1. Candidate 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. GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2014
  18. Mains answer-writing?
  19. GS2- Sample Keynote Answers
  20. Mains Optional Subject
  21. Before the interview
  22. During the interview
  23. CSE-2013 Marksheet
  24. Career Backup
  25. Insecurity about profile
  26. Wisdom
  27. Credit: Friends/family
  28. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Kunal Kishor

Q. Details
Name Kunal Kishor
Rank in CSE-2014 337
Roll No. 119571
Age 23
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 Motihari/Patna
Work-experience if any Joined bank as asst manager
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures Ibps
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  • Vajiram- mains updated course, interview.(2013,2014)
  • Sankalp- interview(2014 and 2015)
  • Sociology Test series- Mohpatra Sir,(2013 and 2014)
  • Praveen Kishore Sir,(Nice ias).(2014)Vision Ias test series.(2013 and 2014)
  • Ramaswamy Sir for essay and sociology classes. (2012)
Service preferences (Top-5) Ias,ifs,ips,irs(it),irs(customs)
state cadre preference (Top-5) Bihar,Up,Jharkhand,AGMUT,MP


fill the details here
% in class 10 92
% in class 12 89.6
Graduation course and % B.E., 78%
Name of college, city, passing out year Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi,2013
Post-graduation No
Any other professional courses no
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Watching inspirational movies, playing rise of nations

Computer game.


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

I was born and brought up in Motihari and Patna. I did 12th and engineering from Delhi. I was supported in my preparation by my father Mr. Ram Kishor Thakur, mother Mrs. Baby Thakur . I started the preparation in 2011 during 3rd year of my engineering. I stayed in Delhi with my younger brother Akshay Kumar whose cheerful nature made the preparation very smooth and relaxing.

It was dream of my grandfather Late Shri Bhagya Narayan Thakur to see me selected in civil service exam. It gives me immense pleasure to accomplish this dream of my grandfather and make my parents and entire family proud.

I entered this field as it gives immense satisfaction in public service and also gives personal satisfaction in terms of prestige associated with 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).

This is the most important section I used to focus on mrunal. I found all aspirants have different style and there is no one said style of preparation. What I followed was this-

  1. Read one material several times.
  2. Read the hindu for 2-3 hrs daily.
  3. Most important- read every word, every line and every sentence by questioning why and how. Note- It takes time to understand things and it may take 3 months -1year to understand what I mean by this. My humble request to aspirants is that you must not leave this habit. Questioning things is fundamental in human nature and the same approach is required in upsc by which they mean being analytical.
  4. Never benefitted from making notes but started recently on evernote as it makes preparation customized.
  5.  Electronic material- I started reading hindu on tab after joining bank, searched for new terms online, especially those found in hindu, read mrunal, practiced questions on insights. But most important read everything by having why in mind.
  6. Another important thing I will discuss in answer writing section and interview.

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 recently got smartphone as I initially thought it was distraction but found its immense usage if we don’t use fb, whatsapp, or watch movies etc on it. So now I downloaded motivational, inspirational apps, wallpapers, used to watch this video always, read r n tagore, vivekanand, Lincoln quotes on mobile. Then, I used to watch movies, play ron, watched videos like the secret, etc.

Struggle of a Senior player

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.

My father insulated me from these things and I prepared calmly in delhi.

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

In last attempt I gave interview. In last attempt I used to study for 2hrs effectively and for 3 hrs did coaching. Rest of the time went into distraction and confusion. But, I stayed on books for 10 hrs.

This time there was confusion and tension as I was not selected. But, then I carried on by watching inspirational movies and especially videos like the secret. Aspirants must watch this video. And I studied for 8-10 hrs regularly.

Working professional

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

Had very short experience and I found I was difficult. Fortunately, results came and I am relieved.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient Ncert-old
History Medieval Ncert-old
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) spectrum
Culture and society Nitin singhania notes, vajiram class notes
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikant and the hindu
Economy (theory + current) Ncert,mrunal, ramesh singh, vajiram class notes, the hindu
Science (theory + current) The hindu, ncert-6,7,8,9th,10th

11th and 12th– biology selected chapters and the hindu

Environment (theory + current) Vajiram booklet, Shankar ias book(best one)
geography physical Ncert-11th
geography India Ncert-11th
geography world Ncert/ g c leong
other national/international current affairs Mrunal, the hindu, vajiram ravindrum sir class notes
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff The hindu

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

Luckily read new ncert 6th, 7th and 8th class new ncert of sc and tech, geography and got most of the questions from there.

