(Success Story) Scoring High in Essays and Optional - Anisha Tomar's Strategy (AIR 94)

(Success Story) Scoring High in Essays and Optional - Anisha Tomar's Strategy (AIR 94)

Anisha Tomar is an Engineer from UIT Punjab University, Chandigarh and she graduated from 2016. It was in her final year of B. Tech when she decided to pursue Civil Services as a career option, as the private sector did not excite her. Being from an army background, her father being a former Brigadier in the Indian army, Anisha has traveled and lived all across the country. Public service as a calling is not new to her family. 2019 was Anisha’s third attempt, her second mains, and her first interview. 

Learning from Your Mistakes

Feeling a lack of guidance, Anisha joined attended full-time classes; however, she did not clear upsc prelims in her first attempt in 2017. But in this attempt, she realized that even though she had studied a lot, she didn’t study in the right direction. She had not noted the upsc syllabus in detail, nor had she gone through the previous year’s questions. Thus, her preparation, despite the effort, was certainly half baked.

Taking all this into account, Anisha started studying with more structure. She made her own notes and used the internet sources available to the best of her abilities. She referred to multiple online channels and made compilation. In 2018, she qualified prelims and appeared for upsc mains. Where Anisha feels she failed as she did not practice essays. As someone who has always had very good writing skills, she had wrongly assumed that she would score well without putting in the effort needed. Unfortunately, she was proven wrong. 

She had also not practiced General Studies Paper-IV enough. Furthermore, in her quest to complete all questions in a paper, she had missed out on writing proper introductions and conclusions in some of her answers. These together largely prevented her from qualifying the mains exam. This year, she practiced enough answer writing to memorize some templated for introductions and conclusions, which she could use in multiple answers, molded to fir the context, without having to overthink it.

Scoring Well in Essay Paper

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

Scoring Well in Optionals

Anisha had chosen Public Administration for her optionals. Being from an IT background, Anisha wants aspirants to understand that an optional so far removed from someone’s educational background cannot be grasped by just completing the syllabus once. She herself took three tries to grasp the subject properly and encourages aspirants to do the same and not lose hope in the very first attempt. Following this, she again went through topper’s answers and then wrote mock tests to self assess and improve.

Interview Experience

Anisha’s interview experience was very different from the mocks she had appeared for. Most of the questions she was asked were based on her DAF, where she had mentioned traveling as a hobby. The board seemed intrigued by it and asked most questions based on scenarios related to it. She was also asked a few questions on her IT background.

Anisha’s Dreams

Anisha wants to work towards ensuring that every child has access to the means of education that she had the privilege of receiving. Education is an opportunity for a better future and Anisha hopes to pass along that opportunity to the future generation through her work as an IAS officer.




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