1. Bio
  2. Coaching
  3. Inception
  4. Study Momentum
  5. Strategy: CSAT (Aptitude)
  6. Strategy: General studies (GS)
  7. Mains 2013
  8. Optional Subject #1: Agriculture
  9. Optional Subject #2: Kannada Literature
  10. Optional Subject in Mains 2013?
  11. Compulsory papers
  12. Essay
  13. Previous Attempts
  14. Insecurity  about “Profile”
  15. Career Backup
  16. Family and Friends
  17. Interview
  18. Marksheet
  19. Wisdom
  20. Bogus marketing propaganda


Roll number 15413
Rank (CSE 2012) 140
Optional Subjects
  1. Agriculture
  2. Literature of Kannada Language
Number of Attempts 3
Medium for Mains Exam English
Schooling (Medium) Kannada (up to matriculation)
Centre for Prelim exam Delhi
Centre for Mains exam Delhi
Name of home town/city Belthangady, Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka
other competitive exams? Indian Forest Service-2012—secured 3rd rank


% in class 10 75
% in class 12 73
Graduation course and % B.Sc in Agriculture with 81% marks
Name of college and year of passing out College of Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (Passed in 2007)
PG (if applicable) M.Sc. (Agriculture) from CCS HAU, Hisar (83% marks)
Pursuing Ph.D. in G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand
Any professional courses (if applicable)

Extra C

Provide details of extracurricular actives, achievements and hobbies.

  1. I was awarded JRF during M.Sc. and SRF during Ph.D. by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  2. Represented university in athletics (High Jump)
  3. Hobbies are writing, reading books and “Yakshagana”(A theatre art of coastal Karnataka).

Family background

I’m from rural background and I have done my basic schooling in Kannada medium.

My father is a farmer and mother is homemaker. I have one elder sister. She is married. Ours is a lower middle class family. So there was no dearth of problems- both financial and emotional.


Did you join any Coaching? No
Did you join any postal courses? No
Did you join any Mock test series? No

Note: I joined coaching classes for Kannada Literature in 2008 in Bangalore, but discontinued from the very beginning due to poor coaching.


Topper Anup AIR 140 CSE 2012
I didn’t have enough resources to complete my education; neither did I have knowledge or exposure to pursue my career. Many people who were not related to me helped me in all these years. So I could reach this far because of help, support, guidance and encouragement extended by these people. My higher education was sponsored by government through fellowships. I’m of the opinion that it is my duty to serve the society as my entire education and personality is a contribution of this society. I think civil services is the best way to serve the society. In addition to this, the success stories of my seniors created interest in me and gave me the confidence that anybody can do this. Civil services were beyond my reach till I completed my graduation. It was only in 2007, I started thinking of trying civil services. So, late starters need not be skeptical about their success.


Q. Outside Delhi, it’s hard to dig how to prepare for civil service. So how did you gather the necessary information / strategy / booklist?

I started thinking about civil services after joining M.Sc. I did most of my preparation in Hisar (Haryana) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) which are near to Delhi. Since I had seniors and friends who were preparing for civil services, it was not difficult to get information. Recently I started getting updates from Mrunal.

Study Momentum

If you have a strong reason for ‘Why you want to join civil services’, then there is no need of external motivation. So, one should find a reason to keep themselves motivated. In my case, it was my struggle in life that kept me motivated. I have faced a lot of problems throughout my life. After overcoming all those hurdles, I wanted to achieve the best. Whenever I get depressed, I used to think of my past and in the very next moment I’m back to business.


Q. On an average, How many hours did you study per day?

Ans. I don’t count hours. I fix target for the day or week and try to complete it within time. However, the last one month is crucial, so try to study as many hours as possible without compromising your health.

Q. How many months did it take you to complete the core syllabus of GS and optional subjects?

Ans. It’s a long and never ending process. I think GS syllabus can never be completed, it can only be managed in accordance with the time available. Strike a balance between different sections of syllabus. I used to divide the total time and prepare a schedule to cover optionals and GS.

Strategy: CSAT (Aptitude)

First, please provide the list books/sources used for preparation for following topics.



  • Quantitative aptitude- R.S. Agarwal OR
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT- Sarvesh K. Verma
Reasoning Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Agarwal
Comprehension I practiced some passages from magazines
Decision making I did not study anything for decision making
  • Practice comprehension of passages from magazine/coaching/books. Use timers while practicing comprehension. It will improve your comprehension speed without your notice.
  • Never apply your knowledge while answering questions based on passages (comprehension). Answer only on the basis of information given in the passage.
  • For those who are writing in English medium, I suggest you to solve ‘English comprehension’ first as they are comparatively easier than other passages.
  • No need of study for decision making; use common sense.
  • I recommend you to solve decision making questions first, but in minimum possible time as they yield good marks and are very easy.

