1. Candidate – Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Typical day in your Online life?
  6. Style of Preparation and notes making
  7. Prelims (CSAT) Paper-1: General studies
  8. Prelims (CSAT): Paper-2: Aptitude
  9. Prelim accuracy
  10. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  11. Mains: Essay
  12. General Studies (Mains) paper 1
  13. eneral studies (Mains) paper 2
  14. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  15. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  16. Mains answer-writing?
  17. Mains Optional Subject
  18. Before the interview
  19. During the interview
  20. CSE-2017 Marksheet
  21. Career Backup
  22. Views on UPSC reforms
  23. Insecurity about profile
  24. Struggle of a Senior player
  25. Grand wisdom
  26. Credit: Friends/family
  27. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate – Profile

Q. Details
Name Arpit Upadhyaya
Rank in CSE-2017 94
Roll No. 0009507
Age 28
Marital Status Unmarried
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 4
Optional Subject Anthropology ( In previous 3 attempts it was PSIR)
Schooling Medium English
College Medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Delhi
Work-experience if any HPCL- 2 years as Sales Officer
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures Gave no other exam
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  1. Optional coaching from Vaid’sICS
  2. visionIAS mains test series
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS>IPS>IFS>IRS(IT)>IRS (C&CE)
Preference for the first states in top-3 zonal cadres. Haryana>U.P>M.P
Contact for any doubts Feel free to ask anything I haven’t answered satisfactorily here.


Education fill the details here
% in class 10 94.6
% in class 12 84.4
Graduation course and % Mechanical Engineering & 76%
Name of college, city, passing out year Delhi College of Engineering, 2012
Any other professional courses no
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements


Arpit Upadhyaya

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

Hi everyone, I am Arpit Upadhyaya, a mechanical engineer from DCE. My father is in govt. service and my mother is a homemaker, elder  sister is a Chartered Accountant and younger brother is doing Actuarial Science. After graduation I joined HPCL as sales officer  of Pathankot and Gurdaspur Districts in Punjab for 2 years (2012-2014). As sales officer I met DC-Gurdaspur in some official meetings and then my interest developed to go for UPSC.I used to talk with many local people,farmers,dealers,industry fellows etc and  I realized that a  DM/DC can play a very crucial role in improving the lives of people. Everyone looks towards this office with much respect and they expect justice from this office. These were the factors that motivated me to leave the job and also during preparation these thoughts kept me motivated.

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 do you balance this i.e. electronic material vs. paper material (Books, newspapers)

Electronic material is an indispensable part of your preparation and one can’t afford to prepare without it. But it should be used only to compliment your overall plan of study. I regularly followed mrunal, livemint articles, some RSTV debates and editorials by insights. I also used net for preparing notes for Anthropology and some GS topics.

Typical day in your Online life?

Online life Answer
Daily hrs spent on online platforms for predicting cutoff / syllabus change / age-attempt limit change and other “peripheral-bolbachchan“ related to civil services. 0
Daily hrs spent on whatsapp and telegram studygroups 0
Daily hrs spent on online for exam prep. Around 40min
Primary Device for online study: desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile Mobile,laptop

Q. Any other things that you wish to elaborate on above table:

I did not use whatsapp, telegram etc during my preparation phase. I tried to limit time spent on social media. Regarding online study material, before going through any material first think how you are going to use that information in your answers.  Don’t just start studying any material because everyone else is doing so.

Style of Preparation and notes making

Q. What is your style of preparation and notes making? (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, I use xyz software etc.)

As I have prepared GS without any coaching and so most of my preparation was through standard books. I made notes only in following cases:

  1. Thoroughly for my optional, point wise and strictly  as per the syllabus
  2. For Physical Geography – mrunal videos
  3. If topic is to studied from multiple sources
  4. I prepared notes on some topics mentioned in our GS syllabus. Very short and concise and then kept on adding current events to these notes. For eg in GS I- prepared briefly on urbanization basics and then later added smart cities, SBA,AMRUT etc to it.

Notes should be in your own words and leave some margin to add inputs later. Highlight keywords and during revision focus only on these keywords. While practicing mains answer writing try to use these inputs.


