[Topper’s Interview] Pulkit Garg (AIR-490/CSE-2014) Chemistry Optional, Civil Engg.from Delhi

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UPSC Paperset
  1. CANDIDATE PROFILE
  2. EDUCATION
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. ELECTRONIC VS PAPER MATERIAL
  5. PRELIMS (CSAT) GENERAL STUDIES
  6. PRELIMS (CSAT) APTITUDE
  7. PRELIM ACCURACY
  8. MAINS: COMPULSORY LANGUAGE PAPER
  9. MAINS: ESSAY
  10. GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 1
  11. GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 2
  12. GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 3
  13. GENERAL STUDIES 4: ETHICS, INTEGRITY, APTITUDE
  14. GS4 ETHICS CASE STUDY ANSWERS IN MAINS 2014
  15. MAINS ANSWER-WRITING?
  16. MAINS OPTIONAL SUBJECT
  17. BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
  18. DURING THE INTERVIEW
  19. CSE-2014 MARKSHEET
  20. CAREER BACKUP
  21. VIEWS ON UPSC REFORMS
  22. INSECURITY ABOUT PROFILE
  23. WISDOM
  24. CREDIT: FRIENDS/FAMILY
  25. BOGUS MARKETING PROPAGANDA

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Pulkit Garg

Q.Details
NamePulkit Garg
Rank in CSE-2014490
Roll No.423042
Age22
Total attempts in CSE (including this one)1
Optional SubjectChemistry
Schooling MediumEnglish
College mediumEnglish
Medium chosen for Mains answersEnglish
Medium chosen for InterviewEnglish
Home town/cityDelhi
Work-experience if anyNo
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failuresRank 823, IIT JEE 2010
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  1. DIAS – Chemistry
  2. Vision Ias – Test Series – Pre and Mains
  3. Interview – Samkalp and Sriram
Service preferences (Top-5)IFS IAS IPS IRS(IT) IRS(C&CE)
state cadre preference (Top-5)

EDUCATION

fill the details here
% in class 1093%
% in class 1293.6%
Graduation course and %B Tech,Civil Engineering ; CGPA – 8.15
Name of college, city, passing out yearIIT Delhi – 2014
Post-graduation
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements

INTRODUCTION

Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?

Hi, I am Pulkit Garg and I have done my B.Tech. in Civil Engineering from IIT Delhi.

I have been a resident of Delhi throughout as I have done my schooling as well as graduation from here. My father is a banker by profession. My mother is a senior lecturer of Mathematics.

During my early college days, I started introspecting about what actually interests me.  What is it that I would like to do throughout my life? It is then I realized a few things about myself. I can not do something just because it pays me well. I really need to have genuine interest in something to do it with full passion and commitment. While reading newspapers casually during this period, I realized that anything related to the development and prestige of India invoked strong emotions in me. I was very happy whenever I read about India’s achievements in the field of economic and human development, whenever we acted as a global leader and set example for other nations to follow. I experienced seething anger and strong urge to change situations whenever it was a negative news concerning India, such as high poverty levels, lack of housing, poor sanitation coverage, mortality in millions due to easily curable disease such as diarrhea, India obtaining poor rank in Gender Inequity Index, Human Development Index, Doing Business Index. This is what led me to thinking of taking Civil Service as my career through which I could make a qualitative change in the lives of  people and take India to greater heights. Interaction with family members, seniors and friends who know me well also reinforced my belief that it was a career which was well suited for me.

It was after my 2nd year that I took the plunge and started preparing seriously for this exam.

ELECTRONIC VS PAPER MATERIAL

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 have relied heavily on electronic material(70-80% of my preparation). The exam has become highly dynamic and the kind of information and depth to which it is required is difficult to search for in a book. The ways in which I used electronic media were:

1. Making notes on Evernote – topic wise  – as mentioned by Gaurav Aggarwal Sir(2013 AIR 1) in his blog (https://thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com/) – easy to manage and to add further details as and when they come.

2. Staying abreast with current affairs and to know any issue in detail which has not been covered adequately in the newspapers and books .

3. Following Mrunal, InsightsonIndia and ForumIas and important news articles as stated on these websites.

4. For governments reports such as of ARCs , FYPs , Annual reports of Ministries.

The importance of books is decreasing – primarily important now for Prelims and GS Paper 1 in Mains.

