Divya Shakti
Civil Services Examination 2019, Rank–79


  • Hello everyone, I am Divya Shakti. I have secured Rank 79 in the Civil Services Examination 2019. I am from Muzaffarpur, Bihar. I have done my schooling from DAV Muzaffarpur till 10th and 12th from DPS Bokaro. I have done my engineering from BITS Pilani. I am B.E. in Computer Science.
  • My father is a doctor by profession, my mother is aa home maker and I have an elder brother and sister.
  • I am An engineer who loves travelling and long distance running. I was attracted to civil services because of the job profile and its ability to impact the lives of general public.
  • I was working before I left my job, and decided to prepare full time. I came to know about ForumIAS through one of my friends, who was appearing for the exam from sometime. At that time, I was in a dilemma wheather to join Forum or any other institute for my Mains Preparation. I am glad I chose ForumIAS for Mains & Interview Preparation.

Personality/Profile:

  • Your Name: Divya Shakti
  • Place of Birth: Muzaffarpur
  • How old are you? : 27 years
  • Schooling done from Name and City and score?: Till 10th from DAV Muzaffarpur, +2 from DPS Bokaro
  • College from which City and Gpa: BITS Pilani, Pilani, Rajasthan, 7.3
  • PG (if Any): I had a dual degree with Msc. in Economics align with B.E. in Computer Science
  • Did you write any other exam? I qualified Forest Pre and Mains to reach up to the interview level.
  • Who else is there in your family?: My father who is a doctor by profession, my mother a homemaker and elder brother and sister.
  • Work-experience (if any): Two years from 2016-2018 in an investment bank
  • Optional: Geography


Preliminary examination


PLEASE MENTION YOUR STRATEGY AND BOOKS/NOTES DID YOU REFERRED TO FOR GENERAL STUDIES AND CSAT?

STRATEGY:

  • I did entire GS preparation on my own through self study without any coaching. However wrote mains test at ForumIAS itself. Before starting one’s preparation for GS, one must by heart the syllabus. Then try reading each and every topic from the syllabus, follow and consolidate current affairs related to it and prepare short notes for mains.

BOOKLIST:

Topic Resource
History Ancient Old ncert
History Medieval TN board
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Spectrum
Culture . NCERT , Nitin Singhania book selected chapters on Buddhism and Jainism, intangible heritage and paintings
Polity (static + current affairs) Laxmikant and The Hindu, Googled important topics and read them to understand the background.
Economy (static + current affairs) Static: Mrunal and Curent affairs from The Hindu. Googled important topics and read them to understand the background.
Science (static + current affairs) The Hindu, pib, year review of Ministry of Science and Technology
Environment (static + current affairs) Read Shankar IAS once for static portion. Current affairs from The Hindu, pib, year review of Ministry of Environment. Also referred to the websites of major Conventions.
Geography(Physical +Indian+World) I had geography optional so didn’t study specifically for GS
Current affairs The Hindu was my main and most important source Up to prelims. Post prelims I followed The Indian Express. I prepared pre and mains related handwritten notes for current affarirs. Followed it up by daily current affairs of one coaching site. Didn’t refer to any monthly compilation or PT 365s.

I also googled any topic in news from PIB. This helped me get relevant news from government’s authentic sources.

HOW MANY QUESTIONS DID YOU ATTEMPT IN GS? HOW MANY DID YOU GET RIGHT?

  • In mains I attempted all questions in GS, in pre my attempts were somewhere around 78-80. However I scored 116 and managed to get through IFoS cutoff as well.


WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE OPTIMAL NUMBER OF QUESTIONS TO ATTEMPT IN PRELIMS? DO YOU ADVISE ACCURACY OR MAXIMUM ATTEMPTS?

  • I believe the optimal number of attempts should be around 80. But this is not a hard and fast rule. One must analyse her accuracy through mocks to reach upon individual optimal number of attempts.


IF YOU HAD TO PREPARE AGAIN WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY IN ANY WAY?

  • For prelims, no. For mains GS, no. But I would improve my optional. I couldn’t give much time to optional between pre and mains and I think it would have definitely impacted my score.


Mains Examination


HOW DID YOU PREPARE GS/GK?

