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
  20. Before the interview
  21. During the interview
  22. CSE-2015 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

Q. Details
Rank in CSE-2015 Cse 2015:  694,
IFoS 2015:  65
Roll No. 0006927
Age 27
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 6
Optional Subject Mechanical Engg
Schooling Medium Telugu
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Mahabub nagar(Telangana)
Work-experience if any
  1. ONGC, Delhi 4yrs and 2 months
  2. Indian railways for last 1 yr and 4months
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures 1.GATE-08: AIR-14,
2. IES-10: AIR-107
3. IES-13: AIR- 52
4. IFoS-15: AIR-65
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  1. Test series: Vision
  2. Essay: Civil services chronicle
  3. Mock interview: Samakalp, Khan
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS,IPS,IFS,IRS-IT, Customs& Excise
state cadre preference (Top-5) Telangana, AP, KTK


% in class 10 94
% in class 12 96
Graduation course and % 87
Name of college, city, passing out year Osmania University College of Engg, Hyderabad, 2009
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Teaching, mentoring, robotics, swimming


Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?
Raviteja B
I hail from a rural agricultural family from a small village Amistapur in Mahabub nagar dist of Telangana state. The circumstances and environment in which I have grown up always compelled to study hard. I’m more of hardworking type with consistency which helped me to excel in studies since my childhood.
I always wanted to work in a prestigious position. So, for this, civil services seemed to be the right choice for me. Through which, I can inspire and motivate a lot of people in my neighborhood. After B.E, I headed to IIT Delhi (MTech)for civil services preparation in 2009. After an yr of MTech, I had to drop course in between to give mains. With the lack of clear guidance, I gave first 3 attempts without complete preparation. But from 2014 onwards, took the exam seriously by availing leaves whenever possible.

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 study life. 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)
Ans: In recent years most of the preparation is being done on internet. Important websites are mrunal.org, insights, and wiki pages.
From these sources making short notes helped me a lot in revision time.

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?
Ans: For most of us, Civil services exam is little gamble, unpredictable and of bit lucky. But perseverance plays crucial role in getting into it. With constant motivation received from success stories of fellow aspirants helped me a lot in maintaining hope and confidence.

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.
Ans: Avoid repeating mistakes.
Keep your efforts sincerely, true to your hearts, Then chances of success would be high.
Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
Ans: In first 4 attempts, I was busy with my job in ONGC. Didn’t take much time out of job for preparation(Other thing is that, As it was first job and also very rich PSU, I got saturation in my mind with the salary I was getting over there). So, could not do the much needed enough preparation.
But in 2014 attempt, I took 3 months leave before mains exam. Everything went well and unexpectedly, I got low score in Mech Engg optional, just 180. So, Couldn’t make it to the final list(gave interview).
This year, I practiced more old question papers. May be that worked well in my optional.

Working professional

If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job
Ans:  You can’t justify both preparation and job with 100% effectiveness. So try to have continous self motivation towards preparation and use the office time(liesure) effectively for preparation.
And take whatever leaves possible for serious and thorough preparation.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient 11std tamilnadu ncert
History Medieval Gk today handout
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) NCERT, spectrum
Culture and society Fine arts, nitin singhania
Polity (theory + current) Laxmi kanth, Insights, google
Economy (theory + current) Shankar ganeshan, Insights, mrunal, google
Science (theory + current)
Environment (theory + current) Shankar
geography physical NCERT
geography India NCERT, Arvind kumar
geography world NCERT, mrunal
other national/international current affairs Newspaper and google
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Google for new schemes, Newspapers

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2014 paper?
Paper was bit easy except few questions.
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 gone through more current affairs sources such as vision and insights current events. and revised the notes thoroughly.

