[Topper’s Interview] Dr.Arpit Jain (UPSC-2013/Rank-194): Anthropology Optional, Madhya Pradesh

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  1. Topper Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Struggle of a Senior player
  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 (Mains) paper 1
  14. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  15. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  16. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  17. Mains answer-writing?
  18. Anthropology Optional Subject
  19. Before the interview
  20. During the interview
  21. CSE-2013 Marksheet
  22. Career Backup
  23. Views on UPSC reforms
  24. Insecurity about profile
  25. Wisdom
  26. Credit: Friends/family
  27. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Topper Profile

Name Arpit Jain
Rank in CSE-2013 194
Roll No. 302045
Age 29
Total attempts in CSE 2
Optional Subject Anthropology
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Schooling medium English
College medium English
Home town/city Maksi  (District – Shajapur)/Bhopal/Varanasi
Work-experience if any 30 Months
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures PMT entrances  2004..cleared most  exams with good ranks… air-11 in BHU-PMT
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  1. Civil services…took guidance from following teachers
  2. S.K. Mishra sir (Retd. IAS )- Paper -3 (Polity),Paper-4 (Internal security etc.) , Ethics
  3. Alok Jha (Synergy ) – History
  4. Anthropology – Sriniwas sir
  5. Essay – Vikas Ranjan sir
  6. GS (some portions) – Manoj Jha sir
  7. Read Current affairs from Vision IAS notes ,
  8. Vajiram final compilation of IR and printed notes on some issues
service preference IAS,IFS,IPS (however I considered all 3 as my dream job )
state cadre preference
  1. IAS – M.P ,Rajasthan, Maharashtra
  2. IPS – M.P. , Maharashtra,Rajasthan


fill the details here
% in class 10 72.6
% in class 12 70.3
Schooling (Medium) English
Graduation course and % MBBS , 55.1 %
Name of college, city, passing out year Institute of Medical Sciences , Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU),Varanasi ..passed in 2010
Post-graduation Joined M.S. in 2010 but leaved it in august 2011
Any other professional courses Doing M.A. (Gandhi and Peace studies )..plan to do Phd in Conflict Resolution from some ivy league
Hobbies & Extra curricular
  1. Working on Right to Information
  2. Writing Letter to Editor in News Papers
  3. Working on Comprehensive, all Inclusive and holistic Healthcare and Education model for India
  4.  Writing English Parables


Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?
Topper CSE 2013 Rank 194 Arpit Jain BHU

  • I am a Doctor by profession did MBBS from Prestigious IMS-BHU , Varanasi. Besides, I had been RTI activist .Also, I love to write English short stories  and I m in touch with a leading International publisher to get published my Short story collection by 2017-18…
  • I belong to a small town named Maksi , Distt. Shajapur of Madhya Pradesh were I studied up to 8th then moved to Bhopal because we have no good school after 10th in our town (…moving from small  town to city at age of 14 was very painful for me ,some thing similar to as depicted in character of Rajkumar Rao in movie City Lights).
  • My father is a very dedicated Doctor,who is  24*7 available to patients and never says ‘no’ to any patient.  In fact,  many a times   to poor and needy  patients he gives money to buy food,medicines etc.
  • My mother is a House Maker who always encouraged me to dream big,do something creative and innovative in life . My younger sister is working in field of advertising .
  • In field of competitive exam I entered way back in 2004 when I cleared some good medical entrances with flying colors .
  • To become IAS/IPS officer was a dream from child hood , watching movies like Sarfarosh,Gangajal, Swadesh etc. kept my desire burning . During my MBBS days I used to think of appearing in UPSC , however I was never serious . In 2010-11 after working in hospital for more then a year and seeing how a person’s socio-economic deprivation ( Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy etc. ) impacts basic right to happy life , My thirst to work on a wider platform increased. Finally ,I took a firm decision, leaved my residency and started preparing from December 2011.

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 study life. 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 mind maps on computer …or xyz style)

  • I believe in judicious  balance of both electronic Material and paper material.
  • Due to infinite expanse the electronic material material should be within framework of UPSC syllabus  and should also be authentic. for example : MRUNAL.org , PIB ,Rajyasabha Tv debates etc.
  • However, I more relied on reading Paper material because it was easy to read and organize .I always read standard books and authentic material .The crap h coaching notes I don’t prefer and they often used to  be last resort when I was not able to find any standard book

Day in study life :-

  • I have a very scientific method of studies,
  • I made a monthly ,weekly and daily plan
  • Every morning I start with making daily schedule,priortising  things then trying to stick to it.
  • if one makes time bound plan then one can prevent wasting time in unwanted things. (I would suggest you to Read Stephan covey’s …7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE …which will definitely help in proper planning of studies along with optimal implementation )

Style of preparation

I Make short notes of everything I read, I Used Mind-Map technique to make concise and crisp notes which can be  retained for a long time, Besides it is also easy to revise   . For every paper I had short notes in one Register each  (one can search ‘Tony Buzan’ on  internet who is the pioneer of  mind map technique  )

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?

