Tuesday, 22 April 2014

TNPSC Exam-Topper's Interview-An Exclusive Interview with Ms.Reshma, TNPSC Group I Exam Topper 2011-13 Exam Interview held on 7th April 2014

An Exclusive Interview with Ms.Reshma, TNPSC Group I Exam Topper 2011-13 Exam Interview held on 7th April 2014

1.    Brief Bio data 

Name: P.R.Reshmi
Age: 29yrs
Caste/Religion/Community: OC
Educational Qualification: BPT (Bachelor of Physiotherapy), MBA (Distance Education- Anna University)
Upto 10th STD, studied at St. Mary’s Matric School, Gummidipoondi
11th and 12th at Jaigopal Garodia Govt. girl’s higher secondary school, Ponneri
UG-Jaya College of Physiotherapy, Thiruninravur, Chennai
Marital Status: Unmarried
Native Place: Ernakulam, Kerala
Settled in: Gummidipoondi (Since Birth)
Fathers Name: Rajasekharan Nair, Age: 71yrs
Occupation: Retired Tea Stall Owner
Mother: P.G.Ammini, 61yrs
Occupation: Home Maker

One Elder Sister, Renuka, Assistant Engineer in Tamilnadu Electricity Board, Presently Settled in Ambattur, Chennai

One Elder Brother, Ranjith, Assistant Manager in Corporation Bank (Presently Settled in Alapuzha, Kerala)

2.   Your interest in TNPSC- the State Civil Services

Started my Career as a Physical Rehabilitaion Therapist at Don Guanella Rehabilitation Center at Karayanchavadi, Poonamalle, in 2007
I was not satisfied with the kind of job I was doing so I wanted to start my own clinic. My father was not able to help me to start my own clinic. So I applied for MBS in Anna University through distance education in 2008 and simultaneously started working at a friends’ HR consultancy to earn more money.

By the time I completed MBA in 2010 I got a very good job for the post of HR Executive at Apollo Health Resources (An outsourcing wing of Apollo Hospitals group. I left practicing Physiotherapy and fully started concentrating on HR work. Meanwhile I applied to University of Sydney to study Human Rights and Democratization. I got 100% scholarship to go to Australia but again my family refused to offer any help saying I should not go anywhere until I am married.

This created in me a strong hatred for marriage and I started to concentrate on career.
Since 2007 I was involved in community development activities along with some of my friends in a village called Pondavakam near Gummidipoondi. Youth Empowerment was our prime motive. But everywhere we face challenge when it came to Government formalities.

One of my friends suggested that I should study for Civil services and get into government service to do service to people.

Initially I decided to study UPSC but then I felt it was a big target, so I decided to apply for TNPSC exams. I applied for Group 1, 2 & 4 in 2012. (Very late actually at the age of 27) but  I Cleared group 1 prelims, mains and interview in the first attempt. I also cleared group 4 and joined Animal Husbandry department as Jr. Assistant in Oct 2013.

3.   Subject Selection

In TNPSC there is no optional subject. We have to study all the subjects for mains
1st Paper: 1) Maths and Mental Ability,
2) Science & Technology,
3) Modern Indian History and Indian Freedom Struggle

2nd Paper: 1) Indian Polity, 2) Geography, 3) Language(English/Tamil)

3rd Paper: 1) Economics, 2) Current Affairs, 3) Social Issues

4.   Coaching if any

I joined Radian IAS academy in 2012 May for prelims. But the coaching was not good. I was also working in a private concern so I couldn’t concentrate completely on studies. In November 2012 I resigned my job and started studying from home. Studied for 3months and wrote prelims in February 2013. In February 2013 I joined Apollo Study centre in CIT Nagar, for mains preparation. Wrote mains in October 2013. Cleared mains and prepared for mains at Manidhaneyam IAS Academy and attended interview on April 7th. Got 3rd rank in state

5.   Preparation Strategy

For prelims I studied Arihants General Knowledge book, Tata Mcgrawhill for Geography, History and economics.

Studied for 8hrs a day initially and increased the study time up to 16hrs a day during jan 2013.

Current Affairs Internet and TV news.

For mains: I wrote 2 tests in a week. Studied all Apollo material thoroughly. Spent more than 12 hours a day in studies the during final two months studied for 16 hours a day (this timing depends on ur health and comfort I am a slow learner so needed more time, some people can read many things in a few hours so don’t fix too much time if u can’t manage or else you will end up with health problems, minimum 6 hours sleep is compulsory)

6.   Book List

Preliminary: Arihants General Knowledge
             Tata Mc Graw Hill
             State board books for social science and Science
            R.S.Agarwal Quantitative Aptitude

Mains: Completely depended on Apollo Materials as I didn't have any money left to buy books.

