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. General 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-2016 Marksheet
  21. Career Backup
  22. Views on UPSC reforms
  23. Insecurity about profile
  24. Struggle of a Senior player
  25. Struggle of Working professional
  26. Grand wisdom
  27. Credit: Friends/family
  28. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Q. Details
Name Asheesh Kumar
Rank in CSE-2017 817
Roll No. 0344965
Age 31
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 9 (Last)
Optional Subject Hindi Literature
Schooling Medium Hindi
College Medium Hindi
Medium chosen for Mains answers Hindi
Medium chosen for Interview Hindi
Home town/city Village- Ishapur

Post- Chamiyani

District- Unnao (U.P.)

Work-experience if any
  1. 1 Year (2009-10) as Computer Teacher in KGBV, Bagarmau, Unnao.
  2. 1 Year(2010-11) as Auditor (SSC CGL 2008) in PCDA, Lucknow.
  3. 7 Years ( 2011 to present ) as Inspector in Excise & Customs ( now CGST) , Ahmedabad.
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures
  1. UP polytechnic ( 2006), 2 B.Ed. entrance exam in 2006 ( CSJM University & Bundelkhand University )
  2. SSC CPO (Written exam) 3 times (2006 to 2009)
  4. UPSC CPF ( Written Exam ) 3 times (2006 to 2008)
  5. Review Officer (U.P.High Court) 2016 Final Selection
  6. UPPCS (Lower Subordinate) 2008/09 Pre Exam ( Mains was conducted in 2012,not appeared in Mains exam as I was about to join Inspector Post)
  7. UPPCS (Upper Subordinate) 2013-17 Pre Exam ( never cleared mains as It was very difficult to manage time for UPSC & UPSC mains jointly as well as job in out state)
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  1. Vision IAS mains 25 test series for General Studies ( Wrote 22 test, very useful)
  2. Never joined any classroom program
  3. Joined some government coaching’s like Bhagidari Bhavan , Lucknow & SPIPA, Ahmedabad for mock interview
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS>IPS>IFS>IRS-IT>IRS C&E
Preference for the first states in top-3 zonal cadres.
  1. UTTAR PRADESH (Home Cadre)
  2. GUJARAT ( I am living here since 2012)
  3. RAJASTHAN ( As I know, a very good state for Civil Service)
Contact Details ashunao@gmail.com or facebook id- 00007as


Education fill the details here
% in class 10 53
% in class 12 54
Graduation course and % 55
Name of college, city, passing out year D.S.N. College, Unnao, Uttar Pradesh (2005)
Post-graduation M.A. (History) Private (2006 – 08)
Any other professional courses B.Ed. (Dayanand Degree College, Bachhrawan, Raibarily ) in 2007
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements
  1. Writing [ a full article published in Kurukshetra(Hindi)March 2018 issue on Education, one can see my letters published in Yojna (Hindi since January 2018 regularly till current issue), many letters published in Outlook,India Today, Jansatta, Business Standard on current issues)
  2. Collecting Great Lines, Dohe, short poem ( I have a very big collection, It helped me in Essays writing )
  3. Reading novels ( more than 500, this hobby helped me in reading study material very quickly and scoring very good marks in Hindi Literature)
  4. N.C.C. ‘B’ Certificate, Many Certificates in Essay Writing & Quiz, Commendation Certificates & Cash Rewards by the Department for good recovery in Audit.


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

I am Asheesh Kumar from a small village named Ishapur Chamiyani (40km away from Distract H.Q) of Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh. My father Late Sri Sarvesh Kumar was a highly qualified [M.A. (History), B.Ed.] but unemployed person. He struggled entire his life. Although my grandfather was very rich and wealthy farmer but he separated to my father and gave all property to my uncle ( ghr ghr ki vhi purani khahani). My father joined a private school in my village as teacher. I remembered that his initial salary was only 150 rupees per month. There were 2 younger brothers also in my family. Thus 5 members family struggled much for betterment of life. Although my father tried to provide me best education available in my circumstances but he had not faith in System and always told me that no one can find any government job without any bribe and approaches.