Strategy: General studies (GS)

  • Book/ source
History Ancient
  • Ancient India (NCERT)
  • Medieval India (NCERT)
  • Modern India (spectrum publications)
  • Modern India (NCERT) [Selected chapters]
  • India Before Independence- Bipin Chandra
  • Indian Culture (Spectrum publications)
  • Browsing Internet
  • Modern India (spectrum publications)
  • Modern India (NCERT)
  • India Before Independence- Bipin Chandra
  • Indian Culture (Spectrum publications)
  • Browsing Internet
Polity Basics
  • Indian Polity-  Laxmikant
  • Internet and News paper
  • Indian Polity-  Laxmikant
Economy Basics
Geography Physical
  • NCERT books (8th to 12th)
  • Certificate of Physical Geography- Goh Cheng Leong
  • Vajiram notes on geography
  • NCERT books
  • Same books……………………..
EnB Basics
  • Environment and Ecology- P.D. Sharma (Selected chapters)
  • Newspaper, internet
  • Environment and Ecology- P.D. Sharma (Selected chapters)
  • Internet
Science Tech Basics
  • Science and Technology-Wizard
  • Science Reporter (Magazine)
  • Internet
  • Science and Technology-Wizard
  • India-2012
  • Economic Survey
  • Yojana
  • Use of internet is crucial in preparation for GS
  • I read the book ‘Pax Indica’ by Shashi Tharoor before mains. I recommend it for starters in diplomacy as it gives basic idea regarding Indian diplomacy and India’s relations with other countries.
  • Read general books especially on history and polity in your free time, that will broaden your personality and add to your GS preparation.

Important Websites

Mains 2013

Q. UPSC has changed the GS syllabus for Mains 2013. So if you were to prepare for it, what’d be your approach/strategy/booklist?

  • Earlier optionals were crucial, but in new format performance in GS papers is more important. So, focus more on GS.
  • Read NCERT book on World History for new mains syllabus.
  • I’m sure Mrunal is working on the strategy for 2013 and he will come out with the right approach for new syllabus.

Optional Subject #1: Agriculture

  • Optional papers have become lengthier. Sometimes they increase number of sub-questions. So, try to attempt all questions. I would say writing above average answers for all the questions is better than the best answers for few questions.

Booklist for Agriculture

  1. Plant Breeding Principles and Methods- B.D. Singh
  2. Fundamentals of Genetics- B.D. Singh
  3. Plant Physiology-V.K. Jain
  4. Introductory Soil Science- D.K. Das
  5. Economics of Farm Production and Management-V.T. Raju and D.V.S. Rao
  6. Principles of Agronomy-T.Y. Reddy and G.H.S. Reddi
  7. Textbook of Applied Entomology- Srivastava
  8. Handbook of Horticulture (Selected chapters)
  9. Plant pathology- P.D. Sharma
  10. Introduction to Agriculture- A.K. Vyas
  • Makes notes from any book with respect to the Agricultural Extension topics listed in the syllabus.
  • Prepare notes regarding new trends and issues related to agriculture.

Optional Subject #2: Kannada Literature

  • My preparation for Kannada Litt. was mainly based on guidance given by seniors and friends.
  • Choose this optional only if you are interested in literature.
  • If you are not from the literature background I would recommend you to join good coaching centre in Bangalore ( Narahalli or Marulayya). But coaching is not a must if you manage to get their notes. I joined coaching but dropped that idea later. I studied Narahalli’s notes supplied by my friends and seniors.
  • Develop attractive writing style in Kannada.
  • This year paper was lengthy. So it’s important that you attempt all questions. There was a funny incident in Kannada paper. I had to write two questions (30 markers) in last 5 minutes and I started answering both the questions simultaneously on two different pages because I didn’t want to leave any question unattended.

