GSS PRAVEENCHAND AIR-64 | UPSC TOPPER'S JOURNEY | JOURNEY OF IAS-UPSC TOPPER

CANDIDATE PROFILE-

NAME- GSS PRAVEENCHAND
RANK IN CSE-2018 AIR-64
CLASS 10 90.88 %
CLASS-12 95.8 %
GRADUATION (ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING FROM IIT PATNA) 92.3%
NO OF ATTEMPTS IN CSE 3
OPTIONAL SUBJECT MATHEMATICS
MEDIUM OF MAINS WRITING ENGLISH
MEDIUM OF INTERVIEW ENGLISH
AGE 26 YEARS
HOME TOWN/CITY AMLAPURAM,EAST GODAVARI, ANDHRA PRADESH
WORK EXPERIENCE YES. WORKED AT A SOFTWARE COMPANY, WAS SELECTED IN INDIAN INFORMATION SERVICES IN UPSC CSE 2016.
WORKING WHILE PREPARATION YES

FAMILY AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Praveenchand is a resident of Andhra Pradesh.His father was a ration shop dealer and his mother was a housewife. Unfortunately, his mother and father both are no more.

He was a very intelligent student from his childhood as we can see from the percentage of marks scored by him in 10th and 12th standard. He is an Electrical Engineering graduate from IIT Patna.

WHY CIVIL SERVICES

The main source of inspiration for Pravenchand was his mother. His mother always used to tell him that family is not only those people with whom we live but entire society is our family. Also, during his college time as a student leader Praveenchand realised that doing public service gives him real satisfaction. And hence, he decided to become a civil servant.

NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS

This was third attempt for Praveenchand in which he secured AIR 64. Before this he gave two attempts earlier. In his first attempt due to improper planning and less revision, he could not clear the mains examination. Again, in his second attempt though he cleared the exam but he made so many calculation mistakes due to which he could score only 263 marks in optional paper and had to contend himself with rank 512. He worked on his mistakes and was able to score 324 marks in optional in his third attempt. He cleared the UPSC CSE examination with AIR 64 in his third attempt.

STUDY PLAN AND SCHEDULE

Since, he was in a full-time job while giving his third attempt, he used to study mostly on weekends. He kept his study materials limited and did not indulge into social media or with too many online study groups. He used to spend 2 to 3 hours online for preparation daily for only important source.

On managing work and studies together he suggests aspirants to-

  • Find time during breaks and read newspaper
  • Try to make notes online as its easy to revise during office hours and during commutation
  • During weekdays wake up early and utilise the time to study as it is hard to study after office hours due to tiredness.
  • During weekends utilise his full time for studies.

PRELIMS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

• STRATEGY

Praveenchand asks aspirants to keep their strategy simple

  • First read the textbooks and highlight important points. Start making notes in your 2nd or 3rd revision whenever you feel comfortable
  • He also prepared notes of The Hindu newspaper, each topic was divided as per different GS Papers.
  • He used to take notes on OneNote software using iPad and Apple Pencil.
  • Be thorough with the basic study materials. Revise them as many times as possible.
  • Follow one newspaper diligently. Make your own notes from newspaper, this helps you gaining more clarity over ongoing issues.
  • Follow govt websites to know more about govt schemes and policies and stay updated.
  • Refer to previous year question paper to understand the pattern of questions that UPSC asks.
  • Moreover, UPSC sometimes repeats the questions directly or indirectly, being thorough with PYQP can help you score better in this case.
  • CSAT is another important paper beside GS I in prelims. Aspirants must give adequate attention to prepare aptitude, reasoning and comprehensive questions.
  • Mock tests are important for you to assess your preparation level. It also helps you revise the syllabus. Attempt mock test to ace your preparation.

