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VAISHALI SINGH AIR-08 | UPSC TOPPER'S JOURNEY | JOURNEY OF IAS-UPSC TOPPER

CANDIDATE PROFILE-

NAME- VAISHALI SINGH
RANK IN CSE-2018 AIR-08
CLASS 10 95.8%
CLASS-12 95%
GRADUATION(NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY DELHI) 7.58 CGPA out of eight.
NO OF ATTEMPTS IN CSE 3
OPTIONAL SUBJECT LAW
MEDIUM OF MAINS WRITING ENGLISH
MEDIUM OF INTERVIEW ENGLISH
AGE 24 YEARS
HOME TOWN/CITY FARIDABAAD
WORK EXPERIENCE YES, AT S&R ASSOCIATES AS AN ASSOCIATE

FAMILY AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Vaishali’s mother and father are both lawyers and this propelled her to pursue law for higher education. She has done her schooling from DPS Faridabad and has always been a bright student from her school days. She completed her graduation from National Law University Delhi and bagged 6 gold medals there. She is proud of her law degree and her law background also helped her in preparing for civil services.

WHY CIVIL SERVICES

After completing her education she worked for IDIA, an NGO, where she realised that how people are suffering due to some policy issues in the system and this inspired her to work for people at the grass root level. And there is no better way to work for people at ground level than civil services. However, her father always wanted to see her become a civil servant which made her think again about it.

NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS

Vaishali gave her first attempt of UPSC CSE in 2016. However, in her first attempt her syllabus was not complete. Her maximum focus was on completing the syllabus and studying as much as possible. Due to this she did not have any mock tests. She missed the prelims cut off by 5 marks in her first attempt. For her second attempt, she analysed her mistakes, worked on them and was able to secure All India Rank 08 in UPSC CSE 2018.

STUDY PLAN AND SCHEDULE

She used to study with a timer and used to track her time with an app called Focus. Her minimum target for daily was 9 hours and maximum were between 9 to 12 hours.

She used to wake up at 12 in afternoon and divided her study time into three slots of 3 hours with proper breaks in between. She used 6 hours for static part and 3 hours for current affairs which included; paper reading, notes making and attempting online quiz.

However, one month before exam she started waking up at 8 AM and used to give one mock test daily from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM so that her mind gets habituated with attempting paper at that time before the day of exam.

PRELIMS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

• STRATEGY

She focused on two areas while preparing; one was knowledge and other was strategy


She suggests aspirants to-


• BOOKLIST-

Ancient and Medieval History Tamil Nadu Class XI text book
Modern History Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir
Art and Culture Nitin Singhania
Geography Class XI and XII NCERTs
Polity Laxmikant
Economy Economic Survey and Newspaper
Environment Shankar IAS, Roman Saini videos on Unacademy
General science+Government schemes& others Current Affairs
Current Affairs News Paper

MAINS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST

• STRATEGY


• BOOKLIST-

GS-1 Ancient and Medieval History(Same as prelims) Tamil Nadu Class XI text book
Modern History(Same as prelims) Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir
Post-Independence Post-Independence India Bipan Chandra
World History Current Affairs
Indian Society Current Affairs and Class XI and XII NCERT
GS-2 Polity, Constitution (static) Laxmikant
Governance Online sources, Topic wise Google search
GS-3 Economy News Paper notes, Big Picture Debate on RSTV
Environment and Ecology(same as prelims) Shankar IAS, Roman Saini videos on Unacademy
Disaster Management Current affairs
National Security Book Internal Security
GS-4 Theory Lexicon
Moral Thinkers Lexicon
Case studies Lexicon

ANSWER WRITING APPROACH-

She believes answer writing is the most important part of preparation for mains.She used to write one answer daily before prelims exam. This practice helped her improving the quality of answers and understand the demand of the question. After prelims she joined so many test series and tried to finish the paper within 3 hours, which she says was the toughest part.

She practiced 25 to 27 tests for her mains preparation as she kept her mains preparation more writing oriented than reading. Her main emphasis was on writing more and more tests.

ESSAY –

She gave her prime focus to essay while preparing for mains and the effort also paid off as she says. She started her preparation for essay by reading answer sheets of previous year toppers which helped her understand what all things constitute a good essay.

As she says a good essay consists of an introduction, body and a conclusion. The body of an essay includes diverse points and examples from various angles which again and again connects on the main topic of the essay.

For essay she made a list of 10 to 12 topics that she found was probable to be asked in exam and was in news continuously. So, whenever she got any information on a topic, she used to add them in the file of that particular topic. This helped her in collecting all the required information and then she started giving test series on essay.

OPTIONAL PAPERS STRATEGY & BOOKLIST-

• STRATEGY

There were a few reasons why Vaishali chose Law as her optional subject


• BOOKLIST-

She covered the entire syllabus with A K JAIN and Singhal’s book. Constitutional law she covered from V N Shukla, whereas she followed Pillai to cover IPC.

INTERVIEW STAGE-

For Vaishali interview was the toughest stage. The UPSC CSE interview was also her first official interview. So, she decided to get over this fear of interview by giving al least 8 to 9 mock interviews. With every mock interview she was able to improve herself.

She divided her interview preparation in three parts; DAF, Law Optional and Current Affairs. For DAF she prepared every minor detail of whatever she had mentioned in her DAF. She even prepared thoroughly about her name like the place in Bihar called Vaishali, its history and present status. Since DAF is prepared by the students themselves, they must know everything about it.

Next, she prepared her Law Optional very well as it was very clear from the past interview scripts that had read that interview panel members ask question from law from lawyers.

Again, the next thing she gave importance was current affairs. For this she prepared a list of 50 major ongoing issues and after doing proper research she developed her own opinion on those issues. So that she is ready with her answer when asked by the interviewer. These were issues like abortion, transgender bill, same sex marriage, marital rape etc.

OVERALL JOURNEY

For Vaishali, like all other toppers the journey of UPSC CSE starting from her preparation of prelims for selection was full of learning and it was also an opportunity to become a better person.

ADVICE FOR FUTURE ASPIRANTS-

Vaishali advises future aspirants to believe on themselves and to trust the journey. She also advises aspirants be true to themselves and be their own judge. She says aspirants must be aware of both their strengths and weaknesses and must be ready to work on them.