SHWETA CHAUHAN (RANK-8, IAS 2016 )
CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Shweta: Hardwork, dedication, time management and selective study.
CSC: When did you start your prepara¬tion for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Shweta: I started preparing for IAS exam in 2012. One needs to prepare for at least one year before taking civil services examination.
CSC: How did you manage your time in both Prelims and Mains examinations?
Shweta: Mains and Prelims have to be man¬aged together. Study and make notes for Mains for one year and dedicate one month exclusively to Prelims exam, thus time would be managed.
CSC: Which is the most difficult part of civil services examination and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?
Shweta: Most difficult part is maintaining self-motivation to study. Emotional strength needs to be high. Prelims became most difficult part in this way. I tackled this by practising more and more question papers and revising the notes.
CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains prepara¬tions or were these separate?
Shweta: I studied for Prelims and Mains examinations together. Prelims can be cleared only if Mains syllabus has been studied properly.
CSC: Tell us something about preparation of Essay paper.
Shweta: Essay paper can be prepared along with General studies, by practising mock papers and by trying to utilise the knowledge of General studies in writing Essays while maintaining flow.
CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?
Shweta: I prepared notes both for Prelims and Mains examinations. Notes preparation is necessary as revision is possible only if one has prepared notes. I think one should prepare notes for maximum possible areas.
CSC: How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?
Shweta: Coaching institutes are very useful in providing direction and in maintaining focus on relevant syllabus. How¬ever, the selection in civil services also requires continuous self-study and self-prepared micro notes.
CSC: What are your suggestions for freshers who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?
Shweta: For freshers, it is necessary that they join coaching institute if you don’t have any guidance and take coaching institute for proper direction. At the same time self-study is must.
CSC: What was your style of writing in Mains exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Shweta: I focussed upon structured answer writing, with introduction and conclusion. I developed this writing style by practicing lot of mock papers.
CSC: How helpful is one’s academic back¬ground in his/her success?
Shweta: One’s academic background is not at all important. The time dedicated for prepa¬ration and hard work are what matter for civil services examination.
CSC: How did you prepare for interview?
Shweta: For interview, I took mock interviews and pre¬pared everything around my DAF (Detailed Application Form).
CSC: Which types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer all?
Shweta: In interview questions were around my DAF. I was able to answer almost all the questions.
CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?
Shweta: Specific area was GST. Questions were also related to my previous service.
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?
Shweta: One should have the habit of reading newspapers and one must read relevant NCERTs.
CSC: To whom would you give credit of your success?
Shweta: My success is because of my parents, teachers, brothers, my friends who prepared with me and grace of God.
CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this civil services examination?
Shweta: The freshers must have self-confidence; they should maintain focus on selective sources and work hard to give 100%.
CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?
Shweta: To the candidates who have failed I would say that there is nothing called failure in this exam; you learn on every step, learn from failure, do not ever have self-doubt and keep patience; success is not far.
CSC: Do you think Civil Services exam is a true test of a candidate’s merit?
Shweta: The civil services examination tries to test every part of personality of an aspirant. But it is not necessary that a meritorious student is always able to express his knowledge properly in exam. Luck also matters.
CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Service Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil service aspirants?
Shweta: I started reading it when I commenced my prepa¬ration for civil services. It is very beneficial magazine for IAS Aspirants and I think everybody should read it.