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CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Kaustubh: Consistent study, regular meditation and other relaxation activities were the basic mantras of my success.

CSC: When did you start preparation for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?

Kaustubh: I started my preparations in 2013. Ideally, one should begin preparing for IAS examination during his/her college/undergraduate years.

CSC: How did you start your preparation for the IAS Examination?

Kaustubh: I started with close study of syllabus and reading of basic books like NCERTs. Thereafter I joined coaching classes for proper guidance.

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

Kaustubh: I focussed completely on standard reading material
like NCERT’s, Year Book and coaching classes.

CSC: What was your optional subject? What was the basis of selecting this particular optional subject?

Kaustubh: ‘History’ was my optional subject. I took ‘History’ as optional subject because of its safe and scoring nature.Its great relevance for compulsory papers of General Studies was another reason behind taking it as my optional subject.

CSC: Did you follow the myth that only so called popular optionals should be opted? Kaustubh: No, but with subject like History, it becomes easy because the syllabus is well defined and static in nature.

CSC: How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard? Please give list of books,
magazines and papers.

Kaustubh: I discussed the strategy with my seniors and got the necessary guidance from S. BALIYAN SIR at INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY. I read NCERTs, Economic Survey, India Year Book and ‘The Hindu’ Newspaper.

CSC: Tell us something about the preparation of ‘Essay’ paper.

Kaustubh: I maintained a small diary of important quotes,facts and figures – revised it regularly for writing a good Essay.

CSC: Did you attend any coaching institute? How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion
about the coaching institutes?

Kaustubh: Yes. I attended INSIGHT IAS ACADEMY of S.

BALIYAN SIR at Delhi. Coaching classes give direction and help in forming a good peer group. One should speak to
seniors to get good coaching institute. I was quite lucky to get the guidance of S. BALIYAN Sir.

CSC: What are your suggestions for freshers who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?

Kaustubh: They should join coaching institute provided they understand what their requirements are and what the institute offers.

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?

Kaustubh: There was nothing unique as such in my writing style. I just wrote in point form with headings. I developed it during notes making and practice sessions.

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

Kaustubh: Elimination of choices and pre-determined range of questions that one is going to attempt can help in tackling the challenge of negative marking in Prelims examination.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?

Kaustubh: I gave many mocks and made points on the likely questions based on my DAF (detailed application form).

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

Kaustubh: Factual current related questions and background based questions from my academics were asked in interview.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Kaustubh: They emphasized upon the issue that how would my work and academic qualifications be useful in civil services.

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?

Kaustubh: Read biographies, one good newspaper and few magazines like Frontline and The Economist.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?

Kaustubh: Develop an all-round personality. Avoid myths, read syllabus and previous papers closely and practise regularly.

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

Kaustubh: If you feel you are meant for this exam then the failure is just another opportunity to introspect and improve.

CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Service Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil service aspirants?

Kaustubh: I began reading it during my college days. If more interviews of successful candidates are carried on a regular basis it will motivate the aspirants more.

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