trainee5's blog

(Getting Started) What Not to Do - Advice by AIR 148 Sunny Gupta

(Getting Started) What Not to Do - Advice by AIR 148 Sunny Gupta

Like many other Indians, Sunny Gupta has always had the zeal for public service. However, he lacked the proper information and guidance. While working for HCL technologies, he was gradually introduced to the world of UPSC Civil Services. That’s when he found out that this was the path to realizing his dream. His determination was fanned by him successfully clearing the prelims examinations in his very first attempt. He refused to give up and having exhausted all six attempts, he stands tall with AIR 148 in UPSC CSE 2019. 


Sunny has also cleared Kashmir Administration Services. In fact, it served as a source of confidence when despite attending interviews he was still being unable to crack the exam. In his 5th attempt, he secured IRTS services where he is currently undergoing training. He now awaits his new service call. Working under an IAS officer over the past 2-3 years, Sunny found himself even more motivated to land this service.

Sunny appeared for his preliminary and mains examinations while still working as a Tehsildar in Kashmir Administrative Services. There were challenges to holding a full-time gazetted position while appearing for an exam that is as demanding as UPSC Civil Services, but he managed it. It was less difficult while attending his interviews while undertaking training for his IRTS service as the interview preparation according to him take roughly 3 to 4 hours of one’s day.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do Not Treat Prelims and Mains Separately

Sunny says given the pattern of the preliminary examination these days, do not make the mistake of thinking you can prepare separately for prelims and mains. UPSC Preliminary questions are no longer just factual or direct; they are in fact very analytical in nature and require as in-depth an understanding as it would take to answer a mains question. Stick to the standard textbooks and study current affairs thoroughly. Connecting each current news article to the related static information is required if one is to clear UPSC CSE prelims today.

Do Not Leave Answer Writing To The End

Writing answers is key to clearing the mains examination. It has to be a year-long process and cannot be achieved in a few months. Writing every day, having the right structure and pace is crucial to finishing the paper in time and writing quality answers that fetch good marks. Do not leave writing answers until you are done with your revisions. Work simultaneously on both; that is the only way to succeed.

16 from Jammu and Kashmir among successful UPSC candidates -

16 Candidates from Jammu & Kashmir cleared UPSC CSE, 2019

Do Not Make Detailed Notes

Notes making is essential. Knowing how to make crisp and concise notes is equally important. The last one month before either prelims or mains exams should be about revising the whole upsc syllabus without missing out on a single topic. How does one revise a syllabus that took years to complete in just 4 weeks? Not from textbooks, not from a compilation, and definitely not from bulk and detailed notes. Do not try to reread, that is not what revising is all about. Instead, think of your notes as cue cards meant to guide you towards information your mind has already stored. Make crisp and short notes, keep revising them as many times as you can.

Do Not Try to Act Differently in Interviews

Interviews are a test of your personality. Do not try to fake aspects of your personality or present qualities that you don’t originally possess. Dishonesty is not ethical and thus not appreciated by interview boards. Instead, revise all that you have studies to make it through to the interviews. Learn more about the aspects you have mentioned in your upsc DAF. And try to be humble and answer best to your abilities, while remaining completely professional and honest about your strengths and weaknesses. You should come off with flying colors.

Do Not Try to Study Everything

Don’t study everything. Its not a doctorate program. Study limited sources and keep revising so much that when you write, you do not need to think hard to recall the information. Revising and retaining the little you study is more important than studying a vast amount of information. Keep revising and writing answers. That is the only way to succeed in UPSC Civil Services.

Message to Aspirants

Sunny Gupta’s Interview

Do not give up. Instead, analyze your shortcomings and reform them. There is no failure in UPSC, it is just a part of your whole journey. Do not let the pressure get to you. With a cool head, keep trying till you can. Failure is not the end.



