only when a specific phase of exam came near, I prepared separately on how to approach the questions.
CSC: Did you prepare any notes? How helpful are notes? What is your advice on making notes?
Ans:Yes. Making notes using pen and paper was the most helpful for me. Note making helps you to comprehend and understand topics well. The better your notes are, the better is your answer writing skill. Divide your notes category wise and keep condensing them for revision.
CSC: What was your strategy for preparing for Ethics paper and which books did you refer to?
Ans:I referred to Lexicon for basic terms and R. Rajagopalan for case studies. Proper analysis of a situation can be done by keeping in mind multi-dimensional impact for case studies. For rest of the questions, one can start with the definitions followed by examples.
CSC: Tell us something about your approach for Essay paper.
Ans:For Essay paper, one must broaden their reading base from newspapers to general magazines. One can divide their essay on different topics and dimensions. Practicing one essay on each Sunday and getting it evaluated helped me a lot.
CSC: What was your style of writing in the examination and how did you develop this writing style?
Ans:I focused on two aspects of an answer:
- Structure of the answer, depending on demand of the question
- Using facts, reports, data to enrich answer
- Focus on neat presentation, use of diagrams, maps, flowcharts.
I developed this style by practice and by looking at toppers’ copies.
CSC: What was your optional? What was the basis of selecting the optional?
Ans: My optional was Sociology. I found the subject very interesting and felt that I could spend time studying it in detail. This was the only basis. Besides, many topics were of help in General Studies as well.
CSC: How did you prepare for interview? Which types of questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer all the questions?
Ans: For the interview, I studied my detailed application form thoroughly first. Then I took mock interviews at various places like Vajirao & Reddy Institute that helped me to fine tune my mistakes and perform better.
I was asked question from diverse areas:
- My major project
- Range of temples in MP
- Bhopal gas tragedy
- How can Sociology help in administration?
- Big data
- Judiciary reforms
- Education system in India
- Laws related to pollution
I couldn't answer 1-2 questions, but politely accepted it and moved on.
CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?
Ans: No, the discussions touched upon various topics and areas and they did not emphasize on any specific area.
CSC: What is the role of Civil Services Chronicle in your success?
Ans: CSC can help aspirants to gain quality content for CSE preparation. Toppers’ strategy and practice questions are specifically helpful.
SUGGESTED BOOK LIST
- NCERT- 6-12th Social Studies,
- History- Rajiv Ahir Spectrum
- Geography- GC Leong
- CSAT: Previous year’s papers of CSAT
GS 1 Same as Prelims
GS 2 Polity. M Lakshmikanth, DD Basu
GS 3 Economy: Ramesh Singh, Niti Aayog Action Agenda
GS 4 Lexicon for key terms, R. Rajagopalan book for case studies
Optional Paper-1 Sociology: Harlambos and Heald and Oxford dictionary
Optional Paper-2 B.K. Nagla and e-PG Pathshala online material
- Yojana – Kurukshetra magazine
- The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint etc.