Aditya Ranjan, a computer engineer, who worked in MNC earlier, belongs to a middle class family and has secured 99th rank in IAS 2014. His interest is social services which is main motivation behind clearing the exam. He shares his experience with jagranjosh.com.
Jagranjosh.com: What do you think about the changes in the IAS Prelims Exam Pattern? Does it make the selection process better? Please give your opinion.
Aditya Ranjan: The change is really good. In a democratic country like India the aspiration of the people should be made and I believe in a multi cultural, multi- linguistic nation, compulsion of English and any other language will not be good for all of us. So, I think pattern change is really good. Although a basic level of aptitude is required bus that can always be tested by making it qualifying.
Jagranjosh.com: Does joining coaching helps in clearing the IAS Prelims Exam? How far the group discussions are helpful in clearing IAS Prelims?
Aditya Ranjan: Coaching can be helpful for few but I believe self study is self sufficient for clearing Prelims Examination because of both conventional nature of it and the fixed pattern that to be followed in the nature of questions or the pattern of the questions. Group discussion can be helpful in all the three stages of the examination but what I find among the students is it starts with studies but goes on to other places.
So, I believe group discussion can only be helpful if you are really- really focused and each and every member of your group is really focused. Otherwise, I think for Prelims you should focus on your own method of preparation that can be only studying by sitting in room secluded in nature.
Jagranjosh.com: When did you start the Preparation for IAS Prelims Exam?
Aditya Ranjan: I took Prelims for the first time in 2012 but I did it with my job, so, I frankly speaking, I started one month before Prelims but because of CSAT which was there earlier, I could clear it in the first attempt itself.
Jagranjosh.com: What was your strategy for General Studies for the IAS Prelims Exam?
Aditya Ranjan: My strategy was like there are two sections in Paper I- one I believe is the section which fixed in nature, static in nature and the other section which is I won’t say dynamic but very unpredictable in nature. So my strategy was to like I should perform really-really well in these static sections like Modern History, Polity, Geography and Economy and these sections Ecology and environment , Science and Tech and Art and Culture, these three sections are really unpredictable in nature.
So the first four sections there always are 40-45 questions from these four sections. One should always ensure that one should not get even a single incorrect in these sections and other three sections one should prepare well but it is very tough to prepare it in a 100% manner. So, my strategy was like- prepare first static ones then go for the dynamic ones.
Jagranjosh.com: What was your strategy to Prepare for the GS Paper II (CSAT)?
Aditya Ranjan: For CSAT I would say I already had that aptitude that I have an engineering background. So, my strategy was like again there are two sections- one is DI and Maths and other is English. The answers of DI and Maths will never be doubtful like if answer of a question in maths is ‘x’ it always be ‘x’. But in English Comprehensions, there are times- one feels like – could be ‘A’ or could be ‘B’, so, in those situations, I believe, my strategy was very perfect because what I did is I used to perform really well in DI and Maths so, that there is no single incorrect. One or Two is fine. But I used to do like that Maths, DI I should be very perfect and then to the English part because 3-4 questions will definitely be wrong in my each best. So, I had that in my mind.
Jagranjosh.com: How did you make balance between the General Studies and Aptitude Paper of IAS Prelims?
Aditya Ranjan: I have an engineering background, so, I did not put much effort on the CSAT things only solved the10-12 test papers just before the Prelims Examination. So, I put more effort on Paper I and this still works when the pattern has changed when there is only qualification is required 33%. My strategy will work for all the candidates from now onwards.
Jagranjosh.com: How far English is necessary in fulfilling the work responsibility of a Civil Servant?
Aditya Ranjan: I would say English has become an international language of trade and international language of diplomacy. So, I believe it is very much required in given the dynamic nature of the administration. There are lot of changes been done in District administration as well, so, it required in all the services but making it compulsory at the level of entrance cannot be justified.
I believe, if we can train a person for 10 months for so many responsibilities, I can assure anybody that those people who are being Civil Services selected through such a meticulous way of examination, such a tedious examination, I believe they can always be trained through one month of extra training period or extra effort on the candidates to learn English.
Jagranjosh.com: What suggestions would you like to give for the future candidates for IAS Prelims?
Aditya Ranjan: I would say you should be focused in terms of the materials that these are the materials I will need a free. I will not go here and there; anybody says this is a new thing you should go for, no. First decide what you will be reading by doing a meticulous research on internet and through toppers, or trough other websites and then keep it fixed, don’t change it in between the preparation.
And for the fun part, use quizzing mechanism as Jagranjosh has launched or other platforms use such methods so that you do not get bored in the phase of preparation because that one of the toughest task parts of this examination.