[Toppers Interview] Rohit Shukla (AIR 238/CSE 2011) shares Psychology booklist and his successful journey

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We are pleased to have Rohit Shukla here sharing with us, his journey, studyplan for General studies, Psychology and Public Administration.

Introduction

NameRohit Shukla
Roll number034405
Rank (CSE 2011)238
Optional Subjects
  • Public Administration,
  • Psychology
Medium for Mains ExamEnglish
Mains Examination CentreLucknow
Number of Attempts2
Details of Graduation and Post-Grad.BTECH from AKGEC Ghaziabad
Schooling (Medium)English
Extracurricular activities,
hobbies, achievements etc.
Writing articles,
Meditation
Are you a working professional?Yes
If yes, then did you leave your job
or prepared while on the job?
I left my job and prepared
Did you take Coaching?Prelims: No
Mains: Yes
Interview: Yes
Did you buy any postal courses?Yes
Did you join any Mock test series?No

Questions

Inception

Q. When and how did the inspiration and idea of joining civil service come in your mind?

I was good in quizzing as a student and was aware of national issues since chilhood.However during/after graduation (BTECH) it all disappeared. It was during my stint in a private IT company that I realised about my life’s priorities and would ultimately make me a happy individual.Hence,I resigned and started preparing.

The Choice of Optional Subjects

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usQ. After a person decides to appear in civil service exam, the first big obstacle is “Choice of optional subjects”. What factors did you consider before selecting your optional?

I did not have any idea initially about optionals etc. I had resigned from my job in a hurry and had to appear that year only.I came across Mrunal’s blog and after going through it chose public administration as the pre optional(it was useful in all stages of the exam).Later on based on personal interest I chose Psychology as the second optional.

Momentum

Q. People initially prepare with much enthusiasm but then they become slack after some time for various reasons. How did you sustain the momentum throughout the journey?

The biggest force in life comes from within,when you really want something.I was so frustrated (at the same time energetic) that I wanted to change my life quickly.Hence, boredom even if it came was not allowed to rule.Family support is of prime importance in this exam.In my case , i was insulated from even my closest friends and relatives.I hardly ever talked about my preparation with anybody in my family( except my mother).I found that switching subjects after 2 hours is a good way to reduce monotonicity .Run in between,play with pets , watch some news( for half an hour) and be back to study.Whenever you feel you are wasting time-just think about the job in hand,your objective.

Hours

On an average, How many hours did you study per day? How many months did it take you to complete the core syllabus of GS and optional subjects?

My average study hours- around 8. For core syllabus of GS it took  3 months initially.In case of optionals, public administration finished quickly but psychology took 3.5 months.

Internet

How did you use computer and internet for your exam-preparation?

Internet is indispensable for civil service preparation and I feel UPSC wants us to use it .Wikipedia is the best source for any topic.Also , one can quicky check about the background of any topic before studying using internet. But caution must be taken to ensure that useless stuff is not browsed during study time.

Essay

How did you prepare yourself for the essay?
Which Essay did you write in Mains-2011?
How many marks did you get in that essay?

I did not do any special preparation for the essay. I wrote one full essay before the exam and got it evaluated . I also increased my knowledge base which helped in the essay.Essay should be interesting , in simple language ( yet appealing) and should have a natural flow as per the topic with a balanced conclusion. I wrote the essay on “ creation of smaller states” in mains 2011. I got 108 marks.

Phoenix

Q. Serious players get mentally shattered and depressed after failure in competitive exams. How did you cope up with failures and rose from the ashes again? What had gone wrong in your previous attempts? How did you fix those issues in your 2011’s attempt?

I was shattered after not clearing mains written in my first attempt . After 10 days , with the help of my mother’s support and words of wisdom I started preparing again.I was told that since I am so disappointed it only means I am very close to my target.

CSAT was introduced which was a welcome step .In my previous attempt, I had not met some criteria like to the point answers,proper examples,analysis,introduction and conclusion of answers etc. I took guidance from my teachers and corrected those mistakes.

