Selfstudyhistory.com’s Interview of Muskan Dagar [Rank 72, CSE- 2022, History Optional]
Profile of the Candidate
|Rank in Civil Services Exam 2022||72|
|Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one)||2|
|Medium for History Optional||English|
|Marks in History Optional in Present and Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II)||Paper I – 140
Paper II – 112
|Home town/village||Sehlanga, Haryana|
|Any past Work-experience||ICAS Probationer|
|Were you preparing full time or working and preparing?||Preparing full time|
|Your place of preparation||Home|
|Details of other success and failure in competitive exams||Cleared UPSC CSE 2021, Rank 474|
|Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional||Coaching from Bamiyan’s
Test Series from Self Study History and Prep Career
|Percentage marks in class X||10 CGPA|
|Percentage marks in class XII||94,4 %|
|Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks||Physics, Chemistry, Maths
|Name of college of graduation and place||Hindu College, University of Delhi|
|Passing out year||2020|
|Post-graduation if any||NA|
|Did your educational Background help in History Optional?||No|
(1) Tell us something about yourself.
I come from a small village in Haryana, where I stayed and prepared for this examination during the lockdown brought about by the pandemic. My father’s a farmer and my mother a homemaker. I initially began my preparation during the last year of my graduation, but could only have a focused approach after my graduation. I had to drop a year, since I was 20 when I graduated. I cleared UPSC CSE 2021 with Rank 474, and was allocated the Indian Civil Accounts Service.
Questions Related to History Optional
(2) Why did you choose history as your optional subject?
My decision to choose history was firstly based purely on interest. Another factor that influenced this was the huge chunk of GS syllabus that could get completed simultaneously.
(3) Kindly mention positive and negative about the History Optional for those who what to take history optional.
The positive is that a lot of it also coincides with GS. I have come across no negatives as such.
(4) Kindly mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.
Ancient India – IGNOU notes, RS Sharma, Baliyan sir notes
Medieval India – Satish Chandra, IGNOU notes, Baliyan sir notes
Modern India – From Plassey to Partition (S. Bandopadhyay), Bipan Chandra, BL
Grover, Baliyan sir notes
World History – Norman Lowe, Jain and Mathur, Baliyan sir notes
(5) In Paper I and II, you answered 3 questions from Part A or Part B?
3 questions from Part A in Paper 1, and Part B in Paper 2
(6) How did you prepare for Map Portion?
I followed information given in Nandini Maharaj’s blog, and made my own period wise maps.
(7) How much time per day you used to give the history optional during your preparation (both before and after prelims)?
Around 3 hours everyday on 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 practised answer writing regularly. I used to write 4-5 answers periodically before prelims, and gave 3 hour tests after prelims.
(9) Did you join any test series? If yes, kindly name it? How did it benefit you?
I joined Self Study History’s and Prep Career’s test series. It helped me enrich my content, better my presentation, as well as learn to write in a timely fashion.
(10) Did you maintain self-notes? If yes, how did it help you?
I made extensive notes for both papers. They helped me in repeated revisions, and comprehensive coverage of topics.
(11) Have you solved previous years papers of history optional? Did it help you in the examination?
I solved most previous year questions, and added them to my notes. Since many themes/questions were repeated, it helped me a great deal.
(12) In your views, how the nature of questions asked in history optional changed in recent years?
In recent year, history questions have before more and more analytical and thought based. This demands a nuanced understanding of the subject matter at hand.
(13) Were you asked questions related to History in interview? If yes, kindly mention those.
I was asked about the various dynasties in Indian history, and their architectural remains.
(14) How did selfstudyhistory.com benefitted you in your History Optional Preparation?
The test series evaluation was of immense help in making me understand and answer the demand of the question. Apart from that, I have taken help from the website on researching selective topics.
(15) Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?
History is a wonderful optional for somebody who has an interest in the subject. I have personally had a lot of fun researching and learning it. Having a better understanding of history also has bearings outside the exam, giving one a more indepth and complete understanding of why things are the way they are.