My StrategyI had decided since my childood days that civil services was going to ve my career and so I was mentally prepared when I entered college.My actual preparation started when I was in the final year of my college, about 8 months before the actual date of the prelims.I decided on the optionals taking into account both availability of material and guidance,as well as their relevance to General Studies preparation.I had decided that I had to get through in my 1st attempt itself and so I gave my utmost efforts to secure my goal.
General StudiesFor prelims the aim was to get as much knowledge as possible.For that I read The Hindu and The Economic Times and magazines like CSR,Frontline,etc.I also read NCERT books(stds 8 to 12).
Other books were: Constitution of India by D.D.Basu
India's Freedom Struggle by Bipin Chandra
For mains,the strategy was to read selectively but intensely.I selected the topics based on topics of current interest both nationally as well as internationally.I also solved some previous years' question papers in order to get the time factor right.
HistoryThe main books I referred for history were :
1.Modern India by Bipin Chandra.
2.Advanced history of India by
I also referred to books by Nilakanta Shastri (for history of south India) and by satish chandra.
The strategy is not to cram the facts but to read history like you read some interesting novel.Also, maps are important because one can score heavily in map question.
Public AdminisrationThe basics for Pub Ad. can be got from any standard book or from IGNOU notes.But in order to score highly,that won't be sufficient.Written skills are more important as far as pub ad. is concerned.One must be able to relate current events from the administration point of view.For paper I,it is important to note that one should have a broad international outlook and not confine oneself to Indian affairs alone.For such purposes IJPA journals would be very helpful.
Personality TestImmediately after the mains, I started preparing for my personality test.I made some notes on my home state, hobby,etc and also watched current event programmes on TV.After the result ,I took some mock interviews in order to gain confidence.
My interview was on 10th April.I wore a cream coloured shirt,dark grey pant and a matching tie.I was interviewed by Ms.Chokila Iyer's board.It was a very cordial interview and I was relaxed throughout the 30 minutes.I was asked quesions on my hobby,my experience in NCC,my home state(Tamil Nadu).I was asked about IT sector in Tamil Nadu,SEZs in Tamil Nadu,etc.Then I was asked some questions on my graduation subject(Electrical Engineering),about global warming and its effects on India,about the advantages and disadvantages of Indo-US nuclear deal.On the whole,the board was very friendly.I was also honest there and confessed my ignorance to certain questions.
I hope that my experience and the above tips will be helpful to all the IAS aspirants.