Categories’s interview of Girdhari Lal Meena (Rank- 387, CSE- 2020) [History Optional, Hindi Medium]’s interview of Girdhari Lal Meena (Rank- 387, CSE- 2020) [History Optional, Hindi Medium]

Profile of the Candidate

Name Girdhari Lal Meena
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2020 387
Roll Number 0837022
Age 25
Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one) 4 attempts and 3 interviews
Optional Subject History
Medium for History Optional Hindi
Marks in History Optional in Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II) 2018: 262


2020: 257 (Paper I:128, Paper II: 129)

Home town/village Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
Any past Work-experience
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? Preparing full time
Your place of preparation Delhi
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams CSE 2017: Prelims failed

CSE 2018: Appeared in interview

CSE 2019: Rank 674: IRS (C&IT)

Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional
  1. Manikant sir printed notes
  2. Map: Self Study History Materials
  3. Solved PYQ: Self Study History Material
  4. Other standard books
Educational Background
Percentage marks in class X 83%
Percentage marks in class XII 82% (PCM)
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks History, Political Science, Economics
Name of college of graduation and place University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
Passing out year 2016
Post-graduation if any History (2018)

University of Rajasthan, Jaipur

Did your educational Background help in History Optional? Having a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history helped a lot in CSE. At the time of graduation, I had studied some reference books. This helped in understanding history.


Tell us something about yourself. 

  • My name is Girdhari Lal Meena and I belong to Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. I am from farmer family. I did my entire education in Government school of my village. Stayed in Jaipur and did my graduation and post graduation from Rajasthan university. I got selected in IRS (C&IT) service in CSE 2019 and I am on EOL now.

Questions Related to History Optional

Why did you choose history as your optional subject?

I chose history as my optional because of:

  • I have studied history subject during graduation and masters.
  • History is also useful in GS and Essay.
  • I am interested in history and it is interesting subject.

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


  • Interesting and simple subject.
  • Helpful in GS and Essay.
  • History subject enhances the understanding of Civil Services Exam and boost confidence.


  • The syllabus seems big and some people find it a rote subject. Actually history is a scientific subject and once read, the syllabus gets shortened.

Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.

  • Manikant sir printed notes
  • Map: Self Study History Materials
  • Solved PYQ: Self Study History Material
  • Other standard books: Upinder Singh (Selective), Satish Chandra, S. Bandyopadhyay, Jain and Mathur (selective)

How did you prepare for Map Portion?

  • Laminate the UPSC standard map and practice with marker.
  • Match the cut places in the map and divide the map into some parts, which will make it easier to remember.
  • Look at old papers and practice the map from them.
  • Material: Self Study History Material
  • Also focus on the practice of the cultural sites in the map.

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

  • No such fixed time. At first I focused on completing the syllabus. Further made some short notes. Focused on revision and writing tests in 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?

  • Answer writing is the most important part. I joined test series and used to write 2 tests in a day. In between prelims and mains I used to write 15-20 tests of optional. By answer writing, you learn to write according to the demand of the question and further help in answer formatting.

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

  • Yes I had made short notes which were according to the topics of syllabus. Short notes help in quick revision at the time of exam. Also short notes made using flowchart and diagrams help in memorizing the topic quickly.

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

  • Yes, I has solved the PYQ. There is a repetition of questions in the history. By solving PYQs, the answer can be written according to the demand of the question. Helps in formatting.

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

  • Questions are based on social and economic understanding.
  • More focus on reasoning and analytical questions.
  • More emphasis on South and North East Indian history with women, Dalit and Environmental history.

Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?

  • It is necessary to mention historical debates and historians views wherever required.
  • Use maps, flowchart and diagrams whenever needed. Mention primary and secondary sources.
  • Write what is asked in the question and not what you know.
  • Connect the answer with present scenario if possible like:
    • The decline of the Harappan Civilization and the current climate change.
    • The condition of women in the later Vedic period and present.
  • First of all cover each and every topics of syllabus and solve Previous Years Questions.

All the best.

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