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Q1. Please introduce yourself – your name, age, qualification, rank scored etc.
I am Varinder Singh Khosa. I scored rank 25 in Punjab Civil Services (2018). I have been selected as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Punjab Police. I am 25 years old. I have done my graduation in Science.
Q2. At what age did you start preparing for the Civil Services exam?
I started my preparation in 2016 after my graduation. I have appeared thrice in UPSC (CS) exam but couldn’t make into it. This was my first attempt in Punjab Civil Services.
Q3. What motivated you to prepare for Civil Services?
This exam gives you a platform through which you can, not only make yourself aware about the problems of common folks but also gives you the authority to find optimum solution to their problems.
Q4. Please define your success strategy
The most basic thing is to know, what is the demand of paper? For that you need a guide, it can be friend/ another aspirant/ successful candidate/ coaching etc. This will help you to know, what to read and what not to. Once you find a right guide, you need less efforts to achieve your goal. This journey can be long sometimes, like 3 years in my case. So, you need a lot of determination, and dedication to keep yourself going. Because it is easy to have faith in yourself when you are a winner but what you got to
have is, having faith in yourself when you’re a loser.
Q5. Which books did you read for the static portion of the exam?
If you are a beginner, then start with NCERTs of all subjects.
(Note- I have referred these sources but if you are already using any other source, Please continue with the same)
Ancient History- Tamil Nadu (TN) State Board Book
Medieval History- Tamil Nadu (TN) State Board Book
Modern History- Bipin Chandra old NCERT
World History- Old Ncert by Arjun Dev.
Art & Culture- Nitin Singhania Sir notes
Punjab History- Sada Punjab, and for mains you need detailed history so go for Raghunath Rai’s BA books.
2. Science: NCERT Books 6th to 10th with special focus on 9th and 10th… Also science portion of Lucent GK book
3. Economy: Mrunal videos for conceptual clarity And NCERT +1 and +2 (Macro-economy Only), as per syllabus, the topics which are not covered by these NCERTs need to be covered from INDIAN ECONOMY by Ramesh Singh. Have a look at Budget and Economic Survey (Summary) by any institute
Punjab Economy: Sada Punjab and latest Budget and Economic Survey of Punjab
4. Polity: NCERTs 6 th to 12 th and Laxmikanth Only
5. Geography: +1, +2 NCERTs more than enough (Punjab portion from Sada Punjab)
6. Environment: I have done from Shankar (because Geography is my optional) So, Please read very selective for this exam… Focus Current issues related to environment like New Pacts, Schemes, initiatives at world and national level.
7. Current Affairs: If you are daily newspaper reader, then it will be very easy for you. And if not, choose any magazine like PD/Drishti/Vision/Insights etc. (More conceptual for mains and bit factual for prelims)
For current affairs of Punjab State: Read The Tribune and make your notes. Or you can get notes made available by many institutes in Chandigarh just before exam.
8. Statistics: Statistics for Economics (NCERT 11 TH ) for conceptual clarity and Spectrum’s Statistics book for practice.
Quant: Topics which are asked in previous year paper (like Speed, Age, Percentage etc.) from any maths
book (I referred RS Agarwal)
Data Interpretation: Practice from any book
Reasoning: Practice from any source, Easiest section to fetch good marks.
10. Punjabi– Narinder Singh Duggal
11. English– Any standard book
Q6. How many hours did you give for self-study on daily basis?
I used to give 8-10 hours for study but depending your grasping power/reading speed, it can vary. You must have long term targets to cover syllabus in particular time, depending on that you can give
Q7. How important is the newspaper reading for the Civil Services preparation?
It is very important considering the recent shift in orientation of PPSC towards current. In prelims, many questions are asked from current affairs. In mains, GS-2, GS-3 and GS-4 are also current oriented.
Newspaper will help you in English (language) paper as well. So, having awareness about contemporary issues is a deciding factor for this exam. Then, Interview is all about current affairs.
Q8. How did you find preparation for IAS and PCS similar?
The most of the syllabus of PCS is same as syllabus of IAS. The pattern of prelims is also same.
Q9. How did you find preparation for IAS and PCS different?
In prelims, CSAT (Paper-2) marks are counted in prelims merit unlike UPSC where only GS paper marks form merit whereas CSAT is just qualified. Also there is no negative marking in CSAT.
There is no optional in PCS unlike UPSC where you have to choose one optional. There is no physical test for IPS but you have to clear PET to quality for the post of DSP.
