1. CAPF Topper Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Working professional
  7. GS and Aptitude paper
  8. Accuracy in GS paper
  9. Descriptive paper
  10. Four Essays
  11. Argument For-Against
  12. Report writing?
  13. CAPF Physical Efficiency Test
  14. Interview by UPSC Panel
  15. UPSC Interview Transcript
  16. After the interview
  17. CAPF Marksheet
  18. Service preference
  19. UPSC CSE-2013 experience
  20. Career Backup
  21. Wisdom
  22. Credit: Friends/family
  23. Bogus Marketing Propaganda

CAPF Topper Profile

Name Abhinav Kumar Verma
Rank in CAPF-2013 45
Roll No. 035813
Age 25
No. of previous attempts in CAPF 1 (Not qualified in PET)
Home town/city Allahabad
Work-experience if any Civil Engineer in Larsen & Toubro
other competitive exams

including success & failures

Civil Services Exam 2013

SSC CGL 2013 (Exam Cancelled  )

coaching/postal material (if used) Vajiram & Ravi (But I will not recommend joining it)
  • Hobbies
  • Extra-Curricular Activities
Watching Science-Fiction Movies, Gymming

Table Tennis

Do you have NCC certificate? No


% in class 10 64
% in class 12 75
Schooling (Medium) Hindi
Graduation course & % B.tech (6.7/10)
College & batch-year National Institute of Technology Calicut, 2009
Any professional courses


Q. Tell us something about yourself and your family. When and why did you enter in the competitive exam field?

CAPF 2013 Abhinav Verma

I belong to a service class family. My father is a retired government servant, my mother is homemaker. I have one brother who is elder to me and he is a software engineer, working in Infosys, presently in USA. After finishing my graduation I worked in L&T construction division in Ahmedabad. I was in the job when I realized that I wanted to become a civil servant so I quit my job and started preparing for civil services exam. Also my father and my elder brother have been consistently motivating me to prepare for civil services.

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)

Yes presently there are hundreds of blogs and sites for competitive exams. But according to me one should be selective in choosing the sites to be followed else there might be information overload and unnecessary overlapping of the information. Almost half of my notes are in the form of ‘Doc’ or ‘Pdf’ files. Mostly I make my notes in bullet points in the Doc files as they are revision friendly. I have also downloaded all Pdf files from ur blog . Online notes are helpful but a balance should be maintained as not all information can be provided on sites so importance of books cannot be done away with. It goes without saying that books are your best friend

Tempo and style

Q. People know what books and syllabus topics are to be prepared. But most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how did you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings and distractions?

Civil services preparation is like a package and mood swings and distractions are parts of this package. You can’t avoid them but U can minimize them. When I have mood swings I talk to my family or friends or I just go out for a walk to sooth myself.  One should also take care of his physical fitness and mental strength. This is my personal experience that if u exercise and work out ur frustration will automatically go away. Consistency is very important for this preparation it won’t help if for one day you study 12-14 hours and for next 3 days you don’t study at all. So try and maintain your consistency. I also feel one should be thorough with the syllabus so that he won’t get carried away while preparing.

Working professional

If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job

GS and Aptitude paper

Q1. Please share the list of resources you used, your strategy and other tips for benefit of future aspirants.

Topic input
History Ancient Old NCERT
History Medieval Didn’t do
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Spectrum, Bipin Chandra
Culture society Spectrum, CCRT website
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikanth
Economy (theory + current) Sri Ram coaching’s printed notes, Mrunal’s Blog, Economic Survey
Science (theory + current) Chronicle’s Special Issue, CST, Mrunal’s Blog
Environment (theory + current) Chronicle’s special Issue, Shankar Academy Notes
geography physical NCERT – Class XI, Goh Cheng Leong
geography India NCERT – Class XI
geography world Goh Cheng Leong
other national/international current affairs The Hindu, Mrunal’s Blog, CST
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff India Year Book, Economic Survey
Maths Quicker Maths by M Tyra
Data interpretation Nothing specific
Reasoning Nothing specific

Accuracy in GS paper

How many MCQs did you attempt? 119
How many of them correct (When solved at home)? 85
official score (when UPSC uploads)

Q. What’s your overall experience with GS paper? (E.g. it was on expected lines as per my preparation, it was quite tougher than earlier years etc.)

