[Topper’s Interview] Siddharth Jain (Rank-13/CSE-2015) Mathematics, Earlier IFS & SBI PO Cleared

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India Yearbook
  1. Candidate Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Struggle of a Senior player
  7. Prelims (CSAT) General studies
  8. Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
  9. Prelim accuracy
  10. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  11. Mains: Essay
  12. General Studies(Mains) paper 1
  13. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  14. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  15. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  16. Mains answer-writing?
  17. Mains Optional Subject
  18. Before the interview
  19. During the interview
  20. CSE-2015 Marksheet
  21. Career Backup
  22. Views on UPSC reforms
  23. Insecurity about profile
  24. Wisdom
  25. Credit: Friends/family
  26. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Q.Details
NameSiddharth Jain
Rank in CSE-201513
Roll No.0003413
Age23
Total attempts in CSE (including this one)2
Optional SubjectMathematics
Schooling MediumEnglish
College mediumEnglish
Medium chosen for Mains answersEnglish
Medium chosen for InterviewEnglish
Home town/cityFaridabad
Work-experience if anyNo
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failuresSBI PO cleared(did not join)
Indian forest Service ,2015 ,AIR 13
IIT JEE cleared
Details of coaching(if used)1:Vision Ias and synergy for test series.(GS)
2: GS paper 4 under SK mishra sir
3:IMS for mathematics, mainly used the notes and test series though I enrolled for the coaching.
4:Mrunal.org for literally everything
5:Insight for answer writing
6:Essay writing under Vikas ranjan Sir(chronicles)
7:Attended mocks at Samkalp,Chanakya IAS academy
Service preferences (Top-5)IAS,IRS(IT),IRS(customs),IFS,IPS
state cadre preference (Top-5)Haryana,Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh,Gujrat,Punjab

Education

% in class 1096
% in class 1291
Graduation course and %Mechanical engineering
7.4
Name of college, city, passing out yearIIT Roorkee,2014
Post-graduationNops
Any other professional coursesNops
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievementsVipassana meditation (mentioned in DAF),Other than that I am a sport lover and I play many sports

Introduction

Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?
Siddharth Jain
My name is Siddharth Jain.I live with my parents and my sister.My father is a Chartered Accountant and my mother is a house wife.In the third year (college) ,I got the idea of entering into the services as this service gives the opportunity to live a dynamic,interesting and adventurous life(I hope so J ) along with providing me a platform to serve the society.I find this as the most suitable service where your actions will have the maximum impact on the society .In short life will be fun and more meaningful for me and others

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)

  • Don’t get over influenced by others.One will find as many sources to study from as there are aspirants .Just follow some genuine sources and books.This might be in electronic format or paper format.Yes I followed electronic resources which I will mention in subsequent questions.
  • Typical day ,started with the newspaper(The hindu and some sections from Indian express).I used to regularly make notes.I made hard copy notes because I was not comfortable with soft copy notes.However if someone is comfortable with the latter then do it,as it is much more comfortable to revise and update soft notes.(One can use Evernote as mentioned by Gaurav aggarwal sir on his blog )
  • After that ,I usually wrote 2-3 answers from Insights on india.I maintained a separate copy for these answers.After every answer , I cross checked my points ,from the good answers written on insights.Then, i used to write down the points that I did not cover in my answer(Preferrably with a different color pen).After 10-15 days, I used to revise the answers and analysed which particular dimension I did not cover in my answers (By going through the differently coloured pen remarks).By doing this our brain starts analyzing in newer dimensions and makes our answer writing more holistic.
  • After that , I used to practice maths for 5-6 hours.
  • During lunch time, I watched rajya sabha or Munal videos.
  • In the evening ,I used to do physical exercise and meditate.
  • Dinner time ,we friends used to have food together .We discussed previous year question papers or analysed on any current affairs topic
  • Along with this, I used to go through each and every new update of mrunal.org .You have an awesome coverage, SERIOUSLY

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?

  1. Set targets for yourself:Prepare a short and a long term time table and follow it judiciously.If you lack the will,join some test series(the deadlines for test series will keep you on track).Giving yourself a target will keep your mind focused.
  2. Study momentum:If possible join a library or reading room.Having a good ambience to study generally benefits.Select an optional that you love.So that if you get bored with studies , you can go through it.
  3. Mood Swings :Do some form of mental exercise.I used to meditate(Vipassana meditation).One can do some breath exercises or Yoga.
  4. Distractions:Use smart technology in  a smart way.Dont get too much swayed away by your friends party bash pics on facebook.Just realize that you need to take care of yourself for 2-3 years and for the rest of life the government of India will take care of you 😉 .Take somebreak to freshen yourself up regularly.

Other than this one can listen to motivational songs,watch some motivational movies.(Pursuit of happiness , is one such movie).

Struggle of a Senior player

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.

  • Surround yourself with positive people and avoid negativity in life.UPSC can take a heavy toll on your health both physical and mental.So take care of yourself.
  • To avoid the mental prison of the vicious cycle of UPSC,keep some good backup for yourself.I gave other exams this year to have a good fallback career.Having a good backup will give you confidence and it improves your performance

WORD OF ADVICE:Evaluate your mistakes judiciously.Discuss with your friends or teachers and just work on them.Follow the strategy of answer writing as done by last year toppers.It really works.

Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
I got decent marks in last attempt and could have cleared the exam if it were not for essay writing .I was given 68 marks in Essay which ruined my chances of entering into the service.

  1. I did not practice essay writing.
  2. Spent a large amount of time writing a flowery introduction.I started with a story .It ate almost half an hour of my time(just the introduction)
  3. My coverage was not at all holistic.

CHANGES:

  1. Practiced essay writing every weekend.
  2. Joined essay test series under Vikas ranjan sir,chronicles
  3. Wrote the essay ,just like an article from The Hindu.
  4. Introduction was crisp ,simple and straight forward.I defined the topic very well
  5. Covered many dimensions.
  6. Simple conclusion in which I summarized the essay. Click here to know more about it

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topicstrategy/booklist/comment
History AncientOld NCERTS(Ancient India), A quick glance of New Ncerts
History MedievalOLD NCERT(Medieval India), ), A quick glance of New Ncerts
History Modern (Freedom Struggle)
  • Spectrum for history of modern India
  • 12th class old ncert by Bipin Chandra(to cover history between 1757-1857)
Culture and societyNitin singhania sir’s notes,
An introduction to Indian art(Class11 NCERT),
CCRT (selectively,atleast see all the topics and the photos),
Miscellenous areas like Republic day parade(focus on cultural “jhankis”,you can do this from pib)
Old Ncert (ancient and medieval history):To cover topics like bhakti movements,architecture etc
Polity (theory + current)Laxminkanth,
India year book chapter 2
Economy (theory + current)Mrunal,Sriram
Science (theory + current)Rajya sabha tv(science reporter episodes),
Mrunal plus pick any coaching material on general science (That have compilation of useful points from science NCERTs
Environment (theory + current)Shankar IAS,Mrunal,Economic survey chapter on environment
geography physicalNcert,Mahesh Kumar Barnwal,Videos on mrunal by Rajtanil mam
geography India-do-
geography world-do-
other national/international current affairsMrunal,Vision Ias,Rajya sabha tv,Insights
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff-Do-

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2015 paper?
Google the last year questions to understand or to get a slight hint about the focus areas of the paper setter.This might change from year to year but atleast you will have a good direction.
Prepare your brain in away that you can make intelligent guesses.For this practice many tests.Practice all last year questions.You can use sites like Exam robots to practice questions.
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-2016 (if you were going to appear)?

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topicstrategy / booklist
MathsLeft
ReasoningLeft
comprehensionLeft
Decision MakingLeft

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2016 paper.
The paper has just been reduced to a formality .So focus more on paper 1

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
Yes, I did.However joining a test series is not essential for this as one can easily buy test papers from the market(Rajendra nagar or mukherjee nagar)
I think mock tests are very essential.It helps developing your intuitive skills,so that you can make intelligent guesses.Further if you attempt tests,you learn various points that you might find difficulty in memorizing .(For example if I have a question on the location of a national park in a mock test,there is a good chance that it gets memorized )
My strategy is to attempt all the 100 questions even if I don’t know them.So I used to give many tests.For the questions in whcih I was not at all confident , still I wud try to figure out an answer using the options.
Probability wise one is always at an advantage if we can eliminate even one of the option
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2015

attempted Q.correct (Expected)Official score
GS100128
aptitude100160

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paperYour preparation strategy / booklist?
English paperLeft
your regional languageBrought a book with last year questions and answers(HINDI).I did not give much time , but don’t be very careless with this.Some of my friends were rejected in Hindi last year

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2015
None

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
1:First of all, I discussed what went wrong in my last year essay with some senior players and vikas ranjan sir.
2:Building on the advice , I started practicing essays weekly from insight secure.
3:I got those essays evaluated by friends(who scored good marks)
4:Joined essay test series at Chronicle under vikas ranjan sir.
*When you enter the exam hall for essay paper,just look at the syllabus of all 4 GS papers and cover all the dimensions.

Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?
1:Character of an institution is reflected in its leader
2:Dreams that should not let India sleep Click here

General Studies(Mains) paper 1

TopicHow did you prepare?
Culture1:Nitin singhania notes,
2:Selective reading from old ncerts(example stuff on bhakti movement,Sufism etc)
3:Vision IAS test series (apart from giving tests ,I brought answers of all the tests,even the ones that I did not do and read those answers).
PS:Point 3 will be the same for every topic so I will avoid repeating it
4:An introduction to Indian arts(11th class NCERT)
5:Selective reading from CCRT
Indian history1:Spectrum
2:Some chapters from Bipin Chandra that have not been covered in spectrum
3:Old ncert by bipin Chandra,class 11(to cover period between 1757-1857)
world history1:VisionIAS notes
2:Ncert
post-independence India1:Pradhan mantra series on You tube (just to get a brief idea about the events)
2:Selected chapters from Bipin Chandra.
Indian societyno specific reading
role of women, poverty etc.-do-
globalization on Indian societyPrepared effect on globalization on tribals,families,woman,caste system,youth,old age ,movies,religion,culture etc.(In short think of the topics that can be asked and prepare the answers)
communalism, regionalism, secularismno specific reading
world geo physicalNCERT,Videos on mrunal.org,Map practice,Mahesh kumar barnwal
resource distributionMrunal.org,Mahesh kumar barnwal
factors for industrial locationMrunal.org,Mahesh kumar barnwal
earthquake tsunami etcVision ias
impact on flora-faunaChill topic

General studies (Mains) paper 2

TopicHow Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc.Laxminkanth(learn important articles ,DPSP,fundamental duties,Fundamental rights),
Vision IAS notes
comparing Constitution with worldVision IAS notes,
Relate with current affairs(For example for the news regarding appointment of judiciary,the question could have been compare the Indian system with system around the world for the same)
parliament, state LegislaturesJust relate with current affairs
executive-judiciary-do-
ministries departments-do-
pressure group, informal asso.Vision Ias,mrunal.org
Representation of people’s actVision Ias
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory..Chill topic,still you can go through Vision Ias
NGO, SHG etcVision IAS,Mrunal.org
welfare schemes, bodiesMade self notes for various schemes(Mrunal.org provided a page list that one should prepare from India Year Book,i made notes from that)
social sector, health, edu, HRDMrunal.org,further  one should be aware of basic facts to enrich answer,Example India social sector spending,ratings on various parameters,etc
governance, transparency, accountabilityVision Ias,Mrunal .org
e-governanceMrunal.org,VisionIas
role of civil serviceVision Ias,Mrunal.org
India & neighborsRajya sabha tv (Indias world),The hindu,Mrunal.org
bilateral/global grouping-do-
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest-do-
DiasporaVision IAS,Rajya sabha tv (Indias world),The hindu
international bodies- structure mandateRelate with current affairs and do those bodies only

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

TopicHow Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilizationMrunal.org (however nothing specific in this,just relate with current affairs)
inclusive growthChill topic,still one can go through Vision Ias notes to learn some key words
BudgetingGaurav Aggarwal sirs blog,Vision Ias
major crops, irrigationMajor crops (left),Irrigation(Vision Ias),dryland irrigation techniques(Some unique techniques mentioned in Mrunal sir’s geography videos)
agro produce – storage, marketingVision Ias,Mrunal
e-technology for famers-do-
farm subsidies, MSP-do-
PDS, buffer, food security-do-
technology mission-do-
animal rearing economicsMrunal.org
food processingMrunal.org
land reformsMrunal.org
LiberalizationChill topic
InfraMrunal.org
investment modelsMrunal.org
science-tech day to day lifeRajya sabha tv(science reporter),Mrunal.org
Indian achievements in sci-tech-do-
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPRBasics form Shankar IAS material on science and technology
environmental impact assessmentShankar Ias on environment(There is a chapter on EIA to know the basics)
Disaster ManagementGaurav aggarwal sir’s blog and Vision IAS(for knowledge on static part)
non state actors, internal securityVision IAS
internal security – role of media, social networking siteVision IAS
cyber securityVision IAS
money launderingVision IAS
border  ManagementVision IAS
organized crime, terrorismVision IAS
security agencies- structure mandateJust do the ones in current affairs

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

TopicHow Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topicsSk mishra Sir class
attitude, moral influence etc.-do-
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc-do-
emotional intelligence, its use in governance-do-
moral thinkers of India and worldHow many thinkers did you prepare?
Benthem,Kant,Rawl’s,Mill,Plato,Socrates,Aristotle and then Indian thinkers.However the questions will never be directly from thinkers.They will always ask to interpret some famous line given by a thinker in the present context.So don’t mug up the thinkers.Just understand them.
One can watch videos by professor Michael Sanders(Justice)
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc.Sk mishra sir class
corporate governance-do-
probity in governance, work culture-do-
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc.-do-,See citizen charter of some government organization.Next year the questions of drafting citizen charter might come
challenges of corruption-do-
case studies on above topicsSk mishra sir notes

Q. Many candidates found Mains-2015 Ethics paper very peculiar and “out of the book”. What are your observations and tips for future aspirants regarding preparation of this paper?
Ethics paper is very important . Remember the desire of the paper is to take out the administrator in you(not the philosopher in you.)
TIPS AND STRATEGY
1:For each and every word mentioned in the syllabus ,prepare at least 200-300 words.For example on empathy , prepare its meaning,An example in life where you showed empathy,how to inculcate more empathy in public servants etc.
2:Prepare a value list from A to Z and enrich your answers by using these values
3:Mug up the Fundamental rights,DPSP,F.D.,Central civil service conduct rule ,1964.This will be very essential in introducing case studies.Always give a future course of action
4:Manage time properly .Start your paper with Section A(just my personal opinion).
5:For every word mentioned in the syllabus prepare some examples(possible from your life and life of an administrator).Some anectodes have been mentioned on Insights.
6:Learn important administrative jargons from the newspaper to be used in case studies.
7:Always give a future course of action in case studies.

Mains answer-writing?

Please tell us how many marks worth attempt did you give? along with comments if any, in the following cells:

PaperBest attemptedAverage qualitynamesake answerTotal attempt
GS1237.512.5250
GS2212.512.525250
GS322512.512.5250
GS421040250(210 practically,just wrote 40 marks answer in 5 minutes)
Opt-P1220220
Opt-P2235235

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]
I think ,one should attempt all.Dont completely make up an answer ,but try to answer even unknown questions by guessing from the words used in the question.If the question is entirely factual and new,then the candidate can leave it.

Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
They give plenty of space.

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.
It does not matter.I wrote some questions in bullet points ,some in paragraph form.Chose any format ,which you think can make the life of the examiner simpler.
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.
I tried to follow the introduction body conclusion format.However if time did not permit ,I skipped the intro and conclusion part.That said,I fell in ethics(case study),intro body conclusion is important.
Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?
Nops

Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)
Yes
Q7. If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen?
pencil
Q8. Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand?
By hand

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

Mains Optional Subject

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
Mathematics
1:Mathematics as an optional is very objective.The marks that you get will never depend on the perception of the examiner.Infact, if you see the score of various mathematic students you can see very high as well as very low marks.So if one knows that he/she is well prepared,he will surely excel in the subject.Further mathematics is such an optional ,that if you go well prepared,it can compensate any of the blunders that you have committed in general studies paper.In short,it can be very scoring.
2:I am good at mathematics and was confident in scoring above average marks.
3:You will not get bored ,if you have interest in the subject.
4:The syllabus is static(i am referring to the dynamic part in various humanity optionals like geography).If you have prepared once,your preperation remains the same,which will benefit you in further attempts.

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)
Chose mathematics if you are confident in it.

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 used IMS notes.Candidate can go through Krishna series books or see the booklist mentioned in Prakash Rajpurohit Sir’s blog.
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?
No current affairs
Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
12
Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
I was practicing Mathematics tests since july
Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?
Yes.Paper format
Q. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2015 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?
Paper was slightly difficult and the pattern has changed a bit.Now there are mixed questions,so one might not be able  to leave a particular topic.Precautions:Write steps properly.My marks in mathematics are low because I did not write steps properly.

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?
I prepared my DAF and went through the last year transcripts(a book was published on the  same by Forum Ias)
For current affairs, I did mrunal, newspaper and Vision Ias material.
Watch some interviews, especially of people like Yogendra Yadav ,before giving your UPsc interview.Try to answer in  a way these people answer in interviews(calm,composed and precise)
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 attended mock at Chanakya.It was very good.Though questions were not similar,but the atmosphere was very similar to real interview.
I also attended mock at Samkalp.It was good.
Yes, I believe giving mocks is very important.I would have given many more mocks if I had more time.
Q3. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?
At my home(in Faridabad)
Forum Ias book on transcripts plus Vision IAS material for current affairs.There are books to study about your home state.I bought them but did not read(was very boring)
For mechanical engineering questions,I bought the Made easy IES book for interview
Q4. Any words of wisdom about Medical checkup?
Do not party a day before. 😉
Q5. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.
A blue shirt,tie and suit.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Manbir sir
Q2. How long was the interview?
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?]
I always replied in an optimistic way ,that I can use my graduation in civil services.(And then prepared the answer for the obvious question that will emerge from it.)
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)
I have written down the interview scripts of three of the interview I have faced so far .(IFS 2014,IFS 2015 and Upsc 2015).Click here

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?
Some questions were expected like explain the JAT reservation issue.
No it was not at all a stress interview

Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?
Cant recall anything.
Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?
Do not party a day before 😉

CSE-2015 Marksheet of Siddharth Jain

Q1. Please attach both prelim and final marksheet
Prelims mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Paper 1128
Paper 2160

Mains mark sheet-

SUBJECTSMARKS
ESSAY (PAPER-I)142
GENERAL STUDIES -I (PAPER-II)103
GENERAL STUDIES -II (PAPER-III)082
GENERAL STUDIES -III (PAPER-IV)097
GENERAL STUDIES -IV (PAPER-V)099
OPTIONAL-I (MATHEMATICS) (PAPER-VI)114
OPTIONAL-II (MATHEMATICS) (PAPER-VII)154
WRITTEN TOTAL791
PERSONALITY TEST187
FINAL TOTAL978

Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?
Will write all the steps properly in Mathematics exam

Career Backup

Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
I was selected in Indian forest service ,this year.Would have joined it

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(hahahaha) me etc.)
After this attempt.

Views on UPSC reforms

What are your views on following issues?
Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.
I will desist from answering this due to conflict of interest.(Mathematics is considered a highly scoring optional if  prepared well)

Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?
First of all,I think if the services in UPSC are about management and administration,why should the paper be different from various management exams (Example CAT).Thus there has to be some focus on CSAT also.
However,it might be a disadvantage for people from rural backgrounds.Thus a perfect balance has to be made.
Thus I feel that the direction of change is correct ,however the magnitude of change is debatable.

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 Mains-syllabus in 2015. Let’s face it, most candidates who gave Mains-2015 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 reparing from far-away area, without any financial resources, high-speed internet or contacts in Delhi.
Yes , unfortunately this is true.

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).
Yes ,it is a disadvantage to the students appearing solely for Ifos.This point can be considered.Further ,the concept of extended list should be started in Ifos

Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.
Yes,this will bring more transperancy.Infact in JEE exam students can take out the OMR sheet(not exactly the omr,but the answers that they have marked in a sheet similar to OMR).Following the same and disclosing the prelims answer keys and cut off can be a good option.

Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of exam.
Yes,if it is feasible both technically and economically.

Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?
1:Try to reduce the subjectivity in interview marks (There has been a wonderful study on this. Link
2:Will explain about the scale down rules.
3:Will show marks of both the essays separately.

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?
Do not bother about all this.Infact the interviewer will be impressed if you are from a very humble background and because of your hardwork you reach till the interview stage.

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?
1:Chose the correct optional.Do not follow the crowd.
2:Do not chose a graduation subject just because it will help in UPSC.Chose a subject which is an end in itself,i.e. which will provide you with good job and backup.
3:Take care of your physical(Do regular exercise,eat healthy) and mental health(meditate or do yoga)
4:Have a good command over the medium(language) of the exam i.e. if you chose English you should be good at English language skills
5:Do not give your first attempt just for the sake of clearing prelims.Else you will waste the time between prelims and mains.
6:Be humble and try to learn as much as possible.Have a curious mind.
WISDOM OF LIFE :Do not take your life very seriously.Enjoy the process.Do not associate yourself with this body and mind.Realize the temporal nature of life.

Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2015. They’re feeling cynical, hopeless and depressed- what is your message to them?
Analyse your mistakes and give the next attempt with that understanding.Keep a backup always (for your career).It will give you confidence on the examination day.Hard work will never go waste.Dont be depressed by failures in short term,you never know what surpirises will life bring to you in the longer term

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?
I owe my success to my entire family and my friends.I would like to name a few : Ishendra ,Navneet ,Avinash ,Omkar ,Aishwarya, Unik, Gaurav, Rahil, Ankit, Shivam ,Alok, Dheeraj,Faraz,Piyush,Saichand,Sumit,lokesh,Rahul

BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Q. You are well aware of the sacred rule of conducting toppers interview- 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 love your site Mrunal sir.I went through almost all your articles,stuff and videos.The jokes are super cool ;)..The content is exhaustive and you make things very easy to learn. Keep up the good work.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  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


So far 64 Comments posted

  1. Sun

    Mrunal.org is bible of economics…
    Hats off sir

    1. sammit

      helo sir i m preparing for bank po exam can you suggest best book for maths which include all typ of questions

  2. Kamal rajput

    Economic option toppers 2015…please post here..

  3. Pushpendra K Gupta

    Sir, thanks for this information. Siddharth Sir, can you mention your schedule of a day. I also have Maths as an optional. But I can’t manage 2-3 hours either. Please help here. THANKS.

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Hi Pushpendra.i have mentioned the schedule in d “electronic vs paper ” section in the above mentioned interview.if still your doubt persists ,the essence of my schedule was to give maximum time to mathematics..that is around 5 hrs daily

  4. deepak jha7

    Many many Congratulation sir , can you share your solved ims mathematics test paper pdf and some mathematics notes pdf or scanned copy .

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Hi Deepak.Will try to do so soon.Visit the mathematics section on my blog Siddharthjainias.wordpress..However i am not in town,so will do so by the end of this month

  5. harsh gupta

    Sir I am interested in ies so can you tell m paper pattern???

  6. sumit

    I did not understand one thing ,if you were an IITian then what was the need to worry about back up??

  7. omkar shendure

    Congrats Bro…IITR Rocksssss………

    Omkar from IIT roorkee

  8. Gaurav

    and why iitian are taking examinations of bank po …..height hai ..yaar haq Marne ki…berojgaar ki…

  9. Nikhil kumar

    Haq kya maarna bhai
    Naukri usey milegi jo kaabil h ap unse zada mehnat krke lelo naukri !

  10. Ramana Reddy

    wat does backup mean??

  11. Abhinav

    Hi, Can you please mention your attempts for Maths Paper 1 & 2, Also which Qs you attempted in Paper 2. I was not able to attempt much in Paper 2 of Maths and not even sure if they are covered in Books mentioned by previous Maths toppers. Thanks.

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Questions: 2,3, and 6 in mathematics paper 2 .Attempt mentioned above for all papers including GS

  12. Rishav

    Congrats sir for the success!

    As you are recommending to not go for the classroom course of IMS I am also preparing for the maths optional on my own and I’m thinking to get their study material. But their cost is a bit high (approx 14k). Is there any alternative to get the study material.?

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Hi Rishav.I am not saying that classroom course should not be opted for.It depends on the candidate,he may or may not join depending on the confidence ,he has in this optional.I could not continue the classroom coarse because i had to come from roorkee on weekends to attend the batch and i was more or less comfortable with self study in maths.I am not aware of any alternative to get the material.If you stay in Delhi,you can visit the book shops in rajendra nagar/mukherjee nagar.I am sure they can provide you the material.Their(IMS) material is quiet good and test series is excellent.So do not compromise on that because of cost

      1. Rishav Kumar

        Thanks a lot sir for your advice! Looking forward to some great post for maths optional on your blog! 🙂

  13. Arun

    Can I choose different language for CSE optional paper?
    I want to choose hindi language for all other papers except optinals..
    And English for optinals..
    Can I do this???

  14. Arun

    Can I choose different language for CSE optional paper?
    I want to choose hindi language for all other papers except optinals..
    And English for optinals..
    Can I do this??????

  15. Nikhil

    Yes venkanna just reads his notes in class
    You can buy their notes from any photocopy shop of old rajinder ngr

  16. kisan

    what to read in the reference books.we have to go through all reference books or some topics..

  17. Siddharth Jain

    Hi Pushpendra.i have mentioned the schedule in d “electronic vs paper ” section in the above mentioned interview.if still your doubt persists ,the essence of my schedule was to give maximum time to mathematics..that is around 5 hrs daily

  18. kisan

    i mean is that i have to read the whole reference books or some chapters ? please guide me sir..

  19. Sanjeev Mishra

    The most mentally stable guy to top Civil services. You have a lot of clarity of mind 🙂

    I guess anyone who got top 100 ranks or even top 500 ranks are almost similar. There is an usual obsession with IAS and top 100 ranks. IRS is an equally awesome service.

  20. Sushi

    No geography topper ?

  21. VISHAL KUMAR

    hello siddharth sir,congrats on your success,sir i am a student of iit kanpur.i cleared jee in 2015 in second attempt,didn’t secured a good rank ,anyhow managed to get into iit.i am average in mathematics but want to prepare this subject as my optional in upsc.i want to ask you that can i get a rank under 100 in upsc despite being suffered by my past ranks.
    any kind of motivation is appreciated.

    1. Siddharth Jain

      The past doesnt matter.Just learn from the your mistakes.You are more experienced than others in that regard.Now follow the correct strategy and avoid the mistakes you did in other competitive exams

  22. Farhan

    Hi,
    Can someone plz share the link for e-books of mathematics optional referred by Prakash Rajpurohit sir.

  23. Working_professional

    Simply No
    Wait for next year…..max. will be from Geography !!!!

  24. thoughtprocess

    Hello sir
    i had a confusion regarding the old and new ncerts of geography . which ones do i need to study ?

    Thanks!

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Both are good unlike history where old NCERTS are better.

  25. shweta singh

    Hello sir

    I had a confusion regarding the old and new N.c.e.r.t.s for geography ? which ones do i need to study?

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Both are good unlike history where old NCERTS are better

  26. Satya

    Congrats Siddharth for the success!

    Can you please throw some light on the reference books that are compulsory along with IMS Material?

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Hi satya.The books have been mentioned in Prakash rajpurohit Sir’s blog

  27. AJEET SINGH

    sir apne IFS k liye kaun se 2 subject choose kiya tha. .?

  28. Vikas

    Congratulations Siddharth Sir 🙂
    Sir till which month current affairs should be done for this year prelims ?

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Atleast till last week of july

  29. chandu

    Congrats wish you all the best

  30. PUSHPENDRA K GUPTA

    Thanks sir

  31. kisan

    please mention the chapters to be studied in those bokks..is that i have to read all chapters in the reference books

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Hi kisan.There are no specific chapters.Candidates generally go through all the chapters.If not possible jst take a look at the examples

  32. Hemant satwaliya

    Sir I am good in mathematics and my target is to score around 450+ in mathematics(I am qualified IIT JAM) and I will give cse-2017 so which book would be good as a combined
    (450 marks give by upsc)

  33. kisan

    plz sir .i m looking forward to your suggestion.
    please mention the chapters to be studied in those books..is that i have to read all chapters in the reference books or please guide me which are the topics.

    1. Siddharth Jain

      Hi kisan.There are no specific chapters.Candidates generally go through all the chapters.If not possible jst take a look at the examples

      1. kisan

        THANKS A LOT SIR.

  34. suraj kumar panda

    Congrats sidhath sir on your success. Sir,i am a hindi medium student and want to take maths optional in hindi medium.Presently I am doing b.Sc. Maths in hindi medium.Is it possible to take this option in hindi medium,what are cons?

  35. Rohit

    Siddharth it’s late….But congrats!
    I was going through interviews n come across urs one. I was reading comments that students have posted here. Someone has criticized u…..but he need to go through ur interview again. Ur r one of the candidate who is addressing others doubts. I don’t know why ppl r so impulsive.
    Good luck for ur tasks….hope I will also clear the exam this year….

  36. Pradeep Dalal

    Sir All the Best for your Journey Ahead! How did u mentally prepare for preparation? what are dos and dont’s while preparation? Did you carry out your daily routine in the same way when you were a school student or you had develop all together a different mindset? Do have a habit of getting good marks throughout your academic life -is it indispensible?

  37. rahul jadaun

    congrats siddharth sir on your success and thanks for having so humble and helping nature.
    i saw your vedios on youtube and got some good and positives for gs papers.
    but for maths optional sir what books from krishna series are requried from named as gen.or unfinied.
    please tell us sir

  38. Rohit

    Hellp Siddharth Sir, can i have your eMail Id so that i can get in touch with you

  39. kishan patel

    nice profile . jay hind

  40. raj

    Hi siddharth, sir regarding gs paper 3 u mentioned mrunal.org for infrastructure related topics I am preparing for 2017,so should I wait for new videos on infrastructure topics or watch the old ones. Plz reply

  41. SHUBHAM SINGH

    Sir I want to know that if I choose mathematics for Civil then what is the circumference of study…course of graduation or post graduation.

  42. Akash

    I’m not sure if you are still visiting this page, but I’ll try my luck coz I can’t add you on facebook. I had two quick questions related to Maths optional and IFoS respectively:
    1) Where should I complete the Rigid Body dynamics and Fluid Mechanics included in the Paper 2?
    2) What optional should I add to Maths in IFoS? Is Forestry a good choice to complete the syllabus quickly?

  43. Rishabh Tiwari

    Sir,is it possible to clear upsc exam in 1st attempt under 100 rank right after the graduation from engineering college if I prepare for it from 2nd or 3rd year of college without coaching and right strategy???
    P.s. I am not from IIT

  44. RAJAT JAIN

    Jai Jinendra Sir,
    Heartiest Congratulations for your success. Myself Rajat Jain from NIT Rourkela persuing B.Tech in Civil Engg. 3rd Year. I’ve realised that i’ve no interest in Civil Engg. And I’ve started preparing for Civil Services and I’m going to choose Mathematics as optional subject. So, can you please guide me regarding this. Which books shall I follow? Where can I get the material for self study? I gave mains in Hindi and then I faced lots of difficulty here in subjects. My current CGPA is 7.10. I’m in dilemma regarding the medium. If i choose Hindi medium, then the material availability would be less. If i choose English, then I’ll be unable to express better.
    Please suggest me. I will be highly obliged to you Sir.

  45. abhineet

    hello sir , i am very skeptical about reading the 2nd arc reports coz i dont think it will be easy to retain them . what is ur say on reading all the reports ? pleaee reply soon

  46. PRAVESH PRASHAR

    HLO SIR CAN U PROVIDE MATHEMATICS MATERIALS FOR MAINS

  47. vikash

    sir plspost E1 SERIES OF ETHICS pls sir

  48. ANSHUL DAWAR

    sir my name is ANSHUL DAWAR …i just passed out 12 standard …i was preprating for IITJEE form my 10 standard …got selected in jee mains…and i have jee advanced on 21st may…..but my dream is to become an IAS officer…i like chemistry very much….would u like to guide me…..!!!!

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