Society was my inspiration and Prelims Mock Tests my key to Success’ – IAS Study Plan by Nandini KR (AIR 1, 2016)

Nandini KR (AIR 1, 2016) is a name that doesn’t need any introduction. She is the one who achieved an All India Rank 1 in IAS 2016 after several attempts, positive lessons and trials. She is a hardcore believer of tiny drops of water making up an ocean and her never drying efforts did certainly fill in for her an ocean of experiences and forced the winds blow in her favorable directions.

Here in this article, we have compiled some extremely valuable preparation tips which Nandini KR had adopted during her preparation for Civil Services exam. So here are some tips for you given by Nandini herself

  1. Let Society be your inspiration: Interaction with people around will help you visualize different facets of society we live in and the challenges various sections of society face. That’s where you will be able to understand the potential of district administration to solve grass root level challenges and bring about improvement in the lives of masses through right utilization of power and position offered by Civil services in lieu of public welfare. Nandini KR herself got an opportunity to volunteer in the remotest villages across the district Kembodi in Kolar district of Karnataka and that was where she could understand the true need of the society and the seeds of civil service were sown in her.
  2. Set forth towards your quest with a roadmap: Never search for a hidden treasure without any map, a search light and a compass. Every journey is considered unique, even when the destination is same; and journey to cracking Civil Services is the same. Hence you must formulate your own strategy keeping in mind your challenges, strengths, capacity, aptitude and situations in life.
  3. Never let financial restraints roadblock your dreams. Financial hardships should not lead to compromises, rather should make you more firm, hardworking and goal oriented.
  4. Keep your plans, realistic: In her timetable she ensured 8 hours of sleep, 1 hour of sports and 5 minutes of frequent breaks in between. A realistic timetable can be easily followed and is practically possible to implement & achieve set targets.
  5. Form a solid knowledge base with basics: Start your preparation with the basic books, NCERT’s and Newspaper in accord with UPSC Syllabus. This will form a solid knowledge base for the exam, keep you up-to-date with current affairs and also help you understand the needs of Civil services examination. You can here fine tune your strategies accordingly, rectify the areas that need special focus and give an edge to your basic preparation.
  6. Choose the optional which gives you happiness: Choosing optional subject for the Mains exam is one the most difficult step during the preparation for Civil Services Exam. Optional should be based on passion, interest and aptitude one has towards a subject. In her case, reading Kannada literature was akin to relaxation amidst vast general studies syllabus.

What helped her crack optional with Kannada Literature?

  • Usage of GS knowledge wherever required.
  • Reading original texts and developing unique writing style(poetic language) which reflects individuality (which is very important in literature)
  • Improving writing speed with constant practice so as to finish paper within the stipulated time
  • Trying to sail and immerse with the feel that poet/author strives to bring in the readers (called rasaanubhooti in Kannada)
  • Quoting relevant poems, lines from texts.
  • Giving analogy and comparison with other languages literature like English, Greek, African, Telugu Tamil (poets and works could be compared). This adds to diversity and uniqueness in answers.

Don’t Compromise in preparation plans, no matter what!

  1. Practice writing regularly: Writing practice helps you frame your answers well and enhance your writing speed which further helps you in time management during the final quest. Initially you might struggle writing every answer, but with constant and dedicated push, you will be able to answer all the questions with set time limits, without diluting quality of answers.

 Nandini practiced full length papers to improve speed.

  1. Take Prelims & Mains tests and get personal feedback by experts. Nandini dedicatedly followed prelims test series and prelims cum mains integrated study plan and this is what proved to be a feather in the hat. Her timetable was scheduled in accordance with the test series timetable she had enrolled for.

Test Series are sure-shot success mantra followed by every topper and who knows they turn your world around too! Enroll for one, now!

Check the correct answers after every test and don’t miss to attend detailed answer evaluation classes by experts which Chanakya IAS Academy provides. It will help you understand a topic in–depth. whenever you feel something is beyond your understanding or is an allied topic, go ahead and research on that. Make an integrated study plan for all three stages of exam and utilize the knowledge of one subject in other to excel in your quest with flying colors.

  1. Practice Essay writing: You will be asked to write 2 essays in 3 hours as per latest UPSC syllabus, hence writing practice is important. Practice writing essays in regular and work keenly on your shortcomings. Don’t compromise on the quality, content and required facts while framing your essays.
  2. Mains Centric preparation (post-preliminary’s): Nandini mainly focused on current issues after prelims exam. She picked up general studies questions and answered them selectively. She, according to the demand of question, used paragraphs, flowcharts, or bullet points to back her answers and gave an account of both conceptual (theory) part and current aspects asked in a question.
  • Ensure keeping up to date with current affairs topics of National and International importance.
  • Justify every statement with illustrations, facts, figures or examples from newspapers.
  • Explain in simple terms and in your own words but ensure giving qualitative answers.
  1. REVISE: Revise all the basic books and have a clear understanding of concepts. Instead of reading many books for a single topic read one book many times and have good understanding of that.

If you ever feel low in spirits, share your highs and lows with someone who is positive, compassionate and supportive. They will help you get up and try until you have achieved your goals. Most beautiful lessons of life come in the form of principle of Equanimity where you should take success and failure equally. Hence, before you are bound to regret of not trying it enough, promise to yourself the dedicated and sincere efforts towards achieving what you have aimed for.

Quote that kept Nandini going:

“Woods are lovely dark and deep but I have miles to go before I sleep”

What’s your Motivation?

Enjoy the process of learning not just from the books but the lessons you’re your journey is offering to you. Good Luck!

Since Preliminary Exam is round the corner, here are few courses to your rescue

Prelims Short Term Course:

Chanakya Prelims Test Series:





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