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IRS officer Sahil Seth shared his tips and advice for aspirants appearing for Civil services examination

Sahil Seth

Sahil Seth is an Indian revenue service (IRS) officer from 2011 batch, currently is at the rank of Joint commissioner with the CBIC, ministry of finance, Govt of India. In 2020, he was appointed the Honorary Advisor to the steering committee for BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) from 2020 to 2023, which is an association of five major national economies: India, China, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa founded in 2009. Sahil was also later got appointed as Honorary President to the Delphic Council of Maharashtra. International Delphic Council, based in Berlin, is a charitable, nongovernmental organization (NGO), founded in 1994


Life is a replica of hard work and perseverance that you put in. You are the only one who can help yourself win. Nothing can stop you from being at the top,” says Sahil Seth, UPSC, 2011 batch IRS officer.

Sahil started thinking about cracking the CSE during his years doing B.Tech.


In this article, Sahil gives a few pointers to aspirants that they should know about before attempting the paper.

1. Understand your motivation well.

 According to the IRS officer, candidates must understand clearly why they are interested in writing the CSE. “Whether it’s the brand appeal or that the service will help you want to contribute to society meaningfully–ensure you are very clear about this.”

2. Know the pattern of the UPSC – CSE

Before you decide to write the exam, it is a must to understand the pattern of the CSE. Changes are introduced every other year and thus, it’s imperative that one is aware of these changes. He asks aspirants to know about the age criteria and the number of attempts they get according to the category (SC, ST, OBC, General) they fall under.

“There are three stages – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. It is essential that candidates be on the lookout for all the possible changes that may be incorporated into these stages. The requirements of each stage are very different so one must prepare accordingly.”

3. Coaching or self-study?

Another important aspect to think about is whether an applicant needs coaching or can manage with self-studies. “An aspirant must take into consideration the logistics, cost and time that coaching centres would take up. Many candidates stay in areas where there is less exposure. But if one plans to shift to a place just to attend coaching classes, then research should be done thoroughly before taking the plunge.”

4. Choosing an optional paper for the UPSC – CSE

Like many IRS officers, who have done well in these exams, Sahil is also of the view that while choosing an optional paper, an applicant must emphasise on what they are comfortable with vis-à-vis what according to them will help them score more. He says, “Think and do a thorough research before picking the subject. Ensure that you give yourself time to choose the optional as well.”

5. Revision

One week preceding the examination, Sahil says that aspirants must spend the majority of their time in revision. “The notes one makes must be such that it does not take more than an hour to go over the entire syllabus. A week before the exam, students should not go through extensive content or books.”

 Finally, Sahil advises, “During the time of making notes one must ensure that they are concise and cover all the important points so that closer to the examination, one finds it easy to go through it.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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