Topper's Mantra: Suja K.

Choose Subject with Which You are Comfortable
Suja K.
All India Rank - 4 C.S. Exam. 2004

‘The trait of enjoying the process of learning and finding pleasure in the acquisition of knowledge should be cultivated from the early beginning. The solid preparation can begin later, may be one year before the exam. But, it is good to know if only really wants it right from the school, college days.” Says Suja K. All India Rank - 4 C.S., Exam. 2004.

Congratulation on your success. Having met your ambition now, what role do you visuals for yourself in context of the nation, society at large and your family?I see myself doing my own bit of Science that I can in building an India, that has stronger economic ties with other nations, an India whose economic aspirations receive priority over political consideration. As a responsible individual. I will express my gratitude to the family and society that have groomed me by delivering them with all the best things which are within my reach.

Whom would you give credit for your success? Your secret of success?To my family members who have always allowed me to carry on with my over aspirations, who have never pressurized me to do anything what they wanted, who have genuinely helped me to achieve all that I have achieved. Yes, the credit goes to my sweet parents, grand mother and uncle.

How much time did you devote for(i) Prelims 1 year (GS was given more attention).
(ii) Mains 21/2 months (after declaration of Prelims result).
(iii) Interview nearly 20 days.

Did you integrate Prelims & Mains preparation or was ti separate?It was separate.

Which magazines & newspapers did you concentrate on? Did you get any help from Civil Services Chronicle?The Hindu, The Economic Times, Yojana, CSC etc. I was not a regular subscriber of any magazine. But I found it to be a handicap while preparing for mains.

What were your Optionals in Prelims & Mains? What was your basis of selecting them?Prelims - Economics
Mains - Economics & Malayalam Literature.
I was familiar and extremely comfortable with both the subject.

Which books did you refer for Optionals & GS in Prelims and Mains?GS : Prelims (Spectrum’s Books, India Year Book).
GS : Mains (Spectrum’s Book on Eng. T., Indian Geography, Polity, History etc.), Economics (Prelims).
Economy Survey, graduation notes, scum series work books, Books on various branches of Economics by Indian authors.
Economics (Mains)
Public Finance (Bhatia)
Micro & Micro Economics (Ahuja)
International Trade (Ravi Batra)
Development Economics (Debraj Raj, Thirwal & Missa & Puri)
Malayalam Literature
Sahitya Charithaam (KM George)
Indian Economy (Missa & Puri Dutt & Sundharam)
Karitha Charithaam (Leelavethi)

Did you make notes? Are they useful? What is your advise on note-making?
I was not good at making notes. But I used to note down the points. It has helped a lot especially for Prelims. I find it is good to do that when one is reading. It saves a lot of time in the end.

Did you feel any change in the trend of questions? When you appeared for the first time in the exam did you feel any change in question-trend in comparison to what you had anticipated? Comment on trend day in comparison to 5 to 10 years earlier.There is a change in the trend of questions - Questions are becoming more and more analytical. Prelims has also been made together in the sense even if you knew two matches for sure out of sure, you cannot guess the correct match unless & until you know all four.

Did you attend any coaching institute? What is your over all opinion about the coaching institutes?No, Attending Coaching Institutes are not a pre-requisite.

When should one ideally begin thinking about and preparing for this exam?The trait of enjoying the process of learning and finding pleasure in the acquisition of knowledge should be cultivated from the early beginning. The solid preparation can begin later, may be one year before the exam. But, it is good to know if one really wants it right from the school, college days.

Do you believe writing style matters in the examination? What are your suggestions?
It may matter to some extent in all papers in the sense that you should ....... what you want to convey in a precise way, to the point. Flowery language is not advisable even for the essay paper writing point-wise can be useful for some questions.

Q. What is your opinion on time management for preparation and in the actual exam?A. It is very important, especially when one is taking GS-II. It is good to give a fair deal to all questions rather than writing too much on some questions you know well and leaving out the rest. Keep up the word limit.

What is your observation on(a) Disadvantage to Rural background candidates in this exam.
Accessibility to relevant materials may be a problem. If there is a factual doubt, through Internet, it can be easily cleared. In rural areas, this may be a problems. Searching things manually may waste a lot to time.
(b) Advantage to Professional and Technocrats qualifying in greater number.
It is easy for Technocrats to study humanities, but not the other way round .... GS contains questions from both, it may prove to be an advantage for them. As far as Optionals go, there is no difference, I believe between technocrats & others.
(c) Advantage to students of public school and top universities.
The atmosphere, discussions with friends, the peer-group frame work etc. may help. Interactions within such group may be an advantage.

What should be the strategy to maximise one’s score in essay paper?Do not quote. Be personal and original. Do not use flowery language. Look at the issue from all angles. There should be a flow. Choosing of topic is also important.

Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to prepare one’s suitability for this exam?
Quiz Books, GK Books, Previous issues of various magazines etc. give a feel of the knowledge that one is trying to acquire.

What is your advise to(i) Freshers who are going to appear for the first time.
Read the instructions carefully Do not be in a hurry. Be relaxed. First attempt should be the best attempt.
(ii) Candidates who cannot decide upon Optionals.
Choose those subjects with which you are comfortable and you would enjoy reading it. There is nothing called a scoring optional. Do not be misled by this idea.
(iii) Those who have failed in this exam.
Whatever happens in life, happens for good... You might be wanted else where... Not clearing this exam should not be a dead-end... All people have failed to some point in their life...

Tell us something about your interview? Did you feel nervous in the exam?It is an experience which I was worried about since my college days, but when it actually happened, it turned out to be wonderful.. I was very nervous before the actual interview and I was not satisfied after it was over... But I was relaxed when it was happening.

What was the biggest mistake you made in this exam?
That I wasted my time in between Prelims Exam and declaration of result. That I wrote my Roll No : in the precise-Sheet which I was not supposed to do.

When were you introduced to CSC for the first time? As a reader what do you think are the strong points in CSC and in which segment do you visualise a room for improvement?In my M.A. days. The expected questions a mains is extremely useful.

(Career Quest General Studies Notes for Prelims and mains

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