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.