I got fascinate towards Civil Services as I want to make a positive change to the Society; says Jasleen Kaur (AIR 152; CSE 2018)

With imaginative and unwavering mind-set Jasleen Kaur embarked on her journey to become a part of the system, the administration. To discover the ways and to move forward, her strong desire helped her chart the success path.

Coming to Delhi from Kanpur (UP) was part of her preparation strategy and by taking small steps; Jasleen accomplished her task in the second attempt and secured 152nd Rank in Civil services Examination 2018.

She had chosen Philosophy as Optional Subject.


It is a strange twist of fate that some candidates find Civil Services Examination process complex, on the other hand many candidates term it as awe-inspiring.

It all depends on your mind-set; how you look it – stressful or enjoy the process.

Unpredictability and role of luck just remain expression to define the examination. Even before making up mind to take a plunge, this is a piece of information that all of us are familiar with.

When youngsters do considerable effort to set their Goal, a girl with big dreams, Jasleen Kaur with the inner motivation desired a fulfilling career; and her keenness to make a positive change to the society made her choice easy.

Candidly explaining her approach Jasleen said, “When you have to make change in society you have to reach the last person and ‘Civil Services’ actually provide a medium to work at ground level, reach out to the last man who is underprivileged.”Jasleen Kaur-upsc topper-AIR 152-CSE 2018-Philosophy

Sharing the reasons for inclination towards Civil Services Jasleen said, “I realised importance of Civil Services few years back and it has been a strong inspiration. I never thought of this initially; but, when I went to Delhi for my graduation; I got exposed towards the social and economic challenges that are being faced by our society. With so much political environment in the campus; as a member of the debate society all this made me realise that if I want to contribute to the society, then career in Civil Services is the right means and also it suited my temperament.”

The First Step

I lacked basic knowledge as no one was around to guide me. I had no direction as such except relying upon internet, magazines and coaching institutes for guidance.

Initially, my friends played an important role in gathering related information and how should I commence preparation.Jasleen Kaur-upsc topper-AIR 152-CSE 2018-Philosophy

The Ground work

At the start of the process, I assessed my strengths and weaknesses and soon, I got convinced that this is the most appropriate career-choice for me. As I felt capable of achieving success, I reached out to some seniors who were already in services to get some valuable insights.

It has been a well-planned endeavour for me. However, my first attempt proved to be just a trial; I couldn’t qualify Preliminary Examination.

Putting in the picture her preparation-plan Jasleen said, “Initially, I used to get carried away with all the fancy books; I picked up every book whose cover used to look good to me. I stocked my room with books and later, realized I read none of them.

Sometimes, a little idea works

So, I met a friend who was preparing for last 2-3 years; but, somehow he could not make it. He advised me that the most important thing is the syllabus to focus upon and read not more than one book for each topic.Jasleen Kaur-upsc topper-AIR 152-CSE 2018-Philosophy

This little adjustment in approach made a drastic change. I pasted printout of syllabus on the walls of my room.  And instead of focusing on booklist; I focused on the topics. I made a comprehensive list of all the topics that I could feel important. Even, for newspaper, I read either Hindu or Indian Express depending on my needs.Jasleen Kaur-upsc topper-AIR 152-CSE 2018-Philosophy

I prepared for this exam for one and a half year; so, when I completed my first year of coaching for General Studies at Sriram’s IAS, I realised ethics was one subject that I found very interesting and also I heard about a teacher in Delhi for Philosophy and Ethics (GS Paper IV), Dharmendra Sir of Patanjali IAS.

It made my optional subject choice easy and I picked up Philosophy.

When I took classes for Philosophy, I found that the syllabus was very precise and I really enjoyed the subject. Moreover, it played a vital role in my selection.

My Preparation-Plan for this attempt

I saw people getting carried away with so many books, so many resources.

This time, I had absolute clarity of thoughts and I wasn’t distracted with anything. Also, during last month of Mains, I made diagrams of very few topics and I was very sure that whatever question came from this topic, let me just put this diagram.

For Main Examination, I practiced answer writing a lot. I used to write for 4-5 hours daily for a period of 2 months. That worked wonders because people are not able to finish paper in 3 hours and I always wondered because my exams used to end 5-10 minutes before.

I did not let negative thoughts hit me because once a negative thought makes room; you don’t even realise and just stop studying.

Whenever I had such thoughts I used to drop the idea. Like 2 days before the Main examination my 10 year old dog died. At one point I was very sure that I would not appear in the exams.

At that time my father gave me an example that if you are a Civil Servant and something happens; won’t you go to work? He told me - just go and write the exam, it would not matter if I am unable to crack it.

My Family; My Strength

My parents played a very important role at that time. As a matter of fact, they are a reason of my mental toughness. From their viewpoint, I should never have a fear of cracking exam.

My Father is a business man and mother, a homemaker. Younger brother is pursuing engineering. There has been no civil servant in my family; so, it was a very new experience for me.

My parent’s support and attitude of behaving like a Civil Servant helped me accomplish the Goal.Jasleen Kaur-upsc topper-AIR 152-CSE 2018-Philosophy

Adjusted my Mind-set a little

Talking about the change in the manner of thinking that made the difference Jasleen said, “Last year when I took Preliminary Examination for the first time; I was longing for success. But, this time, when I appeared in exams at each stage, I just moved on and never even thought of my result.”

Even in Preliminary Examination, I was on borderline; I was not very sure because there were many questions whose answers were very ambiguous. After Prelims, I never stopped my preparations that were parallel with my academic career. I did not compromise either of two.

Though I started preparing for my JRF exam; I was studying for Main Examination side by side. In the process, I cleared JRF also in a span of a month after the results were out; I dedicatedly studied for Main Examination.

Subsequent to Main Examination, instead of waiting and anticipating for results, I started working on my research topic for PhD.

If we think a lot about result then somehow we are attached to results and then this can spoils our performance. I had a little bit of instinct that I might clear; but, given very unpredictable nature of exam I was never confident that I will clear it with higher ranks.

Success Mantra

It is a mixture of a multiple of things.

I have lived a Civil Servants life from day’ ONE’ of my preparation. Even if, I read about something like urban floods, I used to walk the streets of Delhi University during monsoon thinking about the measures that could be taken.

So, thinking in terms of solution is really important.

Similarly during my interviews days exactly for one month I practiced to speak very slowly. There is a very famous quote “Don’t dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want.”

So, don’t behave like what you are; behave like what you want to be.

This was for a bigger picture, for smaller picture, precisely, smart work helped.

Word of Advice for Future Aspirants

Keep hope alive, always!

Be as positive as you can; because if you are not optimistic then somehow someday you will feel that you would not be able to make it.

Don’t let such attitude come close.

Imagine like the administrator; probe into the head of the regime.

At all times, think like a visionary.

Last Update Sunday 22nd March 2020     

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