Asheesh Kumar felicitated by the Hon'ble CM of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani

Asheesh Kumar felicitated by the Hon’ble CM of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani

In 2002, I passed 12th and requested to our father regarding my further studies from District H.Q. College. Father told me clearly that he cannot afford any expense regarding my living there. I assured him that he just has to pay my fee, I will take tuitions for further expenses. In that situation, during my graduation I started preparing for one day competitive Exams like SSC, BANK, Railway etc. I have to get any government job as soon as Possible. In 2009, I appeared 1st time in UPSC CSE Exam. I took nine attempts (2009 to 2017) in UPSC CSE. I wrote 6 times mains and appeared 3 times in Interview( 2011, 2015 and 2017).

I entered in civil services exams due to broader scope to serve nation, job security and reputation in society. One another important reason was to show my father that I can clear India’s topmost exam without any bribe, approaches/links. Unfortunately my father died in 2010 due to brain hemorrhage just before I was about to get a central Government job. This year (23 February 2018) my younger brother Vikash Patel died in a road accident when I was about to clear UPSC.

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?)

I am great lover of books. I have a lot of book on various subjects. For UPSC, my primary source was paper material. I read electronic material only to update myself like reading PIB, NEWSPAPERS & watching RSTV videos on u-TUBE and listening AIR news.

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 hrs.

If anyone talked about that I said to him just wait for notification.

Daily hrs spent on whatsapp and telegram studygroups 1 hrs.
Daily hrs spent on online for exam prep. 1 hr. As I have to read online Hindi Newspapers
Primary Device for online study: desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile 1.Desktop in office

2. Laptop in Home

4. Tablet in Library ( I purchased i-pad for newspaper reading last year )

5. Mobile – any time

Although I used all but I loved books more and prefer hard copies for reading. [ uska pdha hi yad rhta hai, bhai]

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

Yes I want to share an interesting and bit motivational thing. As I am uniformed Officer and writer, I have many friends/Followers on Face Book. My social life was very vast and time consuming. In 2015, I promised to myself that JB TK UPSC NHI PASS HOTE, FACEBOOK PR KOI POST NHI KROGE. After 3 years, I posted my success story on face book on 27 April 2018 evening.

Style of Preparation and notes making

Q. What is your style of preparation and notes making?

I have habit of making short notes for pre exam from very old time. I feel much confidence when I wrote point wise notes. When I came to know that many toppers used many online note making tools, I also stated one note, evernote and many same app. Made some PIB notes few days but very soon I realized it is not going to work for me as it was just waste of time.

Prelims (CSAT) Paper-1: General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient R.S. Sharma (Being a Post Graduate in History and 9 years experience in UPSC, I have almost every famous book in History and other Subjects. So, I am not going to tell u all that , Here I am telling only useful one as per my view)
History Medieval Satish Chandra
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Vipin Chandra
Culture and society Nitin Singhaniya ( TMH), Mrunal lectures
Polity (theory + current) M. Laxmikant
Economy (theory + current) Mrunal lectures , Ramesh Singh, Lal and Lal, Dutta& Sundrm
Science (theory + current) Mrunal lectures
Environment (theory + current) Drishti Book, Wiki, Mrunal lectures
geography physical NCERT, Mahesh Bernwal, Mrunal U tube lectures
geography India NCERT, Mahesh Bernwal, Mrunal U tube lectures
geography world NCERT, Mahesh Bernwal, Mrunal U tube lectures
other national/international current affairs RSTV, AIR News, PIB Article, Vision Samsamayiki
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Mrunal, Vision, Sanker ias, Insight

Q. Candidates are complaining that compared to earlier years, Prelim 2017 and 2018’s GS papers were very tougher, Tickmasters’ 90+ strategy and E-learning materials had limited utility. What are you views and wisdom on all these? If you were to prepare for the Prelim-2019, what changes would you make in the strategy?

Prelims is always very tricky and difficult stage in UPSC. Interesting thing in my success story that “jis sal interview diya uske ugle sal pre hi fail ho gya”. ( 2011 , 2015 interview , failed in 2012 & 2016 prelims). In 2017 , being my last attempt I was very serious about prelims. In prelims I solved only 85 before that I was also such type student that solved 90+ questions. If I were to prepare for the Prelim 2019, I would make a balanced approach between current affairs and traditional portion. You (mrunal) already wrote some very relevant post and strategy/tips on your site (like Science & tech, polity etc). I think that are most relevant tips for 2019 prelim.