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?

No new strategy. Whatever happens I will always read the same old book but with why and how as I have still not completed all the with this approach. Studying it this way means you can cover several unread books. With this approach one can answer many unread, unseen questions in prelims. As you read questions and options , you can figure out which is correct by intuition(J) and logical reasoning.

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)?

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Practice questions from tmh and question papers in market.
reasoning Practice questions from tmh and question papers in market.
comprehension Practice questions from tmh and question papers in market.
Decision Making Practice questions from tmh and question papers in market.

Put special focus here by rereading all old question and answers given by upsc.

Helpful for ethics paper and interview.

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2014 paper.


Prelim accuracy

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

Any mock test will do. Whats important is approach I mentioned above, Took questions from market.

official marksheet
GS 120
aptitude 126.68
total 247

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Read unique publication book.
your regional language Read unique publication hindi book.

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

Was much easier than 2013 papers.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

Ramaswamy sir guidance was of much help. This I also used in answer writing in general studies and sociology.

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

Wrote on

  1. Every power comes responsibility
  2. On policy paralysis wala question.

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
culture Same as below
Indian history Same as below
world history Ncert old 9th and 10th.
post-independence India Bipan Chandra, vajiram class notes(not well written), watch samvidhaan(rajya sabha tv) and pradhaanmantri(they also relaxed)
Indian society Praveen kishore sir sociology notes helped a lot.
role of women, poverty etc. Bipan Chandra, general economy
globalization on Indian society Vajiram handout
communalism, regionalism, secularism Sociology
world geo physical Youtube videos as suggested by neha jain and same as above, also vajiram class notes.
resource distribution Vajiram manocha sir class notes, ncert
factors for industrial location Vajiram manocha sir class notes, ncert
earthquake tsunami etc Vajiram manocha sir class notes, ncert
impact on flora-fauna The hindu etc

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Laxmikant AND THE HINDU
comparing Constitution with world Ravindrum sir notes
parliament, state Legislatures Laxmikant AND THE HINDU
executive-judiciary Laxmikant AND THE HINDU
ministries departments Laxmikant AND THE HINDU, arcs
pressure group, informal asso. Vision ias notes
Representation of people’s act Vision ias notes
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Laxmikant AND THE HINDU
NGO, SHG etc Vajiram booklet, sociology
welfare schemes, bodies Laxmikant AND THE HINDU
social sector, health, edu, HRD Vajiram class notes
governance, transparency, accountability Vajiram class notes
e-governance Vajiram class notes
role of civil service Vajiram class notes
India & neighbors Vajiram class notes, MRUNAL
bilateral/global grouping Vajiram class notes, THE HINDU
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest THE HINDU, MRUNAL
diaspora Vision ias notes
international bodies- structure mandate The hindu

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Mrunal,Ramesh singh, d kumar notes, ncert, the hindu
inclusive growth Mrunal,Ramesh singh, d kumar notes, ncert, the hindu
budgeting Mrunal,Ramesh singh, d kumar notes, ncert, the hindu
major crops, irrigation Vajiram notes
agro produce – storage, marketing Vajiram notes
e-technology for famers Vision ias notes
farm subsidies, MSP The hindu, vision ias
PDS, buffer, food security The hindu, vision ias
technology mission The hindu, vision ias
animal rearing economics Vajiram notes, The hindu,
food processing Vajiram notes, The hindu,
land reforms Vajiram notes, bipan chandra
liberalization Vajiram , ncert
infra Economic survey, iyb, ncert
investment models Vajiram
science-tech day to day life ncerts
Indian achievements in sci-tech Vajiram booklet
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Vajiram class notes and the hindu
environmental impact assessment Shankar ias notes
Disaster Management Ncert-9th,10th and 11th
non state actors, internal security Security issues book- vajiram(very good book)
internal security – role of media, social networking site Security issues book- vajiram
cyber security Security issues book- vajiram
money laundering Security issues book- vajiram
border Management Security issues book- vajiram
organized crime, terrorism Security issues book- vajiram
security agencies- structure mandate Security issues book- vajiram

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Mishra Sir notes(best for ethics), Values for administration by dopt(very good), vajiram notes(pathak sir notes are good)
attitude, moral influence etc. Same
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc Same
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Same
moral thinkers of India and world How many thinkers did you prepare? Read moral thinkers from shriram booklet.
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. Same
corporate governance Same
probity in governance, work culture Same
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. Same
challenges of corruption Same
case studies on above topics Same- also read insightsonindia

GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2014

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

case your approach/ keypoints
case1: your friend preparing UPSC All my answers were average type…answered from multi- dimensional perspective…
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).

