- Candidate Profile
- Electronic Vs Paper material
- Tempo and style
- Struggle of a Senior player
- Working professional
- Prelims (CSAT) General studies
- Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
- Prelim accuracy
- Mains: Compulsory language paper
- Mains: Essay
- General Studies (Mains) paper 1
- General studies (Mains) paper 2
- General studies (Mains) Paper 3
- General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
- GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2014
- Mains answer-writing?
- Mains Optional Subject
- Before the interview
- During the interview
- CSE-2014 Marksheet
- Career Backup
- Views on UPSC reforms
- Insecurity about profile
- Credit: Friends/family
- BOGUS Marketing Propaganda
|Rank in CSE-2014||1110|
|Total attempts in CSE (including this one)||4|
|Medium chosen for Mains answers||English|
|Medium chosen for Interview||English|
|Work-experience if any||CTS, RBI|
|Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures||RBI Grade B-2014, CPF-2012|
|Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)||Time coaching ,Smart leaders(sociology)|
|Service preferences (Top-5)||IPS,IAS,IFS, IRS (C),IRS IT|
|state cadre preference (Top-5)||TN, Kar,AP, Kerala|
|fill the details here|
|% in class 10||89%|
|% in class 12||95%|
|Graduation course and %||6.11|
|Name of college, city, passing out year||CEG,Anna university, Chennai|
|Any other professional courses||–|
|Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements||Trekking, Sudoku, Surfing internet, Quizzing|
Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?
Strong determination of service to the society and will power made me to enter this field. Father also held a commendable post in the government, so I was used to the government machinery from my childhood. I thought I can use this machinery to bring about a positive change in the society.
Other selections(RBI grade b ,CPF-2012) were just for the exposure and are just the tip of the iceberg.
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)? If possible narrate a typical day in your studylife. What is your style of preparation (e.g. I continue making notes no matter what I’m reading, I just read multiple times but don’t maintain notes, I make mindmaps on computer …or xyz style)
I like to read mostly via paper material and will revise them via electronics. Few new stuff alone which cannot be found in the paper material, I will browse them through internet.
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?
Preparing for this civil services exam was the toughest part in my life. One needs to remain focused and energetic throughout the period. A little deviation can result in heavy price. This was the mistake I did in my previous attempts. I do watch movies, inspiring shoots, go for a walk when I feel low.
My wife is a constant source of motivation to me, without her this wouldn’t be possible. J
(Answer only if you’re a senior player.)
After 1-2 failures in any competitive exam, a phase of mental saturation comes. The person knows the booklist, he knows what is necessary to succeed. But it doesn’t yield result. The armchair ‘experts’ would point out UPSC is ‘testing’ emotional intelligence of the candidate or UPSC wants to break the backs of senior players, daily conspiracy theories on orkut….…Not to mention all the emotional struggle-against those irritating neighbors and relatives who keep asking your mother “aap kaa betaa kya karta hai” (What does you son/daughter do?)
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.
Stay cool and calm. I think upsc alone does not offers you a job, there are many others jobs available. One can get selected in them , then try for upsc with a fresh mind.
Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
I am a fun loving guy, wasn’t serious in my previous attempts. Smart work was there but no hardwork.
This time Smartwork + Hardwork -> Victory
If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job
Buy a big smartphone, upload all ur documents in that , study and revise them.
|History Medieval||-Didn’t prepare|
|History Modern (Freedom Struggle)||-Ncert, Spectrum|
|Culture and society||Spectrum|
|Polity (theory + current)||Lakshmikanth|
|Economy (theory + current)||Own notes|
|Science (theory + current)||-basic knowledge|
|Environment (theory + current)||-internet|
|other national/international current affairs|
|Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff||India year book|
Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2014 paper?
Q. in GS-Prelims 2014, there was unusual questions from environment and agriculture portion. If you were to give the attempt again in 2015, what new strategy / books / sources would you focus?