  • By heart the syllabus.
  • Prepare static portion from basic books.
  • Prepare one A4 sheet note on related current affairs, mostly in answer format I.e. relevant stats, committees, articles, reports and also positives and negatives along with a way forward. I revised these sheets multiple times to by heart it before mains exam.


HOW DID YOU PREPARE ENGLISH?

  • No dedicated preparation.


HOW DID YOU COVER CURRENT AFFAIRS FOR MAINS?

  • Followed the Indian express to identify syllabus related current affairs. Watched Rajya Sabha tv’s The Big Picture regularly. It is really helpful as it gives both sides of a story along with a way forward.


WHAT’S YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECTS AND WHY?

  • Geography because I had an interest in the subject also because of its overlap with the GS papers.


PLEASE SHARE YOUR STRATEGY AND BOOKLIST FOR EACH OF THE OPTIONAL?

Optional Paper 1:

STRATEGY:

  • I referred to my coaching notes to prepare basic foundation for both paper 1 and paper 2.
  • Then I picked up syllabus and took up each topic one by one.
  • Used internet extensively to prepare A4 sheet for each topic.
  • I made sure I knew theories, geographers’ names and diagrams related to each topic.
  • Also focussed on contemporary examples for each topic. For example let’s say, urban conurbation, I gathered examples related to India, world, recent conventions etc and used them appropriately in paper 1 and 2.
  • Also made sure each page had both maps and diagrams while writing answers. I could not give tests for my optional but tried practising previous year question papers from each unit.

BOOKLIST:

  • Basic material:
  • Shabbir sir notes

NCERT

  • Reference material:
  • Rupa Physical Geography
  • Rupa Economic and Social Geography
  • Geomorphology by Savindra Singh
  • R D Dixit

Optional 2

  • Basic material, Shabbir sir notes
  • DR Khullar, For paper 2, I used a lot of current affairs from GS paper 3. And completed topics like Culture etc from current affairs plus extensive use of internet and prepared one-pagers for even those fringe topics.


HOW IMPORTANT IS ANSWER WRITING? WHAT WAS YOUR STYLE OF ANSWER WRITING?

  • Answer writing is of course critical for mains as no matter how much you know you must be able to present relevant content in your answer in limited time.
  • My answer had introduction, body, conclusion format. I mostly wrote in pointwise format and used maps(since I had geography optional, I used them extensively in IR, geography etc related answers).


HOW MANY QUESTIONS DID YOU ATTEMPT? WHAT STRATEGY DID YOU FOLLOW FOR MAINS EXAMINATION IN THE EXAMINATION HALL?

  • I attempted all questions. I attempted the 15 markers first in around 1hr 45 mins to come back to 10 markers.
  • I didn’t use blog and community as such but I DID regularly read Neyawn’s article. They are really motivating as they present a bigger picture of life beyond UPSC and are beautifully written. You can get strategy in many places, you can get technical stuff at other places, but the right mindset that is needed for the exam, I think the articles very well do that.


Interview


HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW? DID YOU ATTEND ANY MOCKS?

  • I focused on building my understanding and opinion on ongoing issues. The next focus was on expressing my views in an organized and precise manner. I was a part of the online Group Mocks at Forum, and I remember online sessions taken by Forum very well. This was critical given that after lockdown mock sessions were not easily available.
  • In the group sessions that we had, we were asked for forming groups among ourselves, and I religiously followed that.
  • I formed a group with two other people. We used to discuss daily and held mock interviews on every alternate day. This really helped me a lot. I think candidates must develop the quality of forbearance before their personality tests.


WHICH INTERVIEW BOARD DID YOU FACE?

  • Smita Nagaraj Mam
  • I will share the detailed transcript on my website. But almost all the questions were on expected lines that is based on my DAF. There were questions from my state, my name,my hobbies and geography, which was my optional.


WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU THINK ARE BEING TESTED IN THE INTERVIEW? SOME STRICT DO’S AND DON’TS FOR THE INTERVIEW FOR ASPIRANTS AND INTERVIEW CANDIDATES?

  • Read through the syllabus of personality test thoroughly, it mentions all the qualities that the board intends to test. I think forbearance is an important quality too. Be respectful, even if you disagree, disagree respectfully. Don’t bluff. Don’t hesitate to say I don’t know. And most importantly listen before speaking.


