Not a Strategy Article: By Soumyadip Bhattacharya, AIR-147

Discussions in Forum IAS helped me a lot in my interview preparation. Though I had not cleared mains in 2014 , but following interview discussion thread made my preparation easier in 2016.

31st May, evening 6.30 PM – I was returning from my site office, mobile was dead as usual after the daylong exhaustion. All sorts of possibilities regarding result were piling up in my mind.

Evening 7.25PM – I reached home and almost stormed into my laptop. Result was just declared, I searched my roll number and my eyes became full of tears.

After my selection, I received a request from Forum to write an article regarding my strategies. This article can be anything but not a strategy article:

I was born and brought up in a small township of West Bengal –Burnpur. In My childhood, I never thought of becoming a civil servant even in my distant dream. My father is an employee of Indian Railway and he used to tell me about his bosses (IRAS officers), who had prepared for civil services years after years and finally cracked the examination. I was never interested in these stories and used to think those officers as either mad or from some other planet. How can one prepare for 5 years to get a job?  Today, I am in the opposite end – writing my strategy article!!!

My college days were less about engineering (ECE from Heritage Institute of Technology,Kolkata) and more about football. Fortunate I made some very good friends and it was only their effort due to which I had respectable marks in every semester and even got job offer from two big IT companies. But anyhow I had joined none of them — why?? Fear of coding! Home sickness!! Sarkarinaukrikiummeed!!!

I joined M.Tech in Control System in Jadavpur University and started to appear in examination of various PSUs. Ultimately I was selected in one of them and joined my present job in Oct-2011.

Till this time, I had never thought of appearing either in civil services or engineering services, even getting a PSU job in itself was a great achievement in my hometown.  But after my joining, we had six month training and this training program became a game changer in my life. It changed my attitude towards life – Whenever you dream, dream big.

In our training we had fixed sitting arrangements and my colleague sitting in my right was selected in IES in a month or two and one sitting in my left was selected in ISRO. Their success inspired me a lot. First time in my life I was in a group of people who belong to various corners of the country. Many of them cleared IES with flying colors and none of them are out of this world.

Many of my colleagues advised me to appear either for engineering or civil services. I collected made easy materials and notes (for IES)from them and found that it was not my piece of cake.

While going through the syllabus of civil services, I observed that it has subjects like history,geography,sociology – all are favorites of my school days. It was like a very good Indian pitch and I have to only settle to play a long innings. Finally I decided that I will appear in only one examination – civil services and nothing else. Fortunately I was transferred to New Delhi in Nov-2012 – My first step towards UPSC.

In between in 2012 my girlfriend complained to me that her relatives are pressing hard for marriage and we should tie our knots at the earliest. Being a single child of her parents (She lost her father at the age of six), such type of situations are not abnormal in middle class society. Any how I was a little bit surprised, as I was not totally ready to start my second innings so early.

But, my first and last reaction was – ‘ No issue. Chalo karte hai shadi’. Obviously all issues will start only after shadi=barbadi !! My first prelims (May- 2013) was only after three weeks of my marriage. Obviously I failed in my first prelims.

I started serious preparation from June-2013 and joined Geography coaching. Geography was an automatic choice for me as optional; since I had learnt Geography from my Maa (She was a high school teacher for few years but resigned due to family reasons). In my school days Geography was more about observing the nature and its surrounding and less about reading.

Apart from optional, I had taken classes for economy and polity and nothing else. 2014 prelims was again a tough one for me (My GS syllabus was not totally completed), but anyhow I was through only to failed in mains (Poor marks in GS-IV and Geography Paper-II).

Then came the darkest year of my life-2015.  I faced critical challenges inpersonal life. My mind was crippled into a cycle of frustration and anxiety (None of them were related to UPSC and I had appeared in Prelims -2015, but unable to clear).

After a long period of 8-10 months when I realized that situation is worsening day by day , I consulted a psychiatrist and situation started to improve from Dec -2015 ,  with medicine and counseling

Serious preparation again started from January – 2016. I focused mainly in writing test series. My wife helped me a lot in this period, by making notes from Yojana ,Kurukshetra  and collecting newspaper articles. This notes contributed a lot in my GS-II , GS-III and essay  preparation (Diagrammatic representations are useful in GS papers).

Prelims,seemed to be more challenging to me due to its objective nature and uncertain question papers made by UPSC. Thus, from May onwards, I devoted all my available time for prelims. Time is always a constraint for me, since I have a site job and no fixed working hours. I made full utilization of my travelling time and solved mock papers while visiting sites in and around Delhi.

Solving more than 30 mock papers and completing materials, worked for me – prelims of civil service and forest service, both were cleared.

After prelims, I continued my test series.

GS –IV is another paper in which my performance was very poor in 2014. This time I prepared GS-IV by answer writing, making small diagrams and approaching case studies from various angles.

After completion of Mains, I was satisfied with my performance, except Geography Paper –II, in which my preparation was much better. But, anyway, it was the matter of those three hours only, nothing else.

For personality test,my focus was on DAF. I thoroughly prepared my current job profile, hobby and home test .This strategy worked for me and 80% of my interview was from these areas.Remaining portion was a surprise and almost impossible to answer (Roman history and Julius Caesar). My interview was with Chattar Singh sir’s board and went smoothly (apart from that Julius Caesar part).

Discussion in Forum IAS helped me a lot in my interview preparation. Though I had not cleared mains in 2014 , but following interview discussion thread made my preparation easier in 2016.

And then came the evening of 31stMay, 2017 and I successfully cleared Civil Services Examination -2016.  Apparently this is my personal achievement but behind this, there are contributions of many. To end this article I must thank Sudeshna Madam , my psychiatrist  ; Ravi and Rishi (my brothers and fellow UPSC aspirant )for sharing their notes , materials and classes;   my wife for tolerating me and UPSC for last four years

And my parents, without whom, I am nothing.

Thanks to all of you.

Thanks to the God, almighty.


Print Friendly and PDF