1. Details
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. How essential is coaching Material?
  5. Electronic Vs Paper material
  6. Tempo and style
  7. Working professional
  8. Prelims (CSAT) General studies
  9. Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
  10. Prelim accuracy
  11. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  12. Mains: Essay
  13. General studies paper 1
  14. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  15. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  16. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  17. GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2013
  18. Mains answer-writing?
  19. Medical Science Optional Subjects
  20. Before the interview
  21. During the interview
  22. CSE-2013 Marksheet
  23. Career Backup
  24. Insecurity about profile
  25. Wisdom
  26. Credit: Friends/family
  27. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda


Name Roman Saini
Rank in CSE-2013 18
Roll No. 074397
Age 22
Total attempts in CSE 1
Optional Subject Medical Sciences
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Schooling medium English
College medium English
Home town/city Jaipur
Work-experience if any Junior Resident Psychiatry AIIMS
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) Vajiram material and test series
Cadre preference Rajasthan > Haryana > Gujarat.
Facebook facebook.com/romansaini.official


% in class 10 85.5
% in class 12 91.4
Schooling (Medium) English
Graduation course and % MBBS 62
Name of college, city, passing out year AIIMS NEW DELHI 2013
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extra curricular GUITAR TRINITY COLLEGE LONDON, professional degree, puzzle solving


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

Topper CSE 2013 Rank 18 Dr Ramon Saini

I am a doctor at AIIMS, gave AIIMS entrance at 16 and passed out in Jan 2014, appeared in civil services exam as 21 year old kid. Wanted to solve grass root problems of people as we have been taught that prevention is better than cure.

How essential is coaching Material?

Q. Let’s face it, many toppers have relied solely on (authentic OR xeroxed) coaching notes for Mains-2013. Some of the readers are getting a negative ‘vibe’ that UPSC is not meant for an individual preparing from far-away area, without any financial resources or contacts in Delhi to import such coaching material. What’s your stand on this?

  • I don’t agree. It’s a big misconception that coaching class or coaching notes are essential for success.
  • I personally know many in the top-100, who succeeded without relying on such material.
  • In fact, barring just 1-2 topics like Comparing Constitution, I myself have not relied on the coaching resources.
  • I’ve covered majority of the GS syllabus from Wikipedia, internet, Hindu and India yearbook alone, and the result speaks for itself.
  • Similarly even for medical science optional, I relied on my own college notes and google.
  • All of the studymaterial is out there on public domain. There are no “secret coaching notes” which you can mugup and automatically secure a high rank in civil service.
  • And as far as ‘financial resources’ are concerned, Ab kya chhotaa kya badaatoday everyone has internet. So just download everything on your pen drive and keep studying wherever you go.

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.

Never made any notes, 90% of stuff I read is in electronics format, even newspaper, books, Wikipedia, your blog and a closed group whose details I can’t share. I read a lot and I am blessed with a good memory.

Tempo and style

Q. On an average, how many hours do you study? How do you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings?

9 hours a day, if I don’t like I don’t read, I play guitar, helps me a lot.

Working professional

You’re working in AIIMS. How to manage studies with job/internship?

I graduated after giving my mains exam, (degree will be given in august convocation), and started working as a junior resident at Aiims. Managing internship with preparation was one of the toughest struggle of my life. Utilize micro opportunities. That’s it. You won’t get long stretches to study. 10-15 minutes here and there makes a lot of difference

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Read variety sources, stop mugging up dates facts and persons in news, that trend is long gone.

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient Wikipedia
History Medieval Wikipedia
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Bipin chandra
Culture society Wikipedia
  • D D BASU
  • Laxmikanth

But you may skip Basu and Kashyap.

Economy Shyamsundar sir notes, Mrunal
Science Wikipedia, Mrunal
Environment (theory + current) Wikipedia
Geography Physical, World GC LEONG
Geography India NCERTs
other national/international current affairs Mrunal
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Internet

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths didn’t read anytime at all for this section
reasoning Nothing separately.
  • Aspirants only focus on IAS related editorials but I advise them to read all variety of editorials in TheHindu. because directly/indirectly majority of the comprehensions are based on Hindu only.
  • So, for at least one month you should read all the editorials from Hindu no matter whether they’re relevant to GS-syllabus or not.
  • plus, Watch some good English movies and try to understand each and every phrase used. It will help you a lot. Trust me
Decision Making Nothing separately.

Prelim accuracy

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

Yes, they help you gauze their level of preparation, keep competing with yourself and you are bound to improve.

Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2013

MCQattempted MCQ correct(Expected after checking at home) official score
GS 100 72 125.34
aptitude 80 75 183.33
Total 309

Prelim Score Roman Saini


Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper nothing separately.
your regional language Upkar hindi

Q2.other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2013

It was pretty long in English so for non-English background student I would recommend to study Basic English grammar.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

Nothing specific.

Q2. Which among essay did you write? What key points did you include in it?

I wrote on “Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.”

My Essay was centered around 4 key points

  1. Brief history of development of Science & Tech in India and world,
  2. how it has changed lives of people starting from industrial revolution
  3. how does all the areas are affected by it
  4. How science is both boon and bane as far as security and growth are concerned.

General studies paper 1

Q. Did you use frontline/EPW/Yojana magazines for mains?

  • I did not read frontline or EPW.
  • But yes I referred Yojana.
Topic How did you prepare?
  • culture syllabus is unlimited. no matter how much you prepare, it’ll be insufficient. but at the same time it’d be unwise to leave this topic entirely.
  • Ignore: queens, kings, battles etc.
  • prepare Architecture, religion, literature
  • Old NCERT focus on the bold words, google them.
  • As and where possible find google images, that’ll help you memorize better. especially in Architecture
  • At max just need 20-30 keywords. Then add grammar so you’ll reach the 100 words limit.
Indian history Spectrum Publication: A brief History of Modern India (Rajiv Ahir)
world history
  • Just wiki for those 7-8 core topics world history.
  • additionally you may consult Norman Lowe
  • time very less, so not much point in focusing too much here. better spend that much time on Ethics.
post-independence India
  • Starting with NCERT then make summary notes on major events such as Panchsheel, India-Pak, India-China, Green revolution, industrialization etc.
  • If you’ve 1 year or more to prepare then read India after Independence by Ram Chandra Guha. But not like a novel-just focus on exam worthy points only.
  • Otherwise ignore that book.
  • Indian society
  • role of women, poverty etc.
  • globalization on Indian society
  • communalism, regionalism, secularism
  • NCERT sociology Class 11 and 12.
  • Beyond that keep an eye on Hindu editorials.
  • There is no need for any coaching material in this topic.
world geo physical
  • resource distribution
  • factors for industrial location
There are just a few theories to prepare.
earthquake tsunami etc GC Leong.
impact on flora-fauna Nothing separately.

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
  • Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc.
  • parliament, state Legislatures, executive-judiciary
  • Various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.
  • M.Laxmikanth.
  • current events from Hindu
  • Various test series site upload mock questions on their sites, do solve them.
comparing Constitution with world Notes from Ravindran Sir’s class.
ministries departments, welfare schemes, bodies, social sector, health, edu, HRD Just basic features from India Yearbook. Don’t go in depth. Previously UPSC was focused on ‘depth’, nowadays just ‘range’.
pressure group, informal asso., NGO, SHG etc Hindu editorials. No need for separate preparation.
Representation of people’s act Internet and Wikipedia. just focused on the basic provisions only. No need to go through entire draft.
governance, transparency, accountability, role of civil service Refer to my GS4 section.
e-governance On pib.nic.in search “E-governance” to find out various projects by various ministries, How can it help implementing SEVOTTOMA etc.
  • India & neighbors
  • bilateral/global grouping
  • effect of foreign country policies
  • on Indian interest
  • diaspora
  • don’t waste time in old topics like NAM, Panchsheel etc. unless its finishing 50-60 question or some person in news. E.g. Death of Gujaral so, Gujaral doctrine was asked.
  • Nowadays UPSC is only asking current based straight forward questions. so just focus on current issues from theHindu.
intl.bodies- structure mandate WHO, UN and World bank group: prepare them in detail.beyond that just 15-17 bodies. Goto Wikipedia then one link leads to another and prepare basic features only. don’t go in detail. only read introductory paragraph in Wikipedia. We don’t have time to read everything and even if you do, you can’t memorize it much.