BOOKLIST-

Ancient and Medieval History Old NCERT
Modern History BIPIN CHANDRA – India’s struggle for Independence,Old NCERT
Culture Fine arts NCERT, CCRT website
Geography NCERT Class XI and XII
Polity DD BASU, Class XI NCERT – Indian Constitution at Work
Economy NCERT – Indian Economic Development, SRIRAM BOOK
Environment Class XII BIOLOGY (Last 4 Chapters), THE HINDU current affairs
General science 6-9 NCERT, THE HINDU current affairs
Government schemes & others THE HINDU and Big Picture Debate on RajyaSabha TV
Current Affairs THE HINDU

MAINS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

• STRATEGY

  • One must be thorough with NCERTs and standard books.
  • He gave 50% of his time for preparation of GS Papers and 50% of his time to Optional paper, Mathematics.
  • In mains his maximum focus was on improving his answer writing skills.
  • For this he used to practice 2 questions daily from InsightsonIndia Secure Initiative daily. Apart from this he also wrote full length test on VisionIAS test series.
  • He thoroughly read all the model answers. Practicing answer writing and reading model answers not only helped him expanding his knowledge on various topics but also helped him in framing the answer quickly in the examination hall.
  • Using constitutional terminology, quoting relevant articles of the constitution and Supreme Court judgements in the answers plays key role to write good answers in GS-2. One may use diagrams in international affairs part. E.g. Map of Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) if a question on BRI is asked
  • While writing answers in GS-3,he used quotes, relevant terminologies, diagrams, flowcharts and tried tocorrelate his answers with current affairs which helped him making his answers more interesting and scoring.
  • For Ethics Paper, he prepared the key words given in the syllabus very carefully and made notes of all those key words in his own language which helped him in retention and recalling while writing answers in exam. He used to pick examples from his daily life and current events.
  • Pervious year question paper is one of the basic pillars of UPSC CSE preparation. So, for Ethics Paper alsohe relied heavily on previous year question papers and revised previous year questions before exam.

BOOKLIST-

GS-1 Art and Culture- Fine arts NCERT
Modern History Old NCERT for ancient and medical, India’s struggle for independence by Bipin Chandra from modern India
Post-Independence Post-independence India NCERT
World History Vision IAS world history booklet
Indian Society NCERT – Indian Society
Geography- NCERT + Mrunal Geography lectures by Rajtanil Solanki Ma’am
GS-2 Polity, Constitution (static) D.D. Basu introduction to the constitution of India
Governance Vision IAS test series questions
International Relations The Hindu and MEA Website
GS-3 Economy- NCERT & SRIRAM IAS Indian Economy, Economic Survey & Budget
Environment and Ecology- Vision IAS Test series questions
Science and Tech The Hindu and Google, Ministry of Science & Technology Website
Disaster Management The Hindu + NCERT Indian physical environment book last chapter on disaster management,
National Security Sriram IAS notes on security + The Hindu
GS-4 Theory Ethics Integrity & Aptitude by Arihant Experts
Moral Thinkers Ethics Integrity & Aptitude by Arihant Experts
Disaster Management Ethics Integrity & Aptitude by Arihant Experts
Case studies- Ethics Integrity & Aptitude by Arihant Experts

ANSWER WRITING APPROACH-

Praveenchand givesvery much emphasis on practicing answer writing and developing own writing skill. For answer writing he suggests aspirants to-

  • Write answer in Introduction-Body-Conclusion format. It helps examiner to check answer easily.
  • Write your answer as it is expected from a civil servant
  • Present your answers in diverse manner
  • Use bullet points and paragraphs as and when required in your answer
  • However, you must keep in mind that the most important factor in your answer is your content
  • Use diagrams in answers wherever it demands
  • Use the fixed space given to answer the question very aptly
  • Lastly, don’t fill your answer sheet with rubbish, it gives creates a bad impression about you in examiner’s eyes.

Links to his online notes

  • https://www.evernote.com/pub/saipraveenchand/gs1
  • https://www.evernote.com/pub/saipraveenchand/gs2
  • https://www.evernote.com/pub/saipraveenchand/gs3
  • https://1drv.ms/u/s!AhpLpE_G660ukFuwupwngA7Yvhpm (OneNote, he made some of these notes with his iPad and Apple Pencil)

ESSAY –

Majority of the content for essay comes from general studies itself. So, if one is thorough with general studies papers, they will be able to write decent essay. Apart from knowledge, writing skills also matters in the essay. Praveenchad says he was not very good in writing skills so he could not score very good marks in essay. He mainly prepared essays category wise like health, education, economy, women, society, philosophy etc. For this he picked up categorised topics from previous year’s question paper from Mrunal’s website. On every topic he prepared a rough draft and kept revising from there. While writing essays in mains exam he picked one factual and another philosophical topic to write on. His basic strategy while writing essay was to follow an Introduction, Body and Conclusion approach. He sticked to this approach for both of the essays. He tried to end the essays on a positive note or with a solution. This also helps you present yourself as a solution-oriented person in front of the examiner.

