Trademark IAS

Learning with a Human touch

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Interviews of Qualifiers

Interview of UPSC Civil Services 2015-16 Qualfier - Debotosh Chatterjee, AIR 406

With a degree in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Jadavpur University, Mr Chatterjee cleared the arduous Civil Services aka IAS exams in one go !

He bagged an All India Rank of 406 & is expected to be in Indian Revenue Service.

In Prelims 2015, he scored 113 in GS & 149 in CSAT respectively

In Mains, he swept the Essay with 135 and a grand total of 889

An avid blogger & contributor to websites, he had Political Science & Intl Rlns as his optional.

He was with us through the MAINS Test Series & preparation towards Personality Test.


Thank you very much Mr Chatterjee for conversing with us. We wish you all the best for your career in civil services


Interview of UPSC Topper in CSE 2014-5: Kantesh Kumar Mishra, AIR 103, Indian Police Service [IPS].

We caught up with Mr Kantesh Kumar Mishra, a couple of days after the Results of the elite Civil Services were declared on 04 July 2015. He was an instant celebrity with an All India Rank of 103 - that too from Kolkata - considered to be a dungeon for preparing towards Civil Services Examination.

He was receiving innumerable phone calls and was hardly able to toy around with his two mobile phones. Finally he had to switch off the phones to talk to us.

An exceptionally hard working and down-to-earth individual, yet sharp and knowledgeable. Below is an excerpt of his rendezvous with us.

Thank You Mr. Kantesh Mishra for sparing some precious moments from your busy schedule - We again congratulate you & wish you get your desired service and cadre.


Interview with UPSC Qualifier - Subham Sundar Ghosh, UPSC 2013-14, Pondicherry Police Service [PPS]

In his trademark style of speaking in a succinct manner and writing in a crispy mode, yet remaining incisive and fundamental,
Mr Ghosh unveils it all, in this exclusive with TrademarkIAS.

Thank You, Mr Ghosh for sharing your experiences with the aspirants. We wish you an enjoyable career as a Civil Servant.


Interview with UPSC Qualifier: Indira Mukherjee, UPSC 2012-13, AIR 256, IPS

We congratulate Ms Indira Mukherjee upon clearing the UPSC Civil Services 2012.

She has bagged AIR 256 and is expected to get Indian Police Service. Also, there are chances of getting Indian Audit & Accounts Service or Indian Revenue Service as per her preferences.

This was her third attempt at the UPSC Examinations. After not clearing Prelims in her first two forays, she came out with flying colours in the third - a veritable exposition of her grit and talent.

In 2012, she wrote her MAINS paper with resolve though was down with dengue.

This proves her determination and focus.

We further congratulate her family members - especially her mother and sister, for constantly supporting her.

Here, she gives a candid interview to Trademark, which we believe will very much help the UPSC aspirants.

She has obtained 772 marks in the MAINS and 205 in the Interview, Total 977 out of 2300.

Her Prelims score was 226 [out of 400].
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    1. When did you start contemplating for Civil Services?

    After 2 years of service in the IT industry - sometime in mid 2008. In about 2 to 3 months, the US recession crept in and I started thinking more about Civil Services.
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    2. Why do you want to become a Civil Servant when so many career options are available?

    In my opinion, civil service is the only examination apart from MBA exams which brings candidates from different streams together on a single plane. A civil services aspirant, in the process of his/her preparation comes across a number of subjects - some of which might be completely unknown at the beginning.

    This challenge of doing justice to the vast expanse of the syllabus, the amount of determination, patience and focus involved in the preparation process as well as the immense amount of honour/prestige associated with the Civil Services made me choose it as a career option.
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    3. How long have you seriously prepared for the UPSC Civils?

    I started preparing seriously from July 2009.
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    4. What were your Optionals & Why?

    History and Political Science.

    I had first decided upon History as it is a must for General Studies and it would have given me an edge in Essay. I always loved History as a subject in my school days.

    I squabbled a lot with the 2nd optional – Sociology, Mathematics and Public Administration.

    Finally, I zeroed upon Political Science. Reasons were twin fold – the International relations section and Constitution/Polity in Political Science would have helped me in General Studies - as the syllabi are almost same.

    And more importantly, I found an inextricable link between History and Political science.

    There was no turning back thereafter – I loved both the subjects.
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    5. Do you think educational background plays any role in the success in this Exam?

    If one has done graduation/masters in a subject which is accepted by UPSC as an optional paper – it really helps as they can save the time required to finish off the syllabus of one optional paper.

    Like in my case, I had to take up both optional afresh as Computer Science and Engineering is not an optional prescribed by UPSC.

    And in terms of degree, engineer/doctor/MBA etc, it does not matter much. Cracking UPSC is less about brilliance and more about perseverance.
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    6.Since you were in the demanding IT sector, can you elaborate your study routine? This would help other aspirants who are working professionals ?

    From July-2009, when I became serious about the exam, I followed a strict routine. I woke up at 4:30 AM every day and studied from 5 to 7:30 AM - thereafter left for office.

    Apart from my assigned work, I used to read voraciously over the net whenever I found short breaks at office – made e-notes. I usually never reached home before 10/10:30 PM. So just slept after I came back home from office.

    Apart from this, to get rid of the fear of exams and get back into the writing habit [which I lost after college], I sat for numerous exams ranging from WBCS, TISS, MAT, JNU, IGNOU etc.
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    7. What needs to be the style of writing answers in the MAINS exam?

    Time is a tyrant in the examination hall.

    So, I always relied upon the simple style of a small introduction [containing the essence of the answer], the main body in point format with small explanations [and maps if applicable], followed by an un-biased conclusion.
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    8. Did you practice writing answers? Did it help?

    I was so engrossed in finishing the syllabus that I never found the time to write/solve previous years' UPSC qs papers as such to improve the quality of my answers.

    But I did write a lot of exams at Trademark which prepared me for D-Day.

    Along with the guidance from Trademark, I and some of my friends started a blog of our own called "Indian Policy"

    http://policyforindia.blogspot.in/

    It deals with topics related to our preparation for civil services. We wrote our views on different topics or posted relevant articles. This practice helped us immensely.
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    9. What should be the approach towards Prelims in the age of –ve marking ?

    Preliminary is an elimination process not a selection one. Hence, -ve marking is a reality and it will continue.

    One should be very careful while marking answers. In the first run, mark the ones that you are absolutely sure of and circle the ones which you are 50% sure.

    In the second run, revisit the circled ones and apply reason/logic to mark it.

    50% in prelims ought to be a safe score.
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    10. What is your opinion regarding the change in the MAINS Syllabus?

    With the focus of the exams shifting away from Optional, I think it is a fair game for everybody.

    If all aspirants are writing exam in the same subjects, the process becomes more transparent and meaningful. And evaluation too becomes easy.

    I am still unsure how one aspirant with Natural Sciences or Engineering may be compared with one having Literature or Social Science subjects. Moreover, that brings in an element of unpredictability.

Thank You Ms Mukherjee for expressing your views and sharing your experiences and knowledge regarding the exams.