Anu Kumari UPSC Topper 2017 Biography :
- Name: Anu Kumari
- Rank: 2
- Optional Subject – Sociology
- Book Preferred: NCERT Books
Anu Kumari secured Rank 2 in the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) 2017. More than 9.75 lakh candidates had applied for this year exam.
She graduated of the University of Delhi Anu Kumari, who later obtained an MBA from IMT, Nagpur. Women represent 8 of the 25 best candidates.
Anu Kumari about her success
- This is like a dream come true.
- I used to study 10-12 hours a day.
- For over a year I stayed in Sonipat at my aunt’s place. All this while I was away from my child. Even though it was difficult, he was the reason I felt motivated.
- My first preference will be IAS as I want to stay in my country and serve the people here.
Preliminary preparation :
- Standalone preparation for 2 months prior to the preliminary exam. Earlier, preparation was integrated for pre and mains together.
- I did Current affairs from fleely.com daily and did not make any notes from that rather revised from their monthly current affairs compilations. Daily, I solved MCQs from this site. I followed the current affairs till upto 3-4 days prior to pre exam.
- For GS PAPER II (Aptitude Test), No separate preparation, my English was already okay, Maths was already prepared as I had cleared CGL (SSC) exam wherein I had revised different Maths formulae.
- I started doing the test series in the last 2 months before pre. I did not follow any other test series. I also diligently attempted last prelims revision plan of Insights.
- I had prepared an excel wherein I had made separate sheets for various reports (like ease of doing business report), another sheet for various world/regional bodies like UN, ASEAN etc, another sheet for tribes in India, another sheet for important statistics (eg our spend on education, health etc). I kept revising this excel for pre, mains and some bits for interview too. It came especially handy for Pre.
- Advice- Please pick any one website, don’t get carried away by multitude of information available on different websites. Important thing is to revise, I made sure that I revised all standard books including NCERTs multiple times (4-5 times). Similarly, I revised current affairs and test series multiple times.
- To start mains answer writing, first cover all basic books and then practice answer writing. I had attempted Secure initiative on fleely.com for 4-5 months at a stretch (from Aug 16 to Jan 17), wrote 7-8 answers daily on register and then compared them with other answers written on fleely.com. This, I had done before preliminary itself during the course of integrated preparation for Mains and pre.
- After pre, I prepared notes from current affairs (very short notes for quick revision) in soft copy paper-wise (like GS-1,2,3 and 4 separately). Revised standard books multiple times again what I had done during preliminary. I practiced answer writing for GS papers by writing 7-8 tests (at home only and then compared them with model answers as given in various test series). I sometimes asked my friends to evaluate my copies.
Some tips to enrich your answers in mains –
- Substantiate with statistics and current affairs
- Use names of expert committees to suggest solutions
- Use diagrams to the extent possible
- Answer on multiple dimensions (social, political, economic, cultural etc)
- Use quotes (to the extent possible, even in GS 1,2,3 papers)
- Do underline to highlight important stuff.
- I practised writing 12-15 essays easily, learnt a lot of quotes and tried building essay on temporal scale (ancient, medieval, modern etc) and/or covering multiple dimensions like social, political, economical etc.I Linked the topics with current affairs. Did not use headings but always tried that the person reading the essay should find it like reading a story and used very simple language. I tried to ensure linkage/continuity between successive paragraphs (eg: If I am discussing social aspect of some issue after its economic aspect, I would write “Not only does ABC issue has economic implications but it also has social implications”).
- I used many quotes. I also used Question answer format in my answers eg: I chose the essay “Realisation of Modern woman is a myth”. Here I kept asking Qs and then wrote Ans to these Qs to build on my essay like “Who is a modern woman?…………….” “ What is it that she wants?………………….” “Why is it difficult to realise her?………………..”
Economic Survey and Budget
- I am separately mentioning them because extremely important to cover both these. I did not read the original volume of these but read the summary of GS Score. Initially, it took me 2-3 days to cover the ES but then i made short notes on every page of the summary of ES and trust me when I say this, in last stages, it took me only an hour to revise the whole ES booklet.
- Basic material that I referred to was- Upendra Sir classroom Notes available in the market (covered both Paper 1 and Paper 2 end to end from these except the thinkers of Paper 2). Mahaptra Sir classroom notes – I did Paper 2 Thinkers from this, which has been covered in minute detail. Harlambos Blue Book (the bigger one not the orange one)- I did selected topics from this book eg chapter 1, 14 etc.
- I joined a test series for my optional Sociology at Nice IAS (Praveen Kishore sir) after preliminary exam which helped me a lot in structuring my answers and understanding the concepts lucidly (coming from a science background and taking up a humanities subject, I found it difficult to prepare on my own, Test series helped in clearing the doubts). I would advise, if possible, seek guidance for this subject if you do not have sociology background (from friends, coaching institute or online).
- For Paper 2, the test series helped me a lot as Praveen sir explained several important concepts which I had missed from above sources eg waves of women movements, social movements topic etc.
- I took several mocks at various institutes. It helped me in collecting variety of Qs and also helped me analyse my reactions to Qs that I did not know answer to. One imp thing that helped me greatly was that I along with a friend of mine (who is Rank 80 now), used to take each other’s mock interview on phone, daily for 1-2 hours. We included a variety of Qs and tried to grill each other too. It helped both of us a lot.
- I started reading newspaper during this section of UPSC preparation (ie interview and not for pre or mains which I had covered online).
My interview experience-
- I have got 187 marks.
- I was very calm and smiling throughout the interview. I treated it as if I was talking to the elders in my family. I am not sure of the duration of interview. But i think it went on for 35-40 mins
- I felt that my interview went well. I could not answer 3 questions but I calmly managed, smilingly said sorry I do not know it.