I wrote more than 50 practice tests in from February to October 2013 for mains in Apollo

I had only four books totally: Social Issues by Ram Ahuja, Science & Tech by Spectrum publications, Indian Polity by Lakshmikanth and Contemporary Indian History by Venkatesan

Apollo materials and test practice is more than enough for Group1 preparation.

Internet was my main source for economics, social issues and current affairs. I also used to do lot of practice test for aptitude online (there are lot of practice tests available online)

7.   Examination Experience

As I applied for exam only at the age of 27, by the time I wrote mains I was crossing 29, I was much tensed as I had pressures for marriage from home, no money, no job, career break. I was not sure whether I would be able to prepare for the last attempt as I belong to OC age limit was 30 year for me.

Prelims was very tough as I didn't have much resources to study, vast syllabus made it very difficult to concentrate on one topic at a time. I was filled with fears of failure.

The prelims exam held in February 2013 was very different from the past exams, aptitude questions turned out to be very positive for me. I had answered correctly for 45 out of 50 aptitude questions. Geography and polity questions were in depth and enabled me to answer correctly.

During mains aptitude was tough as we have to work out it in a step by step manner. I would answer one word correctly whereas doing Maths step by step was a big challenge. Practicing Maths through various online websites helped me a lot.

Other subjects were tackled well by Apollo as they had quality resources persons for each and every subject. Dr. Shankara Saravanan for Science and Technology, Kadhiravan Sir for Economics handled those subjects such that we could answer any type of questions easily. I don’t remember the name of other staffs out Maths sir, physics madam, social issues madam were all excellent in handling their subjects.

All class and materials were exam oriented.

Apollo Director Sam Rajeshwaran Sir is the master mind behind choosing staffs and verifying materials. This saved a lot of time for us as we didn't have to spend time on preparing materials. Everything was spoon feeded and all that we had to do was sit and study properly.

Sam sir used to give us feedback for each and very test which was of extreme use for us in correcting our mistakes and improving gradually.

8.   Interview (strategy, questions, and atmosphere) – TNPSC Board Questions asked

Classes and Mock interview were conducted by Manidhaneyam IAS Academy

Sam sir also arranged for us to meet last years’ toppers to get suggestions about interview

Points to remember during interview:

Study about current affairs, our native district, our UG, PG, field where we work and everything related to us like for eg: If our name is Sachin, then we should know famous personalities with the same name (Eg. Sachin Tendulkar), if we are from vidrudhunagar then we should know about famous personalities in that place (eg: Thiru Kamarajar), if we are from Tirunelveli we should know about koodankulam issue etc

Be Positive, have a smiling face (not laughing)

Don’t be tensed

They only want to check your personality even if you don’t answer 8 out of 10 questions, it won’t affect your mark because they just want to see how you handle the situation

If u don’t know an answer say Sorry sir I don’t know

For eg: if you are an engineering student and you don’t remember any theory but still they repeatedly ask why you don’t learn anything you studied UG for 4 years but you don’t know anything about engineering etc, then you should say sorry sir I studied well but I don’t remember now, but I will surely learn.

Be polite don’t give in to ego. Do not argue at any cost. Even if your answer is correct but the panel says a wrong answer you just say sorry sir may be I had not read correctly I will verify it and learn the correct answer.

Attitude matters a lot. Dress neatly, be calm, sit straight, and keep your hands on your knees. Look straight into the interviewers’ eyes.

If the panel has only male members then look at the person sitting in the middle and wish GOOD MORNING Sirs and look at all of them once.

Don’t sit down until they tell you to sit.

After they say, sit down and say Thank you.

Once you finish, say thank you. Get up quietly. And walk back with confidence don’t run towards the door.

Sleep well on the day before interview only then ur mind will be clear don’t be deprived of sleep.

Questions asked to me during Interview:

You are an MBA, what is organizational behaviour

What is X &Y theory in organizational behaviour

Which scheme of the TN government according to you is the best scheme? Why?

What is maslows hierarchy theory? Do you think it works out in current scenario?

What post is your first choice? Why? I told DC

You are a physiotherapist you could have done better service as physiotherapist why do you want to be a DC

You studied Physiotherapy, but you are working in Animal Husbandry now you are trying for Group 1, why? And how do you justify your suitability?

Define and Differentiate effectiveness and efficiency?

Do you think you education in administration will help you at work? How?

What is trouble shooting and trouble making?

(Note: I didn’t know answers for theoretical questions in MBA like X &Y Theory and I said sorry sir I don’t remember for almost 12 questions I said I don’t know)

You studied MBA for two years and you say you don’t remember anything what is this

How will you apply your education at work when u don’t remember anything ( for this I answered that civil servants come from different study background and still able to work effectively, so it’s not mandatory to study MBA and I studied MBA only through distance education. I shall surely try and learn if required at work.

