Categories’s Interview of Tanushree Meena [Rank 120, CSE- 2021, History Optional]’s Interview of Tanushree Meena [Rank 120, CSE- 2021, History Optional]

Profile of the Candidate

Name Tanushree Meena
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2021 AIR 120

Category Rank ST : 1

Roll Number 1134168
Age 26
Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one) 5
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 1:135

Paper 2: 118

Home town/village Domicile: Naharsinghpura Bamanwas, Sawai Madhopur  Rajasthan

Residence: Jaipur, Rajasthan

Any past Work-experience None
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? Full time preparation
Your place of preparation Jaipur
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams Couldn’t clear CSE Prelims in earlier 4 attempts
Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional Test for  Series History Optional at Self Study History in 2020 and 2021
Educational Background
Percentage marks in class X 9.6 CGPA
Percentage marks in class XII 88.5%
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks BA Hons History


Name of college of graduation and place Miranda House, University of Delhi
Passing out year 2016
Post-graduation if any MA Modern History, Jawahar Lal Nehru University
Did your educational Background help in History Optional? Yes, since I had History in both graduation and post graduation

Marksheet of CSE- 2021:


Tell us something about yourself. 

  • I have been preparing for UPSC CSE since my Masters. I had also Cleared NET JRF in history. This was my 5th Attempt in the earlier 4 attempts I could not even clear Prelims but I was sure that once I clear prelims I will definitely sail through Mains and Interview. Therefore I accordingly worked for my optional subject. I believe that if you’re passionate about something be it CSE or anything else in life you have to work hard towards achieving your targets without nay inhibitions.

Questions Related to History Optional

Why did you choose history as your optional subject?

  • I have always loved reading History and which is why I chose it as my Graduation subject. It is interesting and as a result I never got bored reading the subject for long hours. Further I had very detailed notes for the subject.

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

  • Positives I would say is that the syllabus is defined and once your notes are complete you can revise them again and again. It helps a lot in Mains and prelims. In Mains other than GS 1 you can also use the information in essay writing etc.
  • Negatives: vast syllabus, no available resource consisting of all the data.

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

  • I had very detailed notes of all the subject from my graduation as I would read all the suggested material. So I would add the extra details from the books into my notes to make them cater to the UPSC syllabus specifically
  • Ancient India: Upinder Singh and RS Sharma
  • Medieval India: Satish Chandra
  • Modern India: Shekhar Bandhopadhyay; Sumit Sarkar and Bipan Chandra
  • World History: Graduation Notes; World History Videos by John Green on Youtube and Internet
  • Maps: Maps Material by Self study history was the only source I used they were detailed. But now I do feel personal input is also required as many new sites are asked.

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

  • In Paper 1 and 2 both I answered 3 questions from Part A and 2 from Part B.

How did you prepare for Map Portion?

  • I only referred to the Maps Notes by Self study history and prepared them by giving the Ancient India Test both Sectional and Full Length. I prepared and marked maps personally.

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

  • Before Prelims I would devote 3 Hours in morning from 5- 8 to History Optional and thereafter in evening half an hour for Maps. I would read them again and again do that I remember the information.

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

  • I used to give tests regularly rather than answering a few questions after everyday. I had given tests even during the week before Mains paper for Optional.

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

  • I had joined Self Study History Test series which had very efficient questions and the answers provided were very detailed and helped enhance my information base and notes for the exam.

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

  • Self notes were my biggest asset in preparation. They were helpful fir the regular revisions and I even made short notes which were to be read right before the Exam. Therefore as a result I had notes which were the key to revision.

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

  • I used to read the PYQs again and again which had made me internalise the questions and think about the response. I would do this almost everyday for 15 minutes. The question bank provided by Self Study History was very helpful for the same.

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

  • The nature of questions in History Optional is becoming more dynamic now, it requires one to study beyond the static portion and fixed answers. You’ve to think and answer with proper analysis and logical reasoning in your answers. This is only possible through answer writing practice.

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

  • Yes, a lot of questions related to History were asked during the interview since I have history background. I was asked to mention Foreign Historians on Modern India, their viewpoint and the difference in opinion they have from Indian Historians. They asked me about Itihasa Literature, whether Ramayana and Mahabharata are historical texts or mythological or epic literature.

How did benefitted you in your History Optional Preparation?

  • Self Study History was helpful in putting the final edge to my preparation and ensuring that I am preparing in the right direction.

Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?

  • History Optional is really helpful in Prelims, Mains and Interview. If you like reading history and it interests you, I believe it can help you in soring good marks overall.

Click here for Answer Sheet of Tanushree Meena [Rank 120, CSE- 2021]

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