Siddhant Jain, attained 201st Rank in 3rd attempt in Civil Services Examination-2017

“Perseverance, continuity in devoted efforts and strong family support are the secrets of my success.”                                                                            -Siddhant Jain

“Pratiyogita Darpan” arranged an exclusive interview with Shri Siddhant Jain 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 Siddhant—Heartiest gratitude for the wishes. I would like to thank the entire Pratiyogita Darpan team for guiding aspirants with quality content.

PD—In how many attempts have you achieved this success?

Shri Siddhant—3 attempts.

PD—You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualize your previous attempts?

Shri Siddhant—They were very good learning curve. They taught me :

1. helped me to ponder over shortcomings and fix them

2. made me put value of perseverance in practice.

PD—What was your optional subject?

Shri SiddhantOptional Subject: Geography.

PD—Give the basis of selecting the optional subject?

Shri Siddhant—Basis of selecting optional

1.   Penchant for the subject and desire to explore in it.

2.   Match with temperament.

3.   Access to guidance.

PD—What preference in services have you opted for and any particular reason for that priority?

Shri Siddhant—IAS > IPS > IFS > IRS (IT)

Reason: I want to be at the cutting edge of governance architecture. Hence, top priorities are IAS and IPS.

PD— ‘Success is sweet’ were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news?

Shri Siddhant—To be very frank, I was not sure of success. I had devoted less time as I prepared along with job throughout which was tough. I was extremely elated to see my name on the list. It was a moment of ecstasy to achieve success. I called up my family and friends to inform them and they were very happy too.

PD—Today, IAS Toppers are icons and lots of media coverage makes them popular. Before your success, what was your opinion about these toppers? Any particular success story which influenced your journey to this result?

Shri Siddhant—Genuinely speaking at one point of time I used to think that these toppers were some supernatural creatures with uncanny abilities and I could not emulate them. But gradually I learned that they were like us only and if I work hard and smart, I can also reach there.

I was inspired by the success of Mr. Gaurav Agarwal (2014 batch) who also happens to be from Jaipur.

PD—Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services?

Shri Siddhant—When I was in college, my grandmother used to tell me the importance of civil services and the crucial role they play. I was really inspired by that. Also, there was news about young IPS and IAS officers leading quality change to improve lives like building roads through crowdfunding, delivering quick justice, etc. and I was really inspired by that as well.

PD—Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make a career in ‘Civil Services’?

Shri Siddhant—When I was at IIT Kharagpur, probably in 4th year, I had made my mind to pursue a career in civil services.

PD—Was CSE your planned decision or your parents’ wish?

Shri Siddhant—It was a combination of both. I wanted to pursue a career in civil services and my family members supported me in that as well.

PD—Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts?

Shri Siddhant—I did not have any set number of attempts in mind but did not wish to try for very long.

PD—’Time-Management’ is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers, be it Prelims or Main Examination. How did you manage things?

Name—Siddhant Jain

Father’s Name—Shri Nirmal Kumar Jain

Mother’s Name—Mrs. Mithlesh Jain

Date of Birth—18 July, 1992

Educational Qualifications

10th—2008, CBSE (92·6%)

12th—2010, CBSE (91%)

B.Tech.—2010-14, from IIT Kharagpur (8·54/10)

During the preparation time, I used to chalk out a schedule for the next day, the previous night itself. Shri Siddhant—Time management is the cornerstone for not only exam preparation, but anything worthwhile in life. From the exam perspective, I managed it as :

  1. Adhering to a schedule is also very important, with due and early course correction if one is lagging behind.
  2. Mock tests are the silver bullet, which if adhered to time management during writing exams pay rich dividends.

PD—The first step is the most difficult; from where did you get the right advice?

Shri Siddhant—I would totally concur with this, and it especially becomes more important in an exam like civil services where almost everything under the sun is a part of the syllabus. For the right advice :

I got in touch with like-minded friends who were selected and prepared. I joined coaching guidance as well to get the best possible advice. The Internet played a major role as well, like guidance websites, blogs; serious Whatsapp groups, etc. also helped me.

PD—What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Preliminary Examination preparation?

Shri SiddhantFor GS Paper I : General Studies.

All the time was devoted to GS-I only.

Approach :

Thoroughly assess syllabus and make a map to chalk out what is to be studied and from where. Thorough revisions and develop a strategy to eliminate options. Practice previous years’ papers and understand what kind of questions are asked. Mock tests are helpful.

For GS Paper II : Aptitude Test.

Genuinely speaking, I did not study for GS-II i.e., CSAT in prelims exam as I am from IIT background and had decent aptitude.

PD—Was there any change in plan for General Studies Paper II (Aptitude Test) being qualifying in Preliminary Examination ?

