Hey everyone, today’s post we’re bringing you a very informative and interesting chat about Probably what is known as the mother of all exams the UPSC entrance exams Which takes you to the civil services of India gets you a place at either the IAS the IFS the IPS or the IRS and the reason it’s called the hardest exam in India is because I’m told roughly about 10 to 12 lakh people Sit for the prelims every year and the final selected seats are about thousand And I’m told that number keeps shrinking and each year, so we’re looking at roughly point one percent entrance Probability, which really makes it the hardest exam in the country so today We’re going to answer all your questions about how do I qualify for the exam?
what are the strategies to prepare for it what about the means the prelims the interviews and Everything you want to know we’re gonna have Answered for you today so to help you clear this exam and become a topper at it We have with us, Saurabh Sing Chauhan who’s a B.Com and an MBA and he went on to clear his UPSC 2015 with a rank in about 200’s and that’s a phenomenal rank And I know you’re gonna get there too once you hear his advice you’ve currently assistant commissioner of income tax for the Andheri region in Bombay, so let’s welcome Saurabh to the show
Thank you so much for getting me here And thank you so much for the generous introduction and let’s start with a little bit talking about what is civil services and you know the entire range of services that get covered under this.
In layman’s language civil services is like the administrative setup of the country So you would see we have various departments and the officers or the people manning those departments are coming from these services only So say you’ll have the administrative service You’ll have the police service, the Revenue Service and all these post wherever senior officers are there they come through these civil services exams Only right now.
Let’s talk about the qualification for the exam so let’s talk about the educational qualification What do they require? the educational qualifications are the bare minimum one should be a graduate any stream any recognized University?
Where they’re actively doing it or through correspondence? Okay, just that There’s no like a score, minimum score?
You just need to pass. Yeah just passing Superb, so they can spend all their energy in preparing for the exam, and sort of keep the graduation as well Okay, what about the age? is there an age limit?
There are different categories So you have the general categories and the OBC, ST and SC every category has different number of attempts and the age criteria Okay So for the general if I am able to recollect correctly that will be I think 32 years is the top and six attempts they have and know every year or something else, but the government notifies
They keep on changing that Okay for the other categories the number of attempts and the age limit will be higher than this all right So they need to check, please check in the your year as to the age Limit and the number of attempts, because it keeps changing Yes, so let’s say I’m starting.
I’m a fresher and I want to start preparing for this exam How early do you think I should start my preparation. Now one gets into the service the minimum age required is 21, right The earlier you get in the better.
It is then you have a longer tenure in the service So probably if you’re not too over enthusiastic I think middle time of your graduation when you have possibly made up your mind
That you want to put in at least three four years dedicated here Because it’s a long run race marathon like the earliest would be somewhere 19 or 20 years But roughly giving it two to three years of preparation And how many hours a day do you think at that towards the end specially do you think you need to put in?
This world I’d say again vary person-to-person And how dedicated you are and then how focused you are when you are studying If you say effectively you put in seven to eight hours that is more than sufficient That’s a lot actually productive seven to eight hours It drains you like anything.
Sohrab, so this exam as we know has a prelims, they have mains and then the interview So let’s talk about the prelims first.
What is the structure of that exam? Preliminary is the objective type question format, and you have two exams there one you have the general study Then the second is the aptitude test, okay. both the papers consist of two hundred marks I think the questions vary.
In the general studies you have 100 questions and in the aptitude test you have 80 questions Then you have the concept of negative marking coming into the picture there, okay? In both of them? Yes in both of them.
In the aptitude exam There is slightly difference in there so some questions have an inherent built-in negative marking so where you get marked Proportionately, so if you give the most appropriate answer you will get the maximum marks second best
You will get slightly lesser and the last then you will get a zero or something like that They’re both for two hundred marks So they both carry an equal weightage in the finals score So the cutoff will be determined by the cumulative scores of both the exams But do you have a threshold that you need to have a certain minimum score.
Okay, so for the aptitude exam That is 33% if I am able to recollect properly that keeps on changing as per the government says But then after this 33% the Score is not counted, then it shifts the first paper that is the general studies Okay, so the higher you score there that will determine your rank in that merit list So that’s the key one and the second one you have to clear Once you clear that thing you even if you score said 190 that would not help you Indirectly so get seventy there and get the maximum here is like the concept right now
And you also said that there are negative marking is there any other Strategy that you would like them to keep in mind when they are sitting for that prelims, the objective type paper How should they be thinking?
