A balanced preparation with neutral thought process is requisite for success; says Hasan Safin Mustufaali (AIR 570; CSE 2017)

Hasan Safin Mustufaali (AIR 570; CSE 2017) has cracked Civil Services Examination 2017 in his first attempt. Here he talks about preparation strategies and suggests some ways out to handle Civil Services Examination preparation effectively.

Optional Subject: Literature of Gujarati Language

No. of Attempts: One (01)

Previous Selection: Cleared Gujarat PSC Class 1 simultaneously with Rank 34.


Hasan Safin Mustufaali

(AIR 570; CSE 2017)


Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination

To be very frank, I have always considered the unpredictability as part of this exam pattern. Be it Prelims, Mains or Interview, A surprising element is always present.

A mental preparedness and confidence is what is enough to tackle that unpredictability. A balanced preparation with neutral thought process is what is required.

Views about Preliminary Examination

I personally consider Prelims as an intellectual game.

If you literally take it as just qualifying exam and devise strategy to cross the average score of 120, I think it’s not that tough.

For me the toughest part of this exam is the patience, confidence and dedication which it checks throughout the journey.

Role of Optional Subject

Of course, optional subject has the crucial role to play but these days even General Studies is also becoming a deciding factor somewhere.

A subject should be selected based on the interest and time available to prepare for it. I think practical approach is necessary for the selection of optional.

Targeting General Studies

I have always prepared current as well as static portion keeping in mind the Mains Exam and its nature. The most important aspect is revision, be it static part of currents. I mostly relied on my class-notes for that.

Going through model answers of some mocks may help. An aspirant should analyse oneself before approaching for Mains Preparation.

My approach towards each paper:

If someone has good handwriting and enough speed, I think s/he should focus on content and vice versa. I personally wrote only one mock of each paper (except General Studies Paper 1) and one Essay only.

After looking at my Main Examination marks, I feel that I should have practiced more on that front.

Essay Paper

I never specifically prepared for Essay.

I think preparation of GS helps with the content part. I wrote only one essay for practice and got it evaluated by 2 successful candidates and they were satisfied with that.

That was enough for me to be confident about that paper.

I wrote essays on women and impact on economic reforms.

Interview (Personality Test)

Board: Ms. Smita Nagraj Ma’am

Date of Interview: March 23, 2018-07-11

(Interview Transcript)

What role Essay & Interview marks played in your success.

For me, actually these two were only the game changer players.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

I got above average in Essay and 204 in interview and that is the reason I could be in the final list.

Last Update Sunday 5th August 2018     

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