Why has Civilsdaily Student and Aspiring UPSC 2022 Civil Servant, Ashish Renewed his Program for One More Year With Us?
“Unlike other students in my batch, Ashish has been a dedicated and hardworking UPSC aspirant even before joining us. Since he is unable to prepare for UPSC fulltime, he compensates by studying for 6-7 hours everyday after he completes his work as a bank officer. He is always able to complete the weekly targets assigned to him 2-3 days in advance.”, says Ashish’s Civilsdaily Mentor Pravin sir as he sets the tone of our interview. Pravin sir has been mentoring Ashish for more than a year. Satisfied with his guidance, Ashish has upgraded his program once again for 2022 prelims.
Ashish had started his UPSC-CSE preparation in March 2020. For 6 months, he prepared without comprehending what was written in the books. He followed random videos on Youtube for a topic he didn’t understand and read all the pages of many books recommended by different toppers. Ashish struggled to study a topic concisely. He did not know what was the relevant information he had to gather for a topic. Hence, though he studied hard he was unable to score well in test series. As a result of which, Ashish in his first Civilsdaily Mains Test was able to score only 50 marks out of 250 and 40 out of 200 marks in prelims.
Challenges of Ashish When He Studied Without Mentorship
By July 2020, Ashish decided he cannot waste anymore time and wanted a personal mentor for his UPSC-CSE preparation. He knew he had no time to attend coaching classes so he was particular about the kind of mentor he preferred. Ashish wanted a mentor who could help him minimize his study materials, guide him on how he could judiciously utilize the available time for preparation and set weekly targets for him. “I wanted to do the studying by myself, it’s not classes that I wanted. I wanted someone with whom I can develop micro and macro study plans, someone who evaluates test series frequently and assesses my performance. Someone who motivates me to stay focused when I feel like taking long breaks.” This on surface, might appear as trivial requirements, but let’s not forget that on a daily basis many aspirants grapple with motivation, consistency and time-management issues.
Ashish was unable to find the right mentor till he approached Civilsdaily. ” I was a regular reader of the current affairs compilation at Civilsdaily. That’s when I thought of enrolling in its mentorship program as well.” Under it’s mentorship program, Pravin sir has analyzed the previous year questions from year 1994 onwards for every topic in the syllabus. He will then suggest which book or online source Ashish can read for a particular topic. This way, Ashish is able to read about 2-3 books per subject, but not waste time by reading every page of those books.
How is Pravin Sir’s Mentorship Helping Ashish?
“To give an example, I asked Ashish to read Ramesh Singh for Fundamentals of Economy but for certain key concepts I asked him to read only from Shankar Ganesh.”, Pravin sir says and continues, “If there is any current affairs in Samachar Manthan that corresponds to what Ashish is reading this week, I will bring it to his notice.” Pravin sir conducts weekly counselling session where Ashish is free to discuss anything that bothers him personally even if it’s not related to his studies. Every aspirant has had those days when it’s been hard to just study. It happens to the best of us sometimes and for some of us, it happens more frequently. And it is understandable, Civil Service preparation is a long and often lonely process. Every aspirant, from toppers to those who have quit have been overwhelmed by this process at some point in time. Working alone is monotonous and that’s why regular counselling is required. “I believe that during this tough preparation phase, an aspirant is vulnerable to the smallest of the negative distractions. Counselling helps them stay on track and not react to anything going around them in an impulsive manner.” Pravin sir has also included all his students in the Habitat Club where he posts inspirational quotes and invites everyone for a weekly zoom session to conduct live answer writing practice sessions. “I conduct this zoom session right before and after the weekly prelims and mains test series. I feel its important for everyone in a group to discuss and debate on how they can improve an answer for a question. Over here, I also show the answer writing copies of other UPSC toppers”
When Ashish first wrote the test series, he had a problem of writing vague points which were not backed by relevant factual data. He also did not give current affairs examples of the points he discussed in his answers.
By November 2020, Ashish learnt how to improve the presentation of his answers by writing shorter points and backing it up with examples wherever necessary. He also highlighted sub-headings as boxes to get the attention of the examiner. However, while concluding, he still made vague points and did not offer solutions to the issues.
In the recent test series conducted on December 9 2021, Ashish improved his answer writing in terms of presentation, valid specific points and solutions, examples and statistics. However, he missed on giving an introduction that could have fetched him 1-2 marks extra by mentioning about the recent cryptocurrency bill.
Right now, Ashish is able to score 105 in advanced prelims test series, 120 in basic prelims test series and 100 out of 250 in advanced mains test series. “I feel reassured when I get timely support from Pravin sir and always look forward to our weekly interactions when I can inform him I completed the modules of the week.” When asked about one particular instance of mentorship that he cherishes, Ashish says, “I did not understand parliamentary committee topic once. Pravin sir was on call with me for half an hour and explained the whole topic till I understood. I really appreciate that from his end.” Ashish told us that Pravin sir directs him to the right videos and sources when he is unable to get conceptual clarity. “This often happens to me when I am reading any topic in international relations. Because of Pravin sir’s support, I am able to understand a topic in lesser time.” Due to the weekly topic wise prelims and mains test series, Ashish has improved his speed and accuracy to a large extent. “While before, I used to take 15-20 minutes to write an answer, now I am able to do so within 10 minutes.”
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At the core of Samanvaya lies the fact that each one of you will have a unique journey while preparing for the exam. Some will get through on the first attempt without much effort while others will take both more time and more effort.
We want to understand you better to help you optimize your journey so you can focus on the right things and not waste time on the wrong ones. We are asking you to tap into the valuable experiences of mentors who underwent the same grind and realize the pitfalls and understand the shortcuts to make it.
In the first counselling session, we will understand your weaknesses. Over 80% of students who claimed to have revised NCERTs twice were unable to answer basic questions. Many were not comfortable with at least 1 GS subject and Optional. Many struggled with ‘What went wrong’ after 2-3 years of hard work. Our mentors will provide free preliminary assignments so that we can assess your preparedness and suggest accurate strategies. We then help you to stick to one plan or strategy throughout your preparation.
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