1. Candidate Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Struggle of a Senior player
  7. Prelims (CSAT) General studies
  8. Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
  9. Prelim accuracy
  10. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  11. Mains: Essay
  12. Mains General studies paper 1 to 4
  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. Mains Optional Subject
  20. Before the interview
  21. During the interview
  22. CSE-2014 Marksheet
  23. Career Backup
  24. Views on UPSC reforms
  25. Insecurity about profile
  26. Wisdom
  27. Credit: Friends/family
  28. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Jogindra Singh

Q. Details
Name Jogindra singh
Rank in CSE-2014 419
Roll No. 007248
Age 26
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 4
Optional Subject Geography
Schooling Medium English
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Mathura
Work-experience if any NO
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures Not Appeared
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) Geography from Alok Ranjan
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS>IPS>IFS>IRS(CE)>IRS(IT)
state cadre preference (Top-5) U.P>M.P>R.J>H.R>P.B


fill the details here
% in class 10 90.4
% in class 12 75
Graduation course and % 7.9 CGPA
Name of college, city, passing out year Amity institute of biotechnology ,Noida ,2011
Post-graduation No
Any other professional courses No
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Jogging , internet surfing


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

My name is Jogindra Singh. I have done my graduation in biotechnology from Amity University Noida in 2011 .I have done my schooling from Mathura (U.P).My father is a farmer and mother is homemaker. I decided to enter in this field during last semester of my graduation with a sense to serve the society and evolve myself in different capabilities.

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)

My preparation was based on “note making approach”. I used to write down issues from The Hindu , Yojana and Frontline. One has to maintain the balance between both mode i.e electronic material and paper work. I used to follow certain website like Reuters , mint ,wiki pages,mrunal.org, Govt’s sites. If I found something very important from exam perspective then I used to write it.

My typical day consists 3 sittings.

1.from 9.30 am to 12.00pm———newspapers

2.from 3.00pm to  5.30pm————–GS

4 .from 9.30pm to 1.30pm————–OPTIONAL +GS

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?

Indeed it happens while you are preparing for a competitive exam. But in civil service one should not be in mode of mood swings and distractions since it can be very costly.I was motivated by my roommate Chanchal Rana (Rank 7 CSE 2013) .I always had a belief “the kind of inputs one is giving in this exam are far less than what one is going to get after his/her selection”.

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.

Don’t pay any heed on such patty issues. Remember one thing “after your selection no one will ask you, how many attempts you took BLAH BLAH………….

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

In First two attempts I could not clear prelims as I was more focused on Mains preparation. In third attempt, I got very poor marks (105/275) in interview.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient NCERT
History Medieval LEFT
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) SPECTRUM
Polity (theory + current) M.LAXMIKANT
Economy (theory + current) MRUNAL.ORG AND SRI RAM BOOKLET
Science (theory + current) MRUNAL.ORG
Environment (theory + current) IGNOU AND 12TH BIO NCERT
geography physical SAVINDER SINGH
geography world OPTIONAL NOTES
other national/international current affairs THE HINDU
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff PIB+MRUNAL.ORG

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

One should focus on revision rather covering few more topics.

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?

First I would make traditional portion( Polity + modern history + economics) strong as much as I can. Since unusual question will be unusual for everyone, but one cannot take risk in traditional part.

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)?

For CSE-2015 I would give more focus on Environment , agriculture since IFoS Exam is clubbed in CSE so questions from these topics are very much expected.

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
reasoning MOCK TESTS
comprehension NEWS PAPER READING
Decision Making MOCK TESTS

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

While solving GS Aptitude paper one should be calm and compose. It will help you to solve more questions.

Prelim accuracy

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

I solved mock tests in my room.

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

attempted Q. correct (Expected)
GS 75 65
aptitude 68 53

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

GS 1     123.34

GS2      120


Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Never prepared
your regional language One or two reading of a Hindi daily just before exam

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

Try to attempt essay first and complete the paper.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

One should prepare outline of 10 topics before exam. I always prepared such outline with a group of friends it help me a lot as you got different versions on same topics.

