1. Candidate Profile
    1. Mains: Books/Sources
    2. Answer writing for Mains
    1. Transcript of the interview
    2. Mark sheet
  5. Concluding words

Candidate Profile

  • Hello everyone, I am Ashish Sharma, an engineer by profession. I planned on appearing for civil services in the final year of my engineering. But lack of preparation hindered my chances and I ended up working for TCS.
  • After approx 2.5 years, I quit my job and focussed entirely on the MPPSC 2013 exam.
  • Hobbies- playing snooker, watching hollywood movies.
  • Hometown- Jabalpur.


I had just over a month for Prelims and as such I dedicated as much time as I could for cracking it. (I could not get through in the 2012 MPPSC prelims)
Madhya Pradesh MPPSC Ashish Kumar
The strategy for Prelims is a blend of hard and smart work. You need to grasp the IMPORTANT news events of past 8-10 months, without compromising the Static portion of GS. Also, one of the most ignored aspect is question solving. It is of prime importance to solve model/previous papers frequently appearing in general Magazines to get the wittedness requisite in the actual exam.
The general books/magazines I referred were:

  1. NCERT Class X-XII Social Studies, Economics and some Culture topics.
  2. Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth
  3. India Year Book(GOI publication)
  4. Chronicle magazine
  5. Mrunal.org for Current affairs and Misc.

Books specific for MP:

  1. Madhya Pradesh ek parichay(Macgrawhill Publication)
  2. MP general Knowledge(Arihant)
  3. Samsamyiki semi-annual(Maheshwari)
  4. Pratiyogita Nirdeshika magazine past 6 months issues
  5. PDF of the ACTS(see syllabus) from govt. sites, Wikipedia
  6. Mp.org website for updated info
  7. Previous papers

Apart from these I read Dainik Bhaskar(for state news) and The Indian Express  regularly, and this helped in Mains too.

I did not prepare specifically for general Science part and CSAT as I didn’t feel the need to being my Maths background and all. Regular magazine reading and mock tests in them are enough.


Generally it takes 2 months for the result of pre to be out and then there is a time of 2-3 months at most for Mains. So it is better to start preparing for mains immediately after prelims.  The preparation strategy is solely based on one rule of the thumb: READ MORE, WRITE EVEN MORE.
Now being selective in reading is the Smart and tricky part. Be very specific as to what you read and what sources you ultimately refer. The market is flooded with books, and the MP GS part is what confuses students. Lack of accurate data, misplaced and redundant facts is common in nearly all the books. It’s better to refer govt sites and daily newspapers for this.
Another problem for some students is the unavailability of material in English medium. I too faced this issue and initially it was frustrating. But as you are appearing for MP civil services, you must have good command over Hindi, there’s a separate and high scoring Hindi paper as well. I read in Hindi, translated to English in writing and then prepared the topics in my own revision-friendly format.
Now the HARD WORK part. Everything you read must be jotted down in short key-word friendly format to remember and then expanded in your own language. The drafting of answers is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and this is where you can stand clear of the normal answers and get those extra marks. Practice speed writing and use simple language. Continuity and clarity of thought always impresses the examiner.
Some very important topics must be prepared for all marking formats- 3, 15, 25,30 or even 60 marks, whatever the case may be. This is helpful when a long question is asked for shorter one with lesser marks. Make sure that you write apt answers avoiding the unnecessary details. Quality answers coupled with neat work fetch good marks.

Mains: Books/Sources

Although in the 2013 exam there was the old syllabus with 2 optionals, I like the new syllabus with no optional as it is quite dynamic. Students must prepare all topics from at least 2-3 different sources to get a holistic view in their answers. The books used for Prelims help in mains too. Internet remains the biggest saviour.

  1. NCERT 6-12 history and Bipin Chandra.
  2. Culture NIOS material (Free Download)
  3. Spectrum: Brief History of Modern India – to some extent.
  4. Geography NIOS material (Free Download)
  5. Other topics- Internet and self-wit.
  1. Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth for the entire Polity.
  2. Prepare topic wise notes from internet for others parts.
  3. PIB and govt websites for schemes/programs.
  4. Mrunal.org is of immense help here.
  5. India Yearbook
  6. Regular updates from newspapers/ Chronicle/ Yojana magazine.
  1. Mrunal.org for the entire Science section.
  2. Environment and Biodiversity NIOS material (Free Download)
  3. Special Economy edition- Pratiyogita Darpan/ any other magazine.
  1. Mrunal articles on ethics
  2. Arihant Ethics Book
  3. Internet for philosophers(don’t prepare all of them)
ESSAY Nothing specific. Articles/editorials and a lot of writing practice would sail you through. Strictly adhere to the word limit.
  1. Any Grammar book from 10-11th class.
  2. Solve previous papers.
  3. Nibandh Manjusha (Macgrawhill Publication (Mandatory for English medium students)

This paper is extremely high scoring and you’ll hurt your selection pretty bad if you don’t take this paper seriously.

