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Prelims Capsule

Toppers Talk

Toppers Talk – Anisha Tomar | AIR- 94, CSE 2019

UPSC INTERVIEW PREPARATION – Mistakes to avoid in UPSC INTERVIEW explained by Anisha Tomar AIR 94

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

Anisha Tomar: I grew up in the army, and my father was a retired Brigadier in the Indian army. As a result, I’ve traveled and lived all over the country.

I graduated from UIT Punjab University in Chandigarh with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 2016. I chose to pursue Civil Services as a career choice in my final year of B. Tech because the private sector did not excite me. I did not take part in the placement process.

I took my third try, my second mains, and my first interview in the year 2019.

  • Interviewer: Did you join any coaching classes or prepared all by yourself?

Anisha Tomar: I enrolled in full-time classes due to a lack of guidance, but I did not pass the UPSC prelims in my first attempt in 2017.

  • Interviewer: What was your strategy for clearing the exam in your further attempts.

Anisha Tomar: For my first attempt (2017), I realized that despite having studied extensively, I had not studied in the correct direction. I hadn’t taken careful note of the UPSC syllabus or gone over the previous year’s questions. As a result, despite my best efforts, my preparation was clearly inadequate.

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

Anisha Tomar: I took my own notes and did the best I could with the resources available on the internet. I compiled information from a variety of online sources.

In 2018, I qualified for the UPSC prelims and took the UPSC mains. I believe I failed because I did not practice writing essays. I had thought, erroneously, that because I have always had excellent writing skills, I can do well without putting in the necessary effort.

  • Interviewer: How did you prepared for your essay paper?

Anisha Tomar: I started this time by reading topper answers. By trying to emulate the structure and writing style of toppers in my own essays, I was able to pull up my marks by 30-40 marks at a stretch. Even though I only took 4 or 5 Essays mock tests, the practice allowed me to sail through the mains exams and finally make my place on the final merit list.

  • Interviewer: What was your optional?

Anisha Tomar: I had chosen Public Administration for my optionals.

I myself took three tries to grasp the subject properly and encourage aspirants to do the same and not lose hope in the very first attempt. Following this, I again went through the topper’s answers and then wrote mock tests to self-assess and improve.

  • Interviewer: In the third attempt when you were writing answers for the mains exam, were you able to finish your answers on time?

Anisha Tomar: In my quest to complete all questions in a paper, I had missed out on writing proper introductions and conclusions in some of my answers. These together largely prevented me from qualifying for the mains exam.

In 2019, I practiced enough answer writing to memorize some templated for introductions and conclusions, which I could use in multiple answers, molded to fit the context, without having to overthink it.

  • Interviewer: Did you had any Plan -B?

Anisha Tomar: Yes I gave myself a limit for three attempts at UPSC and my Plan -B was UPPSC as I belong to Uttar Pradesh.

  • Interviewer: Please elaborate on your interview experience.

Anisha Tomar: My interview experience was very different from the mocks I had appeared for. Most of the questions I was asked were based on my DAF, where I had mentioned traveling as my hobby.

The board seemed intrigued by it and asked most questions based on scenarios related to it.

I was also asked a few questions about my IT background.

  • Interviewer: What are your last words of advice for UPSC aspirants?

Anisha Tomar: Understand the syllabus first, start from reverse engineering, watch toppers talk, solve previous year question papers and try to understand the pattern.

  • Interviewer: Do you have any hopes for this service from yourself?

Anisha Tomar: I want to work towards ensuring that every child has access to the means of education the way  I had the privilege of receiving.

Education is an opportunity for a better future and I hope to pass along that opportunity to the future generation through my work as an IAS officer.