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GUNJAN DWIDEVI AIR-09 | UPSC TOPPER'S JOURNEY | JOURNEY OF IAS-UPSC TOPPER

CANDIDATE PROFILE-

NAME- GUNJAN DWIVEDI
RANK IN CSE-2018 AIR-09
CLASS 10 93.5%
CLASS-12 87.6%
GRADUATION(POLITICAL SC),DU B.A.(HONS) -71.5%
NO OF ATTEMPTS IN CSE 3
OPTIONAL SUBJECT PSIR
MEDIUM OF MAINS WRITING ENGLISH
MEDIUM OF INTERVIEW ENGLISH
AGE 24 YEARS
HOME TOWN/CITY LUCKNOW(UP)

FAMILY AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Gunjan has been an intelligent students since beginning. She scored 93.5% marks in class 10 and 87.6% in class 12. She did her schooling from ICSE board. Later Gunjan graduated with 71.5% marks fromDaulat Ram College, Delhi University Delhi University. Her subject in college was Political Science which was also her Optional Paper in UPSC CSE.

WHY CIVIL SERVICES

Gunjan’s father was also a Civil Servant, a retired IPS officer. According to her statement“My father is a retired IPS officer; he was my childhood role model. My mother and brother made sure I stayed happy no matter what. My sister is placed as a Commercial Tax Officer in Saharanpur, UP.”

NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS

Gunjan was able to clear the Civil Services Exam in her 3rd attempt. In last two attempts she was not able to clear even preliminary exam. But it did not stop her to continue her preparation. She learnt from her mistakes and cleared the exam in 3rd attempt.

What she learned from her earlier 2 attempts was that she was not doing her preparation in an organised manner. As Gunjan says earlier she did not have any plans and also, she was not preparing notes and hence, was not able to revise the whole syllabus before Prelim’s exam. In her 3rd attempt she worked on her mistakes that helped her to clear the exam. She prepared daily, weekly and monthly targets and kept schedule very realistic so that she can adhere to it.

STUDY PLAN AND SCHEDULE

She studied GS and Optional Papers mainly up to December. From Feb onwards she shifted her focus on prelims. Her target was to do at least five revisions of the whole subject before prelims for both static and current affairs. And by doing that she assured she was ready with both facts and analysis. Facts she could cover due to multiple revision and analysis got better with the process.

PRELIMS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

STRATEGY


• BOOKLIST-

Ancient and Medieval History Tamil Nadu class 11th history book ( she made notes and revised only them) Lucent (selected topics like IVC, Vedic period, Jainism and Buddhism)
Modern History A Brief history of modern India , Spectrum publication Class notes for period before 1857 My notes ( a few pointers of ncerts)
Culture An Introduction to Indian Art- class 11th ncert Nitin Singhania’s book Chapters related to culture in ancient and medieval history sources Coachingclass notes (selected topics like stone age, IVC )
Geography Class 11th and 12th ncerts Geography of India, Periyar publication (selected topics like agriculture and minerals) Atlas (very important)
Polity Laxmikanth Coaching class notes (selected topics)
Economy Coaching notes, Economic Survey, Internet
Environment Shankar IAS book ( She made notes of this)
General science+Government schemes& others Coaching compilation ,online video
Current Affairs Coaching compilation, The Hindu ( She did not make notes),Yojna magazine(selective)

NOTE-

  • Ideally one year’s current affairs is enough to cover this portion. Though many times questions from two- to three-year-old topics are asked but they are inspired from any ongoing issue only.
  • She says syllabus and previous year question papersare the best guide for you to choose what you need to read from newspaper and what you need to leave.
  • She started to appear mock tests around one and half months before Prelims exam. She used to give at least one mock test daily and find out her weak areas, and then she worked on them.

MAINS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

STRATEGY


BOOKLIST-

GS-1 Culture- (Same as prelims) An Introduction to Indian Art- class 11th ncert Nitin Singhania’s book Chapters related to culture in ancient and medieval history sources Coachingclass notes (selected topics like stone age, IVC )
Modern Indian History(Same as prelims) A Brief history of modern India , Spectrum publication Class notes for period before 1857 My notes ( a few pointers of ncerts)
Post-Independence Coaching material ( It is a summary of the NCERT on the same topic )
World History Theory of Civilisation – Arjun Dev Crash Course Videos on YouTube ( Revolutions , World Wars, Colonisation etc)
Indian Society Newspaper (The Hindu) Coaching material
Geography- (same as prelims) Class 11th and 12th ncerts Geography of India, Periyar publication (selected topics like minerals) Mrunal Videos ( to understand certain concepts like jet streams, monsoon, natural resources etc)
GS-2 Polity, Constitution (static) Laxmikanth 2nd ARC Report (I jotted down the important points)
Governance 2nd ARC Report and Niti Aayog reports,current affairs
International Relations Covered with PSIR(optional),current affairs(coaching compilation)
GS-3 Economy Coaching notes, Economic Survey and Monthly Compilation for Economy
Environment and Ecology(same as prelims) Shankar IAS book ( I made notes of this) coaching compilation on environment current
Disaster Management Internet and Compilation available on internet
National Security Coaching current affairs
GS-4 Theory Coaching class notes
Moral Thinkers internet + optional knowledge
Case studies Online videos, topper’s copy

