[Toppers Interview] Abhishek Kumar Tiwari (AIR 69 / CSE 2011) gives History & Political science strategy

[Toppers Interview] Abhishek Kumar Tiwari (AIR 69 / CSE 2011) gives History & Political science strategy

First attempt, no coaching and Abhishek Tiwary walks away with 69th Rank. And today he shares his journey and preparation tips for both History and Political Science, for the benefit future UPSC aspirants.

  1. Introduction
  2. Essay
  3. Your Study plan
  4. CSAT (Paper I) General studies
  5. CSAT Paper II (Aptitude)
  6. Mains Examination
  7. Compulsory Language papers
  8. General Studies paper I
  9. General Studies paper 2
  10. Optional Subject #1 and #2
  11. History
  12. Political Science and International Affairs
  13. Interview
  14. Marksheet


Roll number 009754
Rank (CSE 2011) 69
Optional Subjects
  1. History
  2. Political Science
Medium for Mains Exam English
Mains Examination Centre Delhi
Number of Attempts 1
Details of Graduation and Post-Grad. B.Tech (2006), Electrical Engineering, IIT Kanpur
Schooling (Medium) English
Extracurricular activities,
hobbies, achievements etc.
Reading books and playing outdoor games.
Are you a working professional? Yes
If yes, then did you leave your job
or prepared while on the job?
Yes I left job in March 2011 and was not working till November 2011
Did you take Coaching? Prelims: No
Mains: No
Interview: No
Did you buy any postal courses? No
Did you join any Mock test series? Yes, attended mock test series for preliminary exam.
Did you appear in any other competitive exams? No
If yes, provide the details:


Q. When and how did the inspiration and idea of joining civil service come in your mind?

I was working as a software engineer in EDA (Electronic Design Automation) sector since August 2006. Professionally I had a very satisfying career and was able to publish/file three patents.  However there remained a feeling that whatever I am doing will impact only lives of people like me or better off than me. I am from Bihar and did my most of schooling from Varanasi. Whenever I used to go back to my place, nobody really bothered to understand what my job is. It was reasonable as it would have impacted their life in very minimal way. That was my basic inspiration for pursuing civil services as career.

The Choice of Optional Subjects

Q. After a person decides to appear in civil service exam, the first big obstacle is “Choice of optional subjects”. What factors did you consider before selecting your optional?

My interest in subjects and material availability were main factors behind selecting my optional. History had been my favorite subject since my school days and I never lost any touch with it. Books which I read as hobby mainly comprised of some historical writings. So it was a natural choice for me.

In selecting second optional I took some time. Factors that I considered in selecting political science were usefulness in GS, some alignment with first optional.


Q. How did you sustain the study-momentum throughout the year?

There is no problem in taking some break from one’s continuous study schedule. For me it helped in rejuvenating my interest. However one should be cautious against making breaks a habit.  Fixing short term goals can help in sustaining study momentum. One should keep on evolving his/her goals so that boredom does not creep in. It did help me.


On an average, How many hours did you study per day? How many months did it take you to complete the core syllabus of GS and optional subjects?

I started my preparation in August 2010 when I was still in job. I resigned from my job in March 2011. Till then I had completed one reading of both optional and core syllabus of GS. In job I somehow managed to study for 3-4 hours on average. I tried completing reading of newspaper in office itself and used to compile important news daily after coming back from office. After March 2011, I used to study 7-8 hours daily which sometimes used to go upto 9-10 hours.


How did you use computer and internet for your exam-preparation?

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