Amol Srivastava, attained 83rd Rank in 2nd attempt in Civil Services Examination-2017
“Excellent strategy, having an eagle eye on my goal and focused hard work are the secrets of my success.” -Amol Srivastava
“Pratiyogita Darpan” arranged an exclusive interview with Shri Amol Srivastava who has been selected in Civil Services Examination-2017, conducted by UPSC. He deserves high appreciation and our heartiest congratulations on his glorious success. This important, thought-provoking and highly inspiring interview is being presented here in its original form.
PD—Achieving top slot in the coveted Civil Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.
Shri Amol—Thanks a lot.
PD—Medium for writing in the examination.
PD—Medium for Personality Test
PD—In how many attempts have you achieved this success?
PD—You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualize your previous attempt?
Shri Amol—In my first attempt I could reach up to the interview stage but couldn’t qualify it. However, I took that failure as a challenge, understood the mistakes I had committed and improved on my strategy.
PD—What was your optional subject?
Shri Amol—Optional Subject : Political Science and International Relations.
PD—While making a final choice for an optional subject, what’s important and what’s not ?
Shri Amol—Important : Interest in the subject, availability of teachers, material and resources.
Not important: Candidates have this notion that if they choose toppers’ optional, it will guarantee the selection.
PD—‘Success is sweet’ were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news?
Shri Amol—The competition is so high that even a small mistake can move you out of the final list. However, reaching interview in my first attempt was definitely a strong boost to tell myself that I’m almost there. However, the news of getting my rank under 100 was like a dream come true and it took few minutes to realise that I have achieved what I had been thinking all day for last 3 years.
PD—Today, IAS Toppers are icons and lots of media coverage makes them popular. Any particular success story which influenced your journey to this result ?
Shri Amol—Stories of toppers were always a motivation as I could understand as to how much patience and dedication are needed to achieve the goal. All toppers have their different stories and it depends on what part of their strategy you can incorporate into your preparation.
PD—Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services ?
Shri Amol—However in college when I observed that many people are pessimistic about life in India, it made me feel that if we shrug off our responsibility for the country then definitely what they feel, will come true. So this inspired me to prepare for this service where I get a chance to contribute my part at a larger scale.
PD—Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Civil Services’ ?
Shri Amol—Having thought about it in college, I made up my mind during my job.
PD—Was CSE your planned decision or your parents’ wish?
Shri Amol—The seeds of civil services as a career option was sown in my mind by my grandparents and parents. However, I took it as my personal choice to nurture it and make it my own goal to serve the nation.
PD—Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts?
Shri Amol—I made up my mind clear the exam in the first attempt. I also prepared in that manner. However, due to certain mistakes, I could not clear. It made my resolve stronger to clear it in the next attempt.
PD—’Time Management’ is a key factor. How did you manage things?
Shri Amol—In this exam, time is the most precious thing. We all have 24 hrs with us and we need to make the best out of them. So it’s better to have a 6 monthly schedule within which I had made 3 monthly, monthly, weekly and daily schedule. so that I could not waste time.
| Name—Amol Srivastava
Father’s Name—Shri Rajesh Srivastava
Mother’s Name—Mrs. Savita Srivastava
Date of Birth—February 22, 1992.
10th—2008, CBSE, VBPS, Noida (94·2%)
12th—2010, CBSE, DPS (95·8%)
PD—The first step is the most difficult. From where did you get the right advice ?
Shri Amol—Toppers videos and interviews have been reallly helpful in my journey. They have gone through the entire process and can very well describe and suggest what to do and more importantly what not to do.
PD—What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Preliminary Examination preparation ? How long time and how much effort did you divide for each ?
Shri Amol—For GS Paper I (General Studies) : My approach towards paper 1 was based on the analysis I did of the previous years’ questions. The change in type of questions from 2011 onwards helped me to understand what UPSC expects from the candidates.
For GS Paper II (Aptitude Test) : Being from engineering background there was certainly some advantage. However, to eliminate the risks I had completed CSAT part more than 6 months before my prelims so that a basic revision would be enough while the prelims approaches.
PD—How did you manage to tackle the ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims ?
Shri Amol—Practice, Practice and Practice. When we practice a lot we get to know the areas in which we make mistakes. The next time if such situation comes our mind red flags such questions/topics where we tend to go wrong. Also while practicing we know our strengths and weaknesses. So we are able to decide which questions have higher probability of getting right.
PD—What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Main Examination (Written) ?
Shri Amol—Again in mains examination, I took it as a test of personality more than knowledge. My approach was to write comprehensive and to the point answers.
PD—While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services ?
Shri Amol—Civil services is perceived to be one of the most prestigious jobs in the country. The idea of contributing towards the governance of the country and a job that begets social recognition were the main factors that motivated me.
PD—In your opinion at which Educational Level should one start preparing for Civil Services and what should be the minimum period of time required to prepare for Civil Services Examinations ?
Shri Amol—One should definitely start in college, may be from the final year. However, based on the comfort level one can give a gap of one year after graduation to study full time.
PD—What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities ?
Shri Amol—I believe this ques-tion is more for optionals. Both science and humanities optionals have their own merits and demerits. Humanities subjects are easy to prepare along with GS.
PD—What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE ?
Shri Amol—There is no bias for languages in CSE. One should write the examination in the medium in which most of the education is done.
Weak Point—Over confidence.
PD—Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation ?
Shri Amol—Yes to some extent it does, as the backup and financial security are the things one looks out for. It is the dedication and perseverance that help in clearing this exam where you have the ability to overcome all challenges.
PD—In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services ?
Shri Amol—Current affairs is one aspect that covers 90% of exam questions. The dynamic and multi-dimensional nature of current affairs can be dealt easily through such magazines. Also articles by experts, toppers’ interviews, solved papers are added advantages.
PD—How do you find Pratiyogita Darpan ? Do you find it close to your expectations ?
Shri Amol—PD is one of the most preferred magazines for competitive examinations. The quality of content is beyond questions and availability in Hindi medium helps candidates from rural background equally. The topics are comprehensively dealt with and demand of various exams is regularly met.
PD—What is the secret of your success ?
Shri Amol—There is no secret for success. It is hard work and dedication that everyone knows. However, I followed the way through smart work and planning.
PD—To whom would you like to give the credit for your success ?
Shri Amol—Major credit goes to my parents who have supported me in my thick and thin; my sister who has been a mentor for me. Friends play a role in keeping you motivated and give a room for recreation.
PD—Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.
Shri Amol—Follow your own strategy, improve by following toppers to the extent that they relate to your own way of study. Do not follow any one blindly. Trust your preparation. Make this exam as your own goal and give your best effort. There will be challenges and be ready to overcome them. A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
PD—Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.