Profile

Many aspirants fear the interview, thinking that “my profile is not good because

  • I’ve low marks in SSC/HSC/College,
  • I don’t have any extra-curricular certificates,
  • I don’t have work experience,
  • I graduated from some unknown college,
  • I’m from non-English medium and so on…”

So, How important or relevant is the profile of a candidate during interview?

Candidate’s profile is for the candidate , not the interview board. If one feels satisfied and can justify himself, there is no problem.Studying from an unknown college is not a problem.Work experience if there can help if one is prepared and can handle questions on it.It is only one’s confidence and the attitude on the day that matters.Plus interview is so much subjective that anxiety is of no use.

How do you rate your own profile?

I have a decent profile 🙂

How much portion of your interview centered on your profile?

Questions were mostly on my job experience,hobbies,graduation (apart from some on optionals and others were situational).

Did they ask any uncomfortable questions from your profile?

No

Backup

Q. In case you had not cleared the UPSC exam, what was your career/future backup plan?

In any case I would not have returned to my previous work. I would have tried for administrative jobs in state services, Bank PO etc. But frankly I didnt have any solid back up plan.

Working professional

What is your advice and tips to working professionals – particularly on time Management?
I cant suggest much since I studied after resigning only.

The Message

What is your message to the aspirants?
“we have limited time,but unlimited energies to accomplish what we need.Hence,instead of following what others do,just follow your inner voice and that will guide you throughout your life(keep listening to it).”

Family and Friends

Q. Behind one topper are many people who stood by him/her during those uncertain times when he/she was merely an ‘aspirant’. Would you like to tell the world, who were those people in your case? Any specific incidence that you would like to share with the readers?

Only one person-My Mother. On a December day in 2009, I called my mother from my office and told her that things were not to my liking and satisfaction there. She forced me into quick introspection based on my attitude,life aim,past experiences and what I was doing when I felt good last time. Civil service preparation emerged as the solution.After deliberation for 4 days,the decision was made.

Your Study plan

CSAT (Paper I) General studies

TopicSource of your preparation
Current AffairsThe Hindu,
Indian Express,
Wikipedia,
Govt Reports
History Ancient/Medieval/ModernOld NCERT books
India’s Struggle for Independence Bipin Chandra (Penguin Publication)
CrackIas Notes
General Studies Manual Tata Macgrawhill Publication
Physical GeographyNCERT only
Geography of IndiaNCERT
crackias notes
Geography of WorldNCERT
school atlas
Polity and GovernanceIndian Polity by M.Laxmikant (TMH Publication)
crackias notes
Pratiyogita Darpan special edition
Public PolicyInternet
Rights issue
Environment and BiodiversityGovt reports on Environment
ICSE environment studies books
Internet
India Year Book(selective only)
Economic and social Development
ScienceTMH Guide
Hindu (Science background helps)
EconomyNCERT economics xi,xii
Hindu’s Monday economy analysis
Mrunal’s articles on economy
Pratiyogita Darpan special edition

About the CSAT aptitude

Syllabus TopicSource of your preparation
Quantitative AptitudeUnique’s Book
Data interpretationUnique’s Book
Logical reasoningUnique’s Book
Reading comprehensionDid not prepare
Decision Making and Problem solvingDid not prepare

Mains Examination

Compulsory Language papers

Source of your preparation
EnglishSolved 2 year papers
Indian language paperSolved 5 year papers
practice it properly,questions are repeated also in grammar portion,attempt full paper,
Do not relax thinking the marks are not counted.*
[*Mrunal Comment:  Mr.Rohit is absolutely right, see this RTI reply of UPSC- so many candidates fail in the compulsory language paper (Click Me)]

