Tips to Aspirants from Former UPSC Chairman

Dr D P Agrawal was the UPSC Chairman from 2008 to 2014 before Ms Rajni Razdan took over. In an interactive session at the Kerala State Civil Service Academy at Thiruvananthapuram, he had given some valuable tips to civil services aspirants. This article gives you Dr Agrawal’s tips in a nutshell for your benefit.

  • Before you embark on your civil services preparation, learn about your country by respecting your culture, language and society.
  • Read more than one newspaper including regional language papers to equip yourselves with more knowledge and also acquire a balanced approach towards issues.
  • Study subjects with an in-depth understanding. Universities are as important as coaching centres. Avoid mugging up portions.
  • Learn about your own country, state, region and district before studying the world. Be interested in the society you live in and are a part of.
  • Give clear answers in the UPSC personality test/interview.
  • Students are expected to answer questions on their academic backgrounds as well. Not remembering anything studied a few years back is an attribute that cannot be taken lightly.
  • Generally, in the interview round, only simple questions are asked. Speak honestly and from the heart.
  • Don’t lie about your hobbies. This will definitely backfire. (Dr. Agrawal said regretfully that even hobbies are coached). Hobbies add to your overall personality and can be genuinely developed.
  • Present an honest self and not a false and coached version. Only innate qualities will save your skin in the exam.

The crux of Dr Agrawal’s tips is that a candidate should have a good picture of his/her country and society before trying to become experts on any subject. General awareness is very important. Also important is to develop an understanding of issues rather than cramming facts about them. UPSC wants to recruit the best thinking minds into the civil services of the country rather than mechanical robots.

Take these thoughtful tips coming from a much-experienced person seriously. Imbibe them in your UPSC civil services exam and you will not be disappointed.

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