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IAS Topper’s Interview 2016 – 2017: Brij Shankar IAS Rank 274, 5th attempt, 4 Interview

Rank in CSE 2016 274


Class 10 percentage of marks 85.8
 Class 12Percentage of marks 86.6
Graduation: College and marks SVNIT,SURAT (7.98)
Post graduation: College and marks NOT APPLICABLE
Any other course NOT APPLICABLE

IAS Score: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Brij Shankar: Faith in my abilities and perseverance was key to my success. As you can see that it took success a long time to come my way, keeping myself motivated year after year especially after three rejections in final stagewas very challenging. At the end of the day optimism and faith in the justice of almighty pays.

IAS Score: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?
Brij Shankar: Integrated approach for both on prelims and mains helps in GS preparations. Self-made short notes on contemporary topics from newspaper are very important for last minute revisions at both the stages. For mains a lot of answer writing practice is required which one can get through test series.

IAS Score: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?
Brij Shankar: Integrated approach is must for reducing burden of vast syllabus and optimum value addition during preparations.

IAS Score: How did your prepare for essay.
Brij Shankar: I enrolled in GS Score test series for essay and referred to model essays. Yojna magazine is also very helpful in essay preparations.

IAS Score: Did you adopt any specific strategy for GS Paper 4?
Brij Shankar: I enrolled in GS Score test series and attended post-test discussion for GS-IV. It helped me a lot during writing answers in main examination.

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?
Brij Shankar: Mostly from the interview of successful candidate. Also all teaching institute provides a list of standard reference materials.

IAS Score: What is your advice on notes-making for other aspirants?
Brij Shankar: Please do make short notes. It will help immensely during answer writing in mains. It will also reduce your revision time.

IAS Score: How did you manage your time during the preparation?
Brij Shankar: It was difficult to manage because of my job. But I tried to utilize whatever time I got to prepare and make notes. Google drive and other such things are very useful in making short notes from newspapers. I also took about 2 months leave before main examination.

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?
Brij Shankar: It was both mix of paragraph and point format. It generally followed the Introduction-Body- Conclusion style of answer writing. I developed my writing style by making notes from newspaper and reading the answer sheets of good candidates.

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?
Brij Shankar: Since I am a working professional so I use to get limited time for preparations. So, long hours of study were not the case for me. But my job helped me in breaking the monotony.
Watching movies, listening songs and doing physical exercises also helps during preparations.

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?
Brij Shankar: I am not aware of any such trend. But from personal point of view, I am also a full time working professional with HPCL. Good job gives you confidence and financial security if you are not from a very well off family background. Another advantage is that Job helps you better in coping with failures. But on other hand, at times it becomes difficult to manage both job and preparations.
I don’t think this exam is difficult for humanities and social science background especially after change in CSAT pattern post -2014. Most of the engineering and medical graduates are appearing with humanities optional. Every year there is substantial number of qualified people with social science background.

IAS Score: Which sources you referred to prepare for Contemporary Issues.
Brij Shankar: Newspaper, RS TV debates and internet.

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.
Brij Shankar:,, Forum IAS, IAS Baba

IAS Score: What is your advice to the candidates who is still in the process of preparing for this examination?
Brij Shankar: Friends my only advice is that if you are motivated to crack this exam then don’t get dis heartened by some failures. Learn from your mistakes and appear next time with improved strategy and knowledge base. Luck do play its part but only for those who are good enough and for that you need to work very hard.

IAS Score: Your experience in IAS preparation journey withGS Score.
Brij Shankar: I have taken Essay and GS Paper-IV test series at GS score and it helped immensely in GS preparations. My performance in GS Paper-IV is decent. I had also referred to Current affairs notes of GS score for interview.

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AIR 274 Brij Shankar Essay Mock Test – 1


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