UPSC Exam Complete Study Materials

Online Coaching for IAS PRELIMS Exam

<<Go Back To Main Page

(Success Story) Cracking UPSC After Marriage – Story of AIR 508 Suman Nala

(Success Story) Cracking UPSC After Marriage – Story of AIR 508 Suman Nala

Suman Nala is an inspiration for millions of Indian women out there, struggling to balance their family responsibilities along with their dreams. A Computer Science Engineer from BITS Pilani, Suman graduated in 2012 and worked in Oracle, a dream job for many. Having worked for about three and a half years, Suman finally quit to pursue her IAS dream. Civil Services Examination 2019 was her 4th attempt. Interview Conversation With Suman Nala | CSE-2019 | Rank-508 |Topper | UPSC  - YouTube

Struggles :

Suman says her hurdles were not very different from the rest of the aspirants. The vast syllabus of UPSC CSE was daunting. Being from an engineering background, she was not comfortable with the subjects which are required to pass this exam. Computer Science is nowhere in the list of optionals UPSC allows. And Suman frankly admits that even if it were, like many other Science subjects that UPSC does allow, like other aspirants, she would have chosen an optional closely related to the General Studies preparation, rather than study a vastly different curriculum.

Her Journey :

Suman cleared her upsc prelims in her first attempt in 2016, but she could not go through the mains exam. However, this gave her confidence that she would crack it in her next attempt. But as luck would have it, despite being invited to appear for interviews in her 2nd attempt in 2017, she did not make it to the final list. The aftershock of this failure carried forward to her 3rd attempt in 2018 and Suman found herself once again unable to clear the mains exam. But with the support of her parents and in-laws, especially her husband, who himself had cleared the examination while they were preparing for UPSC together, Suman worked even harder and sailed through her 4th attempt in 2019.

UPSC Prelims Strategy :

Suman had a clear-cut strategy for her preliminary examination preparation – solving as many mock question papers as she can. She also preferred reading the monthly current affairs compilation for her current affairs revision. Suman insists that due to the detailed nature of the UPSC syllabus, taking tests is the only way to understand which information you should memorize, and which you can leave aside. Taking mock tests allows you to not only judge your potential but more importantly, they ensure your preparation is well structured and well balanced.

UPSC IAS 2016-17 RANK LIST( full version)Name ,Rank & roll numbers till  1099 - IASTODAY-ONLINE IAS COACHING EDUCATIONAL PORTAL

UPSC CSE 2019 Successful Candidates

UPSC Optional Strategy :

Suman decided to study the NCERT books for the few subjects she had zeroed in on as final candidates for her optional. The ones she found most interesting were the History books. Which is why Suman chose History as her optional subject. She insists you should like the subject you choose as your optional. Very few clear UPSC at their very first attempt. In Suman’s case, it took her 4 years. Had she not liked History, she would not have been able to continue with it or score good marks with it in the end.

Prelims Cum Mains Preparation :

Suman, like so many other successful aspirants before her, insists on a combined preparation for both prelims and mains. Three to four months before the preliminary examination, one can switch to focussing completely on preliminary mock tests and prelim specific studies. Since the time span between the preliminary and mains examination is so little, the mains syllabus should be completed and if possible revised at least once before the preliminary examination. Between preliminary and mains exams, one can concentrate on further revision and practicing test papers. And always make your own notes, else you will never be able to complete revisions.

UPSC Interview :

Interviews are a test of your personality. Taking a few mock interviews is a good idea to polish the way you present your thoughts during the interview. It is a good idea to know your state, your district, any prior career you have had, as well as some knowledge of your educational background. Interviews might ask questions that are factual like prelims or analytical like mains. What is important is to be humble and maintain your presence of mind.

