Civil Service Interview
Name: Dr. Ulaganathan P
Residence: 29, Mettu St, Katterikuppam (village), Pondicherry
Physical Status: Disabled, orthopedically handicapped
Now Working : Assistant News Editor, DD news, New Delhi
No. of Attempts: four, in first Attempt, got into Indian Information Service (261 rank)
Subjects: Botany (Prelims & Mains), Agriculture (Mains)
Education: BSc (Ag) from PAJANCOA, Karaikal, Pondicherry (1993-98)
MSc (Ag) from CCS HAU, Hissar, Haryana (1998-2000)
Ph.D (Entomology) from IARI, New Delhi (2000-2004)
History behind my success
The result for my hard work has proved once again that
“God helps to those who help themselves”.
It was a shaky start to my civil service career. After completion of M.Sc. (Agriculture), I got selected into Indian Agriculture Research Institute’s Merit Scholarship. I secured all India first in that examination. It was the source of motivation behind my civil service aspiration. It brought me enormous confidence and energy in me.
IARI is one of the hubs for civil service preparations in India. I realized that I am in a right place for a great aspiration. Then I started my preparations in the first year of Ph.D itself. I pursued my Civil Service preparations along with the course works in IARI. I got 261 rank and was the topper among physically disabled candidates. I also become the first PH candidate from Pondicherry to be among the elite civil service probables. With that merit rank I was suppose to get Indian Revenue Service. But to my bad luck I was denied that service because of my disability. I was informed by the DoPT that Indian revenue service was not identified for physically handicapped candidates. It was only Indian Information Service was available for me. So I had to accept it but before that that I filed a case in a court for justice. Still the case is on and god only knows what will happen next.
With such frustrations, I was not comfortable in Indian Information Service. So I decided to write civil Service again.
What I understand about this exam…….
Civil service examination tests three most important qualities of a person
“Determination, Patience and Perseverance”. One has to define his goals and pursue it without any second thought. This is also one of the important characters of a civil servant for a better success in his career.
This is my second mains. I learned lot from my first attempt and tried my best to avoid all those mistakes not to be repeated in my second attempt. Now I love to share the mistakes I committed in my first attempt, so that future civil service aspirants can learn from them
- I left so many questions in General knowledge paper I and II, due to improper management of time. I left many questions because of this and that reflected in my final marks. So in my second attempt I strictly followed the word limit for my answers and thereby effectively managed the time.
- In my first attempt, I didn’t prepare well for the statistics, but this time I really managed well to improve my score.
- One has to really concentrate on Essay writing. It will decide one’s rank in the final result. I didn’t give much importance to Essays, but this time, I worked hard to prepare well for the Essays
- It is not how much you read for the exam; it’s how you convert the knowledge into answers within the given three hour duration. So I learnt that one has to synthesis answers while reading itself and plan the answers within the given word limit.
- Good communication skill and clarity of thoughts are the two most important aspects for scoring better marks in the personality tests. Though I managed my first attempt interview well, I felt that I didn’t perform to my potential. So I sharpened my opinions and made up my mind with clarity of thoughts. I also later realized that to understand an issue better, one has to read letters to editors in News papers like, “The Hindu”, “Indian Express” etc.
Strategy for Subjects:
Botany: One of the better scoring subjects for Mains. One who has better understanding over different concepts in Botany can do better in the exam
- One has to really concentrate more on the lower Botany (unicellular, algae, fungi, bryophytes, pteridophytes, and gymnosperms). Though the syllabus is little difficult to cover, one has to be very thorough. It’s like mathematics, if understood you can really do well.
- In the lower botany, we need to concentrate more on the evolutionary aspects of reproduction systems in plants. For this, one has to practice lot on the diagrams and scientific names. These answers should carry scientifically correct diagrams with appropriate examples. So need to work lot on this. Normally this paper fetch you more marks than second paper, so there is no harm in spending more time on it.
- Systematics and classification also equally important as every year paper carries at least one or two big questions. Therefore one has to develop extra interest in these subjects.
- This paper is very easy if you are very good at Genetics and Physiology. Since I am an Agricultural graduate, I managed it well, but for the future aspirants, it may be a uphill task. This full paper will test your depth in understanding. So one need to study twice or thrice.
- This paper needs scientific answers with correct illustration. Therefore thorough understanding is very essential. In addition, one has to update his knowledge on current development like bio-technology and others.
Agriculture: The main problems with Agriculture option is that it has vast syllabus with many of the undefined territories. So one has to be very selective and precise while preparing.
Paper I: The major area to concentrate is Agronomy and Soil Sciences. One has to prepare the syllabus strictly without even leaving a single topic. Preparing concise notes according to the syllabus may help a lot during the mains preparing because it will consume lot of time if revised from the books. Moreover, there are so many books to be referred for the topics, so preparing precise notes will be of great help.
Paper II: Most of the syllabus coincides with Botany second paper syllabus. Therefore, one has to concentrate more on the other topics like Entomology, Pathology, seed technology etc. so as to boost the total score. Again preparing notes is very vital for success.
Essay: This is also an important area. The essay should contain the clarity of substantiations with grammatically correct English. It also should have proper segmentation and analysis. The beginning and conclusion of the Essay will decide 50% of the total marks in it. So both should be very attractive and effective.
Interview: I feel interview is the crucial part of this whole civil service examination. It can change the life of any person who crosses prelims and mains stages. Normally in personality test, three C’s are tested viz. Confidence, Communication and Common sense. Specifically, one has to be very good at communication. Better communication comes with clarity of thoughts and expression. To improve communication ability, we need to talk more with friends and try to participate in general discussions.
On the knowledge side, one need to watch TV news, listen radio news and read news papers regularly. In news paper, one should not miss to read Letters to Editors. I would recommend Indian Express and The Hindu for Interview preparations.
With this small tips, I love to conclude. Before, that, I wish to convey my Best of Luck to all the aspirants.
“Success comes with pain but that pain is also enjoyable when you succeed.”
Dr. Ulaganathan P