IAS Toppers Interview: Rhea Joshi Rank 425

  • by IAS Score
Rhea Josh IAS Rank 425
Name Rhea Joshi
Rank in CSE 2015 425
Total Attempts in CSE 3 (Did not clear prelims in previous attempts)
Optional Subject Law
Medium English



Class 10 percentage of marks 90%
 Class 12 Percentage of marks 82%
Graduation: College and marks Grade A (72%)

IAS Score: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Rhea Joshi: Focus and Positivity

IAS Score: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?

Rhea Joshi:  If one studies consistently, the syllabus does not seem that lengthy. It is only when      we let things pile up till the last minute that it seems overwhelming

IAS Score: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?

Rhea Joshi:  It is the best option to integrate General Studies preparation as one has very little time after the Prelims.

GS Preparation for Prelims (Summary)

Study material / Guidance
Basic Books Standard Textbooks like Laxmikant, D.D. Basu, G.C. Leong

GS Mains Preparation (Summary)

Paper Study Material/Guidance Current Issues Source Answer Writing Practice
GS Paper 1 Bipin Chandra, NCERT GS Score Mock tests
GS Paper 2 Law Optional Online Websites
GS Paper 3 Online Websites
GS Paper 4 I gave only one mock and was not able to complete it in time but I never tried to remedy that.

Optional Subject Preparation  (Summary)

Study material / Guidance
Basic Books Standard textbooks – I have found shortcut materials do not work in Law optional as your concepts are being tested.
Current Affairs No special requirement but one can focus on news items related to law such as juvenile justice, death penalty etc
Answer Writing No practice

IAS Score: How did your prepare for essay.

Rhea Joshi:  I gave mock tests at GS Score but failed to make any special preparation for essay paper which dearly costed me in the final rank list. Essay should not be left to “We will write whatever comes in our mind then!”

IAS Score: Did you adopted any specific strategy for GS Paper 4?

Rhea Joshi:  No specific strategy but timing was a major issue.

IAS Score: What were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard?

Rhea Joshi:  Through friends and seniors. It is important to stick to one source and read it thoroughly rather than trying to read multiple books.

IAS Score:  What is your advice on notes-making for other aspirants?

Rhea Joshi:  Notes or highlighting – whatever one is comfortable with. I did both.

IAS Score: How did you manage your time during the preparation?

Rhea Joshi:  Since prelims was an issue for me, I spent a very long time preparing for them. Therefore, before the mains I had a lot to cover (specially since this was the first time writing mains) and inadvertently did not devote too much time to important areas such as essay, ethics etc. My sincere advice would be to integrate your entire preparation.

IAS Score: What was your style (paragraph or point format) Of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Rhea Joshi:  Both. Depends on the question. Go with your instinct.

IAS Score: So much focus is being given to Test Series, both for Prelims and Mains, in your opinion how useful are they, in the course of a preparation process? Which Test Series did you join and how useful did you find it to be?

Rhea Joshi:  Personally, I feel Test Series are extremely important. They tend to bring out problem areas be it time management, overlooking information, neglecting subjects. I joined the GS Score Test Series. Had I not given mocks I would have hardly been able to complete 10 questions in the main paper given my speed!

I would like to add that please do not take scores of mock tests as discouragement. It should motivate you to perform better.

IAS Score: Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?

Rhea Joshi:  Tempo was built up over a period of time for me. I really loved my optional subject which made the process less stressful. I did not deny myself breaks when I felt like it. I would treat myself with a good movie or a nice chat with friends!

IAS Score: The trend suggests that professionals or working people are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Rhea Joshi:  Every category of candidates has their own pros and cons. Arguments can be made from either side. Eg: Science students are used to writing in brevity but on the other hand humanities students have read most of the subjects before. No point having any such fears in your mind.

IAS Score: Which sources you referred to prepare for  Contemporary Issues.

Rhea Joshi:  Random. I wish I had regularly read the newspapers.

IAS Score: Given the recent boom in online initiatives to support an aspirant, which were the platforms that you find useful enough during your course of preparation. Please list the sites.

Rhea Joshi:  Insights on India, Mrunal, ForumIAS, GS Score, Vision – but to be absolutely honest I could not be very regular with any of these sites.

IAS Score: What is your advice to the candidates who is still in the process of preparing for this examination?

Rhea Joshi:  Channelise your strengths and work on your weaknesses. There is no magic formula so create your own path.

IAS Score: Your word for future aspirants

Rhea Joshi:  Take this exam extremely seriously but do not make it a matter of life and death!

Rhea Joshi Marksheet

Paper Marks
Prelims 115.34 + 155.27
Essay (Paper 1) 112
GS 1 (Paper 2) 98
GS 2 (Paper 3) 82
GS 3 (Paper 4) 89
GS 4 (Paper 5) 86
Optional 1 (Paper 6) 131
Optional 2 (Paper 7) 125
Written Total 723
Personality Test 165
Total Score 888

Download Test Copy of Rhea Joshi