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1. What is motivating force that inspires lakhs of students every year to take Civil Services exams?
Answer: what motivates students towards civil services is the social value and respect attached to civil servants. The power associated with civil services enables them to make a positive change towards the lives of people at ground level. Other driving forces are job security and satisfaction to contribute to society. This service provides an opportunity to put a smile on the faces of people. If somebody has a sense of public spirit, he/she gets a lot of job satisfaction and excels in this field.
A civil servant has the opportunity to work towards social development and social justice. There is lots of scope of recognition and excelling for those officials who are serious with their work.
2. How should a candidate judge his suitability and be mentally prepared for Civil Services?
Answer: self-analysis before starting preparation for this exam along with assessing if one is really keen for the job profile is the thing to start with. An academically strong background is a positive factor for a civil service aspirant. Candidates should be hardworking, disciplined and responsible, having good communication, and presentation skills. Passion for preparation and patience are also required to qualify this exam.
Previous year exam papers should also be scanned to get insights. This examination doesn’t test the high level of excellence in a candidate but it tests the consistent effort a candidate puts in to increase his/her knowledge base.
3. What could be the challenges with respect to preparation at the beginning of the journey?
Answer: The initial challenges include the selection of the right books, proper study material and right guidance. Candidates will have to know and understand their skill-sets and need to utilize their strengths and improve their weaknesses. They need to know how many years they can put in the preparation and how much family and financial support they have.
“You may see me struggle, but you’ll never see me quit.”
4. Suggest separate strategies for Prelims and Mains level preparations?
Answer: Prelims is elimination round comprising General Awareness and Aptitude Test. To prepare for Prelims level GS, candidates can take help of NCERT textbooks, newspapers, magazines, AlR, DD News, PIB and other government websites. In Aptitude Test,
Mathematics- 15%-20% questions a, Logical and Analytical Reasoning -25%-30% English Comprehension 40%-45%. For conceptual clarity, Standard textbooks will help students. Regular practice will enhance Speed and accuracy
For Mains exam, candidates should make their priorities according to their strengths and weaknesses. As the exam asks opinion-based questions, conceptual clarity and time management are very important for success. Candidates should study NCERT, IGNOU textbooks, other key books, newspapers and magazines. They should regularly stay tuned to DD News, AIR and government websites.
5. What criteria should aspirants look at while choosing an optional subject?
Answer: Students generally choose their optional subjects based on their core area of study or interest. It’s utility in the preparation of general studies paper.
The second challenge is to find out suitable books and effective study material. A candidate should know what to study and what not to study. He/she has to decide what is important for the exam and what is not required, they have to exhibit the extent of their understanding of the subject.
6. How important is the analysis of previous year question papers? How this analysis is reflected in the preparation strategy of aspirants?
Answer: Trend analysis is very important because syllabus does not offer clear information on important topics. The question papers provide an insight into the syllabus. The relative importance of various topics in the syllabus can be understood only from the question papers. It helps to save lots of time by making an understanding about what to take and what to ignore from newspapers and textbooks.
Students should study question papers of 3-4 years to understand the type of questions that are been asked over the period and what was the difficulty level in various segments of the exam. This will also help candidates make effective preparation strategy.
“The Difference between Ordinary and Extraordinary is Practice”
7. What is your suggestions and advice to aspirants of UPSC Civil Services?
Answer: Divide your preparation into two stages – formal and informal. I will advise aspirants to interact with seniors who had appeared in the exam and don’t get isolated during your preparation. Take test series for practice. A lot of practice in the right direction is the only help. Take it just as an exam and don’t think about the result but always be positive about the selection. Your preparation is always helpful as your knowledge base become immensely strong with preparation.
“Don’t let your past blackmail your present and ruin your future.”
8. Do you see today’s generation making any difference after making a place into the system?
Answer: Youth has always been an integral part of the changes that are taking place in society. In civil services, they find proper space and positive environment to implement change. The present generation is more conscious to the spirit of the Civil Services, especially those who join the field with public spirit. Nowadays, youth talks about change though it is a slow process. In an era, when people are becoming more conscious, bureaucracy as a whole is changing.
9. What are the broad qualities that UPSC Civil Services interview board looks into a candidate?
Answer: The interview board is more interested in analyzing the overall personality of the candidate rather than the knowledge base of a candidate. Therefore, a candidate should also develop a hobby in which he/she is genuinely interested. Bookish knowledge doesn’t impress the interview board.
The board is interested in replies of the candidate on topics such as understanding of the social and political problems. A sign of empathy and genuine interest is very essential.
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10. What are the qualities and skills that can help the candidates qualify the personality test?
Answer: Personality test aims at examining the administrative skills, leadership quality and the confidence level of the candidates. Written exams that include preliminary exam and Mains exam are designed to test in-depth knowledge of the subject and general knowledge awareness of the candidates. The interview basically tests the overall personality of the candidate, their ability to resolve an issue or conflict rationally, endurance ability.
11.As students keep on trying to crack the IAS exam the success rate is very less, what is your suggestion to such aspirants?
Answer: I always share this with my students in my various ‘Art of Success’ seminars that the snatchers of our dreams are around us and mostly they are very close to us. The students drop out in between because they let their mind conditioned by the thoughts and beliefs of others. Aspirants should firmly focus towards their goal and get going with a positive state of mind to achieve your goals. So march forward with an iron will to achieve your goal and never think to step back.
“Life’s goal should be life itself. How to live life so happily, so well, so nicely, so much passionately that every next second we are ready to die, without regrets. These exams are minuscule temporary goals. But, alas, students, forget that often!”
12. What types of questions are asked in UPSC CSE interviews?
Answer: The questions asked range from the nitty-gritty of your DAF to contemporary issues. Be thorough with your hobbies, achievements, etc. in your DAF. If you have work experience, expect questions related to that also.
It’s not a test of knowledge but it’s a test of the presence of mind.
13. How to face UPSC Interview confidently?
Answer: Most of the questions in UPSC interview will be based on the (DAF) of the candidate. Prepare well for possible questions based on personal and professional experience and ensure presenting balanced and impartial views, without any biases.
Another important tip for UPSC interview is to give concise answers. Hobbies help the interviewer to understand the personalities of candidates. Keep practising your hobbies till the last week before the date of UPSC interview. Most importantly, if you do not know about a topic you are asked in the UPSC interview, don’t panic and admit your ignorance on the same.
The interview is the least prepared, least guided and often the most mishandled part of the UPSC preparation, but with such tips for facing the UPSC interview, one can tackle it more confidently.
14. For our readers, would you like to share your success mantra?
Answer: I wish all the very best to all the candidates who are aspiring to become a civil servant. Positive thinking, focused approach, once you have set a goal or have understood the purpose, Keep moving and feel the pleasure attached to the goal. Focused approach, self-belief and elimination of fear to fall will take you towards your final destination.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
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