I am really excited to be able to share this testimonial-cum-strategy article with you all on INSIGHTS platform. Firstly, I would like to dedicate my success to my mom Dr.R. Madhavi and dad Dr. A. Krishna Murthy, this would just have been impossible without them. I would also take this opportunity to make a mention of few important people. – Samatha, Sangamitra, Santhosh, Bharath, Arun, Vijay and Abhilasha.
How it all began and ended?
I gave my first attempt from Delhi and I only managed to clear prelims then. My second attempt was from Hyderabad and this time I cleared mains too and missed the final list by 13 marks. The third attempt was from Bangalore (proved to be my lucky charm) and this time I’ve made it into the final list with a decent rank (I’ve already completed part of my Bharat Darshan moving from one place to other) Since my first attempt, I’ve been taking only baby steps clearing only one step as attempts progressed. This is clearly because of lack of guidance. Im fortunate that I got associated with Vinay Sir and INSIGHTS IAS and I was a member of their core batch. I would like to specially thank Vinay Sir for his guidance and for his valuable inputs in reshaping my GS answers and reforming my approach to Ethics Case Studies (in which papers I really scored low marks in my previous attempts)
Strategy for Anthropology Optional
I had shifted to Anthropology for my second attempt as i did not feel comfortable with public administration( no offence to Pub Ad optional people). I did not take any coaching and did self study and scored 250/500 ( paper 1 – 121, paper 2- 129) in 2015 attempt and 312/500 (paper 1- 143, paper 2 – 169) in 2016 (I could not attempt 20 marks due to poor time management in paper 1). And yes here i have to admit that MBBS background did help me. But that help is only to a limited extent. I’ve scored more in paper 2 both the times which is a non-biology part. I hope this breaks the myth that science background people will automatically get very good score due to physical anthropology and also proves that Anthropology is anybody’s optional and there is scope for getting good marks for non science people also.
This is what i’ve done as a part of my preparation for Anthropology :
Books that I’ve referred to are BrainTree material Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Telugu Academy books on physical anthropology, Introduction to Socio-Cultural Anthropology by D.N.Majumdar.
Indian Anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain, Tribal India by Nadeem Hasnain, Vol.3 of Braintree material, Muniratnam Reddy sir’s notes on paper 2.
What helped me reaching a high score?
The below mentioned points are what i’ve tried and what proved to be successful. I would recommend that the aspirants do try out some of these :
1) Interlinking Paper 1(p1) with Paper 2(p2) . Lets say the question is on functionalism in P1 – Here at the end of my answer I would write “functionalism in Indian aspect” also.
2) Diagrams for physical anthropology and for tools of various cultures are mandatory
3) Writing current affairs and conclusion EVEN IF NOT ASKED. lets say the question is on Homo erectus, I would put a heading at the end of my answer “Current significance” and write about any recently discovered human fossils in 2-3 lines.
Paper 2 :
1) Interlinking with paper 1. I used to link it with theories part especially
2) Value addition using points from Virginius Xaxa committee report, Main Bhi Bharat Series in Rajya Sabha TV presented by Mr.Shyam Sundar, Current affairs from The Hindu, news clippings posted on Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
I strongly suggest the candidates to make notes while preparing as it helps you in revision. The GOLDEN MANTRA for succeeding at Anthropology is not just revision but multiple revisions without much gaps between revision.
INSIGHTS TEST SERIES
In 2014 and 2015 prelims I had cleared the cut off by a small margin only. I used to worry if I can clear prelims or not and this seriously affected my mains preparation. Then when appearing for prelims in 2016, I decided that I should get a very good score that I need not worry about clearing the cut off at all so that I can focus solely on Mains. Eventually I ended up getting 140 + . Apart from regular static books like NCERT, Spectrum, Laxmikanth, Bipan Chandra, it is highly and strictly recommended that one should focus more on current affairs and a good test series. Here test series by INSIGHTS was very useful to me. It was my confidence booster. I managed to top 6 out of 8 of their full length tests at the offline center and was scoring in comfortable 150+ range. This confidence helped me a lot on the day of prelims(August 7th 2016). I did not worry about taking risks and attempting 90+. I had fun solving the paper and honestly I felt that I was solving another Insights paper 🙂
Few suggestions for aspirants from my side. Of course you are at full liberty to ignore them.
1) Firstly, differentiate between interest and seriousness. Interest alone in cracking civil services will take you no where. .only seriousness will.
2) Choose your optional not just out of your interest alone, think practically and choose that which fetches marks also.
3) Not Just Hard Work, but smart work also is needed to an extent. It is very important to know what not to read than what to read. Then your job becomes easier.
I see that it’s quite a long write up already 🙂 . I wish you all , all the very best towards upcoming prelims exam. Try to believe in yourself, keep pushing yourself. All of us will have our share of failures, we may face a lot of tensions and stress due to failed relationships, jobs or not able to clear prelims or mains, family problems or whatever it is. But one thing is for sure, success will follow for sure, if you keep persisting in right direction.