IAS Topper Munish Sharma shares his IAS Prelims Exam Strategy
Munish Sharma is very down to earth person from Delhi, has achieved 2nd rank in IAS Exam 2013. He belongs to a middle class family and his mother is an English teacher. To become an IAS officer was his childhood dream and he achieved his dream in his 2nd attempt. A Post Graduate in Management, he was associated with MNCs and was pursuing his corporate career before this achievement. He shares his experience and strategies with our expert Rachit Kumar Saxena.
Jagranjosh.com: What do you think about the changes in the IAS Prelims Exam Pattern? Does it make the selection process better? Please give your opinion.
Munish Sharma: Ya ,I do think so. I think by kicking the optional subject out of the selection process, it has kind a streamlined the things and I think the CSAT Paper, it does not ask questions at the level of CAT, GRE or GMAT Exam, they ask very basic questions of mental ability, mathematics, comprehension which I think everyone must be good at. So, I think it’s a level playing feel now.
Jagranjosh.com: Does joining coaching institute help in clearing the IAS Prelims Exam?
Munish Sharma: I think to each of their own but for Prelims Exam, at least except for Constitution portion I thought that I could do other things my own but yeah, going to the coaching helped clearing doubts. For CSAT, because I have written CAT for MBA, so, I think that I was prepared for that paper and I have lot of experience in teaching also- I was giving tuition ever since I was class IX. So, the Prelims Exam was manageable but if you think that you are lazy, you cannot test yourself and you want to appear in regular test and then I think joining a coaching institute could be useful for you.
Jagranjosh.com: How far the group discussions are helpful in clearing IAS Prelims?
Munish Sharma: You need to choose the people who you indulge discussions with carefully. I had good friends like at my institute only Saloni, Akshay, Himanshu, Mrinal, we use to indulge in discussions but it wasn’t very regular, it wasn’t something like that we would set as a day in a week but we never had doubt we would call each other up, we on conference call or whatsapp also. We would share useful thing to each other. So, it certainly helps but you need to choose the participants carefully.
Jagranjosh.com: When did you start the Preparation for IAS Prelims Exam?
Munish Sharm: I think I took just 15 days leave at my office to prepare before that I was just attending the weekend classes and doing the bare minimum stuff. So, Prelims was not really a challenge.
Jagranjosh.com: What was your strategy for the IAS Prelims Exam as a whole?
Munish Sharma: I focused on getting maximum marks in CSAT Paper, Paper II. In Paper I, I thought that I should get more that 100 Marks and there were times, I could not finish newspaper regularly. For that I followed the online versions of newspapers and notes out of them but basically it was to get maximum in Paper I because I knew that Paper II, I would any way be, would be doing well.
Jagranjosh.com: How did you prepare for General Studies for IAS Prelims Exam?
Munish Sharma: For History, Geography- NCERT books, for Economics- I had background from MBA, so, I did not worry much about it. For Current Affairs, News Papers, Science and Technology and Environment and Ecology those topics also- from my teaching experience, I knew enough, so, I did not prepare for them, basically NCERTs.
Jagranjosh.com: How did you balance between different sections of the General Studies Paper I?
Munish Sharma: I put a lot focus on Constitution because if a constitution just reading NCERT book may not be sufficient. So, I went through the bare act and followed what was taught in the institute and that was it. I think, I paid maximum focus on Constitution because History, Geography, and Economics I was already comfortable in.
Jagranjosh.com: What was your strategy to prepare for the General Studies Paper II (CSAT)?
Munish Sharma: I just wrote a couple of tests to make sure that I was managing time well. For those 6-7 questions that we get on decision making as an administrator, I looked up at last year’s Question Papers and the answer keys supplied by UPSC, that’s it.
Jagranjosh.com: As we know that for an IAS, the nature of work responsibilities are changing. Do you think that the present pattern of the IAS Prelims suits to filter the undeserving candidates?
Munish Sharma: I think the nature of the exam has evolved and it is evolved for the better but there can always be a scope of improvement a very subjective questions but I find that the current process of filtering out students is good enough.
Jagranjosh.com: What suggestions would you like to give for the future candidates for IAS Prelims?
Munish Sharma: I would say that you may see that the cut offs are spiralling up before the last few years. First it was I think 199 then 209 and its 241. So, you need play on your strengths and you need to work on your weaknesses. You don’t need to lose heart and may be you could not clear Prelims Exam last year but I know so many people who in their first attempt could not clear Prelims event in their second attempt they were in top 30 or top 50. So, always focus on yourself and stop comparing.