Topper's Interview


Civil Services exam 2013-14 – IAS Topper Interview –
Mr. V.P.Gautham- 138th   Rank
(An Exclusive Interview)

BIO DATA
I hail from a small town called Oddanchatram in central Tamil Nadu. But, I managed to get good quality education, thanks to my parents and my school (Christian Matriculation School, Oddanchatram). I studied in the same school till my 12th standard. My father V.Palanichamy is an advocate (a former government pleader and a public prosecutor) and my mother R.Kasthuri is a teacher in a government school. My little brother V.P.Cibi is doing his eleventh standard. I secured All India Rank-3 in IFoS (Indian Forest Service) examinations, 2013 and AIR-138 in civil services exam, 2013, both in my first attempt.

WHY&HOW I CHOSE CIVIL SERVICES

My father was the one who inspired me to take up the civil services. He gave me immense liberty, which allowed me to develop as a free thinking and an independent individual. My dad was always keen to share things with me, but not enforce things on me. He is my friend, philosopher and guide. My mother was the one who backed me during setbacks. I am one person who always love to come forward and do things. I loved assuming leadership roles in all aspects of life. I was the President of the student union of my college (College of Engineering Guindy). I learnt a lot in this position and I feel that these lessons would help me in my future roles. So, it was not one event which made me enter this career. I think the various events in my life, my father’s inspiration and my innate desire to be a leader made me enter the field. I started full-fledged preparations after finishing my U.G. in 2012.
Why I chose civil services, that too IAS?

            I entered this field because
1. I think work is not merely for monetary purposes. As Marx says, work is an important avenue for expression of one’s personality. I feel that IAS can offer me that chance to express my personality. Moreover, unlike several jobs, I, as an IAS, will clearly know for what and for whom I work.
2. The private sector doesn’t give me enough power (=ability to influence people’s lives) as the civil service. The amplification factor is high in civil services and my good work will be reflected in a positive way in the lives of thousands of people.
3. Given that I believe in my talent, I’d like to use it where it matters the most.

SUBJECT SELECTION

            My optional was Geography. I chose geography because of three major factors:
1) Availability for guidance (Shankar sir was very equipped in handling Geography and he had a very good reputation in the civil services community).
2) I had a liking for science subjects. Geography, though an arts subject, is more like science. And, I also had a liking and a familiarity with geography from my school days.
3) And, Geography as an optional subject returned stable, predictable scores in civil services (unlike engineering optional which give unpredictable marks)
COACHING

            I attended classes at Shankar IAS academy, Chennai. I really liked the way the classes are conducted here, in an interactive and dynamic fashion. I personally do not like a classroom which has a one-way (only teacher to student) conversation. Classes at Shankar IAS academy were designed to interest the students and make learning an enjoyable process. We were encouraged to ask questions and there often student-teacher debates in classroom. This provided the right atmosphere to initiate the thinking process.
            The coaching institute gave access to invaluable guidance (by networking with seniors, mentorship by faculty) and it helped in busting all the civil service myths which really dent one’s confidence. This guidance and motivation provided by Shankar sir helped in removing fears whenever they arose and to move forward in the right direction. Moreover, coaching institutes come with an unexpected positive fallout- they provide you with the company of like minded individuals (your classmates). This helps in easing the preparation through group discussions, especially during mains and interview. But, I strongly suggest that the group discussions must be initiated only after basic knowledge is gained through individual preparation. Moreover, the group should have a strong sense of direction and discipline.
            But coaching is not absolutely necessary. A lot of my friends who have prepared without coaching have even succeeded. Even people going to work and preparing part time have reaped success. The key is a single minded determination, focus and hard work of at least 5-6 hours a day. I recommend an uninterrupted preparation (don’t skip preparation anyday). Long breaks (more than 2 or 3 days) may affect the tempo and rhythm of preparation.

NEWSPAPER- THE BACKBONE OF MY PREPARATION

                        Though I attended coaching at Shankar IAS academy, I never preferred handmade coaching class notes (neither from my academy nor from Delhi). I just listened to the classes and made my own notes and value added to them. I had an aversion to coaching class materials. I rather preferred original sources and standard books, both for my GS and optional. But the classes helped me in giving valuable info and also initiated good chains of thought through classroom interactions (both with the faculty and co-aspirants). My best all-in-all source for GS was ‘The Hindu’. There is nothing in the world like a newspaper, as it throws light on multiple subjects simultaneous which allows inter-subject connection in the mindmap. When we are thorough with the basic concepts and information in each subject, then reading newspapers will be an awesome experience as most articles appear very familiar to us. This will help in gaining a familiarity over an area and will act as a valuable revision tool. For example, when I read a news item on a Supreme Court judgement (esp. in constitutional cases), I used to connect its arguments with the various articles in the constitution. This helped in revision of the articles as well as developing understanding of them..

            Moreover, newspapers are a treasury of information. Reading them helped me garner many ‘fodder points’ which I could use for any question (especially those questions or areas for which we haven’t prepared specifically) in the examination. This made me confident in GS and I had the mentality to face any question whatsoever, since I could generate at least 2 or 3 points from what I had read in newspaper in the past 2 years. I feel being accomplished in newspaper reading was a great boon to me and that alone resulted in my high GS scores. All aspirants all over India prepare from almost similar sources but this clear newspaper reading (along with writing newspaper notes and revising them) would take you places. I, for one, used to spend 3-4 hours for newspaper reading (+of course writing down notes) alone. Now, many students rely on various websites (like gktoday.in) for current affairs notes. Though these sites may help slightly when there is lack of time, they will never match the usefulness of a newspaper. And while reading newspaper, try to connect it with the conventional areas. For economics and international affairs, ‘The Hindu’ was my most important source. I tried reading 2-3 newspapers (like Indian express, Times of India, in addition to ‘The Hindu’) but I found this to be a futile exercise and hence stuck with ‘The Hindu’.

PREPARATION STRATEGY

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude


Topic
strategy
Maths
Just pick out the areas from which arithmetic questions are asked; Some prime
Areas are time-work, distance-speed-time, seating arrangements, HCF-LCM, TRAI problems, relative velocity, etc. Strengthen your basics and problem solving abilities in these areas.
reasoning
Practice alone helps
comprehension
Not to be considered as an exclusive area of Paper II. Instead, as and when you prepare for Paper I or when you read newspaper, just make sure that you understand each word verbatim and you’re able to grasp the core matter better. Such a practice while reading ‘The Hindu’ editorials will really help.
Decision Making
Practice


BOOKLIST

I have listed below the various topics in the mains syllabus and my respective sources of preparation.
Topic
My preparation strategy
Culture
CCRT website. But I have not heard of a comprehensive resource for Culture. This is quite a huge portion but I did a selective study of CCRT, some culture related current affairs, PIB features on culture, etc.
Indian history
Modern India NCERT;
Bipan Chandra-‘India’s Struggle for independence’; This book is very important to gain a proper perspective and hence I recommend it.
Many of my friends read ‘Spectrum-Modern India’ but I found it somewhat boring. So, stopped reading it. I would suggest reading original books rather than compiled guide like stuff.
world history
Arjun Dev NCERT; I also prepared answers for around 100 world history questions given by Shankar sir.

