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|Civil Services Examination||2008|
|Profile Viewed:||18281 time(s)|
|Total Marks||Marks Obtained|
|General Studies||600||315 (163 + 163)|
|Psychology||600||381 (191 + 190)|
|Public Administration||600||318 (184 + 134)|
While making choices, the first criterion is you must love both your optional subjects. You should not feel it as a burden because you have to sit with them for 2 years.
Any complicated book in your optional subjects must generate joy and curiosity in your heart. Read only the classic books (Ex. Nicholas Henry and Ferrel Heady in Public Administration and Krawiec Chaplin, Hall and Lindzey in Psychology). Read them again and again (at least 2-3 times).
Don’t go by market trend. Follow your heart. Don’t take an optional because the topper had it. Convince yourself that this is my optional because I love it.
Preliminary Examination: Public Administration
Main Examination: Public Administration and Psychology
Public Administration and Psycho are easy to grasp and mastery over these can be gained in a short duration (6 months per optional).
Their syllabus is compact. Both are easier than Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science or Zoology.
When my senior Dr. Satyasai Rath got IRS our college celebrated a lot. At that point in 2000, I realised that civil services has a lot of social prestige and it is worth pursuing with heart and soul for 2 years. After graduation in 2005 I landed straight in Delhi.
It was in 2005 when Roopa Mishra got 1st Rank. I thought if she can, so can me. After landing in Delhi I got into a lot of trouble but my spirit finally overcame them one by one first step when you were really serious about making a career in Civil Services
After Nov. 2006 it was a planned affair. Before that I was reading something from this book and something from another I thought of one and half years to two years time frame and patiently sit at one place, read 10-12 hours each day and covered first psychology, then Public Administration and GS. I was comfortable in Essay as my father was an English Reader.
I realised that without getting complete command over your optional subjects you can never get IAS. So, I pursued both my optional subjects like anything, for both I read a lot of books. I focussed more on quality books and foreign authors after making my basics very clear. My writing skills also improved gradually.
Number of attempts
This was my third attempt. First attempt I took from Orissa (Cuttack) without any preparation. It was natural to fail in prelims. Second attempt in 2006 was non-serious type. But after that I became determined. This was just to save my life and career.
I had very few options other than civil services. I used to ask people what is IAS and how they see it? Their answers provided the motivation. I used to sit in balcony of our building and study till 5 in the morning from 5 in the afternoon. People used to see me.
Hawthorne effect worked. I never changed my optional subjects. I got good scores in 2nd attempt. So, I kept faith on my optional subjects till the end and did my homework well.
‘Time Management’ is a crucial factor. I faced problems with it during my second attempt. I could not cover the syllabus properly. I read the books just in time. This was a big mistake. In 3rd attempt I made notes and made sure to read them at least 2 times. Revise the notes once or twice don’t put them in closed cupboards.
During exam always write short and to the point. Make your watch 5 min fast so that a pressure to finish 5 min early will be there.
Secrets of success
I am very hardworking; more than that patience and perseverance for 2 long years continuously day in and day out are the secrets of my success.
Reading English fiction non-fiction, poems and plays. Listening quality music and playing carrom.
In prelims I worked hard in Public Administration to score more than 85 net. I scored 92. Read 5-8 basic books thoroughly. Extract the important points and write in a separate prelims note (only facts).
Revise them so that you can answer without seeing the 4 choices. In GS read Hindu religiously for current affairs and GK. Make your own extracts from Hindu. Read its Diary of Events 2-3 times. Refer Manorama (India, world section), Spectrum Modern History, D.D. Basu for polity, Economic survey boxes and India Year Book.
For ‘Negative Marking’ read your notes and books 2-3 times. So, that your confidence level will go up.
You can guess it your confidence is 50% or more. In General Studies attempt 120-130 questions if your Hindu reading is extensive. Take a calculated risk in General Studies and Public Administration (110-115 questions you should attempt).
In mains quality of your answer must be very high. I showed the examiner that I have read difficult books and have mastered them. I gave examples from the classic books and underlined them. You can mention the name of the books Ex. (Hall and Lindzey, Gvshiani etc.) in brackets to catch the attention of the examiner. Introduction and conclusion must be eye-catching. Quote the scholars frequently. Praise the scholars (for ex. Max Weber, Sigmund Freud) very well in your answer. Quote them verbatim.
In optional for 20 marks, write 2 pages (both sides of one page) and for 60 marks 6 pages at least. Include diagrams (for ex. Item Response Theory, PASS model). Draw the diagrams neatly. Good handwriting and flawless language are added assets in mains.
I also followed the same approach because it is very difficult to get command over General Studies. It is like an ocean. Just make sure that whatever you are studying in GS must be under your control, remember the facts and key points and never let General Studies control you or depress you. Otherwise there is every possibility to drown yourself in the ocean despite knowing how to swim in a pond!
In General Studies your score should be around 320-340. Try to score more than 350 in both optional subjects. This is possible. But in the process don’t sacrifice GS altogether. Sacrifice in part and don’t feel guilty about it.
I prepared very hard for essay during my graduation days. I used to read Shakespeare, Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Upamanyu Chatterjee, R. K. Narayan and many other renowned authors. This provided the base.
I made notes out of them also (like important quotes in my diary). I used to read my diary many times. I quote them frequently in essay. I got 140 in 2nd attempt.
This year I wrote on ‘Urbanisation and Its Hazards’ as it is a negative topic and I read ‘black humour’ and ‘absurdist drama’ a lot which helped me in this topic.
I used to listen AIR and BBC discussions I downloaded them from internet and listened them again and again. I used to speak before a mirror.
In mock whatever negative feedback they gave I sincerely tried to overcome them.
My interview was in Mr. P. K. Mishra board on March 28. The board was very cordial.
The questions were—