Categories’s interview of Yadav Girish Ashok (Rank- 220/ CSE 2018) [History Optional]’s interview of Yadav Girish Ashok (Rank- 220/ CSE 2018) [History Optional]

Profile of the Candidate

Girish Yadav1

Name Yadav Girish Ashok
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2018 220
Roll Number 6625058
Age 24
Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one) 3
Optional Subject History
Medium for History Optional English
Marks in History Optional 158 (Paper I)

142 (Paper II)

Home town/village Karad, Maharashtra
Any past Work-experience No
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? Preparing full time
Your place of preparation Pune
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams 2016 : Failed to qualify in Mains

2017:Appeared for


Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional Only test series

(2017:Balyan and 2018:Sihanta IAS)

Selfstudyhistory notes and study Material especially maps.

Educational Background

Percentage marks in class X 95%
Percentage marks in class XII 95%
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks B.Tech Electrical Engineering

7.9 CGPA

Name of college of graduation and place College Of Engineering, Pune
Passing out year 2016
Post-graduation if any NA
Did your educational Background helped in History Optional? NA


Tell us something about yourself. (attach your photograph with answer)

My name is Girish Yadav,a B.Tech Electrical Engineering graduate from College of Engineering Pune (COEP).This was my third attempt of UPSC Civil services examination. I have scored 300 (158+142) marks in history optional.

Questions Related to History Optional

Why did you choose history as your optional subject?

I chose history as my optional because of my interest in the subject since school days. Such interest is sustained by my reading of few historical books as well as movies.

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


  • It helps in prelims as well as in GS 1 (Art and culture,Modern india,world history and post independence part)
  • Also it helps in essay to some extent.


  • Syllabus of history optional is very vast.
  • You have to reduce sources so that you can revise them.
  • My strategy was: “minimum sources and maximum revisions.”
  • Also preparing for maps is time consuming. (Here selfstudyhistory helped me a lot by providing concise material)

Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.

*Common sources:

*NCERTs: Our Pasts I,II,III +Themes in Indian History I,II,III

*selfstudyhistory previous year questions.

*Section-wise sources:

Ancient India : Balyan handwritten notes, selfstudyhistory notes, selected topics from IGNOU (e.g. decline of Harappan civilization)

Medieval India: Balyan handwritten notes, JL Mehta Volume III (Art and culture part)

Modern India : Plassey To partition by Shekhar Bandopadhyay, Balyan handwritten notes

World History: Balyan handwritten notes, selfstudyhistory notes.

How did you prepare for Map Portion?

For map section, I relied mostly on Self-Study History map material, which is concise and effective.

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

In my first attempt in 2016 I devoted whole 2 months for optional preartion as it was the first time I was reading history optional. In consecutive attempts, time given to optional got reduced. Also I mostly prepared for optional in the days between prelims and mains.

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

I haven’t practiced daily/regular answer writing for history. But in the 2.5-3 months period between prelims and mains, I solved sectional history optional test once a week. Also 15 days before exam solved full length test for both paper I and paper 2 in a single day (as per actual mains timings).

It helped me in improving my speed, presentation and avoiding some crucial mistakes beforehand.

Did you join any test series? If yes, kindly name it? How did it benefit you?

For 2017 attempt I had joined Balyan sir’s test series and in 2018 attempt I was part of Sihanta IAS Test series. While first one helped me to have command over the sources I read, later one helped to solve questions about which I have hardly read few points. It helped me in analyzing historical events, sources and in developing skill of writing good answers to questions where I had little content.

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

Rather than separate notes, I used to have Side-margin Notes, which helped me to revise whatever I have read in little time. Also another advantage of having such notes is that you can refer cross check instantly in case you forget few sub-points.

Have you solved previous years papers of history optional? Did it help you in the examination?

Did not solve. But analysed them carefully,which helped me in prioritizing my studies and focusing on the selected areas on which upsc is repetitively asking questions.

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

Earlier more questions from political history were asked. Now, I think, focus is shifted to socio-economic and cultural history. Also dominance of subaltern history too is clearly visible.

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

Selfstudy history has simplified history optional study. They provide compilation of previous year questions as well as answers on their website.Both of these sources formed crucial part of my history optional studies. Also as I mentioned earlier as well it helped me a lot in preparing map section.

Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?

While studying history optional don’t just try to focus on facts of the events like wars,revolutions etc. Try to study everything that happened in the history through the prism of ‘cause and effect’. Analyse why things happened the way they happened and what are the consequences of such events rather than just focusing on when particular event happened. Also try to connect dots between history and present times like this year there was question regarding Rural economy in Mughal times. Even if one don’t know facts, one can write satisfactory answer by looking into current rural economy. Because revolutions and change form only one part of history. Continuity form the other major part (which we neglect).




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