- Topper Profile
- Electronic Vs Paper material
- Tempo and style
- Struggle of a Senior player
- Prelims (CSAT) General studies
- Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
- Prelim accuracy
- Mains: Compulsory language paper
- Mains: Essay
- Mains General studies paper 1 to 4
- General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
- Mains answer-writing?
- Public Administration optional
- Before the interview
- During the interview
- CSE-2013 Marksheet
- Career Backup
- Credit: Friends/family
- BOGUS Marketing Propaganda
|Name||Vinay G M|
|Rank in CSE-2013||459|
|Total attempts in CSE||2|
|Optional Subject||Public Administration|
|Medium chosen for Mains answers||English|
|Home town/city||Shimoga, Karnataka|
|Work-experience if any||Huawei Technologies, Bangalore. Software Engineer – 5 months|
|Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures|
|Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)|
|service preference #1, 2 and 3||IPS,IAS,IRS|
|state cadre preference (top3)||Kar,TN,MH|
|% in class 10||94.8|
|% in class 12||93.6|
|Graduation course and %||B.E. Computer Science and Engineering (81.5)|
|Name of college, city, passing out year||SJCE, Mysore, 2011|
|Any other professional courses||NA|
|Hobbies & Extra curricular||Movies, Travelling, Chess, Puzzles|
I am from a middle class family. My father is Working in Karnataka Govt. I had thought about getting into Civil Services in my School days itself. But I lacked any guidance or motivation. So never thought much about that until I completed my graduation. I decided to work for a year or two and then try for this exam but later decided to quit the job earlier itself. I have seen the work of IAS/IPS officers and the level of respect they get in the society. It has been a true motivator for me. This success means a lot to my family as I am the first person to clear this exam.
Q. In recent times, there is spur in electronic material- blogs, sites, pdfs, RSS-feeds. Many aspirants feel bogged down by this information overload. So, how much do you rely on electronic material and how much on the paper material (Books, newspapers)?
I think it should be flexible and one must decide for himself what is best for him! I read both electronic and paper material. If the material is very important, I would take printout of it else would read in laptop itself and note down imp points. I just made simple notes for current affairs. For traditional subjects, just read the books and marked there itself.
Q. People know what books and syllabus points are to be prepared. But most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how do you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings and distractions?
Yes Rest and Leisure also form an important part of daily routine. One cannot study for entire 24 hrs! I used to study for around 8hrs when exams were around. Every night I do watch a movie/TV series which relaxes my mind and restores the momentum for the next day to study efficiently. Also talking to friends/family will help keep morale high. Hope is the most important thing. Other qualities an aspirant must try to inculcate are confidence, self belief and optimism!
(Answer only if you’re a senior player.)
After 1-2 failures in any competitive exam, a phase of mental saturation & emotion struggle comes. MY question are two:
Q1. How did you survive through this mental prison and what’re your words of wisdom to other senior players? If any specific inspirational incident(s), please share.
I didn’t fell anytime the preparation as ‘mental prison’. Rather I enjoyed it as knowledge gaining phase. Some amount of sacrifice is needed in order to achieve great things. Believe in yourself, keep trying and have patience… the success time would definitely come and you would have reached your destiny! I too failed many times even in smaller exams but didn’t took the results very seriously. I corrected my mistakes and put efforts in right direction.
Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
I failed in Prelims. I practiced CSAT more mainly comprehension part and cleared this time
***Note: NCERT Textbooks are Important. Other than ncert books, I have mentioned other sources in this column. I have not scored good marks in GS. So I have refrained from telling detailed strategy! Many toppers have already shared their strategy in Mrunal. Pls refer them!
|History Modern (Freedom Struggle)|
|Culture society||NIOS, IGNOU|
|Polity (theory + current)|
|Economy (theory + current)|
|Science (theory + current)||Manorama, Hindu S/T|
|Environment (theory + current)||Barucha|
|other national/international current affairs||Frontline, Hindu|
|Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff||Gov websites like PIB ,PRS|
Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2013 paper?