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude 

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Old question papers
reasoning Old question papers
comprehension Old question papers
Decision Making Old question papers

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
Not much

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
No. I think old question papers are necessary.
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2014

  attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 93   142.66
aptitude 67   143

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Old papers
your regional language Old papers

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2015
Papers are ok type. Neither lengthy nor short. Don’t be too casual about these papers, at least for 2 hrs before exam, do practice local language hand writing and vocabulary for Indian language exam.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
Ans: Essay is the easiest target one should have to get through this exam. Wrote essays at Civil services chronicle institute for practice. The same essays I have shown to friends for suggestions.

Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?
Section A: Education and values related essay and  in Section B: Dreams of India doesn’t let India sleep

Mains General studies paper 1 to 4

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Nitin singhania, fine arts, 11th ncert
Indian history Spectrum,modern india ncert
world history Old ncert(mrunal), wiki
post-independence India Wiki, ncert
Indian society
role of women, poverty etc. Poverty from current affairs
globalization on Indian society
communalism, regionalism, secularism
world geo physical Mrunal videos
resource distribution Mrunal notes
factors for industrial location Mrunal notes
earthquake tsunami etc Ncert, mrunal
impact on flora-fauna

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Laxmikanth
comparing Constitution with world Vision handout
parliament, state Legislatures Laxmi kanth, vajiram notes
executive-judiciary Laxmi kanth, vajiram notes
ministries departments India yr book
pressure group, informal asso. Laxmi kanth
Representation of people’s act Laxmi kanth, vajiram notes
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Laxmi kanth, vajiram notes
NGO, SHG etc Current affairs
welfare schemes, bodies Current affairs, mapspedia
social sector, health, edu, HRD Current affairs, mapspedia
governance, transparency, accountability
e-governance General notes on creent affairs related
role of civil service
India & neighbors Current affairs from insight, newspapers
bilateral/global grouping Current affairs from insight, newspapers
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Current affairs from insight, newspapers
international bodies- structure mandate Current affairs from insight, newspapers

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization NCERT
inclusive growth
Budgeting Mrunal
major crops, irrigation NCERT
agro produce – storage, marketing Vision handout
e-technology for famers Vision handout, own notes
farm subsidies, MSP Mrunal, own notes
PDS, buffer, food security Own notes
technology mission Vision handout
animal rearing economics Vision handout
food processing Vision handout
land reforms India after Independence by Bipin Chandra
Liberalization Mrunal
Infra Current frm insight
investment models Current from insight
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 Vision
Disaster Management Vision
non state actors, internal security Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh
internal security – role of media, social networking site Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh
cyber security Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh
money laundering Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh
border  Management Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh
organized crime, terrorism Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh
security agencies- structure mandate Puri sir notes, India’s security by Mr Singh

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics GS score material
attitude, moral influence etc.  book on ethics by Mr Rao
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc GS score,Lexicon
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Lexicon
moral thinkers of India and world Gandhi, Nehru,Ambedkar
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. Lexicon
corporate governance Lexicon
probity in governance, work culture Lexicon
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. Synrgy notes
challenges of corruption Lexicon
case studies on above topics Lexicon, vision test series

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?
Yes. This time ethics paper was quite unpredictable when it comes to case study part. But theory part was good and general. When it comes to answering, Firstly our writing speed has to be very much faster so that we can cover each and every question of ethics paper. Secondly, whatever basics we know in ethics subject, we have to analyze the questions on these lines and present the discussion well on paper. Then it surely helps us, however the paper and questions may be.

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       One question left
GS2       Full(but one answer was entirely wrong)
GS3       One question left
GS4       20 marks left
Opt-P1 205 25 230
Opt-P2 110 70 180

Almost all the questions are in my knowledge. So tried to attempt all. But due to time constraint, I had to skip one question in each paper.
Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
Ans: Not at all a problem
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.
Ans: Mostly bullet format
Q. Did you follow the “introduction-body-conclusion” format? because some mains-qualified candidates claim they simply wrote the points they could recall within the time, instead of bothering with proper introduction and conclusion.
Not exactly by giving headings. But answer overview contains all these.
Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?
ANs: No
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)
Ans: Not many.
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?

