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Toppers Talk – Ruchi Bindal | AIR- 39, CSE 2019

Ruchi Bindal has successfully cleared the UPSC Civil Services Exam of 2019 with an all-India rank of 39 in her 5th attempt.

  • Interviewer: Welcome to study Iq, please tell us something about yourself.

Ruchi: My father is a businessman while my mother is a homemaker. I am the first civil servant from my family.
I did my 12th standard in commerce from Ajmer. I did my graduation in the BA program at Delhi University’s Lady Shri Ram College and my post-graduation in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building from Jamia Millia Islamia.
During my post-graduation only, I started preparing for the civil service examination.
2015 was my first attempt and 2019 was my fifth attempt. In the first three attempts, I could not clear the prelims exam, in my 4th attempt, I cleared the prelims exam, and in my 5th attempt, I cleared all the rounds of the civils exam.

  • Interviewer: When you could not qualify for the prelims exam for the first three attempts, were you not demotivated and thought I should not be attempting this exam any further.

Ruchi: Duration for these kinds of thoughts was very momentary. I used to find my mistakes in every attempt and improved them in my further attempt.

  • Interviewer: How did you manage to give your prelims exam with your post-graduation?

Ruchi: My strategy was not right , if my strategy would have been correct, I would have cleared this exam while my post-graduation only.

  • Interviewer: What all guidance did you take?

Ruchi: Initially while starting the preparation for civil services  I was very naive, so I just watched the toppers talk and talked to people who had already cleared this exam and from there I got to know new strategies.

  • Interviewer: How did you start your preparation for the IAS prelims exam?

Ruchi: Initially I used to buy every new source that used to come into the market and never solved any mock tests before the prelims exam.
Keeping sources limited, revising multiple times, and writing as many answers as possible is the key to cracking the exam.

  • Interviewer: What was your strategy for clearing the IAS Mains Exam?

Ruchi: I made my own notes and made clear that every small part of the syllabus should be covered, one to two-page notes for every topic were made by me.
I also did daily answer writing practice for at least 10 questions.

  • Interviewer: How did you approach the essay paper?

Ruchi: I did the analysis for past year papers and from there I  covered repetitive topics like health, education, women, and other philosophical things. Created a framework for every topic.

  • Interviewer: How did you approach current affairs questions in the GS paper.

Ruchi: I made notes from the Indian Express newspaper and revised them at the end.

  • Interviewer: Tell us something about your Gs4 ethics paper?

Ruchi: I made notes for every small part of the syllabus. Solved many case studies.
Unconvention case studies came this time. While practicing the ethics paper beforehand one gets an innovative idea to approach the paper in the exam center.

  • Interviewer: What was your optional?

Ruchi: Sociology was my optional and for it, I took 3 months of coaching in the year 2017, proceeded by self-study.

I referred to the following books-

  • Haralambos
  • IGNOU (B.A. and M.A. selected topics to fill the content void)
  • Nitin Sangwan’s Essential Sociology

Prepared my own notes and did rigorous answer writing practice.

  • Interviewer: Tell us something about your interview experience?

Ruchi: In my 5 attempts this was my first interview. I gave mock interviews and got to know about my personality.
I got to know about my weak areas like I have to not speak loud and take breaks while talking.
My interview was very diverse, the majority of questions were asked from my post-graduation subjects. Many questions were also from economics.

  • Interviewer:  Would you like to work in any specific field?

Ruchi: Serving the nation as a civil servant, I want to work against child marriage and do something positive for transgenders.

  • Interviewer: All the best for your future endeavors

Ruchi: Thank you.