“Right study-resources and right preparation-strategy is needed to crack Civil Services Exam”; says Pushp Lata (AIR 80; CSE 2017)

Pushp Lata did schooling from Rewari and Mahendergarh, Haryana; and graduated (B.Sc.) from Guru Nanak Dev University in 2006. She did post-graduation in Zoology from Kurukshetra University and completed MBA in Finance & Marketing from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi.

She worked with State Bank of Hyderabad as Assistant Manager at Hyderabad.

Here she talks about her preparation strategies that helped her accomplish her goal.

Optional Subject: Geography

Number of Attempts: Three (3)


 By:      On Saturday 21st July 2018     

Pushp Lata

(AIR 80; CSE 2017)

Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: Hindi

Nature of Examination

Although Civil services Examination is considered to be unpredictable; but, syllabus is not unlimited. It is an open competitive exam and if it is unpredictable for you it is unpredictable for others as well.

So, right study-resources and right preparation-strategy is needed to crack this exam.

Even after putting in hundred percent of effort, if one is not able to crack this exam, he need to change either his sources or his strategy.

Views about Preliminary Examination

I don’t agree that success in Preliminary Examination is pure luck.

As such, Luck holds a very important part of this whole examination process. Success ratio is very less and competition is very high.

But, extensive study and revision of syllabus makes one able to perform better in exam. Only a person would be able to eliminate options if he has read something about the topic. Wild guesses won’t make you win the battle.

Although there may be a few who are able to crack Preliminary Examination by depending on God and luck; but, that number is very-very low. And what next, can they survive at next stage –impossible.

In my opinion, Success has no short cuts.

Role of Optional Subject

Optional subject holds most important part in selection.

A wise selection of optional can take you to toppers list while lack of performance in optional can take one out of list.

While selecting optional subject, interest in subject, availability of material and books should be important factor.

It is important to perform in optional for positive result.

With around 25% weightage optional provides opportunity of scoring more due to specialization in subject.

But, it is not an easy choice; you have to take a rational decision. For instance, I will talk about my first attempt, my choice was in favour of Zoology (my own subject; I had done Masters). But, as I was taking my attempt after a big gap; I was out of touch with the subject and had to study from scratch.

As it was lengthy and unmanageable within limited time frame, I turned my attention towards some new subject and finally zeroed in on Geography; a semi-scientific subject, found it easy to understand and I had developed interest in it while preparing for General Studies.

Targeting General Studies

By adopting integrate approach; I managed my General Studies preparation effectively.

General Studies papers have both static portion as well as current knowledge.

Being wide syllabus these provide right platform to check suitability of candidates. Syllabus demands one should be “Jack of all trades and master of none”. So NCERT Books and syllabus coverage with current affairs are enough to prepare for General Studies.

Many topics like Social issues, caste movement etc. checks right temperament of candidates towards problems of society.

I practiced with Test Series that helped me in evaluation, time management as well as in prioritizing the areas that needed attention.

Essay Paper

I picked up topics from previous years’ papers and would have written approx. 20 essays as part of preparation strategy. Every week, I tried to write at least two essays and got these evaluated to get sincere feedback.

Essay Topics

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

2. Fulfilment of ‘new women’ in India is a myth.

Interview (Personality Test)

My preparation for Interview was done with Anu Kumai (AIR 2; CSE 2017) and as a matter of coincidence, we had lots of similarities; same state, working, married, having a child and aspirations to become ‘IAS’. So, we had lots of questions to ask from each-other and improve our answers.

My interview was scheduled on 12th April 2017 and I faced Dr. Manoj Soni Board. It lasted for about 30 minutes.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

With (141+179) marks in Essay and Interview contributes hugely in my success.

My scorecard is what I expected except Optional Paper 2. There I have 15-20 marks less than my expectation and that may be due to some mistake committed in the exam.

Last Update Saturday 21st July 2018

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