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IAS Topper's Interview - Rishi Raj (AIR 27, CSE-2017)

Watch IAS Topper Rishi Raj (AIR 27, CSE-2017) Interview

Rishi Raj secured All India Rank 27 in the 2017 Civil Services Exam. Rishi Raj was interviewed by NeoStencil Team and in this interview session, he shares his UPSC exam preparation strategy and experience for the benefit of aspirants preparing for IAS exams.

In this interview session, Rishi Raj narrates how to prepare for UPSC examination. He gives some important tips on How to prepare for Prelims exam and Mains exam.

Further, He also speaks about his struggle in his life and how he overcome to achieve the Rank 27 in the 2017 Civil Servies Examination.

Finally, He says NeoStencil Online Platform was very helpful for his exam preparation as he was able to access the Delhi classes from Sirali a small town in Madhya Pradesh.

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How I improved my GS score by RISHI RAJ (AIR 27, CSE-2017)

2017 IAS Topper Rishi Raj Interview

Ayushi: Hi Everyone! We have with us Rishi Raj AIR-27. He is our online student of NeoStencil India Pvt. Ltd. And he has secured rank 27 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2017. Welcome, Rishi.

Rishi: Thank You. Ma am.

Ayushi: Thanks for coming. So, Rishi, tell me something about yourself. Your family background, your education background. Tell us all.

Rishi: I am an engineer. I am an electrical engineer graduated from ISM Dhanbad in the year 2015. Thereafter, I have been preparing for the civil services. In my family, I have my father who is a manager at NTPC Dadri and my mother is a housewife. And I have a younger brother who is also an electrical engineer and currently in a job.

Ayushi: Is your brother also preparing for IAS?

Rishi: Currently, he is not but might be in future.

Ayushi: What was your reaction after getting the result of your selection in UPSC?

Rishi: Truly speaking Ma am. I got a phone call from my friend at 7 in the evening telling me that Rishi you have got 27th rank in UPSC . I felt that it is a prank by my college friend. Later, from UPSC site, I confirmed it for about 4 to 5 times with my name and my roll number and then finally, I was at peace that this person at rank 27 is indeed me. And I found myself finally out of this cycle of UPSC preparation. I thanked God.

Ayushi: Great. It s really Great. What was your inspiration behind preparing for UPSC?

Rishi: Actually Ma am, when I was pursuing my graduation from ISM Dhanbad in Jharkhand, I had seen many of the female batchmates of mine getting harassed at public places. At that time, I used to feel very helpless as there I found no one in the administration who can address our issues. For me, women security was the prime influencer to prepare for UPSC CSE.

Ayushi: Wow! That s a great noble reason.

Ayushi: So, Rishi, Tell us something about yourself, your family and your education.

Rishi: Ma am, I am an electrical engineer who graduated from ISM Dhanbad in the year 2015. And since then, I have been preparing for CSE and this was my second attempt. In my previous attempt, I reached till interview stage, however, I was not able to break through that. My father is a manager at NTPC Dadri and my mother is a housewife. And I have a younger brother who is also an electrical engineer and currently in a job.

Ayushi: What inspired you for preparing for CSE and doing a lot of hard work?

Rishi: Actually, when I was in Dhanbad in my college, there I found that cases of molestation with female students of my college were very frequent and that time we even didn t have much information about the administration and our concern was not being able to reach to the civil servants. That was the time when I decided to be a civil servant that wherever I will get posted, at least in that particular area I will ensure women security.

Ayushi: That s really a noble cause and I congratulate you for that.

Rishi: Thank you, ma am.

Ayushi: What was your preparation strategy for examinations?

Rishi: I divided my preparation into three parts i.e. Pre, Mains, and Interview. I had different strategies for these three parts. For prelims, I focussed more towards current affairs part and my accuracy in solving objective type questions.

For the mains, I focussed more towards writing the answer.

Ayushi: Rishi, how NeoStencil helped you in your preparation for CSE?

Rishi: It is a very big thing for me. I had started my preparation from Singraulli which a remote area of MP at the trijunction of MP, UP and Chattisgarh. It would have taken me almost a day to reach Delhi from Singraulli and also, I had to change various trains at way. Neither I had time to invest for travelling nor did I had resources to camp out in Delhi for 2 to 3 years for preparation. Then I decided to join NeoStencil and to get the access to same teachers which the Delhi students are getting with great flexibility while sitting at home in such a remote location.