Prelims (CSAT): Paper-2: Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Being SSC aspirant & successful candidate, I have no issue to CSAT.

R.S. Agarwal’s book is very good.

Reasoning R.S. Agarwal’s book
Comprehension No Special Strategy
Decision Making No Special Strategy

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

Two things can lead u ahead in UPSC. A good, fast but careful reading and writing quickly. For comprehension portion, one can apply 1st thing. Second thing is for mains. So, I request to all friends, please focus on these things also. This year during mains, I practiced a lot for my writing speed. It helped me a lot. I finished my all papers in time and save time to underline key words.

Prelim accuracy

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

I did not join any test series but I purchased two coaching test series photocopy (vision ias & insight ) from the market and solved 45 tests. I think they are necessary for success, especially for beginners.

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

attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 85 62 122
aptitude 70 55 127

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper I failed in 2014 in this paper due to taking it very causally and not finishing full paper. So, form that time I always have half day for this paper. I practiced old papers and wrote on current affairs topics like Global Warming, Environment, Farmers Stress , Women etc. It helped me writing essay.
your regional language Nothing

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

Yes, being Hindi medium student I know, English Language is a very scary thing for many aspirants. I want to tell such student , never leave any question unsolved in language paper as many candidate think that they can qualify only solving 100/150 marks. Do not take risk and solve each questions, wrote maximum in comprehension answer. Do not write one liner answer as I remember these questions are 15 marker and you are not going to get marks in one line answers. So elaborate wisely.

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?

Writing is my hobby. I wrote a lot on various topics. In UPSC I always get average marks. During 200 marks, my score was 90 to 95. In 250, I scored 120, 133 and 133. This year just before mains, I wrote 5 essay on current topics. I revise my collection of quotes, schemes, great lines.

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

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

  • I started with these lines
  • “रह गयी है जिंदगी ,किसानों की नासूर बनकर
  • मर रहा है हर रोज होरी , जिन्दा है गोबर मजदूर बनकर।” ,
  • Include challenges and solutions. In last I wrote many government schemes and finished in optimistic way. I also wrote this interesting line – याद रखो यदि किसानों ने हाथ खड़े कर दिए तो बड़े बड़े साधुओं का तप बेकार हो जायेगा – थिरुवाल्लर

Fulfillment of New women in india is a myth.

I started with this line – स्त्री पैदा नहीं होती , स्त्री बना दी जाती है – सिमोन द बोउआ. I gave examples of various women and showed that where is problem. In last I wrote that although We have done many things but we have to do more to fulfill the women’s aspirations.


General Studies (Mains) paper 1

Topic How did you prepare?
Culture Culture is part of history, I read it as part of history. Nitin Singhaniya’s Book and Spectrum book I have.
Indian history Vipin Chandra, R.S. Sharma for ancient History.
world history Akil Murti book, NCERT
post-independence India Vipin Chandra, Both Ram Chandra Guha Books, but Guha’s are not very useful , I thought.
Indian society NCERT Book is very helpful.
role of women, poverty etc. Vision material, Mrunal,
globalization on Indian society Mrunal, wiki,
communalism, regionalism, secularism Vision material
world geo physical Mrunal Video,
resource distribution Mrunal Video,
factors for industrial location Mrunal Video and posts
earthquake tsunami etc Mrunal Video and posts
impact on flora-fauna Mrunal Video and posts

General studies (Mains) paper 2

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
comparing Constitution with world M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
parliament, state Legislatures M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
executive-judiciary M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
ministries departments M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
pressure group, informal asso. NCERT, M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
Representation of people’s act Copy of original act pdf
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. M. Laxmikant, Vision Material
NGO, SHG etc Google ,
welfare schemes, bodies Government Sites
social sector, health, edu, HRD Government Sites
governance, transparency, accountability Government Sites
e-governance Government Sites
role of civil service Didn’t prepare
India & neighbors Indian Express explained
bilateral/global grouping Indian Express explained
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest Indian Express explained
Diaspora Indian Express
international bodies- structure mandate Original Websites