post-independence India
Bipan Chandra-‘India since independence’; This book has better exam related stuff than Guha’s ‘India after Gandhi’ which is more like a novel.
Though I really liked Guha’s book, I found the ‘Bipan Chandra’ to be more useful for the exam.
NCERT-‘politics in India since independence’-a must read; got some questions in the exam directly from this.
Personalities- Prepare some short note for all the leading figures of the past 60 years of independent India..
Indian society
NCERT-Indian society;
News items and articles on social issues;
EPW
role of women, poverty etc.
These are my optional areas. Hence did not concentrate much for GS. I prepared for Geography and Socio but retained Geography when the notification came.
globalization on Indian society
These are my optional areas. Hence did not concentrate much for GS.
communalism, regionalism, secularism
These are my optional areas. Hence did not concentrate much for GS.
world geo physical
These are my optional areas. Hence did not concentrate much for GS.
resource distribution
Mrunal.org
factors for industrial location
Mrunal.org;
NCERT: India -people and resources
Models and theories-Majid Hussainà for Weber’s industry location theory, isodopane concepts, labour cost contours, etc.
earthquake tsunami etc
NCERT: Fundamentals of Physical geography;
Physical Geography: Savindra Singh- just give a light read on certain topics for GS
impact on flora-fauna
4x4 report by NAPCC(GoI);
IPCC summary;
Newspaper articles

 

General studies (Mains) paper 2


Topic
My preparation strategy
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc.
Lakshmikanth;
‘Constitution of India’ android app for articles verbatim; I’d recommend the aspirants to exactly remember at least the first 50 articles(up to DPSP) and other important articles(given in the back of Lakshmikanth); You can use them while answering essays and other questions;

Comparing Constitution with world
Shankar sir’s class(comparison with US,UK,French, South African, Swiss constitutions);
NCERT-Constitution at work-à Boxes articles highlighting the best features of some constitutions;
parliament, state Legislatures
Lakshmikanth
executive-judiciary
Lakshmikanth;
ministries departments
I read some annual reports of some ministries; But I think it is like searching for a needle in a haystack; After reading through 100 pages, you would find only 10 good points; Maybe, you can share this work among your friends;
pressure group, informal association.

Representation of people’s act
Newspaper(Supreme Court verdicts);
Election commission of India- website(for model code of conduct);
PIB releases on elections;
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory..
Lakshmikanth
NGO, SHG etc
Shankar class notes
welfare schemes, bodies
Economic survey
social sector, health, education, HRD
Economic survey;
governance, transparency, accountability

e-governance

role of civil service

India & neighbors
Challenges and strategy: Rethinking India’s foreign policy by Rajiv Sikri; This book is a very nice and I would recommend it strongly to understand the basis of India’s foreign policy;
India and its world: A talk show on Rajya Sabha TV- This explains recent international issues very clearly;
International news in ‘The Hindu’;
bilateral/global grouping
Shankar material on International organisations;
Official Websites of various groupings;

effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest
News articles
Diaspora

international bodies- structure mandate
Shankar class notes;

 

General studies (Mains) Paper 3


            Since this paper is mainly a current affairs oriented paper, I did not do a lot of specific preparation for each topic. Hence, I am unable to quote a lot of sources for this paper. I mostly relied on ‘The Hindu’
Topic
Preparation strategy
Indian economy, resource mobilization
Newspaper
inclusive growth

Budgeting
Shankar sir classes
major crops, irrigation
Optional area; Shankar sir’s classes
agro produce – storage, marketing

e-technology for famers
Info from various sources- Government websites, news articles
farm subsidies, MSP

PDS, buffer, food security

technology mission

animal rearing economics

food processing
PIB features
land reforms
Bipan Chandra’s ‘India since independence’. Land acquisition problems. The new legislation.
Liberalization
Some points from Gurcharan Das’s ‘India Unbound’
Infra

investment models

science-tech day to day life
The hindu, mrunal.org
Indian achievements in sci-tech

awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR

environmental impact assessment
Shankar material
Disaster Management

internal security – role of media, social networking site, cyber security, money laundering,
border  Management, organized crime, terrorism,
security agencies- structure mandate
This entire area was taken last year by Mr. Suresh (2013 AIR 305). His classes helped immensely. A lot of questions appeared directly from the areas he had covered.

 

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude


Topic
My preparation strategy
ethics and interface, family, society

attitude, moral influence etc.
Joseph(Officers’ IAS academy) sir’s classes;
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc

emotional intelligence, its use in governance
KM Pathy’s notes; His blog ‘musings: reflections of a social nomad’ helped;
moral thinkers of India and world
Mitra Pal sir’s classes and his material from DoPT website (I don’t know the exact URL) helped a lot in this paper.
I prepared for around 10 thinkers like
 India- Tagore, Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi,
World: Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, John Rawls, JS Mill


THE EXPERIENCE OF INTERVIEW
PREPARATION FOR INTERVIEW
PREPARATION FOR MY GRADUATION SUBJECT
            I zeroed in on certain basic subjects of my graduation course (B.E.-ECE). I picked 6 of my graduation papers and read the standard books associated with each of those papers and prepared short notes.. I didn’t go too deep(like equations, formulae,etc.)  but just glanced to recollect the concepts. I also prepared on the latest relating to my course(for eg; meaning of spectrum, 2G,3G, 2G scam, LED,LCD, etc.)

PREPARATION FOR GENERAL ISSUES
I also indulged in a lot of group discussions with my study mates even before the mains results came. This helped in getting into the groove, both with the language flow and the flow of points. It also helped in enriching the information, brushing up facts(which we tend to forget especially due to the long gap between mains and interview) and also sharpening our arguments.

             I attended quite a few mock interviews. Some mock interviews were similar to the official while some were  not. Mock interviews can help you face unexpected situations and serve as an indicator o what type of questions might be asked to you, especially in the bio-data area.

  Maybe, at least one suck mock is necessary to give you a look and feel of the interview experience. I think a limited no. of mock interviews is sufficient. The more we attend, the more we might get confused due to contradictory suggestions from each board. The mock interview with Mr.Shylendra Babu IPS(ADGP Coast Guard, Tamil Nadu) really helped, both during my IFS and Civil services interviews

WHAT I DID JUST BEFORE THE INTERVIEW!

I just took with me a couple of small notebooks which I had prepared for the interview. Read the notebooks whenever I felt like reading. Most of the time when I was in Delhi(I was staying in Tamil Nadu House), I never felt like reading. So, I would take a walk in the Nehru Park or I would just watch some news channel in my room. I think it’s good to have a relaxed mindset on the eve of the interview. Try not to think about the areas which you have not prepared. Try to refrain from discussing on subject topics one or two days before the interview. In case you are unaware of a particular area, it may destroy your confidence. So, it is better to have a nice walk or some good rest and go to the interview with a fresh and peaceful mind.

During the interview


            Since I had already attended the interview for IFoS, I was very comfortable by the time I attended my civil services interview. I wore a white shirt, black trousers and a black coat and black shoes for the interview. We are not allowed to take pens, watch, mobile or any electronic gadget inside the interview chamber. The chairman of my board was Dr.David Sylmeiah, an academician and a historian. The interview went on for  25 minutes( approximate, since no watch is allowed inside interview hall)

            80% of my interview  was based on my profile; I was the students’ President in my college(College of Engineering Guindy); So, most questions were based on my presidency, student politics, student  elections, etc.      The members were all enthusiastic and it seemed to me that they were impressed with what I delivered. But, the chair was expressionless, did not ask a lot of questions and so I did not know if he really liked my performance.

            Overall, I felt I did okay. I could’ve done much better. I also found the interview to be very profile based, and it did not have much diversity of questions like my IFS interview. I did not get very unexpected  or unsettling questions; It was not designed to  be a stress interview. However I felt the questions to be monotonous(mostly based on my profile) and I think it did not have much scope to express myself. Hence, the average marks in interview.

MARKSHEET

Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2013
Roll No: 118745
Name: V.P.Gautham


SUBJECTS
MARKS
ESSAY (PAPER-I)
094
GENRAL STUDIES -I (PAPER-II)
075
GENRAL STUDIES -II (PAPER-III)
077
GENRAL STUDIES -III (PAPER-IV)
093
GENRAL STUDIES -IV (PAPER-V)
097
OPTIONAL-I (GEOGRAPHY) (PAPER-VI)
118
OPTIONAL-II (GEOGRAPHY) (PAPER-VII)
103
WRITTEN TOTAL
657
PERSONALITY TEST
173
FINAL TOTAL
830


Remarks :-RECOMMENDED

PRELIMINARY MARKS: 125.34+183.33=309

TIPS&TRIVIA

Never think of your friend or your co-aspirant as your competitor. Always be ready to lend a helping hand to your friends when they feel insecure. A few motivating words can do wonders. I have both been a giver and a receiver in this respect. So, I know the importance of the moral support of friends. The most difficult thing in preparing for civil services is to maintain your composure throughout the preparation period. It is quite natural if your motivation levels dip during this period, but it is important to stick to your goal and at least put in a few hours of study.

            Positive belief and self confidence are indispensables and these will come only with hard work. Never underrate yourself. There is nothing called inborn talent. Today’s hard work is tomorrow’s talent. So, please believe in yourself. You’ll become what you believe yourself to be.

MY WISHES AND PRAYERS

            I sincerely believe that hard working aspirants like you will definitely succeed. I extend my advance congrats for your future success!!!



Civil Services exam 2013-14 – IAS Topper Interview –
Ms Beno Zephine – 343rd    Rank
(An Exclusive Interview)

“Ms.Beno Zehine is a Visually Challenged person cleared the Civil Services Exam 2013-14 in her second attempt. It’s a great achievement and also an inspiration to many youngsters”

www.Indianexaminations.blogspot congratulates her for all future endeavors

-      Author

1.    Brief about your Bio-data?

My name is Beno jesson emon and I belong to Chennai and I studied at little flower convent higher secondary school for. Right now I am working at the provisionary officer and my college UG was at Stella Marry’s and PG was at Loyolla College, currently I am doing PhD at Bharathiyar University Coimbatore. Right now, I secured 343rd rank in the civil services examination conducted by the UPSC and I might not have a vision I might not a physical vision bit always I have the vision to become an IAS officer.

2.    When and how did you decided civil services examination/ interested in CSE?

            Sir, I developed kind  passion oriented towards civil services when I was in my 11th I used to ask lot of questions on Indian economy, history, and so on to my teacher when I was in school little flower convent and I kind of developed passion of that.
 I love this nation a lot I naturally I thought the every citizen have the great mount of responsibility towards ensuring the national resources are not wasted so in that scenario whenever I found someone wasting water I will keen to tell that person not to do so. So I thing these entire thing kind of clock together and made me to pursue civil service.

3.    Tell about the new exam pattern and your experience?

            The new examination pattern is a kind of very good. They have increase the weight age of general studies in mains there are four papers right now I think the general studies paper try to cover every aspects and especially the final intellectual paper 4 that is the fourth general studies paper is something remarkable ethics integrity and attitude I thing the new system is quite good.

4.     Normally literature people are not choosing for main examination how you chose the examination?

            No, literature people normally literature people normally literature is not the opted option.  I have opted for literature because I am basically literature student I did my UG in literature, pg in literature, right now I am doing my PhD in literature I think  being  a literature student  I have chosen  literature as my optional subjects  in the mains. 

5.    Whether the coaching is needed or not for success?

  I think institute played a vital role in my success I think coaching is required because it will make, It will lesser your work but at the same time it will  support  you but one more thing is that we should  not freely try to  copy the strategy  given by the institute because every person is different  ,every human being is different ,I think the strategy given by the  institute should be altered to his or her  kind of strength and weakness aspiration everything,  I think coaching institute  play a very vital role  and institute freely  Offer guidance and support 

6.     Could you tell about preparation strategy to tackle the examination and cracking the civil services?

As for as prelims is  concern there two papers  civil services aptitude and general studies and if a particular person clear this examinations and reaches the main  examination ,there are nine papers  two qualifying paper ,  one is English and other could be the regional language and apart from this  one essay paper and four general studies paper  and optional papers  you know one option and two paper ,paper I and paper II , so this is the pattern and the  interview  the personality test ,I think this is the examination pattern .

7.    What are the essential books to read in a right kind of way to tackle the examination?

 Sir according to me I have said Indian struggle for freedom by Bibin Chandra, Indian polity by Laxmikanth, I feel that the NCERT books are very essential, spectrum modern India I have read. I think  these are the books that  I have read ,but I think  reading  to many books  not the essential Reading of book revising it again and again is essential . I think it help a person to crack this Civil service better than reading the number and number of books.

8.     Some people tell about the examination of economic paper III is difficult. What the book you read for that subject?

             Sir, I think economic is all about understanding if you understand the concept better I think economy, for me answering is kind of good easy task me. So, for me I have not read any books I just followed the current affairs and try to understand what each and every concept. The concept like fiscal deficit rupee depreciation I think every concept should understand in a total sense I think that help a person better.

9.    Your experience with the civil service examination?

It was good. I really feel proud that I have prepared for civil services.

10. In what way the interview was you tackled that atmosphere.

            The interview was really good, because when I went to the interview I felt proud that I have really reached the UPSC office no matter the result, irrespective of the result, so I think when I was spoken to the IAS officers I was happy that I was able to communicate them and I was able to answer the questions raised by them so I was really happy with the interview experience.

