The great secret to success in civil services Exam is that there are no secrets of success; says Gaurav Kumar (AIR 34 CSE 2017)

Civil Services Examination preparation is an exam that tests our inner strength. Gaurav Kumar (AIR 34 CSE 2017) shares his experiences and strategies to handle preparation effectively.

Optional Subject: Sociology

Number of Attempts: Four (4)


Gaurav Kumar

(AIR 34 CSE 2017) 

Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination

It is often said that ‘U’ in UPSC strands for Unpredictable.

Well, jokes apart; this exam is not only an exam of knowledge rather it tests your inner strength, concentration power and ability to deal with problems. Once you have decided to prepare, give your 100% with a truly honest perspective and results will follow suit.

Every stage of examination requires unique approach so planning is very essential. Exam requires a lot to be read; therefore multiple revisions and practice are must.

And the most important thing is having a positive attitude. If one is brave enough to forgo a failure and learn from it, this exam can be one of the most wonderful journeys.

Views about Preliminary Examination

Well, I don't agree that Prelims is based on pure luck, rather it is an objective test of knowledge where if revision and practice are combined success is inevitable.

Although there is no doubt in the fact that it test a lot of memory but then with multiple readings of the syllabus, this factor can also be reduced to a great extent.

Role of Optional Subject

The importance of optional subject has grown over time. It has become an important factor in final selection nowadays.

Thus optional subject should be selected with utmost care keeping in mind factors like your own interest, past scores in that optional, availability of study material etc.

Targeting General Studies

General Studies constitute more than 50% of the marks and marks in this sphere have been increasing sharply. It requires deep analysis of current topics and schemes.

My approach towards each paper:

GS 1 is mostly static and requires many revisions. GS 2 and 3 focus more on current issues. Recent events, examples and government initiatives can be used for value addition in the answers. GS 4 paper (ethics) is also instrumental in scoring good overall marks. Quoting thinkers and relevant case studies with examples can help a lot in this paper.

Essay Paper

Essay has been one of the most comfortable areas for me.

I scored 166 marks in essay which are among the highest marks in this paper.

Essay reflects your ability to comprehend and understand a topic as well as your writing skills. It is a quintessence of all GS papers and requires practice. Coherent and organised views, multiple dimensions of reality and presentation are essential for an excellent essay.

I chose following two topics:

(i)Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India.

(ii) Fulfilment of ‘New Woman’ in India is a myth.

Interview (Personality Test)

My interview was on 28 February 2018 and I had Arvind Saxena sir's board.

Role of Essay & Interview marks in success

Essay and Interview are the two strong reasons behind my success.

Yes, the above two papers and their marks were up to my expectations.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

I got one of the highest scores in essay (166) and Interview (195). Frankly speaking, no one can predict the final score in this exam and thus there is no question of expected final score.

I think my efforts are well compensated by UPSC.

Last Update Wednesday 18th July 2018     

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