upsc exam Syllabus : Indian Civil Services Syllabus For IAS,IPS,IES,ISS,IFS details
Interview With IAS  Topper Year 2006 : Archana Nair

From Archana Nair; All India Rank : Seventh (7) , Civil Services Exam 2005-2006, this talk has been delivered by her.

The opportunity that Civil Services offers to serve the country, along with diversity of job profile, challenge and career advancement prospects was what made me leave my job in the American Express India Pvt Ltd to prepare for the Civil Services exam. No doubt, it involved a risk. But it is worth taking the risk if you feel strongly about it.

I am happy to share with you the strategy I followed while preparing and hope it is of some help to future aspirants.

My details:

Name: Archana Nair

Attempt: Ist

Rank: 7th, Civil Services Exam,2005.

Optionals: Economics and Public Administration

Class room coaching : Vajiram & Ravi (only for Personality Test)

Work Experience: American Express India Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon (Mgmt Trainee) 1 yr and 1 Month.

My Optionals : Economics and Public Administration

Having done my masters in economics, this was a natural choice. Before zeroing in on Public Administration as my 2nd Optional, I went through the syllabus of some subjects to decide on the one that I would be comfortable with. Since I did not attend any classroom coaching for prelims and mains, availability of relevant material was also a guiding factor in this decision.

My Preparation :

I would say that the preparation requires a well defined strategy, systematic study, determination, consistent hard work and motivation. I’d like to share a quote that motivated me a lot : “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion, you have to set yourself on fire”. Keeping one’s morale high is important.

Coming to strategy :

  • After finalizing my optionals, I spoke to couple of experts based on which I put together a list of books that I would study. These were essentially the standard text books.
  • For the mains I was selective to some extent, identifying the important areas. For optionals, preparation should be comprehensive and all details of concepts should be analyzed and absorbed in depth. Concept clarity is essential.
  • For prelims however, the approach was intensive study.

    Each one makes mistakes, but what one should aim at is to nip it early before it becomes irreparable. Identify, learn and rectify your mistakes to fine tune your strategy.

    I did not make any notes (as I have never been in the habit of doing so even during college days). A lot of us go through this dilemma of whether or not to make notes. I would suggest, identify the style of studying that suits you best and stick to it.

    I’d like to share with you the list of books that I referred to.

    Books I used for GS:

  • Spectrum & Bipin Chandra for History
  • D D Basu, Subhash Kashyap for Polity
  • NCERT books for Geography
  • Misra and Puri for Economics
  • Hindu for Sc tech & Current Events
  • Spectrum for Science & Tech
  • NCERT book for Statistics

    Some magazines like Frontline, Yojana etc

    Books I used for Economics:

  • Micro: H L Ahuja
  • Macro: Jhingan, Shapiro
  • International trade: Mannur
  • Public Finance: H L Bhatia
  • Money/Banking: S B Gupta
  • Growth and Development: Jhingan, Todaro
  • Indian Economics : Misra and Puri
  • Economic Survey

    Books I used for Public Administration:

  • New horizons of Pub Adm : Mohit Bhattacharya
  • Public Administration : Avasthi and Maheshwari
  • Indian Administration : Rajni goyal
  • Administrative Thinkers : Prasad and Prasad
  • Financial Administration : M.J.K. Thavaraj
  • Local Administration : S.R. Maheshwari

    Some Tips for the Interview:
  • Most of us are anxious about performing well in the interview. While being nervous is natural, one could use techniques like deep breathing etc to remain calm and composed before the board. I would suggest focusing on points given below to build one’s confidence.
  • Read newspapers, magazines & update your self.
  • Face mock interviews and work on the feedback given.
  • Be well prepared with your bio-data.
  • Be confident, honest and pleasant to the board.
  • Communication skills and body language are areas that need fine tuning.

    This is an exam that puts to test one’s EQ as much as IQ. The key, I feel lies in perseverance. Be sincere to yourself and your goal, follow a daily schedule, keep a vigilant eye on likely pitfalls, learn from your mistakes to revise your strategy and most importantly keep the faith alive, remain optimistic but realistically so. Do your best and leave the rest to God. But always remember, God help those who help themselves.

    Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the contributions of this site ( is rendering in making sharing of information easier and effective. I hope what I have shared is of some help to future aspirants too.

    I conclude by wishing all future aspirants Good luck!

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