11. What are the areas covered by the interviewer in your turn?

            North eastern Maoist and terrorism and foreign policy, mobile phone, environment and so and so forth sir.

12. How to marks ma’m will score?

            In my mains I have scored 802 and my Prelims mark I do not know sir.

13. Any other tips you wish to share to our listener?

            Sir, I think challenges are very essential for every person. No challenges are inevitable in every person’s life, but the thing which is essential is will power to tackle it. I think the will power should be developed by every person. I think that will help to every one of us to tackle the challenge.

            



An Exclusive Interview with Ms.Tina Kumari, TNPSC Group I Exam Topper 2011-13 Exam Interview held on 7th April 2014
(First Rank)

Brief Bio data

Name                  : P.Tina Kumari
Age                    :  29 years
Place of Birth       : Neyveli
School                 : St. Joseph of Cluny (2001 Pass out) 
Degree                 : B.Tech (IT),
                                             PSG College of Technology (2005 Pass out)
                Work Experience: Worked in TCS, IBM

                Family Details        :
    Father                   : C.Paramasivam, AO
    Mother                  : S.Poongothai, Teacher
                Husband              : M.Raja Saravanan, 
                                             Wipro Technologies Limited
    Son                      : R. Sharan


Your interest in TNPSC- the State Civil Services

I had worked for a couple of Software Services Companies, but my interest was in Civil Services. So, I had quit my job and started preparing for TNPSC exams. I cleared Group-2 exams in 2011 and joined the Commercial Taxes Department. I appeared for the Group-1 Preliminary examination in 2011, but was not able to clear it, so, made a full-fledged preparation in 2013 and made it through.

Subject Selection

TNPSC Group-1 Main Examination has three papers for General Studies now and no optional papers. In Paper-2, I chose English as a language subject.

Coaching if any

I underwent one year of coaching at Manidhaneyam Academy under the guidance of our mentor Mr.Sam Rajeswaran. As it was my first Mains attempt, Sam sir's guidance was of great help in making the preparation fruitful.

Preparation Strategy

I had devoted one full year for the preparation.
Preliminary – I covered the entire syllabus well ahead and ensured that there was ample time for revision

Mains - The core idea is to complete the entire paper within the stipulated time and to give answers in good standard. Presentation of the answers also plays an important role. Our mentor and Test Director Mr.Sam Rajeswaran used to insist on having frequent test practices. He used to evaluate each and every test papers and identify our mistakes and would suggest corrective measures then and there. It helped me a lot in maintaining the quality of answers and improving the speed of writing.

Interview – It was more of a personality test. Reading newspapers was part of my regular schedule. So, having a deep insight into the International, National and State issues is important.


Book List 

1.     School books from 6th to 12th
2.     Study Material given at the Academy
3.     Spectrum Series – Science and Technology
4.     Indian Polity - Laxmikanth
5.     Wizard – Social Issues
6.     Quantitative Aptitude – R.S.Agarwal
7.     Wikipedia

Examination Experience

We were the first batch to take the examination with the new pattern of three General Studies Papers. So, I gave equal importance to all the subjects – the conventional subjects(History, Polity, Geography) as well as the current updates in Indian Economy, Social Issues etc., While making the choice of questions, I ensured to choose the questions that I was very sure of giving correct and standard answers.

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

1.     Recent Issues in my District (Cuddalore)
2.     about the power production in NLC
3.     New ventures of NLC
4.  from my Engineering degree – Data Warehousing, Data Mining
5.     E-Governance Initiatives of our Government
6.     What new initiatives will I bring in e-Governance?
7.     Is Disinvestment necessary? Give reasons
8.   About Environment and International initiatives to control Global Warming.
9.     What are the sources of State government revenue?
10.  Revenue generated by Sales tax for the current financial year

Total Marks scored: 623

Any other tips you wish to share.

1.     Have a positive attitude throughout the preparation time.
2.     Enjoy the learning process. Take it as an opportunity to expand your knowledge.
3.     Preparation, Practice and Perseverance- will make us reach Success…

“All the Best”

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

BIODATA

Name G POONGUZHALI
Age     27 yrs
Native Dist   Karur
Graduation   BE (EEE)
Father    Working in a PSU
Mother    House wife
TNPSC Attempts 2(wrote mains in both the attempts)
Achievements   District topper in higher secondary exam
TNPSC Rank 4
Post Allotted   Deputy Collector
Interest in State Services

 I was preparing for civil services exam conducted by UPSC.As the syllabus for state services appeared similar (except for the optional), I made a try in State services. In my first attempt I could not clear the mains. In my second attempt I made it.
Coaching and Strategy

Preliminary
     I prepared on my own for the preliminary exam. As I already cleared CSE preliminary of UPSC, it helped me in clearing preliminary of Group 1 exam. Having strong basics in the subject, some facts on Tamil Nadu, current affairs and practice would suffice in clearing preliminary.

MAIN Exam

    As Group 1 main exam comprises only of general studies paper, one needs an extensive preparation. My regular reading of newspaper (THE HINDU), taking notes for the same and frequent revision made me to write good answers. Substantiating one's answer with appropriate facts would fetch good marks.

Writing practice and completing paper on time is very much essential in clearing this exam. Sam sir of Apollo institute helped me a lot in this regard. His continuous feedback and motivation helped me to write better answers. Correcting one's mistakes on time, being open minded, systematic preparation, handwork, stay focused and positive attitude leads to success.

Interview

 I joined Manidhanaeyam Institute for the interview programme. Knowing about oneself i.e., bio-data is the first step in preparing for the interview. Forming opinions on current issues with appropriate justifications helps to give an informed answer in an interview. Attending mock interviews helps to overcome fear and fine tune one's answer. Being bold and confident without arrogance in the interview projects one well in interview.

Book List

 1. State board books 6th to 12th Standard
 2. Spectrum-Modern India, Statistics
 3. Websites-PIB, TN Govt, IDSA, Newsonair (news analysis, money talk, current affairs)
 4. Newspaper-The Hindu
 5. A book on TN facts by Shakthi Publications
 6. India Year Book (Govt Schemes consolidation)


Interview Experience

 I was the 4th candidate to the board in the afternoon. The following are the questions asked to me.

CHAIRMAN 

1. What is the meaning of your name?
2. Why do you want to join Group 1 services? Why can’t you try Indian Engineering Service? (Since I am an engineer)
3. What have you been doing for the last 6 years?
4. What is your score in plus 2 examination? (Since I was a district topper)
5. What is your father?
6. Are you appearing for Civil services Interview this time? (Wished me all the best for my interview)

Member 1

1. Where you finished your graduation?
2. What is the difference between Electrical and Electronics?
3. You are an EEE engineer. Tell me why Electrical and Electronics are linked together as one discipline?
4. As an engineer how can you contribute to administration?

Member 2

1. What is the use of IT in administration? (Since I was a software engineer in an IT company)
2. Tell me some projects on e-governance in Tamil Nadu 
3. You forgot one important initiative. Tell me that.(Member hinted that TNPSC also implementing e-governance initiatives  through online applications etc.)