  • I would suggest you should always self analyze and try to find something which motivates you .It may be smile on parent’s face once you clear exam, it may be opportunity to do work once selected for civil services  , it may be fulfillment of childhood dream etc. This  will vary from person to person.
  • But I would say U have to find your own motivating force.
  • This motivation brings  about passion and Zeal to study hard.
  • I always follow gandhiji’s Talisman whenever I am in doubt ,I remember the face of poorest person I have seen .My dream to serve the marginalized , vulnerable , poor never allowed me to loose passion in studies.
  • Besides Reading good books especially of Swami Vivekananda helped me to maintain my enthusiasm through out course of preparation.
  • In addition to this , I always maintain a diary were I write daily hourly schedule… and whenever I am deviating from it ,it creates pressure adding to study momentum.
  • Also, I Pasted the monthly plan in front of My table,so that 2-3n times a day I can gauge it and can see whether my hourly , daily schedule is in coherence with it or not.
  • Mood swings will be their ,for which we need to develop our own strategy to fight.

Struggle of a Senior player

After 1-2 failures in any competitive exam, a phase of mental saturation comes. The person knows the booklist, he knows what is necessary to succeed. But it doesn’t yield result. Not to mention all the emotional struggle-against those irritating neighbors and relatives….My question are two:

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.

  • It  took  me effectively 2 attempts and 2 and half year to clear this exam .
  • I know people who cleared this exam in 1 attempt and I am inspired by organized  and disciplined study they did .
  • But, I know people who cleared this exam in 6-7 attempts and I really salute their optimism, perseverance and commitment.
  • Friends I would suggest please be optimistic and have firm belief in your dreams, think of the moment of happiness in your life when you clear the exam
  • If you have made target , then never be in doubt and never hear crap around. whomsoever de-motivates you move away from them..
  • Besides, Don’t use the hardships of your past as excuses to deny the possibilities of your future
  • Stand up within yourself. Gather your mental, emotional and spiritual strength. Speak from deep within your spirit and your soul. .”I will survive. I will thrive. I am coming back. Giving up is not who I am. I will stay the course and persist until I succeed.”   Resist the feeling of being powerless or being a victim.
  • What people think of you is none of your business. Be true always with oneself. Being yourself  frees you up. It allows you to live with optimal potential you have
  • My goal was never UPSC clearance rather it is how I can bring smiles to maximum faces and happiness to maximum lives. It’s how I can empower and add meaning to life of  each and every human being I touch. This goal itself is biggest motivation to me. So I considered UPSC clearance just a means to achieve this.Hence, UPSC was never able to create any prison.
  • I also never cared of what Relative or neighbor will say.I am very straight forward and vocal to any person who tries to be stumbling block in path of my goal.
  • I always kept the major stake holders like mom-dad, close friends (Dr.Saroj , Dr. Shreyash ) in confidence when I was preparing these are the people I cared about.

Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?

  • Mainly Non-serious, unorganized studies.
  • I was not able to do my optionals before prelims ,
  • lack of answer writing practice.
  • This time I studied in organized way and tried to complete the syllabus in time along with adequate answer writing

Working professional

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

  • Although I am not a working professional , but I know people who cleared along with work.
  • For working people I would suggest  the mantra of “ Optimal channelization and utilization of resources ,self confidence and dedication to goal “

Consider following :-

  • Make a time bound plan and stick to it ,
  • Set your priorities
  • Analyse past papers and current affairs , make list of important topics and dedicate time depending upon the importance of topic
  • Use maximum time available at your disposal in most fruitful way.
  • Use the resources like Mrunal.org, pib etc  if you can’t avail coaching benefit.
  • be disciplined and have firm self – belief

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient NCERT (old)
History Medieval
History Modern (Freedom Struggle)
Culture society Nitin singhania notes and Documentaries on internet
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikant + News Papers
Economy (theory + current) MRUNAL , Indian Economy – Sanjeev Verma
Science (theory + current) The hindu , MRUNAL
Environment (theory + current) Ncert biology 12th (2003 edition ) last 4 chapters. BBC Documentary
geography physical, Indian and World Majid Hussain – India and World Geography (TMH)
other national/international current affairs The Hindu,Indian Express
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Newpaper, government advertisement

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2013 paper?