Reading either Hindu/Indian Express daily is a must.

There is no typical day as such. But newspapers(1-2 hrs) and optional(3-4hrs) must be done everyday along with coverage of topic wise complete syllabus of mains and a lot of answer writing practice for both Gs mains and optional.

I make online notes of what i read only for important topics of current affairs . But they should be very precise and to the point. Don’t copy paste while making notes. Make it topic wise. Use headings and sub headings for clarity and ease during revision.

TEMPO AND STYLE

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?

Consistence and patience is the most important trait in this exam. One thing that really helps for maintaining momentum is genuine interest and curiosity. Try generating interest for every topic and subject – which could be done by asking regular questions to yourself while reading annything – keep asking why,how,when,what could be done – dont be satisfied with only what the article is telling you – go and find out answers for these natural and self made questions on the net. For example: you read an article that India has got a rank of 128 in Gender Inequality Index and so and so country has such and such rank . In this: find out.. 1. What does this index tell       2. What are the dimensions used to come out to this conclusion 3.Where is India lacking specifically 4.Why is India lacking specifically 5.What is the position of our neighbours; if better – how ? 6. What has been done and what more could be done by different stakeholders – revise in your head for each of the dimensions. This would be the holistic coverage of the topic which would also keep your interest up and enter into a virtuous cycle of interest and learning; out from the negative cycle of mood swings and distraction.

The fact that I knew that this is the career of my choice and I would have to sit again for the exam next year if I dont study well this time – used to motivate me even more i.e what I should study was inevitable and it had to be done – either this time or some other time – so why not this time only.

You can also keep maximum one hour for the things that you love doing – example I used to go for jogging whenever I did not feel like studying – but this should be done within the time limit.

Listening to motivational songs used to help me a lot too.

PRELIMS (CSAT) GENERAL STUDIES

Topicstrategy/booklist/comment
History AncientNCERT – onld 11th – pretty detailed – would need to be revised multiple times – provides holistic coverage
History MedievalNCERT old – 11th and 12th – detailed as well – would be sufficient
History Modern (Freedom Struggle)Spectrum(must – pre centric) + Bipin Chandra some chapters such as on civilian rebellions,peasant movements, working class movements,Gurudwara reforms which are not adequately covered in Spectrum – however if u have time – do read Bipin Chandra completely – as it needs to be done for Mains for sure.
Culture and societyNothing certain – too many sources but I did it from Nitin Singhania(Rank 51 notes) + 11th class NCERT fine arts – some questions could have been easily answered from these books – dont know of any one source from where all questions could have been answered – however people also recommend CCRT + NIOS culture
Polity (theory + current)Laxmikant + reading of bare provisions from PM Bakshi
Economy (theory + current)11th 12th NCERT – Macro Economics + Economic Survey + Sriram’s IAS notes
Science (theory + current)Nothing specific
Environment (theory + current)I read nothing specific
geography physical11th + 12th NCERT + GC Leong
geography India-do-
geography world-do-
other national/international current affairsCurrent Affairs – Vision IAS + Indian Express
Schemes, Policy & Filler StuffPRSIndia + PIB + mrunal + insightsonindia

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2014 paper?

1. More factual questions – change – as 2013 was more understanding based

2. Very high number from Environment,Geography,Culture.

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?

1. While reading geography – NCERT would be sufficient but focus on the little little things given somewhere in the map in tiny letters – eg. though the name of all passes are given in the maps but the need is to know more about them eg. where is Lipulekh pass – what is its significance – Is India China trade allowed through it.Like this : form maps for a)all passes in India b)all major rivers – and their imp tributaries c) major dams d)type of vegetations in detail and do have certain depth in knowledge about them.

2. While reading env – Shankar IAS is good – but do keep googling stuff which comes in newspaper and follow Vision Ias current affairs – its good  + do have the major national parks,wildlife sanctuaries,biosphere reserves,tiger reserves marked on the map.

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)?

Same as above.

PRELIMS (CSAT) APTITUDE

Topicstrategy / booklist
Mathsnone
reasoning-do-
comprehension-do-
Decision Making-do-

PRELIM ACCURACY

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?

