Safin Hasan is 22 years old lad who recently qualified UPSC CSE with Rank 570 and GPSC Class 1 with rank 34, both in the first attempt. His success story is full of challenges and inspiration. On the day of the exam when he was going towards the exam centre, he met with an accident and his knee ligament got completely torn. He had injuries on his left hand and head. The only thing he noticed was his right hand which was safe and hence he decided to go to the exam centre. After giving that paper (GS3), he went for the primary checkup and gave the next five papers in that situation.
He belongs to Kanodar village in district Banaskantha of Gujarat. He did his schooling from his village till 10th and Higher Studies from Palanpur. After clearing AIEEE, he got admission to NIT Surat in B.Tech (EC). He shifted to Delhi for CSE Preparation when he finished his graduation and stayed there for 11 months. His studies for CSE have been sponsored by a couple of his village. Recently Legal Bites got an opportunity to interview this young achiever. Here’s the extract of the same.
Legal Bites: What were the basic mantras of your success?
Mr. Safin Hasan: Focused preparation with a well-planned strategy along with confidence, patience and dedication is the key. I got guidance from many successful candidates which were very helpful to me. A proper combination of Hard work, Talent and Luck helps to clear the exam.
Legal Bites: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?
Mr. Safin Hasan: The syllabus is no doubt lengthy but the good thing is that it’s properly outlined. There are many topics common in both the exams. The approach should be integrated. One should always prepare from Mains point of view and shift the focus to prelims before 2 or 3 months of the exam (like Test Series, Previous Years Papers and Revising the facts.).
Legal Bites: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?
Mr. Safin Hasan: Preparation should be integrated for all three stages of the exam. One should analyze the topic from all perspectives and try to comprehend it. My preparation was always from Mains point of view and shifted the focus to Prelims before two months of exam.
Legal Bites: What were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard?
Mr. Safin Hasan: Before starting the preparation, I went through many online videos of toppers and experts. One thing which was common was instead of going for ten different books, one should read one book ten times. I selected books that contained more analysis and were suitable to me. I never read some conventional books as they contained many topics which I found irrelevant or more factual. Instead, I read the material provided by coaching as those were very crisp and well organized from an exam point of view.
Legal Bites: What is your advice on notes-making for other aspirants?
It depends on the individual. I maintained class notes and referred to monthly magazines of Current Affairs for quick revision. One should make notes of what he/she reads from the internet as it is difficult to revise it frequently from the internet.
Legal Bites: How helpful is one’s academic background in his/her success?
Mr. Safin Hasan: I am an electronics engineer and it helped me to understand the latest development in IT and general science. The same is the case with a Commerce graduate or History student. If one is genuinely interested in a graduation subject, he/she can choose it as optional.
Legal Bites: How did you prepare for the interview?
Mr. Safin Hasan: Actually, I was hospitalized for one month and got discharge just before one week of my final interview. I gave around six mocks in Delhi and Gujarat. Almost in all interviews, I got positive remarks about my personality and negative remarks for knowledge and promptness. Due to hospitalization, couldn’t improve much but ultimately its a personality test and for which I was awarded 204 marks which is the second highest. So my only suggestion would be, start grooming your personality from day one of your preparation.
Legal Bites: Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?
Mr. Safin Hasan: As it was my first attempt, I knew I had to put in extra effort and hence I was always ready for it. I used to take off from studies every 15 days or 20 days and refreshed my mind so as to start the next day full of energy. My performance in the tests was also an encouragement for me. And yes, it’s always your inner motivation that keeps you working for this exam.
Legal Bites: What is your advice to the candidates who are still in the process of preparing for this examination?
Mr. Safin Hasan: My advice would be, just ask yourself why you want to be a civil servant? If you get a convincing and strong reason for it, nothing would stop you from reaching the destination. This exam process is part of the job training where your dedication, patience, honesty and many other qualities are tested which makes you a successful candidate. Have faith in yourself and work hard… success is yours.