“My view that consistency, patience and hard work yield superior outcomes, is the secrets of my success”
– Pulkit Garg
‘Pratiyogita Darpan’ arranged an exclusive interview with Shri Pulkit Garg, who has been selected in Civil Services Examination 2015, conducted by Union Public Service Commission. He deserves our appreciation and heartiest congratulations on his 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 Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.
Shri Pulkit—Thank you so much.
PD—What preference in services have you opted for and any particular reason for that priority ?
Shri Pulkit—IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS(IT), IRS(C&CE)
While thinking of taking Civil Service as my career, post of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) was top in mind and hence became my first preference. I had spent a little time over my career choice and after deliberation, I chose career in Civil Services so that I could make a qualitative change in lives of common people and contribute in nation’s development.
PD—‘Success is sweet’—were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news ?
Shri Pulkit—This time I focused on my preparation and stayed abreast of the current affairs. My strategy was to cover topic-wise complete syllabus for Main Examination and lots of answer-writing practice. So, expectation of good result was always there and when I saw the result, I was contented, as a lot of hard work had gone into it. It gave a feeling of completing a marathon. Rank 27 is a well-deserved recognition of my dedication towards my goal.
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 ?
Shri Pulkit—I read a lot of toppers’ interviews and was also eager to know their strategies.
I too was fascinated by such successes and got inspired to perform well. I was really impressed with Gaurav Agarwal (AIR 1; CSE 2013) and tried to get some clues that could chart my success.
PD—Was CSE your planned decision or your parents’ wish ?
Shri Pulkit—It was a collective decision and my parents were really supportive and encouraged me to go ahead with my plans.
Father’s Name—Shri Pardeep Kumar Garg
Mother’s Name—Mrs. Satya Garg
10th—2010, CBSE, St. Columbus School (93%)
12th—2010, CBSE, St. Columbus School (93·6%)
B. Tech—2014, IIT Delhi Previous Selections—IRTS; Rank 490 CSE, 2014
PD—Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts ?
Shri Pulkit—Not as such. Since beginning, I had a strategy in mind and as this was not preparation, it was a mission; it was just a matter of time. I was confident and in my last attempt, I had cracked Civil Services Examination 2014 though with a little lower rank.
PD—‘Time Management’ is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers, be it Prelims or Main Examination. How did you manage things ?
Shri Pulkit—This examination has become highly dynamic as well as innovative. To handle its preparation and even in the examination hall, Time Management plays a key role. I relied on self-notes and arranged them topic-wise. With headings and sub-headings, I found these quite handy while revising.
Dividing time between diverse constituents was based on priorities and I remained consistent with my preparation. Thus, managing time was never a problem for me.
PD—While making final choice for optional subject, what’s important and what’s not ?
Shri Pulkit—Familiarity with the subject and interest matter a lot. It is a strategic decision and optional subject selection requires a rational approach. Stay away from believing in fallacies woven around a few popular optional subjects.
PD—What was your optional subject ?
Shri Pulkit—Optional Subject : Chemistry
PD—Give the basis of selecting the optional subject ?
Shri Pulkit—Being an engineer, I was in touch with Chemistry, found it quite interesting and my past-performance was quite good. In IIT JEE, I secured AIR 1 in Chemistry. If prepared well, Chemistry has a high scoring potential.
PD—In how many attempts have you achieved this success ?
Shri Pulkit—It was my second attempt.
PD—You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualize your previous attempts ?
Shri Pulkit—In previous attempt, I secured 490th rank in Civil Services Examination 2014 and got IRTS. It was a good attempt and gave me taste of success. I realized that I am on right path and have to be focused a little more.
PD—The first step is the most difficult; from where did you get the right advice ?
Shri Pulkit—Being at IIT, it is not that difficult to form an idea about Civil Services Examination. I referred to the strategies of toppers and have gone in detail to know their experiences.
|Favourite Person—My father.
Hobbies—Playing badminton, squash; jogging.
PD—What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) during Preliminary Examination preparation ?
Shri Pulkit—I analyzed the previous years’ papers and it was not difficult to understand that more factual questions are being asked and to answer correctly, I needed basic understanding of the issues.
PD—Was there any change in plan for General Studies Paper II (Aptitude Test) being qualifying in Preliminary Examination ?
Shri Pulkit—No; not as such. In any case, Aptitude Test was not a big issue and with my engineering back-ground, it was not challenging.
PD—How did you manage to tackle the ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims ?
Shri Pulkit—I had practiced a lot and attempted mock tests. This helped in spotting the areas that were not well prepared. Besides, I kept in mind that I had to score such marks as could give me a chance to next level; so, no risk taking.
PD—What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Main Examination (Written) ?
Shri Pulkit—I was quite clear about the requirements and accordingly prepared for General Studies papers with equal weightage given to Optional Subject. For optional subject, solving previous years’ question papers and spotting some topics from where questions were asked quite often, really helped. I was regular with newspaper reading, made self-notes and revised them at regular intervals.
Answer-writing practice with an eye on time helped a lot.
PD—Was there any special effort for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper ?
Shri Pulkit—No, it was done simultaneously with General Studies preparation. I had acknowledged the importance of Essay paper in my last attempt; so, this time I practiced a lot.
PD—How did you prepare yourself for Interview (Personality Test) ?
Shri Pulkit—My preparation for Personality Test revolved around my detailed application form (DAF)and brushed up current affairs. Also, I attended a few mock interview sessions and these proved to be advantageous.
I was interviewed by Mr. H. C. Gupta Board and my interview lasted for about 30 minutes.
My interview started with meaning of my name—Pulkit, why I am leaving IRTS job, about IITs, Make in India, Skill India, about health structure. Some hypothetical questions were also asked.
PD—Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e., Career in Civil Services ?
Shri Pulkit—As stated above, it was a well thought decision to go in for career in Civil Services and I never thought of anything else.
PD—While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services ?
Shri Pulkit—In the beginning, I was also looking at newage careers and lucrative openings available. But, once I got my goal set, I found nothing close to ‘IAS’
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 ?
Shri Pulkit—In the final year of graduation you can commence preparation and about 15-18 months prior to Prelims are enough for an effective preparation.
PD—What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities ?
Shri Pulkit—Every subject has ample scope for high scores. It all depends upon your preparation and how effectively one gets the most out of it.
PD—What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE ?
Shri Pulkit—Your understanding and expression determine where you stand. So, as long as you can do justice with the language you opt as medium of writing, it doesn’t matter. It is up to you to decide and UPSC gives you full liberty.
PD—Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation ?
Shri Pulkit—These have limited impact. It is all about your passion and hope of a bright future which make all these factors look tiny.
PD—In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services ?
Shri Pulkit—The examination now has become decidedly dynamic; so, competition magazines help in keeping in touch with the current affairs in concise and analytic form and adequately cover some of the major issues that may skip attention while reading newspapers.
PD—What is the secret of your success ?
Shri Pulkit—Consistency and patience yield superior outcomes and my success is an example of these copy-book style trait that always delivers.
PD—To whom would you like to give the credit for your success ?
Shri Pulkit—To God, my parents and to my teachers. My parents played a vital role in my success and they stood like a rock behind me.
PD—Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.
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