21. CSE-2014 MARKSHEET
  25. WISDOM


Anuraag Jayanti

Q. Details
Name Anuraag Jayanti
Rank in CSE-2014 55
Roll No. 431749
Age 24
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 2
Optional Subject Sociology
Schooling Medium English
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Visakhapatnam
Work-experience if any No
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures Qualified in SBI PO and IBPS PO
Details of coaching
  1. Vajiram GS coaching (2012) ( not entirely useful though)
  2. Sociology classes from Mohapatra sir (very useful).
  3. In my second attempt I took only test series from chronicle (GS) and vajiram ( socio)
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS, IRS(IT), IRS(C & CE), IFS, IPS
state cadre preference (Top-5) Maharashtra,MP,Gujarat, AP,Telangana


fill the details here
% in class 10 94.83%
% in class 12 97
Graduation course and % B.Tech ( Electrical engg)  80.3%
Name of college, city, passing out year IIT – Bhubaneswar, 2012
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Reading books on Mahatma Gandhi, cyclingMerit certificate in ICSE talent search exam, AITSE, maths Olympiad. Won debate, quiz competitions at inter-school level. Karate Maroon belt etc.


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

I am Anuraag Jayanti, B Tech graduate from IIT Bhubaneswar. Our family comes from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. But I spent most of my childhood in Paradip, Odisha due to my father’s job. He works in Indian meterological department.

When I was in the third year of my engineering, during a discussion with my uncle regarding future career options I realized that civil services should be the dream of my life. In this job one is assured of not only bright career prospects and resultant benefits but one also derives immense satisfaction  from public service the worth of which cannot be measured in monetary terms. So instead of sitting for placements in my college I opted for preparing for civil services examination.


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)

Internet is a resource which ought to be used carefully during the preparation. I used to refer to websites like Mrunal, Pib, insightsonindia, idsa etc. I used to read newspaper online because it made my task of preparing notes easy. And while preparing notes from the paper I would advise one to make topic wise notes. But one cannot entirely rely on electronic sources. Reading a few books like Laxmikanth etc is indispensable. But internet helps one in topic wise preparation. It enables us to refer to a wide array of resources on topics for which traditional resources are not available. I used to regularly watch programmes like The Big Picture, Science Monitor etc on Rajya Sabha TV.

I used to make 3 study plans per month and tried to stick to them as much as possible – daily,weekly and monthly. This helps one in keeping an eye over oneself and to evaluate one’s progress. I used to divide my day into parts and devoted different subject in each part of the day. But taking a break during the weekends was a must for me and during such days I read less compared to the other days. Reading books on Mahatma Gandhi helped me to build up confidence. And while making my plans I corrected one mistake which I had made during my first attempt at this examination. Revision is the most important part of preparation. So while making plans I allotted specific time for revision at regular intervals, because without proper revision it is difficult to retain everything one reads. Moreover it helps to improve writing speed in the examination.  So just read the basic sources and revise them thoroughly. No need to follow multitude of resources. It is enough to have conceptual clarity.


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?

Mood swings and distractions are part of human nature. One needs to be emotionally intelligent to win over one’s weaknesses. In this aspect I think proper planning helped me fight such distractions. Every night while checking whether I had completed my targets or not, I often took myself to task in case I hadn’t completed the set targets. Plus writing a test series helps one in maintaining consistency in preparation. Moreover taking periodic breaks is very necessary to prepare consistently for long periods of time.

It is important to remember that this exam requires not only IQ but also EQ. It is in our hands whether we use our emotions for our benefit or not. Failures and setbacks should spur us to work even harder.


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.

Yes, I understand that it can become quite tough for one to handle the stress of repeated failures. I would not call such attempts as failures, but just an interval where one can pause and rethink over one’s strategy for the exam. Whenever I used to feel mental stress I shared it with my mother and sister who helped me in maintaining my cool. One should always remember these words of Gandhiji– “satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is victory”. Whenever I saw persons who were not as lucky as I was in getting various resources for preparation I used to thank God for it and continued my preparation with rejuvenated vigour.

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

In the first attempt (CSE-2013) I was not able to complete the GS papers due to shortage of time. I left nearly 180 marks combined in all four papers. There were problems with my answer writing also. So during my 2nd attempt, I took a test series to improve my writing speed. Moreover I realized that answers could be written in time, provided we stick to what is being asked in the question. Compared to my first attempt my interview score also increased.


Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient NCERT- RS Sharma
History Medieval
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Bipin Chandra, Spectrum
Culture and society Nitin Singhania notes, Wikipedia and NCERT
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikanth
Economy (theory + current) Newspaper, mrunal, sriram material, eco survey
Science (theory + current)
Environment (theory + current) Shankar IAS , vajiram notes
geography physical Ncert, GC Leong
geography India Ncert, vajiram notes
geography world GC Leong, mrunal
other national/international current affairs Newspaper, magazine
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff IYB, Economic survey

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2014 paper?

GS paper is very unpredictable. One cannot predict the topics from which questions will dominate in the next prelims paper. So it is the safest course to be thorough with all the vital areas of syllabus ( like economy, history, polity and geography) and later go through subjects like culture to such an extent as time permits. Moreover it is very important to keep updating oneself regarding the current events in each and every topic.

Q. in GS-Prelims 2014, there was unusual questions from environment and agriculture portion. If you were to give the attempt again in 2015, what new strategy / books / sources would you focus?

I would be thorough with the Shankar IAS book on environment.

Q. Now that Aptitude paper has become qualifying, obvious more attention needs to be paid on the GS paper so apart from the books that you already have gone through, what else would you have tried for CSE-2015 (if you were going to appear again)

I think I would have kept the same pattern of preparation except that I would have covered the topics which I hadn’t covered while preparing for prelims-2014 (in areas like culture etc).


Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Mock question papers+ TMH book
reasoning Mock question papers + TMH book
comprehension I tried to practise as many comprehensions as possible from the various mock question papers available in the market.
Decision Making Mock question papers


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

Yes I had attended a few mock tests at CL. Although taking up mock tests is an individual choice, based on various factors I would definitely advise aspirants to practice as many mock tests as possible at home since it helps us to evaluate our preparation level. It simulates the exam atmosphere and helps the candidates to face the examination without anxiety.

Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2014

I do not exactly remember how many questions I had attempted. I took the safe side and attempted 60-70 questions in the GS paper.

Q3. Your score in prelim (when UPSC uploads it please mail me your score)

GS – 104

CSAT – 144.18


Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper
your regional language Daily I read a few words from the English to Hindi dictionary and once in a while I used to write translations from Hindi newspaper articles into English and vice-versa. I followed grammar books to become thorough with proverbs, synonyms etc ( in those topics where questions are asked in grammar section)

Q2.other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2014

The compulsory language paper was more lengthy and difficult in CSE-2013 when compared to CSE-2014. In the 2013 paper one had to write two essays where no choice was provided. With the change in pattern and with declaration of fixed 25 percent cut-off for the papers UPSC has taken a lot of stress off the candidates’ shoulders. But I know some really bright candidates who couldn’t clear mains solely due to the language paper. So I would advise the future aspirants not to take this area lightly.


Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

My essay preparation had not been upto the mark. Had I been appearing again I would have practiced writing at least one essay per week. But due to procrastination and competition for time between different subjects I used to skip writing essays regularly.

Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?

Essay 1 – Words are sharper than two edged sword

Essay 2 – Tourism – can this be the next big for India


Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Nitin Singhania notes+Wikipedia+NCERT (But UPSC asked questions which went beyond these)
Indian history Bipin Chandra +Spectrum
world history NCERT – story of civilization ( I read only those chapters which were mentioned in the syllabus. It is uploaded on Mrunal.org as well)
post-independence India Bipin Chandra
Indian society NCERT. Sociology being my optional, I didn’t feel the need to go in for any special preparation for this as well as next three topics
role of women, poverty etc.
globalization on Indian society
communalism, regionalism, secularism
world geo physical GC Leong
resource distribution Mrunal.org
factors for industrial location Mrunal.org
earthquake tsunami etc Vajiram class notes
impact on flora-fauna


One neednot buy the entire vision ias or any other material which I cited. I would advise a topic-wise preparation from whatsoever source one finds useful. Moreover RSTV videos will help one in the preparation of current updates in the polity section. Newspaper is a must in the preparation of every topic.