Prelims (CSAT) Paper-1: General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient NCERT/TN book
History Medieval NCERT/TN book
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Spectrum
Culture and society Nitin Singhania notes
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikant +PT 365
Economy (theory + current) K sankarganesh+Mrunal Videos+PT365
Science (theory + current) Only Current Affairs material
Environment (theory + current) Shankar IAS book + PT365
geography physical Mrunal notes, NCERT,G.C. leong
geography India NCERT, Geography through maps
geography world Left it
other national/international current affairs Mostly coaching material compilation
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Coaching materials

Q. Candidates are complaining that compared to earlier years, Prelim 2017 GS paper was very tougher, Tickmasters’ 90+ strategy (and its perverted & populist version known as Guessmaster-giri) and E-learning materials had limited utility. What are you views and wisdom on all these?

I felt that paper was tougher this time and the option statements were quite tricky due to which negative marks were higher. Don’t just attempt questions only for the sake of attempting 90+ questions,you will definitely lower your total score. Do guesswork but only smartly.


Q. Suppose, If you had to prepare for Prelims-2018, then after going through this 2017 paper, what changes would you make in your preparation?

I had planned to study current affairs especially the schemes part more comprehensively this time. I would have studied static part carefully especially the standard textbooks.Also don’t go with any preconceived notions regarding the paper like current affairs would be more or that I have to attempt at least 90 questions etc etc

Prelims (CSAT): Paper-2: Aptitude

I had not studied anything for this paper as I was always comfortable with it. But going by last year’s paper I had planned to do 2-3 practice papers.



Q. In the recent two prelims (2016 and 2017), the comprehension portion becoming quite tough and lengthy. Candidates struggle even to finish the paper-II. Kindly provide some words of wisdom:

I don’t think I can help here as I didn’t find any such difficulty.

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?

I used to do papers of VisionIAS and CL. They help in evaluating your preparation. For evaluation use following approach: Suppose you have studied any particular topic lets say Fundamental Rights,then questions from this chapter should be done correctly.If there are 20 questions from FR chapter then your atleast 18questions must be correct.

Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in Prelim-2017

attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 86 65 108
aptitude 129

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper
your regional language Hindi.

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2017

There is sufficient time to complete the paper. Study some  précis writing

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

In CSE 2015 I wrote my first essay directly in exam and got 135 marks which was a good score that year. In CSE 2016 I got 145 and this year I got 141 marks. I did not prepare specifically for essay but I regularly followed Yojana articles and tried to emulate that language and writing style. I briefly focused on following points:

  • Choose topic on which you have a more comprehensive understanding
  • Use simple language,I deliberately avoided ornamental/journalistic  language.
  • The body of your essay should be well structured,logical
  •  I gave a lot of examples


Q2. Which two essays did you write and What key points did you include in it?

Essay-1 Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India

Started with Farming history from Indus valley civilization to present times. I took this essay  in debate form, first part of essay focused on why people say that farming has lost its charms(Discussed present issues here) and next part focused on  how this is not true(included what needs to be done,NITI aayog reports etc).As the topic says about majority of farmers so I focused on small and medium farmers throughout the essay.

Essay-2 Fulfilment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth

In starting I explained what I mean by New woman in India and then again in debate form – Why it is a myth and Why it is not and concluded with the reality of new woman in India. Included all points of women empowerment and articulated them as per the topic.

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Nitin Singhania notes.
Indian history Spectrum,Mostly NCERT
world history VisionIAS material. Didn’t study everything in the material.Only read important topics.
post-independence India NCERT
Indian society NCERT textbooks. These books only provide a general overview , add current affairs from Vision Mains 365 material
role of women, poverty etc. Prepared notes from some newspaper articles.
globalization on Indian society NCERT sociology book. Didn’t study it separately
communalism, regionalism, secularism Pol Sc notes
world geo physical Mrunal Videos/notes
resource distribution Mrunal material
factors for industrial location Mrunal material
earthquake tsunami etc Mrunal videos/notes
impact on flora-fauna Didn’t study separately

