An Interview with Tina Dabi (AIR-1)

Q.    Congratulation! Could you share with us the mantra of topping the country in the first attempt?
A.    I do not think there was just one mantra which led me topping the civil services exam in my first attempt. it is quite unbelievable even to me that i could do such a thing in my first attempt. if I really have to make a comment on how and what i did to get through, a very big amount of hard work has to be put in  but apart from that, one thing which really helped me was proper planning, time management, a lot of dedication and sincerity. A combination of all these things enables me to accomplish such a feat.

Q.    What is the role of family and peer group in your preparation? What are the most important factors that you consider has led to your success?
A.    Both family and peer group plays a very important and influential role in an aspirants life. With regards to family, the family actually turns out to be the backbone. Family members always plays a vital role being the co-examinee, as you yourself is not giving the examination alone, whole family is sacrificing something in your preparation. Whereas peer group can operate either way, they can put positive as well as negative impact on the preparation by sometimes motivating you and also by confusing you. I think, a lot of sacrifices from my family which has enabled me to achieve the goal. My mother took voluntary retirement from class 1 job just to guide me to get the success in this exam. My mother has sacrificed her ambition and dreams to build my ambition and dreams. This is definitely one big thing which is responsible behind my success.

Q.    What was your aim when you began your preparation?
A.    My aim at that point of time was to crack the civil services. Whenever you enter the civil services,. they provide you a unique platform where you get an opportunity to contribute for the betterment of the society while at the same time getting a standard of living. It comes up being a dream job which any one can aspire. Initially i just wanted to make it to the list and do my best.

Q.    What are the priorities that you would like to have after joining the services?
A.     I will be going for the training period and during that time, being very young right now I lack the real world experiences. So my immediate priority is to gain as much experience as I can gain from my colleagues my seniors my faculty over there. Still being in my student life, learning as much as I can, increasing my knowledge base which will assist me when I go out  in the field. Once I get posted, I will try my level best to keep everybody in the district happy and very satisfied with my work and I believe that there are 3 ingredients which are required  to do this job well, i.e.  having a compassionate heart, delivering what you have promised and being capable enough to provide a motivational leadership.

Q.    How long was the actual journey to this goal?
A.    It has been a very long journey for me, I had decided a long back and I wished to go for the service when I just passed class tenth and going to class eleventh.. Since then it is quite a long time, being two years of school, three years of college, one year of preparation and one year of examination. But it has been incredible as I had a single focus on one thing that helped me as well. It was difficult as I had to prepare for the exam for a very long time so I did not get to do extra curricular or my hobbies as much as I wanted. But overall, it was incredible as it led to such a big achievement

Q.    What is the significance of a Coaching Institute in this examination?
A.    Coaching Institutions do play a very big role because right now the whole civil services exam preparation has become a very big market and the markets are flooded with books, study material, notes, etc. so the normal aspirants gets very confused about where do we start, what do we do, which is good, which is not. So, coaching institutes helps in streamlining things for you. They help you in sorting out this confusion as well as the UPSC Syllabus which runs in pages. Coaching institutes take over that headache by doing such things for you. Once the headache is shifted to the institutes, now you can dedicate more time in memorizing the things related to studying, understanding and preparing for the examination

Q.    How did you manage your college and coaching?
A.    It was quite difficult to manage both the things together but I tried my best to manage them in a sense that I took care of those things which were doable and would later save my time when I will go for the actual preparation for the exam after my graduation. I started reading newspapers to generate a reading habit. Since my graduation was in political science so I opted for political science as the optional I took the graduation very seriously which actually helped in the later stages of the preparation.

Q.    How the current affair issue to be integrated for General Studies preparation?
A.    First, you have to constantly keep linking the topics of general studies with what is happening currently. As civil services examination has become very current affairs oriented over the period of 2-3 years. Secondly, since general studies have different subjects involved in it but somehow they all are interlinked. The interlinking has to be very-very strong, and thirdly, the syllabus is so vast and there are so many topics in G.S., proper scheduling and time management is very crucial. You need to have targets. I used to have targets for 3 months in advance for that you need to have a proper planning.

Q.    What are your views about Khan Study Group (KSG)?
A.    I was a student at KSG when I was in second year of my college. I have very fond memories of KSG as well as Khan Sir. It was beautiful. Khan Sir always took extra care of all the students in the batch. He always do something or other to keep the students motivated to sit and study as he used to take care of little things. He and other faculty at Khan Study Group were always available for every student who had any doubt or query. He had a big positive smile which always gives positivity, oracularity and boost morale even of the demotivated students. One thing very good about KSG was that, they don’t only focus on UPSC Syllabus, they were actually interested in increasing the knowledge. After every class we used to get a new topic on which when we search over the internet we used to get new and important information. The daily and weekly test helps the student to actually evaluate the exact state of preparation and progress.

Q.    How the writing practice can be done? Tell us about the method to do regular practice.
A.    Writing is actually an art and it requires a lot of practice, but the good thing about it is that it can be acquired by anybody as it does not require any special expertise. Practise is what is required. Even for them who are not fond of writing they need to write at regular intervals by giving 2-3 hours of time to writing answers. You really need to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses and accordingly you need to properly practice for writing. You may write in points or para but practicing is the key

Q.    What should be ideal criteria to select optional subject?
A.     I believe that if a student have decided to go for the services in school days then i must suggest that he should opt for the subjects which he will take for optional. And in other case, do not go by the myths or the trends, as all subjects are equally scoring. Please go through the Subjects list in UPSC and always take the subject of your graduation or the subject of your choice and interest.

Q.    How to prepare for the optional?
A.    Optional exam carry 500 marks and it is a huge amount of marks, I believe that while you are preparing for prelims you should take 1-2 hours of a day for optional and you can stop praparing for optional three months before appearing in the prelims exam and immediately after prelims take one or two day s rest and then you just have to study optional for atleast 5-6 hours every day.

Q.    What according to you is a good answer?
A.     A good answer should be the answer to the question asked only .A lot of people do not understand the question properly, they read the keyword and start writing the answer but if the question is specific the answer has to be specific. The basic presentation is very curial for a good answer. It should have two lines of introduction, the main body and a conclusion. The conclusion should be positive even if you have criticised things in your answer the conclusion should bring positivity and it should show that you are a positive person who believe that the things can be turned around and you are moving toward good change. A good answer should have keywords underlined and should be neatly written.

Q.    How does internet contributed to your preparation?
A.    Honestly, not much. I am a very bookish person and also 95% of my preparation was done from the books.


Read More:
My Suggestions For The Beginners
Tina Dabi’s Story Inspired Young Students at Kakching, Manipur