Friends, as we have started last month our new series ‘MPPSC Topper’s Interview’. In this you will read about MPPSC toppers, their strategy, planning and various aspects of exam from their angle. We will try to give you a short overview of their preparation journey. This will help you to understand this exam more clearly.
MPPSC Topper’s Interview : Episode 2
Miss Sampada Saraf, Rank-1, MPPSC 2017
So, this is the 2nd Episode of this series. In this, we have Miss Sampada Saraf, Rank-1 holder of Madhya Pradesh Civil Services Exam, 2017. She is selected on the post of Deputy Collector. We have also shared her mark sheet, So you can get an idea about her numbers in Mains and Interview exam.
So, Let’s Start !
Q : Achieving top slot in the coveted MP State Services Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.
Ms. Sampada : Thank you so much.
Q : In how many attempts have you achieved this success?
Ms. Sampada : It was my second attempt.
Q : You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualise your previous attempts?
Ms. Sampada : In my first attempt I was selected last year as well and got post of DSP.
Q : What preference in services have you opted for and any particular reason for that priority ?
Ms. Sampada : I have opted for administrative services as it provides a greater opportunity to serve the masses.
Educational Qualifications –
10th—2010, CBSE, .,St. Joseph Convent Jabalpur (91.6%)
12th—2012, CBSE, St. Joseph Convent Jabalpur (90.4%)
B.E.—2016, RGPV Jabalpur (Govt.) Engg. College (83.8%)
Previous Selections—Madhya Pradesh P.S.C. 2016-DSP.
Q : ‘Success is sweet’ were you confident of your success with top ranks and how did you react to this news?
Ms. Sampada : l was confident after my last selection and had therefore filled only one post preference of Deputy Collector. But, certainly Rank 1 came as a pleasant surprise. To be selected at such a post at an age of just 23 gives me immense satisfaction and inspires me to work harder to achieve bigger things in life.
Q : Today, IAS Toppers are icons and lots of media coverage makes them popular. The top rankers are admired by all for their accomplishment and are a source of inspiration and motivation for future aspirants. Before your success, what was your opinion about these toppers?
Ms. Sampada : Success really inspires and gives a feel that this examination is within reach. A glance at topper’s experiences gives some insights about this exam and skills required to crack it.
Q : Can you recall the exact moment when you realised the importance of Civil Services?
Ms. Sampada : I used to have discussions with my mother during my school days regarding ways to address the problems of the society. It was during one of these discussions that I realised that Civil Services is one of the best mediums to work for the society.
Q : Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Civil Services’?
Ms. Sampada : I commenced my preparation during my college days.
Personal Qualities –
Favourite Person : My parents and brother.
Strong Point : I am a positive thinker, come what may!.
Weak Point : I overthink at times.
Hobbies : Reading, debating, elocution, social work and meeting new people.
Q : Was CSE a planned decision or your parents’ wish?
Ms. Sampada : My parents guided me towards this field but, never imposed anything. Motivated by their guidance, I decided to opt for it as my career choice.
Q : Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts?
Ms. Sampada : No timeline as such for this endeavour. I was focused and had a feeling that I will make it soon.
Q : ‘Time Management’ is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers, be it Prelims or Main Examination. How did you manage things?
Ms. Sampada : I practised a number of Mock Tests for both Preliminary and Main Examination and tried to improve my writing speed and quality of answers.
Q : The first step is the most difficult? From where did you get the right advice?
Ms. Sampada : My mother provided me with the initial guidance needed for this examination. She suggested the reading resource particularly about the newspapers and books to read. After this, the core guidance was provided for General Studies and a holistic strategy to crack Civil Services Examination by Dhyeya lAS and Goutam Academy for Madhya Pradesh P.S.C. in Particular
Q : What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Preliminary Examination preparation? Flow much time and effort did you divide for each?
Ms. Sampada : For GS Paper I (General Studies). For Paper I, I used to solve previous years’ question papers and revised NCERTs and other standard textbooks.
For GS Paper II (Aptitude Test). I have been pretty confident about the aptitude test, hence just used to revise the main formulae.
Q : What shift did you adopt in your strategy for Main Examination (Written) ?
Ms. Sampada : I practised more of answer writing for this attempt. I tried to manage my time better by practising answer writing. I compiled my own notes for the topics of the syllabus which were hard to get from anywhere else.
Q : Was there any special effort for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper?
Ms. Sampada : The essay had to be written in Hindi. I assembled some quotes from various sources and tried to cover every topic from multiple dimensions.
Q : How did you prepare your-self for Interview (Personality Test)?
Ms. Sampada : I believe personality isn’t something that can be built over a period of few weeks. It can however be polished well. This polishing was done by revising the key points of all subjects and working on my presentation skills under the guidance of Siddhartha Goutam sir.
My interview was in Mehra Sir’s board and lasted for 20-25 minutes. The questions asked were mainly focused on my views regarding various contemporary issues, especially relating to women.
Q : Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e., Career in Civil Services ?
Ms. Sampada : Once I set ‘Civil Services’ as my career goal, I just gave it my all attention.
Q : While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services?
Ms. Sampada : l had got selected in 4 multinational companies during my college campus placements. Still, what kept me motivated to become a Civil Servant is my zeal to work for the upliftment of the poorest of the poor.
Q : In your opinion at which Educational Level should one start preparing for Civil Services and what should be the minimum period of time required to prepare for Civil Services Examinations?
Ms. Sampada : This decision is absolutely yours and it should be based on your comfort level. Starting early definitely gives an advantage but it is not a sufficient condition. Minimum 8-10 months are required for an effective preparation.
Q : What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE?
Ms. Sampada : I believe the perceived difference is only a myth. As far as I know, this is the first time an English medium candidate has achieved the topmost rank in MPPSC. Thus, both mediums have equal chance of success.
Q : Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation?
Ms. Sampada : We have multiple examples of candidates coming from diverse backgrounds and achieving it even with top ranks.
Q : In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services?
Ms. Sampada : The competition magazines provide a summary of the month’s current affairs and touch certain topics which prove useful for both Preliminary and Main Examination.
Q : What is the secret of your success?
Ms. Sampada : I always try to push my limits and try to achieve excellence in whatever I do. Because of this outlook, I took part in NCC and represented MP & Chhattisgarh as the best cadet in Republic Day camp. I further pushed my limits to represent India in the Youth Exchange Programme to Sri Lanka.
Q : To whom would you like to give the credit for your success?
Ms. Sampada : l credit all the successes of my life to my parents and brother who have supported all my decisions throughout. I am also grateful to all my teachers for providing me knowledge beyond books.
Q : Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.
Ms. Sampada : Never consider studies to be a burden. Enjoy learning new things and take pleasure in this journey of Civil Services Examination preparation and sooner or later, you will certainly reach your destination.
Interview Credit : PD Magazine
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Will soon meet you with a new topper. Till then, Keep Studying hard !
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