Member 3

1. What is Android software?
2. What is the significance of Android software?
3. What are the other mobile software available?
4. Do you SMS often? What is GOK?


Marks Secured

Main (Written) Marks    507.5/900
Interview Marks              81/120
Total                            588.5/1020





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

BRIEF BIO-DATA

Name: P.Geetha Priya
Native: Udumalpet, Tirupur District
Currently settled in Chennai
Parent’s Occupation: Agriculture
DOB: 15.05.1983
Marital Status: Married

EDUCATION QUALIFICATION:

HSC: Srinivasa Vidyalaya Mat H.Sec School, Udumalpet
UG: B.A. (eng. Literature), PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, Coimbatore
PG: M.A. (Public Management), University of Madras, Chennai
        M.B.A. (Specialization – Human resources, Marketing), Bharathiar University, Coimbatore

ACCOLADES:

2001-02: All India Best Glider Pilot – NCC Air wing; Felicited by then Prime Minister Mr. AB Vajpayee, President – Mr.K.R. Narayanan
Secured University 4th rank in M.B.A.

WORK EXPERIENCE:

2007-10: HR Executive in Larsen and Tubro Infotech

HOBBIES:
Glass Painting, Cooking

INTEREST IN STATE CIVIL SERVICES

I attempted on serious preparation mode only by 2011 though I had aspiration for being a civil servant since my childhood days. I chose state service for the following reasons:
1.    I wasn’t sure if I would do justice in preparing for UPSC exams since I had child
2.    The choice of being posted in the home state lured to state services

COACHING:

Saidai.Sa.Duraisamy’s MANIDANEYAM IAS Academy

PREPARATION STRATEGY:

PRELIMS:

1.    Requires vast preparation
2.    Need to update the subject in addition to the information in school books
3.    Do a strength-weakness analysis of oneself wrt subjects
4.    Concentrate on the subjects that one is strong
5.    That does not mean to omit weaker subjects

MAIN:

1.    Require in-depth knowledge in the subject
2.    Analyse the syllabus paperwise
3.    Do an appropriate strategy formulation and plan of action
4.    Concentrate on all factors, doesn’t matter even if it is trivial.
5.    Main challenge is to complete the paper in the stipulated time which requires lot of written practice
6.    Make an impressive presentation of the answers with sub headings, diagrams, graphs etc, wherever required
7.    A good mentor would ease your stress

INTERVIEW:

1.    Concentrate on how you answer the number of correct answers
2.    Keep Cool. Else atleast appear calm and composed.
3.    Probable question areas: Native district, education Background, Current issues, Situation based questions, Opinion Based questions
4.    Focus will be to check the attitude and personality and not the knowledge
5.    Be honest in your answers and no beating around the bush

BOOK LIST

PRELIMS:

1.    Subjects: TN State Board Books: 6 to 12
2.    Arihant General Knowledge
3.    Manorama year Book
4.    TN Kaiyedu by Shankar IAS Academy
5.    Mental Ability and reasoning : R S Agarwal

MAIN:

1.    History: Indian Freedom Struggle and Contemporary India by R.Venkatesan, Spectrum’s Modern Indian History
2.    Science and Technology: TN State Board Books (6-12), Online sources
3.    Polity and International relations: Indian Polity by Lakshmikanth
4.    Geography: TN State Board Books, Tata Mc Graw Hill guide on General Studies
5.    Social Issues: Social Problems in India by Ram Ahuja, Wizard Social issues
6.    Current Affairs: Standard year Book, Newspaper
7.    Economics: Indian Economy by Sankaran, Pratyogita Darpan
8.    English: Wren and Martin

EXAMINATION EXPERIENCE

1.    Preparation in full spirit irrespective of examination schedule and date
2.    Important to maintain the morale over the preparation time
3.    Get into the mindset that “my duty is to strive hard and prepare well
4.    Postponement of exam dates or change in exam schedule or pattern should not alter the focus

INTERVIEW BOARD QUESTIONS

1.    Suppose government adopts restriction of electricity to household. Talk 3 points for and against the topic.
2.    If you are a deputy secretary of a department and you are supposed to recruit 2 technical assistants. You have ranked 10 candidates for the post after all the tests. Your superior recommends Mr.X who is already within top 2 ranks. How will you handle?
3.    MBA questions:
a.    Difference between Profit and Loss statement and Balance sheet.
b.    What is marketing?
c.    Difference between marketing and selling.
d.    4Ps of marketing.
4.    Will the award of capital punishment to (repetitive) rape convicts (eg: Shakthi mills Case) be a solution?
5.    Opportunity favours the prepared, your opinion.
6.    India is a production or knowledge country.
7.    Is health of the people important for growth of a country?
8.    Discussion on Women’s reservation Bill.
9.    Discussion on social evils against women.

TOTAL MARKS

612/1020

TIPS

Fix a goal,
Come with passion,
Strive hard,
Success is yours!!!




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
Siblings:

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 Appolo 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 30yrs 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 6-8hrs a day.

On the night before exam sleep for minimum 6-8hrs 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 12hrs 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 even10 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

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

Hi friends, I am Maithily.L, scored state fifth in TNPSC Group I Services and was selected as Asst Commissioner, Commercial Taxes. I completed my B.E Computer Science and Engineering Course at SSN College of Engg and at present working as Assistant Manager at Allahabad Bank, Madurai Main Branch. The interest in Government sector jobs made me to join classes to prepare for competitive exams as soon as I finished my degree. Though I got Bank job, I was more interested in Group I services as it is the job which is more public oriented, more decision making oriented, more service oriented.

TNPSC Group I has three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview. To crack prelims, one should have wide knowledge on all subjects. Maths plays a major role in prelims as 50 questions out of 200 covers aptitude questions. One should be thorough with Indian polity, Current Affairs, Indian National Movement and Maths to crack Prelims very easily.

Mains examination needs more effort as it is subjective. Six to eight months of sincere preparation with regular tests is necessary to clear mains exam. Completion of paper with neat and legible handwriting, presenting the answer in the precise manner are the major issues in the mains which can be overcome by the regular practice tests.

Interview is more self oriented and it is the easiest of all the three stages. It is just a personality test and can score good marks by giving smart and confident answers. My success credit goes to my mentor Mr. Sam Rajeswaran, Apollo Study Centre who has moulded me by providing the proper guidance and mental support.

