UPSC Civil Services Exam Strategy
Aparna Gupta, Rank – 108, CSE-2015
If you search ‘Aparna’ in the search box above, you will find hundreds of answers and comments in her name. Aparna has been one of Insights’ active participants in answer writing challenges for the past one year. Getting Rank – 108 is not an easy task considering various hardships she went through during her UPSC civil services exam preparation phase. But she has prevailed: with flying colours. She has written a motivating article for the benefit of all civil services aspirants. We thank her and wish her good luck on behalf of all aspirants.
With your support and best wishes I have finally become successful in Civil Services Examination this year (Rank 108). I have jotted down few points below which have helped me in clearing this exam. I hope they will help you too in your exam preparation.
Make your own strategy:
Only your own strategy is the one that will finally work for you.
Try to answer all questions:
Even a 1 mark difference matters a lot here. Don’t leave questions just because you don’t know them.
Maintain good speed from the very start:
I was known for my speed in school days, even then I was practically out of breath by the end of every paper in UPSC exam that too when I didn’t give more than 8 minutes to any question. So it’s very important to maintain speed from the very start.
Revise and revise:
Most important is to revise what you have read otherwise all your effort will go waste. Read less but quality material and revise a lot.
Practice answer writing:
Choose an optional that is close to your heart:
Very-very important. There will be times when you feel this year my optional was given a rough deal. And then one is lost in the vicious circle of choosing “the right” optional. The only thing keeping you loyal to your subject then will be your liking for the subject. I chose History which fared very bad in 2012 and 2013. But I stayed loyal because I love the subject and finally it has loved me back and here I am 🙂
Take enough rest:
Again, it is very important to take proper sleep and rest. In 2013 I lost tremendously in Essay, reason : I had not slept properly the previous night. I wrote on GDP and GDH topic. Later on I realized I did not read the topic properly. I thought the topic says “GDH and not GDP” when it was “GDH and GDP”. So I kept on writing about GDH, completely ignoring GDP. Alas! I missed mains by 3 marks!
Yes, we know a lot more than a common citizen. But never let that make you arrogant. The more humble you are, the more your awareness will increase and your personality will improve. Interact with all and try to take maximum from the wisdom of elders and friends. I dedicate my success to my mother. Though a housewife, she was a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom and I am sure her teachings have played a big role in my success. She is not with me anymore, but her blessings are always with me. It is our parents, our teachers, our siblings, our friends, who were with us always. Never forget that.
Most important and the key to this exam is a positive attitude. NEVER SAY NO. Hang on till there is even a slight ray of hope. And believe me, the darkest hour is indeed the one before dawn. I have practically experienced it. When you feel you can’t take it anymore, that is precisely the time you are at the threshold of success.
I lost my mother just 5 days before my 2012 preliminary exam. I cleared the exam though I was weeping all through it and the invigilators were all baffled! 2014 prelims I gave while suffering from jaundice. Doctors were hell bent on hospitalisation but I couldn’t get admitted then, I had my exam. Not bragging about myself, just giving few experiences from my own life to show the importance of positive attitude and will power in this exam. It was only my positive attitude and will power that helped me sail through all this.
Read positive stories about people’s struggles. In my darkest hours I used to go back to a poem from my school days by Rashtra Kavi Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Quoting it below:
“Wo pradeep jo deekh raha hai jhilmil door nahin hai,
Thak kar baith gaye kya bhai! manzil door nahin hai.
Apni haddi ki mashal se hriday cheerte tam ka, sari raat chale tum dukh jhelte kulish nirmam ka;
Ek khep hai shesh kisi vidh paar use kar jao, wo dekho us paar chamakta hai mandir priyatam ka.
Aakar itna paas phire wo saccha shoor nahin hai;
Thak kar baith gaye kya bahi! manzil door nahin hai.”
Lastly, quoting Mr. Obama 🙂
“YES, WE CAN”!