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Laxmikanth
comparing Constitution with world Vision IAS material, vajiram class notes
parliament, state Legislatures Laxmikanth
executive-judiciary Laxmikanth
ministries departments Websites
pressure group, informal asso. Vision IAS material
Representation of people’s act Internet
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Laxmikanth, Vision IAS material
NGO, SHG etc Vision IAS material
welfare schemes, bodies India year book and websites of the respective bodies
social sector, health, edu, HRD India year book, economic survey and PIB for the latest schemes and updates
governance, transparency, accountability Vajiram notes
e-governance Vajiram notes
role of civil service Vision IAS material
India & neighbors Chokalingam notes + newspaper+ RSTV videos, Mrunal.org
bilateral/global grouping Internet, Mrunal.org, newspaper
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Chokalingam notes + newspaper+ RSTV videos, Mrunal.org
international bodies- structure mandate Internet


Though I have not mentioned it separately under any heading, Economic Survey and newspaper are must for conceptual clarity on the current economic scenario. I also relied heavily on Make in India website and PIB to prepare for different economy related topics. The RSTV videos of a programme titled ‘The Big Picture’ were of great help in preparing different current topics.

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Mrunal.org, newspaper
inclusive growth
Budgeting Laxmikanth, vision IAS material
major crops, irrigation Vajiram notes
agro produce – storage, marketing Mrunal.org, Vision IAS material
e-technology for famers
farm subsidies, MSP Mrunal.org and various articles appearing in newspapers and magazines
PDS, buffer, food security Govt websites and I made notes from various articles appearing in newspapers and magazines
technology mission Government websites
animal rearing economics Mrunal.org
food processing Mrunal.org, government websites
land reforms Mrunal.org ( excellent series of articles)
liberalization Uma Kapila
Infra Mrunal.org, newspaper, Make in India and other sectoral websites ( also economic survey)
investment models
science-tech day to day life InsightsonIndia booklet , RSTV videos – Science monitor
Indian achievements in sci-tech InsightsonIndia booklet , RSTV videos – Science monitor
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Vajiram class notes
environmental impact assessment Internet
Disaster Management ARC report, current updates from newspaper
non state actors, internal security Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH
internal security – role of media, social networking site Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH
cyber security Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH
money laundering Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH, internet
border  Management Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH
organized crime, terrorism Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH
security agencies- structure mandate Challenges to Internal security of India –TMH


Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Subba Rao + Lexicon
attitude, moral influence etc. Lexicon
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc Subba Rao + Lexicon
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Subba Rao (excellent chapter)
moral thinkers of India and world How many thinkers did you prepare?I prepared all the western thinkers given in Subba Rao but skipped a few of the Indian thinkers.
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. Subba Rao + Lexicon
corporate governance Subba Rao
probity in governance, work culture Subba Rao + Lexicon
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. Subba Rao + Lexicon
challenges of corruption Arc report and one can refer to Subba Rao or Lexicon
case studies on above topics Practiced from SK Mishra test papers available in the market.


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

I will give a general outline regarding how I approached case studies.

  • Instead of giving simply personal views try to incorporate the views of famous thinkers to strengthen your argument.
  • Divide each answer into different sections. For example , I used headings like ‘the facts given’, ‘the available courses of action’, ‘evaluation of each course of action’, ‘conclusion’
  • In the sections mentioned above I used to write answers in a point-wise format.
  • Use quotes of famous personalities relevant to the topic
Case your approach/ keypoints
case1: your friend preparing UPSC
case2: Rameshwar the uptight UPSC topper.
case3: no bribe no contract.
case4: corrupt subordinates file bogus rape complaint against you.
in  the remaining bol-bachchan type questions (e.g. why ethics important, why probity difficult etc).


Please tell us how many marks worth attempt did you give? along with comments if any, in the following cells:

Paper Best attempted Average quality namesake answer Total attempt
GS1 15 7 3 25
GS2 10 6 4 20
GS3 10 6 4 20
GS4 Attempted all
Opt-P1 Attempted all
Opt-P2 Attempted all

Based on my experience I can say that one should try to attempt as many questions as possible. The examiner can evaluate one’s knowledge only if one puts it on the paper. Having said that, it is the quality of the answers which fetch marks but not the number of questions attempted. In my first attempt I left nearly 180 marks combined (because of slow writing speed) in all GS papers which proved dear for me. So attempt as many as possible but not at the sake of quality and legibility.

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

The place provided is large enough to comfortably fit our answers.

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.

There is no fixed format to write an answer. It depends upon individual choice. Some questions can be answered better in bullet points ( eg pros and cons) while some can be answered better in paragraph format.

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 should try to follow the intro-body-conclusion format as much as possible. The reason behind it is that introduction tells the examiner that one has grasped what was being asked in the question while the conclusion tells the examiner that the candidate is optimistic and makes reasonable conclusions.

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

I would have used if time had permitted.

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


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


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


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

Blue pen.

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


Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?

