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Special Content

Volume-7, 19-25 May, 2018

Topper's Corner
"Being Persistent and Sticking to the Basics is The Key to Success in IAS Exam"

Employment News wishes you heartiest congratulations on your exceptional achievement!  We are happy that your hard work has paid off.
Mr. Gupta: Thank you so much Sir!
E N: How did you feel when you came to know that you had not only competed in one of the toughest exams in India but your name was in the toppers list? Can you share those moments of happiness with our readers?
Mr. Gupta: I don't have words to express my emotions after seeing the result. It was a mixed feeling ranging from remembrance of all the hard work, moments when I felt low and finally getting into where I always wanted. However, more than just a feeling of happiness, I had a sense of satisfaction regarding busting a myth Civil Services is meant only for extra-ordinary people. I came from humble background and one of the backward districts Sirsa in Haryana but I did it, which I believe ignites a sense of confidence in lakhs of youth in different parts of the country.
Further I believe it's time to be the change that I always aspired for. This success has made me more and more responsible towards a cause for which I started. And I believe my journey has not ended but just started.
E N: What is the secret of your success?
Mr. Gupta: Hard Work + Intelligence + Persistence= Smart Work.
I believe each one of us are working hard for achieving our goals, but I think we sometimes try to hide our weakness and this journey has taught me , we don't need to hide it but need to work over it. There will be moments when one feels low. Here perseverance is the key.
E N:  How did you approach this exam? What was your strategy in general (Prelims, Mains and Interview)?
Mr. Gupta: Although I have written a blog for it but here I will share it again. There are four papers, especially for GS, Paper I, II and III are more about the content. It doesn't mean that one has to scamper only for the content. Articulating that content is also important. Firstly, during preparations, make mind maps as I did. Let's take the example of the topic, Poverty: what I used to do is to prepare a good definition on poverty from a good source like a renowned organisation. Then I would look at the reports of committees formed on poverty in the last few years and then important facts and figures. Thereafter, I could see its linkages with issues like the state of education, women, underprivileged societies, hunger, malnutrition etc. This way, I could be sure that whenever I write an answer, it has a clear structure and is organized logically. That's the way I prepared every topic. This strategy of creating mind maps also made it very easy to make last minute revisions.
While writing an answer, you should read the question twice, thrice or more because, earlier as soon as I saw a question, I identified two or three key words and answered based on those. This made my answers more in line with what I understood rather than what the examiner expected. That was a key mistake. This time, I followed this practice of reading the question a few times before answering and then examine it again in between just to make sure I was pursuing the right direction. While concluding also I read the question again to be very clear about what I wanted to convey because these days questions are opinion based. Give them very clear opinions about what you feel about the issue at hand.
Topper's Profile
Name: Sachin Gupta
Age: 26
Rank in Civil Services Exam (CSE), 2018: 3rd
Total Attempts in CSE: Three
Optional Subject: Anthropology
Medium: English
Educational background
Percentage of marks in Class 10 - 89.8
Percentage of marks in Class 12 - 82.8
Percentage of marks in Graduation - 84.8
Prelims Strategy: http://www. insightsonindia.com/2018/05/03/sachin-gupta-rank-3-upsc-cse-2017-insights-offline-student-preparation-strategy-upsc-civil-services-preliminary-examination/
Mains Strategy: http://www. insightsonindia.com/2018/05/05/sachin-gupta-rank-3-upsc-cse-2017-insights-offline-student-preparation-strategy-upsc-civil-services-preliminary-examination-second-article/
Personality Test: Here the key remains "Knowing Thyself". I believe personality test is not just about knowledge but about knowing oneself. About each and everything that one has done in his or her life. Why he or she has done the same. Further, is one curious enough who tries to understand things happening around oneself.
E N: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?
Mr. Gupta: When we talk about preparation I firmly believe study in an integrated and holistic manner.
It will not makes us understand the issues in and out but also gives a sense of confidence. However I believe we need to give specific time for some time period before Prelims, Mains and personality test to do focused study for the same respectively.
E N: How did you prepare for essay?
Mr. Gupta: For Essay paper, I tried to prepare all the topics, major themes like education, health, women, etc in addition to some of the philosophical basics. For this, I read a lot of essay of past years' toppers to get an idea about how they write. I found that there are some common things such as good flow, different features of a particular topic and a solid conclusion. In the introduction section, I tried to include some innovativeness like linking the topic with some recent incident so that the essay becomes more current and interesting to read. Highlight different facets and discuss them and one may use sub-headings to ensure that the flow is maintained.
E N: How did you manage your time during the preparation?
Mr. Gupta: I think time management is the key area in preparation strategy , especially for the working professionals. . I use to set 3 month plan mentioning what all I would be covering in that period along with revision. Then divide it into monthly and daily schedules. That not only improves efficiency of oneself but have inner mental peace that after 3 months that much would be covered.
E N: How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?
Mr. Gupta: Civil examination cycle takes 1 year of aspirants and  in which one has to clear all the three stages.There have been many moments of doubt when I felt I may not be able to crack it or Civil Services is not cup of my tea. There are times when I got frustrated during the preparation, especially after moments of failure. But trust me, its normal and take it as a phase of preparation. Talk to your well-wishers, parents that can give you positive vibes and get back to studies as soon as possible. I used to talk to my father, he used to make me remember my small achievements that helped in regaining confidence in me. I used to say again and again whenever I was feeling too much pressure "All is well, All is well, I am the best. I am the best". Trust me it works; it helps in reducing the pressure in our heads and relax a bit.
Further I used to watch Rajya Sabha TV debates and hear All India Radio. It not only helped in breaking the monotomy of preparation but making me well aware as well as build my opinion after listening to experts from different fields. I would sincerely advice all the aspirants to follow the same.
E N: Your advice for future aspirants.
Mr. Gupta: I come from a humble background, having my father as farmer and mother as Primary Government School Teacher. All throughout my life though I was sincere student but nothing like an extraordinary student. When I used to go with my mother sometime on my holidays to her school, I use to see the difference in education facilities that I have and schools in my mother used to teach. At that point of time I was just a child and thought might be life is like this only. But one incident in my college changed my entire course of life. Then I started learning about renowned personalities like Mahatama Gandhi, JL Nehru and then live examples of E.Sreedharan, OP Choudhary, Amstrong Pame who kept on motivating me.
Further I would like to highlight the importance of persistence in this examination, especially when we have to revise same notes, books again and again or write answers every day, demotivation comes. But at that point of time, being persistent and sticking to the basics is the key. Make sure, don't get distracted to various resources, choose resources wisely, and consolidate them and "REVISE-REVISE-REVISE". Further don't neglect answer writing by any means, at the end of a day it matters how your write 150-200 words in the examination. Make sure to answer each part of question, giving a well versed introduction , try to make flowchart in 7-8 questions overall in paper and conclude with clear thought. This is the key in mains.
I would end with a quote of Sir Harivansh Rai Bachchan, that keeps me motivating throughout my journey :
लहरों से डरकर नौका पार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।
नन्हीं चींटी जब दाना लेकर चलती है,
चढ़ती दीवारों पर, सौ बार फिसलती है।
मन का विश्वास रगों में साहस भरता है,
चढक़र गिरना, गिरकर चढऩा अखरता है।
आखिर उसकी मेहनत बेकार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालो की कभी हार नहीं होती।