Suthar Raj Rameshchandra , Rank 415. Working as a Full-time Scientist at DRDO and clearing UPSC is no small feat . He was IASbaba’s OFFLINE (Weekend Batch) Student!
He is an inspiration to many Working Professionals and other aspirants as well, who complain about shortage of time in their preparation!
I have briefly penned down my strategy. Have shared inputs only which has made a difference in my preparation.
I am Suthar Raj Rameshchandra, born and brought up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Currently working as a Scientist in DRDO, Bangalore. I have done B.tech Mechanical Engineering from NIT, Surat, Gujarat. This was my second attempt and first interview. My Optional was Sociology.
The driving force of my preparation was my Mother. I was born to her on 9th Dec 1993 while she had interview of GPSC scheduled in next few days. She couldn’t attend the interview owing to my birth and thus I decided to write upsc CSE exam to fulfill her dream.
Failure in the first attempt was a positive learning curve for me. I scored 793 in mains and missed the cutoff by a narrow margin. Focused areas during second attempt:
(1) Intensive Mains Answer Writing practice. Gave 20 full length tests for General Studies at IASbaba
(2) For Optional, made short notes on each topic mentioned in the syllabus and tried linking each topic with other areas of GS syllabus.
- Didn’t make notes for current affairs as I faced challenges while revising them. So focused upon reading daily newspaper thereby followed with Monthly Magazine of IASbaba.
- Made notes for ethics (from lexicon and subbarao), for Gs3 made sector wise notes (for mains only) focusing on agriculture, industry and services sector etc.
I personally believe that for Mains, note making helps confining and streamlining the preparation. As there are many small subtopics in each paper, I tried to make notes on each such topics from internet and reference books.
I had to prepare for UPSC while working in a scientific establishment leaving limited time for the preparation. My target wasn’t to study for a fix number of hours everyday but making short term targets (say weekly targets) and trying to achieve them.
I have always focused upon accuracy in prelims paper and this year it paid me off. I could attempt not more than 69 questions. This year’s paper was definitely tricky and even I was unsure of clearing prelims after coming out of the examination Hall!! I would suggest aspirants to try and develop their own strategies while attempting practice tests.
How to Choose an Optional:
Majority of aspirants face the problem of selecting a suitable optional. I, myself started preparing for upsc with Mechanical engineering as optional!! Later on, I found difficulty in managing engineering and general studies preparation (personal experience though enough examples of candidates successfully clearing with the said combination) and later changed it to Sociology.
I choose sociology due to following reasons:
- Easily understandable concepts and accessibility of materials for the preparation
- Guidance from Yeshwant sir on Sociology in the initial phase of the preparation
- Alignment with topics from General Studies and Essay.
I scored an average score of 261 last year in sociology.
A word of caution: Paper 2 of Sociology is becoming dynamic year after year. Attempting such questions require interlinking of syllabus with current affairs.
Final Words on Prelims Preparation:
With less than 45 days to go for this year’s prelims I would ask aspirants to focus on two things
(1) refrain from reading anything new and focus on revising as much as possible. Revise at least twice whatever you have read till now.
(2) do not attempt more than one test practice paper per day.
(3) please stay away from test papers having vague questions as this may demotivate you during this crucial period of preparation. I referred would suggest IASbaba’s All India Prelims Test Series or ILP Programme.
No matter how low you are scoring in test series, be confident and please remember that you have the hard work of months behind your back to help you sail through this exam.
All the very best!!
Suthar Raj Rameshchandra
To read about another inspiring story of a Working Professional (also a Parent) at the age of 30+ who secured Rank 113 in UPSC CSE 2018 -> CLICK HERE