Topper Interview

Ishani , AIR 269, CSE 2015

CSC : What were the basic mantras  of your success? 

Ans. Hard work and perseverance were the basic mantras of my success.

CSC : What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both  Prelims and Mains?

Ans. Preparation for GS for prelims and mains has to go on simultaneously, they cannot be compartmentalized. Also as per the current trend I focused more on the issues of current importance and tried to develop conceptual understanding of them.

CSC :  What should be the basis of selecting  optionals?

Ans. Interest in the subject should be one of the most important criteria while selecting optional subject as it would help one to sustain interest in studying it constantly during the long phase of preparation.

CSC: Did you follow the myth that only so called popular optionals should be opted?

Ans. Rather than following the myth of popular options, Interest in the subjects, educational background and future relevance of the subjects in the field of administration were my criteria for selecting the optionals.

CSC: How did you plan your optional strategy?

Ans. I tried to complete both my optionals before the prelims and in the period after prelims focused on answer writing and revision of the subjects.

CSC: what were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard? 

Ans. The Hindu-Newspaper, competitive magazine like civil services chronicle and study material of Chronicle IAS Academy were my sources of general reading.

Consulting the faculty of CIA and following the blogs of previous years’ toppers gave me information about the standard reading material.

CSC : Tell us something about preparation of essay paper.

Ans. Did not prepare anything specifically for the essay paper, however the broad range of knowledge gathered during preparation of general studies ultimately helped in the essay paper.

CSC : How much time one should devote for PT /Mains etc ?

Ans. One year of preparation before the prelims is required for the exam.

CSC : How did you manage your time in both prelims and mains examinations?

Ans:  From the very beginning, one should prepare keeping in mind both the prelims and mains. However a couple of months before the prelims the preparation can be focused exclusively towards it. 

CSC : Which is the most difficult part of this exam and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?

Ans. The most difficult part of the exam is the Mains examination stage where one as to cover a vast amount of syllabus in a short span of time. As I had already completed both my optionals before the prelims and followed and integrated strategy for GS, it helped me to tackle this stage of the examination without much hardship.

CSC : Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate?

Ans. I followed an integrated strategy for prelims and mains.

CSC : How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making? 

Ans.  Notes are really helpful during revision period if one can constantly prepare them during studying.

However personally I was not able to prepare notes and relied on the notes provided by CIA. 

CSC : What are your suggestions for fresher ?

Ans. Nowadays a lot of candidates are clearing the examination in their first attempt itself, so the freshers should in no way consider themselves to be in a disadvantageous position. Rather by keeping a positive approach they can easily crack this exam.

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?

Ans. Practicing answer writing and incorporating the feedback received from the evaluation of the faculty helped me in developing my writing style.

CSC : Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?

Ans. Yes it is definitely strenuous. Having a circle of close friends really helped me during this period, not only for studying and discussing together but also for support and motivation and fun at times when your tempo goes low.

CSC : The trend suggests that professionals are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Ans. Personally being from social science background I don’t think this exam discriminated against me. Rather my previous knowledge of social sciences helped me during this examination.

CSC : How helpful is one’s background in his/her success?

Ans. Background provides a base from where one can develop his/ her preparation. However it is not the sole factor in deciding one’s success.

CSC : What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking?

Ans. Answering only those questions about which one is definite and avoiding guesswork is the best strategy to avoid negative marking during prelims.

CSC : How did you prepare for interview?

Ans. For interview I brushed up current affairs and prepared thoroughly on my bio-data. Apart from that the mock interviews at Chronicle and Samkalp also helped me to sharpen my preparation.|

CSC : Which types of questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer all?

Ans. During my interview questions were focused on my background like hobby, educational background and work experience and also on issues of current relevance. No there were a number of factual questions which I could not answer.

CSC : Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Ans : No. But the questions on current issues were framed in a way to understand my perspective and views about them.

CSC : Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to prepare one’s suitability for this exam? What is the outside reading one should do?

Ans : Before the actual preparation, one should read at least one national newspaper daily, to develop reading skills. Also it would broaden one’s knowledge about current affairs which is very essential for this examination.

CSC : What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?

Ans. Don’t be disappointed, rather take this failure as a challenge. Keep in mind to overcome the mistakes committed in the previous attempt and prepare with renewed vigor. One will definitely succeed. 

CSC : Had you thought of  alternative apart from the Civil Services 

Ans. Having educational background and previous work experience in the social sector, it was definitely an alternative career option for me apart from civil services.

CSC can you give your marks detail of the final attempt?

Ans. Mains        - 974
       Written     – 764
       Interview   - 210

CSC your word for Chronicle IAS Academy ?

Ans. I was a novice when I started preparation for the exams 2 years back. However I got constant guidance, support and motivation from Chronicle IAS Academy during this period. Would really like to thank them for their contribution in my success