Many mock tests for GS are not good! Its better not to take any mock for GS paper 1 as I found no mock is on the lines of what upsc expects!
Practiced as much as I can from various books and solved mock test papers
Q.Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2013 paper.
CSAT (paper 2 ) has become more important because one scores more in that ! main deciding factor.
Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
I got papers and solved it myself. Didn’t join any test series. I found paper 2 practice extremely beneficial.
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers.in CSAT-2013
|attempted Q.||Correct MCQs (Expected)||official score|
Q2.other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2013
Manageble for me without any additional practice. For regional lang, On previous day, wrote 2-3 pages of words so that I get little practice. It was enough for me.
Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
On the previous day one of my friend explained me for half an hour about how to build a framework and I implemented that in the exam. It worked out. But practicising a few is better if one has time!
Q2. Which among the following essay did you write? What key points did you include in it?
- Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)
- Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?
- GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country
- Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.
I wrote 2nd essay colonial mentality. Basically I combined my knowledge of Pub Ad with Spectrum Modern India history part. So it went good! I don’t recall now all the detail but organizing the structure is more important is what I felt!
***Note : NCERT Textbooks are Important. Other than ncert books, I have mentioned other sources in this column. I have not scored good marks in GS. So I have refrained from telling detailed strategy! Many toppers have already shared their strategy in Mrunal. Pls refer them!
For Current Affairs , I used Internet a lot. Reading Hindu, Indian express online, Frontline, Yojana, Kurukshetra, Chronicle magazine helped much. Try to consolidate whatever you read from various sources so that confusion is avoided. I also referred Current Affairs notes of Vajiram,GKTODAY,visionias,Srirams which I got Xeroxed. They could be supplemented to newspaper reading in case we have missed some important info! I also listened to AIR spotlight news analysis. Rajys sabha TV Videos and other useful videos in Youtube will help for preparation. Insights website is good though I didn’t follow it much. Not just reading, one should analyse whatever he has read and try to form an opinion. It helps a lot in mains.
This was the least prepared part in GS by me. I hardly studied for 1 or 2 days only. I referred GKTODAY.in module on ethics. Other than that I studied nothing. Pub ad background helped. Also Previously I had studied psychology optional. So was aware of many concepts. Paper was a surprise. For case studies I wrote point-wise, maintained neutrality and took particular stand wherever asked. For theory answers, though definitions were not impressing I tried my best to express clearly my understanding. I got decent score. I hope there are materials available now in the market. I am not aware of any Book. Pls refer other topper’s strategies. This is the only paper where one can do very well with least amount of preparation. So concentrate on this part!
Any other comments, word of wisdom after going through the mains-2013.
The main thing for GS preparation is newspaper reading. It means half of your prep is done. Daily study newspaper without miss. Concentrate more on past 3 months news. Give attention to syllabus. Read specifically what you feel is important. Discussions with fellow aspirants will help a lot! Writing practice and getting suggestions from peers/mentors will also help a lot.
Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
It is good as we can come back and write to any question. No need of asking for extra sheets!
Drawbacks : No first impression guaranteed!, Big handwriting guys may suffer especially if they drew diagrams
Q. Did you write answers in bullet points or in paragraphs? Some players (who cleared mains and got interview call letter) were claiming that they wrote entire paper in bullet points, so it doesn’t matter….whether examiner is asking ‘examine, comment, discuss or xyz’….simply write in bullets and points.
Both types. It depend on question and context!
Q. Did you follow the “introduction-body-conclusion” format? because some mains-qualified candidates claim they simply wrote the points they could recall within the time, instead of bothering with proper introduction and conclusion.
No.. no time to think all that. so wrote whatever came to my mind but as neatly as possible.
Q. In GS papers, Since UPSC came with those 100 and 200 words questions. What was your approach in the exam (I wrote all, I only focused on the questions where I could answer perfectly, I just not to high quality points to reach the word limit etc.)
I tried maximum to attend all but it seemed highly impossible. I tried to stick to word limit and for known answers I touched the word limit. May be I lost time in that! It’s a bargain b/w quality and quantity! If one has not practiced writing fastly…! So this time one should practice speed writing.