eneral studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Pol Sc notes
comparing Constitution with world Pol Sc notes
parliament, state Legislatures Pol Sc notes
executive-judiciary Pol Sc notes
ministries departments Pol Sc notes
pressure group, informal asso. Pol Sc notes
Representation of people’s act Didn’t study separately
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Didn’t study separately
NGO, SHG etc Pol Sc notes
welfare schemes, bodies Current affairs material Mains365
social sector, health, edu, HRD Prepared notes on these topics from newspapers and Yojana
governance, transparency, accountability Studied from friend’s notes
e-governance Yojana
role of civil service Mrunal video notes
India & neighbors Pol sc notes,current affairs articles
bilateral/global grouping Pol sc notes,current affairs articles
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Pol sc notes,current affairs articles
Diaspora Studied from friend’s notes
international bodies- structure mandate Pol sc notes,current affairs articles

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Insights articles
inclusive growth Prepared notes from Yojana
major crops, irrigation Yojana
agro produce – storage, marketing Prepared notes from Yojana
e-technology for famers Prepared notes from Yojana
farm subsidies, MSP Prepared notes from Yojana
PDS, buffer, food security Prepared notes from Yojana
technology mission Prepared notes from Yojana
animal rearing economics Prepared notes from Yojana
food processing Prepared notes from Yojana
land reforms Prepared notes from Wikipedia
Liberalization Prepared notes from news articles,coaching material
Infra Prepared notes from Yojana
investment models Left it
science-tech day to day life Mains365
Indian achievements in sci-tech Mains365
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Mains365
environmental impact assessment Left it
Disaster Management Notes from Unacademy video ,Yojana
non state actors, internal security IDSA articles, ForumIAS current affairs
internal security – role of media, social networking site ForumIAS current affairs
cyber security Mains 365
money laundering Left it
border  Management
organized crime, terrorism IDSA articles, ForumIAS current affairs
security agencies- structure mandate Left it

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics Friend’s notes,Lexicon. Lexicon only for definitions.I tried to understand these concepts with examples and so used them in answer writing
attitude, moral influence etc. Friend’s notes
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc Lexicon
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Lexicon
moral thinkers of India and world How many thinkers did you prepare? Whatever is mentioned in Lexicon.Pol Sc notes helped a lot in these topics
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. lexicon
challenges of corruption
case studies on above topics Just understood the writing style from Lexicon.

Q. In ethics, Most of the serious candidates (both topper and non-toppers) have received marks in similar ranges. What are your observations and tips for future aspirants regarding preparation of this paper?

Ethics is the most important GS exam and one can score very high marks with comparatively less efforts. There is no standard book here. I studied lexicon and Reddy book. The Reddy book is quite bulky and very theoretical so I dropped it. My friend made some notes from Vajiram class and Lexicon. Whatever  you study try to relate them with current events. Use lot of examples in answers. Write simple answers.

For case studies,don’t waste time in studying each and every case study material in market instead just learn how to write case study answer .While writing  exam paper think from the perspective of all the stakeholders.For eg this year’s case study on building collapse, while giving measures think from perspective of all stakeholders- workers,builders,neighbours,district administration,authorities etc.Such an approach will give a more comprehensive answer . Always remember values enshrined in our Constitution and try to answer from that perspective. I prepared a list where I kept on adding examples from current affairs that I used in my answers.

Mains answer-writing?

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]

In 2015 and 2016 mains I answered only those questions which I knew answers,I got 372 and 415 respectively. This year I attempted almost all the questions and got 454 marks.My approach this time was to answer those questions first of which I knew answers and then if time permits think on rest of the questions. Don’t try to answer a question unnecessarily .

Q. How was your experience with the ‘fixed space’ answer sheet?

I think space provided is more than sufficient and had no issues with fixed space answer sheet.

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.

Those answers of which I was confident, I wrote in bullet points and underlined keywords. Others I wrote in paragraphs. I think it’s a matter of personal choice , just write answers the way you are comfortable in  expressing  yourself.

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 earlier attempts I followed this approach strictly but I wasn’t able to complete my paper. This year I wrote only 1line intro and in some questions I skipped the intro part and directly answered the question. I did not write intro in 10marker questions. I gave single line conclusion in most of the questions.

I don’t like asking following rudimentary questions, but these are the most frequently asked questions by new aspirants.

Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers? No
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography) Not in GS but a lot of diagrams in Anthro paper
Q7. If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen? pencil
Q8. Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand? No, just by hand
Q9. You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen? Blue uni-ball

Mains Optional Subject

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?

I chose Pol Sc earlier nut his time I changed my optional to Anthropology.Even after studying Pol sc so much I wasn’t getting good marks and so I changed it. I took anthropology as its syllabus is less. If one can draw diagrams easily then you can easily write a good answer.

Q. If a new player wants to pick your subject, would you advice for it or against it?

Yes definitely. First go through the syllabus and if you find it interesting then 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.)


  • Indian Anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain
  • Prehistory – D.K Bhattacharya. The book is too bulky and very detailed. Don’t read it word by word.
  • Tribal part-XAXA report, tribal India by nadeem hasnain,Vaid sir notes

Along with these I also used E-PG pathshala http://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/ahl.php?csrno=1 .It contains all the topics and easy to understand.Use this material only to refer topics and while making notes.


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?

Paper-2  tribal development part requires internet research/current affairs.Also, if any major development takes place in applications of Anthropology like genetics or any new discovery then it has to be prepared.

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

3-4 months. Giving 6 hours daily.

Q. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?

Immediately after prelims result.

Q. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper?

Yes. Paper format.

Q. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2017 mains vs previous papers. And what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given optional subject?

Paper 1  was easier this time but I found paper2 a bit difficult. For paper 2 don’t neglect sub- topics mentioned in the syllabus.

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?

Mostly internet research. Newspapers- Times of India,Economic times,Hindustan Times

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?

Yes, I took mock interviews. They were no where near to UPSC interview in my case. I don’t hink they are necessary but it does help interacting with other candidates. More important is to self evaluate yourself in front of a mirror and not to repeat mistakes in mock.

Q3. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friend’s home …) and what books/material did you bring for the ‘revision before interview’?

I live in Delhi

Q5. Describe the formal-dress worn by you in interview.

A navy blue suit with white shirt.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

Ms Smita Nagaraj Mam

Q2. How long was the interview?

Around 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?]


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]

Board-Smita Nagaraj Mam

Ch- What are you doing nowadays? Looking for job?

Me- Yes Mam, I have applied in some consultancy services companies.

Ch-Is it a technical Job?

Me- No mam, I would prefer to work in a non-technical job( I emphasized here to avoid any further questions on my engg)

Ch- But consultants are like middle man and in India middle man is not appreciated.

Me- Mam that depends on the role played by him.

Ch – Give one example each of good role and bad role played by middle man.

Me- Good role in Marriages( Here everyone laughed and mam said I knew you would say this) and bad role in real estate and APMC.

Ch- Why do students take so much pressure of exams, where are we wrong in our system?

Me- Mam , our education system is very boring and therefore we have to make it more enjoyable.

Ch- Do you think that many productive years are wasted during preparation of CSE?

Me- Yes Mam its true( Here I think I should have said No )

Then she passed on to other members.

M1- Why does shares of HPCL fell after PM launched Ujjwala yojana even though GOI gives subsidy for these schemes.

I explained it.

M1- coming back to middleman and then some questions on Lobbying,Presuure Groups etc

There were some more questions on previous job which I’m not able to recall.

M2- What is Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone?How many bungalows are there?

Me- explained the zone , No I didn’t know.

M2- What is graphology?(My hobby).

M2-How many mocks have you given before coming here? answer frankly.

Me-( i was kinda startled here) I said four.

M3- Coming again to middlemen, What will you do in case of Defence procurement.

and then some questions on Career counseling and education reforms.

M4- U said earlier that we have to make education enjoyable. How can we do it?

Me- By taking students out of classrooms. ( They again smiled)

M4- Elaborate on this.

Me- we should prepare students for life outside classroom. For eg if we are teaching Maths then take students for shopping in a marketplace where they will use maths. Similarly take them to banks and ask them to fill out some forms etc

M4- why brain drain takes place ?

M4- Why craze for govt jobs?

Biggest relief was that no question was asked on Engg( even though I prepared this time). It went very easily without any stress moment . Surprisingly I was enjoying the conversation. This time I got 173 marks which is a decent score( much better that 135 of 2016).



