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Planning is what brings success in IAS exams

DRAWING UP an efficient plan and sticking to it is the best way to do well in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) examinations.

Five IAS probationers who attended a training programme at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University reiterated this theme and provided insights into the examination that holds the key to a high profile career at the Central, district and divisional levels. R. Vijayaraghavan, Professor of Agricultural Extension, TNAU, was the coordinator of the programme.

At the Central level, IAS officers framed and implemented policies, at the district level the emphasis was on development, and at the divisional level the focus was on general administration.

On completing the training, the probationers filled up response sheets in which they provided students a host of tips for success in IAS examinations.

"Choose your options carefully depending on the time available, guidance, study material and interest," said Anu George, who had opted for sociology and psychology in the exam. "Perseverance always pays. Develop your own style of learning. Try group study whenever possible and ensure clarity of concepts. Quality is better than quantity."

Role model

With her mother as role model, her ambition was to be "a good and efficient human being". Among the best books she had read were Roots by Alex Haley and Randamoozham by M. T. Vasudevan Nair.

Pooja Kulkarni, who had opted for commerce and public administration in the examination, said the Asterix series of comics and the works of P. G. Wodehouse were among her favourite books. Challenge, variety and status had motivated her to become an IAS officer.

"All it takes is some hard work, but don't put your heart into it," she observed about the IAS exams. "The Union Public Service Commission has an excellent reputation for causing heart break. It is important to discuss what to read, and more importantly, what not to read. Take the exam at your own risk!"

R. Ananda Kumar's advice to IAS aspirants was, "Be confident about success. Be focused. Be confident. Be in touch with people who got into the service. Believe that you will win one day. Imagine and plan things completely before you start." He emphasised the importance of keeping in mind all those who had extended help.

Definition of success

"Reaching a point and utilising it for the welfare of all," was his definition of success. His options in the exam had been Zoology and Tamil literature.

V. Arun Roy, who had chosen law and public administration for the exam, said that `To kill a mocking bird' was the best book he had read and "An empty vessel makes much noise", his favourite proverb. "Your success is directly proportional to the number of people who feel sad when you die," was his definition of success.

"Be thorough with the syllabus. Read old question papers. Prepare systematically according to the available time. Write original answers for optional subjects. Sound original and confident in the interview," was his advice to IAS aspirants.

Pinky Jowel advocated "meticulous preparation, confident outlook and sharp focus" for those sitting for the examination. "Be very particular about the subject you choose for prelims, as you will be appearing for an objective type of paper. General knowledge will definitely pay in your prelims. Reading newspapers, watching television news and, of course, quiz shows, is a must," she said.

"If you have been lucky enough to reach the interview stage, book knowledge may not be the only thing you need. Your mental alertness will count. Enhance your personality, because it will definitely be one of the criteria for selection," Ms. Jowel added.

Prof. Vijayaraghavan, who coordinated the programme and spent a lot of time with the trainees, said that the proverb "Catch them young" was applicable for excellence in any field and more so for those who wanted to do well in the civil services examinations.

"What would you like to be when you grow up? It's a million dollar question that children are asked all the time. IAS is - no doubt - an answer from many. `Enterprising' is the word that came to my mind as I bid the trainees goodbye," he said.

A.A. MICHAEL RAJ

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