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You are here: Ias Topper Interview
OM KASERA (Rank 17, 2011-12)

 Question: Do you think that GS has become as the weakest-link in the present day UPSC as far as scoring is concerned? If yes than please do elaborate?

OM KASERA: I don’t think so. It is not absolute marks but its relative marks that matters. Still there is gap of almost 50 marks in toppers’ scores and other candidates which is significant enough.

 Question: What do you think can be the reason for GS paper evolving into Achilles’ heel for the students?

OM KASERA: Nowdays UPSC has changed its strategy in GS paper. Till 2008, GS used to be on set pattern with pre decided marks for each section and mostly predictable. Since 2009 GS has become more dynamic/current in approach and also very unpredictable. In 2010 geography/economy ruled the paper and in 2011 these two parts were almost given no importance and History /Polity ruled the paper. Also Science questions have become very difficult even for a science grad. So to score good in GS one has to become master of all subjects.

Question: Answers of the questions from certain dynamically evolving areas like the environmental issues, interconnected globalization, financial recession, international relation, Indian diplomacy in the realm of emerging India as a global power etc needs to be made more concurrent based rather than purely theoretical. What do you think on this issue?

OM KASERA: Fully agreed. One has to be not only concurrent but substantiate his/her answers with relevant multiple information. One can quote recent summits/visits, agreements, treaties, proposed actions etc. to make his/her answer rich and different from others.

Question: In the ever evolving realm of GS what can the role of rote learning?

OM KASERA: I never believed in rote learning. UPSC has rightly changed its strategy to weed out rote learners.

Question: Corollary to the prior question; do you equate rote learning with coaching material or coaching classes?

OM KASERA: Probably yes, Coaching classes can never teach you what you can learn yourself especially when entire world is yours to learn on internet. But Coaching classes provides an environment, like- minded people to discuss with and overall guidance which one cannot have otherwise, especially in rural areas. Though coaching material may be useful sometimes.

Question: Is the golden rule that newspaper (a standard daily like The Hindu) reading has no alternative as far as GS exam for mains (and even for PT in the current scenario) is concerned; still comply?

OM KASERA: Very much. Rather I would suggest one general and one financial newspaper. But a right strategy is necessary to reap the maximum benefits out of it. One should generally leave out front page, sports page and state/city pages focusing on above mention areas in national, international, business and editorial pages.

Question: What role does language play in fetching good marks? Does the language need to be very ornamental to get good marks?

OM KASERA: I think content is much more important than ornamental language. But if it is there with contents it acts like ice on the cake. But surely without content it would lead you nowhere.

Question: Please do suggest an optimum way in which one can get consistently good performance in GS?

OM KASERA: Be observant. Be focused. Be consistent in your preparation. Be thorough with NCERT books. Be argumentative. Read daily newspaper. Watch any one debate programme on TV daily. Leave no stone unturned, prepare for all areas of the GS syllabus. Still don’t think that you would be able to answer all the questions. Finally believe in yourself and the God. Success will surely be yours.


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