Cliched it may sound, but the truth is, as it always has remained, there is no alternative to hard work. Interestingly, even hard work alone wouldn't do in this age driven by technology, you have to be very focused in your hard work to reap benefits.
These were the words of wisdom shared by Kulbhushan Verma (HPS) with HPGeneralStudies, currently rendering his services as the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Sundernagar.
Because we were getting too many queries regarding the Right Approach to study for the Civil Services exams, we decided to get advice from the 'right' person.
And before we start, we would like to thank Shri Kulbhushan Verma for sparing some time for us from his busy schedule.
Being a qualified lawyer (LLB) and with a Masters Degree in English, what brought to the world of Civil Services?
Services have a charm, the charm of being with people and solving the problems that exist at grassroots. I come from a small-town and I was always fond of reading inspirational stories. The stories that interested me the most, were success stories of Civil Servants, on and off the duty. So, in the very beginning of my adolescence, I made a choice of at least appearing for Civil Services exams.
What all exams did you clear before finally cracking the Himachal Civil Services Exam?
I did clear a couple of exams like CDS twice but did not go for the interview because of parental pressure. But as I have said earlier, my entire focus was on the Civil Services, so I tried not to ride too many boats.
Now, coming to academics, which is the best way to prepare for exams, full time or part time?
See, these days young kids are aware of their career options. We have officers as young as 26-27 serving as Deputy Commissioners. So my suggestion is, go full time. If you are focused and determined, you can surely crack the exam at a young age.
You have energy, and even concentration levels are high at a young age. So rather than dividing time between a job and preparation, one must shift his/her entire focus to studies. Obviously, this decision requires family support. But in my opinion, full time study is a bitter pill that must be swallowed at an early age because that's when you have the maximum chance of cracking the services exam.
And no, I do not mean that part-timers can't crack these exams but the age dynamics plays an important role.
Conventional or Unconventional Methods of Studies?
This is an era driven by technology and gadgets, so you just can't avoid modern study methods likes apps and Internet. But being an old timer, I believe conventional methods like paper reading, following magazines, and book reading is still the best way. You can always rely on blogs ,apps, ebooks for supplemental knowledge but at a young age, kids often find these things distracting.
You have Facebook, chatting groups, Twitter et al, so there are chances that you might end up in the wrong direction. In a nutshell, if you can focus with all these gadgets around, good for you. Else, you must stick to the conventional mode of studying.
What's your opinion about coaching?
It helps you overcome your weaknesses. See, there are hundreds of 'serious' aspirants every year and the competition is getting stiff with every passing year. So, if you say I will work hard and that will see me through, that's not enough. You need focused approach. And that's where coaching helps.
You are weak in a subject, coaching mentors can help you overcome your weaknesses.
Is it a level playing field for people from all fields?
It is believed that engineers have an advantage in these exams. But that's not entirely true. Aspirants from any field can make it through. Engineers might have advantage in one paper, Arts people will find something else easy, and same goes true for people from Commerce background. With tonnes of information at our disposal, it''s a level playing field for all.
The key is in making the best use of your resources.
Any message for young aspirants?
Work hard, stay focused. There is no substitute to hard work. This was true when I was preparing, this is true even today, and this will not change for hundreds of years. Stay focused and you will surely see the light.
We hope our readers adopt some of these tips shared by Shri Kulbhushan Verma and we have more young and dynamic officers like him joining the services.