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Economic Survey is main key for this paper. I have 3 years Economic Survey hard copy and made some short notes, based on it. Mrunal video series
inclusive growth Do
Budgeting Do
major crops, irrigation Mrunal video series, Vision Material,
agro produce – storage, marketing Mrunal video series, Vision Material,
e-technology for famers Mrunal video series, Vision Material,
farm subsidies, MSP Mrunal video series, Vision Material,
PDS, buffer, food security Mrunal video series, Vision Material,
technology mission Google
animal rearing economics Google
food processing Google, Mrunal
land reforms Lal & Lal Book,
Liberalization Google
Infra Goole
investment models Goole
science-tech day to day life Didn’t prepare
Indian achievements in sci-tech Didn’t prepare
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Nothing special, Indian Express explained.
environmental impact assessment Vision Material
Disaster Management Vision Material
non state actors, internal security ARC report
internal security – role of media, social networking site Vision Material, Vision mains test Series
cyber security Vision Material, Vision mains test Series
money laundering Vision Material
border Management Vision Material
organized crime, terrorism Vision Material
security agencies- structure mandate Vision Material

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaa topics 4th ARC report is key of this paper. This paper was very difficult for me always.
attitude, moral influence etc. 4th ARC report
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc 4th ARC report
emotional intelligence, its use in governance 4th ARC report
moral thinkers of India and world How many thinkers did you prepare? I did not prepare any moral thinkers as they never asked directly in exam. Yes I mug up many lines by great thinkers for answer writing.
ethics in pub.ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. Vision Material
corporate governance Vision Material
probity in governance, work culture Vision Material
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. Vision Material, Google
challenges of corruption Vision Material, Google
case studies on above topics Vision Material,Vision mains test Series.

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?

This year ethics marks are bit shocking for everyone. As I did not score good marks in ethics, I am unable to give any tips.

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 12 7 1 20
GS2 11 7 2 20
GS3 17 1 2 20
GS4 10 4 0 14
Opt-P1 5 0 0 5
Opt-P2 5 0 0 5

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?

This year I attempted all questions. If I did not have any idea about the question, I tried to write in general way.

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

I have not issue with fix space. Actually very few people can fill all space in all questions.

Q. Did you write answers in bullet points or in paragraphs? Some players 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.

Actually before this attempt, I always wrote my mains in bullet points (क्योकि मेरी स्पीड बहुत धीमी रहती थी।). This year, I wrote in paragraphs and got good marks in mains.

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 followed intro>body>conclusion. Actually I learnt it from my gs mains test series.

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? Yes I underlined many key words with black pen ( As 2016 Hindi Medium topper Sh. Ganga Singh Rajpurohit told in an interview regarding balanced use of blue and black pen) . In one paper I find difficult to manage my time due to this. After that I used only blue pen in both writing as well as underlining.
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography) Yes
Q7. If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen? Pen
Q8. Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand? No, By Hand
Q9. You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen? Blue

Mains Optional Subject

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

In 2009 to 2012 I had History and Hindi Literature as my optional subject. From 2013 to 2017, Hindi Literature was my optional subject. I chose History as I was post graduate in History. I chose Hindi Literature due to my deep interest in Hindi Sahitya.

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

Yes, Hindi Literature is very good, interesting and scoring subject. I read it 9 years for UPSC and never find it boring. It is very safe, scoring subject. One can score very good score in Hindi Literature without any coaching.

Q. First the essential book/resource list.

In Hindi Literature, coaching notes are very famous. I am not going to tell its name, but everyone knows it. I also read that but found in my last attempt; if you want to score very good in Hindi Literature, do not depend on that coaching notes only. Read IGNU notes, that are very good and helpful. I have a lot of basic material in Hindi Literature. I made a e-book on Hindi Literature. One can find books list as well as modal notes for Hindi Sahitya:


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?

For Hindi Literature, it is not necessary to take help of Internet. If you want to broad your knowledge, you can read some pdf available on Google and see u tube videos available on IGNU channel. Hindi Samay, Gadya Kosh, Kavita Kosh are few site where often visit for reading Hindi literature.

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

Hindi Literature is a extensive subject for UPSC. 4 Novels, 3 Dramas, 30+ stories and a dozen writers / poet. 4 months is sufficient time for complete it. Becoming master in it, takes time.

