(Success Story) Debasweta Banik - IAS Topper 2012, AIR-14

Success Story - Debasweta Banik - IAS TOPPER 2012, AIR-14

When Debasweta Banik applied to take one of the toughest exams in the country, she didn’t reach for textbooks or attend coaching classes. Instead, she turned to her favorite pastime – reading newspapers.

“I quoted out of editorials in my answers,” said 22-year-old Ms. Banik. “They were my Bible.”

And her preparation method paid off. This month she became one of the youngest to pass the exams for the Indian civil service.

For decades, aspiring diplomats have pondered ways to ace the civil service exams – a set of nine papers which determine eligibility for coveted government jobs, including the foreign and the administrative services.

The exams – widely believed to be India’s toughest – grill applicants on topics ranging from current affairs to critical reasoning. Many revise for them for several years.

Haritha V. Kumar, the highest achieving candidate in this year’s exam, had failed in three previous attempts.

Shena Aggarwal, last year’s highest scorer, tried to pass the exam three times.

Still, there is no guarantee the brightest minds will make the cut even after years of grueling practice. An estimated 400,000 applicants sign up for the exam each year but only between 600 and 1,000 make the grade.

Ms. Banik, who passed first time, believes the rush to enroll in coaching classes or to study from paid-for preparatory material, is where most aspirants go wrong.

“Following the textbook can make you rigid,” she said. Round-the-clock coaching classes leave little room for self-study, according to Ms. Banik.

So, when the Delhi University economics graduate began to make a timetable 10 months ago, she opted to break free from the monotony of studying from readymade notes and, instead, turned to newspapers to brush up on current affairs and learn to frame her essays better.

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Courtesy: India Real Time