Aspirants preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) test in the city had an opportunity to interact with a batch of those who cleared the test last year. The questions posed by the aspirants indicated their interest and determination to realise their dreams .

Organised by the Tiruchi Academy for Competitive Examinations (TRACE) for Civil Services in the city on Monday, the session was filled with both serious discussions and humour .

The questions centred around the methodology to be adopted for preparation; the art of presentation of answers especially to critical questions in general studies; and selection of optional topics and the importance of newspaper reading.

Initiating a discussion on the methodology for preparation, G. Prasanna, R. Lalitha and Hari Prasad said a strong desire and an urge were necessary to get through the test. J. Nivas said one should not lose hope in case of not clearing the test in first attempt. “You will not find time to file your application for the successive attempt, if you lose your heart,” Mr. Nivas said.

Shiva Subramanian explained that getting through the UPSC test could not be a tough task to any one with a will. In this context, he narrated how he toiled as a fitter and turned a bus-driver before realising his dream.

“Set your goals clear. There should be no area which you have not studied,” said Hari Prasad. R. Shanmugapriya said that she could get through the test in the first attempt, as she had been motivated by her parents.

Safirulla, K. B. Shivakumar and R. Lalitha pointed out that the aspirants should not just aim at the UPSC test but should be aware of the responsibilities of the top brass. “No doubt, IAS officials get respect from society, but they face and resolve multiple challenges especially during disaster , which testify their intelligence and presence of mind,” they said.

In fact, Ms. Vimala explained how she was motivated through relief and rescue operations of the district administration after the serial bomb blasts in Coimbatore in the nineties.

They advised the aspirants to be fully prepared for the general studies, an area which most candidates chose to prepare at the eleventh hour. Adequate caution should be attached while replying to critical questions. Substantiating the arguments with facts and relevant details, balanced attitude in analysis and approach, constructive suggestions for solutions to problems were other tips .

P. Suresh Kumar, Regional Joint Director of Employment Exchange, said the session was organised with a view to infusing a sense of confidence in the aspirants for the UPSC test.