Shri Siddhant—I did not have any plan change when I started pre-paring this.

PD—How did you manage to tackle the ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims ?

Shri Siddhant—Negative mark-ing can eat up your hard earned marks and is necessary to manage. Attempt only those questions which you are very sure about and elimi-nate options in questions which you are not very sure of.

Personal Qualities
Favourite Person—Sachin Tendul-kar.

Strong Point— Ability to keep my mind free from worries.

Weak Point—Constantly com-paring myself with others

Hobbies—Following stock markets, Car enthusiast.

Shri Siddhant
—Mains exam is more about analyzing things rather than factual knowledge. Shift in strategy was :PD—What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Main Examination (Written) ?

Presenting balanced opinion, being optimistic and not being extreme. Doing daily answer writing and attempting maximum number of mock tests.

PD—Was there any special effort for effective preparation for Essay Paper ?

Shri Siddhant—Essay paper is more scoring in general from GS papers and requires less effort. Effort for preparation :

Made a compilation of quotes, proverbs, idioms etc. revised it frequently and used it in mocks. Tried to make essay diverse, covering broad range of topics rather than limiting to parochial outlook. Writing mock essay tests and evaluating them with friends, rather than limiting to marks scored.

Topic I. Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.

I had practiced a very similar topic in a mock test and I had deep and diverse content to write on this…

Topic II. Social media is inherently selfish in nature ? I had written one essay on social media in practice tests.

PD—How did you prepare yourself for Interview (Personality Test) ?

Shri Siddhant—Interview is the last round of the race and is high scoring.

        Started with watching mock interview videos online, and other relevant content. Gave many mock interviews and always used to write a note after every mock about what I learnt from it for improvement in future.

        Sujata Mehta Madam’s Board on 6th March, 2018, Afternoon session around 2:30 PM.

        Details of interview : It lasted for around 35 min and I scored 173/ 275. It was cordial and no grilling took place. Chairperson, was interested to know about my current job and indirectly wanted to understand how I could prepare while I was working. Some case study related questions were also asked to check practical understanding. Questions on application of geography and few questions from engineering background were also asked. Board focused more on my opinion rather than on factual knowledge

PD—Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e., Career in Civil Services ?

Shri Siddhant—I was in a full time lucrative job all through. Hence career was secured. On the examination front, I wasn’t preparing for anything else.

PD—While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services ?

Shri Siddhant—As I mentioned earlier, I was already in a lucrative job, but was motivated to join civil service because it provides a challenging opportunity to bring gradual meaningful improvement. Also, it provides scholastic opportunities and commands high prestige and respect.

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 Siddhant—It can vary from person to person, although in my opinion one should make mind during mid-graduation period and chalk out the basics correctly as where to take guidance from, optional subjects.

I think 1 to 1·5 years of dedicated preparation is good enough.

PD—What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE ?

Shri Siddhant—Medium is very important as exams like CSE require articulating independent view point and command over language. Hence, choose one in which you are comfortable.

PD—Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation ?

Shri Siddhant—I don’t think so. In fact, in my opinion which is backed by final results as well, those coming from humble backgrounds and have faced challenges do better. But this does not mean that others don’t stand a chance.

PD—In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services ?

Shri Siddhant—They are important as :

They provide current pulse of happenings. Provide opinion of students (and not calling them toppers) who have made it, Also, compiled and comprehensive information from high rated magazines would enrich notes as well.

PD—How do you find Pratiyogita Darpan ? Do you find it close to your expectations ?

Shri Siddhant—I think it is one of the venerated magazines, recognized by all. It has high quality authentic content from reputable sources, useful from exam point of view. It is very much close to my expectations.

PD—Please give your comments on the PD Extra Issues Series on ‘General Studies’ and a few Optional Subjects.

Shri Siddhant—They have good compilation of facts, figures and opinions from exam perspective and save time for aspirants which is very good.

PD—Did you refer to Pratiyogita Darpan–Panorama Year Book ? What is your opinion about the Current Affairs contents, size and the time of publishing ?

Shri Siddhant—I had a quick glance of it and it was useful. Some prelims questions have source in it as well. Current affairs content and time of publishing are correct.

PD—Have you seen our new product Upkar’s India 2018 ? If yes; your views about it.

Shri Siddhant—I have seen it and found it useful.

PD—What is the secret of your success ?

Shri Siddhant—I think perseverance, free mind without any burden and support of family and friends became secret of my success.

PD—To whom would you like to give the credit for your success ?

Shri Siddhant—My family, friends and teachers.

PD—Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Shri Siddhant—Prepare with free mind and appreciate the process and enjoy it. Don’t just wait for the result to arrive. Means are very important and not only the end.

PD—Thank You very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.


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