Difficulty level was similar to the last year papers only. Although I felt science questions were a bit factual.

Descriptive paper

Q. How did you prepare the Essay, grammar, précis and report writing?

I did not do any special preparation for essay. Though I’m a regular follower of The Hindu News Paper and most of essay topics were based on the current issues so I did not face any difficulty on attempting essay questions. But I will recommend one should practice few essays beforehand and try to write them within the word limits. For Précis and report writing I had practiced few questions from Previous Year papers. I did not do any special preparation for grammar but I had gone through previous year papers to assess the difficulty level for the same.

Four Essays

This time, UPSC required the candidates to write 4 out of 6 essays. Which of the following did you attempt? And what were your keypoints in them?

Topic your key points
doctor-pharma nexus Guinea pig, unauthorized trials, overpriced patented drugs vs. generic versions, recommendations of standing committee of Rajya Sabha on health and family welfare, Pharmaceuticals purchasing policy etc.
interstate water dispute
social reformers in freedom struggle
falling rupee & Indian economy Causes of rupee depreciation, speculation, CAD, gold imports, meltdown in Europe, rising oil import bill, role of RBI etc.
China’s aggressive policy About China’s policy in South China Sea and East China Sea, its dispute with South East Asian Nations, and effects of these disputes on India etc.
media publicity on terrorism Over sensitization of communal mishaps by Media, effects of real time reporting in 2008 Mumbai Terror attacks, how media can be a responsible actor in fighting terrorism etc.

Argument For-Against

This time, UPSC required candidates to write both arguments for and against the given statements. so what were your keypoint in it?

Topic Argument for against
casteless society becomes distant through issues raised by reservation Gandhi’s vision, Saskritization of the reserved caste in bureaucracy, increasing Prejudices etc. Increasing representation, Inclusiveness, etc.
women empowerment is urban phenomenon Educational and health care facilities in urban areas, better awareness etc. About government schemes in rural areas, role of women in white revolution, & 73rd Constitutional amendment Act, etc.

Report writing?

Did you write report the same way you wrote essay? or did you apply any special format/structure here?

No. report should not be written like essays. In essay there is introduction, main body and conclusion, but report does not have such distinction. Reports should be written in one-go, just like news paper reports on certain issues. Report should be strictly focused on the topic. Do not get carried away while writing reports and mind the word limits. It should be brief while covering all the aspects of the underlying issue.

Topic keypoints
Uttarakhand tsunami & Military Activist role of military in disaster, relief operations, rescue efforts etc.
Ethics crisis in cricket Importance of cricket in our society, match fixing scandals, dubious role of BCCI etc.

Q. What is your overall experience with descriptive paper (e.g. too lengthy paper, grammar tougher than previous paper etc.)

Descriptive paper was rather easy. But it was too lengthy; I barely managed to complete the paper. I will recommend the future aspirants to work on your writing speed. Grammar was easy for me. But as grammar section fetches full marks so it should not be taken lightly. So practice while you can

CAPF Physical Efficiency Test

Q1. To pass Physical Efficiency Tests (PET), what preparation did you do at home?

  • As I run everyday so I didn’t do any special preparation for 800 meters
  • For 100 meters I practiced for few days to run within time limit
  • For Long jump I Started preparing 15 days in advance as it was the most difficult part for me and also most of candidates get disqualified in long jump only. So practice well.
  • Shot Put section is easy. Although I practiced couple of times. But even if you don’t get to practice shot put, don’t worry. But be watchful of your step while throwing it.

Q2. Where was your PET held?

SSB- Headquarter, Gorakhpur

Q3. Please narrate your actual experience PET test with readers.