Would buy a special book for environment and agriculture, to enrich upon.
Q. Now that Aptitude paper has become qualifying, obvious more attention needs to be paid on the GS paper so apart from the books that you already have gone through, what else would you have tried for CSE-2015 (if you were going to appear)?
Need to explore.
|Topic||strategy / booklist|
|Decision Making||Didn’t study|
Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2014 paper.
Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
One mock test I attended. Just to get the feel of an exam. Yes they are necessary for me.
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2014
|attempted Q.||correct (Expected)|
Q3. Your score in prelim (when UPSC uploads it please mail me your score)
|Compulsory language paper||Your preparation strategy / booklist?|
|English paper||Didn’t prepare|
|your regional language||Read newspaper|
Q2.other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2014
Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
Prepared for 4-5 essays per month. Totally wrote 15 essays. And took inputs from newspaper.
Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?
With great power comes great responsibility.
Tourism: Can this be the next big thing for India?
Strategy – don’t remember much….but covered social, economic, cultural, political aspects and maintained a logical flow.
|Topic||How did you prepare?|
|Indian society||Didn’t prepare|
|role of women, poverty etc.||Basic knowledge + newspaper|
|globalization on Indian society||Basic knowledge + newspaper|
|communalism, regionalism, secularism||Basic knowledge + newspaper|
|world geo physical||NCERT|
|factors for industrial location||NCERT|
|earthquake tsunami etc||NCERT|
|impact on flora-fauna||–|
|Topic||How Did You Prepare?|
|Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc.||Laksmikanth|
|comparing Constitution with world||Internet – cant remember website|
|parliament, state Legislatures||Laksmikanth|
|pressure group, informal asso.||Laksmikanth|
|Representation of people’s act||Basic knowledge + newspaper|
|various bodies: Constitutional, statutory..||–|
|NGO, SHG etc||Basic knowledge + newspaper|
|welfare schemes, bodies||India year book|
|social sector, health, edu, HRD||India year book|
|governance, transparency, accountability||Own notes|
|role of civil service||Own notes|
|India & neighbors||Wiki|
|effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest||–|
|international bodies- structure mandate||Wiki|
|Topic||How Did You Prepare?|
|Indian economy, resource mobilization||For all these – Newspaper + notes – didn’t get good marks in this|
|major crops, irrigation|
|agro produce – storage, marketing|
|e-technology for famers|
|farm subsidies, MSP|
|PDS, buffer, food security|
|animal rearing economics|
|science-tech day to day life|
|Indian achievements in sci-tech|
|awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR|
|environmental impact assessment|
|non state actors, internal security|
|internal security – role of media, social networking site|
|organized crime, terrorism|
|security agencies- structure mandate|
|Topic||How Did You Prepare?|
|ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics||Common sense+ Chronicle Lexicon + Time coaching on ethics|
|attitude, moral influence etc.|
|civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc|
|emotional intelligence, its use in governance|
|moral thinkers of India and world|
|ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc.|
|probity in governance, work culture|
|citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc.|
|challenges of corruption|
|case studies on above topics|
Q. in GS4 ethics papers, please give a sketchy overview of your case study answers:
|case||your approach/ keypoints|
|case1: your friend preparing UPSC||Common sense approach|
|case2: Rameshwar the uptight UPSC topper.|
|case3: no bribe no contract.|
|case4: corrupt subordinates file bogus rape complaint against you.|
|in the remaining bol-bachchan type questions (e.g. why ethics important, why probity difficult etc).|
|Paper||Best attempted||Average quality||namesake answer||Total attempt|
|GS1||Managed to attempt all questions|
Q. 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.) Because the UPSC aspirant Community is divided over what counts as a ‘good’ paper. Some experts claim you should attempt all- even if it involves “making up” an answer with filler lines, some claim attempt only those questions you know perfectly. Where do you stand on this? [Based on your experience and of your seniors/buddies]
Content is important, I didn’t bluff.
Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
Do u want more sheets to tell stories? That’s not needed… fixed space was good
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.
Depended on the nature of the question – but mostly wrote in paragraphs
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.
Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?
No time to use them and all
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)
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.)
Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
Sociology – Pure Interest
Q. If a new player wants to pick this subject, would you advice for it or against it? (e.g. every senior player in Public Administration seems to be advising against pub.ad)
Depends on the interest of the person. No subject is good or bad. All you need is smartwork and hardwork
Q. First the essential book/resource list. (Also mention which one is the “Base book” for covering the theory? + Whatever comments you’ve for a particular book e.g. “my seniors said read xyz book but I found that ABC book was better”. “xyz topic not given properly in this book, so prepare from xyz website or book…” OR and so on.)
Q. 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?
Both are needed
Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
Right from day 1
Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?
Q. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2014 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?
No difficulty provided you had prepared well
Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? – for college grad, hobbies, place of origin, current affairs at national and international level?
Interview was a blunder for me –
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?
I didn’t attend. Yes they are very much needed
Q3. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.
Light blue shirt, Black pant, Dark blue Tie
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?
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?]
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. (Earlier some toppers only tell me their question but not their answer. I would appreciate if you give both Question + your original answers)
Scored 118 in the interview –very low score – sorry guys
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?
Stress interview on the lines.
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?
Q1. Please attach both prelim and final marksheet. (when it comes)
|General Studies -I (Paper-Ii)||078|
|General Studies -Ii (Paper-Iii)||076|
|General Studies -Iii (Paper-Iv)||068|
|General Studies -Iv (Paper-V)||107|
|Optional-I (Sociology) (Paper-Vi)||133|
|Optional-II (Sociology) (Paper-Vii)||128|
Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?
Interview did the blunder – would attend mock tests for it.
Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
RBI grade B.
Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.
Optionals doesn’t create level playing field. It should be removed.
Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?
Q. Despite what UPSC has done in recent years, it has failed to curb the nuisance of Delhi’s coaching factories. In fact it’s increased under the new syllabus in 2014. Let’s face it, most candidates who gave Mains-2014 have relied on (authentic OR Xeroxed) coaching notes because there was hardly any time left to prepare so many topics in such short time. This system work against an individual preparing from far-away area, without any financial resources, high-speed internet or contacts in Delhi.
If you have the will, anything can be done… We only create opportunities, they never appear before us.
Q. Half-merger of IFoS with CSE is a bad move because it has raised the cutoffs for players who’re solely dedicated to IFoS only (and not to IAS/IPS). Adding salt to the wounds, many who had applied for both jobs, cleared the prelims- they did not even bother to appear in all the papers of Mains-IFoS. (atleast that was the scene in 2013).
No idea – didn’t apply to it
Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.
That’s the process, nothing harm in it.
Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of exam.
Reduce the lengthy process.
Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?
Conduct 2 interviews for a single candidate with different interview boards and take the average out of it.
Q. Many candidates prepare sincerely but constantly live under fear about ‘profile insecurity’. I’m not from a big college, I’m not from English medium, and I don’t have work-experience. What if they ask some stressful questions in the interview about this? Did you suffer from such insecurities? What is your message to these candidates?
All are not good in all areas. If school, graduation studies wasn’t good, it doesn’t mean they are ineligible for civil services.
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?
Achieving success in civil services needs smart work + hardwork + motivation. All fun loving guys without dedicated preparation will be out of the race. Work+Fun – >Success
Destination is glory, but path is rugged thorns. Travel smartly in the path.
Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2014. They’re feeling cynical, hopeless and depressed- what is your message to them?
Find your mistakes, revamp it, give your next attempt.
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?
My wife, My parents.
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.
I used your economy stuff. It was awesome. I owe you a lot. My sincere thanks….Rock on mrunal !!!!!