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IRS Officer, Who Cleared UPSC with 2 Optionals, Reveals Formula For Cracking CSE 2024

IRS Anjani Kumar Pandey shares the roadmap to success in UPSC CSE 2024 He is a 2010-batch officer and is currently serving in Lucknow He frequently shares tips for UPSC aspirants on social media

Renowned Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar once wrote, “Manav jab jor lagata hai, Paththar Pani Ho Jata Hai”, which means, “when a human applies force, a stone turns into water.” These inspirational lines were repeated by 2010 batch IRS officer Anjani Kumar Pandey, when Indian Masterminds asked him about UPSC CSE preparation and the necessity of coaching. He shared the formula of cracking UPSC CSE 2024 for all aspirants. He believes that this exam is all about strategy and dedication towards a single goal. At the same time, he says that this exam is not the end of the world, but a starting point only. There are many other opportunities waiting for everyone in the fray.

In an exclusive interview to Indian Masterminds, Mr. Pandey, who is serving as Additional Commissioner in Income Tax Department, Lucknow, shared the roadmap and strategy for aspirants who want to qualify in UPSC CSE 2024.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

Mr. Pandey hails from Pratapgarh. He completed his education from Allahabad University. He did his graduation in 2000 and double post-graduation in 2004. Then he did B. Ed. He prepared for UPSC for almost 2.5 years. He gave the exam in 2007, 08 and 09. In 2008, he cracked the Mains, but could not come in the final list. In 2009, he passed the exam and joined Indian Revenue Service.

Days of preparations: IRS officer Anjani Kumar Pandey in the years of UPSC preparation

CSE-24 STRATEGY

When aspirants start preparation, most of them prepare for prelims and mains separately. But Mr. Pandey says that the preparation of both should go together. “In UPSC CSE, prelims and mains should never be seen separately. Like, if we prepare for History from the beginning according to mains, then the questions of prelims will also come from the same. So, you are prepared for both,” he said. He explains the strategy and the roadmap to be followed in detail. It is reproduced in his words below:

Strategy: Cover basic books of NCERTs. Read one year’s newspapers and current affairs thoroughly. Solve question papers of last 20 years of Prelims and solve questions of Mains of last 10 years. Apart from this, it is mandatory to read ‘India Year Book’ and ‘Economic Survey’. The one who does this has the maximum chances of clearing both prelims and mains. As for the rest, read the standard books suggested for each topic. If you prepare in this way, your chances of success are highest.

The reason is, no one can do every difficult question. But, if you make mistakes even in easy questions, then the problem starts. That is why, these sources will not let you get such questions wrong. UPSC as an institution asks a lot of quality questions. But when the tough questions come for the first time, it will be in very rare cases that someone will get them right. However, if you get the easy questions wrong, then you are out of the competition.

Timeline: You should prepare for mains from October to February. With this, your prelims preparation will be done automatically. From 1 March till the prelims, one should continuously study for prelims only and solve 2 test series or question papers every day. What will happen with this is that once you have completed the preparation for mains in advance, you can also prepare for optional. Also, make notes. This will make it easier for you to revise in less time.

Apart from this, meet a mentor and get the answers to your questions checked. And keep checking your progress.

Interview: Prelims exam is held simply to remove non-serious candidates from the exam. The sole aim of prelims is to weed out those students. The mains exams are held to select you. And your rank is decided by the interview. If your marks are less in mains, then your rank will be low and you may even be out of the race. But, if you get good marks, then your rank will be better. Basically, your selection is decided by mains only.

There would hardly be any example where someone was selected on the basis of interview marks.

Mental Toughness: Mental toughness is really important for this exam. First of all, think that this exam is not the end of your life. This is just a process. Therefore, if we look at this exam in reality, we will remain positive from the beginning and will never be disappointed. Because the reality is that 98 out of 100 people fail in this examination. But, at the same time, the truth is that those who worked genuinely hard for this examination definitely become very successful elsewhere.

Therefore, you should move forward thinking that you have nothing to lose, only something to gain. This will keep you mentally strong. As for building up mental toughness in other ways, do yoga, listen to music, keep talking to your parents and friends. Don’t make this a question of life and death. Because everyone knows that not all will pass. Only the ones who worked strategically and genuinely will get selected in the end.

About Coaching: Aspirants need mentor, not coaching. Location does not matter in the digital world. No need to go to Delhi for UPSC CSE preparations. You can study from your home as the study materials are available with you. You just need some guidance. You don’t need coaching.

If someone is taking coaching, it’s fine. But, if not, then no worries. You only need to find a mentor who can guide you well. So, go to senior officials or successful former UPSC aspirants. Be around people who are successful. The one who has reached the destination by walking on the same path can always guide you better.

7 GOLDEN RULES

  1. Complete all the basic books for mains and prelims examinations by February 2024. Make notes from all important books.
  2. Complete revision of your optional subject at least once by February 2024. Make proper notes.
  3. Keep writing answers at regular intervals. Write at least 1 essay every month.
  4. Keep solving MCQs for prelims for at least half an hour every day.
  5. Read newspapers daily. Also read 2 current affairs magazines.
  6. Give full time to preparation for prelims from February. Solve as many MCQs as possible. Resolve. Read your basic books and current affairs magazines several times.
  7. Above all, take care of your physical and mental health. Dedicate at least 1-2 hours to yourself every day.

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