Venkat Raja qualified Civil Services Exam. In 2012 he got Rank 661. Marks obtained by him in Mains Exam –
• Question: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Venkat: Consistency, hard work, self-belief and faith in the Almighty.
• Question: When did you start the preparation for the IAS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Venkat: I started preparing one and a half year prior to the prelims. I think one should start at least one year prior to the prelims examination.
• Question: How did you start preparation for the IAS examination?
Venkat: I started the preparation from NCERT books which are very important to build the basic foundations.
• Question: What were your optionals? What was the basis for selecting these options?
Venkat: My optionals were the History and the Geography. History is very scoring subject nowadays. It is very analytical and interesting as well. I have done P.G. in Geography. These two subjects constitute a major part of G.S. and this was another important reason for selecting them.
• Question: Tell us something about the preparation of essay paper.
Venkat: Reading extensively, especially editorials, analysing the issues, co-relating the issues and forming opinions about the issues are very important. The reading of Yojana and Kurukshetra are also helpful.
• Question: How much time did you devote to this exam?
Venkat: The preparation is integrated and a continuous process. It is difficult to set any specific time limit. I worked on the preparation slowly ever since my graduation days.
• Question: Which is the most difficult part of this examination and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?
Venkat: I think to begin and prepare for Prelims is a bit tough for students, as candidates are new to the process of examination, and new to the pressure, from their-on one gets into the skin of exam.
• Question: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains or was it separate?
Venkat: Integrated approach is required till the interview.
• Question: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?
Venkat: Preparing notes for self-revision are very important as they help you to revise quickly at the last time. I think preparing notes according to self-requirement and comfort are important rather than going by what people say.
• Question: What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking in Prelims examination?
Venkat: Attempt optimum numbers of questions, minimize the guess and doubtful one’s. 55% positive is enough to crack any national level negative marking based examination.
• Question: How did you prepare for the interview?
Venkat: Interview preparation cannot start and does not start after the Mains result, it has to be integrated with the Prelims and Mains preparation, one should realize that it is not a mere interview but a personality test.
• Question: What is your advice to the freshers who are going to appear in this exam?
Venkat: Think a thousand times before taking a decision to appear for exam, but after starting the preparation, do not re-think even once. Make the aim and work towards it consistently. You are the captain of your ship; you are Master of your soul.
• Question: What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?
Venkat: It is a part of the exam, don’t be disheartened, remember, failure teaches more to a person, take it as a part and take a wow to rise like a phoenix.