Categories’s interview of Ishmeet Kaur (Rank- 505/ CSE-2018) [History Optional]’s interview of Ishmeet Kaur (Rank- 505/ CSE-2018) [History Optional]

Profile of the Candidate


Name Ishmeet Kaur
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2018 505
Roll Number 3524262
Age 26
Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one) 4
Optional Subject History
Medium for History Optional English
Marks in History Optional in Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II) In CSE 2017: Paper I: 118, Paper II: 119
Home town/village Mohali
Any past Work-experience Working as Accounts Officer/ Enforcement officer with EPFO
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? I graduated in June 2014. Since June 2014 till December 2017- full time preparation. In January 2018, I joined EPFO and after that preparation and job simultaneously.
Your place of preparation Chandigarh
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams CSE 2015: appeared in Mains

CSE 2016: failed in Prelims

CSE 2017: appeared in interview but could not make it to the merit list

CSE 2018: secured 505 rank.

Punjab state service 2015: appeared in interview but could not make it to the merit list.

UPSC EO/AO Exam 2017: cleared and joined job as EO?AO with EPFO.

Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional Abhimanyu History Optional in year 2014.

Test Series: for CSE 2018 preparation.

In CSE 2017, referred to self study history notes


Educational Background

Percentage marks in class X 86%
Percentage marks in class XII 80%
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks BE in Computer Science engineering with CGPA 8
Name of college of graduation and place University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Punjab University (PU), Chandigarh
Passing out year 2014
Post-graduation if any No
Did your educational Background helped in History Optional? My graduation subject was entirely different


In 2018:


In 2017:


Questions Related to History Optional

Why did you choose history as your optional subject?

Easily and readily available coaching and material in home town.

General Studies I major portion.

Mention positive and negative about the History Optional for those who what to take history optional.

Positives of History Optional-

  1. Helps in GS
  2. Helps in Essay
  3. Once the ground work is done, one can easily build upon.
  4. (Monetary trends in different phases of history can help  in answering economic based question pertaining to different dynasties)

Negatives of History Optional-

  1. Vast and becomes unmanageable most of time especially while revising

Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.

Mention Booklist and other sources-

  1. IGNOU notes
  2. Ancient India- Self study history notes + class notes
  3. Medieval India- Satish Chandra + self study history notes
  4. Modern India- Shekhar Bandopadhyay + Self study history notes
  5. World History- Norman Lowe
  6. Most importantly previous years questions

How did you prepare for Map Portion?

self study history notes + previous years questions

How much time per day you used to give the history optional during your preparation (both before and after prelims)?

When not in job: 3-4 hours a day

2 months before prelims

After prelims: 4-6 hours a day

Did you do answer writing regularly? If yes, what amount of time you devoted to it and how did it help you?

After prelims my optional strategy was to revise and write at least 5 answers a day.

Before prelims I took test on regular interval (mostly attempted previous years question paper)

Test Series: CSE 2017- NIL

CSE 2018- self study history

Did you maintain self-notes? If yes, how did it help you?

Yes, topic wise as per syllabus. Very helpful during revision (for most topics, self quick notes)

Have you solved previous years papers of history optional? 

Yes. Strongly recommended.

In your views, how the nature of questions asked in history optional changed in recent years?

Social and economic aspects have gained importance.

Did you take any help from If yes, upto what extent it helped you.

Yes. My CSE 2018 attempt preparation for history optional was based on wide content of in which I added my class notes and books I referred.

Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?

Availability of material is plus point of optional but it is quite vast so one need to develop decent enough interest in subject to excel in it.


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