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?

It was on unexpected lines  but it was quite cordial. There was no moment when it became uncomfortable.


Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?

Make sure to bring 2 photographs ( I forgot to bring ).

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

Don’t eat anything that day before medical.

Bring attendance sheet – 3 copies and carry more than 5 photographs

CSE-2017 Marksheet

Q1. Please provide both prelim and final mark sheet:

Prelims Paper-1 108
Prelims Paper-2 129.18
Mains Subjects Marks
Essay 141
GSM1 106
GSM2 115
GSM3 133
GSM4 100
Optional Paper-1 144
Optional Paper-2 140
Written Total 879
Interview 173
Final 1052

Career Backup

Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?

I was looking for a job in my engineering field.Then I would have given attempts with my job.

Views on UPSC reforms

Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.

True, I firmly believe in this.

Q. Your views on the decision to make CSAT paper 33% qualifying?

I feel its marks should be added when deciding  cutoff. Regarding issue of one particular background of students getting benefit, the paper could have been reformed suitably.

Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.

I believe this should be done.

Q. UPSC should disclose the evaluated mains- answer sheets like some StatePCS are doing.

If this can be done then it would be very helpful.

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.

Yes, this has happened. UPSC should look into this.

Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?

Eliminate optional subject.

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 did not suffer from any such insecurity and I also believe that such profile hardly makes a difference. In past many  candidates with a humble background  have cleared with good ranks.

Struggle of a Senior player

(Answer only if you’re a senior player.)

Q1. How did you survive through this mental prison of UPSC  and what’re your words of wisdom to other senior players? If any specific inspirational incident(s), please share.

Whenever you feel this thing just remember why you want to be an IAS.The answer of this why provides you motivation and gives you strength. Try not to focus on results  instead  always look for improving your strategy.


Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?

In my first attempt I wasn’t able to study all the topics of GS. I corrected this thing and made very brief topic wise introductory notes on all topics. In 2016, I wasn’t able to attempt all the questions and due to some medical issues I left my optional paper 1 ( around 100marks left).

More given in my quora answer

In 2017, I attempted full paper by shortening my answers.I reduced intro part of answer. I changed my optional this time.

Grand wisdom

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 used to plan everything and properly manage time. You should know your strengths and weaknesses and then study accordingly. Don’t overstretch yourself . I used to take a day off weekly ( normally Sundays) and watched movies,TV Series etc on Sunday.

Don’t study when you feel saturated. Take frequent short breaks while studying continuously for long hours.

I used to keep a writing pad/paper near my study table. Whatever distracting thoughts came to my mind, I would write them on that sheet and look it afterwards. This will reduce distractions.

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?

Set big goals in life , so big that you can’t achieve them until you grow into someone who achieves it. This process of growing is something which is your lifetime treasure. We don’t know what we can achieve until we try it. Before coming to this field I never imagined myself working so hard with such strict discipline in life .

Originality and simplicity in all spheres of life is something which can help you achieve your goals.

For new aspirants I would like to congratulate them for taking such a good decision .Enjoy this process as much as you can. These are some of the most productive years of our life so make the best use of this opportunity to learn and continuously improve yourself.

Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2017. They’re feeling cynical, hopeless and depressed- what is your message to them?

Accept your mistakes and identify the areas which need improvement. If your one eye is focused on results then you have only one eye left to focus on your studies. The most practical approach is to focus on your preparation and stop thinking about those things which we can’t control. Success is bound to come this way.

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 parents, my sister and my brother were these people who constantly motivated me, inspired me and helped me in taking some big decisions like leaving job.My sister was first to tell me to leave HPCL job and look for bigger goal of being an IAS. During preparation I was lucky to have some very good friends, I would like to mention my friend Digant Anand IPS whose support I can’t be simply describe in words .I used to have very detailed conversations with him on overall preparation especially on Internal Security and Intl.Relations .

I also had a very good friend whose notes I used in GS-@ and GS-4 papers and to prepare for Anthropology.I would say to my fellow aspirants to make friends very carefully while preparing.

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 regularly used mrunal.org for preparation. I referred to geography videos particularly as a standard material. As I did GS without any coaching so these videos helped me a lot . I also referred Eco survey and budget videos.