OPTIONAL PAPERS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST-

STRATEGY

  • His optional subject was mathematics. There were a few reasons, why he chose mathematics as his optional subject-

    • Mathematics was a major part of his syllabus during college and he was comfortable with the subject
    • During his three-year work experience in private sector, he benefited heavily due to his mathematical skills
    • Having mathematics in syllabus in college and later continued practice with the subject made math a better choice as Optional paper for him.
  • He used to watch NPTEL lectures on https://nptel.ac.in and referred to one playlist on YouTube for Modern Algebra. Apart from these, most part of the syllabus can be done from books.
  • It took him 7 – 8 months to finish whole optional syllabus.
  • Mathematics is subject which cannot be done without pen and paper. So, answer writing was a part of his preparation from the day one.
  • In last two attempts he did not make notes but during his preparation for third attempt he prepared notes of important formulae, concepts, theorems and solutions.
  • He relied heavily on previous year question paper to keep his preparation on track.

BOOKLIST

  • Paper 1

    • Linear Algebra:Schaum’s outline on Linear Algebra

    • Calculus:Mathematical analysis by S.C. Malik and Savita Arora, Krishna Series on Differential calculus, Krishna Series on Integral calculus and NPTEL lectures

    • Analytical Geometry:Krishna Series on Analytical Geometry and Krishna Series on Analytical Solid Geometry: for Conicoid, Generating Lines

    • Ordinary Differential Equation: Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations by MD Raisinghania. For Laplace, Advanced Differential Equations by MD Raisinghania

    • Vector Analysis: Vector Analysis by Krishna series.

    • Statics:Krishna Series

    • Dynamics:: Krishna Series

  • Paper 2

    • Modern Algebra:Contemporary abstract algebra by Joseph Gallon.

    • Real Analysis:Mathematical analysis by S.C. Malik and Savita Arora, Krishna Series on Differential calculus, Krishna Series on Integral calculus and NPTEL lectures

    • Complex Analysis: Complex analysis by Krishna series.

    • Linear Programming:Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations by MD Raisinghania. For Laplace, Advanced Differential Equations by MD Raisinghania

    • Partial Differential Equations:Linear Programming, Krishna Series book and NPTEL lectures

    • Numerical analysis:Numerical Methods: For Scientific and Engineering Computation by Mahinder Kumar Jain, Satteluri R K Iyengar and Rajinder Kumar Jain

    • Fluid Mechanics: M D Raisinghania.

    • Mechanics:Rigid Dynamics (Volume I & Volume II) by Krishna series.

  • One must solve last 15-20 yeas questions of UPSC civil services optional. Solutions to them could be written in a note. Revise these questions and solutions multiple times. It helps in quickly revising many concepts and formulae.


    He used to watch NPTEL lectures on https://nptel.ac.in and referred to one playlist on YouTube for Modern Algebra. Apart from these, most part of the syllabus can be done from books.


INTERVIEW STAGE-

For interview he went through all the key words used by him in his DAF. He prepared a note on all those key words and prepared answers of all possible questions from there. He used to practice in front of mirror and also used to record his practice and watch it later to improve himself.

He prepared current affairs from The Hindu and Indian Express. Beside this he also followed Big Picture Debate on RajyaSabha TV and on You Tube.

He had also attended a couple of mock interviews to get himself comfortable with the process. As per him the only purpose of mock interview is practice. As the official interview question, environment and level of anxiety is totally different. He also suggests aspirants to not to take mock interview feedback too seriously and keep preparing themselves at their best.

His interview continued for 30 minutes. He was asked question on his home town, Patna, corruption, cryptocurrency, darknet, Saudi-Pakistan relation and from his optional subject.

OVERALL JOURNEY

Praveenchand says he enjoyed the whole UPSC journey, beginning from preparation for prelims to the phase of interview. He says the whole process was full of learning and hard work. It helped him know himself better and become a better person at personal level.

ADVICE FOR FUTURE ASPIRANTS-

He says all the aspirations must be very clear with their priorities in life. “If civil services are your passion, then try as hard as possible. Don’t get demotivated at any point. If you work hard definitely success will be yours.”

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