Mains answer-writing?

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

I always answer every question. But I consider all my answers are of average quality as I answer from multiple- dimensional perspective. I always see that they are never namesake and that I get few marks from any question.

Paper Best attempted Average quality namesake answer Total attempt
GS1 all
GS2 all
GS3 all
GS4 all
Opt-P1 all
Opt-P2 all

I Answers all. But write relevant points. Never use fillers.

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

Had problem in sociology as space was less.

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.

Write preferably in paragraph. Bullet points looks odd.

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.

Very important to write in this format.

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

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

Yes, in history, culture, geography. If I had time, ideas and applied some mind I would have done same in paper 3 as well. (my handwriting is bad, so I try to make up for it). Draw maps, charts, tables, relevant photos, graphs, etc in these papers.

Make the examiner feel that she/he is reading a book ,or magazine.

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?

By hand.

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


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

GS2- Sample Keynote Answers

Answer all the questions in NOT MORE THAN 200 words each. Contents of the answer is more important than its length. All questions carry equal marks. 12.5×20 =250

  1. Starting from inventing the ‘ basic structure’ doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideas of democracy.

Ans- talked of basic structure, judicial activism….why req? role played in environ, welfare of marginalized, cs reforms, for homeless people etc

Talked of alternatives

  1. Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.

Ans- features for and against federalism in constitution…. What is present status? What govt doing now and soln…punchhi commission etc

  1. The ‘Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Access the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privileges’. How can this problem be addressed ?

Ans- reasons- nt empowered demanding society then; political compulsions, coalition politics, legal expertise req nt available now all india whips conference formed for same

How to address= consultation; state consultation; best practices from other constitution of world;etc

why req= criminalization etc

4.        What do you understand by the concept “freedom of speech and expression”? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression? Discuss.

Ans- meaning +analysis for both part 1 and 2.

In part 3 perhaps misunderstood the ques- it was about vishwaroopam ban but I wrote no deaf movies, art cinemas portrayed why = becoz= producers playing safe, no audience etc talked of min of info and broadcasting and unic role to promote movies on differently able which is also a form of expression.

5.        Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions ? Analyse.

Told points/ issues related to same and challenges- delay ny home ministry; emotional tortute bhullar case; said yes to ensure art 21 and proposed soln for same- no politisation; e- clearing etc 12.5

6.        The size of the cabinet should be as big a governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the efficacy of a government then inversely related to the size of the cabinet ? Discuss. 12.5

Talked prob- taking cue from egoms dismantled recently similar prob in big cabinet; coordination etc and then finally soln- national interest etc

7.        Though 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non-news media like a trade publication and general entertainment channel, the Government is mulling over the proposal for increased FDI is news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make ? Critically evaluate the pros and cons. 12.5

Pros- management; quality content; competition etc

Cons- paid news type prob; foreign funding type prob; local media already saturation level

Soln= all stakeholders considered etc

8.        The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the Indian Railways or the private container operators. 12.5

Talked of prob in power sector like sebs debt; subsidy politicization etc and then how rail tariff different benifittiong every stakeholder-general points;

Soln to prevent prob of power sector occurring in railways- ict, transparency, autonomy, accountability etc.


9.        National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India can be most effective when its tasks are adequately supported by other mechanisms that ensure the accountability of a government. In light of the above observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards.

Ans- said how role of judiciary being played= recent cases how equivalent to article 32 mandamus etc;

How protectinh human rights equivalent to judicial activism; other institutions admin responsibility;

Said soln- admin to work effectively etc.

10.      The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine. 12.5

Ans- hurdles- dominant caste; patriarchy; caste issues; intimidation; then said other prob as well and gave soln;

11.      Do government’s schemes for up-lifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economies ? 12.5

Said short term exclusion only(reservation then child in business ) ; discussed of differently empowered, etc being empowered Samuel mani eg etc; minorities; women;

Soln- capacity building etc

12.      An athlete participates in Olympics for personal triumph and nation’s glory; victors are showered with cash incentives by various agencies, on their return. Discuss the merit of state sponsored talent hunt its cultivation as against the rationale of a reward mechanism as encouragement. 12.5

Talked of merit / demerit of both. Said soln

13.      Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges. 12.5

Went on discussing why autonomy req by linking them with current challenges.