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

  1. Tourism: the next big thing?
  2. With greater power comes greater responsibility.

Mains General studies paper 1 to 4

I’ve created a table, so you can quickly point out what you referred. Alternatively you can write a separate standalone “Strategy” article in a wordfile.

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Requests while you fill up the following tables

  1. apart from your book/resource list, also comment on your own strategy after mains-2014 (e.g. after exam I realized that I shouldn’t have prepared xyz topic in so much detail, I couldn’t finish xyz syllabus topics properly before exam, I had expected UPSC to ask xyz from but they asked abc……etc.etc.etc.) [Same request for each table given below for gs2, gs3, gs4]
  2. If you used “internet” as source of preparation in xyz, then provide website name as and where possible.
  3. Since mains-2013 had new syllabus and many people relied on Xerox of some coaching notes. so If you used such resource, please attest comment on quality e.g. “it was too deep, but I did only selective study/ It did not cover xyz. OR its quality was not upto the mark, so I suggest future players to avoid it and use ABC instead…..etc..”

Anyways, here starts the list:

Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Arihant book on art and culture +Nitin Singhania AIR -51 class notes 
Indian history Spectrum for modern india +NCERT for ancient
world history Visionias PDF
post-independence India NCERT
Indian society NCERT
role of women, poverty etc. From Yojana and kurushetra +supplemented from current issues
globalization on Indian society Sociology NCERT
communalism, regionalism, secularism Random articles from internet
world geo physical Savinder singh
resource distribution Vajiram booklet for resource
factors for industrial location Vajiram booklet for resource
earthquake tsunami etc khullar
impact on flora-fauna DS Lal climatology

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. M.Laxmikant
comparing Constitution with world M.LAXMIKANT
parliament, state Legislatures M.LAXMIKANT
executive-judiciary M.LAXMIKANT
ministries departments NOT PREPARED
pressure group, informal asso. Old ncert +random articles
Representation of people’s act Visionias pdf
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Visionias pdf
NGO, SHG etc Visionias pdf
welfare schemes, bodies India year book
social sector, health, edu, HRD India year book + supplemented from current issues
governance, transparency, accountability ARC
e-governance ARC
role of civil service Mohanty sir notes(pub add)
India & neighbors The hindu
bilateral/global grouping Vision pdf
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest The hindu
Diaspora Vision pdf + supplemented from current issues
international bodies- structure mandate Wikipedia(prepared only those bodies which were in news)

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Sri ram booklet + supplemented from current issues
inclusive growth Yojana article +supplemented from current issues
Budgeting Vision pdf
major crops, irrigation Khullar+ irrigation from wiki
agro produce – storage, marketing Vision pdf
e-technology for famers Random articles
farm subsidies, MSP Vision pdf
PDS, buffer, food security Vision pdf
technology mission
animal rearing economics Khullar
food processing vision
land reforms Bipin Chandra
Liberalization Sociology ncert
Infra Vision pdf
investment models left
science-tech day to day life Left
Indian achievements in sci-tech left
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR left
environmental impact assessment wiki
Disaster Management ARC
non state actors, internal security ARC + IDSA website
internal security – role of media, social networking site ARC +VISIONIAS PDF+ IDSA WEBSITE
cyber security Visionias pdf + wiki
money laundering Visionias pdf + supplemented from current issues
border  Management Visionias pdf + supplemented from current issues
organized crime, terrorism Visionias pdf + supplemented from current issues
security agencies- structure mandate Visionias pdf + supplemented from current issues

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics RANDOM ARTICLES
attitude, moral influence etc. NCERT(psychology-one chapter is there)
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc ARC
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Lexicon
moral thinkers of India and world How many thinkers did you prepare?
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. lexicon
corporate governance Visionias pdf
probity in governance, work culture Visionias pdf
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. MOHANTY sir notes (pub add)
challenges of corruption ARC
case studies on above topics From lexicon

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
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:

Paper Best attempted Average quality namesake answer Total attempt
GS1 250
GS2 225
GS3 225
GS4 210
Opt-P1 250
Opt-P2 250

Q. 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.) Because the UPSC aspirant Community is divided over what counts as a ‘good’ paper. Some experts claim you should attempt all- even if it involves “making up” an answer with filler lines, some claim attempt only those questions you know perfectly. Where do you stand on this? [Based on your experience and of your seniors/buddies]

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

Fixed space remind you to write what has been asked .But once you write  as per the demand of question then such limit never matter.

