1. Candidate Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Struggle of a Senior player
  7. Working professional
  8. Prelims (CSAT) General studies
  9. Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
  10. Prelim accuracy
  11. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  12. Mains: Essay
  13. General Studies (Mains) paper 1
  14. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  15. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  16. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  17. Mains answer-writing?
  18. Mains Optional Subject: Medical Science
  19. Before the interview
  20. During the interview
  21. CSE-2015 Marksheet
  22. Career Backup
  23. Insecurity about profile
  24. Wisdom
  25. Credit: Friends/family
  26. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Name- Dr.Ravindra Goswami
Rank in CSE-2015- 152
Roll No.- 0008842
Age- 32
Total attempts in CSE (including this one)- 2
Optional Subject- Medical science
Schooling Medium- Hindi
College medium- English
Medium chosen for Mains answers- English
Medium chosen for Interview- English
Home town/city- Asalpur Jobner(Jaipur)
Work-experience if any-
-2 years in Fortis Escorts Hospital,Jaipur
-2 years as Medical Officer  in PHC Akola,Chittorgarh(Raj.)
-Presently Indian Postal Service Probationer
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures- Qualified UPSC CSE in 2014 in first attempt rank 1059
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)- No personal coaching,
Insightsonindia test series for prelims
Visioias test series for essay
GSSCORE test series for ethics
Mrunal and Insightsonindia are cornerstone to my preparation,No mock interview this time except with my friends .
Service preferences (Top-5)- IAS-IPS-IFS-IRS(IT)-IRS(C and CE)
state cadre preference (Top-5)- RAJASTHAN-MP-GUJARAT-HARYANA-PUNJAB


% in class 10 84
% in class 12 84
Graduation course and % MBBS,64%
Name of college, city, passing out year SMS Medical college,Jaipur,2009
Post-graduation Was Undergoing MD
Any other professional courses  
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Helping sick persons,playing cricket,jogging


Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?
UPSC IAS Topper 2015 Dr. Ravindra Goswami Medical Science optional from Rajasthan
I am a medical graduate from Rural Rajasthan. I have joint family which includes my parents, my wife ,my two little kids and two brothers with their family.
I started my preparation after age of 30,and it was after working two years in the Government setup as medical officer when I realized that I could deliver more as a citizen if I enter in administrative services.

Electronic Vs Paper material

Q. In recent times, there is spur in electronic material- blogs, sites, pdfs, RSS-feeds. Many aspirants feel bogged down by this information overload. So, how much do you rely on electronic material and how much on the paper material (Books, newspapers)? If possible, narrate a typical day in your studylife. What is your style of preparation (e.g. I continue making notes no matter what I’m reading, I just read multiple times but don’t maintain notes, I make mindmaps on computer …or xyz style)
I am a working professional and the smartphone was panacea for me, I was heavily dependent on the internet specially for GS.For optional I consulted the standard text books.
On a typical day I used to get up at 6am and study the optional for two hours,then while travelling from Huda city center Metro to AIIMS metro  I used to finish The Hindu,while on workplace I developed a habbit of surfing Mrunal and Insightsonindia. At 6pm after reacing back home I used to write answers for 3 hours and crosscheck them.then  I used to watch RSTV from 9-10.
-I prepared notes for optional but not for GS due to paucity  of 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?
– I  never read on Sunday, also I used to talk with my Wife Meena about the thoughts and she kept on motivating me during mood swings.
-Also watching some comedy movies or inspirational movies like the Million Dollar Baby used to break the monotony.
Also regular visit to Mrunal and Insightsonindia provided the necessary atmosphere of competition.

Struggle of a Senior player

-I am quite a senior in terms of age as I took the first attempt in 30 years of age but I always thought that age is just a number. Also ,the family support  was very crucial in my case.
Also I believe in the saying of Sundar Pichai ”wear your failures as badge of honour”
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.
UPSC test the aspects of not only the candidates but also of the family so be united and be determined for the target.
-many a times people will question your way but the best way to answer them is to make them asking your way.
Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
-lack of answer writing practice so this time I devote almost 40% of my time for answer writing.also I formed small group of 3 people for answer checking on whatsapp and honest reviewing of the answers.