14.      Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organization been of the cause of slow change in India ? Critically examine.

Wrote pros and cons and then discussed solutions at stretch since had very little info on same.

15.      Two parallel run schemes of the Government, viz. the Adhaar Card and NPR, one as voluntary and the other as compulsory, have led to debates at national levels and also litigations. On merits, discuss whether or not both schemes need run concurrently. Analyse the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth. 12.5

Wrote lots of points but in benefits forgot to mention several points.

16.      With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between Indian and China. 12.5

Discussed – south china sea issue; bmic; maritime silf route and string of pearls and iron curtain at stretch . then solutions.

17.      The aim of Information Technology Agreements (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero. What impact would such agreements have on India’s interests ? 12.5

Wrote benefits- trade ; affordability; people benefit vulneralable low income people

Prob= revenue loss etc

Soln- reminding blue box subsidy type issues and lessons learnt from them

18.      Some of the International funding agencies have special terms for economic participation stipulating a substantial component of the aid to be used for sourcing equipment from the leading countries. Discuss on merits of such terms and if, there exists a strong case not to accept such conditions in the Indian context. 12.5

Wrote benefits/ merits= quality; etc

Strong case= wrote till we develope capability ; as helps build goodwill, repo; till we develop comprehensive national strength; ndb, aiib etc progressing told problems of imf etc

19.      India has recently signed to become founding member of New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How will the role of the two Banks be different ? Discuss the strategic significance of these two Banks for India. 12.5

Role difference- wrote difference;

Strategic significance= overlapping with significance;

20.      WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken affect countries in a profound manner. What is the mandate of WTO and how binding are their decisions ? Critically analyse India’s stand on the latest round of talks on Food security. 12.5

Wrote mandate;

Binding how?= sanctions recent mango and poultry ban case; duispute redressal case; bad reputation

Pros and cons of india’s stand and finally recently standing.

Mains Optional Subject

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

Sociology. I chose it as I had studied it in one of the courses in engineering and thought to go for it.

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)

Has application based question. I would say if u can relate it to practicals, then only go for it.

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.)

Read haralombus, ignou materials, ramaswamy sir notes, mohpatra sir notes(very good), praveen kishore sir notes. All are good. Got several questions discussed in class by Praveen kishor sir.

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?

In paper 2, use sociological terms and answer from application based multiple dimensional point of view.

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

3 months.

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

6 months

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

No 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?

Was way easier. This paper is getting easier day by day but also less scoring. Catch is to answer from practical point of view.

Before the interview

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

This is areas where I had worked a lot, wholeheartedly.

My 2013 interview score- 129

2014 score- 198.

I had several misconceptions about interview in 2013. They were like- some previous topper has said that personality can’t be changed in 2 years or so.

But as goes Abraham Lincoln quote nothing is impossible to willing mind. I will discuss the strategy.

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?

Not of much help. Except one by ravindrum sir and some interactions at samkalp.

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

White shirt, tie, black pant, black shoes.

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

At my flat in Delhi.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

Mr. Chattar Singh Sir.

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?]

Social service done through civil service is much wider and satisfying. It’s not limited or half baked. It’s complete.

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)

Mrunalji, Thanks for asking this question in detailed manner. I am more than willing to help candidates a lot in this field and answer writing.

This is the most interesting part of all. I had worked a lot for interview this time. Last year I had scored just 129 marks while this year almost 70 marks increase i.e. 198.

Abbreviations- LL- lessons learnt, CM- chairman Sir(Chattar Singh Sir), m1,m2,m3= Male members L1= Lady member.

Few very important tips for interview-

  1. Be cool- Do emotional conditioning i.e. almost half of the time during interview preparation , I used to say myself I can get 200 marks in interview. I will not loose my cool if I am not able to answer any question. I will answer calmly, coolly. All this was new to me since I had brought a drastic change in personality since then. Last year, I scored low because I fumbled a lot after answering just 1 wrong question and did not say “Sorry Sir, I don’t know”.
  2. Be serious- After clearing mains, many candidates feel extremely relaxed like I felt last year. This is where I lost last year. And the most important lesson I learnt from this is very well exemplified in a quote from the movie – The greatest Game ever Played(indeed upsc is also the greatest game ever to be played J)-

There are only two types of player-those who keep their nerves under control and win championships, and those who do not.

