“Self-belief, hard Work, patience and the very supportive family are the secrets of my success”
‘Pratiyogita Darpan’ arranged an exclusive interview with Ms. Namami Bansal who has been selected in Civil Services Examination 2016, conducted by Union Public Service Commission. She deserves our appreciation and heartiest congratulations on her splendid success. This important, thought-provoking and highly inspiring interview is being presented here in its original form.
PD—Achieving top slot in the coveted Civil Service Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.
Ms. Namami—Thank you for your wishes.
PD—Medium for writing examination
PD—Medium for Personality Test
PD—In how many attempts have you achieved this success ?
PD—You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualize your previous attempts ?
Ms. Namami—I gave my first attempt in 2013 while I was working to get the experience and did not prepare sincerely. I got through upto interview in my second attempt, but the lack of answer writing practice led to a less score in mains. I could not complete a substantial portion of most of the papers. Learning from that I rectified my mistakes in this attempt. It is normal to make mistakes but we should learn from them. Patience and self confidence are thoroughly tested by UPSC.
PD—What was your optional subject?
Ms. Namami—Optional Subject : Economics.
PD—While making final choice for optional subject, what’s important and what’s not ?
Ms. Namami—First is your natural interest. Secondly, the subject with which you have some familiarity or background. It helps and takes less effort in preparation. Third, consider the availability of material and books for studying.
PD—What preference in services have you opted for and any particular reason for that priority ?
Ms. Namami—I want to join Indian Administrative service I always wanted to give back to the people, society and my nation who have made me an educated and capable individual. I want to make the best possible use of the know-ledge and experience I have, for the development of the country and our society at the grass roots level.
PD—‘Success is sweet’ were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news ?
Ms. Namami—My brother informed me about the results. Initially, I did not believe him. With the passage of time, the impact is being felt and the feeling is sinking in. The response from the people in Rishikesh (where I belong) has been overwhelming. At the same time, success has brought along its share of responsibility.
PD—Today, IAS Toppers are icons and lots of media coverage makes them popular. Before your success, what was your opinion about these toppers ? Any particular success story which influenced your journey to this result ?
Ms. Namami—Yes, toppers get too much media attention. It is also reflective of how more and more people associate with the dream of becoming a civil servant. The stories and guidance shared by previous years’ toppers proved helpful for me. I read many such stories in magazines and online.
PD—Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services ?
Ms. Namami—My father introduced me to what a civil servant is and what role they play in a nation’s development. As a child, I wanted to do something like this, where the impact of one’s action is visible at the ground level.
PD—Was CSE your planned decision or your parents’ wish ?
Ms. Namami—It was long cherished dream, I planned my education so as to achieve it and it was also my parents’ wish. They knew I wanted to appear for CSE and always supported me in all decisions I made.
PD—Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts ?
Ms. Namami—I did not have any time frame in mind. I only knew one thing that I would give my best and eventually made it somehow, despite failures.
Father’s Name—Shri Rajesh Bansal
Mother’s Name—Mrs. Sarita Bansal
10th—2007, CBSE Board Nirmal-deep School (92·4%)
12th—2009, CBSE, Nirmaldeep School (94·2%).
B.A. (Hons.)—Economics LSR DU (73%).
PD—‘Time Management’ is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers, be it Prelims or Main Exami-nation. How did you manage things ?
Ms. Namami—I decided what strategy to follow and then divided the amount of chapters I needed to cover daily.
PD—The first step is the most difficult; From where did you get the right advice?
Ms. Namami—Ample guidance is available online. For optional, I did not think of anything other than Economics.
PD—What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Preliminary Examination preparation ? How much time and how much effort did you divide for each ?
Ms. Namami—For GS PAPER I (General Studies)—GS paper 1 in prelims requires a holistic and balanced approach. Give due focus on all topics mentioned in the syllabus. Also, a balance between static GK and dynamic current affairs is required. To begin with, read the NCERT books, after that advanced standard books.
For GS PAPER II (Aptitude Test)—For CSAT, I did not prepare much. I practised past years’ papers. I was able to score well and so not much time was devoted to this.
PD—Was there any change in plan for General Studies Paper II (Aptitude Test) being qualifying in Preliminary Examination ?
