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AMIT KUMAR ALL INDIA RANK-91 – (IAS-UPSC 2018 TOPPER) | UPSC TOPPER'S JOURNEY | JOURNEY OF IAS-UPSC TOPPER

CANDIDATE PROFILE-

NAME AMIT KUMAR
RANK IN CSE-2018 91
GRADUATION IIT ISM DHANBAD
NO OF ATTEMPTS 02
OPTIONAL SUBJECT GEOLOGY
MEDIUM OF MAINS WRITING ENGLISH
MEDIUM OF INTERVIEW ENGLISH
AGE 26
HOME TOWN/CITY SURAJPUR, CHHATTISGARH
WORK EXPERIENCE NO
WORKING WHILE PREPARATION NO

FAMILY AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Amit originally belongs to Bihar. But he grew up in Sarguja District in North Chhattisgarh. The district at present is known as Surajpur District. He was brought up in Surajpur District as his father was posted in Coal India Limited there. His mother is a housewife. He did his schooling, Class X and XII from DAP school in Chhattisgarh. Amit says as a student he was a late bloomer, it was only between class VIII to X that he started performing well in his studies. After school, he joined IIT ISM Dhanbad for his higher studies.

WHY CIVIL SERVICES

As Amit says since he originally belongs to Bihar and there is a lot of enthusiasm for UPSC CSE in Bihar, so, it was there in his mind for a long time to appear for the civil service exam. What tempted him to appear for Civil Services Exam was the kind of opportunities this service provides to work on a large scale.

NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS

Amit gave two attempts of UPSC CSE. The first attempt he appeared was in 2017. He started his preparation for UPSC CSE in May 2016 just after finishing his college degree. In his first attempt, he was able to clear the prelims examination but he could not pass the mains examination. He again appeared for the exam in 2018 and this time he cleared the exam with All India Rank 91.

STUDY PLAN AND SCHEDULE

Amit started his preparation in 2016. He started his preparation with a mindset that preparation for UPSC CSE would require long study hours and a lot of hard work. But after his first attempt in which he cleared prelims but could not pass the mains exam, he analysed his mistakes. He realized that he needs to focus more on smart work rather than hard work. After that, he totally changed his strategy.

PRELIMS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

• STRATEGY

  • The first piece of advice from Amit is to make sure you can go through this whole process before starting the preparation of UPSC because it can take anything between 2 to 5 years.
  • Start your preparation with basic books like NCERT. There are a lot of videos available on YouTube, follow them to gain more clarity of the subject or of any particular topic.
  • Make use of the internet as much as you can. Type the topic name and after that write UPSC in google for any topic that you want to study and you will get plenty of materials.
  • There are a lot of sites that provide curated notes on a wide range of topics for UPSC CSE, do make good use of them along with your books and other resources.
  • Keep your resources as limited as possible so that you are not wasting time in reading the same thing from different resources and are unable to revise them at the end.
  • Make a proper routine in which you have to keep a separate time for revision. Revise the syllabus as many times as possible. Amit was able to revise his notes more than 30 times before the exam.
  • Based on his own experience from two attempts and his preparation, he suggests aspirants that they can avoid reading newspaper for prelims as monthly current affairs magazine do the same job and save their precious time.
  • Keep checking your preparation level through sectional tests and keep working on them for continuous improvement.

BOOKLIST-

Ancient and Medieval History Old NCERT
Modern History Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir
Art and Culture CCERT Website
Geography NCERT Class XI and XII
Polity Laxmikanth
Economy Mrunal Videos and current affairs
Environment Shankar IAS
General science Current Affairs
Current Affairs Government schemes & others Newspaper, Monthly Magazine by Vision IAS

MAINS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

STRATEGY

  • Amit appeared for the mains exam twice. What different techniques he applied this time was he focused more on smart work rather than hard work.
  • He decreased his study hours and increased his thinking ability & analytical capability.
  • He started co-relating topics and made good use of diagrams and charts for memorizing and retention.
  • After prelims, he prepared two notebooks for whole mains preparation. And on each page of the notebook, he wrote one keyword mentioned in the syllabus.
  • In the next four months of preparation for mains whatever he read he used to make a crisp note of them in his notebook under the relevant heading. In the last 10 days before the mains exam, he revised only his notebook and nothing else.
  • However, your concepts must be clear if you are trying to do the same as Amit did.
  • He prepared his notes combining both static and current issues. What he advises aspirants is to look for the current issues and then prepare notes from static issues based on ongoing current events.
  • He says the equal focus must be given to static and current affairs portions.
  • For GS 3 he says the base of the preparation is a newspaper and current happenings like issues related to GDP, Indian economy, infrastructure, etc for Economy-related parts.
  • Newspapers really help you develop the thought process that you need to approach the questions in the exam. Your main focus while reading the newspaper must be the editorial page.
  • Try to identify and note down important lines from editorials that you can use in your GS answers as well as while writing essays.
  • For the Ethics paper he focused a lot on gathering a lot of examples of good civil servants and of great personalities and used them in the Ethics paper. He used the same quotes and examples in the essay too.

