[PDF] 71 TO 51 My Journey from Failure to IAS & Your Guide to Success by Ila Tripathi, Bhavesh Mishra
I distinctly remember the day of 31st May 2017. At 7:20 pm, my husband, then boyfriend, Bhavesh broke the news to me of me securing All India Rank 51 in Civil Services Examination, 2016. I was thrilled. I was happy as I no longer have to spend days reading The Hindu. But I was also a tad sad as I wanted my father to be alive to witness the moment.
Fast forward, a year into the service, now when I look in retrospect analysing my preparation regime, I see how things had evolved. How I started preparing, how I was dejected after failing badly in first attempt, how Bhavesh made me realize the importance of self-study, how failing in the Indian Forest Services Mains exam threw me into a spiral of self-doubt. The title “71 to 51” is basically my journey from scoring a 71 in Prelims in my first attempt to improving remarkably to Rank 51.
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The period of preparation is a roller coaster ride. You sometimes feel you should give up as you have wasted your youth reading about longitude, latitude and ethical dilemmas. You will also be on cloud nine when your mock tests would fetch you unimaginably high marks. You would feel low when your relatives would remind you of your age and you still living on your parent’s income. These mixed emotions are common to any aspirant’s journey. I experienced it throughout.
It is an unpredictable exam and believe me none of my batch mates in LBSNAA were certain of making it to the service of their choice. I was certain of making it to the list but not sure of becoming an IAS officer. Even Bhavesh was not sure of making it in the first attempt. After taking his interview in June 2015, Bhavesh was determined that, god forbid, if he did not sail through in 2014 attempt, then he would not even attempt the 2015 exam but instead wait for 2016. So you see, the anxiety and uncertainty you are going through or have went through, is normal.
This book is a consolidation of study tips for aspirants ranging from purely
academic issues like the chapter on GS papers (I-IV) to some personal management issues like the one named “When the going gets tough”and “What if you fail”.
I have mentioned my personal experiences to sometimes motivate you and sometimes make you believe that all the ups and downs are normal in any aspirant’s life. I have written about my motivation to join the services after a three year stint in the private sector. I also talk about why I chose a humanity subject despite being an engineer.
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My experiences where I made mistakes will also serve the purpose of warning you. I do not want you to commit the mistakes I did. In UPSC, it is more important to know what not to do more than what to do. This is the difference between an aspirant who has been preparing for 4 years and someone who got through in first attempt. The former does not know what to avoid. I hope that this book serves the purpose right in this regard.
Several chapters also carry my mock test answer scripts followed by a detailed analysis. I was good in some parts, bad in others. But I did realise that analysing answer writing helps improve your performance remarkably. Chapter on answer writing is a comprehensive guide in this regards.
Psychology plays a very critical role when we are an aspirant. We are easily distracted, dejected and disillusioned. Little do we realise that these tests of character are only momentary. What follows next will last forever. You work only 1-2 year on studying hard. And for the rest of your life, you are known to the world as an officer. The book has targeted chapters to deal with the psyche. You can read, re-read them anytime you get the feeling of “na ho payega“.
Bhavesh also has penned down his experience of how he prepared for interview while working in a full time job and scoring a 209 in the interview! We hope it would come handy for professionals who are not yet sure whether to leave the job for an exam as demanding as the civil services.
Unlike any other UPSC guide, we also talk on things that most coaching institute or successful candidates usually do not even mention. The book talks in detail about why and how the cadre choice in an All India Service plays a pivotal role. You can learn from your mistake by filling up a DAF incorrectly but why risk it when you can make the right choice.
Finally, we hope to encourage you to work hard, take well-informed decisions and be successful.
All the best.