I think  in 0nly 35-40 questions one can be sure, for most of the other questions one needs to take intelligent guess. This intelligent guesses  can only be made  if  one has done robust practice of MCQ’s, repeated revisions, discussion and in jkdepth analysis of issues.

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Actually not very specific but I read selected topics from vajiram material, CL and TMH

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2013 paper

Practise ,  Practise , practice is the Mantra. .. solve all the questions of Aptitude that UPSC has asked previously ( even from the old papers when CSAT was not their ) Try to attempt maximum questions .

Clearly identify the areas of weakness , and work upon them. Getting high score in CSAT is master key for clearing prelims

Prelim accuracy

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

I attended CL test series … I consider it helped to get simulated environment as that of Exam

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

attempted Q. correct (Expected)
GS 99 65-66
aptitude 80 74

Official Total score: 287

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Brilliant tutorials old paper
your regional language Unique publication

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

Hindi was lengthy and tough this time, don’t take language  papers lightly. I have seen many deserving candidates failing in them.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

Essay writing Practice at PARINAM IAS – Vikas Ranjan sir and worked upon feed back given.

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

  1. Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)
  2. Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?
  3. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country
  4. Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.

I wrote on 4th science and technology

Discussed from grass root innovations to research in every field and how it will impact various areas of society..It was mostly on very positive note..and concluded with adding spirituality and ethics.

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
  • Nitin Singhania notes
  • UNESCO videos on World Heritage sites of India
Indian history
world history Ncert 9th -10th (The story of civilization)
post-independence India Bipin Chandra: India after Independence
Indian society Part of My optional (Anthropology)
role of women, poverty etc. News papers,
globalization on Indian society News papers , wikipedia
communalism, regionalism, secularism Bipin Chandra (Freedom struggle),wikipedia
world geo physical India and World geography (TMH )- Majid hussain + NCERT class 11th (NEW one)
resource distribution India and World geography (TMH )- Majid hussain
factors for industrial location India and World geography (TMH )- Majid hussain+ NCERT
earthquake tsunami etc NCERT class 11th supplement on Disaster Managements
impact on flora-fauna Nothing specific , only current affairs from news paper

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc.
comparing Constitution with world Leaved it
parliament, state Legislatures Indian Polity – Laxmikant
executive-judiciary Indian Polity – Laxmikant ,Indian administration – Rajni  goyal
ministries departments News paper
pressure group, informal asso. Wikipedia
Representation of people’s act S.K. Mishra sir’s notes
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.
NGO, SHG etc Wikipedia
welfare schemes, bodies News paper , 12th five year plan draft (Planning commission )
social sector, health, edu, HRD News paper , 12th five year plan draft (Planning commission )
governance, transparency, accountability Newpaper , web site –www. Indiagovernance.com
e-governance Newpaper , web site –www. Indiagovernance.com
role of civil service
India & neighbors News paper +MEA website,  selected Article (G.Parth sarthy,C.Rajamohan etc. )
bilateral/global grouping News Papers,MEA website,selected articles IDSA
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest News paper
diaspora Got an article distributed to M.P.’s  from one of my friend
international bodies- structure mandate News Paper + Wikipedia (do only important organizations and organizations in News )

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Mrunal, Sanjeev Verma (Unique publication )
inclusive growth 12th five year plan draft
budgeting Read from Laxmikant (chapter on Parliament)
major crops, irrigation GKToday.in
agro produce – storage, marketing GKToday
e-technology for famers GKToday
farm subsidies, MSP GKToday
PDS, buffer, food security GKToday
technology mission GKToday
animal rearing economics GKToday
food processing GKToday
land reforms Bipin Chandra (India after Independence)
liberalization Mrunal, Sanjeev verma (Indian Economy)
infra Mrunal, Sanjeev verma (Indian Economy
investment models Nothing specific
science-tech day to day life MRUNAL, GKToday
Indian achievements in sci-tech GKToday
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Mrunal, GKToday
environmental impact assessment EIA from website of Ministry of environment and forest , CSE and some articles on internet + current issues
Disaster Management NCERT class 11th supplement on Disaster Management + notes from NDMA website
non state actors, internal security Annual Report Ministry of Home affairs + Vajiram Notes + News Papers
internal security – role of media, social networking site Vajiram Notes + News Papers
cyber security Vajiram Notes + News Papers
money laundering Vajiram Notes + News Papers + wiki + internet
border  Management Vajiram Notes + News Papers + Annual Report Ministry of Home affairs
organized crime, terrorism Vajiram Notes + News Papers + Annual Report Ministry of Home affairs
security agencies- structure mandate Vajiram Notes + News Papers + Annual Report Ministry of Home affairs