Booklist for Kannada Literature Paper 1

  1. Narahalli’s notes
  2. Kannada Bhasha Shastra- R.Y. Dharwadkar
  3. Kannada Sahitya Charitre- R.S. Mugali

Booklist for Kannada Literature Paper 2

  1. Narahalli’s coaching notes
  2. Pampana Samasta Bharata Kathamritha—L. Basavaraju
  3. Vikramaarjuna Vijaya of Pampa (Introduction, cantos 12 & 13), (Mysore University Pub.)
  4. Vachana Kammata, Ed: K. Marulasiddappa K.R. Nagaraj (Bangalore University Pub.)
  5. Janapriya Kanakasamputa, Ed. D. Javare Gowda (Kannada and Culture Directorate, Bangalore)
  6. Nambiyannana Ragale, Ed., T.N. Sreekantaiah (Ta.Vem. Smaraka Grantha Male, Mysore)
  7. Kumaravyasa Bharata (Mysore University)
  8. Bettada Jeeva-Shivarama Karanta Madhavi-Arupama Niranjana Odalaala-Devanuru Mahadeva
  9. Kannada Sanna Kathegalu, Ed. G.H. Nayak
  10. Shudra Tapaswi-Kuvempu. Tughalak-Girish Karnad.
  11. Devaru-A.N. Moorty Rao
  12. Janapada Swaroopa-Dr. H.M. Nayak.
  13. Kannada Janapada Kathegalu-Ed. J.S. Paramashivaiah

Optional Subject in Mains 2013?

Q. Instead of two, now UPSC will have only one optional subject. So if you were to give Mains 2013, which optional would you keep and why?

Ans. I would prefer ‘Literature of Kannada Language’ because it is consistently scoring good marks.

Compulsory papers

Q. Your booklist/strategy for compulsory Regional language paper.

I never prepared for this paper (Kannada).

Q. Your booklist/strategy for compulsory English language paper.

I never prepared for this paper.


Q. How did you prepare yourself for the essay?

I did not do any special preparation for essay. My GS preparation was sufficient for essay paper. But I collected some good quotes of famous personalities (especially Gandhiji). Few suitable quotes can be incorporated into the essay.

Q. Which Essay did you write in Mains-2012?

In the context of Gandhiji’s views on the matter, explore, on an evolutionary scale, the terms ‘Swadhinata’, ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’. Critically comment on their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy.

Q.Provide some keypoints/highlights of your Essay.

  • It’s hard to remember. Make a list of all the points related to the essay topic in the last page of answer sheet. In another page arrange those points in correct order giving good structure to your essay.
  • An attractive introduction and a mature conclusion are also important. I took 10-15 minutes to choose the topic and then 45 minutes to list all the points related to the topic.
  • Do not concentrate on quantity, focus on quality of writing. Let me tell you I wrote only 13 pages (I was shocked to see some people taking extra sheets…..!).

Previous Attempts

Q. When you look back in the past, what were the deficiency in your preparation in the previous attempt? How did you rectify them this time?

  • First attempt (2010): I could not prepare well for mains due my academic activities (Ph.D.).
  • Second attempt (2011): In prelims, I concentrated more on quantitative aptitude and maths which was a minor component of Paper-II.
  • In previous attempts I also neglected International affairs and Indian culture.

Insecurity  about “Profile”

Q.Many aspirants have the (unnecessary) fear of interview, thinking that “my profile is not good because I’ve low score in class 10/12/college/ I’m from unknown college, I’ve no work experience etc.etc.etc.” So, how important or relevant is the profile of a candidate during interview?

Ans. They will assess your personality and not profile. However, nothing matters until you justify your position. Be it your college or work experience if you can convince them….there is no problem.

Let me clear one thing, nobody notices your score in interview. Even if your English is poor, that too doesn’t matter.

Q. How much portion of your interview (in terms of minutes and no. of questions) was centered around your profile?

Ans. Around 6-7 questions

Q. Did they ask any uncomfortable question from your profile during the interview?

Ans. Yes

  1. Many Agricultural graduates are coming into civil services. Don’t you think they should continue in their field and contribute to the research in agriculture?
  2. Don’t you think you are wasting your professional degree by coming into civil services?

Career Backup

I was trying Indian Forest Service (IFS) which I cleared this year (3rd Rank). In case I fail to make into IFS, I was planning to make a career in the field of agricultural research.

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? Any specific motivational/inspiration incidence that you would like to share with the readers?

I dedicate my success to my friends and seniors who were the driving force behind me. Their support, encouragement and guidance was the key. I was in touch with seniors and my friends in Delhi, who helped me during my preparation. I thank all those people who supported me financially and emotionally. I’m also grateful to ICAR for its financial assistance during my education.


Q. How did you prepare for the interview?

I made a list of topics related to current issues, academic background, hobbies, sports, home state, district, my village etc. Then I collected information about these topics mainly through internet.