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

I joined in December 2016 General Study mains Test Series. Wrote 9 mains test, before my prelims exam. I stopped writing test series 15 days before mains exam. Totally I wrote 22 general study tests.

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

Yes, I made notes of each topic of Hindi Literature. It was on paper. I prepare brief notes of all writers & poet. Paper I of Hindi Literature is very scoring. It is Bhasha Khand. I prepare point wise notes for this portion also. I helped me in quick revision during mains.

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?

2 Explanations (संदर्भ/व्याख्या) were bit difficult this year. I guess correctly all 10 explanations. Other questions were quite easy. Scoring well in optional subjects depends upon compulsory questions (टिप्पणी ). One has to take seriously these questions.

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?

I prepare hole my DAF. I note down a lot of questions and modal answer in diary regarding my DAF. As I was in service since 2010, I prepared my job profile. Unfortunately they did not ask any question regarding my job profile. I & my friend Ankit Jain (AIR 222 CSE 2017) made a telegram group for Departmental discussion. We both were working in CGST.

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 joined SPIPA, Ahmedabad for mock interview. These were quite similar to official interview. Yes , I think every one have to attend at least 2 or 3 mock interview. With this you can get some basic idea about UPSC interview.

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 stayed in Gujarat Bhavan ( Thanks, SPIPA, Ahmedabad). I bring paper cutting (Indian Express for recent current affairs ) , some old Yojna special issues, my current affairs notes.

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

I was in formal cream colour shirt, brown pant and blue tie. As my interview was on 11 April 2018 (दिल्ली की गर्मी) I did not worn suit. My shoes were black.

During the interview

Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?

Ans. Dr. Manoj Soni

Q2. How long was the interview?

Ans. 30 to 35 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?]

Ans. They did not ask such questions from me. If they asked- my answer will be in this way. Civil Service is biggest platform to serve nation, people. Reputation and prestige are also some important factor.

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.

As my interview was in Hindi and I am not comfortable with English. I am going to tell what happen that day hole in Hindi.


I entered in a disciplined (like army person ) way. Dr. Manoj Soni asked me that you are not uniform officer, than why you are behaving like that. I said humbly- sir actually I am uniformed officer.

  • Difference between Ahmedabad and Unnao ?

I told cultural, economic & political difference between Ahmedabad and Unnao.

  • What is inclusive development? I told that a development which includes marginalized person
  • Name some important institutions of Ahmedabad? Me- ISRO, IIM, NID, Gujarat Vidyapith
  • Your ever visited Gujarat Vidyapith? Yes, I went there for membership of their library.

They handed to one member. He was from army (There was tag in his neck, showing his name Major General xyz ).

He stated- India –Pak relation and takes 2 minute to elaborate their view and in last asked me why India is not attacking with nuclear Bomb. I told him about No First Use policy. He was looking satisfied with my answer and told me it is also called second strike policy. I thanked him for this information.

His next question was on Make in India and Defence Sector. I told him that Defence is one 25 sector of Make in India and make in India program is going to help India self dependent in Arm Weapon. He handed over next member.

Next member asked me questions based on economy like

Name 5 things which India import?

Name 5 things which India export?

What is balance of trade?

India : trade deficit or trade surplus ?

I answered all questions easily except last question. It was like rapid fire round. I take bit time to answer India’s trade deficit. Although It is looking very simple question but at that moment I feel this question very difficult. At last I replied that India has trade deficit. I feel much relaxed as It was correct answer.

He handed over a lady member. She asked me questions based on hobby.

You collected dohe of which poet ? I replied Rhim , Kabir , Tulsidas.

And ? Bihari

Ok , Why Bihari’s Dohe famous for ? I told him because these called as “ Gagar me Sagar ”.

Tell me any Doha of Bihari and explained it ?

I recite –

नहीं पराग नहि मधुर मधु , नहीं विकास इहि काल।

अलि कली ही सी बींध्यो , आगे कौन हवाल।।

Explained it well. She asked me Where is “ Gagar me Sagar” in this doha. I told double meaning of this doha. She told me that it is not Bihari,s Doha. I humbly told its background & why Bihari wrote this doha for King Jai Singh. Although I was correct, but madam was not looking satisfied. Then She asked me – If you are District Magistrate of Unnao, how will be you handle Unnao Rape Kand? (at that time my district was in news at national level due a custodial death of a rape victim’s father). I told him that for me no person is above the law. I will take strict action responsible persons.

