In Conversation With Ashish Gaur, AIR 1 CDSE UPSC

  • First of all, congrats for being No.1 in CDS 2014 Exam. How do you feel about it?

    A: Thank you very much. It feels great to secure the 1st rank in a national level UPSC exam.

  • Did you ever think of getting AIR 1 in CDS Exam? Please share your plan for it to other Defence aspirants and what all preparation steps you took?

    A:  Yes, I dreamt and wished of securing the top spot.
    After my SSB recommendation, I was quite confident that I will make it in the top 10 of the merit list while not negating the fact that there was always little anxiety at the back of my mind of not making it into the merit list. Well, as they say, anxiety is not bad. Optimal anxiety is a great driving factor in life.

    My Plan:

The greatest boon of our times is that we have access to free information on all subjects at the click of a button, thanks to the internet. Needless to say, I extensively used the internet and being an avid reader, this hobby of mine helped me a lot in the preparation for the examination.
i) Firstly, I glanced through the previous years question papers to get to know the various topics and the level of questions which one can expect in the exam. The questions asked in Mathematics and English sections were not hard but CDSE being a competitive exam, I realized that dexterous speed and accuracy is what will matter the most.
ii) Bought a CDSE refresher book, went through the topics of Mathematics to refresh the calculation shortcuts.
My office hours were hectic, 9-12.5 hours a day plus long commuting hours in a city like Mumbai, so the real struggle was to squeeze out 4-5 hours for preparations, for which I worked hard. I completed Maths in 3 weeks.
iii) Being a regular newspaper reader, Current affairs was taken care of automatically. I did not do any special preparation for English.
 For General subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Civics, and History, just glanced through the CDSE refresher. I couldn’t manage enough time to read Economics and Biology. The time was taken: 4 weeks.
Total time was taken: 8 weeks(including revision)
My exam Strategy:

  1.  To be fast and accurate in Mathematics.
  2. To take measured risk(very high in my case) in English and General Ability test as the syllabus is huge. I relied more on logic and my school days memory to cruise through these sections.

    My mistake: Not giving enough time to extensively study subjects of General Ability Test.In Conversation With Ashish Gaur, AIR 1 CDSE UPSC

  • What motivated you to join Indian Navy, when did you realize about joining Indian Navy?

    A: It’s my childhood dream to become a fighter pilot and I have a fascination towards the sea. I want to lead an adventurous and thrilling life where I work along cutting edge technology through which I can serve the humanity and my nation. The answer to this is obviously the Indian Navy, wherein I have a chance to work as a naval aviator.

  • What is the best way to prepare for CDS exam according to you?

    A: Not being idealistic in approach, for Mathematics, take a CDSE refresher, solve 4 questions of each type. For English, if needed, one can read a good Grammar book. For Current Affairs, regularly read newspapers and Competitive exam magazines and for GK subjects, study at one’s own pace. Keep revising regularly.
    I started late, but one should start early and not make the mistake which I committed.

  • What is your golden tip for clearing CDS exam with AIR 1?

    A: Truly believe in yourself, be sincere and always do smart work.

  • How did you prepare for CDS SSB Interview?

    A: I prepared intensively for 3 weeks for this CDS SSB interview as this was going to be my first and last SSB attempt because I could not appear for SSB interviews before due to some personal reasons.

    So I took help of SSB guidance websites on the Internet and some guidance for SSB procedure from friends serving in the Indian Armed forces. Self Introspection, being a life long process, helped a lot in the facing the interview. I solved two batteries of sample TAT, WAT, and SRT, with proper time constraints, which are easily available on various websites on the internet and read extensively about Indian Armed Forces on Wikipedia and related sources.

    This helped me lot during lecturette and PI where the Interviewing officer asked me questions ranging from Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Geography, Indian Political history, Current affairs to the Indian Navy.

  • Do you think coaching helps in written exam and SSB Interview if yes, did you take coaching?

    A: As far as written exam is concerned, if one is weak in Mathematics and English, one can take professional guidance. But for SSB interview, the interviewing officers themselves condemn coaching.
    No, I did not take any coaching for either.

  • How was your SSB Interview? Any special moment of your SSB interview you would like to share with us?

    A: In my SSB interview, I met really good people and had tons of fun with the friends I made there.
    Everything went very smoothly except for what happened on day 1. I twisted my ankle and damaged my tissues very badly. Seeing the swelling, the medical assistant advised me to quit but I decided to continue the interview for my dream and eventually did all my GTO tasks successfully. What made it special was support of my friends in all the tasks and my own new-found will to bear that excruciating pain for the following 4 days. And yes, popping those painkillers from Med Asst went a long way in enduring the pain too.

  • What are your golden tips for SSB freshers and repeaters?

    A: Do a lot of self-introspection before appearing for the interview. Often, we don’t know ourselves. SSB is a very scientific test so be honest, just be yourself as you are a unique person, a champion warrior. Flow like water and enjoy those five days to the fullest.

  • How was your medical exam?

    A: My batch’s medical examination took 4 days to complete. I was found to be completely medically fit. It was an enjoyable time as few Army CDSE and 10+2 TES candidates also joined us and we had a lot of fun time together.

  • How do you feel before joining INA, Ezhimala? Are you ready for it?

    A: Standing next to the cradle of my naval life, I feel extremely joyous to be a part of INA soon, the foundation which will nourish my childhood dream. Yes, I am completely ready for it.

  • We wish you all the best and a great future ahead. It was nice talking to you.

    Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure to share my story which can help fellow aspirant friends to achieve their dreams and serve the nation. They can freely contact me on Ashish Gaur for any further queries.

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