Yes. I took Vision IAS test series – it is really good as it is topic wise and hence you can prepare a schedule around it which helps in keeping studies for pre structured: eg. take 2 days for prep of polity and give polity test – then 2 days for geo prep – give test.. Giving mock tests is imp as you notice the fine points which you miss sometimes while studying – especially in polity,geography and history. Hence, it is necessary to do mock tests . But it is not necessary to take a test series – you can just buy question papers and answers from the market and solve them under time limit yourself. You can also compare marks with your friends and seniors in this test to know the level at which you are presently and what you should be aiming at. At the end phase – last 10-15 days – mock tests of more coaching institutes could be done.

Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2014

attempted Q.correct (Expected)
GS5852
aptitudesomewhere in mid 60s55-60

Q3. Your score in prelim (when UPSC uploads it please mail me your score)

GS : 100

Aptitude : 128

Total : 228

MAINS: COMPULSORY LANGUAGE PAPER

Compulsory language paperYour preparation strategy / booklist?
English paperSolved past 2-3 years papers.
your regional languageHindi – Unique publishers Hindi guide book – practiced writing essays . Solved past 3-4 years papers. Did this in the last 2 weeks – 1-2 hrs every day.

Q2.other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2014

Hindi paper was much difficult this time . Dont take Hindi for granted – do practice it before giving the exam – lack of time. Translation was lengthy.

MAINS: ESSAY

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

The preparation for essay is mostly integrated with that of GS mains.However,special attention must be paid to writing practice.

I took classes from Ramaswamy Sir – his feedback was very good – it enabled me to write a lot of essays before the actual paper.

Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?

The main focus must be on covering the isues from all dimensions.

I attempted:

1. Is the growing level of competition good for the youth

a)First showed with examples about increasing competition – UPSC,IIT JEE,AIIMS medical entrance exam etc

b)Reasons for growing competition – high population, good opportunities are very few in number etc

c)Effects of competition:

A. Positive : Brand name of IIT – as selected through very high comp etc.

– bring out the best in children and such

B. Negatives : depressions,suicides , cutting corners or using unethical means to stay ahead of the competition.

d) What could be done to minimise negative effects – ways and means

Overall conclusion supported high competition but in a positive environment – focussed on bringing out the best from the people and minimising negative effects.

2. Tourism – can this be the next big thing for India?

Example: in the 2nd one:

a)Why India has rich tourism potential?

b)What is India’s current position in attracting tourism

c)Why is the position so low – the reasons

d)What has been done in the past and what is being done.

e)What needs to be done in the future

GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 1

TopicHow did you prepare?
cultureAlmost left – did not prepare in deep – Nitin Singhania notes – however one should prepare this in detail – from CCRT or NIOS or 11th Fine arts book
Indian historyBipin Chandra or NCERT – 12th old – I read NCERT completely and Bipin Chandra’s some chapters – sufficient for understanding – do focus on news in current affairs related to this – eg. Kohima battle in 1944 – 70 years ; 100 years of Komagata Maru incident and Ghadar movement – in news – prepare these in detail.
world historyNorman Lowe would be sufficient + Roman Saini sir’s videos could be seen for imp points  as summary.
post-independence IndiaI read Bipin Chandra – but guess no need to prepare in this detail – Vision IAS notes could be done for this.
Indian society11th 12th sociology . More of current affairs and common sense oriented.
role of women, poverty etc.Vision IAS notes
globalization on Indian society-do-
communalism, regionalism, secularism-do-
world geo physicalNCERT 11th 12th + wiki
resource distributionMrunal + Ncert
factors for industrial locationMrunal + Ncert
earthquake tsunami etcVision Ias notes
impact on flora-faunageneral

GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 2

TopicHow Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc.Laxmikanth
comparing Constitution with worldVision notes
parliament, state LegislaturesLaxmi
executive-judiciaryLaxmi + current affairs (CA)
ministries departmentsWiki
pressure group, informal asso.Vision
Representation of people’s actVision
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory..Vision
NGO, SHG etcVision
welfare schemes, bodiesVision + newspaper
social sector, health, edu, HRDCurrent affairs(CA) – newspaper + mrunal + insights + Vision IAS current affairs booklet  – made notes of imp schemes – Evernote – for all CA i did the same
governance, transparency, accountabilityCurrent Affairs
e-governanceVision + CA
role of civil serviceVision
India & neighborsRajiv Sikri – IR book + CA + Vajiram book on IR + vision notes on IR released in last month
bilateral/global grouping-do-
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest-do-
diaspora-do-
international bodies- structure mandate-do-