Mains Optional Subject

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
Ans: Mechanical Engg
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)
Ans: Please don’t take this optional. As I feel effort to benefit ratio is more here.
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.)
Mostly own notes, made easy booklets for some topics and old question papers
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?
Not much
Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
Ans: 2 months
Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
Ans: Regular practice is required
Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?
Ans: Yes, Mostly on paper
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?
Nas: Paper 2 was difficult. But due to normalization, marks are almost same in both papers.

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?
As I have given many UPSC interviews by this time, college, hobbies, place of origin etc are well versed for me. For current affairs, I read news paper regularly.
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?
Ans: Samakalp, Khan. Yes they are helpful as a practice measure.
Q3. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?
Delhi. Madonna hotel J
Q4. Any words of wisdom about Medical checkup?
Must check medical call letter for instructions a day before medical.
Q5. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.
Black Suit , white shirt, tie

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Mr Vinay Mittal
Q2. How long was the interview?
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 provides me the diversity of work profile. Social respect and also I can work in various fields which are crucial for Our country’s development such as Health,Education, Poverty related isues directly.
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)
Ans: Interview was mostly on my job profile but very deep into the topics , I didn’t have much knowledge into them. I could recollect some of the questions.

  1. Why irsme(Indian railway service of mech engg) to irts?

Ans: Better career prospects in IRTS ad also IRTS provides me the diversity of job profile.
2.do you think railways need reorganisation? If so..As an young officer in railways tell me what reorganization is required at entry level.
Ans: Yes sir it needs reorgaisation. At entry level, There has to be reorganization at various stages such as deparmets as per Debroy committee. Railways has to focus on core areas of operation and outsource the non core areas. ICT technology must be inducted into more of it’s operations.

  1. Can u compare our railways with chinese working model ?

Sorry sir. I don’t know

  1. Don't u follow other country's railway system of working?

Sorry sir, I didn’t follow any country’s so far.

  1. Mechanical point view, does railways need to gradually go for electrification or stay with disel locos?

Ans: Yes sir, We should go for gradual electrification as it provides better hauling capacity and energy efficiency. Most importantly, less GHGs will be released which helps in achieving sustainable development.
6 . Railway minister recently done something which contradicts this.. u know?
Ans: Sory sir, I don’t know.(Probably I should have told about two new diesel loco factories approval for GM and another French company)
7. U want to become ias, why?
IAS provides me the diversity of work profile. Social respect and also I can work in various fields which are crucial for Our country’s development such as Health,Education, Poverty related isues directly.


  1. Mentoring. . Wat u do?

Ans: Sir, I takeclasses to children when I go toschoolsand guide them about their doubts and ambitions and also personal issues. Many children take guidance from me.

  1. Ongc.. wat did u do? And regarding wind project

Ans: As part of our Wind energy team, I assisted in construction of 102 MW WPP at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

  1. Ongc projects abroad.

Ans: OVL which is ONGC is external arm is handling 35 projects in 17 countries. Example: Sakhalin in Russia, Farzad in Iran etc

  1. field in kajakistan?

Ans: Sir, I remember it as Satpayev sir.

  1. Any importance of caspian sea..in view of hydrocarbons ?

Ans: Sorry sir, Im unable to recollect.

  1. Turkmenistan?  Tell me about TAPI line

Ans: TAPI line is in construction stage. ADB is helping in finance. And Construction agency is Turkmenistan company.

  1. Wind project in jaisalmer.. wat r the problems?

Ans: 1. Land acquisition

  1. Have to layout dedicated wires for electricity transmission to grid.
  2. Robbery of copper wires in transformer nd turbine
  3. Birds killed due to rotation turbines
  4. Jaisamer located near by ak border, so every project there needs Airforce NOC.
  1. Can ongc transfer oil from sakalin to india as per it's stake 15% ? Is it possible

Yes sir, we need oil to fulfill our domestic demand, so wherever is available, we have to send it to our nation.

