Does a Specific Acadamic Background Matters?

I am Riju Shrivastava. I was born in Vidisha and brought up in Bhopal. I completed my graduation from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi. And this was my second attempt at UPSC. 

Tell us something about your strategy.

It was built on the foundation pillars of basic books NCERTs. And my strategy as I am now retrospectively looking at my strategies. It was more of having a balanced approach to the entire preparation. Not going through a lot of academic aspects only but also balancing the emotional intelligence and the mental balance that this journey also requires. Consistency and regular revision is the key to cracking this examination.

Could you please elaborate on the role of answer writing practice in this examination?

I would say that mains and answer writing is the most important part of this entire examination. So, the focus should be on mains answer writing. And I particularly didn't write answers from the very start. I did it post my prelims but there was another factor that contributed to it because I was confident that I could write answers because I was a humanity student in my 11th and 12th so I am habituated to writing answers but I would not recommend you to practice writing after prelims. It was my approach but you should see how things are for you. Analyze what are your strengths and weaknesses and then go ahead. 

Since you have mentioned that you are a humanities student. Is it true that a certain academic background gives students an advantage in this exam?

I would say that UPSC is a great leveler exam. It is not that a particular person from any particular stream would have an advantage because the syllabus covers almost all the subjects. So, It is not that a particular stream student has a comparative advantage. And maybe the mindset and pragmatic attitude that might be developed over the years at graduation in engineering would help but I am not really sure of this fact. So, you have to put any effort into whatever strengths and weaknesses you have. And then proceed further. So, I really don’t think that’s academic background plays an important role in deciding your success in the examination.

What role did KSG play in your preparation?

So, KSG was there throughout my journey from prelims to mains to interviews. And Khan sir was there whenever I had silliest of the doubts. I used to message him and he was there for me. So, KSG played an instrumental role in my journey, particularly during the interview stage. 

Every student needs a guru or a mentor in this journey. What role did Khan Sir play in your UPSC journey?

His role was on multiple fronts. One was the aura and the encouragement and the emotional balance part. For these, he was always there. Before my interview also, I just messaged him that I am feeling anxious and he supported me, that was one thing. Second, before my mains, I was not quite sure how to complete the papers and I was not able to complete the papers on time so then I approached him then he told me the strategies that how to complete papers on time and in general also throughout the process he had the holistic support.