Officers at Gorakhpur are quite friendly and polite. And they even go out of their way to help you out. One guy didn’t bring the DAF so they took him to the office and allowed him to take the print out. My PET was on the first day so the criteria were quite relaxed; they even gave few seconds relaxation in the 800 and 100 meters running. Even some relaxations were also given in long jump part. Only couple of guys was disqualified in PET

Interview by UPSC Panel

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

I prepared all the details in my Detailed Application Form thoroughly. I made separate Doc files in my laptop covering various aspects of my DAF and tried to write down the expected questions whichever I could imagine. Then I worked out the best possible answers according to me. I also took help of few friends who have already appeared in the UPSC interview for tips. I did not do any special preparation for graduation related questions.

Q2. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?

I stayed at my Friend’s place. I did not carry any material for preparation for the interview as I reached Delhi just in the morning of my interview date. Just tried to stay calm and positive.

Q3. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

Mr. D. K. Dewan

Q4. How long was the interview?

Around   30 minutes

Q5. Why do you want to become an Assistant commandant? Why don’t you continue in your graduation field? [Since I don’t know whether they asked you this question or not. But if they had asked- what will be your reply?

Yes they did ask me this question.

My Answer – Sir though my graduation field (civil engineering) provides ample of good opportunities, I can’t continue in the same as overtime I have developed an enduring passion for the job in armed forces and I cannot imagine an opportunity as good as this at the entry level in the armed forces. Sir, I have also tried for the army. I have given SSB for army after class 12th (didn’t get through).

They asked a few questions related to my SSB experience.

UPSC Interview Transcript

Q. 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)

Q – Why do you want to become assistant commandant? Why don’t you want to continue in your graduation field?

A – Already answered above

Q – What do you know about Syria Conflict?

A – I explained everything about the causes of conflict as well as the damages it has done on the civilians’ life, also the role of US, Russia etc.

Q – What was the outcome of recent Syrian Election?

A – Mr. Bashr Al Assad was reelected as President

Q – What is the difference between Chemical warfare and Biological Warfare?

A – In chemical warfare toxic chemical agents are used at a massive scale to kill humans and in Biological warfare infectious biological toxins are used.

Q – What do you know about the Geneva Dialogue related to Syrian Crisis?

A – A dialogue mainly between US and Russia where the guidelines were laid to peaceful resolution of Syrian crisis and disposal of Chemical weapons possessed by Syria

Q – What do you know about OPCW (Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons)

A – Explained.

Q – What are internal security threats in India?

A – I answered a few such as Naxalism, Cross Border insurgency, Human and Arm trafficking, terrorism etc.

Q – Whether Population Explosion is an internal security threat?

A – No

Q – When did an earthquake occur in Gujarat last time?

A – 2001

There were some questions related to my graduation field

Q – What safety measures are taken in building an earthquake resistant structure?

A – I told him that I cannot recall at this moment

Q – Who makes the building codes?

A – Bureau of Indian Standards

Q – Is there any code for earthquake resistant structures?

A – Yes Sir. IS 1893-1984

Q – When was the latest revision of the code?

A – I told him that I don’t know the answer.

Q – What did you like about Calicut (I did my graduation from Calicut)

A – Sir Calicut is full of green vegetation and natural sites also the people are very polite and co-operative.

Q – What do you like about Allahabad?

A – Sir, Allahabad is my hometown and I like everything there

Q – Tell me the astronomical significance of Allahabad.

A – Indian standard Time line passes through Allahabad. Also the organization of Kumbh Mela is based on the planetary positions

Q – Tell me some differences about the geographical features between Allahabad and Calicut

A – Sir, Allahabad is located on a plane terrain and Calicut is located on a hilly terrain. Allahabad is located at the bank of river Ganga and Calicut is a coastal area with a long shoreline. Then there is difference in the climate and soil structures of the two etc.

Q – What are your favorite science fiction movies (as I mentioned this as my hobby)

A – Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Avatar

Q – Have you watched Brave new world?

A – No (never heard it before  )

Q – he explained a theme of a movie and asked me if I have watched a movie based on this theme

A – Yes. Wall E

Q – He asked me to narrate the story

A –  I Did

After the interview

Q1. 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?

