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  • 18

    Nitika Pawar

     Rank:  18
    CSE  2011
     Profile Viewed:  21480 time(s)

    Marks Obtained

    Total Marks Marks Obtained
    Essay 200 120
    General Studies 600 270 (129 + 129)
    Political Science and International Relations 600 302 (162 + 140)
    Law 600 340 (144 + 196)
    Total (Written) 2000 1032
    Interview 300 216
    Total 2300 1248 (54.26%)

    Optional Subjects

    I chose my optional subjects based on inter-relation between them as well as their similarity with General Studies syllabus. If one makes the choice in such a manner, one can save a lot of time. Other factors that one should base their choices on, include availability of study material and personal interest. 

    Optional Subject 1: Law
    Optional Subject 2: Political Science & International Relations

    I selected my optional subjects on the basis of their close inter-relation with GS as well as each other. This helped me save a lot of time. Also both my optional subjects helped me enhance my broad understanding of governance and administration.

    Success Plan

    How to prepare? Which optional subjects to pick? What to read? How much to read? I also had many such questions and a lot of apprehensions when I decided to start preparing for CSE. But all my doubts were put to rest by K S Gill Sir once I joined Nirvana IAS Academy. With the kind of guidance I received here, I could focus completely on my studies. 

    After I had written my mains, I was confident that I had done pretty well. The interview also went off really well and I was assured that I will make it to the final list.

    Number of attempts
    This was my first attempt.

    Time Management
    Time Management was never a problem for me as I was preparing full time for one whole year and had ample time for Prelims as well as Mains.

    Reading fiction and listening to music


    This was the first time the Preliminary Examination was staged with the new pattern and there really were a lot of apprehensions about the changed Prelims pattern by the time I started my preparation. But, I decided to keep myself focused on my preparation based on my own understanding and the guidance I got from Karamjeet sir. I did not devise any scientific strategy but ensured that I keep all the doubts and confusion at bay or else it would affect my studies negatively.

    As I was well-versed with the components of CSAT paper, I decided to go for regular practice of comprehension and quantitative aptitude. I focused more on Paper I (General Studies) and current affairs.

    Paper II (Aptitude Test)
    I think UPSC’s decision to introduce the aptitude test is based on the fact that there are certain qualities a civil servant must have such as good decision making abilities, aptitude etc. I welcome the change introduced by UPSC. As far as my preparation is concerned, I focused on regular practice of comprehension and quantitative ability. I was confident of doing really well in Paper II.

    ‘Negative Marking’
    I never bothered myself with negative marking before I entered the examination hall. Once I started my paper, I decided to go with my instincts and knowledge while trying to maximize my attempts.


    For Mains, I started focusing more on my optional subjects. I shifted my focus from factual to issues and concepts based learning for GS.

    Also, I started practicing answer writing regularly.


    I relied on newspapers reading and my answer-writing practice for Essay. I was confident of my writing skills so I did not put in any special effort for essay paper.

    I decided to write on “Creation of smaller states and the consequent administrative, economic and developmental implications”. I chose this topic because I was confident I could inter-relate the traditional as well as contemporary aspects of the topic as well as constitutional provisions based on my knowledge relating to optional subjects.


    I was already reading newspapers after giving my mains so I was in touch with the current affairs. Apart from this, I brushed up my optional subjects and gave a few mock interviews for practice.

    I had my interview on 23rd March in afternoon session and I faced Reddy Sir’s board. My interview lasted for around 25-30 minutes the board members were highly cordial.

    Interview Questions

    The questions mainly based on my educational background and my bio-data form.

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