Strategy would vary for everybody but one common thing would be everyone should have a cool head there Getting over enthusiastic or saying that I’ll attempt everything and then doing wrong or Saying, I’ll keep very safe side and then attempting very less both these strategies could backfire Keeping a cool head taking a good guess even if you have to take that trying to get a above-average score because it’s more like a race where everybody is running.
So you need to be above the Average so you clear it rather than trying to hit the head in the prelims.
Prelims is like a sifting process like I said But it’s a pretty large sifting process so very significant reduction of numbers happens at the prelims stage So during the year, when I gave the exams if I am correct then 9 to 10 lacs Candidate appeared for the exam and the prelims sifted and only about fifteen to seventeen thousand wrote the main exam
Tell us some books and websites that you think were useful for you or You’d like to talk about they could refer to so as far as the books one would concern it is Like a foundation you have to build so the foundation would start from the NCERT basic books that we study in the school Your CBSE ncert starting from say sixth standard onwards till the twelfth across these subjects you have those civil subjects history geography Biology chemistry all those things would combine in the basic foundations
And then once you are comfortable with these then you start building with specific books that help you go deeper into the domain, right?
Talking about these subjects when they are doing their graduation, under graduation Should they do it in any particular area you recommend that will be beneficial for them to appear for this exam?
Probably the humanities subjects do have a slight weightage in the exam You’d say subjects like if you’re doing something in history geography Public administration sociology you have those direct papers there And they are also involved in the general studies exams.
One you have the optional and the general studies but one has to be comfortable in that subject, so Because this is like a race where you are hitting the arrow in the dark if that arrow doesn’t hit you should have an option of doing Something else so try to do something that you’re comfortable with and if these things you are comfortable with then definitely go for it
It will definitely help Sohrab, tell me they’ve gone and taken this prelim exam with your strategies and let’s say they’ve come out now from there the mains exam how much time roughly is there between the two if I recollect
It would now be I think about three months give or take few days here or there, but broadly three Months now by the time the result of the prelims come it doesn’t leave with them with much time to prepare for the mains Probably they need to start studying for both exams before they sit for the prelims.
Yes definitely so this is a year long preparation cycle itself right so Because you have a wide array of subjects that you have to study then the prelims , mains Interview so the preparation starts one year before you write the prelims minimum Okay for all the three components you should be ready ideally and then just use that gap period to revise.
To revise write your mock tests or Keep yourself fresh with those latest updates That’s it if you are planning say between the two that you will prepare all these subjects and then write the mains that will be an uncertain answer like mission impossible to say so So let’s talk about the mains exam the structure of this paper So this would be an essay type exam you have some language papers.
Those are qualifying in nature One would be English compulsory And then one regional language as per your choice apart from that so where you actually have to score there are seven papers so you have four general studies and in those papers you have a wide array of subjects again, so Stretching across your basic knowledge.
You’ll have your history exam Geography and you’ve got economics, then you’ve got ethics Civils, and all those domains they covered in the general studies, which is same for everybody then you get one essay exam Again same for everybody.
On a general topic that could be an opinion based essay one would be testing slightly on your general studies and those aspects which would one if you put it slightly technical, the topic the other would be more of a philosophical topic that gives you your whole Canvas where you can sketch that essay as per
What do you think that is and in a three hour exam then the examiner actually gauges what you’re thinking and those philosophical so to say topics So we have four general studies one essay and then two one optional paper where you have two exams so that cumulatively makes at seventeen fifty marks right so this optional is one subject that they need to select and typically one of the questions that they always ask You know which is the subject that
I should choose which I’m going to score well So what would be yours this thing actually has a catch in itself So some people will go for a subject that gives you the maximum number of marks because in the end that is what matters the mark that actually qualifies you you need to be what would one say comfortable and Loving that subject, so you cannot follow that herd mentality that This subject is giving the maximum possible marks or getting the best result every year.
I’ll write that subject or Possibly saying if this subject has a good of books to study or good coaching available So I’ll study that subject.
