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IAS Topper’s Interview: Jonnalagadda Snehaja Rank 103

  • Categories
    CSE 2015
  • Published
    03rd Jun, 2016
Name Jonnalagadda Snehaja
Rank in CSE 2015 103
Total Attempts in CSE 4
Optional Subject Commerce and accountancy
Medium English


Class 10 percentage of marks 86.3
 Class 12 Percentage of marks 93.8
Graduation: College and marks B.Com, IGNOU – 67.38
Post graduation: College and marks
Any other course CA


IAS Score: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: Consistency, smart work and perseverance along with a tinge of luck

IAS Score: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?

Focused on learning the concepts and for prelims emphasis was on minute details whereas for mains it was building opinions based on the concepts studied.

IAS Score: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: Prelims and mains preparation was integrated.

IAS Score: GS Preparation for Prelims Summary

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: I followed the basic ncerts for both prelims and mains. Apart from them I referred the following:


Envt- Shanker institutes book on envt

History- Ancient India – RS Sharma (NCERT)

Modern India – Bipin Chandra (NCERT)

Geog- NCERT of class XI and XII and Goh chang Leong

Economics- Eco survey and mrunal sir videos

Culture- Spectrum

Current affairs- the Hindu and vision compilations, civils prep.com, insights, GS Score PT Current Affairs compilation

For mains, I followed the same books and worked on more issue based analysis. I referred GS score summaries for mains and personality test.

GS Mains Preparation (Summary)

Apart from the above mentioned books:

Paper Study Material/Guidance Current Issues Source Answer Writing Practice
GS Paper 1 World history-Norman lowe


The Hindu, vision, insights, civils prep La excellence mentorship program in hyderabad
GS Paper 2 Aspire material The Hindu, vision, insights, civils prep La excellence mentorship program in hyderabad
GS Paper 3 Eco survey, Aspire material The Hindu, vision, insights, civils prep, gs score contemporary issues La excellence mentorship program in hyderabad
GS Paper 4 Lexicon, Subba Rao book for ethics La excellence mentorship program in hyderabad

IAS Score: Optional Subject Preparation (Summary)

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: For paper 1:

Accounts- ICAI study material

Audit- ICAI study material

FII- ICAI study material

FM- Rustagi

Tax-TN Manoharan book for ipcc students

Costing – ICAI study material

For paper 2: I followed rankers notes and supplemented them with current affairs related material.

OB/OT- Chabbra


IAS Score: How did your prepare for essay.

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: There was no specific strategy for essay. I used to ensure that the essay had various dimensions such as constitutional, political, socio economic and historical perspectives included.

IAS Score: Did you adopted any specific strategy for GS Paper 4?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: Preparation wise, I followed lexicon book for basic definitions and referred Subba Rao book for case studies. In the exam, I used to attempt case studies first. GS4 needs a free flow of thought and does not require bookish knowledge.

IAS Score: What were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: I followed the standard books and one newspaper every day. I tried to analyze questions based on the previous year question papers and tried to understand the nature of questions and the relevant material for the same.

IAS Score:  What is your advice on notes-making for other aspirants?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: I was not good at making notes. I used to highlight points in the books itself. However the key is to summarize the information in such a manner that it helpful for a quick revision.

IAS Score: How did you manage your time during the preparation?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: I used to make a schedule of topics to be covered for the month and then simplified it for weekly preparation. I used to ensure that I revised the topics the next day before I started a new topic. In a week, one day was reserved to finish revision of that particular weeks topic and any pending topics. There was always time for enjoyment also J

IAS Score: What was your style (paragraph or point format) of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: In the previous attempt, I wrote in paragraph format and I realized it didn’t fetch me lot of marks in GS. This year, I changed the answer writing style to point format. I used  intro, points and conclusion. Tried to draw flowcharts where possible. Tried to underline the key terms.

IAS Score: So much focus is being given to Test Series, both for Prelims and Mains, in your opinion how useful are they, in the course of a preparation process? Which Test Series did you join and how useful did you find it to be?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: I feel test series is important as it gives an idea about our preparation levels. For prelims it gives a lot of practice and also identifies the areas which we failed to cover while preparing. Regarding mains, it helps in time management and also identify whether we are able to write few points for every question asked. Definitely it’s not that these questions will come in the mains exam, however it is for our practice and for our benefit. I joined La Excellence test series for this year preparation.

IAS Score: Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: There was continuous encouragement and motivation from friends and family. This helped me maintain my tempo. Hanging out with friends, watching movies and talking to them did help me in taking a break J

IAS Score: Which sources you referred to prepare for  Contemporary Issues.

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: I referred GS score contemporary issues and vision compilations.

IAS Score: Given the recent boom in online initiatives to support an aspirant, which were the platforms that you find useful enough during your course of preparation. Please list the sites.

Jonnalagadda Snehaja:

Mrunal website



IAS Score: What is your advice to the candidates who is still in the process of preparing for this examination?

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: Try to correct the mistakes and focus on basic books and materials. Be open to suggestions and feedback. Don’t lose hope and give it your best. There is an element of luck and hence be prepared for everything. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

IAS Score: Your word for future aspirants

Jonnalagadda Snehaja: Don’t enter into this field thinking that ill just give one attempt or 2 attempts and then leave it. One needs to keep in mind before entering that it needs 3 years of your time. 1 year of preparation is a must. One might be able to crack it in the first attempt itself and one might take some more time. However at any cost, give your best and be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Always introspect and have that self assessment. Avoid same mistakes in attempts and always try to improvise. Be ready to accept suggestions from seniors and teachers. Have a strong back up plan so that even if the UPSC journey is not successful there is something to fall back upon.

Jonnalagadda Snehaja Mark sheet

Paper Year 2015 Year 2014
Prelims 122 94
Essay (Paper 1) 124 154
GS 1 (Paper 2) 94 70
GS 2 (Paper 3) 66 85
GS 3 (Paper 4) 93 64
GS 4 (Paper 5) 99 112
Optional 1 (Paper 6) 124 89
Optional 2 (Paper 7) 123 142
Written Total 723 716
Personality Test 206 165
Total Score 929 881

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