Selfstudyhistory.com’s interview of Nidhi Siwach (Rank- 83/ CSE-2018) [History Optional]
Profile of the Candidate
|Rank in Civil Services Exam 2018||83|
|Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one)||3|
|Medium for History Optional||English|
|Marks in History Optional in Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II)||First mains marks not out yet|
|Home town/village||Gurugram, Haryana|
|Any past Work-experience||2 years work experience as design engineer in TechMahindra|
|Were you preparing full time or working and preparing?||Left job in November 2017|
|Your place of preparation||Home|
|Details of other success and failure in competitive exams||AIEEE 36000 rank 2011, appeared for Airforce SSB 2016|
|Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional||Selfstudy History test series + old NCERT+ new NCERT+ BipinChandra Struggle for independence & post independence + NIOS|
|Percentage marks in class X||95|
|Percentage marks in class XII||90|
|Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks||Mechanical Engineering, 8 percentile|
|Name of college of graduation and place||Deenbandhu Chhoturam University, Murthal, Sonepat, Haryana|
|Passing out year||2015|
|Post-graduation if any||—|
|Did your educational Background helped in History Optional?||9 & 10th standard helped not the graduation|
Tell us something about yourself.
- My name is Nidhi Siwach. I belong to Gurugram, Haryana. I and Mechanical Engineering graduate with two years work experience as a design engineer in TechMahindra . My hobbies are quilling and graffiti.
Questions Related to History Optional
Why did you choose history as your optional subject?
- I had to decide my optional in November 2017 when I left job. In previous attempts I opted for public administration I was not able to gain confidence and so decided to change optional after checking previous years papers decided to opt for history as it is analytical paper nowadays and I felt I can gain confidence with it and do well.
Mention positive and negative about the History Optional for those who what to take history optional.
- History optional is good optional and easy too provided you are able to critically analyse the events and correlate with their impacts. This thing can be understood by going through previous year papers. History is no more rot learning subject although syllabus is little vast and needs time.
Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.
- Old NCERT, New NCERT, Bipin Chandra struggle for independence and post independence, NIOS and selfstudyhistory.com study material
How did you prepare for Map Portion?
- RS Sharma ancient history and selfstudyhistory.com map work
How much time per day you used to give the history optional during your preparation (both before and after prelims)?
- Before prelims I was running short of time couldn’t devote separate time but post prelims half of time daily I used to devote to history optional because optional is deciding factor whether will be in list or out of it.
Did you do answer writing regularly? If yes, what amount of time you devoted to it and how did it help you?
- I wrote my first answer on 24 June 2018. Before that I never had time to write answers. Till 10th august focus was on revision post that started answer writing regularly till mains exam. Answer writing helps in increasing our speed, better structuring of answers and focus on presentation which all contributes to confidence boost up.
Did you join any test series? If yes, kindly name it? How did it benefit you?
- I joined forumias test series for GS and selftsudyhistory.com for history, Both helped in having a reality check where I stand in competition and rectifying my mistakes
Did you maintain self-notes? If yes, how did it help you?
- Ye, I have habit of maintaining self notes as we cannot go back to books again and again, so topics which I found important I used to maintain notes and I was able to revise whole syllabus during the gap between GS and optional papers.
Have you solved previous years papers of history optional? Did it help you in the examination?
- I was having very short time to cover entire history syllabus as I left job in November and was preparing for prelims so had to cover medieval and world history post prelims. I just went through solved papers on website and prepared note. This year more than 90% of theory questions were repeated from past 35 years papers directly or indirectly, so past year papers play important role by broadening our understanding and in prioritization of topics
In your views, how the nature of questions asked in history optional changed in recent years?
- The nature of questions has shifted from rot learning to more of analytical nature. There is misconception that history is about facts but if we see previous year papers now UPSC checks the analytical skills of an aspirants and how we interpret the events. Its more of understanding based.
Did you take any help from selfstudyhistory.com? If yes, upto what extent it helped you.
- Yes, selfstudyhistory,com was only test series I opted for history. I didn’t take any coaching. In my previous two attempts I opted for public administration optional but couldn’t qualify mains, this time I opted for history and had time to prepare for history only post prelims, so the test series helped me a lot in achieving my target in 3.5 months time.
Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?
- Solve as many previous years papers as much as you can it helps in creating clarity what to study and what not to study, analyse yourself your strength and weaknesses and work on it