DO YOU THING MARKS IN SCHOOL OR COLLEGE AND THE JOB EXPERIENCE CAN IMPACT ONE’S SCORE IN THE INTERVIEW?

  • Ummm .. I really don’t think so.


HOW WAS THE INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE? WAS IT PREDICTABLE? HOW MUCH DID YOUR PREPARATION HELP?

  • The board was extremely cordial. Almost all the questions were on expected lines. My preparation definitely helped a lot.


Miscellaneous


HOW MUCH INTERNET DID YOU USE FOR YOUR PREPARATION? HOW MUCH VALUE DID IT ADD?

  • Since I didn’t take any coaching for my GS, I relied heavily on internet for my preparation. It was my main source for GS prep apart from the basic books.


HOW DID YOU BALANCE SO MUCH RESOURCES AND DATA? WHAT SMART TECHNIQUES DID YOU USE TO MANAGE YOUR PREPARATION IN A BETTER MANNER?

  • As far as my possible I tried to keep my resources limited. I referred only to basic books. Even while referring to the internet for any topic, I used to consolidate all the material gathered on a single A4 sheet and revise that sheet only.


WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST ESSENTIAL QUALITY/QUALITIES NEEDED TO CLEAR THIS EXAM?

  1. Clarity of purpose. I think this is the most important thing. It should not be due to peer or parental pressure. If one is not clear with purpose , she might give up at the very first hint of difficulty in the preparation journey.
  2. Do not carry any baggage from past. Make a routine, try you 100% to adhere to it, but in case you can’t, don’t fret over it for too long. This is the most common tendency among aspirants. Improvise, pivot and restart.


WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THE YOUNG ASPIRANTS WHO LOOK UP TO YOU?

  • Please refer to the qualities I mentioned above. Apart from them staying focussed and NOT participating in random chai stall type gossip. Keep your circle limited and if possible, stay away from social media.


WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED?

  • You cannot ensure that you will get through the exam but you can ensure that you put your 200% in it. Just do that.


WHAT DID ALL HURDLES YOU FACE WHILE PREPARING FOR IT? AND HOW DID YOU TACKLE THEM?

  • I underwent many emotional ups and downs , like other participants. But my mother stood beside me as my most important pillar of support. My two friends Naincy and Nikky were extremely supportive and ALWAYS available to listen to me and boost me up.


WHAT ROLE DID FORUMIAS PLAY IN YOUR PREPARATION? DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR US?

  • It played a very important role in mains preparation as I wrote all my mains tests here. For interview prep, I found a group of two other people through a forum IAS group discussion only.

Ayushi Jain
Civil Services Examination 2019, Rank–41


My name is Ayushi Jain. I am from a very small town named Sironj in Vidisha dist of MP.I have done my schooling from Nirmala Convent Higher Secondary School Sironj.

  • I have a nuclear family consisting of my mother, father, younger brother, and a younger sister. My father is a Kirana shopkeeper and my mother a homemaker.
  • I had scored 91.2 % marks in 10th std and 90.4 % marks in 12th std. I have done engineering in Computer Science from Lakshmi Narain College of Technology Bhopal, with 8.68 CGPA.
  • I have work-ex of around 2 years as a Data Centre administrator in Trident Ltd. I had my 1st attempt in 2017 and this was my 3rd attempt. In the 1st attempt, I couldn’t clear prelims, in the 2nd attempt, I couldn’t clear mains.
  • In the 3rd attempt I had changed my optional from Mathematics to Anthropology, which I had prepared in 2 months period (Jan, Feb 2020) after the results of mains came out.
  • I didn’t write any other exam apart from UPSC. But was thinking to write state PSC exam as a backup option after this attempt.
  • To become a civil servant was not my childhood dream. I realized this during my job period while participating in various CSR activities. Then I left my job in 2016 and started dedicated preparation of the exam since then.

Preliminary examination

PLEASE MENTION YOUR STRATEGY AND BOOKS/NOTES DID YOU REFERRED TO FOR GENERAL STUDIES AND CSAT?

  • STRATEGY: Limited sources + note-making + practice mock tests. Newspaper reading was very important for me, I read Indian express and a friend of mine read The Hindu and we used to share notes through a Google doc file.