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine
attitude, moral influence etc. S.K. Mishra Sir’s   notes + Chronicle Magazine
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine
emotional intelligence, its use in governance S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine+ you tube interview of Daniel Golmen
moral thinkers of India and world  Chronicle…. I prepared Buddha,Vivekanand,Tagore,Gandhi,Ambedkar,Plato,Aristotle,Kant , Rosseu,
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine
corporate governance S.K. Mishra Sir’s   notes + Chronicle Magazine
probity in governance, work culture S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine
challenges of corruption S.K. Mishra Sir’s  notes + Chronicle Magazine
case studies on above topics S.K. Mishra Sir’s   notes + Chronicle Magazine

Q. Any other comments, word of wisdom after going through the mains-2013.

  • Start working on your way of answer writing ( point wise or paragraph wise ) , following are the characteristics of good answer :-
  • It is to the context  of question being asked .
  • It  Should Cover maximum dimensions.
  • It Should have  appropriate facts,examples , flow charts , diagrams etc.
  • If possible should have a streamlined flow so that examiner not feels bored reading your answer.
  • Simple language. Practice to write fast , you should be able to write one answer in 6-7 minutes.( even this mains was also test of writing speed , were I did badly and have to leave questions of about 200 marks..this is blunder in competitive exam !)
  • If your writing is very poor then please work to make it atleast legible to a common person . ( In 2012 mains my writing was very poor and I was not able to read even what I am writing , this time I worked upon that.)
  • Whatever pen you will write with, start practicing from now onwards ( I would suggest uniball eye micro/cello butterflow/cello gripper)

Mains answer-writing?

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

Space is more than enough

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.

Mixed of both,Again I would say it depends on a person how one can express better , Because both kind of people writing paragraph or bullet have scored better  Their in small difference when examiner asks ‘‘examine, comment, discuss or xyz’’which I would clarify very soon

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.

One line introduction and one line conclusion….it makes answer structured

Q. In GS papers, Since UPSC came with those 100 and 200 words questions. 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.)

Answer should be well organized,multidimensional and within the context of question asked . Remember UPSC never gives marks on crap. I would say  whatever u write , write with maximum quality .But ,also take care of maximum attempt . You need to maintain a balance of no. of questions attempted and quality maintained .

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

GS (Mains paper) Couldn’t finish __ mark
GS1 50
GS2 40
GS3 50
GS4 0

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

Underlined important points,words

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

Yes in geography + flow chart in some questions

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

Geography – pencil

Flow chart etc. – pen

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

With hand only

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

Blue pen , at some places used black pen for heading

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

Anthropology Optional Subject

Q1. First the essential book/resource list and strategy:

Paper – 1

Paper – 2 

  • Indian Anthropology – Nadeem Hasnain
  • Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain (Update it with census data of 2011)
  • Annual Report – Ministry of Tribal Affairs (very selected reading ),
  • Current news related to tribals from Hindu
  • Make short notes and  supplement with material of Brain tree  or any other coaching

Q2. 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?

Internet is useful , many good websites are their which elaborate on specific topics .It should however be used judiciously.

Q3. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?

About 3 months of sincere studies

Q4. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?

5 months before exam

Q5. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?

I make self notes and  made mind map of 70 % of topics

Q6. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2013 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?

Anthro was  of the same level as has been asked previously . I would strongly recommend to read text books and use internet to develop clarity on major topics

Q7.How much did you skip OR couldn’t answer properly, in the optional paper?

optional paper Couldn’t finish __ mark.
Paper I 20
paper II 40

Q8. would you advice any interested party (new player) to pick this optional? Nowadays wind seems to be flowing towards sociology and political science. Some senior players advice new players not to pick them given the scaling and odd questions. What’s your take on this?

make a smart choice considering following

  1. Personal aptitude/interest  for an optional . Some people are comfortable with humanities while others with science, literature etc . To see your interest read basic books like NCERT/IGNOU material or some coaching material.
  2. See the trends of marks obtained in recent years.
  3. See availability of good guidance .

