Selfstudyhistory.com’s interview of A Venkateshwar Reddy (Rank- 314/ CSE 2019) [History Optional]
Profile of the Candidate
|Name||A Venkateshwar Reddy|
|Rank in Civil Services Exam 2019||314|
|Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one)||5|
|Medium for History Optional||English|
|Marks in History Optional in Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II)||CSE 2018 ( 312 marks )
● Paper I – 162
● Paper II – 150
CSE 2017 ( 252 )
● Paper I – 130
● Paper II – 122CSE 2016 – 249
CSE 2015 – 199
|Home town/village||YSR Kadapa District , A.P|
|Any past Work-experience||Apps Programmer Analyst
● Political consultant at IPAC
● Asst Commissioner of labour
● Indian Postal Service IPoS
|Were you preparing full time or working and preparing?||It was only during my first attempt I
gave it my full time for preparation
Thereafter I prepared along with
|Your place of preparation||Hyderabad|
|Details of other success and failure in competitive exams||Group I examination 2016 of A.P
State Services , State 28 th rank
|Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional||I did coaching for the history
optional at Balyan.
Test Series : Self Study History
|Percentage marks in class X||94 %|
|Percentage marks in class XII||95.3 %|
|Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks||B.E (Hons) Chemical Engineering
|Name of college of graduation and place||Bits Pilani Goa|
|Passing out year||2013|
|Post-graduation if any||–|
|Did your educational Background help in History Optional?||Not much|
Questions Related to History Optional
Why did you choose history as your optional subject?
I chose History out of interest . In an examination like Civil services which require one to give attention for at least 2 years , it is of utmost importance that one chooses an optional of interest.
Mention positive and negative about the History Optional for those who what to take history optional.
- Comes handy in Prelims , Essay and GS 1
- Well defined sources and material
- Vastness , time consuming and difficult to revise
- Marking patterns when one compares to Maths , Anthropology optionals.
Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.
- Balyan Classes and Notes
- Self Study history previous years solutions
- Gaurav Agarwal Sir’s history notes
- IGNOU material for some topics
How did you prepare for Map Portion?
For Map I completely depended on Self Study History
How much time per day you used to give the history optional during your preparation (both before and after prelims)?
I used to give on an average 3 hours a day for optional.
- Complete one read in the first month
- Thereafter 2 hours a day to practise Questions from test series and previous years
Did you do answer writing regularly? If yes, what amount of time you devoted to it and how did it help you?
Yes . It was not any fixed time as such. Whenever I get bored of reading, which generally happens everyday , I use to write 2-3 questions from Self study history tests or previous papers.
Did you join any test series? If yes, kindly name it? How did it benefit you?
Self Study History : The Questions framed are in sync with UPSC pattern . Though I could not write all the tests due to the paucity of time but went through the solutions which are superb in content.
Did you maintain self-notes? If yes, how did it help you?
Yes . Self notes is very important for one to revise . Especially just before the examination it helps one to revise , re-revise and keep facts on the tips. Not making self notes is the mistake I did for too long .
Have you solved previous years papers of history optional? Did it help you in the examination?
Yes. It was because of this I could see a jump in my marks from 250s to 312. Solving previous year questions helps one to analyze the nature of questions asked in the examination and tune ones thinking in line with it.
In your views, how the nature of questions asked in history optional changed in recent years?
In recent years the questions have become more conceptual and need more depth in analysis. Just quoting facts and dates has lost relevance .
Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?
“Keep it Simple” should be the mantra. Keep your sources simple, make self notes, revise and re-revise , attempt previous years papers , write often.