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. Mains General studies paper 1 to 4
  14. General Studies (Mains) paper 1
  15. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  16. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  17. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  18. Mains answer-writing?
  19. Mains Optional Subject:Gujarati Lit
  20. Download Gujarati Literature Notes by IAS Tejas Parmar
  21. Before the interview
  22. During the interview
  23. CSE-2015 Marksheet
  24. Career Backup
  25. Views on UPSC reforms
  26. Insecurity about profile
  27. Wisdom
  28. Credit: Friends/family
  29. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Q. Details
Name Parmar Tejas Dilipbhai
Rank in CSE-2015 310
Roll No. 0209402
Age 26 Years
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 2
Optional Subject Gujarati Literature
Schooling Medium Gujarati
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers Gujarati
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Palanpur,
Dist- Banaskantha
Work-experience if any 27 Months(Oct 2012 to Dec 2014) as an Assistant Manager in R&D and Product Testing section of Design and Development Department of Tata-Hitachi Construction Machinery Company Limited, Kharagpur, West Bengal
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures SSC CGL 2015 Tier 2 – Failed
GPSC Civil Services Class 1-2 Prelims Pass
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) Coaching- SPIPA , Ahmedabad (Jan 2015 Onwards)
Mock Tests – Insights mock tests for mains examination
Mock tests conducted at SPIPA and Vision IAS online mock test for prelims
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS,IFS,IA&AS,IPS,IRS(IT)
state cadre preference (Top-5) Gujarat, Rajasthan,MP,MH,AGMUT


% in class 10 93.43(Gujarat Board, Gujarati Medium)
% in class 12 92.6(Gujarat Board, Gujarati Medium, Science Stream)
Graduation course and % B.Tech(Mechanical Engineering)
Name of college, city, passing out year Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology,Surat
Passing Out Year-2012
Post-graduation No
Any other professional courses No
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Hobbies – Playing Cricket , Playing Table Tennins, Poem and story writing
Represented Gujarat State in Cricket Under 16 Boys at National Level School Games 2004
Took part in various competitions at school and college level


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

I am Tejas Parmar from town named Palanpur of Banaskantha District in North Gujarat. My father Dilipbhai is working as an additional assistant engineer in Water Resource Invesigation Division of Gujarat Government.My Mother Ramilaben is housewife.
I was very good in General Knowledge in my school days and hence my teachers suggested me to try civil services exam in future. Visits of Collector and SP of my district to my school also motivated me to pursue this field..Civil services also provides great opportunity to serve the people with your job My grandfather and my father are govt servant so there was natural inclination towards govt service. All this prompted me to think about civil services from my school days.
I decided to secure my career before diving into Civil Services Preparation and hence I took up science in 12th std and then went on to study Mechanical Engineering . I decided at that time that I would take up job and pursue my job for two years ( so that I can get enough experience on the basis of which I can get a job again if I fail in Civil services exam + I am financially secured to pursue my preparation without depending upon parents’ money) and then leave my job for civil services preparation. After my graduation I took up a job ( which I got during placements in college) .
During my job I came in contact with mrunal.org and started following it. I read basic NCERTs and some reference books once without revising it(over the period of two years and not much sincerely).I gave my first attempt in 2014 (read some NCERTs + Lakshmikanth(for polity)+ Khullar(for geo) + Mrunal.org articles once) and could not clear it. I was earning handsome amount and was hesitated to take a risk but finally I decided to quit the job as had been planned earlier. Then I applied for training at SPIPA Ahmedabad , got admission into it by clearing its entrance exam and left my job in Dec 2014 to dedicate myself completely for preparatioin of Civil Services Exam. I studied at SPIPA during 2015 and luckily could clear prelims, mains and finally personality test in my second attempt of UPSC CSE.

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)
I relied heavily on Electronic material. I downloaded all basic NCERT books(NEW) and studied them on laptop. I used mrunal.org and insightsonindia heavily for my preparation. I used to make mind maps (using free mind software) for some of the topics. I relied also on audio and video lectures for some of the subjects and made notes from those lectures. I bought some of the reference books( Lakshmikanth , Khullar , Ramesh Singh) and got some printed notes for other subjects . So, my resource base for preparation was both electronic and paper and I used both of them.
For optional subject( Gujarati Literature), I totally relied on paper material (books, printed material and class notes). For current affairs , I used daily current affairs of insightsonindia.