GENERAL STUDIES (MAINS) PAPER 3

TopicHow Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilizationMrunal + Sriram’s notes + Economic Survey + CA
inclusive growthVision + CA
budgetingVision
major crops, irrigationVision + Geo Ncert
agro produce – storage, marketingMrunal + Vision + CA
e-technology for famers-do-
farm subsidies, MSP-do-
PDS, buffer, food security-do-
technology mission-do-
animal rearing economicsMrunal
food processingMrunal
land reformsMrunal + Bipin Chandra some chapters of Post Independence India
liberalization11th NCERT Eco
infraCA
investment modelsVision
science-tech day to day lifeVision notes on Science + CA
Indian achievements in sci-techNIOS culture – last chapter
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPRVision
environmental impact assessmentVision
Disaster Management2nd ARC report – very good points – would be sufficient
non state actors, internal securityVajiram book on Internal Security – Very good
internal security – role of media, social networking siteVajiram book
cyber securityVajiram
money laundering-do-
border  Management-do-
organized crime, terrorism-do-
security agencies- structure mandateWiki

GENERAL STUDIES 4: ETHICS, INTEGRITY, APTITUDE

TopicHow Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topicsI did most of the topics from only one book – Chronicle Lexicon – which I think is more than sufficient for this paper for those topics. It does not cover in adequate detail certain topics for which I used Vision Ias.
attitude, moral influence etc.Lexicon
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etcLexicon
emotional intelligence, its use in governanceLexicon
moral thinkers of India and worldHow many thinkers did you prepare? – only the ones which were very imp – eg.Rabindranath Tagore and a rough idea of Plato Socrates and 1 or 2 others. But it is not very important to remember their philosphies verbatim as the question would never come as to “what might be considered ethical acoording to Plato?” but for other questions you might quote that as per this thinker, this act would be moral or immoral as per the need.
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc.Lexicon
corporate governanceVision
probity in governance, work cultureLexicon
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc.Vision
challenges of corruptionVision
case studies on above topicsPast year papers + Mock tests

GS4 ETHICS CASE STUDY ANSWERS IN MAINS 2014

In this paper , the most important thing is how you write your answer, I followed a general framework for writing case studies answers.

1. Start with identifying the values at conflict such as ambition and truthfulness etc. and identify the stakeholders concerned.

2. Then come on the possible scenarios that might take place . Write them clearly. Identify the impacts of any particular scenario on all stakeholders

3. Use a lot of value based terms – such as compassion,empathy,integrity,probity,transparency.

4. You can also use a particular principle to support your stand such as “ as per the utilitarian arguement – maximum benefit for maximum people” or as per the “golden rule”(never do wrong to anyone in any case) etc.

5. Distinguish between short term and long term benefits – dont forget to study env ethics

6. In the conclusion,clearly write the preferred solution and the values due to which you would take the stance.

7. I would also like to guide you to Sumit sir’s strategy for Ethics which I found very good – http://mrunal.org/2014/06/toppers-interview-sumit-kumar-cse-2013air-81-rohtak-mech-engineer-4-years-experience-mathematics-optional.html

For answer writing practice :

1. I gave Vision Ias Mains Test series – which had very good quality questions and their checking was of very high level – helped me to really improve my answer writing in Ethics

2. I also studied Gaurav Aggarwal Sir’s blog as to how to write a good answer in Ethics paper – as he has uploaded all his Vision Ias answer sheets on his blog https://thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/upsc-ias-prep-vision-ias-answer-scripts-gaurav-agrawal/

Do make sure that you get a lot of answer writing practice before you go for the final exam.

Q. in GS4 ethics papers, please give a sketchy overview of your case study answers:

caseyour approach/ keypoints

case1: your friend preparing UPSC

This question – in different forms – all 4 points have been raised before in various books and test series – and have standard answers – please refer Gaurav Aggarwal Sir’s answers . Ethical dillemas including short term vs long term and others ; values of integrity and probity etc;how does small scale corruption deleteriously affects Indian Economy etc

case2: Rameshwar the uptight UPSC topper.

