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Tejasvi Rana 12th Rank in her 2nd attempt in Civil Service Examination, 2016

Secrets of my success are,”Optimism hard work and i learnt to see failure as an opportunity for improvement”

                                                                                                                                 -Tejasvi Rana

‘Pratiyogita Darpan’ arranged an exclusive interview with Ms. Tejasvi Rana 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 Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.

Ms. Tejasvi—Thanks.

PD—In how many attempts have you achieved this success ?

Ms. Tejasvi—2.

PD—You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualize your previous attempts ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I was under-prepared while giving my first attempt, especially with regard to my optional subject. This year I improved on that aspect. Also, experience gained during the first attempt has a major role in getting me through.

PD—What was your optional subject ?

Ms. TejasviOptional Subject : Economics.

PD—While making final choice for optional subject, what’s important and what’s not ?

Ms. Tejasvi—Genuine interest and comfort with the subject are the most crucial factors. I also believe that taking up one’s graduation subject (if possible) is quite beneficial. On the other hand ‘previous year success rate’ of the optional subject is not something that one should bother about.

PD—Give the basis of selecting the optional subject ?

Ms. Tejasvi—If one can take one’s graduation subject, then it is helpful as one is already familiar with the vocabulary of the subject. Apart from this, if one can study a subject over the course of 1-2 years with interest, then the preparation becomes easy and enjoyable.

PD—What preference in services have you opted for and any particular reason for that priority ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I have opted for IAS. I selected this because it provides an opportunity to work at the grassroots level.

PD—‘Success is sweet’ were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news ?

Ms. Tejasvi—No, I was not expecting such a rank. Initially, I could not believe it. I confirmed from different sources that it was not a prank !

PD—Today, IAS Toppers are icons and lots of media coverage makes them popular. Before your success, what was your opinion about these toppers ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I have taken guidance from a number of toppers, either personally or through their blogs and videos. I have been inspired by many toppers like Mr. Shah Faesal (AIR-1, 2009), Mr. Gaurav Agarwal (AIR-1, 2013) and many others.

PD—Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services ?

Ms. Tejasvi—Civil Services provide an apt platform to make a change in the lives of the people. I realised it during the course of my graduation. Experience shared by serving IAS officers in their talks led to this realisation.

PD—Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Civil Services’ ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I made up my mind in the final year of graduation.

PD—Was CSE your planned decision or your parents’ wish ?

Ms. Tejasvi—It was my decision. My parents fully supported it.

PD—Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts ?

Ms. Tejasvi—No. According to me, the exam is a test of perseverance. I would not have given up, I think.

PD—‘Time Management’ is a key factor. How did you manage things ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I used to make daily schedule to meet my weekly and monthly targets. For making it sustainable, I used to take a break on Sundays. Practice and mock tests helped in managing time during the exam.

PD—The first step is the most difficult. From where did you get the right advice ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I got the right advice by talking to the toppers or by reading their blogs.

Bio-data
Name—Tejasvi Rana

Father’s Name—Dr. Kuldeep Singh Rana

Mother’s Name—Dr. Sarita Rana

Date of Birth—18.10.1992.

Educational Qualifications

10th—2008, CBSE, D.A.V. Public School Kurukshetra (97%)

12th—2010, CBSE, D.A.V. Public School Kurukshetra (91·2).

B.S. Economics 2015—IIT Kanpur (93%)

PD—What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Preliminary Examination preparation ?

Ms. Tejasvi—For GS PAPER I (General Studies)—I focussed on both, the basic books like NCERTs as well as current affairs. Such a holistic preparation is required if one wishes to secure one’s chances. Moreover, I gave immense importance to mock tests. I used to give weekly mock tests, especially 3-4 months before Prelims.

        For GS Paper II (Aptitude Test)—Since the paper is qualifying, I solved a few previous years’ papers to make sure that I was securing minimum marks required.

PD—How did you manage to tackle the ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I did not answer those questions about which I was totally unfamiliar.

PD—What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Main Examination (Written) ?

Ms. Tejasvi—Since the paper is subjective, the focus shifts from memorising facts to understanding issues. I focussed on answer writing practice. Moreover, since optional subject plays a major role in deciding one’s rank, optional subject becomes the centre of the preparation.

PD—Was there any special effort for effective preparation for Essay Paper ?

Ms. Tejasvi—There is no need of separate preparation for essay as the content gets built up during GS preparation. After Prelims, I used to attempt one essay paper every week to improve my expression and to manage time well. I also built a repository of quotes and anecdotes on expected topics. I chose these topics because I felt that I had a better understanding of these in comparison to other options. One topic was on an economic issue. Hence, due to my optional, I had greater familiarity with it.

Topic I—Water disputes between states in federal India.

Topic II—Near jobless growth in India : An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms.

PD—How did you prepare yourself for Interview (Personality Test) ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I prepared by giving mock interviews. It refines your answers, body language and reduces nervousness. Moreover, I prepared the probable questions from my DAF (Detailed Application Form) and current affairs. I also talked to a number of people having experience in different fields like administration, education, journalism etc to know the ground reality.

        Dr. P.K Joshi was the Chairman of the Board that I faced. It lasted for around 30 minutes. Almost all the questions were on Economics—my graduation and optional subject. They covered areas like economic theories, Indian economists, capital formation, welfare economics, game theory, relevance of PSUs, quality of research and higher education in India etc. For example, I was asked following questions—PSUs should be closed down. What do you think ? Name three Indian economists and their contribution. Welfare state is bad economics. Do you agree ? What is game theory ?

PD—Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e., Career in Civil Services ?

Ms. Tejasvi—No

Personal Qualities
Favourite Persons—Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Strong Point—I don’t give up easily.

Weak Point—I don’t have leisure reading habit. I need to develop that.

Hobbies—Swimming, Watching films. I wish to learn painting now !

PD—While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services ?

Ms. Tejasvi—It was the diversity of the work and the kind of social impact it has.

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. Tejasvi—I think ideally one should start one year before giving the attempt. For example, one may start preparing in final year of graduation to give the attempt right after graduation. One takes around one year to cover the syllabus.

PD—What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities ?

Ms. Tejasvi—I feel it is not the subject, but one’s command over the subject that matters. In both Humanities and Sciences, candidates have got high scores.

PD—What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE ?

Ms. Tejasvi—The only relevance is with respect to the availability of quality study material. It is difficult sometimes to get the material in Hindi and other Schedule 8 languages.

PD—Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation ?

Ms. Tejasvi—These factors shape the environment and the situation in which one prepares. But I think these factors should be taken as given and one should pursue success despite all odds. And ultimately, it is the stories of the candidates that work under the most difficult situation that become success stories and inspire generations of future aspirants !

PD—In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services ?

Ms. Tejasvi—These provide the required study material to cover the syllabus. Moreover, magazines help in improving one’s understanding of the current happenings in the world.

PD—What is the secret of your success ?

Ms. Tejasvi—Optimism which does not let you give up. Over the preparation, I learnt to see failure as an opportunity for improvement.

PD—To whom would you like to give the credit for your success ?

Ms. Tejasvi—My parents. It was because of their dedication that I did not lose my focus. Moreover, my friends, despite their busy schedule, supported me during the stressful phases of my preparation.

PD—Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Ms. Tejasvi—Don’t give up. Failure just means you have not succeeded yet.

PD—Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.

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