ANSWER WRITING APPROACH-

  • She followed what she have been taught since school ie. Every answer has to have an introduction and conclusion.
  • Her introduction consisted of a basic definition/a fact/some reference to a report/SDGs/Articles/DPSPs etc.
  • Conclusion was always optimistic. She often cited some government scheme or best practices (Niti Aayog’s report) or suggestions by a committee.
  • For this she made a list of such facts and data (she had printed outprevious year’s topper Anudeep sir’s notes and made her additions there) and kept revising it till the last day.
  • She made sure to cover every aspect of the question. Each part was given the due importance.
  • She generally wrote in points. This is something she developed while practicing mock papers. She realised that writing in points helped her save time while simultaneously covering different aspects and perspectives.
  • She underlined the important points.
  • She drew diagrams, maps, illustrations, tables, flow charts etc wherever possible. This did not come naturally to me. She practised while writing mock tests.
  • She referred to the copies of previous years’ toppers a lot. These are available on different coaching institutes’ websites for free. This not only helped me gauge her performance but also make improvements in her answers.
  • Her language was very simple. She avoided jargons and long sentences. The idea was to come to the point straight. However, she made a list of certain keywords that helped my answers not look repetitive. For example-community participation social energy zero tolerancepeople/citizen centric inclusive growth decentralised virtuous bottleneck race to bottom feedback crowding out robust Through the lease of convergence of scheme service delivery
  • She quoted facts, data, committees, reports etc to substantiate a point. For example, on a question on water crisis, she introduced her answer with Niti Aayog’s recent report on it with facts.
  • Her approach was to write the tests even though she had not completed the syllabus properly. The idea was to practice articulating answers despite having core information/knowledge on the topic. This is because there are a lot of questions in the final exam where one would not know the answer or have a faint idea on it. Here comes the skill of answer writing. Anyone who is able to express the vague information in well-articulated and coherent answers manages to score well in GS. It is very important to complete the paper. I made sure to attempt all the questions.

ESSAY –

Gunjan could not get enough time to practice essays. So, she only read topper’s mock test copies to get idea of essay writing skills. She read some 15 to 20 essays from topper’s copies to get an idea and to collect quotes.

OPTIONAL PAPERS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST-

STRATEGY in her words-


Strategy in her words-

She have done B.A. Honours in Political Science from Daulat Ram College, Delhi University. She was in absolute love with the discipline. Hence, she had a basic understanding of the subject. She completed the first reading of the entire syllabus by December 2017. This time from (July- Dec) is more than enough to get an overview/understanding of the entire syllabus for even a first timer. In this phase she consolidated my material. She made notes for certain topics while highlighted the important points in others. She even made additions in Shubhra Ranjan’s notes (to differentiate her answers from other candidates, as almost everyone is using her notes). Thus, she ensured she had notes/material for each and every topic mentioned in the syllabus by December.

She picked up political science post prelims. This is the perfect time to prepare your optional. She dedicated the entire month of June to PSIR. She revised the entire syllabus. She did not take any coaching. She had joined Shubhra Ranjan’s test series/crash course after clearing prelims in July, 2018. Here, she got certain supplementary notes that she found extremely helpful. She planned her studies according to the test schedule. This helped her have a proper schedule/time table.

Importance of test series-

Answer writing is the single most factor that contributes to success in CSE. She took her tests with utmost seriousness. Following are the benefits of a good test series:


• BOOKLIST-

INTERVIEW STAGE-

DAF contained mainly your basic information hence interviewer can initiate a conversation with you. In achievement section you should mention only if you have any achievements otherwise you can leave it. Again, for hobby you can mention if you have any hobby.

Her Interview was mostly dominated by questions on IR, Ponzischeme, Indian Economy, women Empowerment and Situational question and some Sanskrit words were also asked to explain. First 5 minutes she felt a little bit nervous but after that she became comfortable with members of interview panel. In this regard mock interview may be helpful for you to boost your confidence and experience the real time situations.

The main purpose of interview is to bring out your true personality.

OVERALL JOURNEY

There is no template for success, you need to learn from your mistakes, make your own path keep trying until you succeed.

ADVICE FOR FUTURE ASPIRANTS-

Don’t give up. Be honest with your preparation, have faith in yourself Follow your strategy, put in your hard work with 100% efforts,

Keep moving with full force and determination.