BOOKLIST:

Topic Resource
History Ancient Class notes + Tamil Nadu NCERT
History Medieval Class notes + Lucent
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Class notes + Spectrum
Culture Class notes + Nitin Singhania
Polity (static + current affairs) LakshmiKant + Current affairs magazine
Economy (static + current affairs) Class notes + current affairs magazine + budget + Eco Survey
Science (static + current affairs) Class notes + Current affairs magazine
Environment (static + current affairs) Shankar + Current affairs magazine
Geography(Physical +Indian+World) Class notes + NCERT + Mapping
Current affairs Newspaper (very religiously) + Current affairs magazine

WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY FOR PRELIMS EXAMINATION?

  • I had solved around 50 test papers in both my attempts in which I cleared prelims. Solving test papers helps in understanding the elimination strategy for options, and finding out which strategy works for us on the basis of our accuracy.

HOW MANY QUESTIONS DID YOU ATTEMPT IN GS? HOW MANY DID YOU GET RIGHT?

  • In this attempt, I attempted 93
  • On the basis of different answer keys, I was getting around 110-112 marks.


WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE OPTIMAL NUMBER OF QUESTIONS TO ATTEMPT IN PRELIMS? DO YOU ADVISE ACCURACY OR MAXIMUM ATTEMPTS?

  • There are 2 strategies for prelims – attempt around 70 questions, which one is very sure to be correct. And second is to attempt more than 90 questions when the accuracy is not that good. I fell in the later category, thus in both my last 2 attempts, I attempted more than 90 questions.


IF YOU HAD TO PREPARE AGAIN WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY IN ANY WAY?

  • I wouldn’t change my strategy in any way. I will just read a few books more and check new editions of some books to find out if there is anything extra.


IF THIS WASN’T YOUR FIRST ATTEMPT WHAT MISTAKES YOU THINK YOU MADE IN THE PREVIOUS ATTEMPT IN PRELIMS?

  • 1st attempt – I read contents from so many sources, couldn’t revise properly before the exam. I also solved less number of test papers therefore couldn’t develop a strategy for prelims.
  • 2nd and 3rd attempt – I limited my sources, focused more upon revision, solved more number of test papers. Therefore, could qualify prelims in these 2 attempts.


Mains


HOW DID YOU PREPARE GS/GK?

  • I covered every term in the syllabus through static sources and tried to connect them to current affairs topics through newspapers and magazines.
  • Newspaper reading – one of the foundational pillars of my UPSC Through newspaper reading I collected examples, case studies, imp data etc
  • Going through answer copies of toppers available on internet .
  • Practicing mains answer writing through full length tests in proper exam type environment. I had joined Forum MGP 2018 and
  • Notes making is very important – helps in quick recall of points as it gets saved in our pictographic


HOW DID YOU COVER CURRENT AFFAIRS FOR MAINS?

  • Through 2 sources – 1st is Newspaper which was one of the foundational pillars of my UPSC preparation and 2nd is current affairs magazine.


WHAT’S YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECTS AND WHY?

  • My optional is Anthropology. I changed my optional from Mathematics to Anthropology in my 3rd attempt.
  • I chose it because it was one of the few optionals which I could do on my own in the 2 months time period after the results of mains of my 2nd attempt came out.
  • This subject has a good blend of both science and humanities.


PLEAS SHARE YOUR STRATEGY AND BOOKLIST FOR EACH OF THE OPTIONAL?

  • I had just 2 month period to prepare for a new optional after the results of the mains (2nd attempt) came out on 20th Dec 2018 .
  • I had to decide a new optional, I tried reading basic class notes of 3 optionals in the 10 days after the results. I decided to take Anthropology as my optional.
  • I am very much thankful to Anudeep Durishetty sir for his blog on “How to Ace Anthropology Optional”. I followed each and every word in the blog while preparing for my optional.


Optional 1

STRATEGY:

  • Note making for every
  • Updating current affairs from newspapers and current affairs
  • Daily answer writing practice for optional after
  • Tried to incorporate diagrams, examples, case studies etc wherever

BOOKLIST: Anudeep Durushetty sir book list + Examples from newspaper

Optional 2

STRATEGY:

  • Read XAXA report and made notes .
  • Watched Mai Bhi Bharat Documentaries (in my free time) and collected case studies.
  • Note making for every
  • Updating current affairs from newspapers and current affairs
  • Daily answer writing practice for optional after
  • Tried to incorporate diagrams, examples, case studies etc wherever

BOOKLIST: Anudeep Durushetty sir book list + XAXA + Mai bhi bharat case studies + examples from Newspapers.


