Categories’s Interview of Herrsh Sharma [Rank 194, CSE- 2022, History Optional]’s Interview of Herrsh Sharma [Rank 194, CSE- 2022, History Optional]

Profile of the Candidate

Name Herrsh Sharma
Rank in Civil Services Exam 2022 194
Roll Number 0810039
Age 24
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- 134

Paper 2- 125

Home town/village Jind
Any past Work-experience None
Were you preparing full time or working and preparing? Preparing full time
Your place of preparation Jind
Details of other success and failure in competitive exams This was my second mains in UPSC. I have also reached till interview stage in HCS exam
Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional Self Study History PYQ material and test series
Educational Background
Percentage marks in class X 87.4℅
Percentage marks in class XII 94.6℅
Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks BA Programme (History and Political Science) 68.22%
Name of college of graduation and place St. Stephen’s College, Delhi
Passing out year 2020
Post-graduation if any MA in History from St. Stephen’s College
Did your educational Background help in History Optional? Yes


  • Tell us something about yourself.

Hi my name is Herrsh Sharma, I am a resident of district Jind in Haryana. I have done my schooling from JNV, Kaithal and my graduation and post graduation from St. Stephen’s College.

Questions Related to History Optional

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

I have loved studying history since my school days and it also was the subject which I took during my graduation and post graduation. Hence, when I made the decision to appear for the CSE it became the default choice.

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

The positives include, first, the congruence with syllabus of prelims and GS1 papers and second, the static nature of subject which facilitates use of the same material over different attempts.

The negatives include, first, the very lengthy nature of the subject which makes revision difficult and second, the relatively low marks that the subject fetches vis a vis other humanities subjects.

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

For Ancient I read R.S. Sharma, for Medieval Satish Chandra, for Modern Shekhar Bandyopadhyay and for World History I read Norman Lowe.

While this was for creating a base, I used Self Study History’s PYQ material and map material as the primary source during my mains preparation.

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

Part A in both

(6) How did you prepare for Map Portion?

Self Study History’s Map Material

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

2-3 hours on an average

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

I did answer writing for history only after I cleared my first prelims last year. This year I gave 2 full length tests of 3 hours every week.

Answer writing is the most pivotal part of mains preparation and hence it helped me immensely.

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

Yes, I joined Self Study History’s test series during both my mains attempts and it was really helpful as many questions from it got asked in Paper 1 directly. In Paper 2 benefit was more from the practice standpoint.

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

I did for prelims but not for optional.

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

I covered Previous Year Papers from the year 1978  and used them as the primary source for my preparation till the final day.

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

I think while the Paper 1 is mostly the same as before with straightforward questions, Paper 2 has became very analytical which makes it harder to attempt and even harder to score in.

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

Yes several, they were related to Aurangzeb, re-writing of history and whether we should judge historical figures in hindsight.

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

The PYQ and Map material which I bought from it was the primary source of my preparation throughout, so it’s role was very crucial for optional.

Click here for Answer Sheets of Herrsh Sharma [Rank 234, IAS CSE 2022]

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