Ayushi: So, you happened to save your lot of time

Rishi: Time and money.

Ayushi: Nowadays, many people are online, there multiple resources available for the preparation. How coming online helped you to prepare for CSE?

Rishi: Today is the era of information explosion but the need is to pinpoint the information that you really need and we have to segregate accordingly. Basically, it helped me in preparing for my prelims and mains part covering the current affairs. Online resources also helped me to clear my doubts any time anywhere on any topic especially when I was at Singraulli. Actually, I can give all credits to online resources for being wherever I am today.

Ayushi: What was your optional subject and what was your strategy for its preparation as you were preparing for GS also?

Rishi: Ma am, my optional was not a conventional one, it was electrical engineering which was my graduation subject. There was no coaching or any such of materials which were available in the market. Given my background as I was gold medallist from an IIT, so I felt that okay, I can handle my optional with the GS.

Ayushi: So, Rishi, after this huge success, what is your preferred service?

Rishi: My first preference is IAS because I had previously discussed that my wish is to ensure women security in our country. There are some general issues also like making people aware of the schemes of the government and there exist at large communication deficit between the general masses and the bureaucracy. I think that I will be helpful in reducing the trust deficit and information deficit between bureaucracy and citizens.

Ayushi: The students preparing for CSE studies for 20 hours daily. How long you used to study?

Rishi: Ma am actually you can count in me an exception. As many claims for 8 to 15 hours. But it depends on the student that how focussed does he/she can study. As I was not in a job, therefore, I had the flexibility to study as per my will. On ordinary days, I used to study for 8 to 10 hours. But the week before the examination, it went to 15 to 18 hours a day.

Ayushi: So, you use to do parties, watching movies and meeting friends?

Rishi: Actually ma am, I had never left this normal life. I never closed myself inside a room while entire preparation. But I believe that whatever is done if with focus then time is not an issue.

Ayushi: The number of vacancies is reducing year by year as you know. What you have to say about that?

Rishi: It is definitely tough for the candidates who are appearing for CSE this year and the coming years. Nowadays, there is anxiety among students that about the cut-off, competition. I would say that one should not focus on the vacancies that are there in the notification which I believe were 750 this time. One should focus on only 1 seat and even 750 is achievable. Rather than worrying about the reducing number of seats, one should focus on getting one seat for himself out of the total available which is doable.

Ayushi: That s a wise and great advice. As you must be knowing that there is prelims examination on 3rd of June and many students are preparing for that. What is your advice for them for their preparation?

Rishi: Cut-off is a big issue for prelims. We are seeing a continuous increase in cut-off and students are very anxious about this to clear cut-off and to be at the safe side.

Ayushi: Rishi, prelims examination is there on 3rd of June and many of our students are preparing for the same. What is your advice for them?

Rishi: There is only a month left. For all those students who are preparing for this, I would like to say that don t worry about cut-off it can increase or decrease. Whatever you have studied, do revise that. Don t take tension. Do practice question paper test series as much as you can. Practice multiple objective questions and focus on accuracy. Avoid negative marking which is very important. Don t worry about cut-off and do a revision.

Ayushi: That is a nice tip for students preparing for the CSE. Rishi you had electrical engineering as your optional subject which is unconventional. Many students do ask us for how to select optional subjects? What is your advice for them?

Rishi: I had selected electrical because I was familiar with the subject and I had command over it. One should not go with the herd mentality and select the trending optional in the market. One should not go with the rumors in the market that some subjects require fewer months while other demands years for preparing. Rather than believing in rumors, one should try to develop familiarity with the subject whichever he/she wants to choose and try to be comfortable with that subject and built command over it.

Ayushi: Your optional subject was electrical engineering which is a very unconventional type. What is your advice for the students to select the optional subject?

