Tips from IAS Topper Sriram Venkataraman for UPSC Success


Sriram Venkataraman IAS profile

Dr. Sriram Venkataraman was the rank no. 2 holder in the UPSC civil services exam held in 2012. A doctor by training, Sriram is a native of Kerala and was in the news recently for standing by his principles and refusing to budge when confronted with political pressure, in his role as a Sub-collector in Munnar District of Kerala. In this article, we have compiled some precious tips from the young and brilliant officer for IAS aspirants to find success in this tough exam.

Read more about Dr. Sriram Venkataraman IAS.

IAS Exam Tips from Dr. Sriram Venkataraman

  • Consider the civil service as a job where you will get the opportunity to serve society, and not just as a glamorous profession.
  • It is not ‘tough’ to crack the CSE. The first requirement of clearing this exam is to have a burning desire to get into the service. The second requirement is to have a planned strategy and approach to the IAS exam.
  • It is not necessary to study for 18 hours a day and read 3 – 4 newspapers. It is enough if you read one good newspaper daily and a weekly magazine for your preparation. But be regular in your reading.
  • Always make crisp and precise notes when you read the newspapers and magazines. You should develop the skill to analyse news.
  • Read well. Other than the regular books, the reading habit is good since it helps develop your own perceptions and opinions on things and issues that matter.
  • General awareness is more important that general knowledge.
  • Allocate time for studies as per your convenience. You should ideally not sacrifice your sleep or hobbies to make way for your IAS preparation. This will lead to boredom. Enjoy your preparation.
  • For general studies, repeated tests, combined study and group discussions will be of immense help as the subjects are diverse in nature.
  • Have a clear idea about the UPSC exam pattern and the UPSC syllabus.
  • Important books for the prelims exam: NCERTs for classes X, XI and XII; ‘India’s struggle for Independence’ by Bipin Chandra and ‘Indian Polity’ by M Laxmikanth.
  • Use the internet for information and material on a wide variety of topics. It is a treasure trove of knowledge. However, use this technology judiciously as there is a deluge of information and you must be prudent about your sources.
  • Don’t choose your bachelor’s degree subjects based on your civil services ambition. Choose a subject that interests you. You can always opt for this subject as an optional even if there is no overlap with general studies. But candidates who take up engineering or maths as their optional should keep in mind that their competitors are going to be from the IITs and other top-rung institutes, so the performance must be top-notch.
  • It is better to pursue civil services after having a sound back-up plan. This way you will be relaxed during your preparation as well.
  • It is completely natural and okay to feel anxious about the UPSC personality test. It is a hurdle that can be cleared if you have basic intelligence and common sense. The board will not trouble you with GK questions or questions on a political controversy. It is more of a friendly conversation where you will be asked on your background, place of origin, and society. Only basic English skills are required to attend the interview. If you are not comfortable with English, you can always speak in your mother tongue provided you are fluent in it and ask for an interpreter.
  • The UPSC exam is not a hard nut to crack. All you need is clarity in thoughts and a different approach to learn different things.

Also See | UPSC Exam Preparation: Political Science Optional Tips from Anand Vardhan

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