Rank 121 UPSC CSE 2016 HITIKA VASAL, UPSC/IAS TOPPER’S STRATEGY-Do’s and Don’ts!

Name: Hitika Vasal

Rank: 121

Optional: Sociology

Marks

  • Essay:154
  • GS 1: 108
  • GS 2: 104
  • GS 3: 108
  • GS 4: 111
  • Sociology 1 : 127
  • Sociology 2 : 157
  • Interview :165

THE UPSC JOURNEY:

I am one of those who had always dreamt of this ever since I was a kid and hence I choose to pursue sociology for both my graduate and postgraduate. However, It was only after my post graduation that I got serious about pursuing my dream. It was in October 2014, that I started seriously thinking about UPSC but was totally clueless as to how I was going to do it. Like a sheep following the herd, landed myself in Rajinder Nagar and joined one of the coaching institute for general studies. Started following what everyone else was doing without using my own mind.  This was the time when I was just blindly following everything people said buy Bipin Chandra because MR X said so or Buy Spectrum because MR Y said so. In between all this hustle bustle and confusions rocking my mind everyday, I Decided to give my first attempt in 2015 and failed to qualify for prelims. This served as a shock, I had never thought of any other career option all my life and all that fear of “What if I fail” “where will I work “ “ This has been my only dream “, et al

This failure stuck me hard and I pledged to give my best in 2016.

After 2015 result that shook me I was determined to do the unconventional, that was to move out of Rajinder Nagar and come back to my hometown (as I felt it was more peaceful). A lot of my friends felt that this was a wrong decision to take because being so far from Delhi I would miss out on a lot.

Here,I would like to say a special thanks to IAS BABA team, who have made sure that an aspirant from any corner of the country can prepare at the comforts of their homes, (That has also been the motto of IASBABA Team, to make sure that all aspirants at any given place have equal access to knowledge). I religiously followed 60 Days for Prelims, TLP for Mains Answer Writing. The other initiative I would like to specially mention is Current Affairs (issue based). It helped me in getting different perspectives of an issue.  

I really can’t thank your team enough. 

Some dos and don’ts:

  1. Limited sources: I always kept my sources limited, whether be it books or online sources such as IASBaba, I never wasted time going through different sources. For me the key was Read>Revise>Tests>Revise. When you stick yourself with limited sources, you are able to revise better. This also saved time as I would highlight in my book and mark what was important for prelims point of view and what could be used in mains (Saved me from making notes too). However, there are people who like to read from different sources to grasp a topic better . See what suits you and follow that.
  2. Make a timetable and stick to it: I made a timetable for both prelims, mains and interview and made sure that I finish the topics in the given time period, if at any point I failed to do so i made sure to devote extra time to complete the topics that were left.
  3. Integrate your preparation: Try to make sure that you actively engage with the subject so that it stays with you for longer, in case you have a problem understanding or learning something try referring to you tube videos for the same. Make sure that the topic is understood well, this will help you both for prelims and mains.
  4. Tests: Tests are an integral part of preparation for two main reasons: Firstly, it helps you to stick to the given timetable and thus reduces the scope for procrastination (specially if you are a person like me who is preparing in the comforts of your house). Secondly, It helps you to realize your weak and strong areas so that you can work on both accordingly. However, never underestimate yourself due to your scores (I was always doing that ) These scores might have no resemblance with your real scores. Just keep giving the tests, try learning from them but do not take the scores too seriously.
  5. You don’t have to study 15 hours and there is no need to isolate yourself: The maximum I have studied is 10 hours (maybe just for a day or two: P). Ithink consistency matters more. Also it takes time to be able to start studying for that long, slowly you will get used to it and will start enjoying the process. I also used to reward myself after finishing each subject with a holiday: P(this helps you to remain sane)
  6. Surround yourself with people who trust you and have faith in your abilities: This path is really bumpy and No you don’t want people who make you feel weak or incapable, this is then time you need to be positive and have faith in yourself. Always remember “IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, WHO WILL?“. Be confident about yourself and if there are any people who are undermining you, just avoid their company.
  7. Do not be scared of Failure: If you have chosen this journey, be strong enough to face hurdles and obstacles (as many have already said: that this is not only a test of knowledge but also your attitude towards life).
  8. Know how important this is for you: Don’t give this exam because your friends are giving it or your parents are coaxing you to do so, give it because you want to. Once you have deep desire for this, Success will follow.

Some Minor Tips:

  • In my first attempt, I tried to attempt only those questions about which I was 100% sure, ended up doing only 60 questions. However, when I returned home to check the answers I was shocked to know that many were wrong. (Moral : a little risk is cardinal )
  • Secondly, after your prelims do not waste more than two three days. No matter what the result is you need to keep going forward.
  • Write answers in whatever form (be it points or paragraphs,) I am a humanities student and hence I am habituated to write in paragraphs, I was warned by many that this can be suicidal but I was firm on writing in the manner that I was comfortable. So I suggest you all to write in the form that you are comfortable.

I am not writing any booklist here because many toppers have already written about it, but if there is any thing any one wants to know about be it sociology or anything else that you feel I can help, I would be more than happy to do so.

BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU, TRUST YOURSELF.

Believe that you can do it and you surely shall do it.

Regards

Hitika 

  • vivek s.

    Congrats mam.

  • Jerome

    Hello ma’am . Congratulations on your selection. Can you please provide us with your email for further clarifications?

  • rajeshwari

    hi,
    i positive to hear about u….
    can u help me with sociology books and study method.
    i hvnt joined any classes i a going to do it self study
    pls help.

  • aaftab

    many many congratulations mam .

    mam i am preparating sociology by self study.
    mam please suggest the strategy how to write a answer in sociological manner .

  • Heisenberg

    Please throw some light on your approach in essay and sociology (especially paper 2). What are the things you did differently to fetch such good marks in these 2 papers ? Please share your answer copies of any mock tests if possible !

  • Kumar Harsh

    It would be great if you could share your Disqus id so that we can learn from your TLP answers.

  • doonboy

    Mam please share sociology strategy

  • hornbill

    please share sociology strategy.

  • Sai

    Mam..would you mind sharing your sociology strategy please,am really bogged with how to prepare and write the answer.I would be thankful to you

  • BinHIM

    Congratulations mam!!!
    Please share your optional strategy and some model answers.

  • MAMTA RAO

    please share strategy for sociology optional for whose background is not from this subject

  • Winter

    Many Many Congratulations!!!!
    Thank you for this write up.

  • Priya

    thanks ma’am. very useful 🙂

    strategy for gs

  • Crazy comet

    Mam could you provide a comprehensive strategy for Gs2 and 3 covering all dimensions like current affairs, answer writing and resources?

  • Rumman Hashmi

    Same happened with me this year…thnkyou so mch..it boosted my confidence and now i will focus on self study more this time

  • DIMPAL KUMAR

    Thank you mam, it is very useful to me , but one thing that is always confused me that how i make my own notes for mains and prelims perspective ,and how i make my daily routine . I am waiting for your guidance. Thank you.

  • Sushilkumar R. Burkul

    limited & standard sources + revision & test…plays key role in securing good rank, congrats.

  • Nidhi Chouhan

    Please share your strategy for sociology optional.

  • Siddharth Iyer

    Hello! I had some doubts regarding the sociology strategy. Can you help me out with the same?

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