Before the interview

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

  • I practiced mocks with my friends and collected maximum questions possible , practiced various dimensions of those questions.
  • For my hobbies/activities I did exhaustive studies . I personally met people working on this area to develop clarity on issues . For example I personally went to  meet Aruna Roy Madam  (RTI ), Dr. Abhay Bang (Public health ), Lok biradari prakalp team at Gadchiroli , MH (Public health )
  • I also met and talked with many senior  bureaucrat to know their view points on national issues and situation based questions

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 mocks at Samkalp , S.K. Mishra sir and Perfect IAS . They were of much help for me to know my weakness.
  • Also , the practicing of mock with friends Amit,Prakhar,Anuradha ,Dr. Indu,Ratnesh ,Avadh, Sanil, kriti, runul,sarthak ,vaibhav,parth,ananya was very fruitful.
  • Besides, Final inputs given to me by friends Saurabh gupta (IRS,2013 batch ) and Ved prakash (IFS,2013 batch)  were much Beneficial.
  • Practicing above made me comfortable on the interview day and equipped me to handle any kind of situation.
  • I would recommend to make a group of 4-5 committed people after mains and practice on finer areas .Once you are confident on major areas then get finally polished by interacting with senior peoples in formal setting provided by various institutes.

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?

I wore suit . For me  it was most comfortable

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

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?


Q2. How long was the interview?

35 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 loved being doctor ..serving and connecting with the people  has been part of my  personality… I am not at all leaving being doctor from core of heart… rather I am moving to a platform were I can work in multiple wider areas in holistic way
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 will soon post it in my blog or here . I am about to complete writing interview transcript which is quit long

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?

Most of it was on expected line , some questions on practical case studies were there . One needs to be cool,calm and confident to have interview run smoothly

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

Take all the documents specified in the letter send by UPSC

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

Nothing to worry.

CSE-2013 Marksheet

OPTIONAL-I (Anthropology) (PAPER-VI) 112
OPTIONAL-II (Anthropology) (PAPER-VII) 81

Career Backup

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

Although I never thought,but would have continued with medical profession

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

Never Thought

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 and the candidate whose optional subject gets favorable treatment under given year’s scaling formula.

I firmly believe in removal of Optional subjects..

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 syllabus in 2013. Let’s face it, most candidates who gave Mains-2013 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 preparing from far-away area, without any financial resources, high-speed internet or contacts in Delhi.

You are right. But I believe if someone follows standard books, MRUNAL, News Papers along with writing practice then one can clear this exam.  I considered most of coaching material as sub-standard and I used only when no other source was available

Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.

It would be a better move..

Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of exam.

Definitely duration of Exam can be shortened…it should be brought down to 5-6 months

Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?

  • Remove Optional
  • Study Material can be prepared by expert group  and should be made freely available online (to curb coaching culture)
  • Prelim-result declaration within 10 days of exam (it’s all OMR sheets )
  • Mains form should be filled with prelims..and Mains can be after one month of prelims
  • Interview should be on 2-3 boards to remove subjectivity.
  • Evaluated Answer sheets should be given to candidate

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?

I would say leave this fear….  Your background hardly matters…  In interview board don’t try to bluff ..just remain truthful..they like people from humble background… No need to have regrets even if you are not working…
Ultimately an aspirant should not feel guilty about his/her background …. Rather one should have clarity and conviction of ‘why ? ‘ he/she want to join civil services


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?

I would say if you have a dream then you have to protect it… it’s once own  commitment, conviction that matters… Never see life in terms of success or failure rather it should be a continues learning process … in case you fail , take responsibility of your failure rather than blaming luck or some super natural factors..

If you take responsibility of failure , you will definitely know areas of improvement and you can work upon them to have better result in future. However if you just keep on blaming circumstances, people,luck etc. you will never know your weakness and there is no scope of improvement for such person.

Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2013. They’re feeling dejected- what is your message to them?

Definitely, depression comes if a person not gets result as per expectation. But I would suggest  rather then moving into spiral of hopelessness and depression it’s better to sit and analyze about areas of improvement . I would say be ‘proactive’  and try to find the solution of every problem you encounter .Don’t just react to the situation, but think what should be the future course of action . Be optimistic and think what’s best ‘I’ can do in the present circumstances

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?

My father ,mother,sister , teachers – S.K. Mishra sir, Manoj Jha sir , My friends Dr. Shreyash ,Dr. Saroj , Parul . It was faith of these people in me which always kept my enthusiasm and Energy at high level.

BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Q. You are well aware of the sacred rule – 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, unlike those competitive magazines.

Mrunal.org is inseparable part of my preparation . My day is incomplete if I don’t browse through mrunal.org. I have great respect for Mrunal bhai, for the wonderful work he is doing.  It’s people like him who are really the gems of this country. Your way of explaining is wonderful, simple , concise and crisp. Mrunal.org is slowly becoming life line of students across india and I salute you bhai because of your efforts the friends who can’t access coachings etc. can now fulfill dream of clearing UPSC and other exams.

