Success story of Rajarshi Shah, AIR 81, UPSC CSE 2016

In the Civil Services Examination of 2016, the result of which got declared a few days ago, Rajarshi Shah, who was associated with UPSC Pathshala, has secured AIR 81, IAS. He spoke to us and shared the success story.
UP: Many congratulations Rajarshi, for your success!
RS: Thanks a lot!
UP: Tell us something about your educational and family background.
RS: I have done my schooling from Maheshwari Public School, Jaipur. Later I did B.Tech in civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur. My father Mr. Bimal Kumar Shah is a practicing Chartered Accountant while my mother Mrs. Amita Shah, a commerce graduate from BHU is a homemaker.
UP: Why did you want to be a Civil Servant?
RS: I was inspired by a civil servant and IITK alumnus, Dr. D. Subbaro. His career growth, diverse job profile and above all bringing positive changes in the lives of large number of people motivated me to become a civil servant.
UP: How did you start preparing? How much time did it take?
RS: I started preparation by going through the syllabus of preliminary, mains and optional subject. Then I started basic books like NCERT- mostly 11th and 12th standard. Side by side I took my optional coaching. It took me around 3.5 years to become IAS.
UP: What was your optional subject? How did you prepare for that?
RS: Public Administration is my optional subject. I did coaching for it but it was mostly self study, preparing notes and practicing answers which helped me to fetch higher marks.
UP: Can the preparation be done without the help of classroom coaching as well?
RS: Yeah, nowadays many online platforms provide open source quality material. They share videos, reference books, test papers etc which are quite helpful in preparation. UPSC Pathshala, the uFaber platform is also doing exceptional work in this direction. But one has to be careful to study the relevant material only. If you end up wasting too much time in going through unnecessary and unplanned stuff, it might harm your chances.
UP: Share the experience of your interview.
RS: I had appeared for two interviews so far. The board was quite cordial both times. Interview revolved around my educational background, current issues and details provided by me in Detailed Application Form.
UP: Any tips you have for the Civil Services aspirants.
RS: Read the syllabus thoroughly many times so that you don’t miss out any topic in all stages of exam. Make notes for last minute revision. Keep yourself abreast of current issues and practice questions a lot!! ABC- Alertness, Belief in yourself and Confidence- try to incorporate these and you will surely achieve success.
UP: Thanks a lot Rajarshi and wish you all the best for times to come.
RS: Thank you very much!