Not giving in of course. Whistleblower + at your own disposal – use your authority to the max to prevent such cases.

case3: no bribe no contract.

Not giving bribe in any case. Explore other possible options.

case4: corrupt subordinates file bogus rape complaint against you.

As you have done nothing wrong – stay upright – dont ignore the commission – respond sincerely – dont go soft on disciplinary action – justice would take its own course – the right path.
in  the remaining bol-bachchan type questions (e.g. why ethics important, why probity difficult etc).Prepare standard answers for such questions – asked again and again in slightly different forms – give test series – have answer writing practice.

MAINS ANSWER-WRITING?

PaperBest attemptedAverage qualitynamesake answerTotal attempt
GS1220
GS2200
GS3200-210
GS4230
Opt-P1180
Opt-P2210

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]

1. I think one must attempt as many questions as possible – i tried to attempt all in which even if I had a rough idea – still had to leave some as I had absolutely no idea on them.

2. Answer writing is very imp to score high in Mains – go to the paper with a lot of practice – else writing for 3 hrs for 9 papers in a span of 5 days is almost impossible .

The time constraint is always there – hence necessary to write only the main points in a concise manner from as many dimensions as possible – read the question carefully and answer only what is asked. 1 line intro + 1 line conclusion max. No time for filler material – specially for questions you know well. Take time for every 10 marker as 7 mins.

3. Underline the main points – headings or sub-headins – make it as easy as possible for checker to understand your answers – he already has a lot of copies to check.Write neatly.

Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?

The space is adequate.

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.

I wrote as per the needs of the question. If I had multiple distinct points for the answer I would mostly write in bullet form. If it was more of a discussion on a single point,I would write in the paragraph form. Just let it be very clear and easy for the checker to read and understand.

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.

Exactly.Mostly only what is asked precisely. In some questions only – 1 line intro + 1 line conclusion max. No time for these fillers.

Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?

No.Just underlined with blue pen.

Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)

No. but if needed – then you should surely.

Q7. If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen?

With Pen if required.

Q8. Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand?

No time for such things.

Q9. You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen?

Blue pen. Pilot V5 – light in weight pen – necessary when you have to write for such a long time.

(Mrunal – since readers keep mailing such queries, therefore I’m asking the topper to clear all the air haha.)

MAINS OPTIONAL SUBJECT

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?

Chemistry. During the time of my preparation for IIT JEE, I developed an interest in Chemistry and scored well, got AIR 1 in Chemistry IIT JEE 2010. Interest + good past performance + high scoring potential if done well were my basis for chosing Chemistry.

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)

Only if a person has sound basics in this subject and an abiding interest would I suggest somone to take this.

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.)

I took coaching from DIAS in Delhi from RK Singh sir in Chemistry.

I found the coaching notes sufficient in Paper 2 for all topics.

For paper 1 – coaching notes + PSP for some topics such as electrochemistry would be sufficient + Abhijeet Aggarwal Sir’s notes could be used.

Abhijeet Aggarwal sir has written a detailed strategy on his blog which might be followed – though the number of books that he has mentioned is too large – only some of them need to be done from the exam point of view.

http://abhijeetagrawal.blogspot.in/

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?

None. Only books would be sufficient.

Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?

4-5 months.

Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?

Writing practice is very imp . Practice answer writing of all the previous year questions asked. Prepare standard answers to often asked questions.Test series of Dias may also be taken.

Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?

I maintained a synopsis for each chapter – for end minute revision – handrwritten.

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?

2014 had questions from inorganic in compulsory questions. Normally they are asked in optional questions. This proved to be my Achilles heel. Hence I would suggest that course completion irrespective of the type of question asked in the previous years is a must.

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? – for college grad, hobbies, place of origin, current affairs at national and international level?

Google all the details related to your DAF.

Brush up current affairs – keep reading newspapers after Mains – use Vision Ias current Affairs notes.

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. I did. From Samkalp,Vajiram and Sriram. The personal session at Sriram was very good. The group mock at Samkalp was excellent. Mock interviews are good to prepare for any unexpected and to generate a knack of thinking under pressure conditions and penetrating eyes. It also gives you a rough idea about the type of questions that could be asked.