Message for IAS Aspirants :

Suman believes that if one is motivated and hardworking, family support is bound to come. UPSC sees aspirants of all age groups. There are people from different backgrounds, whether Engineers, Researchers, Professors, or Medical Doctors. Often they decide on UPSC after working in a completely different sector for at least a few years. Thus, many times, the issues of getting married and settling down does become a part of the journey. Thus, marriage should not be treated as the end of your career plan. Instead, just treat it as a part of the journey and keep fighting for your IAS dream.



UPSC Exam Complete Study Materials

Online Coaching for IAS PRELIMS Exam

<<Go Back To Main Page

(Getting Started) UPSC Preparation Do's and Don'ts for Working Professional

(Getting Started) UPSC Preparation Do's and Don'ts for Working Professional

A lot of very successful UPSC toppers have cracked this exam while working a full-time job. Many continue to do so either due to financial restraints or due to the uncertainty associated with the Civil Services Examination. It is a myth that one cannot crack UPSC Civil Services while working. If anything, the UPSC interview panel regards those with a full-time job with high regard and even admires them for their dedication and time management skills. However, given the nature of this competitive exams, here are the top 7 do’s and don’ts working aspirants should keep in mind.


Burning the midnight oil (Picture Courtesy: Freepik)


  Stretch Out Your Preparation

The ideal time an aspirant is expected to give to UPSC is 12 to 18 months. But this is for a candidate who can spend 10+ hours a day for their preparation. When you work 8 hours a day for 5 or 6 days a week, along with some travel time, that is just not possible. The most a working candidate can give their preparation is about 4 hours on working days and maybe 8 to 10 hours on their day off. Because of this, the recommended period for a full-time working candidate is 24 to 36 months at the least. Depending on what you are comfortable with, this may stretch to 48 months as well. Do not panic. Remember, as someone with a full-time career, you also do not have the stress of ruining your professional options with a failure. So do not fret, take your time, and nail it!

Limit Your Resources

Remember, as a working candidate, you are already short of time. The UPSC syllabus is an endless abyss, and unless you are careful, you will get lost in it. Choose no more than one main source for each topic.  You can always research a little more over either the internet or a reference book. However, you should not spend too much time doing so. Stick to one newspaper like the Hindu and one current affairs monthly compilation. That will most definitely be enough for you to cover all bases.

Make Notes and Keep Revising

Multiple revisions are key to succeeding in the Civil Services Examination. A working professional does not have the luxury of reading through the same elaborate material over and over again. So, at the very first go, make crisp, short notes for each topic. Every time you need to revise a topic, just reach out for your notes. This will not only save you the time and effort that can be better utilized studying something new, but it will also help you have a grasp of the topic better than most other aspirants.

Making notes is absolutely essential (Picture Courtesy: Freepik)

Target Writing 3 to 4 Answers A Week

Answer Writing is crucial to securing a good rank in UPSC CSE. Unlike full-time aspirants, a working professional has to make a trade-off here and cannot possibly choose to write answers every day. However, by setting weekly targets, you ensure that you get enough practice and keep improving yourself gradually. The same goes for practicing Essay writing. Target 3 to 4 essays a month to ensure you ace that paper.

Don’t Neglect Your Optional

Keep a day dedicated to studying and practicing writing for your choice of optional. It carries a total of 500 marks and needs your full attention. Target completing your optional syllabus in 9 to 12 months. This way, by the time you sit for your Civil Services Examination, you will have an in-depth knowledge of your optional subject and that is exactly what UPSC requires.

Join a Test Series

If you are starting with a 24 months target, it is advisable to join a test series for both Prelims and Mains 6 to 9 months into your preparation. A test series allows you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses, understand where you stand with respect to the competition, and improve yourself so that you come out on top when you finally sit for UPSC CSE. For working professionals, this is extremely important to keep you motivated and help you not give up on your goals.

Finally, Save as Much Time as You Can

You need to conserve time and energy. A human being cannot keep overworking themselves for years and be in good enough mental and physical health to function at their best. Stay near your workplace to limit commute time, cook your week’s food requirement over the weekend or hire a tiffin service, limit social media presence, and decrease socializing considerably. These are minor sacrifices compared to the reward in the end.

