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Ajay Prakash (9th Rank)

What is the secret of your success?

Ajay Prakash: There is no secret. One has to just work systematically and in a focused manner keeping the ultimate goal in mind.

What was your strategy for various stages of this examination? How should one prepare for Prelims, Mains and Interview?

Ajay Prakash: For Prelims, one must read exhaustively, focus on facts, "The Hindu" newspaper is a must.

For Mains: One should get an understanding of every subject; don't memorize facts; and read "The Hindu" newspaper regularly.

For the Interview: Prepare your Bio-data well and be confident.

After your success in the preliminary examination, do you feel you could have scored better by introducing some changes in your method of preparation?

Ajay Prakash: Yes, more focus on fundamentals of each sub-topic of GS would have helped certainly.

How can one score well in Essay, GS and Interview?

Ajay Prakash: In Essay, first collect your thoughts and structure them, and then proceed. In GS, time-management is the key factor and for Interview, self-appraisal is the key to success.

What are the areas in GS (Paper I and II) main examination in which a candidate can score marks easily?

Ajay Prakash: Geography and History are scoring subjects. Similarly Indian Polity and Current Affairs questions are also very scoring.

In your opinion how crucial is the selection of optional for success in this examination?

Ajay Prakash: It is most crucial. In fact it is because of optionals that one gets a good rank.

What are the questions you have been asked by the interview board?

Ajay Prakash: Questions were based mainly on my Hobbies, Educational background and on Naxalism.

Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants?

Ajay Prakash: Do not get over-awed by the immensity of the Exam process. If you de-construct the exam process, you will see, it only requires a basic understanding of subjects and lot of common-sense. Find good study material and put in 4-5 hours of study and you will succeed.

Now from 2011, UPSC has done some structural changes in the patter of Preliminary Exam. What do you suggest to the future aspirants in this regard?

Ajay Prakash: The future aspirants must not panic because the exam has actually become far more easier than before. Just make your GS Paper-I preparation solid and foolproof, because this will decide your selection. Paper-II CSAT is nothing but lot of common-sense, and your ability to stay calm under pressure. 75% of the paper doesn't require any preparation. All you need to do is just brush up your Mathematics, especially the fundamentals. Aim at securing 50% at least. Rest will take care of itself.

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