You can diminish the factor of unpredictability by ample amount of hard work; says Dr. Chetan Sharma (AIR 305; CSE 2017)

A constant campaigner Dr. Chetan Sharma (AIR 305; CSE 2017) outlines his preparation strategy and how he handled his study-plan for Civil services Examination.

Optional Subject- History

No. of Attempts – Four (4)


Dr. Chetan Sharma

(AIR 305; CSE 2017)

Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination

Unpredictability of this exam shakes the nerves of aspirants.

However, I believe you can diminish the factor of unpredictability by ample amount of hard work and hard work.

For example, Prelims is being considered as one of the most unpredictable stage in this exam; but, I was always able to score pretty decent marks in Prelims

2014- 223 (cut off 205)

2015- 114 (cut off 107)

2016- 156 (cut off 116)

2017- 134 (cut off 105)

Views about Preliminary Examination

I agree with the fact that Prelims is being very tricky these days; but, I do not agree with the fact that it is pure luck based.

Some amount of luck is there as sometimes you take a 50:50 risk after eliminating two options but intuitive guessing requires a deep backing of knowledge.

If your knowledge base is broad and you are able to avoid silly mistakes then you can easily sail through prelims. 

Role of Optional Subject

Optional selection is one of the most crucial decisions in this exam. One should select optional keeping in my mind two things:

a. Interest in the subject 

b. Whether they can reproduce their knowledge well in that subject in examination hall for example someone might like to read philosophy; but, the questions which need to be answered in UPSC require a different kind of writing skills without which knowledge won't be that worth.

Targeting General Studies

General Studies papers are the ones where with hard work output will surely come. However, I followed retrograde approach in GS papers.

Rather than reading too many books after a point of time I tried to solve as many questions of all the four GS papers.

I tried to make an answer in my mind which I can write in Exam in the stipulated time limit.

This strategy worked too well for me and my GS marks increased from 297 in 2015 to 423 in 2017.

One should try to incorporate contemporary examples in GS papers.

Essay Paper

I never prepared specifically for essay paper. I always used my knowledge of GS in essay. This year I wrote essay on Agriculture Topic and whether the rise of new women is a myth in India. 

Interview (Personality Test)

My interview was on 08th March 2018 in Ms. Smita Nagraj Ma'am's board. The questions were from my DAF, my Optional and my current job profile. 

Role of Essay & Interview marks in success

I must say that this year Essay helped me in getting a decent rank.

I got 153 marks in essay this year which is a fairly decent score.

As far as Interview is considered I think it did not pull me down but good marks in interview could have lifted my rank upwards.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

My Mains Score was up to my expectations mostly though I think my GS score was a bit low but Essay marks compensated for that.


Last Update Wednesday 18th July 2018     

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