The Telegraph
Saturday , June 14 , 2014
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Optional subject selection matters

I got selected for my dream job in my third attempt. I had kept public administration as my optional subject for the mains examination. I think that selection of optional subject is one of the deciding factors for final selection and it should be based on general interest of the candidate in the subject, academic background, help which the subject will offer in the common papers of general studies, availability of books and study material in the market, coaching available for the subject etc. This choice of optional subject should be based on rational analysis of the above factors.

General studies (GS) is the integral component of civil service examination with an objective paper in the preliminary examination and four papers in the mains. The foundation for GS should be based on basic NCERT books of classes XI and XII for each subject and further reading of some important books can be opted for a command of individual components of general studies.

Regular and analytical reading of a good national daily is a sine qua non for general studiesí preparation. Any good monthly current affairs magazine can supplement the newspaper. This apart, some government publications like Yojana, Publication Divisionís India yearbook, Five Year Plan reports among others can be used effectively to write a balanced answer in the mains.

Aptitude paper in the preliminary examination requires an analytical and logical bent of mind and practising of as many set papers based on the pattern of papers of prelims exam will help a candidate hone the skills required and will help in effective time management in the exam. Essay being an important paper in the mains exam requires practising mock essays some days before the actual exam so that a candidate gets a feel of writing on any given topic.

Personality test, which is assessment of a candidateís personality to check his suitability for the services, requires no additional preparation. A brush-up of subjects you have studied vis-ŗ-vis current events at national and international level will be sufficient for the personality test.

Lastly, I would like to tell CSE aspirants that this examination is not as tough as it appears from the outside. It is achievable with meticulous planning and effective execution of plan. One should have fire in the belly for this exam, knack for public service, aptitude to bring some positive change in the lives of common people and 3 Ds (devotion, dedication and determination). Do not go after reading a large number of books. Instead, stick to reading some minimum number of good books for each subject. I would like to say that be optimistic and patient and this exam is within your reach.

I would like to dedicate this success of mine to my father late Onkar Nath Mishra, senior announcer, AIR Bhagalpur, who was my role model. Whatever I have achieved has been because of my fatherís blessings, my motherís unending support and constant encouragement from my brother Swetank and sister Anwita.

ó Neelotpal (All India Rank 98)

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