an IAS officer, from the batch of 2018, secured an All India Rank 81 in the UPSC. Currently posted as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate at Imphal, Manipur, Pooja grew up in the North East of India.
Pooja Elangbam cleared the examination without attending any coaching classes, this officer says “I grew up watching my father, an IPS officer, work very hard, and that for me was motivation enough,”. also said that–
TIPS By this IAS Officer
“Aspirants would need to find the reason why they wish to appear for the exam and every time they find themselves wavering, it would be a good idea to revisit that.”
and Writing the exam because of family and peer pressure will not be beneficial to the aspirant.
“Also, look out for coaching videos put out by toppers of the previous year, which gives you a good idea of how to prepare,”
Don’t be hesitant in seeking help“When I started preparing I was clueless as to where I should begin,”
“I was never afraid of seeking help. I knew a few others who were preparing for the UPSC examination and I would constantly get my doubts cleared by talking to them.”
If UPSC is the goal, start preparation early On duty.
Also, going through the syllabus with a fine-toothed comb is very important. Aspirants need to understand what their strengths and weaknesses are to be able to prepare well.
start preparing using the NCERT .
“My strong points were international relations and history, whereas I needed to work on science and technology and economics. So, I spent a longer time getting my concepts cleared in those subjects.”
“More than how much time you spend studying one should keep an eye on how much of the syllabus is being covered,”
says Pooja.Aspirants believe that shutting themselves up and preparing will help, however, for Pooja, that did not work.
“I found that I had to engage with my surroundings to be able to stay positive. I would also exercise everyday and that helped me stay focused. Long study periods did not work for me, and I would sit for two hours at a stretch and then take a break,”
Make a timetable that works for you.
“I would dedicate one half of the day to take up international relations and the second half to studying environment and policies. I found it interesting to mix up subjects.
UPSC is also an interdisciplinary study, and therefore studying different subjects together helped me,”
Need to attempt as many mock papers as possible.
“The syllabus is vast and if one were to wait to complete the syllabus and then start working on mock papers, it might be too late. As and when one portion of the syllabus is complete, start attempting mock papers,”
“Newspapers are the best source of information for current affairs,”
Aspirants need not read the paper cover-to-cover but look only for news articles of relevance and spend time reading and understanding those.
“You can opt for monthly current affairs magazines like Vision IAS, Drishti, IAS Baba, or Insights India.
Stick to two or three of these magazines.”
“My notes were never exhaustive, but it would give me a good overview of the topic,
”Find your own support system.
“My mother studied alongside me, just so that she could keep me motivated. In fact, if she were to appear for the UPSC examination, she would have passed with flying colours,” says Pooja,
Recommended books and magazines by this Officer
Current affairs – IAS Baba, Drishti, Insight India NCERT to be used as a base book for all subjects
environment – Shankar Polity – M Laxmikanth .
Indian art and culture – Nitin Singhania
Newspaper – The Hindu
“It is not a difficult exam to crack. What one needs is to be consistent in their preparation all throughout. It’s like running a marathon, so prepare for the long haul,” Pooja concludes. Sources:- The Better India, Instagram.
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