Mrunal replies: thanks a lot for this highly informative and motivating interview. We wish you the best for service and cadre allocation. Keep in touch.


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113 Comments on “[Topper’s Interview] Dr.Arpit Jain (UPSC-2013/Rank-194): Anthropology Optional, Madhya Pradesh”

  1. congratulations ! :)

  2. congrts arpit bhai..
    truely inspirational …

  3. You could’ve removed background from your pic, anyway **!** congratulation **!**
    Dear Mrunal, I see toppers attempting almost all questions worth 250 marks and scoring 70 marks in average. Do their quality of answer is not up to the mark or evaluators are given a large leeway ? I am confused.

    Have you got anyone’s evaluated answer sheet ?

    1. The UPSC has high standards of evaluating answers…it’s very difficult to match those absolutely ( like we match the standards of CBSE board during school time and may score 98 – 99 marks out of 100 , but this is not possible with UPSC ) , Also huge syllabus not permits to do very in depth study of any one topic, impacting score…it’s always good that you perform slightly more then average in all papers and get through ..

      1. Thankyou Brother for replying ( actually I was thinking from CBSE perspective ).
        One more question,
        1. Can you suggest any book or any material to improve essay writing ? ( your past experience or feedback from your mentors )
        How to work upon introduction body conclusion part of an essay, for example if I ask you to write intro for ‘political reform for social reform’ what will be your approach ?

        1. AK try to write as many essay as possible …and get it evaluated with some experienced person …. Introduction should hit the context of the essay and should give window to the direction in which you want to take your essay ….. conclusion should be on positive note with a futuristic vision.. it should be able to inspire examiner…
          In the ‘Political Reform and social reform ‘ again introduction will vary depending upon direction you want to take essay …. I would start with …

          ” Past was good
          Present is better
          Future will be glorious ”
          This is the thought comes in my mind when I see the the successful commencement of biggest festival of democracy – ‘ The Indian parliamentary Election ‘ .It has been possible because of rising political awareness and sense of social responsibility. The political and social transformation goes hand in hand and both in coherence with humanitarian values adds to the happier and promising future of world . ( now next line will depend whether I want to write in indian context or global context )..

          then I may start from French Revolution , American war of Independance , 19th century in India , about work of Raja ram mohan roy , jyoti ba phule etc. various social reform and rise of political awareness, political reforms,gandhi ji, Ambedkar, universal franchise,election commision role., policies of govt. etc.

          1. Thankyou sir for your precious reply,

            Wonderful strategy sir, I (and the readers ?) learnt,
            1. Positive introduction connected with present happenings in context of the essay topic + a hint of what the body is about
            2. Chronologically arrange the events from essay’s perspective
            3. A positive conclusion insinuating an idealistic society where everyone smiles
            ( am. I right ?)

            With your permission can I ask you a question ?

            1. In 2013 paper I, there was a question to write about cholas social n economic, If I write sati+Brahman+daasi in social and irrigation in economic, will that fetch good marks or I should also include budha+Jainism and coins+tax payment and other points that they followed in common with prior rulers.

            (My respect will remain intact, even if you skip this post , again my heartiest congratulation for your heavenly achievement)

  4. dis was inspirational.

  5. Congratulation Dr saab…absolutely inspirational

  6. Congratulations Arpit Ji.

    Reading your experience was truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Arpit ji,
    Congratulations .
    Could you please suggest topic wise references for anthropology along with detailed strategy .

    1. see … I have already give it

  8. Congrats Arpit!! I am excited to see a topper with Anthro optional. The three digit score in paper – I is remarkable. What do you think went well for you in Paper-I. Also the paper-II marks is less than what people used to score earlier. What do you think went wrong here. Can you share some lessons learnt here?

    1. Hi Rajith.. Thanks !!! In paper -1 try to answer more physical anthropology questions , but add social/anthropological dimension in every answer ( your answers should not look like biology answer..always remember that you are writing Anthropology ). In paper – 2, I am surprised by marks , I was expecting much higher marks … I am filing RTI to get my checked answer sheet.

      1. Thanks Arpit. Once you get the checked answer sheet can you share your comments. My id is [email protected]. For answer writing skills did you enroll for any test series? I have almost completed my anthro studies but am uncertain about my writing skills. If anybody could assess my writing skills and guide me for writing better. It would be really helpful.

        1. write simple language …I have written about the qualities of good answers above in interview…go through it… try to substantiate your views with appropriate examples and facts….. Do maximum answer writing practice and slowly you will develop skills….if you can have group of 3-4 dedicated people , it would be nice..

