KLA-IAS: There is a general perception among the candidates that this examination is based on a process of elimination & not the selection. Do you agree with this kind of perception after having successfully qualified in this examination?
Purna Borah: Definitely, this perception is true to some extent because the prelims itself is becoming very dicey, it eliminates many good candidates but still it is a part of the examination pattern. In the end, we need to work hard and if we continue working hard, these selection or elimination perception won’t work. Finally, your hard work will lead you to success.
KLA-IAS: How did you make this success possible? Is there any specific strategy which you would recommend for success in this examination?
Purna Borah: Definitely, in this examination, for different stages like prelims, you have to follow a different strategy; for mains you need to have different strategy and for interview as well. For prelims you need to study very extensively because you don’t know from where the question might come, so you have to follow many sources alongwith basic books. Apart from that you need to follow different test series, current affairs to study extensively.
KLA-IAS: What was your source of inspiration? Who would you like to give credit for your success?
Purna Borah: My source of inspiration has been my mother throughout my preparation.
KLA-IAS: Did you integrate the lengthy GS syllabus for prelims & Mains preparation together or you prepared them separately?
Purna Borah: The strategy for prelims and mains preparation is a mix as certain topics are related to both prelims and mains and some for mains only.
KLA-IAS: How relevant is the newspaper reading for this examination & how did you try to link it with your GS preparation?
Purna Borah: Newspaper reading is very important. I memorized whole syllabus, so while reading newspaper, I can link articles with syllabus topic. I prepared notes paper wise from newspaper, it helps to make your answer more dynamic and scoring. I followed only ‘The Hindu’ alongwith ‘Yojna’ and ‘Kurukshetra’.
KLA-IAS: Did you adopt any specific strategy for Ethics paper? How did you prepare for case studies in this paper?
Purna Borha: For Ethics paper, I took different notes available in the market then prepared my own notes. I used to link incidents from newspaper with ethics paper, as it helps in giving related examples.
KLA-IAS: How did you select the relevant material for the lengthy syllabus?
KLA-IAS: What is your opinion regarding making notes for preparation?
Purna Borah: Preparing self notes is very important. For revision during mains examination, there is need for brief notes as you have less time for revision. From notes you can atleast look for keywords. Notes should be concise with flowcharts and diagrams.
KLA-IAS: What was your optional subject? What was in your mind while selecting the optional subject?
Purna Borah: My optional subject was Public Administration as its syllabus is concise and also its study material is easily available in the market.
KLA-IAS: How did you divide time between different GS modules & optional during preparation?
Purna Borah: During my preparation, I used to spend 3-4hours for optional subject daily and rest of the time for General Studies.
KLA-IAS: How many hours did you study on daily basis? In your opinion how much time does an average candidate require to prepare for this exam?
Purna Borah: If one studies continuously for 10-12 hours daily for one year, it is sufficient to crack the exam.
KLA-IAS: What was your answer writing style? Was it a paragraph format or bulleted point format?
Purna Borah: Most of my answers were in bullet point format. I used two different coloured pens for heading and sub-heading. Presentation matters a lot as content will be almost same for most of the candidates.
KLA-IAS: How did you manage to stick to the 200 words limit while writing the answer?
Purna Borah: 200 words limit comes through answer writing practice. You can also use diagrams, flowcharts or tables to make your answer expressive. I used to write 1-2 questions daily.
KLA-IAS: Did you undertake any test series? Do you think these test series are helpful in preparing for this exam?
Purna Borah: To know about our mistakes/weakness, test series are very important. It helps to sort out issues like time limit, word limit, handwriting etc.
KLA-IAS: What is your opinion regarding practising previous year question papers?
Purna Borah: In prelims, I followed Kiran’s Last years solved papers and every year 2-3 questions gets repeated from previous year papers. It helps to understand the examination trend.
KLA-IAS: How did you manage to maintain your tempo & concentration during preparation period? What you did to avoid usual distractions?
Purna Borah: Self motivation is required to maintain tempo and concentration. One must know and always remember why he/she chooses for this examination?
KLA-IAS: Did you find internet & online material useful? Which sites would you recommend?
Purna Borah: Internet is important but at the same time distracting also. Selecting authentic content is very important. For example one can choose from sites like insightsonindia, forumias, Iasbaba etc and prepare self notes. You need not to always follow sites as it may distract you.
KLA-IAS: How important is the preparation for final interview? How did you prepare for it?
Purna Borah: Interview is very important part of selection process as it matters for getting good ranking. Strategy for preparation includes reading newspapers, listening to opinions and discussion with peer groups. Mock interviews are quite helpful for preparation. Confidence, knowledge and articulation are the key to score in interview.
KLA-IAS: On the basis of your preparation for the previous civil services examination, what modification would you be making in your strategy in case you decide to appear for the examination one more time?
Purna Borah: You need to analyse marks obtained in previous attempt so that you can know in which subject you are lacking? There is need to adopt different strategy with the help of toppers and mentors.
KLA-IAS: What is your opinion regarding various comprehensive magazines & books published by Kiran publications for civil services examination?
Purna Borah: Kiran’s last years solved books for prelims and mains were very helpful. I got the idea about the examination pattern.
KLA-IAS: What is your advice for civil service aspirants? How should they keep themselves motivated during the exhaustive & lengthy preparation for this examination?
You need to be self motivated
Don’t go for short-cut approach.
To watch complete interview in English, click on below Youtube link:-
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