Apart from all these, the topics of MP wherever mentioned need to be prepared specially from MP govt sites, local newspapers, Books I mentioned for Prelims, the Vision 2018 MP document and any other source you can lay hands on, and accurate data should be at hand to supplement these answers.

Answer writing for Mains

Answer writing is an art and you may be a craftsman but the papers in the new format are VERY lengthy. So focus should be on attempting the paper fully with average answers and a few high quality answers. Points or paragraph-your choice, I never struggled and it does not matter as long as you write apt and according to the demand of the question.
‘Neat work with legible handwriting, use of Flow and pie-charts, diagrams and effective sub headings, simple jargon-free language are add-ons that make the examiner happy who then returns you the favour.’
I suggest you take plenty of Mock tests with serious preparation to constantly be on your toes, and improvise with each passing day. A feel of the exam prior to the exam is impossible but trying one’s luck never hurt anyone.


This is the most versatile part of the exam process where you can get high marks with comparatively less hard work. Primary focus is on bio-data (home town, academics, hobby etc.) and the chain reaction of questions is triggered from your answers. Apart from this Current affairs and views on burning topics, Situation Reactions are frequently asked.
Prepare a flow chart of questions from your bio-data, and the questions that may emerge from your answers and prepare all of them. Interviews are conducted in Hindi, so a good command over it is mandatory. Debates/programs on RSTV and LSTV may help here.
I strongly suggest you take Mock interviews as it helps in correcting many sub conscious mistakes that otherwise remain unattended.
Crisp dress-up, confidence in body language and speaking, and a humble smile is the absolute necessity for a civil servant.

Transcript of the interview

  • Board- Chairman Dr.  Bipin Beohar sir
  • Members- 2 gentlemen +1 lady
  • Work exp. – 2.5 yrs TCS.
  • Interview- In Hindi throughout.
  • I went in after seeking permission, wished all of them a very good morning and sat when told.

H’nble chairman- General bio-data based.

  • Sir started out with some basic questions about my hometown, its history, some religious places, demography and then a question on Bargi dam in my district.
  • You are English medium student, comfortable in Hindi interview?(why not!!)
  • He then opened the hobby page from my PIF and asked some questions on Snooker, its invention, history, scoring and if i played during my preparation times.? (Satisfied with a smile).
  • Hollywood movie questions on golden globe awards and not oscars, year of initiation, a particular incident in this year’s golden globe(said sorry) and director of ‘the revenant’ , his nationality and other awards to the film.
  • -also asked my fav movie, its theme, repeat the most famous dialogue( I recited the V’s introduction from ‘V for Vendetta’ movie?) and tell other similar movies made in bolly/holly.
  • Questions on Tata grp, its hierarchy, chronology of all its chairman,work exp in TCS etc.
  • What is JNU issue, your views.(quite satisfied)?

Member 1- Facts

  • You like movies,tell me the name of lyricist, music director and movie name of song ‘ae mere watan ke logo’. (Could tell only the movie name?).
  • NCC utilities for youth, its present chairman, army vs navy ranks name, what is patriotism, define war, the names of Generals- India,East Pak in ’65 war, role of field marshal Manekshaw in war, his achievements. (said sorry in some ques, but still he was smiling).
  • PSC powers and Constitutional articles,provisions, some questn i dont remember.(satisfied)?

Member 2- Psychologist I guess

  • Why coming from private to civil service?
  • Told 5-6 core factors but he kept asking more..more
  • Family background and their occupations.
  • Why so much economic disparity in India.
  • Social differences in Mr. Ratan Tata and a commoner.
  • As a civil servant what would be your first goal in service?
  • Views for election reforms. (poker-faced, could not tell satisfied or not).?

Lady member- general ques on current topics

  • Mr Bachhan and Mr Rajnikanth got awards these past few days. Were they same?( Told Padma vibhushan,and national movie awards)
  • Tell about national awards,prize,categories and current winners.
  • Do you know Bankim Chanda Chatterjee?(who doesn’t) Tell his 2nd best work??
  • Games at Rio,is Snooker in it too? Some follow up quest i dont remember.(smiling)
  • After this, 1st member Sir said Ashish you are intelligent, Chairman sir nodded and everyone smiled and asked me to leave. Wished them thanks and Good day and left.

Mark sheet

Written 1390/2100
Interview 163/250
Total 1553/2350.
Rank 4

Concluding words

  • Remember the entire exam process is a long journey and if you pack well and move swiftly, your wisdom increases at every milestone and as do your chances of selection. In the end we must be a good humble human before being a civil servant, isn’t it?
  • Every aspirant faces challenges one type or of the other. There may be phases where you black out and wish to drop all of it out of frustration. Keep your head cool and take a break-watch a movie, enjoy with friends and come back rejuvenated to study. Only one positive result at your end would pass over all those IT sector on-site or foreign university MS guys from your college/school.
  • Just believe in yourself, work hard, maintain your study hours daily without fail, and keep a positive outlook.