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Prelims Capsule

Toppers Talk

Toppers Talk – Saurabh Kumar | IFS

IFS Interview – Complete guidance for UPSC CSE Prelims by Saurabh Kumar, IFS

  • Tell us about your journey to becoming an IFS (Indian forest service) officer ?

Saurabh Kumar – I graduated in 2010, then worked for 6 years. I left my job in 2016 to prepare for the services. Since I had started my preparation late I decided to take Mathematics optional which was common for both Civil service and IFS (Indian forest services). This decision was taken so that I could give maximum number of Mains attempts to get into the services. This strategy worked for me and I was able to crack the exam and get into the services in 2019.

  • What motivated you to leave a well settled job and start the journey of preparing for civil services ?

To be honest coming from a middle class family my first aim was to gain monetary independence. Once I attained it i started looking for  job satisfaction.I also wanted to serve the people of my country.

  • What can aspirants do to attain the same conviction as you had while preparing for civil services ?

This can be done by putting consistent efforts. Try to be better than you were a day before. Secondly, remove the fear of failure. By merging hard work with smart work one can easily clear the examination. One must understand that one can still find success in various other fields if one fails to attain success in the examination.

  • Kindly suggest a strategy for an aspirant which will help him in clearing the examination and prevent him from facing repeated failures ?

First suggestion I would give to the aspirants is Self analysis , second key to success is to Identify  mistakes and work towards rectifying them. Personally after giving the exam I used to make a list of mistakes  I would want to correct in my preparation and while giving the examination. Next one needs to balance out their preparation and allocate the preparation time based on the relevance and importance of a topic for the examination.  Both hard work as well as smart work is  required in all 3 stages of the examination.

  • Sir please simplify how an aspirant should approach Static as well as current portion (especially from Prelims perspective)?

Priority for an aspirant should be to first cover the static syllabus. During preparation it was my priority to cover the static syllabus. Current Affairs is like a vast ocean so my suggestion to Aspirants would be to not  compromise on static syllabus while trying to cover current affairs. Daily reading of the newspaper along with current affairs magazine is sufficient to cover the current portion.

  • Kindly put light on how an aspirant should strategise for Prelims?

I would recommend a 3 step approach  1) First, cover the basic books 2) Look at previous year questions while covering these basic books – this will help you prioritise relevant topics. The topics which have not been covered holistically in the basic try and make notes from online sources 3) Third, try and develop elimination skills (I refer to them as smart skills) to arrive at the correct options in Prelims.