BOOKLIST-

GS-1 Art and Culture (Same as prelims) CCERT Website
  Ancient and Medieval History Old NCERT
  Modern Indian History (same as prelims) Spectrum and Bipan Chandra
  Post-Independence Coaching Notes
  World History Coaching Notes
  Indian Society Current Affairs and Google Search
  Geography (same as prelims) NCERT and G C Leong
GS-2 Polity, Constitution Laxmikant and Vision Polity Magazine, Vajiram Class Notes
  Governance Current Affairs
  International Relations  Vision IAS IR Magazine,
GS-3 Economy Current Affairs
  Environment and Ecology (same as prelims) Shankar IAS
  Science and Technology Current Affairs
  Disaster Management Online material
  National Security Newspaper
GS-4 Theory, Moral Thinkers and Case studies Lexicon and 2nd ARC report

ANSWER WRITING APPROACH-

Answer writing is a skill that you need to develop. But you can start answer writing only after you have covered the syllabus fully at least once. If you try to write before that you will end up wasting a lot of time and you will not be able to frame a good answer.

  • Making notes from either books or newspaper is really helpful for answer writing as it provides good fodder material.
  • Amit preferred writing answers in bullets and points and not in paragraphs. It helps him in many ways.
  • Writing in points helps you add more content to your answer. On the other hand, if you write in paragraphs it takes a lot of space and you may not be able to mention all the points that you want to add.
  • Clear headings make it easy for the examiner to locate the points you have mentioned.
  • Quote government reports and committee recommendation released by the government and international organisations in your answer and underline them.
  • However, sometimes seeing the demand of the question you may have to write in paragraphs also.

ESSAY –

For essay writing, you do not need any extra preparation besides the GS paper. Once you have gone through the whole syllabus, you are ready to write essays.

  • What makes all the difference between GS and Essay Paper is the presentation of your answer.
  • Only after covering all GS papers, you can write a good essay.
  • To write an essay Amit used to take at least half an hour to prepare the framework. In that framework, he tried to note maximum examples from different fields to use them in the essay.
  • He also had a very nice technique of selecting essays to write from all the given options. He selected those essays in which he knew he could use maximum examples.
  • A good essay is one in which you are able to co-relate different topics to make your essay wide and comprehensive and then you drive back to the main topic again.
  • He tried to make his essay look as multidimensional as possible by adding examples from different angles like political, economic, environmental, social, ethical etc. This helped him in writing a comprehensive essay.
  • He also used a lot of quotes and examples in his essays.
  • One strategy Amit followed for essay preparation was, instead of practicing the whole essay he practiced the format of so many essay topics. In this way, he noted all the points related to a topic in one or two pages in form of a brief note on various essay topics.

OPTIONAL PAPERS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST-

STRATEGY

Amit took Geology as his optional subject. He took Geology as optional because he was already familiar with the subject from his college days.

  • Amit says Geology as UPSC optional paper is much generalized and anyone can take Geology optional .As he studied during his college time, he was very comfortable with it.
  • Geology is a totally static subject.
  • Another advantage with this subject is that at least 60 to 70 % of questions are from the previous year.
  • If you prepare the last 10-year question paper of Geology, you have good chance to score decent marks in your optional paper.
  • Make use of proper diagrams, tables, and charts in your answer to get good marks.
  • Be quick to draw maps of India to show deposits of different minerals at different places in the country.
  • Use the introduction-body-conclusion format to answer your questions.
  • Answer the questions in bullet points.

BOOKLIST

Paper 1

  • Physical Geology and Geomorphology- NCERT Books for GS papers, other books are by Bangar and Mahapatra, Savindra Singh for Geomorphology and G C Leong
  • Palaeontology- Amal Das Gupta, Internet
  • Structural Geology- Two Books by Billings and Parks one each
  • Stratigraphy- D N Vadiya Book, Ravindra Kumar

 

Application part-

  • Engineering Geology- EPG Pathshala, Bangar and Mahapatra
  • Hydrogeology- EPG Pathshala, YouTube Video

 

 

Paper 2

  • Mineralogy and Rock- Prof Nelson’s Note by Tulen University
  • Sedimentology- EPG Pathshala and nptel website notes
  • Mining Geology- EPG Pathshala, Bangar and Mahapatra
  • Economic Geology- Umesh Prakash, Bangar and Mahapatra, EPG Pathshala
  • Environment Geology- Can cover with GS 1 Paper.

INTERVIEW STAGE-

After mains, Amit was confident about getting an interview call. He divided his interview preparation into two parts. One was DAF and the other was current affairs of two to three months before the interview. He thoroughly prepared each and everything that he had mentioned in his DAF. He also did thorough research on the hobbies that he had mentioned there.
For current affairs, he prepared all burning issues of that time, for example, he thoroughly prepared issues like Sabrimala Temple, Rafael Deal, etc as they were in news widely at that time. If there is a current affair related to your optional subject then it must be prepared well. For example, during his time Magnetic North Pole shifting was an issue, so he prepared it well.
However, the final advice from Amit for the interview level is to be calm and confident. It's a personality test and if you are able to handle it with calmness and could answer the questions with confidence then that is enough. His interview experience was very good.

OVERALL JOURNEY

Amit started his preparation in 2016. In his first attempt, he was not able to clear mains but in his second attempt, he cleared all three stages of the exam and secured All India Rank 91. The journey taught him a lot of things, the best among them all was that he was able to understand himself better.

ADVICE FOR FUTURE ASPIRANTS-

Amit advises aspirants to focus on two things while preparing, one is resources and the other is revision. As per Amit aspirants need to limit their resources and increase the number of revisions. Amit revised his notes 30 to 35 times before the exam. Besides this, you must have the risk-taking ability and the courage to move out of your comfort zone. Never let yourself settle in your comfort zone. Take life as a challenge, create new challenges and enjoy them. Best of luck!

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