DID YOU JOIN ANY CLASSES FOR YOUR MAINS PREPARATION .IF YES THEN HOW USEFUL DID YOU FIND THEM?

  • No, I didn’t join any classes for mains preparation. I joined test-series for the same.


HOW IMPORTANT IS ANSWER WRITING? WHAT WAS YOUR STYLE OF ANSWER WRITING?

  • Answer writing practice is very important because attaining knowledge is different while reproducing it on paper is different .
  • Answer writing is an art which consists of some basic rules which can be brought into practice only through regular answer writing.
  • I didn’t practice answer writing daily but used to writing at least 1 full-length test every 3-4 days.


HOW MANY QUESTIONS DID YOU ATTEMPT? WHAT STRATEGY DID YOU FOLLOW FOR MAINS EXAMINATION IN THE EXAMINATION HALL?

  • I attempted all the questions in all the papers of mains examination. I did 15 marker questions first and then the 10 marker questions.
  • I turned my watch 5 mins ahead, it had a psychological impact on me that I could complete my papers 1 min before time, which was not the case otherwise.


IF YOU HAD TO PREPARE AGAIN WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY IN ANY WAY?

  • Revise my optional better as in this attempt I had a paucity of time to do that.


IF THIS WASN’T YOUR FIRST ATTEMPT WHAT MISTAKES YOU THINK YOU MADE IN THE PREVIOUS ATTEMPT IN MAINS?

  • My optional which I had changed in this attempt.
  • I added more value to my answers through case studies, examples, diagrams, maps, data etc.


WERE YOU PART OF FORUMIAS CGP / PTS / MGP / IGP / CURRENT AFFAIRS? HOW DID THEY HELP YOU IN YOUR PREPARATION? HOW WAS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PROGRAMS?

  • I joined MGP 2018 and MGP 2019 for mains test series and IGP 2019 for interview preparation. At a time during the lockdown, not many options were available, I was lucky to get ForumIAS support for online mocks.
  • MGP had helped me in practicing answer writing in proper exam type environment. Copy checking was on time, grievance readdress was seamless.
  • IGP helped me in forming crisp and effective answers.
  • I had also taken up ForumIAS Anthropology ATS ( Augmented Test Series ) for Mains 2019


Interview


HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW? DID YOU ATTEND ANY MOCKS?

  • I am from a very small town and my schooling was such that I was very hesitant in delivering my answers well. I looked very under-confident. So, for me working on the presentation part was as important as the knowledge gathering and DAF preparation. To address this situation, I did daily mock interview sessions with different groups of people, it also gave me diverse view-points.
  • I prepared my DAF thoroughly. As my interview was after the lockdown so a detailed study of current affairs related to corona pandemic had to be done, I also tried to connect it with things in my DAF.
  • I saw a lot many toppers’ mock interviews.


WHICH INTERVIEW BOARD DID YOU FACE?

  • Bharat Bhushan Vyas


PLEASE SHARE YOUR ENTIRE INTERVIEW LIKE WHAT WAS ASKED AND WHAT WAS YOUR REPLY? WERE YOU ABLE TO ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS?

I couldn’t answer 2 questions – those were very objective questions. I simply replied them like “I am unable to recall/ I am not aware but I’ll read about it”.

My interview transcript

M1:

  • Why Anthro after engg
  • Did u enjoy reading anthro
  • Which is ur fav part in anthro (I said Tribal anthro)
  • Why do u like tribal anthro (I mentioned Gadiya lohar tribe in my area)
  • More questions on gadiya lohar
  • Issues with nomadic tribes
  • How will make provision for education of nomadic tribes
  • Questions on Budapest Convention. Why did India not join it?
  • Any positive learning from covid

M2:

  • What is Anti ragging committee
  • How it came into being (Raghavan committee more questions on that)
  • Do you know about place named Patalkot (Bharia tribe – more questions on that)

M3 :

  • How do u see the recent Indo-China conflict – is it just the border tension
  • Covid and these tensions
  • Implications of Brexit for India ? What are the opportunities for us ?

