You are determined to join the prestigious Indian Administrative Services.
As a career choice, your decision is not surprising; the IAS provides a competitive, challenging work environment, job security and a host of other attractive monetary and non-monetary benefits.
But, first, you must crack the rigorous selection process.
This consists of a preliminary exam, a main exam and an interview conducted by the Union Public Service Commission; ONLY the most intelligent, capable and responsible individuals make it through this gruelling process.
Mona Pruthi from Haryana, who topped the exam this year, offers her tips for success.
An unusual decision
Mona, who is currently training with the Indian Revenue Service, is an M Phil in Literature. She made an unusual decision when she decided to give the exam -- she did not register in a training institute that coaches students for competitive exams
"I feel you can study better at home. But you should carefully select the material you want to study," she says.
You must have clarity of thought and the ability to stay focused on your studies.
ii. Good writing skills
"You must be able to write very well," she says.
This will help you present facts well and in a pleasant manner.
iii. Try, try, try and you will succeed
This was Mona's third attempt at the exam. "My first attempt was a casual one," she explains. But the experience helped her understand the kind of questions one could expect and how they must be dealt with.
She did better on her second attempt and managed to enter the Indian Revenue Service.
iii. Time management
After a long, hard day at the revenue office in Faridabad, Haryana, where she was training, Mona would return to her house in Sector 15. After spending some time on a cup of tea and chatting with her family, Mona would study for the exam.
"One of the main task before an IAS officer is time management. I would do my work in the Indian Revenue Service and then come home and study. I would devote good number of hours everyday for my studies. I think I have already learnt how to manage my time," she smiles.
She is now looking forward to training as IAS officer.
v. My study strategy
An M Phil in English literature, Mona has been constantly good in academics; an added advantage was her excellent grasping power.
She would carefully select her books and literature and, in cases of confusion, hold discussions with her father, who worked in the Indian Judicial Service. "His judicial background helped me clarify a lot of things," she says.
You must keep assessing your points of strength and keep on improving upon them, she explains. Simultaneously, keep working on your shortcomings and turn them to your advantage.
Mona dedicates her success to her parents; she says they were her inspiration and gave her moral support all the time. "Unfortunately, my father died one and a half month ago," she adds sadly.