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IAS Toppers Interview: Chandan Kumar Rank 373, Strategy for Ethics and Essay

Name Chandan Kumar
Rank in CSE 2015 373
Total Attempts in CSE 03
Optional Subject Law
Medium English


Class 10 percentage of marks 85.8%
 Class 12Percentage of marks 88%
Graduation: College and marks ISM Dhanbad, CGPA: 7.6
Post graduation: College and marks N/A
Any other course N/A


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

Chandan Kumar: Hard work and consistency. I took help of teachers whenever I felt the need of.


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

Chandan Kumar: I read newspaper everyday without exception. Mains preparation was based on news analysis mostly. Also after completing syllabus, I solved a lot of question of test series.


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

Chandan Kumar: I didn’t prepare for prelims separately. The only extra thing I did was that I solved around 6000 MCQs from many test series, noted down the concepts, facts in a notebook and revised them again and again. Doing just that gave me 138 in paper 1 in prelims.


GS Preparation for Prelims (Summary)

Study material / Guidance
Basic Books Bipin Chandra, laxmikant, TMH manual, RS Sharma etc.
Current Affairs Newspaper


GS Mains Preparation (Summary)

Paper Study Material/Guidance Current Issues Source Answer Writing Practice
GS Paper 1 Basic books, Bipin Chandra, NCERT etc. Newspaper Byjus, Vision IAS and practice test of many test series.
GS Paper 2 Laxmikant, also I had law optional Newspaper, legal news magazine Do
GS Paper 3 Sanjiv verma book, Eco survey, GS Score compilation etc. Newspaper, Eco survey, Insightofindia Do
GS Paper 4 Relied on material given by GS Score and Guidance of Manoj Sir Awards @ ministry of personal website, The Hindu Test Series at GS Score


Optional Subject Preparation  (Summary)

Study material / Guidance Nirvana IAS
Basic Books Ashok Jain books, Nirvans IAS Notes, VN Shukla, Bangia, M N Shaw
Current Affairs Newspaper, legal news magazines, online subscription
Answer Writing Wrote class test at Nirvana IAS, also practiced at insightofindia website.
Any other N/A


IAS Score: How did your prepare for essay.

Chandan Kumar: I took help from Ramashwamy Sir, who taught me the basic framework. Beyond it what really helped was reading newspaper daily, reading classic fiction and practicing about 25 essays before actual exam.


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

Chandan Kumar: Yes taking clue from GS Score classes, I decided to count number of dimensions that have to be incorporated in case studies. Also, I went through the documentaries/ award list at ministry of personal website and used these examples in my answers.


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?

Chandan Kumar: Through previous toppers interview mostly. but I made sure to limit the number of resources for each subjects.


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

Chandan Kumar: Notes making definitely helps. But the notes should be very brief. There is no point in copying sentences from your book into your notebooks.


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

Chandan Kumar: I slept for 7 hours everyday. I never compromised on basic necessities like sleep or talking to home or light entertainment. But beyond that I devoted all the time that was available to this exam.


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?

Chandan Kumar: There was no fixed pattern. In general if I have too much content or I am running low on time, I write in point format.

I had practiced sufficiently so that in exam hall I did not worry about the writing style.


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?

Chandan Kumar: Test series are very helpful. Even the best athlete will fail to  win a race if he has not been practicing. The same in the case with this exam.

Prelims: practiced at home with MCQs of different test series.

Mains: GS Score for Ethics, Vision IAS and Byjus for all GS papers. Also I practiced questions on iasbaba and insighofindia website.


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?

Chandan Kumar: For me sleep, coffee and talking over phone with my parents are the best source of getting recharged.


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?

Chandan Kumar: I think it is not really the case. When I was working, I found it difficult to take out sufficient time for practicing test question as needed for this exam.


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

Chandan Kumar: I read newspaper everyday without fail. Self – made notes are always the best notes. Additionally I went though news compilation by different sources to ensure that I am not missing any important news.


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.

Chandan Kumar: for compilation and notes downloads on different topics.

IAS Baba for current affairs

Insightofindia for answer writing.


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

Chandan Kumar: Keep yourself motivated. Reading extensively one day and then taking bunk another day does not work at all. It is the consistency that gets you into the toppers list.


Chandan Kumar Mark sheet

Paper Marks
Prelims 138
Essay (Paper 1) 144
GS 1 (Paper 2) 87
GS 2 (Paper 3) 85
GS 3 (Paper 4) 92
GS 4 (Paper 5) 91
Optional 1 (Paper 6) 117
Optional 2 (Paper 7) 115
Written Total 731
Personality Test 160
Total Score 891

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