M4:

  • About the company that I worked in
  • As a Data Centre administrator what should be ur response to any mistake committed by ur subordinate?

M5 :

  • What documentaries did u see last?
  • Is there any uncontacted tribe in India? (I said Sentinalese)
  • Any documentary on Sentinelese tribe?
  • What is reflective diary writing (my hobby)


WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU THINK ARE BEING TESTED IN THE INTERVIEW?

  • Honesty, Integrity, and objectiveness.


DO YOU THINK MARKS IN SCHOOL OR COLLEGE AND THE JOB EXPERIENCE CAN IMPACT ONE’S SCORE IN THE INTERVIEW?

  • UPSC gives a level playing field for all aspirants irrespective of the background they have.
  • The better the academics record and other positive things in the DAF about a candidate the higher are the expectations of the panel. If one is able to meet those expectations get good marks I think.


HOW WAS THE INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE? WAS IT PREDICTABLE? HOW MUCH DID YOUR PREPARATION HELP?

  • It was very nice, the board was very cordial.
  • Much of my interview was related to my optional, hobbies, work experience, IR and current affairs, so I had some knowledge of the things asked.
  • While some questions came as a surprise for me so my daily mock practice helped in that.


IF THIS WASN’T YOUR FIRST ATTEMPT WHAT MISTAKES YOU THINK YOU MADE IN THE PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS?

  • It was my first interview.


Miscellaneous


HOW MUCH INTERNET DID YOU USE FOR YOUR PREPARATION? HOW MUCH VALUE DID IT ADD?

  • Very less. Preparation was very old school.


HOW DID YOU BALANCE SO MUCH RESOURCES AND DATA? WHAT SMART TECHNIQUES DID YOU USE TO MANAGE YOUR PREPARATION IN A BETTER MANNER?

  • I limited my preparation to a few sources and tried to revise them well.
  • If I follow multiple sources then I made notes combining the required data. It made easy to revise just before the exam.
  • I did goal wise studies, a bigger goal may be of a month, I divided it into many smaller goals. It helped me in better utilization of my time.


DID YOU MAKE NOTES? WHY YES OR NO? DID YOU FIND THEM ANY USEFUL?

  • I believe note-making was one of the foundational pillars of my entire preparation. I made notes for prelims, mains as well as interview.
  • For prelims, all my notes were offline except my newspaper notes which I was a google doc file which I shared with one of my friends who used to read The Hindu while I read Indian Express.
  • For mains – offline notes
  • For interview – Online notes on OneNote.

AKANKSHA TIWARI
1st Rank Uttar Pradesh Judicial Services Examination – 2019


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

Akanksha: Thank you so much sir. Much obliged.

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

Akanksha: During my college days I realized that corporate Job is not my cup of tea. I wanted to connect and relate with law on a much more ground level. Also Judicial Service is not merely a job but a living profession, as you deal with the real time situations. All this inspired me to work hard in this direction.

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

Akanksha: During my LL.B. only I was very clear in my thoughts that I have to become a judicial officer.

CSC: You must have read toppers’ interviews in newspapers/magazines; what inspired you the most? Any particular success story which influenced your journey to this result?

Akanksha: Surprisingly, I never have read any interview, but during my preparation my mentor Mr. Alok Kr. Ranjan sir and my friend Gaurav used to share the stories of various toppers, which inspired me and kept me motivated that, ‘one should trust the process and must have faith in oneself’.

CSC: Was JSE a planned decision or your parent’s wish? Did you keep in mind some time frame, for the examination preparation and number of attempts?

Akanksha: Coming from a non-law family background I never knew about JSE till my graduation with Chemistry (Hons.). It was final year of my B.Sc. when I got in touch with one of my school seniors who happened to be an advocate in Delhi. From there it was my own decision to prepare for judiciary and from here it was law only. It was my first attempt only so had not thought much about timeframe. But, yes, I had in my mind that I have to clear JSE really soon.

CSC: Describe the exact moment when you came to know about the importance of Judicial Services?

Akanksha: I knew the importance of JSE from the very beginning of my law graduation and that judicial services will provide me an opportunity by which I could contribute a bit to our country. Thus it was always my serious choice and not an option.

