Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) Topper

Tsewang Gyaltson, from Leh is this year’s KAS topper. To add to it, he has also secured the 4th rank in the prestigious Indian Forest Service’s exam (IFS). While in conversation with Aliya Bashir, he reveals his study secrets.

“Believe in yourself. Don’t take it as a task, enjoy what you study with a mix of right strategy and hard work at the right time of your preparation will see you through”, advises Tsewang Gyaltson to the Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) aspirants. Tsewang, aged 26, topped this year’s KAS examination. He also secured 4th rank in this year’s Indian Forest Services (IFS). He is still contemplating which of the two services to choose.
Gyaltson’s father is a Joint Director in Agricultural Department of Jammu and his mother works as senior assistant in the medical department in Leh. He considers himself very fortunate to be born in a supportive family. “Unlike most of the families who expect their children to earn as soon as they are out from college, I was lucky enough to get all the support to work towards abigger goal,” he says.

A Mathematics Honours graduate from the Delhi University, Tsewang was always focused on civil services. “I had no financial pressure from my family. So I thought taking up a private job would deviate me from my goal and I won’t be left with much preparation time. That also helped me dedicate all my time in preparation,” he says.

On an average, he studied for 10-12 hours everyday. “The preparation is time consuming due to the vast syllabus, but if one enjoys studying, it isn’t difficult. One should dedicate at least one or two years to prepare with consistence and quality-time,” he says. He adds that perseverance and commitment in preparation is necessary for civil services.

A student of Moravian Mission School in Leh up to 5th class and later Sainik School, Jammu, upto higher secondary level, Tsewang has been outstanding academically and a topper at school.

The subject that had been of most interest to him was Mathematics. His aptitude in the subject had helped him qualify the entrance exam for an engineering degree at the IIT, Delhi in 2001. He studied there for one semester, but then tragedy struck. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had to leave studies. Recovery took almost 2 years.

After he recovered, he took admission in Hindu College, Delhi University in 2003 for a graduation level Honours degree in Mathematics, which he completed in 2006. It was now that the thought of appearing in civil services occurred to him.

He started coaching for Physics, General Studies and Mathematics in Delhi and appeared for IFS in 2008. In his first attempt he made it only up to the interview stage. He was disappointed but his parents encouraged him. “When I was dropped, I was very depressed and it took me a few months to recover. My parents ensured I didn’t hang on to the disappointment. Thanks to them I understood that I have more chances to prove myself. This helped me work harder,” he says. His parents’ support encouraged him to try again.

This time he applied not only to the IFS exams, but KAS also. For both the exams he selected Maths and Physics as optional. “I was preparing simultaneously for both the exams. This helped me a lot. And both my exams went well,” he says.

His hard work bore fruit. He qualified in both the exams, securing the first rank in the KAS and the 4th in the IFS,” he says. “I had never expected this. I feel on top of the world and do not have words to express my feelings. I am very excited,” he adds.

Tsewang gives the credit for his success to his family. “My father is my role model who helped and supported me throughout. I owe a lot to my family,” he says.

“Coaching is an important tool in preparation for the civil services,” says Tsewang. He also feels that appearing in test series organised by various study groups and coaching centers is of great help. “These tests give an opportunity to interact with other competitors and assess your work before you appear for the real exam. They also help you identify areas where you need to put in more work,” he says.

Tsewang also advises that a good balance between coaching and study time should be maintained. “The aspirants should frequently revise topics at home and should be in constant touch with their teachers,” he says. “The only secret to success here is hard work,” he adds.

But it was not all work and no play for Tsewang. To be relieved of stress, he used to surf the net, and socialise on networking sites. To have his share of fun he used to watch Hollywood movies. “I am a movie buff. Hollywood movies and Facebook were my only sources of relaxation. Movies are an inspiration to see,” says the topper. Tsewang is a book buff too. “I mostly read non-fiction and Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ is my favourite,” he adds.

Aliya Bashir