Working professional

If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job
-Internet is the sheet anchor of preparation for working professionals also one should take the superiors in confidence so that they are providing you definite job which you can accommodate with your studies
-also utilize the every second of time you get as it is generally not possible to get the time in bundles for working people, it generally comes in small fractions.
-A well balanced daily schedule along with healthy diet is also must during this preparation.
-a good communication with your friends and superiors regarding preparation is must so that they can play a supportive role in your success.Sometimes we are afraid of sharing the thoughts with them but believe me without sharing it will only add to your stress.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient Tamilnadu  board 11 and 12
History Medieval skipped
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Spectrum,internet
Culture and society Nitin singhania notes,internet,the hindu
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikant,internet
Economy (theory + current) Mrunal and only Mrunal
Science (theory + current) Internet,NCERT
Environment (theory + current) Mrunal,Unacademy,Shankara IAS Notes
geography physical Mrunal,savindra singh
geography India Mrunal,savindra singh
geography world Mrunal,savindra singh
other national/international current affairs The Hindu, Mrunal,insightsonindia
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Internet,insightsonindia

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2014 paper?
Try to be in the comfort zone of 120+ so that you can start preparing for mains right after prelims.
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)?
More revisions of NCERT

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Mrunal strategy
reasoning Mrunal
comprehension Mrunal
Decision Making Mrunal

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
Higher  weightage to environment and Ecology so be thorough in this.
-Practice of as much mcqs as possible to get the good hold of the questions to avoid silly mistakes.

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
I practiced at home almost 10000 questions and they are very essential

Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2015

  attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 95 65+ 130
aptitude all Not remembered 149

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Nothing special
your regional language Nothing special

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2015
Try to solve complete paper

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
Weekly practice of the essays,wrote almost 30 essays between prelims and mains.Crosschecked it with friends.
-Started maintaining a separate register for quotes and relevant  examples from day to day life.

Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?
1 Dreams which shouldn’t let India sleep- I covered the various aspects of dreams and their psychological relation with actions then I tried to make relation with the dreams of our forfathers and the status  of present India,then I provided various targets India have set to achieve in near future and the possibilities and hurdles in realizing them.
I touched upon aspects ranging from sociocultural to economy and sports to give the maximum width to the essay,I also supported the basis of why these dreams can be a reality to India with some basic figures.
2.Fast and steady wins the race-Defined fast and slow, win and lose ,and role of steadiness in it.I took the entire argument in the side of  the fact that sometimes the slowness too is need of time and sometimes participation in the race alone become important then winner and looser.I provided real life examples in support of my arguments.

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Nitin singhania notes,I analysed last years papers and concluded that the question from this section is either too easy or too complex, in both the situation you can do little by studying it so I limited myself.
Indian history Spectrum modern india plus the relevant stuff from Internet whenever I saw a news in The Hindu
-youtube videos from the history channel
world history Norman Lowe very selectively
Youtube videos crash course on world history
post-independence India Internet
-Pradhanmantri series of ABP News
Indian society The Hindu
role of women, poverty etc. The Hindu
globalization on Indian society Internet
communalism, regionalism, secularism Insightsonindias articles on these
world geo physical Mrunal
resource distribution Mrunal
factors for industrial location Mrunal
earthquake tsunami etc Mrunal
impact on flora-fauna Mrunal

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Laxmikant,Insightsonindia
comparing Constitution with world skipped
parliament, state Legislatures laxmikant
executive-judiciary laxmikant
ministries departments Ministries and their websites
pressure group, informal asso. insightsonindia
Representation of people’s act google
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. google
NGO, SHG etc Internet,yojana issue
welfare schemes, bodies Internet,yojana
social sector, health, edu, HRD Internet,yojana
governance, transparency, accountability Internet,yojana
e-governance Internet,yojana
role of civil service internet
India & neighbors Internet,the hindu,the diplomat magezine
bilateral/global grouping Selective Indian express from internet
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Selective Indian express from internet,the diplomat
Diaspora The Hindu
international bodies- structure mandate Internet,whenever name come to the hindu read about it