CSC: If we talk about Interview Boards, many candidates have ‘set impressions’. Do you consider such thoughts help or hinder one’s performance in Interview?

Akanksha: The main purpose of interview is to get insight into your personality. In my case it got polished by ‘Interview Guidance Programme’ at Ambition Law Institute. Furthermore, me with friends Gaurav and Abhishek - were used to have discussions on various topics and issues which helped me during my interview. We should never prepare for interview with any pre-conceived notion. Trust yourself and be confident. You will do wonders.

CSC: What was your first step when you were really serious about making a career in Judicial Services?

Akanksha: I was serious since the beginning of my career in law but the actual preparation started when I joined Ambition Law Institute in November 2017.

CSC: Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this news of your success?

Akanksha: During my preparation I was not thinking of the result at all. I started with a thought that I have to give my best. We have got 24 days to prepare for our mains so we had no time to think about the result. I am really happy and elated that I got First Rank.

CSC: In how many attempts have you achieved this success? How do you visualize your preparation/previous attempts?

Akanksha: This was my first attempt at UPPSC J. For preparation I adopted simple strategy of focused study for long hours by joining a library nearby my coaching, where I used to study with my friends from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. But, I used to take breaks after every 2 hours and in between I had my coaching classes also. I never missed my classes and was quite regular with coaching and library.

CSC: Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e. Career in Judicial Services?

Akanksha: For the time being I was only focusing on Judiciary preparation.

CSC: While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Judicial Services?

Akanksha: The charm and respect which judicial services hold with it always kept me motivated in this direction only. Thus, the corporate jobs never distracted me.

CSC: What’s important and what’s not? Share your thoughts and opinions.

Akanksha: Having a good mentor and friends around is very important and I was blessed with both. My Mentor Alok Kr. Ranjan Sir always guided me that stay away from all kinds of distractions and follow the strategy shared in class, techniques taught there and keep your hard work on then success is bound to follow. Having a good company is also very important. It keeps you motivated and positive. The group discussions and revision unknowingly helps you a lot. One must keep his/her preparation limited i.e. instead of referring to many books one should revise from limited sources and should apprise themselves with current legal and other issues. Reading newspaper regularly will definitely give you an edge while framing answers. Stay away from negative thoughts and negative people. Commit mistakes and learn from it.

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?

Akanksha: Yes, time management is one major thing which plays a great role while one prepares for competitive examination. In this case my friend Gaurav, Abhishek and Amrita really helped me. They shared strategies and guided me how much time I should be giving to major subjects as we had very limited days for our mains examination. We also had a session with our sir for time management.

CSC: List some of the magazines, newspapers, books, etc. which you read for ‘General Studies’ preparation.

Akanksha: Civil Services Chronicle, Mohit sir Class Notes, Study IQ education ( Garg sir ) current affairs, Ghatna Chakra ( All Volumes). For quick revision of latest amendments and bills I referred GK today.

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?

Akanksha: ‘Interview Guidance Program’ was offered by Ambition Law Institute. It was really important as it was going to be my first interview. My UP PCS-J interview was scheduled on 24thJune 2019. I was interviewed by Dr R. Prakash Vaidya Board. My interview went well. They made me comfortable by asking me to sit and further adding that from where had I come, followed were few questions like from where have I done my LL.B., when did I pass, what I did after my graduation, etc. Few of the questions which they asked from law were what is Socialism, Defamation vs Insult, Defamation in Constitution, Civil and Criminal Defamation, nature of Evidence Act, latest judgment on Article 19, few questions from Appeal and Revision, etc. There were few questions which I couldn’t recall or I didn’t know so for them I simply replied sorry sir, “I cannot recall” or “Sorry sir I don’t remember”. It went for 15 minutes. At last they asked me to have water. After that I got up, greeted them and left the room.

CSC: What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like JSE?

Akanksha: I had written the exam in English as I can articulate better in English than Hindi. Medium doesn’t matter if you have good command over your language.

CSC: Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation?

Akanksha: What all an aspirant need from their family is constant support. In my case I have a humble background. My father works in a private company at Lucknow and we are middle class family and I have studied at DAV school and then at Law College at Ghaziabad and even then I topped it. So, it speaks all about it.

CSC: According to a recent report published by reputed survey agency, Civil Service Chronicle is the largest read Career & Competition magazine. What is your opinion?