It was more or less based on expected lines. Though they did ask some uncomfortable questions such as even after doing my graduation from such a reputed college why do I want to leave my field? It took me some time to convince me about my decision. Then one member asked me a same question (whether population explosion is an internal security threat) 4-5 times by rephrasing his words and every time my answer was ‘No’ so finally he looked happy and said “Good”, I guess he was just checking my confidence. Overall the board was very cordial. They kept on smiling and so did I

Q2. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?

All the details about the required documents will be there in the Interview call letter.

CAPF Marksheet

Mail me your prelim, essay and interview marks, when UPSC uploads.

Service preference

Q1. What is your service preference order BSF,CRPF, CISF, ITBP?

  1. CISF
  2. BSF
  3. CRPF
  4. ITBP

Q2. How/Why did you pickup that order?

I have had firsthand interaction with couple of officers of CISF as I had come to know that life style is better in CISF also place of posting is good. Then BSF is like the most reputed force in our country. In CRPF mostly you get postings in Naxalite areas, and in ITBP mostly one stays at hilly terrains.

UPSC CSE-2013 experience

If you had appeared in UPSC civil service exam 2013, please reply following

Q1. Your marksheet for prelims and mains


Paper 1 102
Paper 2 163
Total 265



Q2. Your overall experience and words of wisdom about CSAT, GS, Aptitude, optional and essay

Well according to me practice is a key for CSAT so solve as many mock tests as you can for CSAT. In mains, optional and essay are very important for securing good marks so choose your optional wisely which can fetch you good marks. And practice 3 to 4 essays before writing mains. Although I did not join any test series for GS papers for mains, I’ll recommend joining test series for GS and optional for mains if possible.

Career Backup

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

Well I had written SSC CGL 2013 as a backup but it got cancelled.

Q2. When were you going to execute that backup plan (e.g. after third attempt, after dad retires, after girlfriend dumps me etc.)

I had planned to execute it simultaneously with my UPSC preparation.

Q3. If you were to re-appear in CAPF-2014 then what modifications would you make in your studies?

I would practice the previous years’ papers


Q1. Through this journey and success, what wisdom did you gain about life and competitive exams?  What is your message to new aspirants?

  • Time is a like treasure so learn to treat it that way
  • If you are preparing for competitive exams you have a lot to lose but even a lot more to achieve so never lose hope. Your day will come to rise and shine
  • To new aspirants – do not join any coaching for GS. It’s a waste of time and money. There are plenty of good books and material in the market as well as online blogs and websites, follow them and take the help of seniors. Also be thorough with the syllabus and go through previous year’s papers.

Q2. UPSC had cleared nearly 2500 candidates from CAPF-prelims. You’re selected but many others did not. They’re feeling dejected with this whole competitive exam business. What is your message to them?

Naturally anyone will feel bad if his/her name is not there in the final list. I have also been through this phase so I know. But this is competition and you don’t even have the liberty to feel bad for long time so if you want to succeed in the next attempt, gear up from now on and don’t waste a single day. It’s never too late. Please assess your mistakes in the previous attempts and try to improve upon them. Have faith it’s hardly a matter of time and your name will be there in the final list.

Credit: Friends/family

Q. Behind every 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 incidence that you would like to share with the readers?

  • My mom and dad have been a continuous source of support and motivation to me. I never had to worry a single thing except studies. A big credit goes to them for my success
  • My brother and my sister-in-law who always believed in me and motivated me when I felt low. Had it not been for them I could not have made it into the final list
  • I also want to thank my friends Ankita, Amit, Ranjeet, Gaurav, Nilay, Patanjal, Utkarsh and Somu who always stood by me motivated me and supported me in every way possible. I cannot thank you enough guys.

Bogus Marketing Propaganda

Q. You are well aware for the sacred rule. The last question in topper interview,  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.

I am a regular follower of your blog and I have also subscribed it to my mail. Even follower is a rather mild word of appreciation; I am a fan of your blog. I like how you make the most complex things so simple and easy to understand. It’s not like coaching institutes who make simple things complex. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the commendable work you are doing. Keep it up. Your blog is a treat to people who are not residing in Delhi. I know it’s a lot to ask considering your busy schedule but it would be really nice if there is a separate forum in which you will personally answer the doubts of the aspirants.