Q. How many marks worth questions did you skip/couldn’t finish in the GS papers?
|GS (Mains paper)||Couldn’t finish __ mark.|
Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)
Yes. very rough ones but as neatly as possible!
Q7. If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen?
Q8. Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand?
Q9. You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen?
(Mrunal – since readers keep mailing such queries, therefore I’m asking the topper to clear all the air haha.)
I got good marks in this optional. So I will share the details. I didn’t take coaching anywhere for optional. In fact I went Delhi first time for Interview. Without coaching also it is possible to get good marks. I have mixed opinion about coaching centres. It is left to personal choice. With / without coaching, One can score well if he prepares rightly and has confidence!
Base books are:
- Sharma and Sadana
- Mohith Bhattacharya
- Arora and goyal
- Prasad and Prasad
- Super 50 shubra saxena
- IGNOU material (Used them selectively – only few topics- very good to read)
- All 2nd ARC reports (For Summary – Target ias material)
- Polity laxmikanth
- Unique publishers books on both papers.
- I referred Vajiram Printed and class notes also.
I didn’t subscribe any test series but practiced writing a few answers and got feedback from mentors/ friends etc. It helped. Read and reread the topics and understand them completely. Make notes after understanding the topic which will help for revision. Reading may take 3 months and making notes may take another 2 months if you study in relaxed mode. Else it could also be done faster. Then 1 month before exams is sufficient for thorough revision.
Having clarity and understanding of topics is needed. Rote learning will not help. One should develop habit of looking at an issue from various perspectives. In order to explain better , first you should understand it better. With more Understanding, Comes the ability to express clearly and one can score good marks. Inspite of efforts some might have got low marks. But they should not blame on system. Sure some luck might have played its role. But entirely blaming failure on luck is not fair! One should introspect and find out where he commited mistakes and try to rectify them.
In the exam:
- Read and Understand question properly
- Think about answer and structure it
- Present it neatly
- Use flowcharts if needed
- Try to complete paper
Q2. How much of internet-research / current affairs is necessary for this optional? OR can one simply rely on the books and be done with this subject?
Moderate amount. Many GS examples could be used in answers
Q3. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
Around 3 months + 2 more months for thorough prep and making notes.
Q4. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
I practiced very few questions just a month before exam!
Q5. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?
I had made some written notes for some topics. But even after revising it 4-5 times, I found difficulty in recalling during exam. May be I should have prepared notes in more organized way! Making notes from own words will definitely help. Revision is very important. Revise 2/5/10 times howmuch ever you fell like needed till you are convenient to write answers without thinking too much in exam. Some topics should be on the tip of your tongue so that they are recalled very easily and time is saved.
Q6. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2013 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?
Paper was moderately difficult. not so easy! (but easy than previous year). Having In-depth Knowledge about the subject is necessary
Q7.How much did you skip OR couldn’t answer properly, in the optional paper?
|optional paper||Couldn’t finish __ mark|
Q8. would you advice any interested party (new player) to pick this optional? Nowadays wind seems to be flowing towards sociology and political science. Some senior players advice new players not to pick them given the scaling and odd questions. What’s your take on this?
It depends on interest in the subject and availability of material. If these criteria are satisfied then one can take it irrespective of trend! Due to dismal performance of Public Administration in last year, many people shifted to other optional, but I stayed and many friends told me to reconsider but I had confidence that I can do well and had no second thought. Luckily Public Administration has not been screwed this time and I got decent score!
Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? Particularly college graduation subjects related questions?
Casual preparation but I was a bit tensed in the last week as had left most CA portions uncovered! Anyway Knowledge doesnot matter much if you have the Personality of handling the interview situation
I worked on my DAF details and current affairs
Q2. Did you attend any mock interviews by coaching classes? How were they similar / different than official interview? Do you believe it is necessary to attend such mock interviews?
Yes. Mock in Vajiram, Chanakya, Karnataka Bhavan. They were helpful. But the real interview was quite different (may be because we are more serious about it!) in terms of quality of questions and also the nature of board members.
