UPSC ranker Roshni shares the secret of her success

UPSC ranker Roshni shares the secret of her success

UPSC ranker Roshni shares the secret of her success, Roshni Thomson, who secured 598 rank in the UPSC Exam recently, shares her success mantra

Roshni Thomson, who secured 598 rank in the UPSC Exam recently, shares her success mantra

Who and what inspired you to try for the Civil Service?

My first inspiration was my father Thomson Davis. He instilled in me the dream to be a civil servant. He told me about the power it holds, to bring positive changes in people’s lives. Many around us choose to complain and criticise the way in which our country is run. But this inspired me to try and get into the system, to be the change that I wish to see in it. To bring a smile to the most hapless person’s face is my dream and I believe a career in the civil service will give the power to bring that about.

Who do you attribute your success to?

I attribute my success first and foremost to my parents who supported me through this long journey. I was also lucky to have had the support and help from teachers from the coaching center, whose help was critical in helping me clear the exam.

What kind of qualities have you picked up during this exam?

This exam has taught me a lot, not only academically, but also in terms of qualities of dedication, consistency and perseverance. I also acquired the ability to accept success and failure with equal amount of grace. Preparing for an exam with such a broad coverage has improved my understanding of world issues. The new pattern of exam helps one develop the ability to take quick decisions based on clear and unbiased understanding of the issue at hand. The interview tested my leadership skills and ability to consistently put across my views.

What are the major challenges a Civil Service aspirant has to face? What discouraged you the most during your preparation? How did you handle it?

The biggest challenge was to develop interest in subjects which I did not like during my academic life. But as I engaged more with subjects like history, I could appreciate the beauty and intricacies of the discipline and the subject became interesting. Not qualifying in my first attempt was a huge disappointment and constant support from my parents and friends helped me come back and regain my pace.

What do you think are the mistakes you think you made which you could have avoided during your preparation?

Keeping very close to the syllabus and reading only relevant material is very tricky. It is very easy for an aspirant to be guided by her interest in any particular topic and spend a lot of time in one single area at the cost of others. I think I should have better planned my preparation schedule and devoted more time to areas I wasn’t comfortable with rather than the opposite. And I think taking any paper lightly is a big mistake and even the essay paper requires one to plan ahead and prepare well.

How many attempts did it take for you to get through Civil Service?

This is my second attempt. I have secured rank 598. During my first attempt, I attended the interview after having qualified prelims and mains exam, but did not qualify in the final list. I am planning to attempt again to improve my present rank.

How did you go about your preparation? What are the materials you used to refer?

I started dedicated preparation for civil services after completing my graduation (Civil Engineering) in 2011. I attended coaching classes for general studies and optional papers. As I wrote the exam I found out that, Civil Service exam engages one at different levels and mere classroom coaching wasn’t enough. Developing clarity of thought regarding a wide range of subjects is very critical. The preliminary part of the exam requires one to have clear knowledge about basic concepts in various subjects for which NCERT text books and an open inquisitive mind helps a lot. For the Mains exam, newspapers were my first source for the preparation for general studies, supplemented by background reading from text books, current affairs magazines and the internet. The interview included a general discussion on my interests, hobbies and also required me to give creative solutions to the problems our country was facing.

What is your advice or message to IAS aspirants?

Enjoying this journey of Civil Service preparation is the most important. Taking this as a huge opportunity to understand and learn a lot about our country and society will help us engage more with each topic we learn. Also, it is important to find a personal anchor to help us through the rough times. Always be positive and focused on your ambition. This exam is not a monster that it is made out to be. With dedicated effort, clear planning and consistent motivation one can clear this exam easily.

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