General Studies paper I

Syllabus TopicSource of your preparation
History
  1. India’s Struggle For Independence by Bipin Chandra (Penguin Publication)
  2. Spectrum book on Modern India (selective)
  3. Crackias notes
CultureSpectrum book on Indian Culture (very selective)
Geography of IndiaCrackIas notes
Internet
PolityIndian Polity by M.Laxmikanth (TMH Publication)
Issues of social relevanceNewspapers
TV debates
Indian economy and planningYojana
Economic Survey
Crackias notes
Planning Commission website
Public healthInternet
Law and orderPolity material
Punchi commission report
Good governanceInternet(use Wiki)
EnvironmentGovt reports
News
class 11,12 Env science books
Internet

General Studies paper 2

Syllabus TopicSource of your preparationRemarks, if Any
India and the World*
Indian diaspora*current affairs+Internet onlymake note of famous Indians in past one year abroad(in diverse fields)
India’s Economic interaction with world
International affairs and institutionsWorld Focus Magazine(yearly issue,april,may issue)
Internet
Civil Services Times magazine
V N Khanna book for basics
StatisticsSpectrum papers
Science & Tech.

Optional Subject #1 and #2

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Paper 1

  1. Fadia and Fadia
  2. Nicholas Henry (selective)
  3. class coaching notes +Internet

Paper2

  1. Newspapers( most important)
  2. Report of 2nd ARC Commission.
  3. Punchi commission report
  4. Govt statistics
  5. PIB releases
  6. Arora Goyal
  7. Avasthi and Avasthi.

Public Administration Preparation Tips

  • Most important approach is to interlink the two papers, using relevant examples from current events,analysing through facts , answers should be new and not bookish at all.
  • Syllabus completion here is important but more important is understanding of relevance of all topics in day to day administration.

PSYCHOLOGY

Paper 1

  1. Psychology by Baron (Pearson publication)
  2. Introductionn to psychology by Clifford Morgan, Richard King and John Schopler
  3. Psychology an Introduction(Atkinson and Hilguard) by Cengage Learning ( this is very good for latest researches , helped me in making my answers different)
  4. NCERT,
  5. Mukul Pathak Sir’s notes
  6. (writing to the point and with recent developments in core areas will help,can use diagrams also)

Paper2

  1. Social psychology by Baron
  2. Applied Psychology by Smarak Swain(IRS),
  3. Class notes of Goldi Sir
  4. Internet
  5. Newspapers( thinking from psychological angle of current issues will help)

Interview

How did you prepare for the interview?

I prepared my biodata for a set of probabale questions and took mock tests.

Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or Did they ask you totally unexpected questions?

I was in KK Paul Sir’s Board. It was on expected lines ( mostly profile based) but I felt I did not get much opportunity to open up.

Toughest Question in Interview

What was the toughest question you faced during the interview and how did you answer it?

“how will you convince the political leadership if it is unwilling to accept that development is possible.Dont say I will convince,how will you actually do it”

I replied , “Sir, I will initiate a pilot project in my area and based on the result of that I will use the facts to convince the political leadership that change is possible”

I have posted the interview on Indianofficer.com

Marksheet

SUBJECTSMARKS
ESSAY (PAPER-III)108
GENRAL STUDIES (PAPER-IV)107
GENRAL STUDIES (PAPER-V)101
OPTIONAL-I(PUBLIC ADMIN.) (PAPER-VI)167
OPTIONAL-I(PUBLIC ADMIN.) (PAPER-VII)162
OPTIONAL-II(PSYCHOLOGY) (PAPER-VIII)188
OPTIONAL-II(PSYCHOLOGY) (PAPER-IX)139
WRITTEN TOTAL972
PERSONALITY TEST171
FINAL TOTAL1143

Remarks :-RECOMMENDED

Finally the most important question!

Magazines related to competitive exams, have established the most sacred unwritten rule of conducting Topper’s interview: the last question has to be a loaded question :
“how did our XYZ magazine help you in preparation?
In the era of blatant marketing propaganda, I also have two similar but unloaded questions.

  1. Did you use indianofficer.com  for your preparation? If yes, How did it help you?
  2. Did you use mrunal.org  for your preparation? If yes, how did it help you?

And You can reply “No”, yet it’ll be published without distortion.

