Avinash Kumar has secured rank 46 in the Indian Forest Service Examination 2015. He cracked IFoS in his very first attempt. Hailing from Patna, Bihar, Avinash chose Geology and Forestry as his optionals. Avinash has completed his integrated M.Tech in Geological Technology from IIT Roorkee.
Here is Avinash’s story.
First, tell us something about yourself!
I belong to a middle-class family from Patna. My father is an Assistant engineer and mother is a housewife. Thanks to my parents, I was able to get a quality education from childhood.
I have been mediocre in studies and thanks to the almighty, luckily, I have been qualifying examinations, be it IIT-JEE or IFoS.
I love interacting with people, living around with friends. Personally, for me, relationships rank much higher than professional or career goals.
How did you get started for preparation of All India Services?
I started preparation from my final year of college i.e January of 2014 for civil services. I joined a weekend class at Rau’s Classes but was not finding it much useful, so stopped attending classes there. Thereafter it was mostly through self-study
How did you prepare Geology optional?
Geology was my first optional. Despite having masters in Geology, believe me I can’t even tell you more than 5 metamorphic rocks. However, I had the sufficient study material from my college time i.e various ppt’s, slides prepared by our course coordinators and also knew from where to study certain specific topics.
I tried to use the gap of 8 days between GS and Geology. In October, I read mineralogy and ore geology as they are too wide. Further, my civil’s optional is Geography so that helped a lot in physical geology part.
How did you prepare for Forestry optional?
My second optional was forestry. Friends believe me this optional can be nailed easily with strategic planning. One needs to give around 12 days. 7 days can be utilized just after prelims examination when some students take time to relax and other 5 days in November. It would be better if you find a study partner so that the topics can be divided and studied. This would increase efficiency.
I studied Maniknandan and Prabhu’s Book. It contains all the chapters of syllabus. But my strategy was to read Chapter 1,2,3,4,11 for Paper 1 in detail and Chapter 13,14,20,21,22,25 and http://www.forestrynepal.org/notes for Paper 2 in detail. I did other chapters by memorising the answers to questions given at the end of each chapter.
Discussion with the study partner is very important which in my case a friend of mine who secured rank 13 was.
Now we will go straight into the technical part, like what books to follow, what notes are vital etc.
Since you cleared IFoS, you would have pretty good marks in Prelims. What books/notes did you refer to for General Studies and CSAT?
Culture: Nitin Singhania’s Notes
Geography : was my optional. However, NCERT of 11,12 + Mrunal videos of Rajtanil Ma’am would be enough.
Economics: Mrunal Sir’s video lectures
Environment : Shankar IAS’s book on environment.
CSAT : Since , it was qualifying hence I paid less attention too it. However, one can practice CSAT papers of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and measure his/her performance.
How Many questions did you attempt in GS?
91 in which I got roughly around 70 correct and 21 incorrect but variation was there from various coaching keys.
Do you think attempting more questions is the key to success in Prelims?
I believe going by last year’s prelims, competition is cut throat as 1400 would be selected for IFoS (Mains) only on the basis of 1 paper of 200 marks. Hence, the cutoff is bound to be higher. Despite attempting 60 questions with accuracy of as high as 95% is out of the IFoS competition straight away(Here, I am supposing that cutoff for IFoS was around 120). Hence, I believe one should surely try to maximise attempts for being in the race.
Fixing a certain number of question is not possible until the toughness of paper is analysed.However, more than 85 questions in last year paper would have been good
When did you start preparing for Mains Examination?
GS part was common for both Prelims and mains. So, I guess it was a continuous process.However, writing process was done mainly after prelims examination.
How did you prepare GS/GK?
It’s a very subjective question with each aspirant having his own modus operandi. For me reading the same sources multiple times is the key.
Secondly, read only those things which I could revise and recall. Tried to prepare synopsis of every thing which I read and thought is important from exam point of view. I knew I won’t be able to do yojana and kurukshetra comprehensively so I never tried to read them.
I have a poor memory, hence, I read each books several time in order to memorize it.I did extensive note making.
I used the same books as I did in Prelims. For other topics
- International Relations : Vision Ias material
- Social Issues: Newspaper
- Science Tech: Mrunal and VisionIas notes
- Polity current based : Insights on India and VisionIas
How did you cover Current Affairs for Mains?
Through VisionIas and InsightsonIndia. Preparing notes from these two and adding any analytical point from Rajya Sabha tv debates.
Congratulation for making it. Is there any message you would like to give to IFS Aspirants who look up to you?
This exam is not at all about intelligence or skills or past academic performance. This exam is about endurance, mental strength and hard work. Never ever doubt your abilities. We all got filtered from the masses the day we decided to prepare for these examinations. We all are the “chosen” one in this regard. Just put your effort in the right direction. Maintain your relationships, talk to your family and friends daily. Don’t think it as a self-imposed exile. It is our virtue and god’s blessing that we have been empowered with such guts that helped us to dream about it in the first place. Think about the struggle which our parents go through, think about the mental torture which our friends and spouses suffer through, for the sake of their happiness, let us all give that last push.