Interview: Mridul Choudhary, CSE 2013

  • by IAS Score

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

Mridul- Prelims: With the introduction of csat , prelims have become more about scoring high in aptitude paper so as to ensure success

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

Mridul- Prelims: With the introduction of csat , prelims have become more about scoring high in aptitude paper so as to ensure success. Though emphasis should be on aptitude paper however GS paper cannot be taken for granted. Students should see previous year’s paper and certain important sections such as environment should be given more emphasis. For mains, one should understand one’s own studying style, and on the basis of it allocate time. For example I gave myself 5 months for preparing main’s syllabus, studying atleast5-6 hours a day. It is more applied in nature.

GS paper was altogether new this year. How you prepare for all the four papers.

Mridul- One should thoroughly go over the syllabus and one should not leave any topic. My strategy was to cover different topics from different reliable sources and not just studying one or two books. Diversified and extensive studying of each topic is important. Moreover, out the 4 GS paper 1st three more or less are broken down versions of previous GS syllabus with few additions, so there is an element of change with 4 GS papers but still majority of areas are continuing from previous syllabus.

What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking in prelims?

Mridul- First answer all those question who you are absolutely sure and then again trying to attempt those questions whose answer you are more than 50% sure. Donot make wild guesses.

What should be the basis of selecting optional?

Mridul- All options are neutral and one should choose on the basis of one’s interest, however, availability of guidance, material and ease of syllabus can be secondary reasons for choosing an optional.

Did you follow the myth that only so called popular optional should be opted?

Mridul- Well, popular optional have an advantage of getting a lot of material and guidance readily available, however I chose my optional (sociology) on my understanding and interest in the optional. Strong and deep understanding of optional is required and thus ‘interest’ in the optional is paramount.

How did you plan your optional strategy?

Mridul- Right guidance from right instructor. Repeated revisions and answer writing practice is most important. Atleast a month time should be available with a candidate for revising the optional before writing the mains.

Tell us something about preparation of essay paper.

Mridul- My optional i.e Sociology helped me a lot in essay topics related to social issues. I did not had any definite strategy, however thorough reading of newspaper and magazines ensure one have good factual points and understanding of current events.

How did you manage your time in both prelims and mains examinations?

Mridul- Having an MBA background helped me in the Aptitude paper, however for mains I gave myself 5 months i.e one month each for GS papers, and one month of revision for optional. It is important to mention that I had completed my optional preparation before prelims and only revised later.

Which is the most difficult part of this exam and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?

Mridul- Civil services paper is not a difficult paper however it requires time and dedication. However I think Mains is the most important part for which one should have finished one’s optional and basic GS topics before giving ones Prelims and should only revise and cover current topics after the Prelims.

How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?

Mridul- Notes are very important; one should only revise notes made earlier when one has given the prelims .try to make a comprehensive note of all subjects.  It helps to recall many things in the examination hall.

What was your style of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Mridul- There was no particular writing style , however one should be to the point , and one should understand clearly the demand of the question before answering One of the most important part of my study was giving test series for mains exam. Answer writing practice makes the difference in successful and non-successful candidate. I gave a test series which was organized and conducted by S.K Mishra Sir and Manoj Jha sir and I would recommend the same for future aspirants as well.

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?

Mridul- One should not sacrifice on leisurely activities such as playing any sport or meeting friends, such activities helps in reducing stress. Also one should not over burden oneself nearing the exam.

The trend suggests that professionals are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Mridul- I don’t think so, most people I know who have cracked the exam have taken humanities based Optional.

How helpful is one’s educational background in his/her success?

Mridul- Civil services exam is generalist in nature and candidate with any background can clear it.

How did you prepare for interview?

Mridul- I took 7-8 mock interviews. Also I revised by graduation and post graduation subjects.One should try to develop opinion about current events and not just read them for factual information.

Which types of questions were asked in the interview?

Mridul-  During interview I was a little stressed, lot more cross questions were asked. However, key to interview  is to remain calm and answer only when one is sure , and not give ‘made-up’ answers.

Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?

Mridul- Questions regarding application of one’s background subjects in civil services are important and one should develop strategy to deal with such questions. I was asked how mechanical engineering as well as how sociology will be applied in civil services.

What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?

Mridul- One should not lose hope and try to identify areas of weakness and work to improve on them. People with modest background have succeeded and one should remain positive and optimistic.

Had you thought of alternative apart from the Civil Services?

Mridul- I have completed my MBA and would have worked as a manager if not as an Administrator.

Can you give your marks detail of the final attempt?

Mridul- I scored a total of 809.
Interview -190
Essay – 121

What are your suggestions for fresher?

Mridul- Civil services do not require high IQ but requires intelligent planning, it is not a difficult exam, it just takes time and strong self-commitment and motivation to achieve success.

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