Did you use indianofficer.com  for your preparation? If yes, How did it help you?

It has mostly serious aspirants so one adds value to his preparation through sharing of info,discussions here.Plus great inputs are provided for study material also.It is a  no nonsense type of forum and different from others .

Did you use mrunal.org  for your preparation? If yes, how did it help you?

The first page that I visited in search of optional subjects was that of Mrunal.I am indebted and use this opportunity to thank Mrunal for his help to all the aspirants since the information,topics,explanations are such in nature that one does not need a second read.

End of the Interview

Want to Congratulate, compliment, say hello or ask any questions to Mr.Rohit Shukla, then post it in this discussion thread on Indianofficer.com

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha


So far 16 Comments posted

  1. Pankaj sharma

    Awesome to see one of our alumni making it right through..
    I will be hopeful of joining the Ivy league this time..

  2. PARTHO

    Can you tell me how useful where crack ias notes??

    1. VIKRAM

      I am reading them, at least polity is very good. But they are not enough.

  3. Dharamvirsinh

    Thank you very much for this immensely helpful article. I have a small request to you sir that if you can separately explain about Psychology subject as I am totally confused about this subject from where should I start and how to prepare it as I am unable to get coaching classes.

  4. Dhruv

    Hey Mrunal! I would like to ask you something….I would like to know in what all locations can an IRS OFFICER BE POSTED? As it in not an all india service, like ias in which you stay within your cadre, so does an IRS officer get posted only in tier 1 cities or in towns and villages too (like IAS and IPS)? Thanks!

    1. Akash Satyam

      An IRS officer can be posted only in Tier 1 or 2 cities. Its not a state govt. job and rather a central govt. job therefore one can be posted to anywhere in India i.e. inter state transfers also take place.If u want a cool family life and a civil services job too then this is the best job one can have. 5 days working (being a central govt. job, postings only in cities( for eg. if one is posted in bhopal circle then he can get posted to only bhopal, indore, raipur, jabalpur, bilaspur and might be a few more similar cities).

      1. Dhruv

        Thanks a lot Akash for the inputs! I am sorry for the late reply! A stable family life without political interference is more lucrative to me than Glamour! Good luck for your prep, cheers!

  5. kartikey

    sir, firstly heartiest congratulation on ur success…..i am 3rd yr btech student accn to u what should be my first step at this point of tym to start prepn for civil services n how to do it???

  6. Yogita Singh

    Sir,
    I seriously need your advice on whether it is required to remember the name of the psychologist who conducted the experiment while quoting examples in psychology??? I mean except the ones like freud, Maslow etc when I am just quoting an example to explain an answer?

    Sir please do reply I really need it!!!

    Thanks & regrads.

  7. Shruti

    Congrats sir for ur success…. Ur discussion forum is quite helpful for me.. sir plz do recommend me how hould i start preparing for this exam…currently being a b.tech 3rd yr syudent of CSE…

  8. mrithyunjaya b u

    from last 4 year i am preparing for gs syllabus as i am still 1st year BE STUDENT IS ECONOMIC TIMES NEWS PAPER HELPFUL FOR ECONOMICS ACCORDING TO LATEST PATTERN

  9. Manoj

    Everyone is suggesting me to follow at least one magazine. I don’t know which one to follow, darpan is the worst magazine I came across. Someone suggest me a good magazine to follow.

  10. ROHIT

    hello.sorry but above profile indicates that u r coming from english medium school…..

  11. A.sandeep kumar

    Respected sir I am an agriculture pursing student (first year)I want to prepare for civils from now on wards I had a doubt to choose or prepare for optional actually I want to take psychology as optional .so I request you sir to please give tips on how to prepare for civils at this graduate level and also standard books for psychology and how to make notes on psychology

  12. nani

    i had completed my MBA IN 2014 ,after that am enter in this competition,i also cleared 5 exam but no were i got final result.so some what i feeling now ,this decision lead me on wrong way…please give me suggestion with pro and cons…actual what i want to do now …

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