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CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Prathap: Consistency, hard plus smart work and believing in myself were my basic mantras. I loved the preparation so that at no point of time I felt disinterested.

CSC: When did you start preparation for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Prathap: I started preparation in final year of my college. I think it s the ideal time to crack IAS Examination in first attempt.

CSC: How did you manage your time in both Prelims and Mains examinations?
Prathap: Integrated preparation for first 10 months helped me to manage my time for both Prelims and Mains examinations.

CSC: Which is the most difficult part of this examination and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?
Prathap: Main Examination is difficult because of its subjective nature. Tiresome 5 days marathon exam schedule make it difficult according to me.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of  Essay  Paper.
Prathap: One should practice 7 to 8 essays before Mains Examination. Also choose a topic where you will be able to write at least 1000 words. Also analyze temporally and sectorally in whichever topic we choose to write.

CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparations or were these separate?
Prathap: I adopted an integrated preparation approach for Prelims and Mains examinations.

CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?
Prathap: I prepared from few books. My advice would be to make notes only wherever necessary and not for all books.

CSC: How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?
Prathap: Coaching institutes are extremely useful as they gave me direction for my preparation and notes were my savior during both Prelims and Mains examinations.

CSC: What are your suggestions for fresher who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?
Prathap: It is important to join good coaching institute.

CSC: What was your style of writing in the Mains examination? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Prathap: I wrote answers paragraph wise. I did not follow any distinct style at all. I wrote to the point and not beating around the bush.

CSC: How helpful is one s academic background in his/her success?
Prathap: It can help to some extent if we take same optional as that of our academic background.

CSC: Does this exam provide a level playing field for the rural or economically poor background candidates?
Prathap: In my opinion NO because they cannot afford costly coaching.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?
Prathap: I prepared on my DAF (Detailed Application Form) thoroughly and gave 3 to 4 mock interviews.

CSC: Which types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer all?
Prathap: Questions asked by interview board were mostly from my DAF. I answered all except one.

CSC: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?
Prathap: No. It was diverse ranging from entrepreneurship to Madurai (my place).

CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to improve one s suitability for this exam?
Prathap: One should read Newspapers daily and One should be open to getting knowledge.

CSC: To whom would you give credit for your success?
Prathap: God, family, friends, teachers and myself.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?
Prathap: Be confident and work hard. One should know what not to study and stick to one source for each subject.

CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?
Prathap: Take it as a learning step towards success and work harder next time. Honest hard work always pays.

CSC: Do you think Civil Services examination is a true test of a candidate s merit?
Prathap: In my opinion a big NO, it is just a test of knowledge.

CSC: Since when have you begun reading Civil Service Chronicle magazine? What are your suggestions to make it more useful for civil services aspirants?
Prathap: I am reading Civil Service Chronicle magazine since the beginning phase of my preparation. It is very good magazine and it is immensely beneficial to serious aspirants.

CSC: Mr. Prathap, thanks a lot for giving your valuable time and sharing your insights on civil services examination.
Prathap: Thank you.

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