Q3. What did you wear? Some experts say coat is must, some say tie is must, and some say black shoes must. What attire did you pick up?
White shirt, Black pant and black shoe, Navy blue tie with red stripes!
Q4. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?
Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Mr Chattar Singh
Q2. How long was the interview?
Q3. Why do you want to join civil service? Why don’t you continue in your graduation field? Social service can be done from private sector too.[Since I don’t know whether they ask you this question or not. But if they had asked- what will be your reply?]
- -I have passion for it
- prestigious services
- diversity of work which gives satisfaction
- sense of achievement of clearing tough exam
Q4. Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did you reply and other pleasant or uncomfortable experiences during the interview.
- What else do you do other than preparing for civil services exam?
- Is there any particular strategy to solve Sudoku or just random filling of numbers?
- What are the steps involves in organizing a task?
- In a scale of 10, how do you rate process v/s efficiency?
§ Why do you think most of the states have not implemented SC guidelines on police reforms?
§ India stand as leader for south-east nations and balancing china
§ Which oldest Indian football club defeated the British team for first time?
§ What is fuzzy logic?
§ Which early Indian text has reference to public administration?
§ Where all you have trekked?
§ About some army trekking campaign for youth.
§ Why is chip manufacturing sector not flourished in India?
§ Do private sector have more efficiency? why then need of civil services?
§ What is Mysore famous for?
§ Why Tippu is called as ‘Tiger of Mysore’?
§ Did Tippu face any capital punishment for killing a tiger?
§ What happens if a person kills a tiger now?
§ Is right to property a fundamental right?
§ What is difference between FR and Legal rights?
Q5. Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions? Was it a stress interview, did they ask any uncomfortable questions? If yes, how did you handle it?
First of all, I didn’t expect anything! The board was Cordial, questions were easy and I answered them pretty well. I didn’t commit any mistakes. It went smoothly. It was not extraordinary either! It went average, got good marks.
Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?
Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?
I faced no problems.
|GENRAL STUDIES -I (PAPER-II)||50|
|GENRAL STUDIES -II (PAPER-III)||66|
|GENRAL STUDIES -III (PAPER-IV)||57|
|GENRAL STUDIES -IV (PAPER-V)||93|
|OPTIONAL-I (Public Administration) (PAPER-VI)||130|
|OPTIONAL-II (Public Administration) (PAPER-VII)||96|
Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
No backup! Try again till you Suceed!
Q. Through this struggle and success, what have your learned? What is the wisdom of life and competition? What is Your message to the new aspirants?
Hope, Courage, Confidence, Optimism are the qualities which are expected for a civil servant and hence an aspirant should also inculcate these in himself!
One must find out what he really wants from life and then he can focus towards that goal. Fixing target is the first thing, then comes planning and better execution. At the last stage, no matter how big are the efforts, fate has its role. But one should not worry on luck. Just try and wait. The right time would come!
Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2013. They’re feeling dejected- what is your message to them?
Have patience and determination. But if you are so much exhausted do not over push! Look for alternatives and get settled. Civils is not the ultimate thing in life. There are much more better opportunities. So don’t waste time desparately trying for so many years! The right time to quit or continue to try is to be decided by aspirant himself. This is my humble opinion. I don’t have lot of insight about this. Forgive me if I am wrong!
Q. Behind every topper are many people who stood by during those uncertain times when he/she was merely an ‘aspirant’. Would you like to tell the world, who were those people in your case? Any specific incidence that you would like to share with the readers?
Parents’ support is very much needed. I am grateful to them .All my family members, friends, mentors gave all the necessary support. I am really lucky in this aspect. There are no significant incidences to share!
Q. You are well aware of the sacred rule – the last question must be about self-marketing. So, Did you use Mrunal.org for your preparation and if yes, how did it help you? And you can even reply “No”. I’ll still publish your answer without tempering.
Yes I read economy part, Current affairs, Food processing articles and topper’s interviews. It helped me a lot. I appreciate the efforts taken by Mrunal. It is indeed a great help for civil service aspirants!