Today’s world may be empathetic towards differently abled people, but it definitely undermines their talents and ability to achieve something equal or even greater than themselves. Many have proven this misconception wrong and shown the world a glimpse of the potential and caliber that lies in specially abled people. Hence, to motivate and guide all young dreamers, Saathi Enabling Centre came up with a set of webinars called Lakshya. The second webinar of Lakshya, regarding guidance in clearing the Civil Services Examination, was conducted on 28th March 2021.
For this session, Saathi had called Mr. K Lalith (IIS Delhi), the youngest ever person with blindness to have cleared the Civil Service Exam and Mr. Nilesh Keshri (IRS-IT) who was conferred an academic excellence award by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India. The webinar began sharply at 11:00 AM with Sonal’s brief introduction, after which Santosh Dhotre Sir, the teacher coordinator for Saathi Enabling Centre, welcomed the chief speakers and students. In his speech he applauded Deepali, Dhiraj and Bhavesh (student coordinators of Saathi) for their dedication to their work even during these testing times. He then urged Nilesh Keshri Sir to tell the students a bit about himself before beginning his guidance.
Nilesh Sir said that clearing the civil services exam was a dream for him and his mother as well. He reminded all the aspirants that working in this sector could be a dream for many, but they should accept that fact that it is in fact a service which constructs a country. According to him, service jobs should be considered as organs of the country, and efficient functioning of these organs is required for the proper functioning of the country. He emphasized on the quote that with great power comes great responsibility. He added he has learnt music which serves as a mode of relaxation for him. Nilesh Sir then urged K. Lalith Sir to take over.
K. Lalith Sir, who became an IIS at the age of 23 and AIR 626 and is currently posted in Delhi, first spoke to the students about his love for music. He is trained in Hindu classical and is a pianist. Sir then briefed the students on the exam pattern and division, explaining each of the three (prelims, mains and personality test) with great detail. He informed that for students with low visual ability, the exam paper is printed in big font or such students are allotted or allowed to bring writers with them.
An important part of preparation for the civil services exam involves updating oneself on daily affairs by reading the newspaper. K. Lalith Sir advised the students to first know the syllabus very well and then to read the syllabus related articles, giving an example he asked students to avoid reading about sports, horoscopes, political news or gossip. The must reads according to him are the front page, editorial, international news and the science and technology portion. He added that for second years and third years newspaper reading should be a habit. He also stressed on the fact that one should know the NCERT books used for 11th and 12th standards well.
Nilesh Sir then answered a question related to the importance of body language in the interview round. He said that the body language does not matter much, but one’s personality should have confidence and self-esteem. He advised the students to not be very cautious or nervous. Lalith Sir added saying that since the average age of the interviewers is 50 plus, one is expected to stay humble and not arrogant. He said that the students should behave as if they are with the elderly members of their family and show the interviewers respect.
Lalith Sir answered the question regarding preparation of CSAT, he said that the paper changes instruction each year so one should read the paper well. He said that the students have to get around 66.5 marks out of 200 in this exam to clear it. He also said that not all questions should be attempted and to avoid graph related questions. In his words, whenever there is objective and time is running out, one should be a shooter and not a warrior.
K. Lalith Sir then shared a strategy to write answers precisely. He asked the students to develop their content thoroughly and split the writing part into the head, body and tail. He also said that one should keep in mind about the demand of the question while answering it. Nilesh Sir added the questions should be divided by time and answers should be to the point.
Nilesh Sir then spoke about the language in which answers are written, he said that the medium or the language in which the answers are written does not affect marking but how one presents their language definitely does.
Nilesh Sir and Lalith Sir then shared their experience of their work environment. Nilesh Sir said that his colleagues treated him with respect, he added that training in coordination is important and so is clearing up prejudices in the workplace. Lalith Sir while sharing his experience said that there were three kinds of people in a workplace, the first group of people do not create trouble as they know your worth and respect you for it, the second group of people have respect for you but do not acknowledge your worth, the last group of people neither respect not acknowledge your worth. He then gave a simple solution to exist in harmony with each group, for the first group there usually are no problems, for the second group your work should speak for you and prove your worth, and for the third group he advised that one should avoid taking preferential treatment and work hard to prove your worth.
Lalith Sir then moved on to note preparation and NCERT reading. Though he never made notes of his own, he advised the students to go through NCERT 2-3 times and then prepare a summary of the chapter. Nilesh Sir added that note making was not compulsory for every student as each one gets to decide how they win.
Lalith Sir and Nilesh Sir then spoke upon the significance of hobbies. Lalith Sir asked the students not to develop hobbies just for the exam, but instead develop them for lifelong. Nilesh Sir added hobbies are what make us humans and not machines.
After the speakers had finished, a Question-and-Answer session was held in which the students could clear their doubts. The speakers effectively and efficiently answered all the questions and helped the students as much as possible.
The webinar ended with Dhiraj, the student coordinator, thanking the speakers for sharing their precious time and knowledge with the students.
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