Monday, November 17, 2014

Rigorous studies and being patient is key to success- Rituraj Raghuvanshi IAS (AIR 67, CSE-2013)

While we all make our own decisions and choose our motivations for a job, when it comes to upsc and civil services as a career choice, i believe the motivations all fall within a similar bracket. We all might come from very different backgrounds but civil services as a magnet attracts us for more or less similar reasons. It can be job satisfaction, or as in my case, the attraction of service as a motive rather than profit. 

I have secured rank 67 in CSE 2013. CSE 2012 saw me attain rank 556 and get into IRTS(Indian Railway Traffic Service). But the elusive IAS kept me in the fray and today, here i am. To start with, was it difficult? Yes. Was it overwhelming at times? Yes. But, did i ever lose my motivation? No. Infact, my failures became a reason of sort to push me harder and further. I could not clear my prelims in the first attempt and mains in the second. I was at risk of being lost, but then, that is when you test yourself, right? 

To begin with, my first piece of advice to one and all is to never forget why you chose to give this exam in the first place. That reason is going to be your lifeline and will keep you in the game.
Secondly, always remember that this is a process that involves a huge number of aspirants and vested interests. Therefore everything that you hear might not be true. Also, every individual is different and has a peculiar style of studying and preparing. Therefore please do not blindly follow advices or trust those who promise a short cut. There is no short cut to cracking this exam and you would be advised to prepare yourself to take the long and sometimes hard road. In this blog it will be our endeavor to involve as many successful candidates as possible so that everyone who looks, might find a style which suits them. 

Thirdly, the optional. Since the new pattern optional has become even more important as GS marks for everyone are on an average scale. I therefore suggest that you stay away from the so called 'popular/non-popular' optional debate. The only optional that will work work for you is the one that you either specialize in or are interested in. I, for one, opted for law as an optional as that was my specialization. Also, this has a bearing on the interviews as you get an area of questioning that you are very comfortable in. You could also say that the boards generally stress on your graduation field rather than your chosen optional. 

 Fourth, the coaching. Yes, they do play a part. I personally did get help for gs as well as law. Gs because a lot of subjects are new, eg economy. And also because coaching help in narrowing down the area that you have to cover and work in. But, please do remember that at their best, coaching can only help you in preparing a base. They can never be the end all and be all of any preparation. Also, in case you cannot avail coaching, please don't lose hope. The class notes of some of the leading coaching institutes are as good as their classes. So you can have recourse to them. 

 Fifth, the study material. Now, because cse is attempted by a variety of people hence the material available also differs in quality according to the genre that it caters to. My advice is to please stick to a certain minimum quality of books and materials. Don't be shy of reading a new book simply because it looks intimidating. I believe after a certain time one would be able to sift through the plethora of books available to choose the ones that are really good. I am not saying that coaching materials are not good. They most certainly are and must be used. But after you have prepared your basics the aim should be to improve the overall quality of your knowledge and that is where good material comes into play. Try oxford or black swan. 

Sixth, time management. Lets start by stating a fact: there is no substitute to either hard work or self study. Always keep this in mind. It wont help if you have attended all the coaching if you haven't backed them up by self study. Whatever you have studied in a coaching would be meaningless if you haven't  acquired the capability to form original thoughts and thought processes, and that you acquire by self study. Manage your time so that majority is left with you for your studies. Coaching should be allotted as less as possible.  Also, i personally never studied for 15-16 hours. On most days i used to clock 5-6 hours of studies touching a max of 10 hrs near the exam. So, there is no rule in this regard.Keep your  style in mind and plan accordingly. 

Seventh, the book list. We already have a book list by Ibu on this blog. It is pretty comprehensive for prelims. In due course we shall publish a book list for mains. We will also try to cover as many optionals as possible and get the required lists here. 

Lastly, I would like to say that this job is worth the effort. Please always have faith in yourself. If in doubt, stay strong and endure. I hope this blog is of use to as many as possible. All the very best :) 

-Rituraj Raghuvanshi IAS (AIR 67 CSE 2013)
















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