IAS Success Stories of winning candidates Anurag Choudhary

Question: To whom and to what do you credit your success?

Answer: I owe my success to God almighty, without whose grace I could not have achieved my aim. I also owe it to my parents, who constantly motivated me and supported me during all these years, teachers, friends and dear ones especially my younger brother Abhishek.

Question: Why did you choose Civil Services as a career?

Answer: It gives an opportunity to bring about a positive change in the lives of the masses. During my younger days, I saw many things around me which agitated me and I thought that I should do something about that, thus, I am here.

Question: How should one assess oneself before deciding to opt for Civil Services as a career?

Answer: If you feel that you want to make a positive difference in the system, have immense job satisfaction and get diverse experience, you should opt for it. However, preparation is not easy and requires hard work and constant motivation; so, you should be sure to not let small failure affect you adversely. For this, you may have an alternate career which will remove various insecurities that may creep in if you are faced with adverse result.

Question: When did you consciously start your preparation for this examination?

Answer: I started the preparation during the final year of my graduation. However, a wrong choice of optional subject caused me an unsuccessful first attempt. Here, I would like to thank Mr. S Nagarajan (Rank-1, 2004) who helped me change my optional from Physics to Sociology and for helping me throughout the preparation with his valuable inputs.

Question: When should one ideally start the preparation process?

Answer: Ideally, one should utilize the graduation period to start the preparation process. One should also choose such graduation subject which, apart from providing job security, would be relevant for the preparation and the job ahead.

Question: It is said that the Civil Services examination is one of the toughest nuts to crack. It requires constant and sustained hard work. How did you keep yourself constantly motivated? What was your source of inspiration?

Answer: I, actually, enjoyed the process of preparation. My optional subjects were both, interesting and relevant to daily life. Also, my family was a big source of motivation and always supported me, even if I felt low and thought of quitting. A few seniors like S Nagarajan and others from IIT helped me too. I also spoke to my teachers like Shashank Sir, whenever I faced a dilemma. They were very

Question: In your opinion, how crucial is the selection of Optional subject for success in the examination?

Answer: Selection of optional subject is extremely crucial. I lost my first attempt because I didn't choose my option well.

Question: What should be the criteria for selecting them and how should one go about it? Should one opt for the subjects studied at college or go for new ones?

Answer: In this regard, you have to keep in mind some critical points:

Your interest in the subject (I found Geography and Sociology extremely interesting).

Availability of proper material and the right guidance.

Compatibility between GS, Essay and Optional subjects (Geography and Sociology are very helpful in GS and essay preparation).

It is better if your graduation subjects and optional is the same as it will help to reduce some effort. In my first attempt, I got only 75 marks in my interview because I could not answer many basic questions from my graduation. In retrospect, I would suggest everyone to give due attention to their academic background.

Question: How should one prepare for Prelim, Main and Interview?

Answer: For Prelim: Citing from my experience, as Physics was my optional subject in PT, I did not face any problem as I am from science background. However I thoroughly read all NCERT books, especially History. Geography and Biology from Class 6th to Class 12th, which helped me make my knowledge base broader. Apart from that, get the GS question bank at Doorsteptutor I was very regular with newspapers and Magazines.

For Main: The key to crack the Main Exams is clear understanding of concepts. For this, you can go through NCERT books, solve probllems and read notes. Additionally, taking guidance from teachers and consulting your seniors makes a big difference.

For Interview: In the interview, the panel looks for Honesty and Confidence. Confidence can only be gained by proper knowledge about your background, hobbies, current events, graduation subjects and optionals. Taking Mock interviews with friends and teachers also enhances your confidence.

Question: How can one score well in Essay, GS and Interview?

Answer: Essay: Pick the topic you are most comfortable with. Spend around 50 percent of the time formulating the essay in your mind before writing. A well structured essay always fetches more marks. Try to make your essay visible by bringing in various simple examples.

General Studies: One of the major reasons for low scoring in GS is time management. I used to attempt 50 marks in every 30 minutes, so, I didn't have to leave any topic unanswered. Further, attempt those questions first with which you are most comfortable.

Interview: Dress well, have enough number of mock interviews before the D-day, be confident and listen to all questions attentively before answering. Don't obsess over marks while in the interview hall, it would help you to be your natural self.

Courtesy: Competition Wizard

Sail through IAS Mains and Prelims: Fully-explained Prelims (Both GS & Aptitude) problems with detailed solutions. Notes & detailed answers for Mains GS, Essay, Complulsory (Hindi and English) papers and optionals.