• 14


     Rank:  14
     Year:  2012
     Exam:  Civil Services Examination
     Roll No.:  1123
     Profile Viewed:  4545 time(s)

    Marks Obtained

    Total Marks Marks Obtained
    Total (Written) 2000 865
    Interview 300 222
    Total 2300 1087 (47.26%)

    Optional Subjects

    Optional Subject 1: Psychology

    Optional Subject 2: Anthropology

    “I believe in giving my 100 per cent to one thing at a time, and it was Civil Service Exam” says, 14th rank Debasweta

    I have been reading Interviews of toppers and each one of them has been a source of inspiration. It gave me an opportunity to get to know their varied styles of preparation which aided me to customize a method of study which suited me best.

    I had decided beforehand that I would not take any coaching during my preparation and this decision helped me save a lot of time and energy.

    I went strictly by the syllabus given by UPSC for the Mains examination, and collected good quality standard textbooks in all the areas and started reading them. I have graduated in Economics but took Psychology and Anthropology as my optional subjects since I had a very keen interest in them. Also, my elder sister Subhasweta could ably guide me in these and I wouldn’t have to depend on any external help in preparing them.

    The most important factor while choosing optional subjects should always be one’s interest and aptitude in them. Next come availability of good quality study material and guidance. Choosing optional subjects solely on the basis of their popularity isn’t always wise.

    As I have already mentioned, my biggest consideration for choosing my optional subjects was my interest in those subjects and my familiarity with them. I felt that both Psychology and Anthropology were substantially correlated with each other and would also be of immense use to me in administration since both deal with the study of human beings.  Moreover, I did not wish to depend on any external help for my preparation. My elder sister, who’s a Gold Medalist in M.Sc. Anthropology from Delhi University, could guide me the best in these subjects and this was a major factor behind choosing them.

    Number of attempts
    This was my very first attempt and I kept telling myself throughout that this attempt should turn out to be my last and I should work accordingly so that I get my desired rank the first time itself.

    'Time Management'
    Yes, proper time management is a necessity. I had chalked out a rough timetable for all the stages of the examination and made sure I fulfilled my targets on a daily basis. While writing the exams as well, I stuck to the word limit, wrote clear, concise answers and did not leave a single question.

    Language Medium of writing examination

    Language Medium for Personality Test

    Secret of success
    Sincerity, intelligent hard work and the unwavering support of my family are the secrets to my success. I thoroughly enjoyed this entire process of learning and that kept me motivated and in a positive frame of mind throughout.

    Parliamentary Debating, playing Violin, Bharatanatyam, creative writing

    I finished my graduation in 2011 and started preparing for the Civil Services Examination from then. The change in the Prelims pattern did not act as a basis for my decision as I always wanted to be a part of the Civil Services.

    Strategy for the new-look Prelims
    To get a good understanding of the new prelims pattern, I went through the 2011 Prelims question papers thoroughly. For Paper II, In the limited time I had before Prelims, I tried to practice some questions on Comprehension and Decision Making to increase my speed and accuracy.

    Approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test)
    I did not break up my General Studies preparation into different stages- Prelims, Mains etc. Rather, I adopted a holistic approach for its preparation. During Prelims preparation, almost my entire focus was on GS. I started with the basics in all the conventional areas- History, Polity, Geography, Economy etc. and focused on conceptual clarity since the questions in the Prelims Paper 1 focus more on basics. I read the newspapers daily for current affairs. For Paper II, I practiced some questions on Comprehension and Decision Making as I felt that they would be decisive areas in the paper.

    ‘Negative Marking’
    I did not hazard wild guesses for questions that I did not know in Paper 1. I first marked those questions I was completely sure about, then I went for those questions that required me to think a little and finally I took a few educated guesses. I did not face much problem in Paper 2. I started my paper from the Comprehension and Decision Making portions, and then went on to the reasoning questions.  I could solve almost all questions with reasonable accuracy.

    Since beginning, my focus was on Main Examination syllabus that helped me in an effective preparation.

    There was no special effort to prepare for the essay. Extensive study for General Studies provided enough ingredients to write a good essay. Reading the newspapers daily, especially the editorial columns were of immense help. I also extensively infused relevant ideas from my optional subjects in my essay.

    I chose the topic- “In the context of Gandhiji’s views on the matter, explore, on an evolutionary scale, the terms ‘Swadhinata’, ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’; Critically comment on their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy.”

    I decided to write my essay on this topic since I found it quite unique and I felt I could express my original views in it. Also, the topic itself was very clearly elucidated, which made it easier to stick to the point and write my essay in a logical sequence.


    I did not do any special preparation for the Interview. Since it’s a Personality Test, I feel it’s quite fruitless to try to develop an ‘ideal’ personality in such a short time. Rather, one’s personality is a culmination of all the experiences, from school to college and later that one has acquired.. I just continued with my habit of reading good books and newspapers every day, and brushed up my awareness about the details I had written in my Mains form. Mr. S. K Mishra (Retd. IAS) gave me valuable guidance.

    Also, I have been an active debator in college and have held the post of President of the Debating Society. This proved helpful since I was confident while speaking and tackling tricky questions in the Interview.

    I faced Mr. P. K. Misra’s board. It lasted for around 45 minutes.

    Interview Questions

    During my interview questions were asked on a varied range of issues - from Dyslexia to debates in our Parliament, current economic situation, the Budget, empowerment of women, leadership qualities etc. There was not a single factual question posed to me, and I was mainly asked to express my views and opinions. The board was extremely cordial and the entire experience was very satisfying and enriching.


    I would only say that to turn any dream into reality, the most important thing that’s required is to stay positive and have faith in oneself. There are no shortcuts to success and sincere, honest and intelligent preparation is sure to bear fruit. Coaching centres are not indispensable and self study can compensate adequately for them. I would take this opportunity to wish all the future aspirants a very bright future.

    This is not the IAS topper's profile. We, at iaspassion.com keep on gathering information about the success-plan/details about many such successes and present here so that their experiences can be useful for future aspirants. "if you have a question, please click here; iaspassion.com team will try to answer your queries."

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