NIKHIL PATHAK (RANK-AIR 107, CSE 2015)
CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Nikhil: The old age adage, Hardwork is the key to success is my mantra of success. The only extra thing is right direction and perseverance.
CSC: When did you start your preparation for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Nikhil: I started my preparation right after joining my college and I think, that is the best time to start preparing for this exam.
CSC: Which attempt was this at Civil Services Examination? What was your score in General Studies mains.
Nikhil: This was my first attempt. I scored 426 marks in GS mains, hope one of the highest marks in 2015 CSE exam.
CSC: What was your optional? What was the basis of selecting this particular optional subject?
Nikhil: My optional was Sociology. The most important reason for selecting it was availability of right guidance under Bibhash Sharma Sir, relevant syllabus and familiarity to the subject matter.
CSC: Tell us something about preparation of Essay paper.
Nikhil: The most important thing about essay paper is covering all relevant aspect of the topic and structuring your arguments logically. Essay is more about writing skill, so practice is key.
CSC: What was your style of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Nikhil: My writing style was answering exactly what has been asked without bluffing or beating around the bush. It was distinct from general writing style as unlike in University exams, I didn t write to fill page. Regular practice, answer sheet evaluation and working on the feedback received, helped me a lot in this.
CSC: The trend suggests that professionals are more successful in civil services examination. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?
Nikhil: No, the very fact that most of the candidates from engineering and science background clear this exam from humanities optional shows that humanities background student have a better chance at clearing this exam if they work hard in a systematic manner.
CSC: How helpful is one s academic background in his/her success?
Nikhil: Academic background can help one in his/her optional subject but not more. One s college or past achievements (or lack thereof) matter little in this exam.
CSC: What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking?
Nikhil: Not to do guess work. Try to use elimination method and mark an option if you are above 70% sure about it.
CSC: Does this exam provide a level playing field for the rural or economically poor background candidates?
Nikhil: With the advent of technology, mobile phones, internet and online content/coachings, etc. the disadvantages of place and class is fast disappearing.
CSC: How did you prepare for interview?
Nikhil: Extensive preparation of my Detailed Application Form (DAF), focus on current affairs and lots of mocks.
CSC: Which types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer all?
Nikhil: Mostly question from my academic background were asked.
CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?
Nikhil: On the subjects I had in my graduation.
CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to improve one s suitability for this exam? What is the outside reading one should do?
Nikhil: Newspaper reading and focusing on one s graduation.
CSC: To whom would you give credit for your success?
Nikhil: My parents and my teacher Shri Bibhash Sharma.
CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?
Nikhil: Go about in a systematic manners study daily and have faith in yourself.
CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?
Nikhil: First, don t lose heart or be demotivated. Analyze where you made mistake and work upon it.
CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Service Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil service aspirants?
Nikhil: I have had a habit of reading this magazines since school days and I would suggest including content that engages school going kids with current development will be great.