          1. HI Aripti,

            For the theories part in Paper-I, can you share the notes you have prepared. In the university site you have mentioned contributions of various anthropologists mentioned in the syllabus is missing. How did you go about preparing them?

            Also, for paper-II, contributions of various anthropologists to indian anthropology is asked in the exam. How did you go about preparing them?


  9. HI Arpit ,
    Could you please share your email id(contact details), I wanted to contact you and ask few things regarding preparation ..

    Thanks in advance

    1. hi sourabh… it would be nice if you can ask your queries here itself … it will be beneficial for other aspirants also…

      1. Dr. Arpit…How come you answered 99 questions in prelims. I mean did you marked those questions also in which you had doubts..Because i was quite careful even dint marked answers having an iota of doubt.

        1. hi you need to develop your own strategy… I always go for answering maximum questions . I was confident in about 35-40 questions,in about 40-45 question was able to reach upto two options . In rest questions I went for trying smart guess , using various permutation combination like previous knowledge, any key word in question etc.

          1. helpful….great thanks…..

  10. Such a wonderful interview greatly motivated

  11. hii… congratulations arpit for ur success…. i think we met at samkalp during mocks or during medical at RML hospital, anyways best of luck for future…

    1. yep… I can recall you…thanks mann for wishes..

  12. arpit sir…congrtas. sir cud u plz tell me how usefule are GK Todays notes in your preparation?

    1. not all notes are good … only few modules were upto mark last year… U need to judge before reading it…

  13. congratulations Arpit sir…
    u mentioned BOOKS FOR ANTHRO…
    a)what all supplementary notes were used for anthro(class notes)..as u mentioned srinivas sir..
    b)where did u join test series(any writing practices for answers)

    1. I did crash course (8-9 days) of sriniwas sir , I gave only 1 test at sriniwas sir… not did much answer… I took some hand written notes of sarkar from one of my friend..

      1. not did much answer writing practice in anthro that was a big flaw in preparation…please do answer writing practice..

        1. Hello sir,
          My question is with regard to joining Srinivas sir coaching…I am preparing for 2015 UPSC. Should I wait until Prelims or start reading or coaching for Anthropology Please need suggestions..


  14. Congratulations Arpit….
    I am also from MP(bhopal)…….
    u made us feel proud………….

  15. Hello arpit boss….thanks for such a inspirational interview …u r just boost my thoght to confront with upsc…I always has a silent desire to go for upsc..thanx a lot nd keep motivate aspirants like me…who want to do somethng better for socity on larger scale…nd tht is not possbile being a resident docter

    1. thanks mann…. I’ll be coming soon to BHU… we’ll then sit and discuss on various aspects of civil services…

  16. Congratulations Arpit sir……. can you please share the ethics notes of S.K . Mishra you have mentioned ….it will be agreat help for the aspirants like me who are preparing outside delhi….

    1. I am busy with some work presently….Whenever I’ll get time I’ll try upload the notes (with Sir’s permission !!)

      1. Thank you so much sir ….looking forward to that..

  17. congrats Dr. Arpit :)
    Its really inspirational to read your Interview , can you please share some more info about Anthro Paper . Please share Your Blog with us .

    1. subuddhi please read standard book 3-4 times ,make your own notes, do answer writing practice,

      1. Thanks Arpit Jii , i have another query is there any quality Notes there in Delhi for Anthro , are they helpful ??

        1. nopes … no good material available… I took notes of sarkar from my friend…

  18. Congratulations Sir!
    Thank you for Sharing writing tips.

  19. Hi Mrunal…thanks for these interviews of toppers…But one thing most frightening is – almost all the toppers u interviewed recently are Delhi-based aspirants…it is literally giving shivers to ppl like me who are far away from Delhi and cant go to delhi for various reasons…Especially on those new syllabus topics – everybody is saying guidance of Delhi sirs helped them…could u pls throw light on this

    1. Mohan razz leave that fear…. many people from periphery without coac hing or coming to delhi have cleared this year

  20. hello boss

    congrates… please guide me also …………

  21. pls mrunal provide an interview of one upsc craker who has having philosophy as a optional.if it is possible. pls

  22. Ur interview is probably amoung
    three four interviews , which i read and
    den thought- wow such honest interview
    …..u deserve success…all d best…

  23. Arpit Jain …..first of all respect to you for your success and humility…. Kudos
    Sir may I ask you why didn’t you take med sci as optional?
    Sir I’m b.pharm and I’m finding med sci as the only feasible subject…..except for the surgical part….which I will have to do…whole of it…..rest is more or less common.
    I’m very concerned that if I take a totally alien subject like public admin or pol sci etc….I would be literally lost at sea.
    Hence I’m asking the reason for you choosing antho over med sci?
    Plz guide me sir as what optional would have been a better choice for me according to you?
    Thanking you in advance and waiting for your reply….