Akanksha: I and my friends highly relied upon Civil Service Chronicle for our GS portion. Thus, constant and regular reading will definitely give you an edge and results.

CSC: What is the secret of your success?

Akanksha: My teachers, my family, my friends and definitely my hard work.

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

Akanksha: Never doubt yourself. Start preparing now. Nothing is impossible.

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

Jaijeet Kaur Hora
Rank 1, UPPCS 2016


CSC: Heartiest congratulations to you from Civil Services Chronicle for your success. How are you feeling about it?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Thank you! I am very happy that my endeavors and hard work paid off.

CSC: What is you inspiration for becoming a PCS officer?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: The nature and scope of work provides job satisfaction and one can significantly contribute to the society.

CSC: What is the role of family and others (teacher, friends) in your preparation and success?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Guidance, direction and moral support was provided by family and friends.

CSC: How much time did you devote for this exam?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: (a) Prelims - 3 months

(b) Mains - 6 months

(c) Interview - 1 month

(d) Optional - 3 months

CSC: How did you manage your time in both prelims and mains examinations?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: I had allotted time for various portions I had to cover in a day, and prepared time-table accordingly. I ensured to adhere to the time-table prepared.

CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparation or was it separate?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Separate.

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

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Yes, I had prepared notes. Notes should be concise and should be revised multiple times.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of the essay paper.

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Prepare the flow of essay for various topics, current issues should be incorporated while writing essay.

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

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: My handwriting as well as speed is good. It helped in getting down my views in answer writing.

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

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Public administration & social work. Both these subjects will be able to help me to serve the society as a civil servant, as it provides in-depth knowledge of administration & society.

CSC: How did you prepare for the interview?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Dr. S.S. Chaudhary Sir of Vajirao & Reddy Institute provided me individual guidance in mock interview, which was very helpful.

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

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Several questions based on current issues, polity and questions related to my academic background were asked.

Yes, I answered all questions.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Current issues, polity, academic background.

CSC: Importance of coaching in the preparation of exam.

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Dr. S.S. Chaudhary from Vajirao & Reddy Institute provided me the required guidance to crack UPPCS-2016. He helped me in mock interviews and in GS preparation during the course of preparation.

CSC: What is the role of Civil Services Chronicle in your success?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Civil Services Chronicle helped in GS preparation analysis of current issues and subject based special editions were very helpful in preparation.

CSC: Were you confident of your success? How did you react to this special news of your success?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: I was confident of selection, but first rank came as a surprise. I was happy when I got the news of my achievement. It gave me immense pleasure that my endeavors and hard work paid off.

CSC: Before knowing your own result, what was your perception about toppers?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: My perception about toppers was that they are good strategists, hard working and dedicated towards their goal.

CSC: Was only Civil Services your ultimate goal or were you preparing for other career opportunities as well simultaneously?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: I was preparing only for civil services.

CSC: In how many attempts have you achieved this success? How do you visualize your preparation/ previous attempts? What preference in services have you opted for?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: I achieved this success in my first attempt.

CSC: What are the ingredients of you strategy in preparation for Prelims, Mains & Interview?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Prelims- Studied the previous years’ questions asked in UPSC and other state services exam; it helped in increasing the scope of knowledge.

Mains- Solved previous years’ questions and prepared notes and revised them multiple times, did lot of writing practice.

Interview- Dr. S.S. Chaudhary Sir of Vajirao & Reddy Institute provided me individual guidance in Mock interviews, which was very helpful.

CSC: List some of the Magazines, Newspapers, and Books etc. which you consulted for the preparation of 'General Studies' papers.

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Prelims: Civil Services Chronicle, The Hindu newspaper.

CSC: What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than the subjects in Humanities?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: In my opinion Humanities subjects are more scoring than science subjects.

CSC: What is the importance of medium of expression in the exams like CSE?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Medium does not matter as long as you are able to express your views in any language.

CSC: What is the secret of your success?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Strategy, hard work, dedication and a positive attitude.

CSC: Your strong point?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Good writing skills, hardworking.

CSC: Your weak point?

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Impatient.

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

Jaijeet Kaur Hora: There is no substitute to 'Hard work along with good strategy'.

UPPCS Roll No.: 205047

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