This is also true for mains- Eg If u get less marks, be cool say to yourself all is good at least hundred times. If u get highest score, don’t go partying around or wasting time in bragging about it.

Coming back to interview- Prepare well. See, interview is 80% about personality and 20% knowledge. But if we think honestly, we find that knowledge about your biodata, societal issues, people’s welfare etc are all reflection of a good personality as it shows that you are honest, have intellectual integrity .

  1. Always keep these things in mind- Composure, confidence, flexibility of attitude and mindset, and above all humility. Guys, just think if these things especially humility and composure can get you selected in civil services (one of the toughest exam of the world ), then that means these are things which you must never loose.

In cheezo mein DUM HAIN. They will have always help you climb success ladder, wherever you are. This I have seen in almost every IAS officers, big corporate leaders and so on.

Now coming to interview questions-

I met some wonderful people like last year in waiting area of upsc building who were all talented people, some in service, some from top colleges. They discussed lot of things.

Tip- Don’t talk a lot as you may form some wrong picture about board, interview process. Even if you to aspirants coming from interview room , don’t ask them questions asked in interview, (last year I suffered due to this also)- you may form your answers based on what aspirants have talked to you but questions asked maybe different.

Thus, I talked little to people and revised some notes. My turn was last and it came at 12:30 pm.

One interesting incident-

Unlike last year where we were called to wait outside the interview room, this time peon asked me to directly report to interview room. I reached there and he said that bell has rung. But I had to go to toilet. So, I went inside interview room 2 minutes late and board were waiting there since then.

Lesson learnt(LL)- Be cool , don’t panic for these small things. They don’t mind. But if you are tensed about anything then certainly it may impact your marks.

Now I entered the room. I saw 4 grey hair people and 1 lady member, all glancing at me. Walked towards board and said Good Afternoon Mam, Good Afternoon Sirs.

CM- (Showing my photo to me )(Sir, in light mood)- Who is this handsome boy?

Me- Sir, That’s myself Kunal Kishor.(Answered in confident manner as if showing self belief- one the members m2 got impressed and nodded head saying good, good).

Cm- Sit down, Kunal.

Me- thank you , sir.

Cm- Kunal, what is this Automation engineering.

Me- said computerization of process, includes cad , cam etc. (This got his attention)

Cm- What is cad?

Me- answered.

Cm- Have you heard of 3d printing?

Me- (felt happy from inside that I know it well but didn’t show it on my face)- Yes sir.

Cm- what is it? What are its usage, application, potential?

Me- answered in detail every part of it.

Cm- Have you gone to industrial training in your college times.

Me-(thinking ye interview kahan ja rha hain, was not much confident about branch technicalities)- Yes Sir.

Cm- Did you see assembly lines?

Me- Thinking and then I said yes sir (Here m2 notes something)

Cm- What did they manufacture?

Me- Automative parts, brakes, clutches, gears using cold aluminium casting method(I put it as I have read it and It was used extensively)

CM- Describe about assembly lines.

Me- Told few things , then said they were big but not as large as that of maruti.(Here, note that I am not trying to put extra words etc but just want to discuss these issues freely with them as if intellectual people discuss- no fear of losing marks, getting next question, etc )

Cm- How does Maruti manufacture cars?

Me- Outsource it from nearby areas, from small manufactures, etc.

Cm- Asked something on assembly line- technical concept.

ME- Sorry Sir, I am not aware.

Cm- Asked about lean manufacturing, Jit, etc.

Me- Answered.

Cm- How does maruti employ JIT?(See, how will I know this. I did not visit maruti but I am supposed to answer there. In those 35 minutes which will also decide if I will get the opportunity to write on Mrunal!)

Me- I tried to answer using all the knowledge I have and form such answer which forms a logical picture.(But it’s risky)

CM- asked very technical questions and stress interview had begun. Sir, was in combative mood.

Me- Sir, Please give me some time to think on this.

Cm- Yes, yes, sure.(Sir wanted me to think on this and see how far I am able to answer, that’s why he was asking a lot in this area.)

In mean I took more than 1 minute. Thinking hard, Cool mind. Not streesful.

Me- then , answered. But answer was not satisfactory.

Cm- You must know this.

Me- Sure Sir, I will certainly look for it.

Cm- Good.

