CHENNAI: One of the first things which M Karthika (23), who cleared the Civil Service Examinations in her very first attempt, tells CE, is that the exam has a lot of stereotypes. “They say it requires at least 10 hours of preparation daily, but I only put in two hours a day,” she says.
Karthika, who secured the 610th rank, adds that she spent the remaining time working to maximise the utility of those two hours. Another stereotype which she found untrue is about the interview panel at the Union Public Service Commission. The panel has a reputation for being tough with aspirants, leaving many struggling to hold on to their dreams of becoming civil servants.
“But, I found the members extremely friendly. All they want is a person with the right attitude,” she says.
However, the biggest stereotype she dispels is that candidates from semi-urban backgrounds face a huge challenge to clear the exam. Karthika, who went to school and college in Thootukodi, and whose native place is Korkai village, near Kovilpatti, is fluent in English. She wrote the exam and faced her interview in English.
“Many people in the South are good in English. But the biggest hurdle is the lack of information about the pattern and question style of the exam,” says Karthika, who got full scholarship from the KingMakers IAS Academy (Chennai) and underwent coaching for a year.
Having pursued electrical and electronics engineering at National Engineering College, Thootukodi, she didn’t want to work at Hexaware Technologies, from where she got a job offer.
“UPSC exams require a minimalist-yet-committed approach. With the right kind of support, you can easily clear the exams,” she says. Karthika hopes to enter the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax).