Categories’s Interview of Karthik Panigrahi [Rank 63, CSE- 2021, History Optional]’s Interview of Karthik Panigrahi [Rank 63, CSE- 2021, History Optional]

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Profile of the Candidate

Name Karthik Panigrahi
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2021 63
Roll Number 0807685
Age 24 Years
Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one) 3
Optional Subject History
Medium for History Optional ENGLISH
Marks in History Optional in Present and Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II) PAPER 1- 143

PAPER 2- 153

Home town/village SUBARNPUR, ODISHA
Any past Work-experience NA
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? PURSUING MPHIL DURING PREPARATION
Your place of preparation DELHI
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams CLEARED NDA/NA- 11 in 2015


Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional SELF STUDY HISTORY FOR MAP MATERIAL AND TEST SERIES


Educational Background
Percentage marks in class X 95% (10 CGPA)
Percentage marks in class XII 94.4%
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks B.A. (H) HISTORY


Name of college of graduation and place SRI VENKATESWARA COLLEGE, DU, DELHI
Passing out year 2018
Post-graduation if any M.A. HISTORY FROM HINDU COLLEGE
Did your educational Background help in History Optional? YES


Marksheet of CSE- 2021:


(1) Tell us something about yourself.

  • I am KARTHIK PANIGRAHI and I consider myself as a HISTORY BUFF. I am from ODISHA but have been all over India over the course of my educational career. My father works in the Airport Authority of India and my mother is a homemaker. My love for history began at a young age and since then I have engaged with it both in and outside college. The importance of history in understanding society and trying to make it better is one of the reason I have opted for IAS as my first preference.

Questions Related to History Optional

(2) Why did you choose history as your optional subject?

  • I chose history as an optional because of my interest in the subject and because my academic background as a graduate and post-graduate in history. This substantially eased the workload when time is very limited.

(3) Kindly mention positive and negative about the History Optional for those who what to take history optional.


  • Improve one’s analytical ability and broadens perspectives.
  • Convergence with GS and Essay preparation.
  • Scope to develop one’s own opinion and arguments while answer writing.


  • I would refrain from using the term ‘Negative’ but rather call it a challenge for an aspirant. That history has a vast syllabus which may require more time to prepare than some others. But if one does SMART PREPARATION, this can be overcome.

(4) Kindly mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.

  • Limit your sources but Revise, Revise and Revise them again and again.
  • Ancient– History of Ancient and Easy Medieval India by Upinder Singh
  • Medieval– Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Modern– From Plassey to Partition by Shekhar Bandopadhyay
  • World– Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe
  • Other Sources– SELF STUDY HISTORY MATERIALS and Notes from UG and PG classes.

(5) In Paper I and II, you answered 3 questions from Part A or Part B?


(6) How did you prepare for Map Portion?

  • I prepared Map Part by solving Previous Years Papers as there is some chance of questions being repeated. I relied upon SELF STUDY HISTORY’s Topic wise Map Material as it is comprehensive and substantially reduces time for preparation if one goes around looking for sources.

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

  • Before Prelims: 2- 2.5 hours a day and 5 days a week
  • After Prelims: 3-4 hours everyday with an hour each for preparation, Map practice, answer writing and mistakes analysis.

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

  • Yes, Answer writing regularly is immensely helpful. it not only helps to structure one’s knowledge in an Exam oriented manner but also teaches time management and stress management, which are assets that can serve well in Mains.

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

  • I only joined SELF STUDY HISTORY’s Test Series.
  • Yes, Test Series helps in not only simulating Exam conditions but after evaluation, teaches an aspirant what does UPSC look for in an answer writing. This can develop an aspirant both as a candidate and a student of history.

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

  • Yes, I did maintain notes from way back in my UG and PG days. It helps a lot as it reduces effort one may do in studying material fully over and over again. It also eases preparation by structuring points in a manner as per one’s individual convenience. It also helps in some last minute preparation.

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

  • Yes, I have solved them. It not only helps in pattern analysis for smart preparation but as questions asked before may appear in a different form, early preparation can help to write a better answer. PYQ solving is especially helpful in the Map Portion.

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

  • In my humble opinion, questions are now more imaginative than before. They encourage us to make a thorough analysis and make connections across seemingly unrelated aspects. Even the conventional questions are asked in a manner where simple statement or facts won’t suffice. Careful consideration of each word in a question is more important to understand the demand of the question. Now more than ever.

(13) Were you asked questions related to History in interview? If yes, kindly mention those.

  • Yes I was asked some questions.
    1. What aspects in present society can be preserved as items of historical interest down the line?
    2. Implications of New Education Policy for history.
    3. Description of Kalinga Temple Architecture (As Jagannath Temple is in news and my home town is Odisha)

(14) How did (SSH) benefitted you in your History Optional Preparation?

  • I am grateful to SELF STUDY HISTORY for playing a CRUICIAL ROLE in my journey. The material (especially Map Portion), TIMELY TESTS AND REMARKS AFTER EVALUATION HAVE HELPED ME FINETUNE MY APPROACH. It is a collective effort on everyone’s part that success is possible. For me SELF STUDY HISTORY WAS THE ONLY PLACE FOR PREPARATION.

(15) Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?

  • I have seen many aspirants express fear and apprehension over history optional. I hope the performance of myself and many other successful candidates this year can make a small effort in quelling those fears. History is very effective in how much it can enrich one’s Essays and Ethics answers with examples. If you give this subject the love and care it deserves, it will love you back and award you with success.

Click here for Answer Sheet of KARTHIK PANIGRAHI [Rank 63, CSE- 2021]


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