Rippan Dullet cracked UPSC 2014 Civil Services exam, securing a total of 889 out of total 2025 marks in the coveted exam. Of this total, she scored 696 out of 1750 marks in the written exam and 193 out of 275 marks in interview. Sharing her success insights with Careers360, she says that she had different strategies for Prelims and Mains because of significant difference in pattern of the two exams.
In this interview with Careers360, she shares that complete focus on preparation and a disciplined approach helped her performance in the coveted exam. During her preparation, she solved previous year papers, and earned more focused and concise approach towards the UPSC exam preparation. The topper, who holds a B.E. degree in Computer Engineering, also explains various dimensions of her UPSC Civil Services preparation strategy for Prelims and Mains shares her insights and exam tips with aspirants. Read below for full interview:
Careers360: Why did you choose Civil Services, especially when the private sector jobs are also well-paid in today’s liberalized economy?
Rippan Dullet: The three major reasons for choosing Civil Services in spite of private sector jobs paying well are – contribution to the society, dynamism in job and prestige associated with the Civil Services.
Careers360: You have succeeded in cracking Civil Services exam. What could be the entry-level challenges and their solutions in the beginning of their preparation journey?
Rippan Dullet: The most important factor before starting preparation is to have a focused mindset. Nothing else should come prior to the will to clear the exam. The challenges come at the start are related to the vastness of the syllabus and difficulty in comprehending certain topics. They can be overcome when one starts enjoying the process of reading and emphasis put on gaining knowledge.
Careers360: What is the ideal time-frame to crack this competitive exam? What was your strategy for preparation for Prelims and Mains level?
Rippan Dullet: One year of preparation is ideal to crack the exam. More than one year can saturate the student and less than that can leave him underprepared. I had different strategy for Prelims and Mains as the pattern of two exams is very different. Preparations for both the stages were based on clear understanding of the concept. I realize that prelims is more factual and in mains more emphasis is on analysis of various topics.
Careers360: What parameters should aspirants look into while choosing an optional subject?
Rippan Dullet: Interest in the subject to be able to grasp all nuances is very important. Any subject that augments GS preparation like geography, history, political science, economics and sociology reduces the burden of preparing an extra subject. However, interest in a particular subject or taking up a graduation level subject makes no difference either. Interest to go into depth of the subject is a crucial factor.
Careers360: How important is the trend analysis of past question papers? How this analysis reflected in your preparation strategy?
Rippan Dullet: Analyzing past year questions is imperative to the preparation. It helps one understand the demand of UPSC from the candidates. It also helped me in knowing the important areas of preparation of contemporary issues. I read and solved past year papers to be more focused and concise in my preparations.
Careers360: What is your suggestions and advice to aspirants of UPSC Civil Services?
Rippan Dullet: I would suggest that the students remain focused, disciplined and work hard during preparation. The preparation gives you tremendous opportunities to learn about various subjects which will help you succeed anywhere in life. Make this preparation more about gaining knowledge than clearing the exam. You can clear the exam easily if your concepts are clear. Spend time on understanding all the concepts.
Careers360: Your opinion on the current pattern of UPSC Civil Services exams – Prelims and Mains?
Rippan Dullet: The current pattern is apt to test the knowledge and other prerequisites like administrative skills, ethical values and attitudes of the candidates.
Careers360: A controversy that erupted in previous years over language of questions where many candidates alleged that question papers were biased in favour of English medium students. What is your take on this year’s paper pattern?
Rippan Dullet: Bias towards one particular language hinders the prospects of many students who appear in different regional languages. However, basic working understanding of the official language and aptitude are vital to any person appointed to a high designated job that UPSC offers.
Careers360: There have been several cases of corruption in bureaucracy in recent years. Do you see today’s generation making any difference after making a place into the system?
Rippan Dullet: The present generation has entered the system with a will to make a change and stop corrupt practices. The main objective is not anymore to grasp money as that is possible in the private sector through legible means. The main purpose is to make a change in lives of many people. Thus, yes I believe that today's generation is making a change to the system.
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