    1. Really speaking … I love medical science but I wanted to explore new subject , so I opted for Anthropology. . If you r B.Pharma I would suggest not to go for medical science , because you will never be comfortable with many areas in which a MBBS graduate will be. You can think of Anthropology,zoology,botany etc.

      1. hi
        In anthropology paper 2 ,they are asking very general questions . What was your approach to these general questions ?
        thanks .

        1. hello Navin plz guide me answer booklet is white page or line ruling.

        2. substantiate with facts,examples , diagrams ,flow charts ,standard reports to make your answer more qualitative…

  24. Congratulations Arpit Sir
    I want know the answer booklet is totaly white page like previously or line ruling .

    1. Thanks Nidi… The booklet is blank (No ruling )…

  25. Dear Arpit,

    Congratulations on u r success and I wish u all the very best in your future endeavors.
    Need small info from your side which will be of immense help to me . This is regarding CL prelims test series.

    I have been writing CL test series for last three months and I am getting on an average national rank of 400 to 450. Also my scores in paper 1 are not consistent and I am worried now as exam date is nearing. In this regard I will request you to calrify on below points.

    1. Some people say CL paper1 is really tough and not in synch with actual exam and a score of 50 here will ensure 90 to 100 in actual exam, is it true?? pls commet.

    2. My average score is at around 180 . I understand even a score of 195 is fetching a all India rank below 200 here in test series, can u please tell me how much I need to score here in order to ensure success in actual exam.

    3, If you can draw an analogy from u r marks in test series to actual exam.

    Your reply will be of immense help bro. Many thanks in advance.

  26. arpit sir congrtas for your grand success hats off to u,sir can u help me how to best optimize DAF form for personality test what poits sholud give more importance plz sir rply thanku all the best for you future

    1. Thanks Vaibhav… First fill it with cool and calm mind , giving sufficient time (Don’t be in haste ).. consider following :-
      1. You are accountable to each and every word u r writing in DAF .So fill everything taking into consideration that any question can be asked from that.
      2. Fill hobbies/activities which you really pursue.. if they r somewhat unique and shows some administrative aptitude it will be nice.
      3. Don’t fill something just to show off (like some people write about drawing competition they won in class-1 of school … but when asked about sketching ..they can’t utter a single word )…because if u fill something u should have practical knowledge of it…it shows your integrity..also be mature in filling form

      Remember it’s your personality test… the more u r truthful ..the more ur daf shows that you are committed to whatever u have written …the more u have integrity…the more marks u will fetch…!!!

      reflect quality of a administrator/leader and u will rock…

  27. good bhai……………………. achcha tha

  28. Hi Satish …. Thanks for your warm wishes …
    1. Yup, CL paper is not much in synch with UPSC . Always keep in mind the previous papers of UPSC. I can’t comment on how much marks you fetch here will be equivalent to actual exam …
    2. Don’t go on score … In real exam also don’t go with any pre -conceived notion or pre-determined score. You should always try to score the maximum…The competitive exams are like a race,were all aspirants are running,whomsoever runs fast wins …the maximum you score ..the greater chances are of selection
    3. In last 3 test my rank was within 100 in CL ..and I cleared pre with good margin.

    Please try to improve your rank in CL…. don’t take tension of marks . If you are within 100 in CL test series ..it shows adequate level of preparation (although it’s not sure shot guarantee of your selection )…Self-analyse your weakness and work upon them.. competitive exams are all about relative performance and getting good rank in mock test keeps your motivation high ..which is reflected in your performance in Exam..

    1. Thanks a ton Arpit !!!! I will work on my weak areas..Thanks again for replying .

    2. Thnx for the info arpit sir…even am thinking to opt for anthropology. The books n detalis you have mentioned above is that sufficient or one need’s something extra. it would be very kindful if u share something on anthropolgy because that subject is not that much popular and very hard to get notes.

      1. hi !!! first complete the above books (not full book , but topics mentioned in syllabus ) and revise them 2-3 times… then just scan any coaching material (Brain tree, sarkar or any other ) so see if you can get something additional..and then most importantly do as much answer writing practice as possible.. (Please keep your reading resources minimum possible…. UPSC wants professional,smart people and not academicians )

  29. I can take anthropology optional in hindi medium

  30. Arpit sir
    Can I take anthropology optional in hindi medium

    1. hi sachindra … I would not suggest to take anthro in Hindi … because of lack of availability of guidance and material ..

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