Baton passes to M1.(M1 Sir, had a very calm personality, displayed great composure as if judges in movie Billy Elliot. I felt good on getting an opportunity to meet such people.)

M1- asked a concept. I didn’t know that. Said Sorry Sir.

M1- Asked simple stuffs on energy sector in india, potential of renewable energy, Coal? Whether sufficient, If sufficient then why importing?etc It went well here. Simple questions. Specific pointwise answers by me.

M2-(Sir was from engineering backgroung, a professor) (all related to engineering)asked about assembly lines. Not answered. Casting process ? I answered.

M2- Then, M2 Sir while reading my hobbies said- your hobbies are playing

(LL-interesting many people had cautioned me against writing ron game as hobby but learning lessons from last year, I said that this time whatever be consequence I will be honest in DAF and be confident of what I am- this helped)…and stopped in between and instantly said you had organized ‘Janta ki adalat ’ in college.

Me- yes sir.

M2- what was it? Answered. Who were personalities? Answered.

M2- What is financial inclusion?

Me- answered specifically but in detail. I said- having bank account, cultivating banking habits, providing government services, like aadhar based services, insurance etc

M2- (Questioning sarcastically and while looking at other members)But how will they put money if they have nothing to put in their belly?

Me- Pardon Me, Sir.

M2- Sir, repeats the question.

Me- (Perhaps sir did not hear other points)- so I repeated other points and Sir looked satisfied.

One interesting experience- I didn’t have anything after morning breakfast at 7am that day. It was 12:50. I had a similar experience in vajiram interview. It .It continued for 10 minutes(i.e with m3 sir). I handled by talking a little faster, yet concentrating as it was just these 35 minutes which was to matter. Luckily, it passed without any issue.

LL- 45 minutes before interview , one can take non fried food like chapatti, or banana.

M3- (Sir was a top ranked military person)- Tell me causes of corruption and solutions to it.

Me-(Didn’t came in my mind instantly. Took 45 secs thinking about it.) Sir, one of them is colonial legacy.(Felt blessed when Sir interjected and went deep into this issue as I would have taken some time in answering it).

M3- What colonial legacy?

Me- talked of dastaks given to company official who misused it. This transmitted into culture of money mindedness and bribery.

M3- (Stress interview beckons agains)- No , no was it not breach of trust?

Me- Thinking- said it was both bribery and breach of trust, justifying them.

M3- Again Sir, asked it in different way.

LL- here sir was trying to check integrity, pressure handling- I was ready for such situation from beginning and I had emotionally conditioned myself for this situation.(Believe me, it does wonders in life as well which is what they check there.) And it went well.

ME- replied confidently. Stuck to point that it’s both.

M3- What’s your opinion on uniform civil code.(perhaps sociology background question)

Me- Desirable as for national uniformity and strengthening nationalism but needs consensus and wider discussion among all sections.

M3- And?

Me- Also improve women’s condition.(I had in mind issues of talaq, etc).

M3- How helpful in hindu laws?

Me- Talked of hindu adoption and maintenance act- where no equal right to women in adoption.

M3- Discussed this issue at length. It was stressful but I didn’t take it be so. So , I went well.

L1=(Mam was very calm, and polite. Listened all answers carefully like M1 Sir)

L1- You like watching movies. What kind of movies?

Me- answered all those mentioned below.

M3= Sir, asks a question in between. Linclon?

Me- Yes Sir.

M3= What was he fighting for?

Me- TO bring 13th amendment in parliament.

M3= No, What was his quality which you liked the most?

Me- It was his determination to abolish slavery and bring equality among humans on racial basis. His compassion for humankind. (Answered it with voice from heart as if I want to bring such changes. I also felt thrilled and felt as if I want to do something as well.)- But note I remain calm. No unnecessary body movement. You must feel it. But, don’t become a RAMBO there. J They themselves will judge these things if you have these qualities inside you from your body language.

L1= Kunal, what are strengths of Bihar(home state question).

Me= demographic dividend, tourism, agriculture and agriculture based industry, market potential.

L1= What tourist areas do you have in mind?(When Mam asked it in this manner, I felt as if it is being asked to a policy maker from a senior person).

Me= Answered well.(Mam was impressed).

L1= You have lived in Delhi for so long. What are problems of Delhi and solutions?

Me= pollution, water and electricity problem in slum areas…went blank(also because of that chakkar which was still there). Talked of solution of pollution.