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.

I wrote my answers in combined form.

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.

For 12.5 mark questions I followed “introduction-body-conclusion” format. But for 10 mark question ,I wrote directly body part.

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


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?

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.)

Mains Optional Subject

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

My optional was geography and I took this subject as my optional on interest basis.

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)

Geography helps in GS 1 and Prelims ,so one can take it, if he/she is comfortable with this notorious subject.

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.)

I took coaching for geography from Alok Ranjan. Later value addition done by me from various standard books (savinder singh , DS Lal, Majid hussain models,P. Dayal etc )on the same page of notes, by sticking chits.

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?

Geography CSE 2014 paper had questions from current affairs like skill India mission and Make in india etc. So one have to be updated with current issues.

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

6-8 months

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

Joined test series

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

Paper format

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?

This year paper was simple in comparison to last years.

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?

I prepared a diary and allotted pages for everything that was on my DAF.

I asked my  friends (selected and non selected ) to form probable questions from my DAF.

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?

Yes I attended mock interviews at Chanakya and GS score. I found mock interviews different from UPSC interview, still they are necessary to make you more comfortable in front of 5 unknown person.

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

Navy dark blue color suit

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 was at my room. I kept my diary for revision.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

Vinay Mittal Board

Q2. How long was the interview?

25-30 mins

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?]

Civil services are public service, it provides you a platform where you can serve the society in your best capabilities along with this one can evolve oneself in various domains.

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)


How Wikipedia editing is done?

What is AMRUT ? How it is different from JNNURM?

What is smart city and role of state govt in this scheme?

Major earthquake prone zone of world?

What was your final year project in college?

What is six sigma?

Many questions from biotechnology (as it was my graduation subject)

  1. What are mutagens?
  2. Structure of DNA and RNA?

Role of biotechnology in civil services? How you will use it in your district as DM?

Questions on NCC?

WIDOW problem in vrindavan…….as DM do you have any plan for them?

What is akshaypatra?

Question on NJAC ISSUE?

Questions on press control?

Questions on Gram nyayalaya and women reservation?

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?

My interview was on expected lines it was not at all a stress interview. But I was disappointed by interview marks.

CSE-2014 Marksheet

Q1. Please attach both prelim and final marksheet. (when it comes)

Prelim marksheet

GS 123.34
Aptitude 120
Total 243

Mains Marksheet

Subjects Marks
Essay (Paper-I) 138
General Studies -I (Paper-Ii) 109
General Studies -Ii (Paper-Iii) 93
General Studies -Iii (Paper-Iv) 71
General Studies -Iv (Paper-V) 79
Optional-I (Geography) (Paper-Vi) 131
Optional-II (Geography) (Paper-Vii) 138
Written Total 759
Personality Test 151
Final Total 910

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

Career Backup

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

No back plan, only  UPSC was on cards.

Views on UPSC reforms

Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.

Yes optional subject should be removed let bring the parity on each front.

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

Making CSAT paper qualifying ,I think this is a regressive step by UPSC.

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).

Yes indeed IFoS exam should be conducted separately

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


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

This will not serve the real purpose.

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

As a UPSC chairman I will bring reforms in interview stage as it is highly luck based process.

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?

I never suffer from this insecurity .UPSC is a totally different game, where a boy/girl from a village may get selected while a boy/girl from a very good college not.


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?

Hard work never goes in vain. Perfection is illusion, enjoy this process.

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?

Simple , go for next attempt with new strategy and energy as one has already invested so much in terms of time ,money etc. You should not go back , until you are done with this.

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 Family and close friends were behind me during difficult time.

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.

Yes, during my initial days of preparation, I went through all economics’ articles of mrunal.org. Recently, I watched videos on economic survey, schemes and budget on mrunal’s you tube channel.