CSC: Heartiest congratulations to you from Civil Services Chronicle for your success. How are you feeling about it?
Simranpreet Kaur: Thank you Sir. It's a great feeling as the hard work put in has reaped fruits.
CSC: What is your inspiration behind your success? Whom do you give credit for your success? What is the role of family and others (teacher, friends) in your preparation and success?
Simranpreet Kaur: My inspiration for becoming a PCS officer was my parents who introduced the idea of Civil Services to me. This was further realised when I was awarded for representing India in the World
Cup in Skeet Shooting on the Sports Day of my School and the chief guest was a sports person and a Civil Servant. This really inspired me to take up Civil Services.The role of my family has been a major one given the fact it's the family support which gives emotional strength in this journey and teachers who motivate you and help you become better in the respective subjects.
CSC: What strategy one should follow for preparing General Studies for Prelims & Mains? Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparation or was it separate?
Simranpreet Kaur: The preparation of Civil Services is an integrated one for both Prelims and Mains. Step one is thoroughly understanding the syllabus and analysing the previous years’question papers.
Followed by that one has to decide whether one requires coaching or not and depending upon their strengths and weaknesses formulate a strategy accordingly. Tests are really important for each stage of the examination as it helps one identify the areas which need more attention.Both mains and Prelims are covered together, however a few months before each stage of examination one has to shift the focus of preparation to the exam specific stage.
CSC: How much time did you devote for Prelims, Mains, Interview, and Optional? How did you manage your time in both prelims and mains examinations?
Simranpreet Kaur: It is nearly two years of preparation. I decided to prepare in an integrated way hence initially I prepared for both mains and prelims together. As my prelims was scheduled on 13th February, 2021, I gave three months before the exam completely to it.Followed by that in 1st April, 2021 to 8th April 2021, I had my mains hence a dedicated focus to it.Followed by that on 15th May, was my Interview hence the focus was to more an interview specific preparation.
CSC:Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes making?
Simranpreet Kaur: For some subjects I had prepared notes like the mains specific topics and some even for Current Affairs, however they were prioritised on the basis of importance of the issues with regard to the exam.They were really helpful as the revision before the exam became quite easy.I believe, making notes or not is a personal choice, however in my opinion they are important as some days before the exam it becomes extremely difficult to revise from a large number of sources.
CSC: Tell us something about preparation of essay paper.
Simranpreet Kaur: I had practiced certain essays before the Mains exam and got them evaluated by my teachers and incorporated their suggestions in the exam. The knowledge of other four papers can be beautifully utilised in the paper with a touch of literature.
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?
Simranpreet Kaur: My writing style was of - Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. However I used paragraphs, points, diagrams, etc. depending upon the demand of the question.I had developed the writing style by practicing a few questions after every subject was completed, then getting my answers evaluated by the teachers and incorporating their suggestions.
CSC: How did you prepare for interview? Which types of questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer them all? Was there any specific area they emphasised upon?
Simranpreet Kaur: My interview was mainly focussed on the Detailed Application Form (DAF) and on newspapers, along with some important contemporary issues and State specific information.I had prepared for the same and attended a few mocks and incorporated few suggestions. The questions were mostly State-oriented and factual and very less opinion-based.I was able to answer most of the questions and they asked some village specific questions which I was not able to answer.
CSC: What do you think about importance of coaching in the preparation of this examination?
Simranpreet Kaur: Coaching plays a very important role in giving direction to prepare for this examination and after that it's the self-study which helps one consolidate the learning on subjects. However, again, it’s a personal choice. One has to decide depending upon his/her abilities.
CSC: What is the role of Civil Services Chronicle in your success?
Simranpreet Kaur: I referred to Civil Services Chronicle magazine for some topics of current affairs to fill in the gaps.