Mam was interested and answered all question expect few on which I said I don’t know.

L1= Are you aware of India China issue.? Etc

Me= had prepared well. SO no issues in this.

Cm- Sir asked lots of cross questions on uniform civil code.

Me- I didn’t understand some of the things as I was having chakkar. But whatever I understood. After thinking I answered satisfactory. Still Sir was talking about an issue on UCC. To this I said just to come out of Mayajaal, but in confident manner “then sir, we all will have to come forward and develop such culture that all of us find space and prosper together”.

Cm= Laughed for first time and I also smiled a bit with nerves under control.

Cm= Thank You , Kunal.

Me= Got up. Thank you Mam. Thank You Sirs. Looked to everyone.

Another interesting incident= While I was turning around, I slipped a bit but fortunately took hold of sofa placed nearby.(This has happened with me last year as well.) But this time I remained calm and calmly opened the door. Mind at ease.

LL=That’s what is interview. One must be at ease and cool .

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?

Some were not expected. Answered all this points in interview transcript above.

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

No, just read all documents and notices.

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

No. You will enjoy it. Nice people to meet at hospital as aspirants are wonderful, rich experience in corporates,from IIMs, and so on.

CSE-2013 Marksheet

Subjects Marks
Essay (Paper-I) 106
General Studies -I (Paper-Ii) 93
General Studies -Ii (Paper-Iii) 75
General Studies -Iii (Paper-Iv) 83
General Studies -Iv (Paper-V) 106
Optional-I (Sociology) (Paper-Vi) 114
Optional-II (Sociology) (Paper-Vii) 143
Written Total 720
Personality Test 198
Final Total 918

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

I will make no changes, except that I will study hard. I know the approach will work well. Multidimensional and general answers will be rewarded by any examiner as post is for generalists. So, there is no risk. There is scope for enhancing marks in gs by 30-40 marks, sociology by 15 marks and essay by 30 marks. All this can come with harder work.

Career Backup

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

I was working as asst manager in a bank. But, I was thinking of RBI grade b, if I do not succeed this time. But, I would have honestly worked towards goal till selected. My advice is after 2-3 years of preparation, if one doesn’t make through, one should continue studies along with a less strenuous job. One should fill all the forms from time to time. Selection in these exams will give you confidence, even if you do not wish to join.

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

Just follow tips I have given for interview. All you need is emotional conditioning, which will work wonders. You won’t ever worry about anything. I once said to a good friend that we should have such a mindset that even if tomorrow rules come that the coming attempt is our last attempt, then also world doesn’t end. There are opportunities everywhere in world.


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 message and lessons for life are all from movies I like to watch.

Interstellar- Case( AI robot) says “Cooper it’s not possible”

Copper replies “No, It’s neccesary”.(This scene injects confidence.)

Billy Elliot, The greatest Game ever Played, October Sky- Satisfaction on face of parents makes us achieve such goals and this acts as fuel in preparation times.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaah, Mary Kom- Shows there is no substitute whatsoever for hard work.

Gandhi,Lincoln, Invictus= Our goal is to help people , which can only bring real happiness and make our everyday life more meaningful.

Several dozens of movies, inspirational quotes from great leaders like Vivekanand, Lincoln, Gandhi etc provide excellent message for life and competition.

And above them all- THE GITA- Reading it will pacify you, your conscience and make you handle pressure very well. Also important for ethics. When in doubt and no one is there to answer your doubts, GITA answers it all. Don’t read big one. I bought Concise gita which just covers important points.

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?

Dear Friends, I can feel your pain as I also failed last year. Last year I did not qualify. This made me realize that all interview qualified people are extremely hardworking and that luck may be with you next time for sure. Don’t worry your days will come. It did for me. I was at same postion like yours. No different. I was tensed after last attempt. But tried to waive it off as soon as it came or started writing answer.Be patient.

Feel free to contact on fb-


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 ensured that I face no problem whatsoever in Delhi. I lived tension free. I studied well only because of this. My mother, father and brother regularly boosted my confidence. They were with me always. Never did I deviate from goal because of them.

Special thanks to two of my friends who regularly provided me guidance Keshav Kalpush and Rishi Kumar.(Both of them are already in service J)

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.

I used to read economy articles and had covered all the articles of last year. I find reading Mrunal very interesting. I regularly used to read toppers tips from Mrunal only. Thanks a lot for the initiative Mrunal. I benefited a lot from it.