VSLearning the Civil Service Examination (CSE) from the Union Civil Service Commission (UPSC) was a personal and professional victory for T Prateek Rao. A graduate of NIT Surathkal and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Calcutta, Prateek took the exam four times and passed two of the four times.
Talk to The best India, says Prateek, “Attempting the UPSC CSE and then being part of the back office is one that requires a lot of thought for an aspirant. Before embarking on this journey, having a very clear reason for wanting to be a part of the service will help keep motivation levels high.
He continues, “This exam tests your strategy, not necessarily just your knowledge. “
For Prateek, his role model was his father, who was also part of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). “Following in his footsteps was a dream that I had cherished for a very long time. Unfortunately, when I was only 21, I lost both parents in an accident and my life because I knew it had changed. What remained was my determination to succeed in the UPSC CSE and make my parents proud.
Prateek has attempted the CSE on four occasions, starting in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. In the 2019 CSE he achieved a rank of 724 and was awarded to Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) and CSE 2020 he scored 459 with a high score of 147 in the essay.
Prateek’s advice for approaching the trial:
1. Don’t be overconfident in your method:
“Most aspirants have an average to above average hold on their essay writing skills. However, no matter how good you think you are, it’s only repeated practice and regular third-party evaluation that will help you improve, ”says Prateek. He reiterates the importance of having an external person to evaluate and give you their opinion on your essay. He also asks aspirants to avoid self-assessment and go to friends to verify the essay.
2. Highlight your personality in your writing:
“Remember that the essay question is the same for everyone, and the distinction you can make in your essay is how you present your personality in it. For example, I had written a poem about women. and if I had the chance, I would incorporate the poem into my essay. Embellishing the essay with relevant quotes you’ve read will also help you make sure your essay gets more points, “says Prateek.
3. Non-knowledge flow test:
“Make sure you grab the examiner’s attention early on. Your arguments should be presented succinctly. Also, keep in mind that the reviewer reads multiple essays throughout the day and therefore to impress the reviewer you need to have a good pace in the essay. Give them a ‘wow’ moment just when they start reading your essay, ”he says.
4. Make the essay relevant:
“As much as possible, include real-life anecdotes and incidents in your essay. Making the essay relevant to the examiner is sure to get extra points. Adding such anecdotes acts as a hook to keep the reviewer interested in your essay, ”adds Prateek. Adding to that, he says that after a few paragraphs the reviewer should get used to the aspirant’s writing style and that will make him stand out.
5. Manage your time:
It is easy for an aspirant to lose track of time when trying to write an essay and it is important to keep an eye on this. In the three hours you have, Prateek says spending between 5 and 10 minutes choosing which two topics you want to cover is the first step. He says, “Once you’ve decided on the topics, spend 20-25 minutes thinking and making rough notes that you can use. He says saving an hour to try the test is fine.
He continues, ”Keep thinking about the second try only after you’ve tried the first. The feeling of completion after the first attempt is over is a great motivator.
6. Be creative:
The test paper is the only one that allows aspirants to show their creative side. “Showing your creative side is also a sure way to break up the monotony and boredom the reviewer can get from reading so many essays,” he says. That said, he also urges aspirants to avoid using flowcharts and diagrams in the essay. “If you feel pressured to use it, don’t add more than one flowchart / diagram in your essay,” he adds.
7. Work on presentation skills:
“Making sure the essay is presentable – that means having a proper structure, adding captions as needed and also a solid conclusion. You can also be as creative as possible in writing the captions. Your conclusion can also be solution-oriented and futuristic, ”he says. Make sure it is easy for the reviewer to read your essay, which will play a major role in determining its marks.
8. Read to write better:
“To write well, you have to read. It’s the first step in making sure your writing continues to improve, ”says Prateek. He urges aspirants to take Yojana and read the magazine’s first article to get a feel for how government essays are written. “Use clear, easy-to-understand language that encompasses all points. Reading of any kind will be beneficial for writing the essay. Keep compiling these points for use later, ”he says.
In conclusion, he said, “Most people know what to do, but don’t. So while all aspirants know what to read and how to take notes, only a handful diligently do so and these aspirants manage to clear the UPSC CSE. As far as this review goes, cut the clutter and you will see how well it works for you.
Click on here to access the blog that Prateek maintains on readiness strategy and advice.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)