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Mrunal
inclusive growth mrunal
Budgeting Mrunal
major crops, irrigation Mrunal
agro produce – storage, marketing Mrunal
e-technology for famers Mrunal
farm subsidies, MSP Mrunal
PDS, buffer, food security Mrunal,insightsonindia
technology mission Mrunal
animal rearing economics Insightsonindia
food processing Mrunal,
land reforms Mrunal
Liberalization Mrunal
Infra Mrunal
investment models Mrunal
science-tech day to day life Internet
Indian achievements in sci-tech skipped
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR internet
environmental impact assessment internet
Disaster Management NDMA website
non state actors, internal security internet
internal security – role of media, social networking site Internet,insightsonindia
cyber security insightsonindia
money laundering Mrunal,insightsonindia
border  Management internet
organized crime, terrorism ignored
security agencies- structure mandate google

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Subbarao and google,GSSCORE test
attitude, moral influence etc. same
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc same
emotional intelligence, its use in governance same
moral thinkers of India and world How many thinkers did you prepare?
5 thinkers from different backgrounds
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. Subbarao and google
corporate governance Same,GSSCORE notes
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?
Practice of the questions and giving real life examples did the magic for me and I was able to improve my score by 20 marks despite tough paper.
Give practical solutions to the problems in case studies.
Also daily thinking about one quote from famous thinker helped me to put the right perspective of the question in this paper.
For case studies I tried to give two obvious solution alongwith one out of the box solution as the administration now is all about innovation.
Time management is another aspect in this paper which I feel ,can be tackeled through regular answer writing practice ,here I must emphasize the role of insights secure initiative which provided the right platform to learn from others

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 15 6-7 rest all
GS2 12 6-7 rest all
GS3 15 2-3 rest all
GS4 all all
Opt-P1 all all
Opt-P2 all all

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]
I attempted all as I am of the view that you know at least something about a topic and you should write that something on paper.
-also my approach was to include as many dimentions of the problem in the answer as possible to give a holistic view of problem
-I do not believe in filler material like stuff and was not very conscious about how less words  I was writing.
-the basic figures if one is able to recall correctly should be used so that your answer does not look like Bol Bacchan.

Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?
Good as it provides the help in time management.

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.
Mix approach the target is to communicate the answer.
These words are of utmost importance as these decides up to what level you should write.

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 strictly followed this format as this gives a definite direction to the answer.
Introduction is glimpse of how you see the issue.
Body is narration of your view
While the conclusion is futuristic and realistic solution to the problem being discussed.
Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?
I underlined with regular pen

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

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?
No use of ruler
Q9. You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen?
Blue.Natraj rs 5 gel with little modification for better grip.

Mains Optional Subject: Medical Science

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
Medical science,I was confident that I can handle any question in this subject
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)
Go for it.
As this is the subject you have spent almost 5 years with.
Also you know exactly what should not write in the answer of medical science so if you are comfortable in this go for it

Q. First the essential book/resource list. (Also mention which one is the “Base book” for covering the theory? + Whatever comments you’ve for a particular book e.g. “my seniors said read xyz book but I found that ABC book was better”.  “xyz topic not given properly in this book, so prepare from xyz website or book…” OR and so on.)
Anatomy-BDC and inderbeer singh along with selective pre pg manual
Physio-AK jain
Forensic-prepg manual and sumit seth manaual
Patho-a wonderfull book from aanchal publication
Medicine-harrison selectively along with matthew
Surgery-manipal and pre pg manual selectively
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?
Medical science notes on ECKOVATION website

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

Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
Just after pre
Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?
Yes shortnotes in paper format
Q. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2014 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?
Definite turn in favour of practicle questions and  case based questions so try to read the syllabus keeping  the patient in mind.

