CSC: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Abhilash: Hard work, continuous dedication and learning from past mistakes helped me a lot in clearing this examination.

CSC: When did you start preparation for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Abhilash: I started preparation around 2012. As such there is no perfect time to start, but when one is ready to devote full attention towards the exam preparation should start.

CSC: What was your optional? What was the basis of selecting this particular subject as optional?
Abhilash: My optional is public administration. I took this optional because I had an inclination towards the subject and it is a very practical subject (especially paper 2). Also the guidance and material required was easily available. In addition to it was a subject I could manage with my job schedule.

CSC: Tell us something about preparation of  Essay  paper.
Abhilash: Essay is my weakest portion so I am not the right person to give advice for it. However as people have advised me attempt should be to keep essay simple and according to demand of the topic. Some good lines and quotes should be collected on a regular basis and same should be used to make essay more convincing.

 How did you manage your time in both Prelims and Main Examinations?
Abhilash: Proper planning in advance and allocating adequate time to all the sections of the syllabus can help in managing time in both prelims and mains.

CSC: Which is the most difficult part of this examination and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?
Abhilash: The most difficult part of this examination was answer writing and presentation skills. In that regards guidance from coaching institutes, personal support from Experts in these institutes helped me a lot in framing my answers and making more relevant according to question s demand.

CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparations or were these separate?
Abhilash: Where ever it is possible I should be integrated in order to avoid duplication of efforts. I did the same thing in case of art & culture, S&T, polity, modern history,etc.

CSC: Did you attend any coaching institute? How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?
Abhilash: I attended some coaching institutes. Experts in these institutes have years of experience and they can guide very well. However selection of good coaching institute is important and must be done carefully after consulting friends, aspirants and studying their track record.

CSC: What are you suggestions for freshers who want to join coaching institutes for preparation?
Abhilash: Selection of good coaching institute is important and must be done carefully after consulting friends, aspirants and studying their track record.

CSC: What was your style of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Abhilash: I tried to use facts and drawings and maps wherever possible to make my answers more presentable. It developed after discussion with my friends and teachers.

CSC: How helpful, is one s background in his/her success?
Abhilash: Academically it depends, if the optional paper is the same as in graduation background can play a huge role. However one s learning of coping up with stress, failures, etc always comes in handy while dealing with this examination.

CSC: How did you prepare for interview?
Abhilash: I attended some mocks. I talked with candidates who regularly get good marks. In addition to it I tried to work on my body language by practicing in front of the mirror before interview.

CSC: Which types of questions were asked in interview? Did you answer all?
Abhilash: Questions were there from my job experience, DAF and some general awareness issues. No, I was not able to answer all the questions.

CSC: Before getting down to actual preparation, what kind of reading should one do to improve one s suitability for this exam? What is the outside reading one should do?
Abhilash: Read only NCERT Textbooks.

CSC: Whom would you credit your success?
Abhilash: Family and friends especially parents who have always supported me. My teachers who have guided me and one very special friend Avnindra Kr Rai who has guided me throughout my preparation.

CSC: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?
Abhilash: Make a strategy, be careful in not wasting your time in reading non-relevant material. Focus your attention on the syllabus, chose good teachers and institutes like AAI IAS Academy and work hard on a consistent basis.

CSC: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?
Abhilash: Never lose heart and hope. In this exam there are elements that are beyond one s control and therefore keep working hard, rectify your mistakes from previous attempts and give full attention to this examination. Sooner or later success will come to you.

CSC: Do you think Civil Services exam is a true test of a candidate s merit?
Abhilash: Yes, I do consider it tests all the possible dimensions of a candidate s suitability for this examination.

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