I have cleared TNPSC Group I Services in my second attempt and in my first attempt, I had failed in mains examination. In interview, I had been asked the following questions.
1.    If you are a DSP and if a adult girl and boy ask for protection against their parents as their parents are against their marriage and if you are a person who generally don’t prefer this kind of marriage and if police are busy in election duty to give protection, what will be your reaction to that situation?
2.    If you are a DC and if the people of a village come to greet you with sweets and a cash cover as you have brought water supply, electricity connection to that village, will you accept the cash and sweets? How will you react to that situation?
3.    What is the major difference between Finance Ministry and RBI
4.    What is cyber attack? Give its types
5.    What is Phishing?
6.    Will KYC norms in banks help in reducing the Cyber attacks?
7.    Is bank in rural area helpful in economic development? If so, how?
8.    How do banks help in education? Explain
9.    Why do you prefer Group I services though you are in a good job with a nice salary?
10.  What is special in your college? Why many students prefer SSN College?
11.  Are private banks necessary? What is the use? If so, why former Indian PM Mrs.Indira Gandhi said that all banks should be nationalized and there should be no private banks?
12.  Who is Malala Yousafzai? Where she is at present? For what reason, she is famous for?
13.  How is women status in India at present compared to 1900’s?

Interview is all about your personal details, working area questions and current affairs. It is not necessary that one should answer all questions. The strategy is that one should be more confident in giving answer and bold to accept that the answer is not known.

I have scored 493.50 marks out of 900 in mains and 90 marks out of 120 in interview totaling 583.50 out of 1020 marks.

My advice to all my friends who are aspiring for competitive exams based on my experience are:
·         Be focused in what you are aiming
·         Prepare in depth to get a wider knowledge about the topic
·         Make maximum use of Internet to keep yourselves updated
·         Your handwriting should be neat and legible which will really help in scoring high marks
·         Don’t get panic in examination hall and present the best from what you have learnt
·         Do not argue with the panel members and admit the mistake if anything is wrong
·         Approach the exam in a cool manner and complete the exam papers which is the tool to crack the mains
·         Concentrate on maths based on the syllabus which will help in both prelims and mains
·         Be focused, Strive hard and Victory is all yours! ALL THE BEST FRIENDS!!!

Books for reference:
Indian Polity – Laxmikanth
Indian National Movement – Spectrum
Current Affairs – Any Magazine
Science – School Books
Social Issues - Ram Ahuja


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

Brief Bio data
Name: Sita Krishnamoorthy
Father : N. Krishnamoorthy
             Retd Engineer, ISRO, Trivandrum
Mother: C. Rajeswari
              Retd School teacher
Brother: Lakshman Krishnamoorthy
              Doing his MS in Computer Science Engineering

I did my schooling 11th and 12th from SBOA School and Junior College, Annanagar, Chennai

Finished my BTech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum

Worked for ABB Ltd, Bangalore for 5 years in the field of Substation Automation

Your interest in TNPSC- the State Civil Services

It was my dream from child hood to enter into the civil services.
After college, I had to join the job which I got through campus recruitment. I had to stick on to the job for a few years due to family commitments. It was difficult for me to work and study (though I had tried it)
I entered into the actual preparation mode for UPSC exams in 2009, after I quit my job.
I had given 3 attempts in UPSC and was not able to make it. I was very depressed after my last attempt. It was then that Mr. Arul of Success Book House introduced me to Sam sir of Apollo Institute and asked me to try for TNPSC.

In 2013, I gave my first and last attempt in TNPSC

Coaching if any

Sam Sir of Apollo Institute was my only mentor and guide for the TNPSC exams. After meeting him, there was no looking back for me.

I followed completely whatever sir said. Initially I found it very difficult as my answers were having the “UPSC” flavour. Another big problem which I faced was that I was not able to memorise dates and personalities which is so much required for the TNPSC exams.

It was because of Sam sir’s continuous motivation and encouragement that I was able to slowly and steadily improve my writing skills.

I used to feel depressed when my performance was not up to the mark in the class tests. There were times when I thought of giving up. It was Sam sir who kept giving me confidence and asked me to stick to the fight and keep trying.

Preparation Strategy
Prelims:
Extensive reading of Samacheer Kalvi books classes 6th to 12th
Current Affairs from any newspaper (I followed The Hindu)

Mains:
Deep and thorough reading of conventional subjects like Polity, History, Geography, Science and Tech, Economics.
Current Affairs from newspapers
Try adding current updates in each area of study. Inputs can be taken from the internet.

Regular practice of Mental Ability
Extensive writing practice. I just followed the mains test schedule at Apollo. I implemented the feedback given by the faculties. Wrote and re-wrote many tests.

Book List
Samacheer Kalvi books- 6th to 12th
Polity: Lakshmikanth
Mental Ability: RS Agarwal
Geography: Wizard
Economics: Pratiyogita Darpan

Examination Experience
Prelim:
Read only Samacheer books
I scored around 140/200.
Mains:
Class tests at Apollo helped me a lot to face the actual exam. The test schedule has been planned very meticulously and helped me cover the entire syllabus at the right time, giving me sufficient time for revision as well.
Interview (strategy, questions, and atmosphere) – TNPSC Board Questions asked

I was the last candidate for the day in my board. I was totally exhausted and famished by the time I was called in (It was almost 5pm)
Interview is more like a personality test and not a test of our knowledge. (Knowledge is already tested in the Prelims and Mains)

It’s important to remain calm and cool throughout. It is not wrong to say “I do not know” to some of the questions.
The following topics should be prepared for interview:
·         Your bio data (native district, school, college etc)
·         Current events
·         Recent Welfare schemes of TN Govt
·         Work Experience (if any)
·         Degree related
Questions asked to me

1)    Need for Space research
2)    Recent satellite launched by ISRO and its purpose
3)    Need for foreign collaboration in nuclear power. Positives and negatives
4)    Kudankulam problem
5)    Problems faced by women officers
6)    Types of motors
7)    Motor used in Railways? Why?
 Total Marks scored
Written Exam: 489
Oral test          :   81  
Total marks     : 570

 Any other tips you wish to share
In mains exam, it is important to add certain current information to your answers.
I faced difficulty in this regard as I did not have a computer at home. However, my friends and my brother used to get me any information that I asked them and they used to message it over to me. I am very grateful to them for having helped me in that.
It is important to stay motivated throughout the phase of the exam. Any negative orientation can affect your performance. Try to stay away from people who constantly talk negative things. If you are not a person who has the ability to motivate one’s own self, you can go to some mentor or guide who will give a lending ear to your problems and give you positive advise.
In my case, Sam sir was the only person I used to go to during all my lows. I had a lot of problems both at home as well as during the preparation. Sam sir kept giving me confidence and motivating me even during the times when I was at my worst.

I wish to tell all aspirants to never give up at any cost. I have faced a lot of failures that broke me and made me go into a shell. I was thoroughly depressed. I believed in myself. I never gave up though I was ridiculed and mocked by many. I knew I can. I knew I had the potential.

With the support of my friends and close family members, I came out of the abyss. I thank all my well-wishers for having the trust and patience in me and for never giving up on me.

I would be missing out on something if I do not thank my mother. She has withstood tremendous pressures to make me realize my dream. She stood like a shield, protecting me from the onslaught of family members who forced her to get me married and send me for a job. I thank her for the confidence she had in me and for the prayers and numerous fasting that she had undergone to see my success.

Thank you.
Best of luck to all!!



