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Toppers Talk

Toppers Talk – Ashima Mittal | AIR-12 , CSE 2017

The Journey Of My Life

  • I was born and brought up in Jaipur, (Rajasthan) and completed my school education from there itself.
  • I’ve pursued my civil engineering from IIT Bombay in 2014.
  • I had worked with Ernst and Young in Gurgaon, Haryana, as an Associate Consultant; but I left the job after a few months since I wanted to prepare for civil services.
  • I wholeheartedly started preparing for civil services from the beginning of 2015.

First Attempt

  • I gave my first attempt in August 2015 and I really had to work hard for it . In prelims,  5-6 subjects are core ,apart from the current affairs.
  • I didn’t take any coaching for the mains and decided to stay at my home(Jaipur) and do my preparation for the mains exam.

Tips For Mains Exam

  • Mains is everything under the sun.So what you can do is make an excel sheet and divide the syllabus into the subtopic put the entire syllabus of mains into the subtopics. You can get a clear picture of the syllabus from that, syllabus can be managed very well by  this, different types of color can be in the excel sheet, red for difficult ones and green for the topics which are done .
  • Earlier I used to maintain my syllabus in hardcopy/notebook but it was not handy for me.

Thorough Your Syllabus

  • Know your syllabus by heart, knowing it by heart  can reduce your time in the reading  newspaper.
  • Beginners can take 2-3 days extra to learn the syllabus and will help in later time.
  • I started my IAS preparation in January 2015, I gave mains on December 2015. I scored less in two papers of mains. i.e : Ethics and Anthropology(Optional)

The Internship

  • In order to gain practical experience I have done a couple of Internships,  to know more about the actual issues that people deal with.
  • For instance, I applied for an internship under Government Of Rajasthan in Elementary Education – under young internship programme, which I did for 6 months from here I got to know the real issues, particularly in the education sector(elementary education). I also got the chance to visit the different districts of Rajasthan and further saw the condition of the elementary schools and absenteeism of teachers from the school.
  • On the ground, I got to know the conceptual understanding of the condition of our schools. which had been a very good experience for me.

In March 2016 I gave the interview of civil services, but couldn’t make it to the final list and lost by 10 marks.

So, giving the second attempt somehow became difficult for me, but the field experiences which I had, strengthened my belief for further attempts.

Learning a New Language

  • What helped me coming out of the stressful time was, learning a new language.
  • One thing that I would like to say is whenever you go through the time of despair and distress, please choose a new hobby and start working on it, it will eventually help you in getting  new hopes and energy in life.

2nd Phase

  • I started preparing for UPSC second time. I gave prelims and it really went very well further gave mains that year and all of my field experience really helped in mains paper 2, polity.
  • I got through the mains and gave interview.

After giving an interview I went for, another field experience, but this time with the government of Gujarat in the Civil Administration Department.

  • There was a time when I was not having any accommodation in the village and was told to have  friendship with the village  people.It was very nice for me  to meet new people and experiencing a new culture.

2nd  Attempt

  • In my second attempt I got 328 ranks, I got IRS-IT.

3rd Attempt

  • I was happy with the result, as I could make it to the list and from then I started working for my third attempt more efficiently.
  • I8 days were left when I decided to write prelims again in my third attempt. As time was less I had to work very strategically for it so I can get maximum output from the minimum time. This time I gave many mock tests and increased my power of guessing answers.
  • My strategy was to solve at least one paper daily and I went on solving the papers for almost 2 months. All in all, I solved nearly 45-60 papers during the time period.
  • From the Vision IAS, I studied monthly current affairs, for art and culture I referred IAS  baba.
  • I cleared prelims and started preparing for mains examination, this time preparing for mains exam, I consulted many teachers.  For essays what I did was, I read the essays by the toppers which were easily available on the internet developed my own style of writing essays and before the examination, I wrote 15-20 essays in all.
  • In the mains exam- for the essay, I focused on each and everything from the starting, structure and to the ending of it.
  • I would suggest that aspirants should focus more on the introduction and the conclusion part of the essay as well as read a lot of previous years’ material by the toppers along with the self’s practice.
  • In GS, I used maps and flow charts in my answer writing.

Importance Of Test Series

  • Choose a good test series, make sure that the feedback you get after solving the mock  is helping you to improve your score in the mock.

Thank You