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?
After reading basic NCERTS and some reference books , I decided to make one resource as a base material for each subject. I set time limit to complete reading of that basic material . As and when I encountered other resource for any subject and if I found some topics in other resource more useful or better than my basic source, I modified my basic source material accordingly. I continued to revise my basic source material for each subject as much as possible. This helped me to sharpen the details in my memory which could be easily recollected in exam.
I started my dedicated preparation for Civils since January 2015(8 months before prelims). I allocated 5-6 horurs for GS and 5-6 hours for Optional Subject reading including attending lectures.1-2 hours was allocated for current affairs(gujarati newspapers and daily current affairs from insightsonindia.com).This continued for 5 months continuously without major break and I tried to cover topics of both prelims and mains for GS and tried to cover optional subject. After notification of CSE 2015, I left optional subject preparation and focused on prelims preparation. I started attending mock tests for prelims while continuing my revision.
During this time period, there were ups and downs in mood. Some times negative thoughts created doubts on self. But this is a part of preparation and one has to tackle it . I am a strong believer of Karma and continuously reminded myself to follow the routine and leave everything else on the almighty. I had fixed one year time period for me for preparation of this exam and had decided that if I could not clear it, I would pursue my backup plan. I thought atleast I should not repent that I did not give my best at the attempt, whatever the result may be. This thinking helped me not to deviate me from my goal. Apart from this, competitive but friendly atmospheres of preparation at SPIPA helped to keep the momentum going on. I had stopped using facebook to avoid distraction, used whatsapp and telegram minimally and avoided social functions. I practiced Yoga, played table tennis and did other leisure activities(movies, music) to keep the mind fresh and energetic. After all one has to keep in mind that this is just a part of life and not the life itself to avoid unnecessary pressure and one should enjoy this process of learning which will be helpful to whatever one do in his life.

Struggle of a Senior player

Q. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
I read NCERTs and some basic books for prelims only once and did not revise before exam. Being an engineer, I was overconfident in paper 2 of prelims and did not practice sums and did not solve more than 2-3 mock papers which resulted in failure in my first attempt at prelims itself.

Working professional

If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job.
Having a job with lot of field work, I myself could not manage studies with job and had to leave the job for dedicated preparation. So I can’t comment.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient NCERT(New),Lucent’s GK [ did not make any notes]
History Medieval NCERT(New),Lucent’s GK [ did not make any notes]
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) NCERT(New),Printed Notes of Baba Saheb Ambedkar Open University’s course on Modern India(available in English at IGNOU)[ used it as a base material and added notes from classes to it]
Culture and society Culture:Made my own notes from NIOS+Nitin Singhania Sir’s notes + GK today
Society: NCERT + made my own notes for various issues like population,poverty,various sections of society(Women,Children,Youth,Elders,SCs,STs,OBCs,Minorieties) from NIOS+NCERT+IYB
Polity (theory + current) Class Notes+ M.Lakshmikanth[ base material for polity] +NCERT
Current from Insights Daily CA + Insights Secure Series Compilation+ Gujarati Newspaper
Economy (theory + current) Mrunal Sir’s Lecture in SPIPA + NCERT(MacroEconomics) + Selected chapters from Ramesh Singh + Economic Survey
Current from Insights Daily CA + Insights Secure Series Compilation+ Gujarati Newspaper
Science (theory + current) Lucent’s GK + Roman Saini’s Lectures + NCERT upto std 10
Environment (theory + current) Shankar IAS printed notes + Selected chapters of NCERT upto Std 10 + Last 4 chapters of NCERT Biology Std 12
geography physical Rajtanil Mam’s Lecture in SPIPA+ NCERT ( made my own notes combining all these – I made new NCERT of std 11 as a base material , got its chapters printed according to my need and and added additional information from Rajtanil’s Mam’s lecture in it )I would suggest new aspirants to read NIOS as it has everything in sequence . But don’t forget to watch Rajtanil Mam’s lecture.
geography India Rajtanil Mam’s Lecture in SPIPA + NCERT + Atlas( made my own notes combining all these). I referred Khullar for physiography of India, but I think it is not needed.
geography world Rajtanil Mam’s Lecture in SPIPA + NCERT + Atlas( made my own notes combining all these)
other national/international current affairs Insights Daily CA + Insights Secure Series Compilation+ Gujarati Newspaper+ Vision IAS Monthly [ no the Hindu or Indian Express]
I tried to make notes for current affairs using mind maps but could not sustain this practice and left it. I also tried making hand written notes but could not sustain and left it,too. I read above material directly on laptop
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Vishal Publications India Yearbook + Internet(www.pib.nic.in) and official websites of govt. ministries.

