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Shri Arun Raj, attained 34th Rank in his 2nd attempt in Civil Services Examination, 2015

“The man who makes no mistakes

does not usually make anything”

 

 

Shri Arun Raj, who attained 34th Rank in his 2nd attempt in Civil Services Examination, 2015 conducted by Union Public Service Commission; in an important, exclusive, thought-provoking and highly inspiring interview; attributes constant concentration towards goal, continuity in devoted had work, his vision for future and incomparable guidance to the secrets of his success. Extracts of the Interview:

 

On preference in services opted for and priority:

IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS. This service provides a huge opportunity to be a part of the solutions to the various problems our society and country are facing.

On ‘Success is Sweet”, confidence & reacting to the news of the Top Rank:

I was confident of getting a good rank, but did not think about top rank. I never bothered myself by thinking of top ranks because that may put one under undue pressure. I felt really happy as my hard work finally paid off.

On having read IAS toppers’ interviews in newspapers/ magazines; that inspired you the most:

Before getting the results I had the impression that toppers of the exam had to be super human. After the results I have realized that any ordinary person with hard work, persistence and confidence can crack this exam. The interview of toppers definitely helps as we get to read about their individual perspectives and experiences. There is a lot we can learn from such interview transcripts. CSE 2013 topper Gaurav Agarwal’s blog helped a lot.

Apart from that the interviews of several toppers who had taken anthropology also helped.

On exact moment of realizing importance of ‘Civil Services’:

The Civil Services exam was my top-most priority as I wanted to stay and work in India.

On ‘Time Management’ being a key factor in preparations & writing Prelims or the Mains and managing things:

It is the most important thing because the syllabus is so exhaustive and time is limited. During preparations I gave adequate time to my weak areas. I used to study for 10-12 hours regularly and I used to make daily and weekly plans and always tried to achieve the targets.

While writing the exam, I made sure that I give adequate time to each question and I divided the time to be given to each question accordingly.

 

On choice & basis of selecting optional subject:

Anthropology was my optional. While I was in college I used to take elective courses in sociology. Anthropology is closely related to it and was an easy choice. The subject matter of anthropology was very interesting to me and the ease with which I could go through the subject mode it a good choice.

On the number of attempts in achieving success:

This was the first attempt in CSE.

Bio-Data
Name: Arun Raj

Father’s Name: Mr. Samuthira Pabndian

Mother’s Name: Mrs. Sheela

Date of Birth: November 25, 1992

Educational Qualifications:

10th: 2007, CBSE (94·8%)

12th: 2009, CBSE (91·6%)

MA/M.Sc.: 2014, IIT Kanpur, CPI is given no marks percentage.

 

On approach towards Paper I (General Studies) & Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Prelims preparations:

Strategy for Prelims was to attempt as many questions as possible and solve many question papers. For Mains, I paid a lot of attention on writing practice. I prepared a question bank of possible questions from my profile and current affairs for the interview and kept reusing them.

On tackling ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims:

My main focus was on accuracy. In Paper-I, I did not attempt many questions rather focused on questions in which I was 100% confident and questions in which I deleted two options at least. In Paper-II, I was more aware on comprehension part, rest I had worked on speed and accuracy.

On adopting a shift in strategy for Main Examination (Written):

For GS, I used to rely a lot on reading daily newspapers and NCERT books which I had read during the course of my preliminary exam preparation for optional preparation, and so both the optional and GS preparation integrated comfortably.

On special effort for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper & on pick up of topics:

I had practiced essay writing before the mains. I spent around 10-15 minutes in the actual exam trying to choose the most suitable essay topic for my writing. The essays which I wrote were on ‘with great power comes greater responsibility’ and ‘tourism and its potential for India’.

On preparation for Interview, the Personality Test:

My UPSC interview was taken by the Board of Shri D.K. Dewan, Ex-Vice Chief of the Indian Navy. I faced a lot of factual questions.

Some of the questions were:

  • What was the year and place when Gandhi died?
  • Where is the headquarters of the WHO?
  • When was the peacock throne taken away from India?
  • What is the amount of money which India spends on its food subsidy?
  • Which was the smallest and largest country affected by the Arab Spring?
  • What is the ranking of India in the corruption index?

Personal Qualities
Favourite Person: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Strong Point: My commitment and dedication towards my goals.

Hobbies: Reading English Literature, Writing articles, Public speaking.

 

On Motivation towards Civil Services despite other lucrative opportunities in changing economic environment:

The Respect and Opportunities in diverse fields offered by Civil Services cannot be replaced by any other job and organization, that too in younger age.

This was the dream which kept me motivated during various ups and downs.

On Educational Level to start & minimum time-frame for preparation for Civil Services Examinations:

The ideal time to start preparing for the Civil Services exam is during one’s first year of college. Serious preparation could be started from the pre-final year.

On general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities:

Science and humanities optional are equally scoring in the civil services exam. It depends on one’s own interest and aptitude in the subject.

On importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE:

This is not at all a criterion for success in this exam.

On role the Competition Magazines play in preparing for an examination like Civil Services:

They play a vital role as they keep you updated in a concise fort.

On finding “Pratiyogita Darpan” close to expectations:

Pratiyogita Darpan is a useful revision tool and a compendium of facts. A good preparation magazine must be able to help the candidates plug their loopholes.

Also the special editions are very useful during preparation.

On the Pratiyogita Darpan– Panorama Year Book and opinion about the Current Affairs contents, size and the time of publishing:

It is an enriching body of knowledge.

On giving Credit for success:

First of all to the God! Then my parents, teachers, family, relatives, friends, Vinay Sir, Q.H.Khan Sir and DHYEYA IAS for their valuable guidance throughout the preparation

On suggestions/advice to future aspirants:

Dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. Take up any work/task only if you have genuine interest in that. Be honest to yourself and to your work.

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