UPSC Topper Sameer Shaikh-Philosophy Optional, BITS-Pilani

Sameer Shaikh

UPSC Topper Sameer Shaikh-Philosophy Optional, BITS-Pilani

  1. CANDIDATE PROFILE
  2. EDUCATION
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. ELECTRONIC VS PAPER MATERIAL
  5. TEMPO AND STYLE
  6. STRUGGLE OF A SENIOR PLAYER
  7. PRELIMS (CSAT) GENERAL STUDIES
  8. PRELIMS (CSAT) APTITUDE
  9. MAINS: COMPULSORY LANGUAGE PAPER
  10. MAINS: ESSAY
  11. MAINS GENERAL STUDIES PAPER 1 TO 4
  12. GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 1
  13. GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 2
  14. GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 3
  15. GENERAL STUDIES 4: ETHICS, INTEGRITY, APTITUDE
  16. MAINS ANSWER-WRITING?
  17. MAINS OPTIONAL SUBJECT
  18. BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
  19. DURING THE INTERVIEW
  20. CSE-2015 MARKSHEET
  21. CAREER BACKUP
  22. VIEWS ON UPSC REFORMS
  23. INSECURITY ABOUT PROFILE
  24. WISDOM
  25. CREDIT: FRIENDS/FAMILY
  26. BOGUS MARKETING PROPAGANDA

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Q. Details
Name Sameer Shaikh
Rank in CSE-2014 135
Roll No. 0097595
Age 24
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 2
Optional Subject Philosophy
Schooling Medium English
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Thane, Maharashtra
Work-experience if any NA
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures NA
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) Sriram for coaching, Vision for mock tests, Patanjali for philosophy
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS,IPS,IFS,IRS(Customs),IRS(IT)
state cadre preference (Top-5) Maharashtra,AGMUT,Uttarakhand,Kerala,TN

EDUCATION

fill the details here
% in class 10 91
% in class 12 86
Graduation course and % 7.6/10
Name of college, city, passing out year BITS Pilani,Goa campus
Post-graduation NA
Any other professional courses NA
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Reading,Jogging,Photography

INTRODUCTION

Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?

Sameer Shaikh
I am from Maharashtra and live with my Parents and a younger brother. I got interested in this field after I did my internship at a Think-Tank on public policy. Here I interacted with many civil servants and witnesseed first hand, the impact that a civil servant has on the society and the nation at large. With guidance from my seniors I decided to start preparing for civil services soon after my graduation in 2014.

ELECTRONIC VS PAPER MATERIAL

Q. In recent times, there is spur in electronic material- blogs, sites, pdfs, RSS-feeds. Many aspirants feel bogged down by this information overload. So, how much do you rely on electronic material and how much on the paper material (Books, newspapers)? If possible, narrate a typical day in your studylife. What is your style of preparation (e.g. I continue making notes no matter what I’m reading, I just read multiple times but don’t maintain notes, I make mindmaps on computer …or xyz style)
For the first question, I relied on both hard and soft medium. One should not ignore either of the two. Newspapers,government reports,quick fact checks can be easily done on the computer. Certain things like optional preparation require extensive note making on paper. One should use the best of the both worlds. I would say as the importance of general studies increases the importance of the electronic medium will increase.
With regards to the second question, I used to read The Hindu everyday and supplement it with important op-eds from Indian express, etc but very selectively(Make notes from these). The rest of the time was used up in writing answers, making and revising notes of optionals and giving tests if any. Since I was not working I used my entire day to prepare for CSE. I maintained notes for everything so that I could do last minute revision.

TEMPO AND STYLE

Q. People know what books and syllabus points are to be prepared. But most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how do you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings and distractions?
I used to do jogging  as regularly as I could. Whenever I used to feel down after a bad test or an unproductive day I used to speak to my friend. On the other hand it helped me avoid getting complacent if I did well in a certain test. According to me ideally all of us should find such honest support systems like a friend, a sibling, a teacher, or online communities like forumias. Mood swings and distractions are bound to happen in a long marathon like this, therefore, being organized and making schedules can help. This way one always stays on track.

STRUGGLE OF A SENIOR PLAYER

Q1. How did you survive through this mental prison and what’re your words of wisdom to other senior players? If any specific inspirational incident(s), please share.
Sincerity is very important when one is at their lowest.I honestly evaluated myself, spoke to my teachers, ny friends, my parents. Self analysis is very important. I worked on my weaknesses and problem areas. And with the help of feedback from others and my own critical self assessment I improved my preparation. The stories of past toppers convinced me that I could do it, that there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to succeed at CSE.
Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
I gave an attempt immediately after graduating in 2014 with public administration because that was the most popular optional in CSE. As expected I fared badly in pub-ad due to lack of coaching, revisions or interest. This kicked me out of CSE 2014. Immediately after mains I started looking for an optionl that I would like to study. I started preparation with philosophy and this changed everything for me. This increased my productivity since I was reading a subject I really liked.
Hence I would urge all aspirants to choose their optionals solely on the basis of their interests. This can be the single most important decision they make for CSE.

PRELIMS (CSAT) GENERAL STUDIES

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient NCERT
History Medieval NCERT
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Spectrum
Culture and society Nitin Singhania
Polity (theory + current) Sriram+newspaper
Economy (theory + current) Sriram+newspaper
Science (theory + current) Newspaper
Environment (theory + current) NCERT+NIOS+newspaper
geography physical Sriram+NCERT
geography India Sriram+NCERT
geography world Sriram+NCERT
other national/international current affairs Newspaper
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Newspaper+Internet

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2014 paper?
Focus on the dynamic portion as its importance is increasing over all. Revision and mock tests are the key here.
Q. Now that Aptitude paper has become qualifying, obvious more attention needs to be paid on the GS paper so apart from the books that you already have gone through, what else would you have tried for CSE-2016 (if you were going to appear)?
I think I would have have done more revision and given more mock tests.

PRELIMS (CSAT) APTITUDE

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths NA
reasoning NA
comprehension NA
Decision Making NA

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
I was comfortable with this part, hence didn’t do anything specific for it. Though my advice to aspirants who are not comfortable with this part would be to sincerely give mock tests and self evaluate.

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