She told me that she is going to name a character of novel and wanted to know name of novel.

She said – Langad (लंगड़). What a coincident, It was from Sri lal Shukl’s famous novel “ Raag Darbari” and I wrote a full article on this character on my blog few years ago. I was bit happy here. She asked me-“ what do you say that the father of that rape victim and Langad story is not same?”. I said yes mam, it is quiet similar as both person was seeking justice and victim of system.

Next member asked me question based on History (as I am post graduate in History). I think he was from south India as he is asking questions in very deferent English accent. I take some time to understand actually what was he asking about. Questions were very simple –

  1. Who is the greatest emperor of Muguls? I said “ Akbar”
  2. He said that he was asking for architecture? I told – Shah Jahan
  3. He asked some building made by him. I replied – Taj Mahal, Red Fort of Delhi.
  4. Then asked about – Green Revolution. I told it in a very vast and elaborative (background, benefits, side effect etc) manner.

In last Dr. Manoj Soni asked again. He asked me – Deference between inclusive development and sustainable development. I handle this question well as these are my favorite topics even I mentioned Brundtland Commission & our common future concept. The chairman was looking satisfied. He said your interview is over. I wished everyone good day and get out of the room.

I was feeling happy as all questions were simple. In entire interview, I never felt any pressure. When I came to know that I scored only 135 in Interview. It was very shocking for me. After few days I came to know that Dr. Manoj Soni gave very less marks that day (It was 11 April, a very first day when Hindi & other regional language candidates called for). Some of my friends ( Ladumor chintan, Dr. Kavin Virani, Vishvdeep Gohil) in his board scored as low as 110, 118 & 127 at same day. Friends that’s life. I am happy that at least I cleared this exam in my last attempt.

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?

As I am working in GST department since 2011, I was expecting questions based on my service. Not single questions asked about my service. As least I was expecting questions regarding GST & its impact on Indian Economy. No, it was not a stress interview, all questions were quite simple.

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

Yes, I have OBC certificate issued by Digital Sign. They asked me bring your certificate in old format ( round stamp lgi huyi ). I send my original certificate via speed post. After some days , I got mailed from UPSC , that issue regarding OBC corticated was cleared.

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

Yes. As I was not sleeping since 2 day before my interview. I was feeling very sleepy just after my interview, but I went Ghaziabad to meet my friend and roaming here & there in Delhi. Next day, in my medical, I was feeling very low. In last, when they check up my Blood Pressure, It was very high. I was very upset due to this as I have flight at night. I cursed myself- Jb sona tha to soya q nhi. I did some Yoga and drank water a lot. I urged to the Doctor. He gave me 3 chance. In last, I feel normal and my test was in limit.

So, I request to all aspirant – learn with this episode.

CSE-2016 Marksheet

Q1. Please provide both prelim and final mark sheet:

Subjects (Max. Marks) Marks secured Cutoff ranges

(PH to Gen.)

Prelims P1-GS (200m) 122.00 Cutoff: 40-105.34
Prelims P2-Aptitude (200m) 127.00 Passing Marks: 67
Mains Subjects Marks secured
Essay (250m) 133.00 Passing Marks: 25
GSM1 (250m) 107.00 Passing Marks: 25
GSM2 (250m) 100.00 Passing Marks: 25
GSM3 (250m) 123.00 Passing Marks: 25
GSM4 (250m) 78.00 Passing Marks: 25
Optional Paper-1 (250m) 153.00 Passing Marks: 25
Optional Paper-2 (250m) 143.00 Passing Marks: 25
Written Total (1750m) 837.00 Cutoff: 578-809
Interview (275m) 135.00 N/A
Final (2025m) 972.00 Cutoff: 830-1006

Career Backup

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

I was already in a good job and enjoying it happily. (मेरे पास खोने के लिए कुछ न था )

Q2. When were you going to “execute” that backup plan? (e.g. after __ number of failed attempts/ after I cross __ age/ after dad retires/ after girlfriend dumps me etc.)

Not applicable

Views on UPSC reforms

Q. Although Political science and sociology are both humanities subjects, yet in 2016, one of this subject got very favorable scaling-treatment than the other, consequently some candidates were denied even interview calls, despite having good marks in GS and Essay parallel to toppers. So, optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present scenario is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.

