The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear for those appearing for the Civil Services Examination this year. At a time when even the coaching centres are speculating over the new pattern of the exam, aspirants are having a hard time working out their exam strategy. Offering some advice is Dr Shah Faesal (topper of the 2009 Civil Services Examination), who says that, “the new pattern brings uniformity in the examination system and uncertainty over the exam would help since it is everyone’s loss or gain.”
Voicing his views over the new pattern, he says that the new pattern is innovative and might be able to overcome the shortcomings pointed out in the examination so far. The new format will also benefit those students who cannot afford coaching centres and might put an end to the mushrooming of coaching centres. It will be beneficial to both (the Union Public Service Commission and students) since evaluation will be easier as there is no optional paper now.
In this situation, the best takeaway for students is that competition will be uniform, irrespective of their backgrounds.
Advising aspirants on preparing for the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), he recommends, “since the details of the aptitude test are not known yet, it would be wise to master the general studies section, which would primarily remain the same. Don’t focus more on the uncertainties around the aptitude test since the scheme is not known. However, for the aptitude test, expect twisted questions that would need application of mind with a focus on conceptual knowledge rather than factual knowledge. Besides, aspire to attain publishable quality for your essays. Make sure they match up to the standards of newspapers and try getting them published in the local and national dailies.
Detailing his preparation strategy for the exam, Faesal says, “Being a voracious reader helped me in making judgements, forming opinions, understanding diverse ideas and correlating phenomena. Writing for the paper (Greater Kashmir) helped me keep up with world happenings, sharpened my writing skills and fine-tuned my analytical ability. Besides this, I did not just study the syllabus but went far beyond than that.”
The secret mantra for his success, he says, is humility. “It might not be a direct contributor to your success in examination but it is a virtue which matters a lot. It does something to you, it is very important,” he elaborates. “So keep the momentum going and don’t let anything bog you down. Always remember, what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”