Target IAS

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Interview with Jawahar(CSE - 06 All India 59 thRank )

Name: Jawahar. P
Residence: 46/1, First Cross, Nehrunagar, Karaikal - 609605, UT of Puducherry.
Father: Mr. R. Packirisamy (Postal Accountant)
Mother: Mrs. G. Mumtaj Begum (Sub Post Master)
No. of Attempts: Three (In second attempt, I was called for IFos-2005 and CSE-2005 interviews, but failed to qualify in both)
Subjects: Botany (Prelims & Mains), Agriculture (Mains)
Education: BSc (Agri) from PAJANCOA, Karaikal, Puducherry UT (1997-2001)
MSc (Environmental Science ) - Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore).

My Experiments with the Indian Civil Service Examinations
After completing my Post graduation in Environmental Sciences, I started preparing for Civil service examination as planned earlier. I came to Delhi in November 2003 and started with a fresh mind. It took me one year to crack the expectations of UPSC from a Civil service aspirant. I realized that for science options like Botany and Agriculture, handwritten notes will be of great use and nothing can match in aiding you during the time of examination. While making notes one should simulate the exam conditions so that the outcome should be the best. Refer to simple but standard books. The notes should be in such a manner that, you should not read the text book in the future but only for reference. Also, science optional students are generally considered to be average in General Studies (As the science optionals are time suckers!). So I invested sizeable chunk of time for general studies also. My advice to aspirants is to get a good senior as a guide as no one can match a senior in making you understand the nuances of the optional subject (it is must for science optional). For me, seniors and friends (like Coumar, Ramesh, Satish, Suresh, Kumaran, Veeramani and Sellamuthu) are a source of inspiration and information. The locality from where a person prepares will have a great impact on his preparation either positively or negatively. So, find out a comfortable locality for your preparation where there are facilities to cool yourself in times of stress. I chose to prepare from Pusa campus (New Delhi) which is a breeding ground for civil servants and haven for aspirants.

I started to focus on upgrading myself to the expectations of the UPSC. So, I started reading different News papers like The Hindu, The Times of India and some magazines like Down to Earth, Frontline, etc. Also, I started cultivating hobbies which will be useful for my entry into the coveted civil services like writing letters to editors and Blogging. Blogging was useful for me as I used to share the national and international issues in my blog and ask for inputs/comments from my friends or other like minded bloggers. One needs to really adapt to the civil service examination to crack it. Choosing a Hobby is important as it will help one to mould his personality. But for that one need not choose odd hobbies but hobbies which will converge and boost your preparation and entry into the Indian Civil Service.

Also, huddling with like minded candidates for discussions and sharing information will be of great use. Choosing such friends will be of great use, as it enriches you with information, to reorient your preparation strategy, to improve your communicating ability and above all it makes you to know where you are placed among the guild of civil service aspirants.

My mistakes!
•  It failed to understand the nature of exam for the first 6 months during my preparation which cost me the first preliminary examination. So, decipher the exam requirement first! (One can decipher the exam using Question banks, discussing with seniors, coaching institutes, websites, etc.)

•  I got tensed during the first main examination which has resulted in poor quality of answers. So, I got selected for my first interview in thin margin and hence failed to ultimately qualify in my last attempt in 2005. So, one need to keep a cool head during the examination and must relax to give a good presentation of answers.

•  I had to sacrifice one optional subject (Agriculture) for lack of time during my last attempt, as I attended GS (Main) coaching class which has sucked up my time. It is due to my improper planning. So, one need to plan for coaching classes accordingly and should spare time for both optionals equally.

•  My GS performance during the first attempt was poor as I left out 25 marks in statistics and hence one has to concentrate on statistics and practice with the timer. If one leaves some questions due to lack of time, it is highly suicidal and leads to self-denial for the civil services even though he/she is a potential candidate.

Strategy for the Optional


•  The Botany optional needs lots of time and one who chooses that should be able to sit and concentrate for few hours per sitting.

•  Preparing notes makes it easy to decipher the optional.

•  One has to be good in drawing diagrams systematically with good speed.

•  Refer to standard books and those who have done under graduation in Botany can use the notes prepared during college days.

•  One has to study the entire subject with the evolutionary point of view. Present the answers with evolutionary significance of the Genus/ family asked wherever possible as it conveys a good message to the person who corrects the paper.

•  Cultivate the habit of brushing up the subject rapidly (diagrams at least) just a day before the examination, as it is a highly volatile subject. Revision is the key for better presentation of Botany.


•  Students who choose Agriculture as optional should consult a reliable senior for learning the nuances of the examination.

•  Choose standard books for notes making. Get yourself associated with students of agriculture sciences as it helps you to share books as it requires a number of books for reference to compile good notes.

•  Try to collect manuals published by Agriculture Universities and Agricultural colleges (It is meant for agriculture students of the college / university concerned, but it is valuable if collected with some efforts).

•  Read some journals like Indian farming, Kisan world, Kurukshetra, Agriculture toady, etc- choose any of these whichever is comfortable.


•  Develop a good writing ability which is possible by writing a few essays from previous question papers and getting that corrected from your friends/mentor.

•  Develop a style which is soothing to the reader.

•  Don't reflect any radical views in an essay.

•  Frame your ideas on any broad area / topic.

•  Remember that an essay is the best thing which will reflect your personality. So, it is more important to reflect the better side of you in an essay.

•  Always go prepared with topics like Environment (Global warming/climate change), Energy, International relations, Terrorism, Science topics, etc.


•  Develop a balanced view on all probable issues that can be asked. These can be arrived by contemplating on the particular issues by free wheeling your mind/brain storming with your friends.

•  Prepare with few dedicated candidates who according to you are good and knowledgeable.

•  Do lot of Mirror practice.

•  One should be strong in those areas from his bio-data which are always asked - It includes Name, Home town, Education, etc.

•  Practice with tape recorder / digital voice recorder if possible.

•  Talk with friends in English during the discussions.

•  Be prepared for Logical / Ticklish questions.

•  Keep a smiling face during the entire course of the interview.

•  Don't rush out after the interview as it is a sign of stress. Be cool and walk slowly after wishing all the members.

•  If some member distracts by murmuring something while answering someone's question, just give a look at the member (as it is a test of your attentiveness) and again you should revert as soon as possible to what you were answering before (it shows your alertness and memory).


•  During the course of preparation there may be occasion where we may move away from our Plan/time table. It is important to get back to the plan/time table as soon as possible.

•  Utilize the intervening period between preliminary and main as effective as possible. It is the very critical period.

Dear friends, Keep the following wordings in your MIND, as it is meant for you.

•  In Quietness and in confidence shall be your strength - Isaiah

•  Do not look where you fall, but where you slipped - African Proverb.

•  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP as "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it" - Paulo Coelho.

•  Height of Optimism:

•  Soldier: Sir, we are surrounded!

•  Officer: Excellent! We can attack in any direction now.

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