2-3 mock interviews must be taken by the aspirants. Would gear you up for the final grilling.

Q3. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.

A sober light blue shirt + black trousers + 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’?

At home.Nothing as such.

DURING THE INTERVIEW

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

HC Gupta

Q2. How long was the interview?

Around 30 minutes

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?]

Same as stated above.

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)

A brief overview ( would write in detail soon and send you the link)

Chairperson

Q. Since when have you been preparing in college?

Answer: Since starting of 3rd year

Q. I don’t think then you have studied your engineering subject.

A: Sir, I think I have done justice to both, as could also be seen from my CGPA.

Q. How do we measure Earthquake? Tell its mechanism. ( due to Nepal Eq)

M1

Some Civil Engineering related technical questions

M2

Q. Does the 3 Idiots movie correctly represents the state of education in IITs?

A. No sir, IITs have a lot more to offer than what 3 Idiots movie shows. In terms of education, there is intense focus on understanding and rote learning is discouraged. Students are encouraged to innovate and research. There is a health competition among students, motivating each other to bring out the best in them.

Q. How would you generate revenues for the construction of Highway sector?

A. Gave some general points on new annuity based model – for bringing in private sector investment in the long term and how government would have to take the responsibility in the short term, as the private players are suffering from weak finances.

M3

Purely DAF based questions on hobbies and extra curricular activities

M4

Q. Gave an example of a township coming up in Mumbai. Wanted me to identify the model under which it is coming up.

A. Land pooling model

Q. What is land pooling?

A. Explained in detail

Q. Name some green buildings in Delhi.

A. I remembered only one during that time – Indira Paryavaran Bhawan

Q. Any other?

A. I don’t remember any other sir right now.

Q. Name some smart cities from which India could learn.

A. Named some – Tokyo, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt

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?

The interview was on Expected lines. No.

Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?

No.

Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?

Just go for it when scheduled.

CSE-2014 MARKSHEET

Q1. Please attach both prelim and final marksheet.

Prelims Marksheet

Paper1100.00
Paper2128.33
Total228

Mains and Interview

Subjects Marks
Essay (Paper-I)107
General Studies -I (Paper-Ii)082
General Studies -Ii (Paper-Iii)081
General Studies -Iii (Paper-Iv)078
General Studies -Iv (Paper-V)110
Optional-I (Chemistry) (Paper-Vi)128
Optional-II (Chemistry) (Paper-Vii)122
Written Total708
Personality Test195
Final Total903

Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?

Lower marks in Essay – so more practice here.

Lower marks in optional subject – so would increase the number of hours of preparation here.

CAREER BACKUP

Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?

None thought of yet.Still 22. Would have tried again.

Q2. When were you going to “execute” that backup plan? (e.g. after __ failed attempts/ after I cross __ age/after dad retires/ after girlfriend dumps me etc.)

I had no back up plans as I was sure that I wanted to join the services only.

VIEWS ON UPSC REFORMS

Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.

I don’t agree. It enables the person to show his proficiency or command over a specific subject in which he is trained in. This is not fully possible in GS due to its very dynamic nature and the limitless course.
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.

I don’t agree with the above statement. The role of coaching institutes has drastically decreased. Last minute learning of coaching prepared notes wont help anyone. You need consistent study of newspapers and standard reference books and writing practice to succeed in the exam. These days online repository of materials and data has rendered coaching institutes completely irrelevant.

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).

True. This should not have been done. There should be separate exams.

Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.

I agree.

Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of exam.

Yes this is much needed.At present the length of exam from pre to final result is excruciatingly long.

Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?

  1. Making interview more objective.
  2. Releasing cut-offs and marks of candidates after every stage as soon as possible
  3. Reducing the duration of this year long examination.

INSECURITY ABOUT PROFILE

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?

I have had a privileged background as I have studied in top convent school of Delhi and then graduated from IIT Delhi. Hence,I have not had this insecurity personally. But I guess, the more difficult circumstances you face in life to rise, that is if you are from a rural background or a Hindi medium background or economically not well off – that is all the more appreciated by anyone that I have met and I think is a great advantage in the interview. It gives the message that despite all the hardships and challenges, you have made to it to the top. J

WISDOM

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?