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
  • Indian economy, resource mobilization
  • inclusive growth
  • budgeting
  • Mostly relied on your site and economic survey.
  • no need to consult Economic Times (ET), Financial Express or any such separate newspaper for economics.
major crops, irrigation
  • Class 11 and 12 NCERT Economics and Geography.
  • India yearbook chapter on agriculture
agro produce – storage, marketing
  • Hindu and PIB
e-technology for famers
farm subsidies, MSP
PDS, buffer, food security
technology mission
animal rearing economics
food processing
land reforms
  • your own [Land Reform] article series under Mrunal.org/Polity.
  • in fact I wrote the Bhoodan answer in Mains-2013 from there only.
liberalization Class 11 and 12 NCERT Economics and Hindu
infrastructure, investment models As such this is covered in Dutt Sundaram. But please avoid this book as it is written for those with economics optional.
  • science-tech day to day life
  • Indian achievements in sci-tech
  • awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR
  • Non-science students: prepare Class 7-10 (for prelims)
  • NCERT class 12 biology selective reading of
  • cutting of science page from Hindu’s Thursday edition
  • Mrunal.org/snt
environmental impact assessment Collected some internet material, while I’ll share soon.
Disaster Management Prepared only introductory part from NDMA’s official site. Whenever you can’t understand any terminology just google it.
  • non state actors, internal security
  • internal security – role of media, social networking site
  • border Management
  • organized crime, terrorism
  • Report of Home Ministry, and Pib.nic.in
  • naxalism wikipedia
  • hindu editorial
cyber security
  • Just basics from the ICERT official site.
money laundering arthpedia.in
security agencies- structure mandate just the main 5-7 bodies from Wikipedia. no need for coaching material here.

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Q. 2nd ARC report: how much did you prepare?

Ans. I only read its summary points. There is not much time left so it won’t be beneficial read the entire report- particularly for those without Public Administration optional.

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Moral Lexicon by Chronicle.
attitude, moral influence etc.
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc
emotional intelligence, its use in governance
moral thinkers of India and world
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc.
corporate governance Corporate social responsibility related provisions.
probity in governance, work culture Moral Lexicon by Chronicle.
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc.
challenges of corruption
case studies on above topics

GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2013

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

case your approach/ keypoints
1: RTI: To hide or not to hide I’ll file RTI to get my mains answersheet. Then you upload it for the readers.Mrunal: awesome. You’ve 98 marks in ethics. It’ll be great to see your paper. Thanks in advance.
2: Engineer: Bogus flyover vs deadline
3: Child Labourers in Sivakasi
4: Nepotism in Job recruitment
5: Leaking information
Narrate one incident in your life when you were faced with such crisis of conscience and how you resolved the same.

Mains answer-writing?

Q1. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?

It was really nice experience, being a doctor I’m used to write to the point. But for non-science student, a word of caution, straight away jump to the answer, no need to give introduction, you won’t get time.

Q2. 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.

That’s 100% true. Write as precise as possible. There is no time for flowery introduction and all that.

Q3. In GS papers, Since UPSC came with those 100 and 200 words questions. What was your approach in the exam .

I have followed a “9-8-7” strategy for each paper of General studies.

3 hours paper finish __ questions
1st hour 9
2nd hour 8
3rd hour 7
total 25 Q x 10m = 250m
  • For any topic just recollect 20-30 keywords. and once you add grammar to it, you’ve reached the wordlimit of 100-200 words.
  • UPSC is no longer about “depth” but range. Don’t waste time preparing every topic in extreme detail.
  • I’ve answered at least 95% questions. Whoever hasn’t followed similar strategy, he hasn’t found place in the top 100 ranking.

Mrunal comment: yes boss, you’ve ~100 marks in each GS paper except GS2. And despite the fact that panel give you only ~150 in interview (While others got ~200), still you’re 18th ranker because of your awesomeness in general studies. In short, *RESPECT*.

Q4. How many marks worth questions did you skip/couldn’t finish in the GS papers?

I wrote something in all the questions.

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

Nope, highlighted with the same pen I was writing with.

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

Yeah, lots of them

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

Pen only, you won’t get time to pick something else.

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

Hand, save time on fancy stuff, we are not Leonardo da vinci and examiner knows this

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

Black pen

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

Medical Science Optional Subjects

Q1. How did you prepare Medical science optional?

  • Just read all your college books, notes and Google all the topics
  • As such MBBS is gigantic but UPSC syllabus has only 200-250 topics. After analyzing previous paper I saw there are 60-70 core topics from where majority of the questions come. I’ll share that list with the readers shortly.

Q2. Whenever a Doctor starts UPSC preparation the ‘experts / coaching sirs’ recommend him to opt for Public Administration, sociology, Literature etc. saying “you won’t be able to finish syllabus of medical science”. Your view?

Like I said, although MBBS course syllabus is gigantic but UPSC syllabus of medical science is shorter. Just focus on the syllabus points. You can manage it, like I’ve done.

Before the interview

Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? Particularly college graduation subjects related questions?

I graduated after my mains exam so remembered a lot of stuff, didn’t do anything separately.

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 mock interviews?

I did attend samkalp, it is a not for profit organisation . It is not necessary but it helps a lot

Q3. What did you wear? Some experts say coat is must, some say tie is must, and some say black shoes must. What attire did you pick up?

