IAS Topper 2016-17 Talks To You

Competition Success Review Is Comprehensive, Crisp And To The Point

—Sahil Gupta, IAS Topper 2016-17 (19th Rank)

Mr. Sahil Gupta, IAS Topper 2016-17 (19th Rank), honoured with
CSR Gold Medal and Trophy

Mr. Sahil Gupta has secured the 19th Rank in the 2016-17 Civil Services Examination (CSE). He made it into the prestigious IAS in his third attempt. Mr. Gupta is a B.Tech. (Civil Engineering) from VIT University. He did his schooling from Model School, Jhajjar, Haryana.  He credits hard work, determination and unconditional support from his parents that had unstintingly backed him during his previous unsuccessful attempts. He has been an avid reader of the Competition Success Review during his college days, especially during the long train journeys from Delhi to Vellore, Tamil Nadu.  His advice to future aspirants is to “keep believing in yourself and your dream because victory belongs to those who believe in it the most.”

Here, we publish an exclusive interview which he gave to Competition Success Review.

CSR : What is the secret of your success in the Civil Services Examination?

Mr. Sahil Gupta : Hard work, determination and unconditional support from my parents that backed me during my previous failures.

Q. How much time do you think one requires for serious preparations for this examination?

A. I think 12 to 18 months of dedicated hard work with proper guidance makes it possible.

Q. Which journals have you been reading for the General Studies and other papers?

A. Apart from Competition Success Review, General Knowledge Today and CSR Year Book,I am a regular reader of  The Hindu, Frontline and World Focus.

Q. Do you remember any remarkable incident in your life that motivated or prompted you to go for a career in the Civil Services?

A. During my college days, I got inspiration from Dr. Shah Faesal (AIR-1 CSE 2009).

Q. Competition Success Review, the largest selling youth magazine in English for 35 years, has been extremely helpful because

A. It provides in-depth analysis with broader coverage of topics which help a Civil Services aspirant.

Q. How did your parents, family and friends contribute to your success?

A. Provided unconditional moral support to chase my dream and friends acted as stress busters when the going was not great.

Q. Had you not been selected in the Civil Services Examination, what would have been your reaction? Which other service/career would you have gone in/opted for?

A. I had thought of teaching civil services aspirants, in case of not being selected.

Q. How do you visualise your success?

A. I believe success and failure are like crest and trough. They will come and go. One must focus on improving processes rather than focusing on outcome.

Q. What were your strong points which enabled you to achieve spectacular success in  the Civil Services Examination?

A. I had good writing skills which helped me secure good marks in CSE Mains 2016.

Q. What was your optional at the Civil Services Examination?

A. Political Science and International Relations (PSIR).

Q. How many attempts had you made earlier before you got selected?

A. This was my ‘third’ attempt.

Q. What was your criterion for the selection of the optional subject?

A. Personal interest and inclination. Overlapping of syllabus with GS-2 Paper of Indian Polity.

Q. How did you prepare for your compulsory papers?

A. I took coaching in Delhi during (2013-14). Read magazines like CSR, Yojana, World Focus along with The Hindu.

Q. What is your impression about the Interview Board?

A. My Board was Vice Air Chief Marshal Bhonsle Sir Board. The Board was cordial but straight-forward.

Q. Competition Success Review has been the largest selling ABC-certified magazine in English since 1981. How do you visualise the role of this magazine in moulding the careers of the youth.

A. Competition Success Review is helpful because of the broad contours it covers including Civil Services Exam and other state PSC Exams.

Q. How did Competition Success Review help you in your preparation for the interview?

A. Language is simple yet effective. I used to read interview transcripts of other successful candidates from CSR.

Q. How do you look upon the publication of CSR magazine in Hindi? Do you think that the mindset and basic approach of English medium students are fundamentally different from those of the Hindi medium students ?

A. I think the Hindi version will improve coverage of the rural areas and shall be a boost to Hindi medium students who often do not find relevant material in Hindi.

Q. What is your opinion about Competition Success Review?

A. Competition Success Review is comprehensive, crisp and to the point.

Q. Since when have you been reading Competition Success Review ?

A. Since my college days, especially when I used to make long journeys by train from Delhi to Vellore.

Q. Did your father and/or mother also read Competition Success Review when they were of your age ? If so, who read and when ?

A. No.

Q. What is your opinion about General Knowledge Today ?

A. General Knowledge Today is targeted, concise and a good revision booklet with current affairs and solved exam papers.

Q. To prepare for this Civil Services Examination, did you join any Coaching Institute(s)? If so, name them.

A. 1. Vajiram and Ravi (for General Studies & PSIR)

2. Vision IAS (for Mains test series)

3. Aspire IAS (Newspaper batch)

4. Excell Career Academy, Chennai.

Q. What do you think is a better way of preparation between selective intensive study and wide extensive study?

A. I think for Prelims where you need to identify correct option, a wide extensive study is required. But, for Mains, indepth and intensive analysis is the key.

Q. Have you been studying alone or in a group ? If you were studying in a group, have your other friends also succeeded ? If so, name them.

A. Studying alone.

Q. Is this pattern of the exam appropriate for selection? Would you recommend any other improvement?

A. I think the pattern is comprehensive and provides a level playing field for all.

Q. Do you feel that there should be no restriction on the number of attempts ?

A. I think the present restrictions are fair because one must look forward in life after a certain age with positivity despite failure in CSE.

Q. We have been awarding CSR Gold Medal to top 50 Rank Holders of CSE who have been our readers. Do you think that our gesture has been a source of inspiration for the Civil Services aspirants?

A. Definitely, recognition of merit is always appreciated both by students and CSR.

Q. We have been publishing essays every month under Current Issues and CSR Essay Contests and CSR Super Brain Youth Contest by adding eight more pages to encourage our readers not only to write better, but also to know what the top competitors could be writing. Besides, we offer CSR Gold Medal & Trophy to the winners of the CSR Super Brain Youth Contest. Is this focus-oriented approach helpful for the IAS aspirants?

A. This is an incentive driven approach which not only inspires to write, but, when you read other essays, you can realize your weak zones.

Q. We have been publishing Mock Tests in every issue prepared by India’s Top IAS Coaching Institutes as IAS Special Supplements in Competition Success Review to help aspirants in CSE preparation. Were these helpful to you ?

A. Yes, it was because questions were based on CSE pattern and of similar nature.

Q. How do you think Competition  Success  Review  could be more useful to the candidates appearing in the Civil Services and various other competitive examinations ?

A. I think CSR is doing a great job already.

Q. Do you think that the UPSC needs to be more transparent in its examination and evaluation ?

A. I think they are transparent and fair in their evaluation. Requires no changes.

Q. What is your advice to the future aspirants?A. Keep believing in yourself and your dream because victory belongs to those who believe in it the most.

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