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

Name: SHAJITHA B H
Age: 22
Father: B Humayun kabeer
Mother: H Sara
Sister: B H Shaheena
Native: Tirumangalam, Madurai
School: P.K.N Girls higher secondary school, Tirumangalam
Degree: B.E (ECE)
College: Kamaraj college of engineering and technology, Virudhunagar
Year of passing: 2012
Prizes & Awards: Child scientist award (2006) by NCSC
                           District level winner in Tamil essay writing, quiz competitions.
                           Zonal level winner in Tamil elocution competitions.
                          Participated in all India radio programme named as “Alai kadal ariviyal”
                        Class topper in 10th and 12th
                          Best arts, literature and administrative student in school life
                        Prizes in inter and intra college competitions

 Interest in TNPSC- the State Civil Services

My aim is to become an IAS, I start to prepare myself for this from my school days. That preparations helped me to clear
IBPS clerical exam (2011)
                        TNPSC Group IV (2012)
                           VAO (2012)
                        TNPSC Group II --- SUB REGISTRAR (2012-2013)
                        TNPSC Group I ---  DSP (2012-2014)                 
I cleared these exams in my first attempt.

COACHING

I joined UPSC prelim coaching in manithaneyam IAS academy in 2012. For group 1 prelim and main examinations I didn’t underwent for any coaching. For Group 1 interview, I attended the mock interview in manithaneyam IAS academy and Vetrii IAS academy. The mock interview session was very useful for me to face the interview with confidence.

PREPARATION STRATEGY

First step I covered the syllabus topics and solve the other TNPSC exam question papers, for mains exam I referred the answer sheets of group 1 toppers and got the idea of how to answer the questions. I recalled all the concepts which I studied earlier as the part of my interview preparation.

BOOK LIST

 6th to 12th school books
Indian polity - Laxmi kanth
Social issues – Wizard publication
Science and technology – Tata Mcgraw Hill publication
Current affairs – Arihant publication
Quantitative aptitude – R S Agarwal

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

1.    Historical story about my native place(Tirumangalam)
2.    What is GST?
3.    Which national highway went through my home town?
4.    Field marshals in India, and their names.
5.    Which heading comes twice in Tirukkural?
6.    Favourite Tirukkural
7.    Details about father’s job
8.    5 Great of epics of Tamil language and their related religion.
9.    Total Loksabha constituencies in India, and criteria for  nominated members
10. What is touch screen? And types of touch screen.

TOTAL MARKS:   513.50

“If  you  believe  in  yourself  and  have  dedication  and  pride - and  never  quit, you'll   be a  winner”


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


BRIEF BIO-DATA:

Name             : S.Vinoth
Age                : 22 years 11 months 
Native             :Komarapalayam, Namakkal district
Father's name: S.Sudarsanam
Mother's name: S.Rajabama
Occupation      : Program Analyst (Cognizant Technology solutions)

School             : SSM Lakshmi Ammal matric higher sec school. Komarapalayam. Namakkal District (Till 10th standard) SRV Boys Higher sec school .Raasipuram .Namakkal district

College            : College of Engineering Guindy, Anna university .Chennai (Mechanical engineering)

Current designation: District Employment Officer. (Tamil Nadu General Service)
TNPSC Rank          : 13
Attempt details       : 1st attempt.
Years of preparation: 1.5 years
Marks scored         : 465.50 / 900 (Mains written exam) 
                                 90.00 / 120(Interview score) 
                               555.50 /1020 (Total score)

 Your interest in TNPSC- the State Civil Services?

Basically being a sportsman myself, I am very passionate about Policing given the physical demands and challenges in it.
I did not have much interest in engineering right from the beginning .Unfortunately I am also one among the victims of our current educational trend where most of the students realize their dream only after their under graduation.
I pursued my dream during my final year by joining part time classes and started to intensify the training after I completed my degree and made it in first attempt.

Subject Selection:

In State Civil Services (Group 1 exam ) you don't have anything to opt for except your Mains exam second paper i.e General studies II exam .You will have to choose either English or Tamil ( one of the 3 subjects included in II paper ). 

I chose English for two reasons:
  1) I am comfortable writing in English than in Tamil as an English medium student.
  2) Also English paper here tests only our reading and analyzing skills (Prose comprehension, Article writing, Report writing)  while            Tamil had syllabus to memorize which I felt time consuming during preparation.

If you are a regular reader (English Newspaper or Novel etc.), I would say English is a god in disguise for you people. It was for me.

Coaching if any?

Definitely Yes, Coaching for Group 1 exam is indispensable especially for Mains exam. Because Time management is the most important aspect for clearing this. Thanks to Apollo study center and Mr.Sam Rajeshwaran sir. 

Coaching had the following things:

1) We were expected to write about 40 tests (300 marks: 3 hours) in six months period for mains preparation.
2) Periodically we get feedback for the tests written which helped in rectifying the mistakes.
3) Strategy based advice for choosing and answering questions and time management (e.g. which section to attend first? When to do maths problems? , With in what time 3 marks should be finished? )
4) Mental Training like Motivation and Awareness of even small things (We even got check list of things to carry for Exam).
5) We were to take two mock interviews for Interview and given corrections.
6) Prelims is one exam where your own effort will come in to play more than coaching centres. Spending of much time to go through as much of topics you can is the key to get rid of Prelims.
Remember the fact that Prelims is always a gamble game since no one knows everything.

So, spend time and take regular tests to clear Prelims exam and get trained for Mains exam.
 I would like to make a mention of Dr,Sankara Saravanan sir who is amazing with his knowledge .He is one person I admire a lot and he changed Biology from Hate subject to Favorite subject for me .

 Preparation Strategy:

1) Divide your total time into small periods and draw short time targets. (E.g. If you have to complete 6 subjects in 6 months .Fix one month for 1 subject).
2) Try to complete it first month at any cost because good beginning gives you confidence and sense of positive energy.
3) Your failure starts when you start relaxing at the small time targets.
4) Day by Day target .If you think you should complete 2 chapters in a day you must complete it.
Most importantly 2 chapters should be a possible target.
Never fix a hard task which is likely to fail which shatters your confidence.
5) Time target: Always fix easy targets to boost your confidence. (E.g. If you know that you usually get sleepy after 11p.m.
Fix target as till 10 you should study and if you cross your limit by even 15 minutes you will get a feeling that you are working hard psychologically. It boosts your confidence.
Don't fix 12 as your target and sleep at 11, you may end up getting stress and losing confidence.
6) Celebrate every day after you achieve the day's target and seek pleasure from that.
7)Be proud that you have studied something new today and you can even try explaining the concept to your mom in kitchen even though she doesn't listen to you .After all you are revising . 
8)I personally use morning time effectively from 5:30a.m  - 8:30a.m where I will study something in 3 hours which would take me 5 hours during the day time often filled with external disturbances (Study the toughest subject in the this time ) 
9)  I will sleep early by 10 p.m daily because 8 hours of sleep is must in the night.
10) Handling the most toughest period (11a.m - 5p.m ) drowsy boring period of the day is  a key factor .( Try to read topics as story reading during these time by  not trying to memorize which will make your brain so tired and leads to sleep ).
11) 30 minutes of relaxation daily is a must do. Try to opt a lonely place and speak to your heart about your preparation and analyse what needs to be done and realize where you are.
12)  Motivation is the most important thing in the preparation process. Motivation is like food we eat which has to be taken daily.
Don't rely on your staff to motivate you daily. Go for Self-Motivation by watching inspirational videos in You tube, try visiting any Government office nearby and watch the respect government servant gets there and you get charged up.
I used to watch movies like kaaka kaaka whenever I feel low and get charged up .Might be funny but it is the fact in my case.

