Unpredictability right from Preliminary Examination to Mains to Personality Test is the name of the game; says Prem Prakash Meena (AIR 102; CSE 2017)

Prem Prakash Meena talks about significance of effective preparation for General Studies and role of Optional Subject in overall strategy. His success-plan is enough to inspire you for an outstanding performance in Civil Services Examination.

Educational qualification: B.Tech (Mechanical Engineering)

Optional Subject: Anthropology

Number of Attempts: 2nd Attempt – IAS

Previous Selection: 1st Attempt CSE 2016 - IRS, Income Tax


Prem Prakash Meena (AIR 102; CSE 2017)


Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination

Unpredictability right from Preliminary Examination to Mains to Personality Test is the name of the game when it comes to Civil Services Exam.

To prepare oneself, best would be to widen ones horizon of preparation and not limit oneself just to the standard sets of previous year question types, and/or to leave any of the sections unprepared/underprepared – the portion of questions from a particular subject/topic keeps changing every year and thus not leaving any of the topics unprepared serves well for this dynamic examination.

Views about Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Examination has become a bit of wild goose chase in some ways, particularly over past few years.

But, if prepared with a clear, well thought out strategy, is definitely not out of reach.

I consistently managed to score high marks over both the Prelims 2016 and 2017

Keeping in mind the unpredictable nature, useful would be not to rely solely on current affairs, but also focus equally on the static, conventional portion as well.

Not limiting oneself to just one test series, or current affairs booklet is also advisable.

Try to ensure that a wide variety of topics/questions are practiced before the exam. Youtube videos on various topics have also been of tremendous help.

Role of Optional Subject

Optional subject has played and would continue to play a significant role in the final result -more so because of its weightage, relatively better defined syllabus and previous experience/exposure to the subject(s).

Analysing past year trends, syllabus, subject of interest should be considered before selecting the optional subject – choice once made, and time and effort invested, it’s very difficult (practically) to change the optional subject subsequently.

Targeting General Studies

To prepare for General Studies, it’s important not to limit oneself to the standard coaching material, but to cover the topics in adequate breadth and depth – through newspapers, standard books and reading material.

Also, practising enough for Mains answers writing is extremely key – to ensure that the knowledge base developed over a period of time can be effectively reproduced in the exam setting, word limit is adhered to and effective answers can be generated within the stipulated time limit – for a wide variety of questions.

Also, practice of diagram making could be a huge vantage point.

Essay Paper and Interview (Personality Test)

In my particular case, Essay played relatively less of a role, but Interview played a significant role (marks-198).

I could manage to score only 125 in essay, which certainly presents a significant opportunity for improvement.

Interview if prepared well, and delivered with confidence and conviction could be a game changer -important to be very through with ones DAF, ongoing current affairs, and the answers should be crisp reflecting clear line of thinking – the panel is almost always expecting clarity of thought, ability to articulate and analyse in a candidate; just building of knowledge base and knowing the subject/topic may not be enough for the Interview.

Secret of Success

Hard work, dedication, and not limiting myself to the pre-set moulds of preparation and support from my family and friends helped me achieve desired success.

Selection of Optional subject (Anthropology) also tremendously helped me to prepare myself within a short time period.

Know more about Prem Prakash Meena: When you Harmonize your Dreams with your Abilities, You are Capable of Achieving Anything; says Prem Prakash Meena (AIR 102; CSE 2017)

Last Update Sunday 17th June 2018     

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