IS AN IDEAL PLACE TO PREPARE FOR CIVILS'
more feather in the cap of Hyderabad. By achieving fourth
rank in the Civil Services Examination conducted by the
Union Public Service Examination, city girl Smita Das
made us all proud. "Careful planning, proper time
management, communication skills, all play a major role
in getting a rank in the civils" says Smita.
What makes her success unique is that she is the only
graduate to have achieved such a top rank in this year's
How did she achieve success? Why did she choose Civil
Services? What are the things that make one to click in
the exam? Hyderabad-best.com spoke to Smita Das
to unravel the success formula of mother of all competitive
exams 'Civil Services'.
When did you first get the idea
to sit for Civil Services Exam?
After finishing my Bachelor of Commerce from St Francis
College in 1998. I thought I should go for Civil Services
What made you to choose Civil
Actually I was interested in civils from my childhood.
At one point of time, I was thinking to go either for
defense services or civil services. Since my father was
a defence officer I was attracted towards Short Services
Commission for women. But after consultations with my
parents and other well-wishers, I ultimately decided to
go for Civil services. I felt that it is a challenging
and prestigious service and provides plenty of opportunity
to do something for the society.
What were your optional subjects
in the exam?
My optional subjects were Anthropology and Public
Why did you choose those two subjects
leaving behind commerce subjects which you studied in
Actually I attended counselling sessions given by Mr
Gopala Krishna of Braintree Coaching Centre
who advised me to take these two subjects. These subjects
are easy to follow and high scoring. You don't need any
prior background to study these subjects. Moreover, you
will get good coaching and plenty of study material. I
am extremely thankful to Mr Gopala Krishna who guided
me in Public Administration.
How many years of preparation
is needed to clear Civil Services Exam?
It takes nearly one to one and half years of solid preparation
to clear the exams.
from hard work, what are the other essential things that
are needed to achieve success in the Civil Services Exam?
Civil Services Exam is a tough nut to crack. It is not
just the hard work that is needed to clear this exam.
You should be extremely motivated and highly enthusiastic
about it. You should enjoy preparing for the exam. Slogging
for 24 hours with a book in hand is of no use. The preparation
should be planned without wasting much time. While preparing,
you should decide about your strengths and weaknesses
on each subject and work hard on those subjects in which
you are weak. Overall, careful planning and proper time
management in the initial stages and communication skills
and right attitude in the later stages play a major role
in getting rank in the civils, which tests you rigorously.
How many hours did you study
I used to study for five hours daily.
Were you expecting fourth rank?
Actually I was expecting around 50 th rank. But fourth
rank is certainly a bolt from the blue.
Do you think the process of Civil
Services is OK? Or are you suggesting any changes in the
format of the exam?
I feel that entire process of Civil Services Exam is good.
People complain about the higher number of attempts given
to a candidate. But getting through the exam is not an
easy job. It requires lot of perseverance and hard work.
It does take time to grasp the subjects which are diverse
and hard. When I tried for the first time in 1999, I could
not clear even the prelims. But the next time, I had enough
time to prepare and clear the exam. So I feel that there
is nothing wrong with the format of the exam and the number
While preparing for the exam
did you any point of time felt that you should switch
over to other lucrative fields like IT, Marketing etc?
Yes, It did cross my mind many times. I was getting inclined
towards doing a job in the banking sector. But my parents
and Mr Gopala Krishna of Braintree advised me against
it. I controlled my temptations and strived to achieve
a good rank in civils. Moreover, I do not believe in the
concept of working and studying together. I firmly believe
that one should do only one thing at a time. Because of
this, I did not pursue my post graduation also. I was
completely dedicated to Civil Services and luckily I achieved
it. And I am extremely happy about my achievement.
aspiring candidates come to Hyderabad from different parts
of India to prepare for Civil Services Exam. Do you think
Hi-tech city is an ideal place to prepare for the exams?
Yes. I do believe that Hyderabad is an ideal place to
prepare for the civil services. There are good coaching
centers available here and you will find plenty of students
preparing for the exam seriously. In other cities the
students are not very serious about the exam. But in Hyderabad,
you find candidates preparing for the exam with full dedication
and hardwork. The mock interview sessions conducted by
various coaching institutes are very useful in getting
through the final interview. You will also find right
candidates to involve in the group discussions. The easy
going lifestyle of the city is also very helpful for the
candidates preparing for the exams, specially new candidates.
What is the first thing that
you would like to do after becoming an IAS officer?
Right now I don't have any plans. I am eagerly waiting
for my training which begins in August at Mussorie.
After that my main aim will be to do the assigned
Can you tell us about your other
I love sports. I was actively involved in sports during
my childhood days in Karnataka. I participated
in the state level competitions in athletics and won many
of them. I was a state level champion in 100 metres sprint.
Besides sports, I also love Hindustani classical music.
Infact, I was trained in the Hindustani classical music.
I love listening to it whenever I get free time. I also
have a group of close friends and I enjoy being with them.
Do you watch Television? If so
what are your favourite programmes?
I enjoy watching light hearted programmes like Movers
& Shakers. I also watch movies and other serials on
the television. I don't watch news channels much. Instead
I read newspapers and magazines regularly.
Do you love Hyderabad?
Yes. I love this city very much. Actually I was born in
Bengal and I toured entire India along with my father
who was posted in different places. We came to Hyderabad
in 1991 when I was in ninth standard. I did my 10+2 in
St Ann's College, Marredpally. Later I did my graduation
from St Francis College, Begumpet. We built our home and
settled here. The city boasts of good infrastructure and
facilities. The theatre activity was lacking here but
slowly it is also picking up. This fast developing metropolitan
city is an ideal place to settle down.
| MAR Fareed