20. CSE-2015 MARKSHEET
  24. WISDOM


Q. Details
Rank in CSE-2015 25
Roll No. 0022318
Age 25
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 3
Optional Subject SOCIOLOGY
Schooling Medium ENGLISH
College medium ENGLISH
Medium chosen for Mains answers ENGLISH
Medium chosen for Interview ENGLISH
Home town/city Ghaziabad
Work-experience if any Worked in Deloitte as a Business Analyst for 16 months
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures CSE 2014 , 617 RANK
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) GS Coaching from Vajiram, Sociology Test series from Praveen Kishore and Aditya Mongra Sir.
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS>IRS IT> IRS Customs > IAAS
state cadre preference (Top-5) UP, Rajasthan, MP, Haryana, Punjab


fill the details here
% in class 10 93.4
% in class 12 88
Graduation course and % 64
Name of college, city, passing out year Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, Delhi
2012 pass out
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Teaching, Sports


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

Chandra Mohan Garg
I belong to Ghaziabad,UP. I did my B.E from NSIT Delhi and thereafter worked in Deloitte. My family is based in Ghaziabad. Dad is a retired professor and Mom is a home maker. I entered into preparation of civil services because of two reasons mainly. One I wanted a dynamic and diverse job which includes public interaction and second I wanted to do something credible for society.


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)
Today there is a vast ocean of information flowing from everyside, out of competitive feeling (what others are doing) we feel like doing everything. I think one should use all mediums (online, books, notes) but selectively. What I used to do is I would follow basic books and newspaper holistically and make notes of it. All the other resources available I would use selectively and add in my notes. So scrutinise a resource, see its utility for you, read it and then surely note in down so that it get fixed in your memory and you at the end of the day have a consolidated info on all topics of syllabus.


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?
Every one has mood swings and distractions , but this journey is all about focus. Most of the aspirants  undoubtedly very intelligent and knowledgeable, but what determines success is how well do you use your intelligence and knowledge and keep preparing continuously for more then an year.         I made it simple, I will maintain consistency but I will not exhaust myself. Whatever time I study it should be very productive, daily spend an hour and half on my interest and hobby, and take a half day break in  week.


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.
I was lucky that I did not had to go through a lot of mental struggle. But my two cents will be that do not entrap yourself in a negative cycle. Failure – Frustration – Demotivation – Loosing self confidence- Failure. Get out of this loop, break the monotony of your life, do something for change, introspect and come out afresh. Some people miss out due to very silly mistake so no need to doubt your capabilities beacuse of 1 exam.

Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
Last time I did well in Mains (744) but interview score was 151. This time in mains I focused a lot on Essay and Optional and in GS on answer writing. This helped me in increasing my score to 789. And I prepared beforehand for interview so could perform well there as well.


Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient OLD NCERT
History Medieval OLD NCERT
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) SPECTRUM + OLD NCERT for chapters before 1857
Culture and society Nitin Singhania + Vajiram Class Notes
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikanth
Economy (theory + current) Sriram Notes + Class 12th Macroeconomic. Even Mrunal Videos are really good
Science (theory + current) NCERT’s as mentioned by Mrunal / Vajiram Yellow books of PCB
Environment (theory + current) Shankar + OLD BIO NCERT Ecology Unit
geography physical NCERT 11& 12
geography India NCERT 11& 12
geography world NCERT 11& 12
other national/international current affairs Hindu + Vision IAS
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Vision IAS, Insight on India

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-2016 (if you were going to appear)?
Focus more on Current Affairs and Basic books then subsidiary materials floating. Revise atleast thrice. Solve atleast one test series. And yes in examination follow a proper strategy of paper solving, we need to do intelligent elimination of options. I mean either you know this is the answer or you know these can’t be the answer. Both ways you can solve questions.


Topic strategy / booklist
Maths None
reasoning None
comprehension None
Decision Making None

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
I have an Engineering background so did not find much difficulty, but for a non science background person I would suggest please solve few test papers & evaluate your standing. Accordingly make efforts for this paper.


Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
I did not attended. Mock test have many utilities. They can help in making a time table and cover syllabus, they will help in evaluation (where my preparation is going) , a good source of revision, and also a source of practice. You need to practice few mocks, try check your intelligent elimination tactics etc.
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2015

attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 86 62 108
aptitude dont remember dont remember 136


Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper None
your regional language None


Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
I got 149 marks this time, it is mainly because I spent a lot of time with essay this time. I read some essays of toppers and tried to gauge how people begin their essays, how they build context, link paragraphs, analyse and conclude topics. Through this I learnt how to make an outline of essay and structure essay. I then tried to collect some fodder ( quotes, examples, case studies, facts ) on imp topics and then practices how to use them to enrich my essay. I will soon write a detailed strategy on my fb page. You can refer here facebook.com/CSE-Preparation-1713358785598474/
Also you can ask me any of your queries and problems realted to CSE.
Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?
Refer  my fb page. I ll soon write in detail of what I wrote in my essay.


Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Nitin Singhania, Vajiram Notes
Indian history Spectrum + Old NCERT chapters before 1857. sekhar bandyopadhyay is also a very good book
world history NCERTS 9th, 10th, 12th selectively. You can use vision IAS notes as well
post-independence India Bipin Chandra India since Independence Selectively . Or use Vision Ias and Narayana IAS notes.
Indian society Socio is my optional so can’t comment
role of women, poverty etc.
globalization on Indian society
communalism, regionalism, secularism
world geo physical Mrunal Videos + NCERT + Vajiram Notes
resource distribution Mrunal Videos +  NCERT+ Vajiram Notes
factors for industrial location Mrunal Videos + NCERT+ Vajiram Notes
earthquake tsunami etc Mrunal Videos +  NCERT + Vajiram Notes
impact on flora-fauna Mrunal Videos +  NCERT + Vajiram Notes


In general use a static book for basic concepts and then a source of current affairs. I found Hindu + Insight Secure Initiative + Vision IAS to cover up most of paper 2 topics.

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Laxmikanth
comparing Constitution with world Vision IAS
parliament, state Legislatures Laxmikanth + Current Affairs ( Hindu+ Insight secure + Vision IAS Monthly)
executive-judiciary Laxmikanth + Current Affairs
ministries departments Laxmikanth + Current Affairs
pressure group, informal asso. Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
Representation of people’s act Vision IAS Notes
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
NGO, SHG etc Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
welfare schemes, bodies Current Affairs Mainly
social sector, health, edu, HRD Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
governance, transparency, accountability Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
e-governance Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
role of civil service Vision IAS + Current Affairs Mainly
India & neighbors Current Affairs Mainly. (If you want to study in detail which is not needed , then subhra ranjam mam IR part of Pol Science s available)
bilateral/global grouping Same as Above
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Same as Above
Diaspora Same as Above
international bodies- structure mandate Same as Above


Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Whatever read for prelims + Sanjeev Verma book
inclusive growth Sanjeev Verma Book + Current Affairs+ Sriram Printed Notes
Budgeting Mrunal Videos + Current Affairs+ Sriram Printed Notes
major crops, irrigation Vision IAS + Current Affairs
agro produce – storage, marketing Vision IAS + Current Affairs
e-technology for famers Vision IAS + Current Affairs
farm subsidies, MSP Vision IAS + Current Affairs
PDS, buffer, food security Vision IAS + Current Affairs
technology mission Vision IAS + Current Affairs
animal rearing economics Mrunal + Current Affairs
food processing Mrunal + Current Affairs
land reforms Vision IAS
Liberalization Sanjeev Verma Book + Sriram Notes
Infra Sanjeev Verma Book + Mrunal Videos
investment models Current Affairs
science-tech day to day life Current Affairs
Indian achievements in sci-tech Current Affairs
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Current Affairs
environmental impact assessment Current Affairs + Prelims studies
Disaster Management Current Affairs + Vision IAS
non state actors, internal security TMH Book on security
internal security – role of media, social networking site TMH Book
cyber security TMH Book
money laundering TMH Book
border Management TMH Book
organized crime, terrorism TMH Book
security agencies- structure mandate TMH Book


Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Lexicon( Summarise and make your own notes for values, concepts , relating it to examples) + Google+ InsightsonIndia( case studies,others answers + Answer writing) + Current Events
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 Same
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

Q. Many candidates found Mains-2015 Ethics paper very peculiar and “out of the book”. What are your observations and tips for future aspirants regarding preparation of this paper?
It is not a technical subject , this subject requires very clear understnding of value aspect and then its application in real life and contextual problem. So focus should be on general understanding and asnwer 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 Can’t say 19 1 All
GS2 Same 18 2 ALL
GS3 Same 18 2 ALL
Opt-P1 Same ALL ALL
Opt-P2 Same ALL ALL

It is important to attempt maximum number of questions as possible. Do not attempt if you have no idea, but do attempt even if you have some idea. Glance through the paper to figure out how many questions you have idea, some idea, no idea. Accordingly divide time and attempt the paper. Focus more on completion rather then writing model answers.
Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
Do not try to write only to cover all sheets. Doesn’t matter how much space is left. Your answer should be complete.
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 write in points . At times point and para mix. And focus is on giving holistic picture in my answer/
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.
Yes I have an approach. Intro ( Context building). Using the statement given in question I try to build the context. Body contains analysis on subparts (pros nd cons if possible). Conclusion summarise the issue . I end with a solution or way ahead if possible.
Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)
No. If possible do it
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?


Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
Sociology. I chose it becasue its syllabus was limited, it takes less time to complete, teachers and material is readily available. Plus it helps in Essay and GS. Also It matched my interest.
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)
Its not a very scoring subject in last few years but not even performing badly. Read some basic NCERT 11th, if it interest you then only take 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.)
I need time to collate it topic wise as socio can’t be found in a book. I ll share it on my page. In summary I would say.
Paper1: Harlambos (small one) , Upendra sir notes, Vikash Ranjan book , Aditya Mongra for Thinkers and stratification.
Paper 2: Mahapatra sir class notes, IGNOU, Vikash Ranjan Book
** Aditya Mongra sir for value addition.
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?
For Paper 2 you ll need to google on topics you wont find in books.
Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
3-4 months
Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
Depends on your answer writing capabilities,we all are at different levels. I would say write some answers in initial few months of your preparation and get them evaluated. Based on your capabilities you can start writing some answers every week. If you are fine then you can do answer writing after prelims .
Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?
Self notes after reading from different sources. I collated at one place. Written not electronic.
Q. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2015 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?
Paper is very simple in appearance but complex in writing because questions are so general and needs to be written in sociological perspective. So while preparing use these questions as sample as how to write sociologically on such general qustions. Do  some answer writing practice as well.


Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? – for college grad, hobbies, place of origin, current affairs at national and international level?
I made some questions related to my Daf and prepared it. Had some discussions with friends. For current events newspapers and discussion mainly.
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 at Sri Chaitanya, Chanakya, Vajiram. Yes some were helpful. Esp Chanakya one. They were not similar but helped me in boosing my confidence and identification of faults.
Q3. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?
My own place in delhi
Q4. Any words of wisdom about Medical checkup?
Carry a optician/doctor prescription of eye number.
Q5. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.


Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Manbir Singh
Q2. How long was the interview?
25 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?]
Dynamic and diverse role along with ability to bring change was my reason. Not in grads field because I want to get into civil services, my field wont provide me public interaction role, so much diversity and change making opportunity.
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)
please see this link
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?
Interview went fine. It was more or less on expected lines. My DAF + Current affairs
Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?


Prelims mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Paper 1 108
Paper 2 136.71

Mains mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Essay – Paper-1 149
General Studies – Paper 2 114
General Studies – Paper 3 88
General Studies – Paper 4 108
General Studies – Paper 5 97
Optional Paper – Paper-1 120
Optional Paper – Paper-2 113
Written total 789
Personality Test 176
Final Total 965

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 tried to score more marks in Optional


Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
I was already in another civil services so would have continued with it.


Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.
Yes it should be removed. That will help in creating parity and reduce burder of students.
Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?
I personally think aptitude paper should be there but its weightage can be reduced in overall marks. Secondly translation issue be resolved.


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?
No. In interview only your performance in those 30 minutes matter and nothing else. So don’t think about all these things.


Q. Through this struggle and success, what have your learned? What is the wisdom of life and competition? What is your message to the new aspirants?
I think this competition is not about knowledge or intelligence. Your attitude, frame of mind and approach really matters and make a huge difference in your success of failure. My wisdom is enjoy your journey if you want to reach your destination in civil services. This article  might help here how to go about it.
Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2015. They’re feeling cynical, hopeless and depressed- what is your message to them?
Yes its very troubling when you loose out after coming so close. My only message is that we have to keep our minds positive. On one side we might look our selves as loosers and fall in a trap of negativity. On the other hand we can look it positively that we have reached among the top 1% , now we can to put more efforts to be among top 0.1%.  The biggest test in this exam is that of patience. One who keeps it, learns from his mistake and work with consistency eventually succeeds.


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?
Yes, My Family and friends have been a big source of motivation and support to me.


Q. You are well aware of the sacred rule of conducting toppers interview- 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, Mrunal has been really helpful. Mrunal articles, analysis of paper and its videos have helped me immensely.