 Book List?

I followed School books and materials given in my academy .Hope other toppers had told you enough about books. 

Examination Experience:

Not much to tell you in this.
1) Never panic at any time of the exam. Always have in mind there is a second chance for us and this is not the end. This thinking will definitely help you relieve stress and anxiety .Of course we all want to grab in this attempt but thinking like this is only to be stress free in the hall which will influence your performance.
2) Most of the aspirants become a pray for stress resulting in failure to produce what they are capable of. Build your attitude to overcome this “There is always another chance ".

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

1) Interview is just a formal discussion between board and us. Not an evaluation of our knowledge. Just tell what you know.
2) 2 main things they see is a) Attitude b) Body language.
3) Our answers would show our attitude to them so better to read personality development books when you find time then and there.
4) Be bold in whatever you know if not tell them you don’t know .They will like our honesty.

 Questions asked?
1) Inter linking of rivers
2) Leadership qualities 
3) Difference between officer and leader?
4) Which means of Power generation is more in TN?
5) Name some thermal stations in TN 
6) Which monsoon brings more rainfall to TN?
7) Tell me why SW monsoon doesn't bring rainfall to TN?
8) As an officer what will you do when a 6 story building collapsed in your jurisdiction?
9) Some other scenario based questions.

It taken 25 minutes totally. 

It was a pleasant and conducive environment inside the room .Members were friendly and ask us to relax when they find us tensed.

Any other tips you wish to share.

We will have to come across so many hurdles before we succeed.
For me setting the right attitude matters in clearing an exam. Be passionate in whatever you take up.
Be happy that you have learnt Indian history instead of getting upset for losing a mark for getting a year wrong in a class test.
Self-discipline - means executing the plan without any compromises. Hit your small time targets consistently and grow in confidence.
Always keep your cool, whenever you are down, sit calmly and analyse the situation and motivate yourselves.
Be hungry to know more, marks will follow automatically.
The difference between people who fail and pass is only the execution. If you fail improve your execution you will succeed . 

That is all from me. These comments are just my point of view. Take this only if you feel it will help you.

I dedicate my victory to motherhood which has sacrificed their whole life for the betterment of children and family.
I would not have achieved this without my mother's hard work .This one is for you!!!

Thank you people!!




Indian Forest Service Exam 2013-14
 Topper Ms.Kalpana’s Exclusive Interview

NAME: KALPANA K
STATE: TAMILNADU
GRADUATION: B.E (Electrical and electronics)
WORK EXPERIENCE: Worked as programmer analyst in COGNIZANT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS for 2 years
IFoS ATTEMPT: 1st attempt

YEAR: 2013

 AIR RANK: 9

2. Your interest in Indian Forest Service Exam

The sole reason for taking the decision to get into this service was the way my parents brought me up telling every time that "anything that we do in our life should have a positive impact on the society and young men and women shouldn’t live for the sake of earning and spending" . Though my IT job was challenging and interesting I kept questioning myself whether I am living the way I had been taught to live. I quit my job when I decided that I wanted to be in a field that would enable me to be directly linked to my soil. Civil services and Forest service’s seemed to the perfect choice. Moreover Environment is the key factor that is going to decide the existence of man in the future. Forest resources and the green cover of our nation requires our immediate attention to ensure sustainable development.

3. Subject Selection
FORESTRY was an obvious choice because I had an inherent curiosity to know what the subject was about and was sure that the subject would create a good foundation before I enter into the service.
GEOLOGY was the next choice because it had  lots of geographical concepts in it and as an engineering graduate I  found it comfortable. My optional for civil services exam was geography, so it made my preparation easy.
4. Coaching if any
I took coaching for forestry after prelims result in SHANKAR IAS ACADEMY under Karthikeyan ramalingam sir.I had prepared geography optional earlier for civil services exam In the academy and so did self preparation for geology.
5. Preparation strategy
Prelims: Sticking to the syllabus that is mentioned and covering all the basics. Reading THE HINDU newspaper for current affairs and simultaneously solving multiple choice questions. Studying pattern and the hours that should be spent each day totally varies from person to person and it is in the hands of the candidate to analyze and establish his/her own convenient study timings and patterns.

MainsEnglish paper marks definitely counts and so a person must develop the capability to express in simple and clear language. We must only sharpen the ability to express clearly and expertise in English language is not required. Basic grammar must be practiced.

General studies paper can be easily managed when we are able to generate as many points as possible to the questions within the word and time limit. Kindly practice the same with previous years question papers.

Optional papers should be prepared with an open mind wherein an aspirant must be able to manage any type of question asked from the syllabus. Correlating the topics given under syllabus while preparing and writing practice would help in fetching good marks. Diagrammatic representation will help in simplifying the contents to be represented.

6. Book list :
General Studies: All syllabus related NCERT books from 9th to 12th,
 Polity-Lakshmikant, 
 Economics-Ramesh Singh and class notes.
 Geography- Shankar sir’s class notes, NCERT and  Savindra Singh
Environment by Shankar IAS Academy (a really good book)
Current affairs THE HINDU newspaper
Forestry: Indian forestry by K.Manikandan and S.Prabhu, IFS
Geology:Principles of Engineering Geology by K.M.Bangar

7. Examination Experience:

 Attending well known questions quickly and then spending more time for the doubtful ones helped in clearing prelims.

Difficulties faced in mains were the inability to finish the answers within stipulated time. It is better to attend all the questions instead of concentrating and giving more time only to those that are easy for us. Time management plays a great role in mains.

8. Interview experience:
Strategy for interview is being our own self. Knowing or not knowing some facts is not important here. The sincerity in our answers and the ability to stick to our views till the end without taking a contradictory stance will play a deciding role. The board was cordial and all questions were related to profile, hobby and situation based questions wherein they tested whether I was sensitive towards tribal issues, animal welfare and also being a woman they gave scenarios to check whether I was mentally strong to face difficulties.. One must be aware of the role played by tribal population,issues related to sustainable development,role of woman in forestry and basics related to our optionals.

9. Tips to share: 

I would like to share two quotes for all the aspiring candidates
                                                                                
   "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; True nobility is being superior to your former self"- Ernest Hemingway

    "You are the creator of your own destiny " -Swami Vivekananda





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