The main aim in life is to maximize happiness. Find what gives you happiness and go for the kill. Don’t think what your friend is doing, don’t think what the society wants you to do. Do what you want to do and you would definitely succeed. I would like to say that this exam tests patience and determination over everything else. If you are determined and hard working, it is a no-brainer that you would definitely make it.

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?

It would only enhance the taste of success at a later stage. Keep working hard, analyse your mistakes and weaknesses. Success is bound to follow.

CREDIT: FRIENDS/FAMILY

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 parents have stood like a rock behind me throughout  this preparation. They have had to sacrifice all their sources of enjoyments, outings and meeting with relatives as they firmly believed that a peaceful environment at home is most essential to study. I never had to worry about any financial constraints and never felt any lack of resources throughout my preparation. Hence I never had to bother about anything while in my preparation phase. I just had to concentrate on my studies which made my task easier .This saved precious time as I already had very less time at hand as I had given the exam just after my graduation.

My friends, from college and school have provided me intense motivation. Each one of my friends has excelled in his/her own respective fields. This has ingrained a culture of excellence in me too.They have always been there during my low phases to lift me up and to push me to do more.I would be ever grateful to them for this.

BOGUS MARKETING PROPAGANDA

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.

When I started my preparation, Mrunal.org was the 1st website that I came across, which I have extensively used for my preparation. In addition to using it for preparation, I have developed a strong emotional connect with this website and Mrunal. The way you you write, proved to be a big motivator for me during my course of preparation.

There are certain sections which I found to be extremely useful such as :

  1. Economy
  2. World Geography
  3. Topper’s Interview
  4. Current Affairs

I would like to thank you profusely for having this wonderful resource at the aspirants’ disposal during the difficult time of preparation. Carry on this awesome work. Best of luck for the future!!

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

20 Comments on “[Topper’s Interview] Pulkit Garg (AIR-490/CSE-2014) Chemistry Optional, Civil Engg.from Delhi”

  1. congratulations Pulkit Garg.

    1. Thanks Deepa :)

  2. Finally,
    Someone with chemistry optional!!!!
    Sir if possible, plz share your notes & strategy…
    (Coaching not available here)

  3. Sir I saw most of topper come from I IT or engineering file ,There is any topper who come from Arts faculty

  4. need help from pulkit sir ….how to get start for chemistry optional (no coaching notes but standard books are available )

  5. Awesome man! consistent and dedicated! …..He deserves this success

  6. @gaurav
    I got these books as reference books.
    If you have PG degree then plz give suggestions.

    Paula Bruce,
    Jagmohan
    Cotton & Wilkinson
    McMurray
    JD Lee
    Silverstein
    Claydon
    Atkin

  7. Sir please take some interview who is from art background, or hindi medium that bust the student confidence.these high profile person like IIT and engineers demotivate the under study student.

  8. Funny to see someone interested in development issues and changing society, but choosing ifs as the first option.

  9. To Mrunal: don’t publish my comment. It is slightly negative, may be perceived badly. But felt like expressing this to you anyway.

  10. PULKIT SIR, I WANT TO TAKE CHEMISTRY AS OPTIONAL FOR 2016. I AM FROM ENGINEERING BACKGROUND AND HAVE A DECENT INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT. IF I PREPARE WITHOUT COACHING WITH REQUIRED BOOKS AND NOTES, WILL IT BE POSSIBLE ? HOW MUCH IS THE SYLLABUS FOR PREPARATION DIFFERENT FOR JEE AND UPSC ?

  11. i am 2016 aspirant with chemistry as optional. anyone plz guide me if u have previous experience

  12. Sir i am in final year doing bsc with non medical stream will chemistry be perfect as optional subject and what preparations i have to do right now pls tell me

  13. Dear Pulkit,
    Congratulations brother. An inspiration + guide to me. Keep rocking!

  14. Thanks…..To set an epitome….1st attempt….with CHEMISTRY as
    ..OPTIONAL…..in CSE’s Mains….!!!!!

  15. It will be helpful if we can get your notes of chemistry…

  16. Cngs! Sir i am reading with chemistry hons in bsc 2nd year , can i prepair from now for civil service

  17. Sir
    Plz you can send me your notes (chemistry) on my emai I’d

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