Rishi: Yes, electrical is an unconventional subject. I choose electrical because I had studied the same in my college and I am familiar with it. But for the sake of other students, I would like to say that one should not go with the herd mentality that some particular optional has a good resource available, has good teachers in the market, is more scoring, require fewer efforts, I would say that these all are parts of herd mentality only. One should avoid all these. One should see that he/she is familiar with that. He/she should ensure that a balance is maintained between that optional and the four other subjects of GS. It should not be like you are preparing for optional only for 4 months and then separately preparing for GS. There should be a balance. In a day, 2 hours you should invest for optional, 2 hours for GS and 2 hours for SA. Don t think that only by studying GS or optional you will get selected.

Ayushi: As your subject is a very unconventional type. Plus, you are from an IIT. Then why you didn t go for IES preparation?

Rishi: There is a story behind it. Since class 8th I was preparing for IIT, therefore, I did coaching for it from 10th class and cleared IIT in my first attempt. I was the topper of my department and of the university. I was gold medallist at IIT.

Rishi: I had a belief that if I work hard then definitely I will get a reward for that. Then I wrote GATE examination in 2015 and I got AIR-5th in that. Then I got selected through the interview but I failed in the medical examination. I cam to know that I was colour blind. I didn t know this before. I found that my preparation since my class 8th now doesn t stand and dashed to the ground. Then, I had a need to reinvent my career. IES is a technical job and I was not eligible. In IAS there are 24 types of jobs but I had to not opt around 6 services because I couldn t have filled. Therefore, it can also be an inspiration for the candidates who are preparing for CSE for many years, who think that vacancies are very less, or think that they are very unlucky. But I would say that one should not lose hope and should have trust in God. Your hard work will surely bring fruits to you. Ayushi: Last but not the least. Any message for our aspirants who are watching your right now?

Rishi: One should not lose hope. Because the cycle of the preparation is such that there is a lot of frustration, anxiety and many types of distractions. One should not block down by these hinderances while on way and rather I would say that one must be patient and should have belief in his/her hard work.

Ayushi: That s really a good advice. Yeah, this examination needs students to be patient and motivated at their end. Many students prepare and don t get selected and get disheartened.

Rishi: Ma am, I was also on the same stage last time. I had gone till interview round and thought that I will clear it but didn t found my name in the list of selected students. I also got disheartened. But it is on the person himself that how he re-prepares himself for the next attempt. But if you get disheartened then it will wash away your gains of years of preparation. There is an English saying that- There is always light on the other end of the tunnel . Although it may seem dark right now someday you will reach to the light.

Ayushi: Thank you Rishi. Thank you very much.

Ayushi: Rishi, you were GATE topper. Could you tell us something more about it?

Rishi: I cleared GATE in 2015, which was the same year when I got graduated. My branch was electrical engineering. So, in electrical engineering, I got AIR 5. So, it was a great experience for me to get this good rank.

Ayushi: Can elaborate on it. That what should be the ideal strategy for the students preparing for the GATE examination?

Rishi: There are two parts. One is an ideal time to start preparing and the other is an ideal strategy. Regarding the ideal time, if one looks at the syllabus then he/she can found that the GATE syllabus is mostly out of the courses of the second and third year. One should start preparing for GATE from the second year so that one can look on previous year question paper in the fourth year plus revise all that he studies in his/her second and third year instead of studying again. And regarding the strategy, I could speak for myself, I had the benefit of having very good college professors. And in my friend circle, we used share study method where we used to teach each other by dividing the syllabus. Few of my friends got AIR-11, 31, 25 and myself with AIR-5. I always believe that if one studies with the focus in his college then doesn t require many efforts. There are several online platforms where one can find various resources and one should practice as much as he can.

Ayushi: Would you recommend NeoStencil, to students who are preparing for various government examinations?

Rishi: Definitely yes ma am. NeoSencil was a very crucial factor in my own preparation. There are various factors for this recommendation. The first factor is that it saves your time and money. The second factor is that through NeoStencil you get access to best teachers in the market at the click of your mouse, anytime anywhere access is unparallel. The third factor is for the candidates who can t afford to reside in Delhi or other metro cities due to time and money constraints even to those candidates who are at the remote sites of our country.

If interested, you can listen to our other Topper's Interview Sessions:

IAS Topper s Interview Anu Kumari (AIR 2 CSE 2017)

IAS Topper s Interview Varjeet Walia (AIR-21, CSE 2017)


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