  1. Wat are the cautions that countries take in international agreements?

Sorry sir, I don’t know

  1. Soft diplomacy?

Ans: Relations between countries by using commonalities between nations such as movies, language, religion, yoga etc.

  1. Constraints of soft diplomacy?

Ans:Countries are to have commonalities
And mostly limited to democratic countries.
Sorry sir, I don’t know much about the constraints apart from what I said.

  1. How do u make the schemes better implementated?

Ans: Creating awareness among the eople about their their entitements and rights, and also schemes.
Motivating the employees
Adopting technology such as ICT to improve the effectiveness.

  1. What makes you happy in ur job?

Ans: When I complete my work on time and that works is helpful to larger section f the society.

  1. Wat do u prefer.. money or job satisfaction?

Ans: I prefer job satisfaction. It is the reason why I left ONGC(which is a lucrative job) to Railways.
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?
Ans: No. Yes Many of the questions were uncomfortable. But before this, in four of the UPSC interviews it was on expected lines. Said ‘NO’ confidently for many questions.
Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?
Photos and call letter.
Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?
Go through instructions beforegoing to interview about fast and photos.

CSE-2015 Marksheet

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

Subject Marks obtained
Paper 1 142.66
Paper 2 143.47

Mains mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Essay – Paper-1 118
General Studies – Paper 2 81
General Studies – Paper 3 87
General Studies – Paper 4 92
General Studies – Paper 5 91
Optional Paper – Paper-1 128
Optional Paper – Paper-2 123
Written total 720
Personality Test 138
Final Total 858

Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?
Ans: More writing practice for both GS and optional.

Career Backup

Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
Ans: I am working during my entire prep. Presently, Indian Railway Service (ME) probationer. Also selected for IFoS this time.
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.)
Executed back up plan from starting only.

Views on UPSC reforms

What are your views on following issues
Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?
It made the exam much tough. I think some weightage around 40% is to be given to CSAT as well.
Q. Despite what UPSC has done in recent years, it has failed to curb the nuisance of Delhi’s coaching factories. In fact it’s increased under the new Mains-syllabus in 2014. Let’s face it, most candidates who gave Mains-2014 have relied on (authentic OR Xeroxed) coaching notes because there was hardly any time left to prepare so many topics in such short time. This system work against an individual preparing from far-away area, without any financial resources, high-speed internet or contacts in Delhi.
Though coaching institutions getting much popularity, but in reality candidates who sincerely prepared their notes and constantly worked are getting the success.
But one needs to have  decent speed internet connection in the present age competition atmosphere to be in touch with reality.

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).
Ans: I support this merger move.

Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.
Yes it helps us all. But UPSC never does it.

Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of exam.
Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?
1. Limit the age
2. Interview weightage has to be reduced to limit the subjectivity.
3. Category should not be shown on interview summery / DAF sheet.
4. No space limit for engineering optional papers.( As they are providing unscientific spacing.. one page contains question in half part.. and we are forced to write the answers and all steps in the remaining half page)
5. Give weightage to prelims marks also J

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 didn’t face any such insecurity. But ultimately confidence matters, how we are answering.


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?
Perseverance is to be there to clear this exam. Luck definitely helps hard work. Arise awake and stop not till the goal is reached !!!
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?
Ans: UPSC is certainly unpredictable. We should have optimism until the last minute. Fortune surely favours hardwork some day.

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?
ANS: Friends such as Pratap, Hari both, fortunately, were also co aspirants made my prep easy.
And especially my friends success stories such as Rishav Gupta inspired me a lot.
My parents, Uncle always motivated me for this.
Last but not the least Mrunal, Insight success stories helped me.

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.
I used mrunal.org regularly for last three years. It helped me a lot. But in the last yr, mrunal didn’t upload the sufficient material for mains revision.