While I was going through the syllabus of different optional subjects, I found the syllabus of sociology very interesting. It involves topics which we come across everyday in our lives. I went through the question papers which made me sure regarding which optional to take. Moreover knowledge of the society in which we live will help one in the better performance of one’s work in the administration of the country.

Q. If a new player wants to pick this subject, would you advice for it or against it? (e.g. every senior player in Public Administration seems to be advising against pub.ad)

I would definitely advise him/her to take up this subject as it would really be an enriching experience for them.

Q. First the essential book/resource list. (Also mention which one is the “Base book” for covering the theory? + Whatever comments you’ve for a particular book e.g. “my seniors said read xyz book but I found that ABC book was better”.  “xyz topic not given properly in this book, so prepare from xyz website or book…” OR and so on.)

Paper 1 –

Mohapatra sir’s notes- revise it as many times as possible ( one can make short notes of this if one needs)

Haralomboss –old and large one – a very useful book which can be read selectively to cover topics like stratification, gender , religion, power.

Vajiram material – for areas in which one finds oneself weak

IGNOU BA material – for thinkers

Paper 2 –

Mahapatra sir’s notes

Vajiram material – volume 4 and volume 5 are extremely useful

IGNOU BA material – only for selective reading.

Q. 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?

Knowledge of current affairs is useful for this subject. One must analyze every current event from the lens of sociology which would help in citing examples while writing answers.

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

Roughly three months

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

1 month and a half

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

I wrote  self notes ( on paper) for revision from the main notes given by Mahapatra sir. I faced problem in revising those areas where I hadn’t maintained any short notes.

Q. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2014 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?

Yes I found that the difficulty level increased this time when compared to previous times. So I would advise candidates to be mentally prepared for any fluctuations in the pattern or difficulty level of the exam.


Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? – for college grad, hobbies, place of origin, current affairs at national and international level?

For college graduation – I viewed the video lectures posted on the NPTEL website about my graduation subject ( electrical engg). In addition to that there are many websites from where you can brush up your graduation basics

Hobbies – a person should already have enough knowledge about his/her hobby.

Place of origin – I relied completely on the web for preparation in this area as well as for the states and towns I have lived in. I read both the static details as well as the dynamic current updates about such areas. Moreover I spent much time going through the socio-economic issues of the states where I had stayed and staying in ( like naxalism in odisha, drug problem and agro crisis in Punjab, state division issues of Andhra etc). I went through the important policies and programmes of these states. I did extensive study on every current issue and regularly discussed them with my mother.

The articles which are available in the websites of various newspapers have been of much help.  I also went through topics like famous personalities, history, art and culture, tourist places of the above mentioned states.

Current affairs –The Hindu,The Indian express (partly) and Frontline

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 four mock interviews. I felt that they were quite useful for one’s preparation. Quite often it happens that we miss some important areas from our biodata while preparing or we miss seeing how a question can be asked from a particular area in the main interview. Having said that, it is not absolutely indispensable for those who are by reasons of distance or financial problem unable to take any such mock interviews. However they can form a group of aspirants and take mock interviews amongst themselves which would also help.

Q3. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.

I wore a black suit (though what you wear doesn’t matter as long as it is formal and decent). Weather permitted me to wear a suit or else I would have picked up a normal decent outfit.

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

I didn’t try to read much on the day before my interview. I read the newspaper and revised some old topics. By and large I was just maintaining my cool.


Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

Former Vice-Admiral DK Dewan

Q2. How long was the interview?

Approximately 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 want to join civil services as I find this job challenging and it provides a chance for direct interaction with the people. It involves a huge diversity of responsibilities which makes the satisfaction level derived from this job quite high. It enables me to participate in the governance of the country.

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)

It was nearly 3:55 PM. I was the fourth member to be called from my table consisting of 6 persons. I had used the time gap available to brush up that day’s events from the newspaper lying on the table.

Finally the call came. I prayed to God to be with me during my interview. I entered the interview room. I could see the smiling faces of the board members. I wished them good afternoon and the chairman asked me to take a seat.

While I was just sitting the chairman asked a question what my roll number was. I answered it.

Then he asked ,“why do your eyes look red?” This was a question which I didn’t expect at that point. I replied that I hadn’t slept properly the previous night. This reply was followed by questions regarding where I was staying and where my father works in etc.

