IAS Topper's Strategy - Prithviraj B.P. (AIR 542)
Prithviraj in an interview with NeoStencil shared about his inspiration, strategy and interview experiences.
IAS Topper's Interview - Prithviraj B.P. (AIR 542)
1. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?
I have done engineering from IIT Bombay and MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 2006. I had no interest in government job at that time and worked in corporate sector for almost 3 years in various capacities and industries. I worked in a large MNC both in India and abroad and finally I also worked in a startup. All this because I didn't get any job satisfaction in any of the jobs. Finally in 2009 it was during the recession period that I decided to try for Civils. I also got to know that some of my batch mates from IIM Ahmedabad entered IAS. This sealed my decision and I never looked back.
2. What inspired you to prepare for IAS examination?
No job satisfaction, lack of challenges and monotonous jobs in corporate sector was the main driving reason. Despite so much growth of private sector, IAS still remains one of the best jobs in the country. Also social respect that one gets also was a factor.
3. What is a typical day in your study life? What is your style of preparation (e.g. I continue making notes no matter what I m reading, I just read multiple times but don t maintain notes, I make mind maps on computer or xyz style)
I believe in only one thing - revision. In this exam the problem is that we read a lot but we don't assimilate it or recollect it properly during exam times and write a layman kind of answer. You need to show that you know more and this can only happen by making concise notes and repeated revision of those notes. Also you need to grasp relevant things from newspapers and magazines. Having a look at previous year question papers segregated topic wise, one comes to know about the kind of questions that one can expect in this exam. This again is very important. I consider previous year question papers an important part of one's preparation.
4. How many days before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
I did Answer writing on and off. Since i took repeated attempts at this exam, I didn't really practice much answer writing. But one should start this very early in ones preparation. For each topic once you finish reading notes then you should attempt previous year question papers. Discussing the answers with friends or through online websites should be very useful.
5. How was your experience with the fixed space answer sheet?
One needs to organize one's thinking properly before attempting any answer. You should take about a minute to make a mental rough draft and then start writing answers. I always preferred writing short answers so I kind of liked this shift to fixed space answer sheets.
6. How did you balance your preparation with Job or other exams, if any?
For my first attempt I took full year off and studied extensively without any other commitments. I got through IRTS in this attempt, and later had to manage training with preparation time. We got lot of support from the training institutions for giving additional attempts. I wish to extend my gratitude to them for the support.
7. What magazines /newspapers/standard books did you refer to for preparing Current Affairs?
Civil services chronicle, Hindu, Indian Express, NCERT books and vaji ram notes ( I had attended their classes earlier). Internet also helped in my preparation. I would just google on a particular topic and then go on exploring the links.
8. How did you prepare your Optional subject?
Sociology was my optional in last attempt. I studied from BA Honors IGNOU study material. My vaji ram notes and harlambos textbook. It has to be a mix of college level study material, coaching notes and some standard books for that subject.
9. Can you please share with us your interview experience (Interview board and Questions faced and how did you answer)?
Chairman started by asking a question related to railways : what is the turn around time of wagons in India and UK?
Me - Sir the average turnaround time of wagons in India is 8 days average. I don't know about UK.
Chairman - You must have studied this in your training institute in Baroda ?
Me - Sir i don't remember.
Chairman - Something about debt equity ratio and what is the best ratio for a company? Me - Told the definition of equity ratio and answered something about the sector influencing the ratio for a company.
We also had a conversation about bullet trains and the underlying technology it uses and issues in agriculture and how to tackle them.
10. Which coaching institutes you attended?
Vaji ram and for interview I gave mocks at several institutions.
11. Please share your mark sheet/marks. CS Mains 2013 Interview : 185/275 Ethics : 101
12. NeoStencil s live online platform aims to solve a big problem of students who are working and who can t afford to come to Delhi or other metros for Civil Services coaching from top teachers. Do you think that we have created value by connecting top teachers with students?
I think it will all depend on the experience of the students. Guidance is definitely needed to succeed in this exam. Answer checking and the related discussion together with pointers and links to relevant study material and answers by other students will be a BIG benefit. Most of the time teachers check answers superficially and few written remarks knowing well that students will personally come to discuss them, if however this is to be done online then the approach of the top teachers also needs to change. Intelligent search which links related topics and lectures could be helpful.
13. Once again congratulation for making it. Is there any message you would like to give to IAS Aspirants who look up to you?
Work hard and always strive to excel. Remember that the real struggle begins after you enter civil services.
All the best!!!
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