Light blue cotton shirt with filler sleeves, black trousers with black shoes and a belt.

Q4. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?

AIIMS, my hostel room where I am staying for past 6 years. I did make  personal notes and can upload them if needed.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

A.P. Singh

Q2. How long was the interview?

38 – 49 MINUTES

Q4. Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did you reply?

Q. Why do you want to be civil servant after graduating from best college of india. (AIIMS)

Yes AIIMS is the elite-most medical institute of India but still, the grass root situation hasn’t changed. Forget about medical care, even pure drinking water or basic sanitation is lacking. I wish to work at the grass root level, tackling the causes of problems and nipping them in the bud as I can’t do that as a Doctor, We can only cure not prevent the diseases. Provision of basic amenities like water, sanitation etc. that will prevent origin of diseases.

Q. You are the youngest person till date I have interviewed, don’t you think you will succumb to the political pressure.

The very face that I’m the youngest person means I haven’t spent 4 attempts in preparation. I’m not carrying any baggage, I have no dependents, I’ve nothing to lose. Therefore, I being the youngest person is least likely to succumb.

Q. Dowry is prevalent in your state, how will you refuse to take it.

Yes it is unfortunate, nowadays IAS-grooms are ‘selling’ for 50 lakhs and 1 crore but someone has to take a lead by refusing dowry. If I, as a civil servant, succumb to such bad practices what can be expected from a common fellow.

Q.What is relevance of ethics in medicine

Ethics is the corner stone of medicine. We get many poor-illiterate patients. They don’t know what is good for them, what is the bad for them. If the doctors start misusing their position to make quick material gains, then profession itself would be tainted. Medical practice without ethics, would be an abomination.

Then I was asked GK-type questions from my graduation and hobbies. Here are some samples:

  1. What is BMI
  2. What is a puzzle
  3. From which country was rubik, what was his profession, how much do you take to solve a rubik cube, what is the world record?

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? If yes, how did you handle it?

If you’re well prepared there is nothing you can’t handle.

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

Just take photo, graduation degree and a 10th certificate

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

Just go there and come out, always wear spectacles.

CSE-2013 Marksheet

Essay 145
GS1 97
GS2 61
GS3 108
GS4 98
Medical Paper 1 109
Medical Paper 2 112
Written Total 730
Interview 154
Final total 884
Rank 18

Q. Your marks are awesome. You’ve bit low score in GS-2, but that has happened with every topper. Suppose you had to give exam again what change will you make in your preparation?

  • Whether I had revised twice, I would have revised it four times.
  • In certain areas, my study was focused on ‘terms’ and persons in news. Next time, I would have tried to get a holistic overall perspective of the given syllabus topics.
  • This time UPSC did not ask much on laws / current bills but we should prepare that as well.

Q. if you were made the UPSC chairman, what reforms will you initiate?

  1. Candidates should be given more time to write answers peacefully. These mains papers were so long, felt like Gaddha majoori rather than articulating one’s views in the answersheet. What’s the point of this exercise, is it a writing-race?
  2. Candidates should be told the criteria for evaluation. I’ve seen many hardworking candidates receiving very low scores. I had prepared and written GS2 paper sincerely, yet I’m given barely 61 marks.
  3. UPSC should upload the prelim scores, cutoffs and answerkeys without waiting for the entire exam phase to complete.

Career Backup

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

Would have continued as Jr.Resident in AIIMS.

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

Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t have given next attempt.

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? What is your message to these candidates?

Fortunately I had a good profile. However, I just want to say that it is all in your head. It doesn’t matter to them if it doesn’t matter to you


Q. Through this journey and success, what have your learned? What is the wisdom of life and competition?

I’m still looking out for the so called wisdom, but fail frequently, earlier and faster than others.

Q. What is your message to the future aspirants?

Just decide if it is for you and jump into the midstream and forget everything any one ever told you. Most of the people lack intellectual prowess to decide what is the right thing to do. Always make your own rules and break them again and again till they start suiting you.

By the way, any doubts I can be reached through my facebook page: facebook.com/romansaini.official

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?

Nope, no one stood behind me. I was completely alone while I prepared for this exam.

BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Q. You are well aware about the sacred rule of conducting topper’s 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 publish your answer without tempering/editing it.

Yup, as I mentioned earlier I read your blog from time to time and just want you to tone down the sarcasm a bit. Otherwise continue the good work. You are really helping the poor and rural aspirants a lot.

Mrunal: thank you doctor for giving your prescription for Success. We wish you the best for the long career ahead, keep in touch.