Statistics portion is extra in PCS
Q10. How did you manage the vast amount of information available online? Usually many candidates tend to feel lost in this digital world. Please guide
UPSC/PCS preparation is a kind of business for many people. So, don’t run after multiple coaching institutes and resources. Stick to your resources. It is being said that reading a single resource for 10 times is more useful than reading 10 different books once. As far as digital resources are concerned,
many platforms are there which can play a major role. But I will suggest that Cover static portion from books/notes and digital resources can help you in current affairs and cover dynamic part of this exam. Also test series are available online for free.
Q11. How important it is to have a right mentor for the Civil Services preparation
This exam is very diverse and unpredictable. So, having a right mentor is very crucial to achieve success in minimum time framework. What you will learn yourself after one year of preparation, can be taught in few months. Everyone learn from his mistakes, so an experienced guy can help you avoid those mistakes.
Q12. How did you prepare your notes?
I prepared separate notes for prelims and mains. The main purpose of preparing notes was to revise whole syllabus in minimum time framework. Notes come handy before exam as well.
Q13. How can one prepare effectively for the Prelims stage?
According to me, the prelims is the most competitive and arbitrary stage of this exam. I cleared prelims by 1 mark. The most imp for prelims is to go to previous year papers and know about demand of this exam. This is the key to understand the mindset of the examiner. Now you can read your sources
accordingly, taking out the gist. Also, stick your sources and revise them as many times as possible. As CSAT marks are counted in final merit, so that makes paper 2 a deciding factor at this stage. Attempting multiple paper sets is the key to success in this exam.
Q14. How can one prepare effectively for the Mains Stage?
At first, read the syllabus carefully. Now you must strive for covering each and every topic mentioned in the syllabus. Before starting your mains prep, pin down your sources for each paper, subject and topic. You can take help of previous year papers to know what to read in those sources. Then, make your short notes, at least for contemporary issues. The topics not found in any book can be covered from internet. Assimilate current with static portion of syllabus. Now you have knowledge, you need to know how to
express that knowledge. For that you need to practice papers in advance yourself or join test series. It will also help in time management as well. Like, this time many of my friends couldn’t complete 20 questions in 3 hrs. Revise your sources multiple times. Also, do prepare facts, committees, reports and other references in advance on major topics in syllabus to substantiate your answers.
Q15. Tell us some tricky questions asked from you in the interview and how did you tackle them?
My interview went for 45 minutes. All questions were opinion based. One situation based question. Most of the questions from bio data. Discussed all social issues as i ticked social and my hobby was ‘writing on social issues’.
Questions and further counters on-
1. Deras (why large following, castrations and rape cases)
2. Education (primary, higher, R& D)
3. Agriculture (basic and WTO- SSM, Why going for job instead of agricultural family background)
4. Women issues and schemes
5. Militancy in Punjab (how we end? bullet for bullet justified or not?)
6. Delhi free public transport for women
7. Why DSP (answered) then Why SDM as first preference
8. Case- you are SDM, DSP arrested a gangster and he dies in custody. Now DSP Is coming to u fo help.
What will u do?
Interview is the most important part of this exam. Especially in our case, as it was low scoring main this year and difference was marks was very narrow. Thereby interview marks could make a great impact. I
got 110/150 in interview which played a major role in my final selection.
Q16. Some people find CSAT to be tough. What are your suggestions for them to improve in this paper?
As marks of CSAT (Paper-2) are counted in final merit. So CSAT is as important as GS Paper. I would so have a look at previous year papers and analyze from which chapter maximum questions are being asked. Then cover only those chapters from any standard books. In nutshell CSAT is all about practice.
Q17. Any word of Wisdom for future Aspirants?
ਨਹੀਂ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਸ਼ੇਮਨ ਕਸਰੇ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੀ ਕੇ ਗੁੰਬਦ ਪਰ,
ਤੂੰ ਸ਼ਾਹੀਂ ਹੈ ਬਸੇਰਾ ਕਰ ਪਹਾੜੋਂ ਕੀ ਚੱਟਾਨੋਂ ਮੇਂ।
Never under-estimate the power of your dreams. There comes setbacks in life, but believe me any rejection is just redirection. So once you have stepped out for this journey, don’t stop till the goal is reached. This journey is a kind of marathon so you must have some kind of motivation at the back of your mind. So that you can keep yourself motivated throughout your preparation.
All the very best everyone.
Q18. How people can reach you?
You can reach me at: