1. Introduction
  2. Essay
  3. Your Study plan
  4. CSAT (Paper I) General studies
  5. CSAT Paper II (Aptitude)
  6. Mains Examination
  7. Compulsory Language papers
  8. General Studies paper I
  9. General Studies paper 2
  10. Anthropology
  11. Public Administration
  12. Marksheet


Name Sridhar P N
Roll number 311458
Rank (CSE 2011) 267
Optional Subjects Public Administration and Anthropology
Medium for Mains Exam English
Mains Examination Centre Hyderabad
Number of Attempts 1
Details of Graduation and Post-Grad.
  1. MBA, IIM Calcutta
  2. B.E, Vasavi College of Engineering, Hyderabad)
Schooling (Medium) English
Extracurricular activities,
hobbies, achievements etc.
Playing Cricket, Watching Tennis, Browsing the net
Are you a working professional? Yes (Sales Manager, Dabur India Ltd)
If yes, then did you leave your job
or prepared while on the job?
Left the job before Prelims
Did you take Coaching? Prelims: Yes
Mains: Yes
Interview: Yes
Did you buy any postal courses? No
Did you join any Mock test series? Yes
Did you appear in any other competitive exams? Yes
If yes, provide the details: CAT



Q. When and how did the inspiration and idea of joining civil service come in your mind?

The idea of joining the civil services was there from my graduation days. Moreover, my family was always inclined towards a career in civil service for me. Finally, I took the plunge a few years after my Post Graduation

The Choice of Optional Subjects

Q7. After a person decides to appear in civil service exam, the first big obstacle is “Choice of optional subjects”. What factors did you consider before selecting your optional?

I was always clear on my Optional Subjects – Public Administration and Anthropology. The easy availability of coaching and material for these subjects in Hyderabad was the prime reason.


Q. People initially prepare with much enthusiasm but then a boredom phase appears. How did you sustain the study-momentum throughout this journey?

I agree that boredom is bound to set in, especially when the exam process itself takes one long year. In my case, since I was married, I had added responsibilities. I used to relax by spending time with my family or going out for a movie on weekends. Also meeting friends with whom you can discuss/share your views also used to rejuvenate me after a constant phase of study.


On an average, How many hours did you study per day? How many months did it take you to complete the core syllabus of GS and optional subjects?

On an average, I prepared for 6-7 hours per day. The core syllabus of GS took me about 5 months to complete. Public Administration and Anthropology were mostly done after Prelims (4 months), although I attended coaching for a part of these subjects before the Prelims.


How did you use computer and internet for your exam-preparation?

By and large, I stuck to books and newspaper (The Hindu) for my mains preparation. Only for a few miscellaneous areas in Optional subjects, I checked up on websites.

For the interview, both for the probable questions on my bio-data and current affairs I used internet a lot for preparation.


How did you prepare yourself for the essay?

I did not prepare separately for the Essay. I did read some articles on how to structure a good essay. Regarding content, the preparation for GS was sufficient to help me write a good Essay.

Which Essay did you write in Mains-2011?

On Small states

What were your keypoints in that essay?

I gave a balanced viewpoint mentioning both the pros and cons of smaller states. I quoted some provisions of the constitution and current examples for the same.

How many marks did you get in that essay?

I scored 125 Marks in the essay.


Many aspirants fear the interview, thinking that “my profile is not good because

  • I’ve low marks in SSC/HSC/College,
  • I don’t have any extra-curricular certificates,
  • I don’t have work experience,
  • I graduated from some unknown college,
  • I’m from non-English medium and so on…”

So, how important or relevant is the profile of a candidate during interview?

I feel that profile can be the basis for asking questions during interview. It is a matter of luck as to how much of the interview will be based on that. There are cases where almost nothing was asked from the profile. So from our end, whatever the profile, being prepared on the same is the least that we are expected to do.

How do you rate your own profile?

I felt that I had a good profile having worked both in India and UAE as a Sales Manager. On the hobbies and extra-curricular activities, I felt that I didn’t have anything significant.

How much portion of your interview centered on your profile?

My interview started off with the Chairman asking questions on my work experience. Post that, a couple of members also asked me questions on my profile. So roughly, about 50% of the interview centered on my profile.

Did they ask any uncomfortable questions from your profile?



Q. In case you had not cleared the UPSC exam, what was your career/future backup plan?

The backup plan was to get back to Corporate world.

Working professional

What is your advice and tips to working professionals – particularly on time Management?

I quit my job to prepare for the exam so can’t give any advice on this.

Family and Friends

Q. Behind one topper are many people who stood by him/her 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?

My entire family, especially my wife and mother, stood by me during the long journey.

Your Study plan

CSAT (Paper I) General studies

Topic Source of your preparation remark, if any
Current Affairs Newspaper – The Hindu Made daily notes
History Ancient/Medieval/Modern Material from Coaching
Physical Geography Material from Coaching
Geography of India Material from Coaching
Geography of World Material from Coaching
Polity and Governance Material from Coaching and Lakshmikant
Public Policy Did not prepare separately Only Newspaper
Rights issue Did not prepare separately Only Newspaper
Environment and Biodiversity Did not prepare separately Only Newspaper
Economic and social Development Did not prepare separately Only Newspaper
Science Did not prepare separately Only Newspaper
Economy Mostly from The Hindu

CSAT Paper II (Aptitude)

I did not prepare much for aptitude as I had given CAT earlier. Only refreshed all the core areas from TIME Material

Mains Examination

Compulsory Language papers

Source of your preparation
English None
Indian language paper Telugu – Practiced writing for about 20 mins in the last 2 months and also read one editorial daily from Newspaper as mostly current affairs essay is asked in the exam. Also went through past 4 years question papers as most questions are repeated

General Studies paper I

Syllabus Topic Source of your preparation Remarks, if Any
History Read Coaching Material
Culture Left this area
Geography of India Read Coaching Material
Polity Read Coaching Material and Lakshmikant
Issues of social relevance Newspaper (The Hindu)
Indian economy and planning Newspaper (The Hindu)
Public health Did not do separately
Law and order Did not do separately
Good governance Newspaper (The Hindu)
Environment Did not do separately

General Studies paper 2

Syllabus Topic Source of your preparation Remarks, if Any
India and the World World Focus Magazine (Nov edition which has summary of entire year visits) Along with Newspaper
Indian diaspora From Newspaper
India’s Economic interaction with world From Newspaper
International affairs and institutions Did not prepare separately
Statistics Previous papers
Science & Tech. Sri Ram’s material on S&T

Optional Subject #1 and #2

Public Administration

  1. Public Administration – Polinaidu
  2. New Horizons of PA – Mohit Bhattacharya
  3. Braintree Coaching Material
  4. Class Notes from Coaching (Hyderabad Study Circle)
  5. Yojana Magazine and The Hindu Newspaper

The first 4 Chapters are very important in Paper 1. A very good understanding is needed on the crux of what each thinker has said. I tried to quote thinkers wherever it was relevant and tried to give current examples. For Paper 2, since the paper will be very general one needs to quote from various sources like Constitution, 2nd ARC Reports, Current examples etc. Personally, I couldn’t do 2nd ARC reports due to lack of time but found them to be good during my Interview preparation.

Although I expected a score of around 330 in Pub Adm, I ended up only with 254 marks (148+106). I would put it down to bad luck.


  1. Physical Anthropology – P Nath
  2. Anthropology – Ember (Selectively)
  3. BrainTree and Muniratnam Sir’s Material
  4. Class Notes from Coaching Institute

I relied primarily on material available in the market and did text books only selectively. For Paper 1, it is advised that diagrams be drawn in the exam for Physical Anthro part, although I couldn’t do that due to lack of time. Ember is good for Human evolution and Socio-cultural Anthro but did only selectively as it is not exam-oriented. For Paper 2, I relied only on Class notes and printed material of Target IAS.


How did you prepare for the interview?

My preparation was primarily on my bio-data. I listed out the probable questions from the bio-data and prepared on them. In addition to this, I read Newspaper regularly and brushed through all the relevant Yojana Magazines during that period.

Who was the chairman of your interview board?

Mr. IMG Khan

Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions?

It was on the expected lines of my preparation.

What was the toughest question you faced during the interview and how did you answer it?

I did not face any question of such type.



Remarks: Recommended.


Q. What is your message to the aspirants?

Although this exam is unpredictable in nature, with hard work and a little bit of luck this exam can be cracked. My message to the aspirants would be – Give it your best shot from your end and hope for the best.

Finally two questions


  1. Did you use indianofficer.com  for your preparation? If yes, How did it help you?

I used Indian Officer for my preparation occasionally, although I was only a passive user most of the times. It was particularly useful for interview preparation.

  1. Did you use mrunal.org  for your preparation? If yes, how did it help you?