"It is important to recognize the demand of each paper of General Studies"; says Himanshu Kaushik (AIR 77; CSE 2017)

Himanshu Kaushik (AIR 77; CSE 2017) talks about his preparation style and the way he chalked out strategy for facing Civil Services Examination.

Optional Subject: Political Science & International Relations

Number of Attempts: 1 (One)


Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination and handling preparation

Yes, this exam is very tough and unpredictable. To increase your chances of clearing it, one should follow smart strategy.

First of all, it is not a 100m race where you will run and win. It is a marathon where you need to put in hard-work for a long time.

Results won’t come suddenly. Hence, it is important to have a long term approach. Finish syllabus once by December and then revise it again and again. 3 months before Preliminary Examination, one should focus on it totally and start practicing test papers.

This is a difficult journey where one can feel stress and demotivated. Physical exercise and meditation can be helpful in such cases.

Choice of Resources

I always kept the strategy very simple. Preparation was based on NCERT and at most 2 reference books.

This was my first attempt. Hence, I did not refer bulky reference books and was able to bring clarity in thoughts and expression.

Views about Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Examination is not pure luck. It is a challenging examination where you can make logical guesses as well. 

But, in most of the questions your knowledge will help you sail through. In some questions, after applying logic, guesses can be made.

It is very imp to clear this exam as after this an aspirant will get confidence that he’s move ahead of the crowd.

Role of Optional Subject

Optional Subject is one where you can score more and hence, it can make or break your result.

One should select his optional carefully keeping in mind this subject will be of above graduation level and interest in this subject is necessary.

There are some subjects like Geography and Political Science which provides overlap over General Studies subjects as well, hence help in GS too.

Targeting General Studies

Each paper is different in General Studies. It is important to recognise the demand of each paper.

My approach towards each paper:

General Studies Papers - 1 is more based on static portion. General Studies Papers - 3 is totally dynamic and based on current news usually.

General Studies Papers - 4 which is Ethics paper is again very different from other subjects and should be given necessary importance.

Answers written in exam should be in bullet points.

Essay Paper

I did not prepare specifically for Essay; but, joined test series.

I started practice and writing Essay after Preliminary Examination.

As such, being Political Science & International Relations my optional subject and General Studies preparation was enough to write good Essay.

So, it was more of writing practice rather than content preparation.

I attempted essays related to my optional subject i.e. Political Science. The topics I picked for writing Essay were:

Topic I: Non Alignment Movement as it was related to my optional subject.

Topic II: Natural Law as it was related to my optional subject.

Interview (Personality Test)

For interview preparation, I gave various mock interviews and practiced a lot at home.

My UPSC interview was on 19th March.

was very cordial and they asked all type of questions ranging from international relations to banking sector, questions related to Digital India, women and child rights etc.

My Interview went on for about 30 minutes.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

I got 125 in Essay and 162 in Interview. I was expecting more marks in both these subjects.

In General Studies Papers and Optional Subject, I scored more than expectation.

Last Update Monday 31st December 2018     

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