Ms. Namami—After CSAT became qualifying. It was a major change for me because the buffer of CSAT score was no longer available. Hence, every question became crucial in GS 1 because there is a lot of clustering. I did more extensive preparation for this.
PD—How did you manage to tackle the ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims ?
Ms. Namami—To deal with negative marking, try to achieve better accuracy by practising a lot of test papers. I tried to understand where I was making mistakes and rectify those by revision.
PD—What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Main Examination (Written) ?
Ms. Namami—I focused on integrated preparation for prelims and mains. For the static portion I revised the books used in prelims only. It is very important to practice answer writing for mains. Often, aspirants spend all their time in studying (I did the same in my second attempt) but writing practice and time management are more crucial.
PD—Was there any special effort for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper ?
Ms. Namami—For essay paper I wrote two essays for practice. I tried to incorporate as many dimensions as possible. I also read The Economic Survey and used facts from there in essay paper.
I wrote on:
1. If development is not engendered, it is endangered. and
2. Cyberspace and Internet: Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run ?
I chose these two topics because I could relate and think of many recent news surrounding these issues.
PD—How did you prepare yourself for Interview (Personality Test) ?
Ms. Namami—I prepared questions on my DAF. I did not face anxiety or confidence issues. I faced Mr Chhattar Singh Board on 29.3.2017. The Chairperson and all members were cordial and very encouraging. I was asked a few questions about my name, Rishikesh and the story of Bhagirath. Thereafter, the questions shifted to my optional. A lot of questions on economic concepts, current affairs were asked; ample cross questions followed. I was able to answer them well, to my satisfaction. It lasted for about 27-30 mins.My experience and impression of the interview was very good.
PD—Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e., Career in Civil Services ?
Ms. Namami—I was pursuing my masters in Economics along with preparation. But my focus was on this exam.
|Favourite Person—My father.
Strong Point—I am an emotional person so I am able to give my best to things I believe in.
Weak Point—Being emotional sometimes proves to be a weakness
Hobbies—Yoga, writing poetry.
PD—While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services ?
Shri Namami—Civil Services more than a career is an opportunity to be the change we want to see. I sincerely believe that being an educated capable person, I owe a lot to the society, my nation, my parents and family. I knew if I clear the exam, it would be a source of pride for my parents and I would get my chance to make a difference. No other career would offer the same, according to me.
PD—In your opinion at which Educational Level should one start preparing for Civil Services and what should be the minimum period of time required to prepare for Civil Services Examinations ?
Ms. Namami—In my opinion, there is no fixed requirement about when to start.
For dedicated preparation, I think at least One year is required to cover the optional syllabus and general studies for mains.
PD—What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities ?
Ms. Namami—I do not think so. Every year people clear and top from all optionals. Focus on your preparation. All optionals do well if you have the right approach.
PD—What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE ?
Ms. Namami—Medium should be the one in which you are comfortable. What you write matters,not the language you choose as the medium.
PD—In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services ?
Ms. Namami—Competitive magazines are helpful specially for beginners. When a person is contemplating about their attempt or strategy, then the experiences of others prove a guiding light.
PD—How do you find Pratiyogita Darpan ? Do you find it close to your expectations ?
Ms. Namami—I used to read PD in my School library. Some sections are specially very helpful. The same practice continued when I moved to college. It has been instrumental in helping me craft a strategy as a beginner.
PD—Please give your comments on the PD Extra Issues Series on ‘General Studies’ and a few Optional Subjects?
Ms. Namami—It is good for revision and provides a compact source to review if any new development has been missed out.
PD—What is the secret of your success?
Ms. Namami—Self-belief, Patience and Hardwork, a very supportive family.
PD—To whom would you like to give the credit for your success ?
Ms. Namami—The credit for this goes to my parents and my brother.
PD—Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.
Ms. Namami—Pursue your Dream, give it your 100%. There is nothing that a determined hardworking individual can not achieve.
Sharing something I believe in:
“Jab Tak na safal ho neend, chain tyago tum
sangharsh ka maidan chhod mat bhago tum
kuch kiye bina hi jay jaykaar nahi hoti
himmat karne waalon ki kabhi haar nahi hoti”
PD—Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.
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