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You are here: Ias Topper Interview
kumar Praveen

Question: What were the basic mantras of your success?

 Faith in God and consistent hard work.

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

I started my preparation after completing the graduation. Ideally, one should start preparing during the course of Graduation itself to have an edge over others.

How did you start preparation for the IAS Examination?

I began the preparation by reading the NCERT books of VI to XII stds.  I wrote chapter-wise NCERT tests to check the level of understanding.

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

The syllabus appears lengthy only if one relies on cramming, focus has to be on the conceptual clarity and inter-linkages of different topics and subjects. Nowadays questions are not being asked directly. Collect the essential points and link the issues with developments in the past.

What was your optional? What were the bases of selecting these optional?

 History and Geography were my optional subjects. One has to be very careful in selecting optionals. Recent scoring in the subject, availability of books and expert guidance are some of the points that must taken into the consideration while deciding the optionals. Nowadays in changing nature of questions in Main examination, History has emerged as a safe subject because most of questions are being repeated from past years.

Did you follow the myth that only so called popular optional should be opted?

 Well, I don’t believe in following the herd. I selected History as one of the optionals because it has been the best performing subject since last few years. It is easy to score 350-360 marks under good guidance. I had interest in geography.

  Tell us something about preparation of essay paper?

Praveen: '
Essay' provides a great deal of flexibility to show your depth of knowledge and perspicacity of observation. I did not prepare anything extra for Essay paper exclusively. I expressed myself at length by using maps and diagrams wherever possible. Devote a good deal of time in brainstorming the basic details. The whole body of your essay will grow on and then start writing. Highlighting the important points is always beneficial.  Be coherent in the expression of viewpoints.

Which is the most difficult part of this exam and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?

Without proper preparation both the stages are difficult and at the same time with proper preparation both are easy.  Integrated process of preparation is always most beneficial because all the three stages of the exam viz. prelims, mains (written) and interview are not segregated as such from one another rather they constitute a composite scheme. Nowadays conceptual clarity and depth of knowledge are essential to score good marks, superficial knowledge will not help in either Prelims or the main exam.

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

The spadework must begin with NCERT books. Read at least one such Newspaper and one such magazine which provide you with extensive coverage of news, views and various other aspects of general knowledge. In this context, Civil Services Chronicle and The Hindu newspaper are two largely relied upon options.

What was your style of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

The civil services examination requires the executive way of writing. Avoid beating around the bush and address the essential demands of the question directly. Obsession with always writing a formatted introduction in the beginning and ending it with a conclusion is no longer a sound wisdom. Wherever the question is worthy of being answered in point form, go for it, especially for General Studies.

How did you prepare for interview?

 I have the habit of reading at least one newspaper daily. Therefore, knowledge of current affairs was never an issue. I faced a lot of mock interviews which shaped me finally for the interview. Interview is primarily the test of honest approach of the candidates and I tried to be myself in front of interview board.

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