At the end of the day, it is your name that will be on top of the merit list. Do what you must to get there. The destination is worth the difficult journey you will take.

Best of Luck.



UPSC Exam Complete Study Materials

Online Coaching for IAS PRELIMS Exam

<<Go Back To Main Page

(Article) Life at LBSNAA – Know How UPSC Toppers Spend Their Initial Training Days

(Article) Life at LBSNAA – Know How UPSC Toppers Spend Their Initial Training Days

LBSNAA or Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration is the dream destination for lakhs of aspirants who appear for the UPSC Civil Services Examination each year. This is where they find the first reward of their long and arduous UPSC journey, as well as to brace for the life ahead as a Civil Servant in this country. The successful aspirants find themselves in the academy following a routine meant to enhance their personalities and groom them into the best version of themselves. Here is a sneak peek into life at LBSNAA.



PM Narendra Modi in a group photo with Officer Trainees of the 92nd Foundation Course
at LBSNAA in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

Morning Routine :

The morning starts bright and early at the academy. Trainees are expected to be up by 6 AM and taken to the Polo Ground, which is roughly a 1-2 km jog from the Academy. There they spend time on Yoga and other drills. The Academy puts special emphasis on the physical health of all their officer trainees (OTs). This is followed by breakfast at 8 AM, and then everyone rushes for their classes.

Life in LBSNAA MUSSOORIE Video |IAS motivational video | IAS IPS  motivational video | UPSC new. - YouTube

Officer Trainees Resting At The End Of Their Morning PT

Training Sessions :

Classes in the Academy are conducted between 9:30 AM and 4 PM. Luminaries from IIMs, JNU, DU, etc. are usually the ones taking these classes, delivering lectures on environmental economics, social marketing, etc. Serving officers of various services also conduct sessions to help the OTs understand the challenges they are gearing to face in the future. Former District Magistrate (DMs) who have successfully pulled off massive events under their charges come up to the Academy to share their experience with OTs. Many team-building exercises are held for better coordination among batchmates.

Extra-curricular Activities :

All work and no play can make one rather dull. Keeping this in mind, the Academy puts together many experiences for its OTs. Himalayan trekking, hiking, visiting nearby institutes are some of the weekend activities held. There are also sports that are played within the ground of the Academy such as cricket, volleyball, billiard, badminton, table tennis, football, etc. OTs are also encouraged to participate in cultural festivals and organize cultural events during their stay in Mussoorie. Many important figures such as the President and Prime Minister visit the budding civil servants. Performances of music, dance, poetry, etc. are put up in their honor by the officer trainees oftentimes.

India Day - 91st FC - Fusion of Classical Dances by Officer Trainees at  LBSNAA - YouTube

Figure 1India Day Performance by Officer Trainees

Alumni Clubs :

All OTs become a part of the several interesting clubs such as Adventure Sports, Alumni Association, Computer Society, Film Society, Officers’ Mess, Rifle & Archery Club, Society for Contemporary Affairs, Society for Social Service, Fine Arts Association, Hobbies Club, House Journal Society, Management Circle, Nature Lovers’ Club, and Officers’ Club. Of course, OTs automatically get enrolled in the Alumni Association. They can choose which other clubs they want to be a part of.

The Goal :

The goal of LBSNAA is to ready all it’s Officer Trainees for the life of a civil servant. This includes imbibing in their qualities and habits expected from officers of their stature. Another goal is to inculcate lifelong relationships among ranks so that this country can function smoothly under the watchful eyes of compatriots who all are working towards the singular goal of serving this nation to the best of their abilities for the foreseeable future. And that is how a great nation is built.



UPSC Exam Complete Study Materials

Online Coaching for IAS PRELIMS Exam

<<Go Back To Main Page


Subscribe to RSS - trainee5's blog