What are the marriage assistance schemes of TN?

Tell us about Tamilnadu’s stand in Mullai Periyar Issue and what Kerala’s stand in the issue is?

9.    Total Marks scored

Mains: 512.5
Interview: 81 (second slot)
Total: 593.5
3rd Rank in the state

9.   Any other tips you wish to share

When I joined TNPSC mains I had only 10 thousand rupees (that too given by one of my friends), no support from family. I had to travel from Gummidipoondi to CIT nagar for class. At the age of 28 in 2013 I was not married, I had fought with family to study for TNPSC almost all of my relatives had told I won’t come up in life with such an attitude because I didn’t listen to them and get married.

Only my mother supported me saying not to worry and work hard. Since childhood she was the only person who loved me and supported me in my family.

The only other support I had was from a few friends

Sam sir said that I can pay fees in installment.

He was like an elder brother who used to give me counseling whenever I was in the verge of breaking up due to frustration.

Now that I have passed the exam every one of my relatives want to take credit for my success. I didn’t even have supported for my immediate family in terms of money, they didn’t even ask me what I am doing to pay fees.

But now they are different.

This one and half years has taught me what is hunger, what is poverty, how it is to fight alone in life, and who my real friends are.

Anyone can come to me now, but I will only remember those who stood by me and said Reshmi you will surely succeed, I am there for you.

Sleep for 6 hours minimum at night. You can go for a small nap in the afternoon. Sleeping time depends on one’s health so sleep for 6-8 hours a day.

On the night before exam sleep for minimum 6-8 hours only then you can perform well don’t wake up all night.

I have only one thing to tell to TNPSC aspirants, if you are facing challenges from all sides then be sure that you are going to win because those people who discourage us are igniting the fire of survival in us and that fire will surely bring us glory.

Don’t give up because of empty fear and doubt, trust the institute where you study and trust your mentor, work hard. Study for 12 hours a day at least.

We can sleep or pass time after we get into the post. We will have lot of empty time after retirement. Don’t think about all the now. Now is the time to study.

People will try to divert you telling about bribery, corruption in exams etc. Don’t listen to all that. Our aim should be to get into the service through merit and so we should work hard more than others.

Moreover all the exams are conducted in a very transparent and open manner no one can get through by other means.

The only way is hard work. I have realized that with my experience so don’t waste time in such thoughts invest your time in studies and positive thoughts only.

Whether it’s your first attempt or 2nd or 3rd just think your time has come and you are going to succeed.

Every day when you get up in the morning (be it 6 or 7 or even 10 am) imagine that you have cleared prelims, mains and interview and that you are in training now), repeat that imagination before going to bed every day. Never think you can’t win.

Always say to your subconscious mind that success is yours and you have got the post you desired for. Tell yourself as if it had happened already fix in your mind that you have succeeded already.

This practice helped me to relieve fears and tension.

This is the first time two OC candidates have passed in TNPSC (Myself and 7th rank holder Sita Krishnamoorthy (she is also of same age as I am), everyone said we have made history.

If we can make history, anyone can. Everyone can.

"All the Best"


  1. so inspirational words thank u nw only going to start for upcoming grp 1 b4 tat ur words giving me more confidence sure me to will become grp 1 officer thank u once again

  2. Interview tamila irukuma illa English ah sir

  3. You can do either in English or Tamil in the Interview

  4. Hai, how many subjects hav to complete perday for prelims ?Can u give some tips regarding prelims point of u ?

  5. Its NOT how many subjects. Its only the quality. At least 60-80 pages text per day. That too in good memory

  6. Please tell me which coachingcenter s better for group 2 exam

  7. Dear Friend, its too difficult to tell you. Its our policy not to incline with any Institute. You can get the rating from the FAQ "How to choose a Coaching Center" given in the blog


  8. Thanks for the information, it's really very useful for tnpsc exam study material….

  9. Thanks for the information, it's really very useful , then hear also provide the TNPSC Group 4 coaching ...

  10. Mam how did u prepared for tnpsc prelims group 1 .Did u referred samacheer kalvi book

  11. The great motivational speech mam...first of all hats of u for being such a brave girl...I salute u ...and i m gonna take u as one of my inspiration ...and finally thanks for motivating me by ur wonderful speech... impressed..

  12. TNPSC VAO Result 2017, Tamilnadu PSC VAO Cut-Off & Merit List 2017: Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) had organized the TNPSC Village Administrative Exam 2017 at many pre arranged examination centers.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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