General Studies Strategy by IAS Rank 63, TANAI SULTANIA, CSE 2016

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Hello Everyone, I am TANAI SULTANIA( Roll No- 0387935), AIR 63 in CSE 2016. I belong to a city called Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh .

The awareness about a civil servant was always there in me as local newspapers often highlighted the efforts of the administration in all sectors, especially health, education and women empowerment.

Gorakhpur suffers from regular outbreaks of Japanese encephalitis and it was such an outbreak during my engineering days that really ignited the spirit in me towards becoming a civil servant. I read how the administration used science, innovative methods like introducing fish species in water bodies, tele medicine and tele education for awareness and put in a full fledged effort to tackle the outbreak. This impacted me depicting how by being among and serving the people, I can help improving their lives and tackle issues. Also the bug in me of learning everyday can be easily satisfied by learning through experiences as a civil servant. Also, while preparing for the exam itself one learns so much which no other exam can teach you.

I started as a young 22 year old engineering graduate who wanted to become a civil servant as soon as possible and in my previous attempt, I reached the interview stage also but couldn’t make it to the final list. Perhaps my learning was incomplete and life wanted me to learn in the exam process itself and show that failures are an important learning experience to improve oneself and move ahead in life, patience and determination are key to success.

My parents have been rock solid throughout this journey providing me all the support I needed. Their sacrifices and efforts from my childhood days itself have made this possible.

The connect with ForumIAS:

I followed Interview discussions and read all shared transcripts. This helped a lot in understanding the kind of questions asked. 2 questions were repeated in the actual interview also.

Other than this, I followed answer writing discussions on ethics and would like to thank Neyawn for motivational articles and yo_yo_choti_singh ji for answers on ethics group. Also the insiders for informing date and time of results.


Followed basic book-list- NCERTs (becoming more and more important given the last 2 year papers), Laxmikanth, GC Leong etc. Prepared current affair notes and also studied from booklets. Solved lot of test papers(the best way to revise and prepare after basic preparation is done)

Mains GS: ( Score- GS1-108, GS2-108, GS3-105, GS4-114)

Once again no extraordinary book or source. Only the basic books but focused a lot on answer writing and structuring them with proper headings and using words like- Way Forward and What to do in future or conclusion to end answer on positive note.

Used lot of keywords from Government schemes, reports from Organisations like WEF(Eg: special report by WEF on smart cities of India), committees, budget,survey. This also helped in direct questions where schemes were asked.

Used examples(like in urban floods question- Chennai, Uttarakhand, Bihar, J&K ,Mumbai) all these floods were due to different reasons and had different reasons but were also related as human intervention was involved. Explained all these and their solutions. Used Sendai report and India’s recent disaster plan also. This completes both static and dynamic part.

Correlated all answers from syllabus(especially in ethics)- even in case studies all solutions and answers were derived from syllabus. Crisis of conscience, work culture, impartiality, persuasion, integrity, corporate ethics etc. All case studies are related to words in syllabus and its important to correlate.

I would like to thank ForumIAS Team for this amazing initiative, the open source connects aspirants from every corner of India and helps prepare and solve doubts.

To conclude, I would state that this exam requires more of smart work than hard work. As stated above, Determination and patience are the key.

Anyone can clear this with ‘ I can do it’ spirit!



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