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2015 paper?
It was mix of analytical as well as factual questions. Give equal weightage to all 7 topics mentioned in prelims syllabus rather than following previous year’s trend. Practice mock question papers. Go through previous years question papers of UPSC,too( this year two questions were repeated from last year’s question paper.)

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)?
I would have revised my basic material as much as possible and would have tried to solve more question papers. I would have referred more reference books just for enhancement of my basic material resource. I would also have started following one English newspaper daily which I avoided in my previous attempt due to lack of time.

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Class Notes + Rajesh Verma’s Fast Track Objective Arithmetic
reasoning Analytical Reasoning
comprehension No specific preparation
Decision Making No specific preparation

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
This year comprehension section was a bit tricky .
Do not take this paper lazily and practice past years papers before prelims.

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
Yes , I attended mock test conducted at SPIPA. I think mock tests are important as they are good review mechanism of your preparation. Even though you don’t know the right option, , your ability to eliminate wrong options is improved by practicing mock tests. Mock tests helps to make the concepts more clear, too.

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

attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 89 70 128
aptitude 65 56 135.87

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Discussion of Old Question Papers one day before examination + Precis Writing Practice of one or two papers
your regional language Discussion of Old Question Papers one day before examination

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2015
They are easy. But don’t take it lazily. There are incidences where very good students haven’t been able to get qualifying marks in this paper. Atleast go through last 4-5 years question papers. And practice 1-2 precis writing.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
Classes were conducted in SPIPA for how to write an essay. I followed the instruction and practiced 4-5 essays before mains examination. As far as content is concerned , I did not read specific books for it. All that is read for GS is enough for content of essay.
Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?
Section A : Character of an institution is reflected in its leader.
For this eassys , I relied mostly on examples from various fields. I took examples of various institutions and and their leaders and tried to establish connectivity between them. Eg. I took up example of Political Institutions like democracy and autocracy and gave examples of leaders and the countries following these systems. Then I gave examples of Sports teams- captains , Hospitals-doctors, Educational Institution-principals , Religious organizations- their leaders , Underworld – their boss , Judiciary – judges . I didn’t elaborate philosophical angle much and tried to convey my thoughts and views through the examples.
Section B : Technology cannot replace manpower.
I started this essay with imaginary situation after 100s of years when only machines will be there and there will be no humans on the Earth. Then I tried to give examples of the human angle associated with different activieties like education(teaching), health(treatment of patient), family(bearing of children), festivals(preparation of food,decoration etc.) and many more . I supported technology for inhuman work like scavenging and cleaning etc .I mostly tried to convey that without human emotions attached , the activieties performed merely by machines will not be sustainable and that will lead to human less world.

Mains General studies paper 1 to 4

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Culture:Made my own notes from NIOS+Nitin Singhania Sir’s notes + GK today .
Whenever I encountered any relevant material in other sources, I added in it my notes . I downloaded photographs from google for various monuments, dances, paintings covered in my notes and referred it while revising my notes.
Indian history For Modern India and Struggle for India’s Independence- NCERT(New),Printed Notes of Baba Saheb Ambedkar Open University’s course on Modern India(available in English at IGNOU) )[ used it as a base material and added notes from classes conducted SPIPA to it]
world history Mrunal.org articles[ got it printed, used it as a base material } + read NCERT(New) History Std 9 and 10 selected chapters + Arjun Dev
post-independence India ABP News Channel’s “Pradhanmantri” + Class 12 NCERT “ Politics in India since Indipendence” + Dhyey IAS Printed Notes[ used it as a base material]
Indian society Society: NCERT Std 11-12 + made my own notes for various issues like population,various sections of society(Women,Children,Youth,Elders,SCs,STs,OBCs,Minorieties) from NIOS+NCERT
role of women, poverty etc. Role of women – Made my own notes from various sources( NIOS + NCERT + IYB + Internet)
Poverty – Insights on India’s article in its Socio-Economic Issues section
globalization on Indian society Class Notes of SPIPA
communalism, regionalism, secularism Class Notes of SPIPA + NCERT(New) Polity
world geo physical Same as mentioned in Prelim’s strategy
resource distribution NCERT (std 6 to 12) –related chapters + Rajtanil Madam’s Lecture ( made hand written notes combining all this)
factors for industrial location NCERT + Mrunal.org articles[ got it printed, used it as a base material] + SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Sunep C . Jamir
earthquake tsunami etc NCERT + Rajtanil Madam’s Lecture from Mrunal.org
impact on flora-fauna NCERT + SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Sunep C. Jamir

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Class Notes + NCERT + M. Lakshmikanth
comparing Constitution with world NCERT + M. Laxmikanth
parliament, state Legislatures Class Notes + NCERT + M. Lakshmikanth
executive-judiciary Class Notes + NCERT + M. Lakshmikanth
ministries departments IYB
pressure group, informal asso. SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Mrunal Patel
Representation of people’s act Internet
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. M.Lakshmikanth
NGO, SHG etc SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Mrunal Patel
welfare schemes, bodies IYB + Internet
social sector, health, edu, HRD SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Mrunal Patel + IYB + Internet
governance, transparency, accountability
e-governance SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Mrunal Patel
role of civil service SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Mr. Mrunal Patel
India & neighbors Drashti IAS Notes(in Hindi) by Rajesh Mishra + SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Venkat Sir
bilateral/global grouping Drashti IAS Notes(in Hindi) by Rajesh Mishra + SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Venkat Sir
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Drashti IAS Notes(in Hindi) by Rajesh Mishra + SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Venkat Sir
Diaspora IYB
international bodies- structure mandate Drashti IAS Notes(in Hindi) by Rajesh Mishra + SPIPA Mains Lecture Series by Venkat Sir + Internet
Tejas Parmar with Venkat

Extreme right: NCERT MCQ and IR specialist Venkat Sir

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization NCERT + Mr. Mrunal Patel’s Lecture on Economics
inclusive growth NCERT + Mr. Mrunal Patel’s Lecture on Economics
Budgeting NCERT + Mr. Mrunal Patel’s Lecture on Economics
major crops, irrigation NCERT ( geography – some related chapters)
agro produce – storage, marketing Insightsonindia’s article
e-technology for famers Insightsonindia’s article
farm subsidies, MSP Insightsonindia’s article
PDS, buffer, food security Insightsonindia’s article
technology mission Insightsonindia’s article
animal rearing economics Rajtanil madam’s lecture
food processing Insightsonindia’s article
land reforms Mrunal.org articles on this issue
Liberalization NCERT(Economics)+ Ramesh Singh
Infra NCERT + Mr. Mrunal Patel’s Lecture on Economics
investment models Insightsonindia’s article + + Mr. Mrunal Patel’s Lecture on Economics
science-tech day to day life Did not read specifically but whatever covered in NCERT or Lucent’s GK
Indian achievements in sci-tech Did not read
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Space and Defecne: Lecture notes of spipa
Other topics:Whatever covered in Current affairs
environmental impact assessment NIOS
Disaster Management Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
non state actors, internal security Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
internal security – role of media, social networking site Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
cyber security Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
money laundering Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
border Management Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
organized crime, terrorism Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)
security agencies- structure mandate Challenges to Internal Security of India(by Macgrawhill Publications)

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes + Mr. Kavan Limbasiya’s lecture(From mrunal.org) notes
attitude, moral influence etc. Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes + Mr. Kavan Limbasiya’s lecture(From mrunal.org) notes
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes + Mr. Kavan Limbasiya’s lecture(From mrunal.org) notes
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes + Mr. Kavan Limbasiya’s lecture(From mrunal.org) notes
moral thinkers of India and world Did not prepare
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. 2md ARC report on Ethics in Governance
corporate governance Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes+2md ARC report on Ethics in Governance
probity in governance, work culture Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes+2md ARC report on Ethics in Governance
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes+2md ARC report on Ethics in Governance
challenges of corruption Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes+2md ARC report on Ethics in Governance
case studies on above topics Amitkumar Sir’s lecture notes

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?
Many people devote very less time for this paper compared to oher GS papers or even certain subjects. But this is the paper where one can score higher than any other GS paper. As only reading the book will not suffice for this paper, I would recommend to go through lectures before reading the book. This will help to clear the concept. Apart from this, answer writing for this paper would be really helpful. And after clearing basic concepts, one should try to solve as many case studies as possible.

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 Do not remember Do not remember Do not remember 250 marks
GS2 Do not remember Do not remember Do not remember 225 marks( left 2 questions)
GS3 Do not remember Do not remember Do not remember 250 marks
GS4 Do not remember Do not remember Do not remember 225 marks(could not attempt one case study)
Opt-P1 Do not remember Do not remember Do not remember 250 marks
Opt-P2 Do not remember Do not remember Do not remember 240 marks

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]
My single most goal while writing the mains was to complete the paper. I think the questions were such that you could write something on it and hence I tried to attempt all the questions except two questions in GS2 about which I didn’t have a slightest idea. My seniors/buddies had also suggested to attempt all the questions as it is very difficult to produce very high quality answer for fixed number of questions. I did not write in sequence and attempted the questions about which I was confident first.Then I attempted remaining questions.

Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
I was already aware of this format and wrote mock tests accordingly. I tried to fill all the space given for answer keeping the word limit in mind. For this, I wrote in bigger font size so that nuber of words do not cross much above the limit.

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 depending upon the requirement of questions. I wrote some answers in bullet points but mostly I wrote in paragraph. I think it doesn’t matter in which way you write, what matters more is the content of your answer(how much near to the truth you are).

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.
In paragraph style of writing , I followed “introduction-body-conclusion” format. In bullet style of writing , I directly mentioned required points.

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 GS1- question about Mesolithic rock architecture and modern painting.

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

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?
Blue ink pen. ( Cello Free Flow)

Mains Optional Subject

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
Optional Subject: Gujarati Literature.
I was interested in Gujarati Literature since my school days( read novels, wrote poems, stories etc.)
My medium of school was Gujarati and hence I was comfortable with the language.
At SPIPA , classes of only Gujarati Literature optional were conducted .
I wanted to write mains examination in Gujarati medium so Mechanical Engineering(my graduation subject and my second preference as an optional) was not suitable. It was also difficult to cover the whole Mechanical Engineering syllabus in limited time span .

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)
It depends on individual interest. If reading stories and poems bore you and you hate craming names and contribution of authors since time immemorial till date, please don’t take this as an optional.

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?
One can simply read the reference book for this subject. But one should be aware of latest development happening in the field of Gujarati Literature( specially awards or deaths of eminent writers)

Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
5 months before prelims examination(5-6 hours a day including lectures) and then revision after prelims upto mains.

Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
I did not practice answer writing for optional paper. I wrote one mock test for each paper conducted at SPIPA before mains.

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 2015 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?
I think over all papers are not difficult . Only in compulsoery questions ofPaper-1 of this optional

[Download] Gujarati Literature Optional Subject Notes by IAS Tejas Parmar

This section was added on Jul-20-2020

  • Shri Tejas Parmar (IAS, alumni SVNIT-Surat) had cleared the UPSC civil service exam in 2015. Presently he is serving as the District Development Officer (DDO) of Amreli district in Gujarat 
  • His optional subject was Gujarati literature.
  • He had prepared over 200 pages notes for it. 
  • He got them scanned and shared it with me, for the benefit of the future aspirants. 
  • ? Download IAS Tejas Parmar’s Guj Litt Notes from this link

download Gujarati Literature Notes by IAS Tejas Parmar

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?
For Biodata related questions : mostly searched internet(wikipedia, youtube etc.)
Current Affairs : Vision IAS current affairs videos for interview + insightsonindia + RSTV debates + All India Radio FM Gold channel’s discussions. I enrolled on one telegram channel for interview guidance run by mentors from civilservicesexam.guru

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?

Tejas Parmar attended three mock interviews @SPIPA, Ahmedabad

Tejas Parmar attended three mock interviews @SPIPA, Ahmedabad: Panelists included senior IAS, IPS officers and academicians

Yes, I attended 3 mock interviews conducted at SPIPA, Ahmedabad. They were similar in the sense that the experts in panel of interview were experienced and were from diverse field. They were different in the sense that the seating arrangement of experts of panel was different from the actual case in UPSC. Actual UPSC interview was more cordial.
For a fresher, it is advisable to attend 2-3 mock tests so that they may have some basic idea of the whole interview situation and process and hence can face actual interview with more confidence.
Q3. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?
Gujarat Bhavan at New Delhi.
I brought my hand written notes( for biodata and for current affairs) for the ‘revision before interview’.

Q4. Any words of wisdom about Medical checkup?
Q5. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.
Formal light blue color shirt and formal dark blue color trouser. Black color belt and black color oxford formal shoes. No blazers/no suit.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Prof. David Symlieh
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?]
Why Civil Service? It is the best job available which provides satisfaction of social service, security to your future and experience of diverse field at very young age which is unparalleled . Thus it is not only one factor but combination of factors which is not there in any other job or service .

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)
Chairman: .Why didn’t you go for an IES(Indian Engineering Services)?
Me: Didn’t get the time, sir.
Chairman: Oh, you didn’t get the time. Will you go for it if you get the time?
Me: Yes sir, definitely.
Then chairman told about his friend in Railway service and told about his work etc. Suddenly he remembers something and asked : Do you know about Railway Bords.
Me; Yes sir. But not in detail.
Chairman: It is highest decision making body in Railways. Ok, what is DANICS?
Me: It is Group B Service for Union Territories.
Chairman: Don’t say it is group B service. It is also a very good service.
Me: Yes sir. I have given my preference for it, too and I will definitely join it if I get it.

Chairman:. Which union territories are covered under DANICS?
I named all the union territories. ( I was wrong.DANICS doesn’t include Chandigarh and Pondicherry, but I forgot it at that time)
Chairman: Ok, what is DANIPS?
Me: It is Group B Police service for union territories

Chairman: When was Goa included in Indian?
Me: 1962
Chairman: When we talk about GOa, we say it was liberated. And when we talk about India, we say we freed ourselves from British. What is difference between “Liberation” and “Freedom Struggle”
Me: Sorry Sir, I don’t know.
Chairman:How many texts have u read in Gujarati Literature?(My optional)
Me: 19 , Sir.
Chairman: Long or short?
Me: Both,sir.
Chairman: Upto which level have you played table tennis?(My hobby)
Me; Not professional but at my hostel I used to play it regularly.
Chairman: Why Chinese players are ahead and not Indian players in table tennis?
Me: Sorry Sir, I don’t know.
Member1: What is RTI?
Me: Right to Information Act, Sir.
Member1: Don’t you think many NGOs and other organizations misuse it just to harass government?
Me: May be tru in some cases. But overall, it has been effective tool in the hand of public and people can make informed decisions using RTI.
Member1: Tell me two famous cases where RTI has been used very effectively.
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t remember now.
Member1: What is GST?
Me: I answered with technical details .
Member1: Which central taxes are subsumed in it?
I answered.
Member1: Who will benefit from it and who will be at los?
Me: The states where consumption is more wioll benefit while state having manufacturing base will be a loss.
Then he argued against it but I tried to remain firm on my stand.
Member2(Lady): Which steps have been taken by government for women empowerment?
Me: 50% reservation in PRIs. 33% reservation in Parliament and legislative assembly( I wanted to say 33% reservation by Gujarat government in government service.).
Lady members stopped me and asked: oh, 33% in parliament ?
I suddenly realized my mistake and said sorry for mistake. She told me not to feel sorry about that.
Member2: Ok, which institutions are there at central level for women related issues?
Me: National Commission of Women , Ministry of Women and Child Welfare
Member2: What is the composition of NCW?
Me; Sorry Mam, I don’t know.
Member2: Do you know about Vishakha Guidelines?
Me: Yes, it it related to Sexual harassment at workplaces and subsequently act was made on that matter.
Member2: What were its provisions?
I answered and told 2-3 provisions
Member2: What is the composition of compliant committee you mentioned?
I could not answer exact composition but said that there should we women in it and the chairperson of the committee would also be a women working in particular organization where such committee is formed according to the act.
Member3: As you are from science back ground, which evidences will you collect from crime scene as per chemistry point of view and also as per physics point of view.
Me: I will collect blood sample , finger prints, hair or skin for dna test . I don’t know about the evidences as per physics point of view.
Member3: Tell me about SHrilankan Tamil’s issue and India’s role in it.
I explained it in detail.
He asked me if India did a mistake by sending IPKF. I said no. The chairman told me that as we are sitting in a close room you are free to say anything and not necessarily have to speak in favour of anybody.
Member4: As you were member in hostel management committee, tell me what is Anti Ragging Act?
Me: There is no such act but there are SC guidelines.
The member’s face changed a little bit as if he didn’t like the way I said but then he asked:”Then what is the difference between act and guideline”. I answered it. Then he asked about the provisions of Anti Ragging Guidelines . I politely answered that I did not remember them right then
Member4: What are the provisions against tobacco and smoking in schools?
Me: There is ban on any such selling shops within 100 m circle around the school.
Member4: What is the significance of this number 100 in that?
Me: I think it is for practical feasibility only. But I don’t know why exactly 100 m is there.
Member 4: As you worked in joint venture company, tell me how does FDI and joint venture benefits India?
Me: We benefit from exchange of people between two countries, we learn about their work culture. There is technology transfer,too in some cases.
Member4: I haven’t heard about any Indian company which have benefited from such joint venture. Infact , Maruti-Suzuki turned into Suzuki after 25 years of joint venture. It should have been reversed.
I could comment on this. But I said that it will take time to become self reliant in such sector and we should continue to tie up with foreign companies in this sector.
Member4: Do you think that 3 formats of cricket is helping cricket?(my hobby)
Me: Yes, due to the 3rd format(i.e T20), the competition has increased and player’s stamina has also increased. New talent is coming up. We can see different bowling vaiations(leg cutter. Slow bouncer) being used very effectively and we have different types of strokes(dilscoop. Switch hit) in batting. Fielding standards have improved.SO overall, cricket has been benefited.
Member4: Do you think there is zonal consideration and bias in selection of National Cricket Team?
Me: Not officially. But in certain cases, people have raised doubts about that.
Member4: Name me a player who have been selected without zonal bias?
Me: Sachin.
Member4: (smiling)No. I will give you one more chance.
Me: Rahul Dravid.
Member4: No. (smiling)I will tell you. You will never forget his name.
Me: Sure sir.
Member4: MS Dhoni.
Then Chairman interrupted and said your interview is over and you can go now.
Me: (standing): Thank you sirs. Thank you Mam. Have a good day sirs. Have a good day Mam.
(I felt that my interview was not good. But I enjoyed itI got 151, not too good but also not too bad. I am satisfied with my interview score)

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?
Not on the expected lines, but there were some of the questions (current affairs related- RTI, GST, Women Empowerment) the answer of which I had prepared.
Not the stressed interview. I could not answer some easy questions and also gave some wrong answer (unknowingly) but I was confident throughout the interview and also managed to give answer with smile on the face. I tried to remain positive and never allowed myself to get anxious during the interview.

Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?
Nope. Everything will be taken care when the time will come.