Building your personality is long time process. Don’t be pessimistic about any issue. Develop constructive thinking from the very beginning and have positive approach towards problems. This will help you to avoid attending mock interviews.

Q. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

IMG Khan sir.

Q. How long was the interview?

20-25 minutes

Q. Provide the list of questions asked (and if possible answers also)


  1. Are you doing Ph.D.?
  2. When are you completing Ph.D.?
  3. What’s your research topic?
  4.  So you are working on tomato breeding. In Europe they grow tomatoes in polyhouse and transport from Spain to UK n’ all. We produce large quantity of tomato, why can’t we export to Europe?
  5. Is there any GM variety in Tomato in India?
  6. Relation between GM crop and organic farming?
  7. Are we producing tomatoes organically?
  8. Do you recommend organic farming in India?
  9. You have mentioned your mother tongue as ‘Tulu’. Where it is spoken?
  10. Whether ‘tulu’ has script?
  11. India has huge diversity in languages? What needs to be done to promote regional and neglected languages?
  12. There was news about a language which is spoken by only one person. Do you know the region where that language is spoken?
  13. Which schedule of the constitution has provision for languages?

Member 1:

  1. Name some of the recent varieties released by UAS, Dharwad (Univ. where I graduated from)?
  2. You know red chillies. Do you know long chilli variety introduced from Brazil?
  3. Why ‘Kisan Mela’ is required? Don’t you think it’s a waste?

Member 2:

  1. (He read some statistics from a survey made by India Today regarding corruption in India) So, how to control corruption? Tell me in points.
  2. Tell me what is the basic thing in controlling corruption?
  3. In 1960’s Secretary for John F. Kennedy has told ‘China is the biggest threat to the World’? Though Russia was the biggest threat to USA at that time, what may be the reason that made him to say that?
  4. Tell me why many are against Israel? Tell me in historical perspective?
  5. Why China is ahead of India in grabbing opportunities around the world? E.g. In Srilanka, Maldives, Africa. Why are we lagging behind?

Member 3:

  1. (He read some statistics regarding income disparity explaining percentage of millionaires and poor in India)  Why this income disparity exists in India?
  2. Which country has highest population?
  3. So China does not have such disparity despite having highest population. Why India has such income disparity?

Member 4:

  1. What is lacking in sports administration?
  2. (Based on my answer) So you are saying we are not doing well?
  3. Which sports you play?
  4. You know recently IOC has decided to drop wrestling from Olympics. What do you think about that?
  5. Do you know about housing problem in police service?
  6. Have you ever had an encounter with Karnataka police? (Everybody laughs at the use of word ‘encounter’)

Q. Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared?

Did they ask you totally unexpected questions?

Most of the questions were unexpected, but from expected areas. I managed to answer majority of the questions though not in a perfect way.



GS- 95.34
Aptitude- 115.83
Total- 211

Mains + Interview

Essay 83
GS1 105
GS2 142
Agri1 95
Agri2 148
Kannada Lit1 131
Kannada Lit2 110
Written Total 814
Interview 190
Final 1004

Anoop’s IFS Marksheet (All India Rank#3)
Roll No. : 002241

Indian Forest Service Examination 2012
Subject Maximum




Penalty Marks 0
Written Total 1400 634
Interview Marks 300 205
Final Total 1700 839


Q. Through this struggle and success, what have you learned about life and competition? What is your message to future aspirants?

Ans. Your struggle is your strength. Turn your problems into positive energy that makes you work hard. Don’t forget! Hard work always yields good results. You may fail once but not always.  If I can do this, anyone can do this

Civil Services preparation is about handling the huge mental pressure. Everyone has problems……No matter what your problems are…….keep going.

Bogus marketing propaganda

Q. Were you a subscriber/ regular reader of Mrunal.org. If yes, since when? And You can even say “no”, I’ll publish it without editing.

Ans. Yes, I’m a regular reader and subscriber since March 2012.

Q2. How did Mrunal.org help you in your preparation?

Ans. Posts of Mrunal are brief and to the point. So it saves lot of time. It is accessible to all free of cost, so no need of coaching. Posts related to economy and international affairs were very useful. Site was also useful for my interview preparation. For example during my interview preparation, I read Mrunal’s recent post on Israel-Palestine issue.  The question asked in interview was “Tell me why many countries are against Israel? Tell me in historical perspective?” which I answered confidently.

After my selection I mailed Mrunal thanking him for his help. He invited me for an interview. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to express my views.