CSC: Congratulations from the Civil Services Chronicle on your success. How do you feel about it?
Simranpreet Kaur: Thank you my Lord. It’s a great feeling because the hard work has borne fruit.
CSC: What is your inspiration for your success? Who do you attribute your success to? What role do family and others (teachers, friends) play in your preparation and success?
Simranpreet Kaur: My inspiration to become a PCS officer was my parents who introduced me to the idea of public service. This was further realized when I was awarded for representing India in the world
Cup in skeet shooting on my school’s sports day and the main guest was an athlete and an official. That really inspired me to do community service. My family’s role has been a big one, as it is the family support that gives you emotional strength along the way and teachers who motivate you and help you to get better in the respective subjects.
CSC: What strategy should one pursue to prepare General Studies for Prelims & Mains? Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparation or was it separate?
Simranpreet Kaur: The preparation for community service is integrated for Prelims and Mains. The first step is to thoroughly understand the curriculum and analyze the questionnaires from recent years.
Then you have to decide whether you need coaching or not and, depending on your strengths and weaknesses, formulate an appropriate strategy. Tests are very important for any exam level as they help one identify the areas that require more attention. Both main and preliminary exams are dealt with together, but a few months before each exam level, the focus of preparation needs to be shifted to the specific level.
CSC: How much time did you spend on prelims, main, interview and optional? How did you spend your time in both the preliminary and the main exam?
Simranpreet Kaur: It’s almost two years of preparation. I opted for integrated preparation, so I initially prepared both the main courses and the starters together. Because my prelims were scheduled for 13pmthe In February 2021, I completely waived it three months before the exam. After that, from April 1st, 2021 to April 8th, 2021, I had a dedicated focus on my major. This was followed on May 15. my interview therefore the focus was more on interview-specific preparation.
CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on taking notes?
Simranpreet Kaur: For some subjects I had made notes such as the major-specific topics and some even for updates, but these were prioritized according to the importance of the topics in relation to the exam. They were very helpful as pre-exam post-processing was quite easy; I think taking notes or not is a personal choice, but I think they are important as it becomes extremely difficult to get out of a few days before the exam to revise a large number of sources.
CSC: Tell us about essay writing.
Simranpreet Kaur: I had practiced certain essays before the main subject examination and had them evaluated by my teachers and incorporated their suggestions into the examination. The knowledge of the other four works can be wonderfully incorporated into the work with a touch of literature.
CSC: How was your writing style on the exam? How did it differ from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Simranpreet Kaur: My writing style was: introduction, main part and conclusion. However, I used paragraphs, points, charts, etc. depending on the requirement of the question. I had developed the writing style by practicing a few questions after each graduation, then letting the teachers evaluate my answers and incorporate their suggestions.
CSC: How did you prepare for the interview? What questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer them all? Was there a specific area that you valued?
Simranpreet Kaur: My interview mainly focused on the detailed application form (DAF) and newspapers, along with some key contemporary issues and country-specific information. I had prepared for this and participated in some mocks and incorporated some suggestions. The questions were mostly state-oriented and factual and very little opinion-based. I was able to answer most of the questions and they asked some village specific questions that I couldn’t answer.
CSC: What do you think of the importance of coaching in preparing for this exam?
Simranpreet Kaur: Coaching plays a very important role in preparing for this exam and afterwards it is self-study that helps you consolidate what you have learned in the subjects. However, it is again a personal choice. You have to decide according to your abilities.
CSC: What role does Civil Services Chronicle play in your success?
Simranpreet Kaur: I referred to the Civil Services Chronicle magazine for some topical issues to fill in the blanks.
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