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Aditi Singh 12th Rank


CSC: What are the elements required for success?

Aditi Singh.   I can tell you my experience only. My choice for the career, that  I wanted to pursue was clear. I did not try for any other option. So my first aim was to remain focused on this exam. Second was my perseverance, I just stuck to the exam though there were temporary setbacks as I could not get through in the last two attempts. Thirdly in the last two attempts I did not pay more attention to GS in the main examination. So what I can say is strategy really matters which I changed this time by following a very balanced approach.

CSC: Tell us about your previous attempts.

Aditi Singh: In the last two attempts I wrote main exam in which I scored well in optional papers, especially in sociology. But I could not perform well in GS. In my third attempt I took guidance from Sriram sir. He helped in improving my writing skill for the mains.

CSC: What was the key element of your strategy?

Aditi Singh:   My focus was time bound preparation. Because syllabus changed this year, I had to cover lots of new topics. So I did not follow last attempt’s plan.

CSC: What were your optionals?

Aditi Singh:   Political Science and Sociology. I took Political Science because of my academic background. And after analyzing syllabus of sociology I found it very complementary to Political Science. Sociology needs analytical approach very similar to Political Science. I also thought that my approach as a humanities student will help me. Fortunately my strategy clicked.

CSC: How did you prepare optionals?

Aditi Singh:   I wrote my Political Science tests with Shubhara Ranjan. I did not attend any regular class for it because I did well in my graduation and post graduation with Political Science. Writing practice test was very important, as this exam is very different from university exams. Since Sociology was a new subject of me, I attended Mr. Upendra Gaur’s sociology classes.

CSC: What was your plan for General Studies?

Aditi Singh:   For prelims my plan was to cover as much areas as possible. I did not attend any coaching for it. For mains I took Mr. Sriram’s guidance and regularly practiced tests.

CSC: What about essay?

Aditi Singh:   No Special preparation for essay. No extra readings. I totally relied on my optionals preparation. In the last two attempts I did well in essay. For essay writing you need to be clear about topic. Do not use complex language. As humanities student, I had an edge because I always practice writing answers. So I was comfortable in writing.

CSC: You appeared thrice for the UPSC Exam. Finally you are through. What was your biggest mistake; now that you are among toppers’?

Aditi Singh:   My biggest mistake was not to pay much attention to GS in the previous attempts and second mistake was not to follow writing tests for Political Science in the first attempt. These were my mistakes otherwise I was very confident that one day I would definitely in this service.

CSC: How was your Interview?

Aditi Singh:   My board was of Mr. I.M.G Khan. It lasted for 25-30 minutes. Members were asking question from very diverse area, very little from my subjects. And when I came out I thought I did not deliver up to my expectations. They started asking questions about my Schooling. One member told me that since I am an engineer, i would ask questions from engineering. I was taken aback since my background is humanities. He asked me about the role of an engineer, the difference between an engineer and scientist, about APJ Abdul Kalaam- whether he was an engineer or a scientist? Then the next member asked my about the Satyam Scam which he asked me to explain. As I finished the answer next member asked my about the IPL. Another member asked me about my Service Preference. Before leaving the same member asked me if I was ever interested in politics. So it questions were very diverse.

CSC: The Configuration of the questions has been changed in this exam. More questions are asked with current orientation. How did you prepare current affairs?

Aditi Singh:   I was thorough with the Hindu. Reading newspapers religiously a was part of my strategy. I also relied on my G.S. Class notes.

CSC: What determines success in this exam?

Aditi Singh: Determination, focused preparation, understanding of the subject. More importantly you should know your weaknesses. One should not baggy their direction throughout the exam.

CSC: Often students count their labour and strategies in terms of hours they spend on reading. Does it work?

Aditi Singh:  No. Try to build skillful strategies because general studies are extremely vast. So, you must be very selective as well extensive while preparing for general studies.

First of all select important areas and then go for extensive study. Reason behind this argument is the vastness of the syllabus and changing configuration of questions. Year after year toughness of competition has been multiplying and so is the case with predictability of success.

CSC: How important is language for this examination?

Aditi Singh: Ornamental language is not required. Write very simple and up to the point answers.

Aditi Singh:   My biggest mistake was not to pay much attention to GS in the previous attempts and second mistake was not to follow writing tests for Political Science in the first attempt. These were my mistakes otherwise I was very confident that one day I would definitely in this service.

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