Accomplishing something that really seemed unattainable for a long period makes it exciting, an unforgettable moment when you actually achieve it.
For Sumit Kumar Rai, it was a long wait for success as it came with his 5th attempt.
Here, Sumit has shed some light on some pertinent facts by sharing his experience with Civil Services Examination touching fine points that will help you in understanding the requirements better.
Sumit Kumar Rai
(AIR 54; CSE 2018)
Optional Subject: Public Administration
Number of Attempts : 5
Language for Writing Examination: English
Language for Interview: English
Nature of Examination
There are 4 key mantras to clear Civil Services Examination:
It is true that unpredictability is there in exam but by following these steps we can reduce the unpredictability up-to a great extent.
Ultimately it is 80% handwork and 20% luck that go into final selection. So, our focus should be on controlling the ‘contrôlables’ rather than worrying about what is beyond our control.
Views about Preliminary Examination
It is true that Preliminary Examination has become very challenging these years.
The nature of question is such that it demands an in-depth study of various issues.
Now UPSC is checking the analytical abilities of candidates at Prelims level also. Given these dynamic changes aspirants need to tune their preparation accordingly.
Unpredictability is definitely there; but, we can only manage the things that are in our control. So one should focus on preparing as per the changing demand of the papers.
Role of Optional Subject
Optional becomes a crucial factor as poor optional choice can be the difference between getting selected and being out of list.
So, choose optional as per your interest and after doing thorough analysis. A score of 300+ in optional is a must these days for having a good rank in final list.
Targeting General Studies
General studies (GS) is becoming more and more analytical these days.
The preparation has to be tuned accordingly.
My approach towards each paper:
GS-1 which has relatively much static content compared to GS-2 & GS-3 still needs answer writing practice from an analytical approach.
A test series along with toppers copy review can be a good way to start. Also, please understand the syllabus thoroughly and prepare each topic in 360 degree manner. Answer writing practice (AWP) and Revision must be continuous throughout preparation.
For GS2 special focus on constitutional articles, Supreme Court judgments, bills etc. should be given and these should be duly mentioned in answers.
For GS-3 which is the most dynamic paper of all GS paper, focus should be on Indian Economy and latest developments. Economic survey, Budget documents, NITI Aayog special reports can be utilized for marks enhancement.
For GS-4 focus should be on writing answers in your own language and this should be supported by good examples which shows your understating of ground realities.
Essay preparation needs focus on introduction, body and conclusion, especially the introduction and conclusion should be well thought of and should be engaging in nature.
Personal anecdotes or a story used to be my preferred way of starting an essay. One should work on collecting some useful quotes and anecdotes.
The preparation of broad topics like women related issues, education, health, human development, poverty, digital revolution, AI etc can be done well in advance. This will provide fodder material for writing a good essay.
One should also focus on practicing some philosophical essays as at least one essay will have to be written on such topics.
In CSE-2018 I wrote essay on these topics:
1. Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere.
2. Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life.
Interview (Personality Test)
Date of Interview: 28th March 2019, Interview board: Smita Nagraj ma’am.
Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC
I got 127 in essay. Given this year’s essay scores it can be considered as a decent score.
I was expecting essay marks to be in between 135-140.
In interview I was expecting a decent marks given my interview went well. I got 182 this year which is my highest interview scores in all UPSC attempts (I have given three CSE interviews in 5 attempts).
A decent essay score and a good interview marks helped me in getting a good rank finally.