Then looking into the biodata he asked, “ In your hobbies section it is mentioned that you like reading books on Mahatma Gandhi . Why do you like reading his books?” I answered that his honesty had attracted me which was later on nurtured by his insistence on following ethics in every field of action. He continued,“ Tell me who are the two internationally famous followers of Gandhi?” My answer was Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. He further asked how Martin Luther King had died and his famous speech which I was able to answer partly. The chairman continued asking some more questions on Gandhi like,“what was the immediate reaction of Nehru when he received the news of Gandhi’s assassination?” I answered that I knew about the speech which he had made then. The chairman asked me what it was. I replied-“the light has gone out of our lives…” The chairman seemed pleased. I was asked a few questions regarding  pivot to Asia policy, number of members of Nato ( to this question I said “sorry ,I don’t remember sir”), who were the member countries of nato, what was the motive behind pivot to Asia etc. He again switched back to my hobby and asked me questions like who had called Gandhi a one man army, what was the context in which Mountbatten had called him so, how Gandhi tried to stop the riots in Calcutta etc

Then the sole lady member of the panel took over. She was looking a little serious. I prayed silently. She asked me what I knew about  fibre optics and phototronics. I answered. This was followed by questions on karate which I had mentioned in my extracurricular activities section. She asked what was the difference between karate, judo and kungfu. Unfortunately I was not able to answer this question. Moving ahead, noticing that I had mentioned Sanskrit as a subject in my intermediate, she asked me “what is the message given by Bhagavad Gita?” This was followed by “do you think B.Gita’s message is relevant for modern times?” I answered that Gita espouses the philosophy of self less action and it has even greater relevance in modern era. She then asked me some factual questions regarding quit India movement, purna swaraj declaration etc. All the while I tried to keep eye contact not only with her but also with each and every member of the board. I could see that the chairman was listening to her questions and my replies attentively, often interrupting and asking a few additional details himself. Then she asked “which Indian martial art you know?”. I answered “kalaripayattu”. She continued “do you pursue cycling for relaxation or as a sport?” I answered “for relaxation, madam.”

Lady member ,“why are so many students from your state Andhra migrating abroad?” I answered that better educational and research opportunities as well as economic returns are attracting students to foreign shores which is a phenomenon being witnessed across the country. She asked how the students were being able to afford studies abroad. I replied,“By taking educational loans”. The chairman then asked which movie was recently made on this issue. I replied that I didnt know. He then jovially said “you don’t seem to be the type who watches movies.” I wondered in my mind whether it was being thought of as a positive or a negative thing. I smilingly replied that I was selective in watching movies.

The next member took over.

He asked me polity related questions like – “Where do you go to enforce your fundamental rights?” “ Can you go to any other court other than High courts and Supreme courts?” “ How many writs are there and what are they? Tell me in detail” “ what is the meaning of the word Habeas Corpus?”

He continued-“ Who is the present election commissioner?” “ Explain the setup of EC?” “Who conducts elections in a state?” “ Who is the officer who oversees elections in a state?” “ How can one enforce accountability of officers entrusted with election related duties?” etc.

All of a sudden he asked me a mathematical question. I asked whether I could use a paper and solved it. He then asked some more questions relating to Gandhiji and electrical engineering.

The chairman took over. He asked me questions related to Gandhiji like – “what was the statement which Gandhi made in England before he went to meet the king?” I answered “Gandhiji had said that the king had worn clothes enough for both of them.” The chairman said,“ This was after the meeting, what did he say prior to going?” I answered “ Gandhiji had said that he was going to UK as a representative of poor millions of India. So he could dress only as one of them.” This was followed by questions like “who called Gandhi a half naked fakir and why?” I answered. The chairman was smiling all through the interview which gave me a great sense of relief.

The fourth member started his round of questions –

“What books did you read on Gandhi?”

“Tell me what these are- off grid, micro grid and smart grid?”

“Recently due to cyclone Hudhud the electricity poles were uprooted. How can you prevent such events from happening?”

“How can smart grid help in such cases?” etc.

Finally the last member’s turn came.

He asked “what was the voltage limit for wires which can be laid underground?”

I answered, “Sorry sir, I don’t remember ”

Then he asked,“Tell me what is the amount of T&D losses in electricity sector in India?”

“What are the reasons behind it and how to rectify them?” I tried to tell as many points as possible as I had framed an answer for this question beforehand in my mind.  Interrupting my answer midway he asked,“Shouldn’t  we increase the number of substations?” I said,“To reduce T&D losses it is more important to relocate the substations than increasing the number of them.” And then I explained why it was so by giving example of a certain locality.

