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Selfstudyhistory.com’s Interview of Amit Kumar Chaturvedi (Rank- 295/ 2019) [History Optional]

Selfstudyhistory.com’s Interview of Amit Kumar Chaturvedi (Rank- 295/ 2019) [History Optional]

Profile of the Candidate

Name Amit Kumar Chaturvedi
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2019 295
Roll Number 0882984
Age 25
Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one) 3
Optional Subject History
Medium for History Optional English
Marks in History Optional in Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II) 2017 – Failed in Prelims.

2018 – P1:104, P2:125

2019 – P1:120, P2: 165

Home town/village Bokaro, Jharkhand
Any past Work-experience 2016-2017: Business Analyst (EXL Service).
2019- Present: Consultant (EXL Service) – Resigned after final Result.
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? I had given 2 attempts with full time preparation. Thereafter I have been working since mains 2019.
Your place of preparation Delhi & Gurgaon.
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams CAPF: Failed in medical test.
Failed in BPSC 2018 prelims.
Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional Baliyan Sir notes formed the basic foundation of my prep. (for all except Modern). But I always felt that reading a book is important, & always wanted to read a lot, hence I also followed the following materials which I feel improves the quality of the answer and helps to cover the syllabus.

Ancient – Upinder Singh gist (SSH) + IGNOU (some parts) + NCERTs + SSH Notes & PYQ.

Medieval – IGNOU Gist (SSH) + J L Mehta (for some parts) + Vipul Singh (Early Medieval) + SSH notes & PYQ.

Modern – Shekhar Bandyopadhyay gist (SSH) + Bipin Chandra + Spectrum + SSH notes (esp. for Post-Independence) & PYQ.

World – I had a lot of books & studied any particular chapter from whichever book I felt had the best content (never read any book completely).
a. SSH notes – formed base.
b. Ranjan Chakrabarti – Initial chapters like FR, AR, Lincoln, Eastern Question, etc. + Quotes at end of chapter.
c. Krishna Reddy – Enlightenment, Imperialism, etc.
d. Hemant Jha notes – to cover some gaps.

Test series – Sihanta IAS (2018) + IAShub & SSH (2019). I have also had the privilege of some personal guidance from IRS Vikas Ahlawat (CSE 2016).

I have not written a lot of tests though, probably just 4-5 (Something which I aim to work upon).

Educational Background
Percentage marks in class X 90.4%
Percentage marks in class XII 92.4%
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks B. Tech Chemical Engineering, CGPA – 8.85.
Name of college of graduation and place National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
Passing out year 2016.
Post-graduation if any No.
Did your educational Background help in History Optional? No.

Introduction

Tell us something about yourself. 

  • Hello, I am Amit Chaturvedi (AIR 295, UPSC CSE 2019). I come from Bokaro Steel City. My father is government school teacher & my mother a housewife. I had thought of appearing for UPSC in my 4th year, but still decided to take a job as backup. While working, I gave my 1st attempt in 2017 with no prep, and ended up with a mere 30 marks in Pre.
    I resigned and prepared properly, cleared 2018 Prelims, but failed miserably in Mains (marksheet attached).
  • I was not at all prepared for Mains, so right after Mains ’18, I started prep for 2019, which I have been extremely lucky to clear.

 Marksheet 2019:

Marksheet 2018:

Questions Related to History Optional

Why did you choose history as your optional subject?

  • Out of pure interest. Only later I came to know that its syllabus is too vast & sometimes History students are poorly marked, still decided to go with it, as I cannot read something which I don’t find interesting (Poor GS3 marks are a proof).

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

  • Positives
    • Interesting (at least to a few).
    • Very helpful in Essay + Ethics.
    • Marks are not just given for rote learning, understanding of the question is very much rewarded.
  • Negatives.
    • Vast syllabus (exhaustive to cover).

Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.

  • Already done above.

How did you prepare for Map Portion?

  • With the help of a senior, I had prepared maps on various themes with small descriptions for each site. I practiced them almost every alternate between Prelims & Mains in 2019.

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

  • No such fixed time. I just tried to cover the syllabus in the best possible manner.

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

  • No regular answer writing. I always had content lacking, so I focused more on content building. But I wrote the tests diligently.

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

  • Sihanta IAS – Good quality questions + good framework for answer writing.
  • IASHub – Detailed solutions. I made notes out of them.
  • SSH – Detailed solutions. I made notes out of them.

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

  • I had prepared short notes on most topics, though not all. It helps a lot in memorizing different dimensions as well as helps in last moment revision, which I think is very important for history.

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

  • Made notes out of the most important PYQs solutions from SSH. Did not practice a lot of them.

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

  • History Optional (as well as entire UPSC) as become very analytical now. Most questions (barring a few) are not direct & require deeper understanding of any topic as well as the question.
  • A simple example for the same:
    • Examine the status of Sanskrit in Mughal India. (Q 5(c), P-1, CSE ’19).
  • This question demands us to write about the declining status of Sanskrit in Mughal period (& examine it), & not merely writing the names of books written in Sanskrit during Mughal period.

Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?

  • It is a great optional & there should be no skepticism that it puts us at a disadvantage compared to other optionals. In fact, this year history people have good marks compared to many other optionals relatively.
  • Nevertheless, it requires a tremendous hard & smart work, but then, what so worthwhile comes without some toil.

At the end, I would like to share a few lines by Shri Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.

महाराज, उद्यम से विधि का अंक उलट जाता है,

किस्मत का पाशा पौरुष से हार पलट जाता है.

और उच्च अभिलाषाएँ तो मनुज मात्र का बल हैं,

जगाजगा कर हमें वही तो रखती निज चंचल हैं.

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