Topper’s talk: Interview of Rajarshi Chakraborty WBCS(Exe), 2015 Rank 8
Personal Details: Name: Rajarshi Chakraborty
Age: 31 City/Town: Kolkata Rank in Final List:8
Optional Subject: Political Science
Schooling Medium: English College Medium:English WBCS Medium:English
Work Experience(Optional): TCS(2.5 yrs), Indian Overseas Bank(1 yr), Revenue Officer, Land & Land Reforms Department(1.5yrs)
Service Preferences: Wbcs(Exe.) 1st, CTO 2nd
Educational Details: Graduation (Subject and Percentage): Computer Sc & Engg(from JU), 7.72 cgpa Post-Graduation: N.A.
Hobbies: Sudoku, listening to music Now we shall listen to you in detail:
•Tell us something about yourself.
I am a person who likes to keenly observe events and people around me and try to find logical explanations and solutions to problems.
• How did you enter the field of competitive exams like Civil service, WBCS etc.?
I had always found the field of administration quite fascinating. The amount of freedom it gives us to take decisions and solve problems of the people is unparalleled with respect to any other job or service. It also allows us to work in various fields of activity and enables us to gain useful knowledge thereby enabling us to perform our role as responsible citizens to the fullest.
• How did you start your prep.?
I started preparing for UPSC and PSC right after college. At that point my focus was more on UPSC. The concepts that I developed from reading NCERT books eventually allowed me to face other exams too like WBCS.
• Self-study or Coaching or both which do you prefer and why?
I would prefer self study only after a basic orientation from a well known coaching centre . We should try to study smart for these exams and not just study hard. An initial coaching would give us direction with respect to the demands of the exam and help us study smart. At a more mature stage of the preparation self-study and personal dedication is what matters in achieving success
• Which books did you follow?
I started off mainly with the books recommended for UPSC eg NCERT books on Modern Indian history , physical and Indian geography and Economics. Later I referred to Arihant Magbooks for Indian History and Geography. For West Bengal history and geography I referred to Arihant’s Know Your State- West Bengal. Besides these I studied from the Internet and referred to Wikipedia, PreserveArticles and other such sites. For Economics Ramesh Singh’ s Indian Economy was a very handy book. For Indian Polity , I followed Lakshmikant. My Optional was Political Science. Book for Indian Political thought : Indian Political Thought by VR Mehta Western Political thought: OP Gauba For general understanding, Andrew Heywood’ s book Political Theory was very helpful. Public Administration : selected parts of UPSC Public Administration, Kalinjar Publications International Relations: Comparative Politics & International Relations, Prakash Chander & Prem Arora
• How did you prepare for optional paper?
Since my optional was political science, I had to stay updated with the latest development in national and international politics. I observed that the questions in paper 1 part I and paper 2 part I often repeated itself.
Hence I went through questions from the last 5 years and readied some of the most probable questions. I tried writing answers as much as possible so as to develop the skill of writing well rounded answers covering all points within time.
• How did you prepare for language papers?
Since I had to concentrate on the GS and Optional papers, I could hardly find time for the language papers. Bengali was the weaker of the two for me. I generally kept reading the Bengali newspaper for the last 2 or 3 weeks laying stress on spelling as I was prone to making spelling mistakes. I practised an essay and a letter I Bengali the day before the exam.
• What was your strategy for GS papers?
GS papers were mainly taken care off by my UPSC GS preparation. I had to study extra topics like the 2011 Census , history and geography of West Bengal, history of planning in India etc. I used the internet quite extensively for the purpose. • Which was the most difficult part you have come across during your prep.? The most difficult part of the preparation was remembering dates of important events in history, amendments in polity, census data and other data related to economics. Also since my Bengali was weak I had to work on that by reading Bengali newspapers.
• How was your interview?
My interview went well. Since I was already in service I prepared my service related stuff well. That included the district I was posted in. However not much was asked from there. I was asked opinion based questions. For example “ what is your view on student politics?” , “ is it good for the country?”, “is it a fact that student politics is practised more by rich students who don’t need to worry about studies?”. A few questions on Polity and Indian History was also asked, which I could reply correctly. I failed to answer a question on who won the J Nehru Award for International understanding. I was also asked my opinion on GST and its effects , and which parts of the constitution had to be amended to implement it. Other than this , I was asked why I chose the administrative field after working in the IT field for 2 and a half years. The interview was mainly in English with one or two questions in Bengali. There were 4 members in my panel including the Chairman, and all of them seemed happy with my answers.
• Mock tests are helpful to which extent?
Mock tests are extremely helpful, especially after the basic preparation is done. They allow you to assess your level of preparation and identify your drawbacks, so that u can overcome them . Also I feel a mock test series automatically creates a time schedule for you and helps you cover the syllabus in a step by step manner by breaking them up into modules. They also help in creating the examination situation and gets you attuned to it, so you don’t feel unnecessarily nervous at the time of the actual examination.
• What are your suggestions to the beginners?
Stay focussed and stay motivated from the beginning to the end. It is not tough to crack this exam if you show a certain degree of perseverance. Look into question papers of previous years and form an idea as to how you would go about the preparation. Try to identify areas you should focus more on. Get hold of the recommended books and go through the focus areas to start with. Join a mock test series to streamline your preparation in the right direction. Make extensive use of the internet, as it is the biggest repository of information. Read a national daily, preferably The Hindu , and a regional daily in Bengali everyday to stay updated.
Thank you Rajarshi Chakraborty for your valuable inputs! We wish you all the best!