So one should ideally choose a subject Say either if you’ve done your graduation or some higher study in that Even if not and then choose a subject Which you have some inherent liking for and which you can say study in and out without getting frustrated that what am I studying yeah, because as it is there is so much to study at least one should be a comfort zone for you, so if you ideally visit a Candidate who’s preparing for the exam you just find one bed and a whole stack of books every day So that stack should be inviting to you not be that you sit and say that, I don’t like this thing, what a pain Actually for one year if you’re studying that candidate stretch one year is the bare minimum So give us an idea of what are the kind of subjects I know we won’t be able to go through the entire list But what is the kind of subjects available for that option So if one would want to see in detail the UPSC every year comes up with the exam notification.
That’s available on the website In that they list out quite a large number of subjects if I remember 20 odd subjects are there One would be the humanities side, you’d have Public Administration philosophy sociology Anthropology one is those lines one would be the technical lines you say engineering Chemistry biology those ones then the third would be language also You have Hindi you have Sanskrit you have Pali and some other languages also And then comes subjects like which I’ve done in I’ve done in commerce in accountancy.
Right, because you did a B.Com Yeah, this line and you got economics there and some others so you have a wide array of subjects another question they want to know That if there is a mathematical Subject, or is accounting or they’ve made Let’s say a science subject are they allowed a calculator in the exam so for very just specific papers You are allowed this simple calculator not the scientific one Yeah, okay talking about the essay type questions right how important is their hand writing It should be comfortably legible that is it you should not be painting your own canvas that without you nobody will understand that so The person who’s on the other side of the desk will say what have you written, I am not able to make out anything And also on coaching that’s another question They always want to know is that do I need to go through coaching or can I study on my own? That I’d say again will depend on the candidate, so I’d say I have gone through coaching And it is just another building block only the castle that you build is on your own You are the architect of it nobody else will tell you what to do so either you buy that building block? Or you just assemble it on your own depends on to you Sourabh like you said you know in the mains almost all the papers have this slightly long Answer format and a long answer format always scares them away Here so the question they probably want to ask is that? How should you structure that answer should you write your answer in points? Or do I have to write a nice long essay, and how long and it shouldn’t happen that my time gets over and I’m formulating this So I need your advice It will be a mix of everything I’d say because The inherent nature is an essay type answer so in that at least it has to be Structured in a fashion that it has no loose ends and everything is in a flow Like abruptly writing a point like a mathematic thing , that the point is done finished.
It’s not like that So even though it will be only about 150 to 200 words You need to have a slight opening for it then the main body and then the conclusion And in that also you’ll have to give in good number of points, that your answer actually carries weight And you’re not just grass-cutting there So it is advisable to be direct But not direct to the point that you are writing just points there being a flow possibly you can underline your main point or highlight it, something like that and Then every question has different marks allotted to it some questions were 10 markers 12 and a half 15 or 20 and depending on that only they’ll just allot the number of words that you have to write Give and take 10% here and there. Oh so this is where I think the next question comes in is the mock test And you would also mentioned earlier that perhaps between the prelims and the mains they could do a lot of mock tests Yes, so tell us a little bit about the mock test process so the idea behind the mock test I think is twofold one is trying to understand How well you know your subject or how well you are attempting and second is trying to put you in that exam atmosphere Because once you’re preparing in your room that is your comfort zone nobody else is there to intimidate you or try to Pressurize you but once you sit on that seat, and you’re writing it your mindset completely changes So in that mock test one should definitely go to mock test till the time You are slightly comfortable with it that tests your knowledge.
How fast you write it.
How neat you write it How much marks you’re scoring and say where you are going wrong any course correction midway is required and things and Then again second when you come out you will discuss with your friends, then you’ll understand that I could have written something more but I’ve written something less and Then again it’s a three-hour exam So if you end up focusing just on half the paper and loosing up the other half, then it’s no good So you need to understand that in that three hour you need to see everything Understand everything and then attempt everything to the best possible thing So yeah the main exam is spread across four to five days every day You will have either one or two exams three hours a day So one exam would be say in the morning in the forenoon phase Then you’ll have a slight lunch break so to say and then in the afternoon phase you will have an exam so three hours per Subject into to nine okay, so please be comfortable with writing Yeah, this is like a marathon when you’re writing also so in the morning.
You’ll be fresh mentally and physically, but by the time Second exam post lunch afternoon, then you’ll have that fatigue set in also absolutely and you know now we are less and less used to physically writing with the pen so maybe that’s something they want to do I I actually faced that issue only because everything say your messaging on your phone you have that autocorrect thing so your Spelling’s go for a toss Then you’re not writing much so when you start writing with a pen you slightly feel very awkward why am I writing so much like that.