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?
Basic research from internet and from Forumias

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 did not attended any mock.one should go for one or two mocks
I discussed the DAF extensively with my friends.
Mocks will give you a feel of interview but the real experience is much different from the mocks.

Q3. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?
With Friend.
I revised some basic figures

Q4. Any words of wisdom about Medical checkup?
Follow the instructions

Q5. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.
Blue coat pants with red tie

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Alka Sirohi maam
Q2. How long was the interview?
Approx 30 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?]
To broaden the scope of my actions. also I emphasized on the fact that private sector in near future is nowhere near the Government setup for selfless service of the nation.

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)
Afternoon session –first to go
Cp-what kind of emergencies you have seen during your work in PHC
Me-RTA, scorpion bite,MI,PPH
CP-what is treatment of scorpion bite
ME-reassurance,antihistamins,steroids,local infiltration of xylocaine
CP-treatment of anaphylaxis
Me –started answering but CP started cross question on every word(perhaps to put me in stress,finally I managed the survival with smile)
q-famous places in chittorgarh
me-Chittorgarh fort,sanwaliyaji temple
q-Two things related to chittorgarh which are famous
me-(recalled the tagline of chittorgarh(Bhakti or Shakti ki Nagari)Meera Bai and Rani Padmini
q-your experience as a doctor
me –I told that the learning from my job was excellent yet some conditions were not in my contol and I had to sought DM’s interference to get the things correct
q what would you change if made collector of chittorgarh
me-interdepartmental convergence along with making the services more accessible to  common man
q-why rajasthan is recalled when energy scenario of country is come in the picture
me- told about the solar energy,nuclear testing and wind energy
q -difference in crude oil and petrol
me-don’t know
q-why big farms of solar energy are not coming out in rajasthan
me- policy problems along with lack of big investment
q-what percentage of indias energy is produced by Rajasthan
me-don’t know
q-Why to come in administration
me-big platform to work for the people along with opportunity to work in many areas og the Government
q-treatment of Asthama
me-narrated the stagewise treatment

q-what is slip disc/how to prevent it /how to treat it
me-described in brief he seemed quite satisfied with it.
Q question on relevancy of postal services
Me- financial inclusion,social services
qwhat are upcoming projects of department of post
-payment bank
q-relation in law and public opinion
-I explained with the help of the examples of the Nirbhaya case and Transgender case that public opinion do matter in the law making but it is duty of legislators that they should keep the future in mind while forming the law.
q-why doctors are not going in rural areas
me-lack of infra, lack of understanding of the need of the rural areas
CP-you may go now.

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?
On expected lines but many a times a felt that they deliberately try to put you in the stress.

Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?
No such issue

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

CSE-2015 Marksheet

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

Subject Marks obtained
Paper 1 130.66
Paper 2 146.84

Mains mark sheet-

Subject Marks obtained
Essay – Paper-1 126
General Studies – Paper 2 107
General Studies – Paper 3 68
General Studies – Paper 4 95
General Studies – Paper 5 100
Optional Paper – Paper-1 137
Optional Paper – Paper-2 136
Written total 769
Personality Test 149
Final Total 918

Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what changes will you make in your studies?
No change

Career Backup

Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
As a doctor
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 this attempt

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?
No such thing.UPSC is in search of best no matter from where they are coming.


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?
Believe in yourself before asking the UPSC to believe in you.

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?
Failures are just the way by which we can improve ourselves.

Credit: Friends/family

Q. Behind every topper are many people who stood by during those uncertain times when he/she was merely an ‘aspirant’. Would you like to tell the world, who were those people in your case? Any specific incidence that you would like to share with the readers?
My father Sh. Jagdish Prasad Goswami, my mother Mana Devi,my wife Meena,My children varchaswa and Artika and my brothers Ajay and Shailendra.They all provide the mental support and motivated throughout the journey.
Also my Father in law Sh.Banshi puri ,he almost relieved me from my social obligations  in last two years.

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.
Yes, Mrunal  is part of my UPSC life since last two years and my understanding of various topics specially economy is largely influenced by it.