The member asked me a chain of questions,“When is Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrated?” “On which date?” “Why was this date chosen?” “What is the significance of this day?” “Where was this year’s event held?” “Which new building was inaugurated then?”

This was followed by a set of questions on Dandi March. Finally I reached the last question of my interview – “ Define power factor”.

After this the chairman said, “Thank you, you may leave now.”

After thanking them I left the room. Coming out of the room I felt my interview wasn’t as I had expected. I had expected lots of questions on state related topics and current affairs. So in retrospection, I can say that one should be thorough with whatever one mentions in his biodata before one faces the interview board.

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?

The interview was mostly from my biodata( especially hobbies). While I expected some questions from my home state or current affairs I wasn’t asked much from these topics. But there weren’t any uncomfortable questions during the interview. The interview was quite good.



GS paper 104
CSAT paper 144


Essay 118
GS Paper 1 95
GS Paper 2 83
GS Paper 3 80
GS Paper 4 113
Socio paper 1 151
Socio paper 2 129
Interview 198

Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?

I would have practiced more number of essays. And for the other GS papers too I would have covered those areas where I couldn’t place enough emphasis.


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

I would have continued my civils preparation while doing a bank job.


Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?

I think the decision to create a qualifying paper within a qualifying paper( prelims) isn’t a wise one. While it is beyond doubt that everything was not perfect with the old pattern, it isn’t a wise decision either to make it qualifying, pending further changes next year. It becomes really difficult for aspirants to change the pattern of preparation every year. But I retain the hope that a solution will soon emerge to this confusion.

Q. Half-merger of IFoS with CSE is a bad move because it has raised the cutoffs for players who’re solely dedicated to IFoS only (and not to IAS/IPS). Adding salt to the wounds, many who had applied for both jobs, cleared the prelims- they did not even bother to appear in all the papers of Mains-IFoS. (atleast that was the scene in 2013).

Every job has its own requirements. A candidate aspiring for IFoS is required to have certain qualities which vary from what is required in a civil services aspirant. Therefore I think separation of the two papers is advisable. It not only gives rise to problems mentioned by you but also leads to disproportionately higher weightage to questions from certain areas in prelims paper.

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

I think they should declare the answer key immediately after prelims but cutoffs can be declared after the prelims result is announced. This would help the candidates evaluate their performance.

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

It is possible for prelims to be made online but it isn’t possible in case of mains. The advantages of making the preliminary stage online is that it would help save paper and all the related logistical work. Having said that, care must be taken to ensure that this doesn’t disadvantage candidates who come from remote areas having little digital literacy.


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? Did you suffer from such insecurities? What is your message to these candidates?

I never entertained such thoughts. I think one should not worry about interview board asking such questions. There is nothing to feel shy about if one is not from English medium or from a big college. What the country requires is not English speaking bureaucrats, but sincere, ethical and hard working bureaucrats. As long as we have clarity of thoughts we need not fear being asked about any question in interview. So without bothering about such things I would advise them to focus solely on their preparation.


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?

My experience taught me one beautiful lesson. There is a divine law which governs human actions. Hard work always pays off. Always stick to this one philosophy. God always blesses honest effort. Never give up. Keep your parents’ image always before your eyes. Work hard to see the day when they will be exceedingly happy with your result. Keep checking yourself. Make plans and stick to them. Keep up consistency in your preparation. It is the single biggest thing required during preparation.

Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2014. They’re feeling cynical, hopeless and depressed- what is your message to them?

I understand that it can be hard sometimes to see one’s efforts not bearing fruits as one expected. But history is a proof that even great men have first been greeted by failure before success kissed their feet. I would recommend to all such aspirants to take this result as an opportunity and go in for self-introspection regarding what went wrong with their preparation. I would advise them to turn a deaf ear to the naysayers. If they correct their earlier mistakes and work earnestly they would definitely be successful in the next year’s exam.


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 family always stood by me in this journey. Especially my mother was not only the source of emotional strength but also a comrade with whom I used to discuss study related topics. There was never any kind of pressure from my father. Similarly my relatives and friends always had faith in me. They always believed in my capacity which boosted my self-confidence.


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.

I relied on Mrunal.org heavily. I am very grateful for your initiative. It helps so many candidates who are not able to afford paying the huge fees demanded by coaching institutions. Mrunal.org has helped me in subjects like economics (each and every article is worth going through), world geography ( two direct questions were asked from this section in GS paper -1), food processing sector etc. For the interview preparation as well, the lectures on economic survey were very useful. Especially the one on GST was brilliant.