.So, the initial mock tests also help you build that flow and speed and Cleanliness so to say now that we’ve cleared the mains, Sohrab, the same question Let’s say between the mains and the interview.
Yeah, roughly how many months is it I? Think now they’ve reduced it to about one and a half or two months Okay, which is literally getting your result for the mains, and then you’re almost due for the interview in a short period of time But tell us the interview is very intimidating correct Tell us about the situation how many people are there and what is the sort of environment when you walk in.
The interview is more like face-to-face examination you’d say so you have a panel of five and which is headed by one person who is a member of the UPSC and four are people of domain experts previous administrators or people of excellence in their own domain so they either turn by turn or however the panel decides they’ll ask You probing questions first line of questioning will be as per your application form that you filled in so this Application form carries a lot of weightage.
They seek all your details your basic bio-data schooling your hobbies Previous jobs that you’ve done.
What do your parents do? Do where do you come from and all those details so in General scenarios they start from that, but if they want to throw you off guard They’ll ask you something that you’ll be like oh, I don’t know Where did this come from or it could be like in the newspapers headline something happened? So it is a test of your personality actually they do not call it at interview.
They call it the personality does Because you’ll understand the kind of jobs that you are being selected for it could be that you just heard that some Crime has happened or some law and order situation is there how do you react or respond to them, okay? So they’ll also try to gauge that in the way that you’re answering right? How what is your opinion? What is your stance yes? Yes? Interesting so how can you prepare? Yourself for an interview say because I am saying that it is a one-to-one Immediate interaction one at least needs to be very well prepared for it say for the mains Exams if you’ve written a point wrong you can cut it and write it again In the interview if you’ve spoken something cannot take it back So for that one should possibly go for mock interviews and at least be comfortable interacting first So because the question will come to you you will have to process it and answer immediately So it has to be a point where you are comfortable talking to people thinking at the same time and making your answer sound good You cannot blabber anything out and say I thought this would happen or something apart from these interviews you should study your application form try to Understand everything and anything related to your life Be that say your city You are coming from so say I come from Chandigarh the Chandigarh is a planned city you have very much details It has very specific monuments that have been built in the city So for a person who’s from Delhi all those historical monuments that is one line of questioning It could be possibly related to your school where you’ve done your education from what your parents do Wide gamut of things which you actually cannot define in a very short time.
That’s right It could be relating to an industry perhaps, maybe if your father is employed there Need to be aware of every aspect of the resume and perhaps anticipate questions that can come from these Things you are expected to know because they are related to your life in some way or the other So some say in the newspaper some distant thing happened in America or some part of the country You can say I am not able to answer because I do not know and that is Acceptable if something is related to your life some way or the other, but you say I do not know then it slightly Putting you on the back foot and then you can get fired on that one is there any last piece of advice that you like to give them because they’re all watching and saying you know This is the toughest exam so anything you say will help them such a scenario and you’re attempting this exam And you slightly are at a stage of life Where you say? I go this way that way because this exam takes a huge amount of time that you have at least you will say one year of preparation And then you go to the write the exam 2 3 4 5 6 years you invest in this exam without any Other thing one would always I’d suggest be calm be composed have faith in yourself because you will hear so many advices from so many people who are Preparing say fresh, or who’ve been preparing for 3 years Then you have your faculty members and everybody will be giving so much of advice Try to grasp as many good things as you can if you say Get into the process, then you start understanding Which is the right thing to do and which is not a right thing to do is keep yourself focused on that and keep yourself Dedicated in all likelihood one should clear the exam after dedicated efforts But even if you do not so this is not the end of your life It should not be in the back of your mind that if this does not happen Nothing will happen.
Always have faith in yourself that it is a journey This is one important juncture But is this is not the only juncture.
You will definitely go ahead find good Avenues everywhere say have faith in yourself, and you will do good in life So the idea behind is to do good in life wherever you are be happy I think that would be my final message to them.
Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for having me And thanks for watching right till the end I’m sure you found this very useful, but if you still have any more questions that you would like to ask me or Saurabh Please put everything down in the comment section below this video And we are definitely going to get back to you individually and also press that subscribe button and don’t forget the bell notification button to get your notifications on the videos also like us and chat with us on facebook @ chetchat101 And twitter @chetchat101 and at instagram @chetchat101 and happy watching