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

CSE-2015 Marksheet

Q1. Please attach both prelim and final mark sheet
Prelims mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Paper 1 128
Paper 2 135.87

Mains mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Essay – Paper-1 138
General Studies – Paper 2 97
General Studies – Paper 3 71
General Studies – Paper 4 99
General Studies – Paper 5 90
Optional Paper – Paper-1 141
Optional Paper – Paper-2 110
Written total 746
Personality Test 151
Final Total 897

Q2. After looking at the mark sheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?
I would start reading newspapers (Indian express) and start making notes for current affairs.

Career Backup

Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
Plan A: I had two years of experience in private sector. I would have searched for the job related to my experience and would continue to give attempts while in job.
Plan B: I would have done M.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering and started lectureship in engineering college.

Q2. When were you going to “execute” that backup plan? (e.g. after __ failed attempts/ after I cross __ age/after dad retires/ after girlfriend dumps me etc.)
After failed attempt this year.(i.e.CSE 2015 – my second attempt)

Views on UPSC reforms

Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.
Yes, I think optional subjects should be removed. Such decision in prelims has benefited many people and I think same should be replicated in mains to provide level playing field to all.

Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?
I think it is a good decision as many people especially from rural background are at comparative disadvantage in this paper. But only time will tell whether this move has been successful or not.

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. (at least that was the scene in 2013).
I think there is no harm in conducting separate prelims test for IFoS.
Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.
I think yes. This would help the aspirant who failed to analyse their mistakes as early as possible and there will be scope of correction for future attempts.
Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of exam.
Should try.

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?
UPSC doesn’t differentiate on the basis of profile and background of the persons. The only thing that matters in the interview is your performance and nothing else. So don’t enter in the interview either with inferiority complex or superiority complex, both are harmful. Be well prepared about whatever you have written in your DAF(Detailed Application Form).


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?
Success and failure are part of life. Life is bigger than any exam. Compete with yourself only. Just enjoy the process of learning, if you become successful then it is good. But if you fail, do not be disheartened, learn from the failure and just move on. Life just goes on and so you should.

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?
This is highly unpredictable exam. But I think , they are nearer to the goal and they should gather themselves as soon as possible forgetting the past and work harder to reach to the goal. As I have not experienced this phase, I can’t share my experiences on how to deal with that but I can still assume that this is the toughest phase and if they can sustain this phase, nothing would be impossible for them in future. It is just a matter of time that this phase will pass, too.

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?
Family is the first to which I will dedicate my success. They have always supported whatever I have done, be it becoming an engineer instead of doctor or leaving a highly paid job for civil services preparation. My teachers have always motivated me to aim higher in life and have provided valuable guidance to achieve the goal. My school has been the backbone for the development of my personality. My school friends, college friends ,colleagues, seniors and subordinates at my workplace , family friends and relatives have always been supporting and motivating factors. My fellow aspirants at SPIPA , room mates, seniors, staff have always been very kind , supportive and motivating.
I think it is not only the hard work but blessings of my grand parents, parents, relatives, teachers, friends,colleagues and well wishes of all the persons who have come in my in contact directly or indirectly have helped me to achieve my goal. I honestly accept that many of the people were more confident than I was about my success in this exam.
I take this opportunity to thank all of them and wish that it continues to help me in my service, too.

BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

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.
Tejas Parmar with Mrunal Patel
I will not hesitate to say that anything that made my preparation lot easier, it was www.mrunal.org. When I was thinking how to start my preparation for CSE during my job, I came in contact with this website and it continued to help me till the last night before mains examination. Initially, it was Mrunal Sir’s articles, written in very simple manner with his unique witty comments, on various subjects which made the topics easier and preparation funnier. At the time I was searching for good basic material for Economics , his lectures in SPIPA came like blessings for me. Lectures of Geography by Rajtanil Madam made my concepts clear. Mrunal Sir’s lecture series for Mains 2015 was very very helpful. All this came at right moment for me . So I am really indebted to this website and Mrunal sir’s whole team for my success. It is like Guru Dronacharya for thousands of Eklavyas across the country. I am proud to be one of them.