It is very difficult to give reply on such matter. It is very clear , for Hindi(/Gujarati/other regional language) medium, optional paper system is quite helpful. In General Study, none can cross to English Medium.

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?

As my academic is not very impressive, I felt low many times. Being a Hindi medium student, I always worried about low selection percentage. Although every year nearly 1000 student selected in civil service, but if you look candidates successful in Hindi medium or regional language like Guajarati, the number is very low, sometimes it was only 25/30 candidate. If one analyze past result , it is also a fact that Hindi or other regional language medium student got low marks in Interview stage.

My message to these candidate- Remember that you need only one seat. So , do not worry about low percentage of your medium. Recently someone told me that once I told her that if UPSC takes only one candidate from Hindi medium, I will be that one candidate. It was some boastfulness, but have such sprit. याद रखो अगर एक भी उम्मीदवार आपके माध्यम से चुना जाता है तो वो तुम ही होंगे।

Struggle of 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.

There are many things in my struggling days. In 2003, when I was in B.Sc. first year, I came first time Unnao for living. I took tuitions from July to march for survival. During summer, tuitions were stopped; I had not enough money to pay my rent. I collected my luggage and returned to home. I came back only after July. In entire episode, the bad thing was; I belong to a reputed family & relatives. They did not come to help me in my struggle & studies. Now, I do not want to remember those scary days.

Now listen, what happen after my selection:


Being a working professional, I faced a lot regarding leave. On 27 April 2018 (result day), I got a memo due to some leave issue from the department. I was very upset that day. After week end, I went my office with good news & sweets; entire office response was very warm. The commissioner (20 years senior IRS) welcomed me warmly and offer me tea & biscuits. I was in his cabin nearly 30 minutes and they told lot things about civil service and his experience. Before that I did not went in his cabin ever, I mean he is very senior officer to me. Usually other Inspector/Superintendent went his cabin only for 2 or 3 minutes.


I went to meet my District (UNNAO) Magistrate Sh. Ravi Kumar NG (IAS, 2004 Batch) in his official residence. Here I again got a very warm response as DM sir already read my story in local newspapers. He was very happy with my success. He also shares his experience in civil service. He gave his personal number and told to be in touch always. When I requested to establish a reading library in my village in memory of my late brother Vikash Patel, he happily agreed.

So, Friends my life is changed now. I wish one day, you will also feel same joy. Just keep working hard & faith in yourself.

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

1. I do not take long leave for preparation. Mostly I took only 2 months leave after my prelims result positive. In this attempt, I was on leave without pay, nearly 7 months. So, remember working persons- UPSC को गोरिल्ला वॉर से नहीं जीता जा सकता है। जब भी मैन्स लिखना हो लम्बी छुट्टी लेने का प्रयास करो

2. I never practiced for mains writing. This time I wrote 22 GS Test, 7 optional test, 5 essay.

3. During mains, in exam hall, I was very causal in past attempt. I used to go toilet every time and look here and there during my papers. In this attempt, I did not waste a single minute in entire mains. I gave my best during mains papers.

Struggle of Working professional

If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job

Here are some useful tips for working person:

  1. Do not tell about your preparation to Boss.
  2. You can read newspaper, listen news on AIR and see RSTV video during your office hours , especially in lunch/tea time.
  3. Do not try to read text book in office. Most people in office will create obstacle to you. They can make your bad image in office.
  4. Manage your weekends well.
  5. Avoid wasting your time in chatting, office gup-shup.
  6. Be selfish for your time.
  7. Remember there is no holiday for you; you have to give up your social activity.

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?

Yes, it is a very good question. As I spent entire decade (2009 to 2018) in UPSC preparation, I know the real mean of consistency. I saw many ups & downs in my life. I struggled a lot during 2005 to 2010 for my study and government job. So, during UPSC preparation, when I feel low, I think my old days struggle. I wrote in Diary about power, prestige of civil service. I stick a paper chit in front of my study table mentioning power of civil service. जब असफलता से हताश होता तो मै सिविल सेवा के बारे में खूब सोचता और नए तरीक़े से अपनी पढ़ाई शुरू करता।

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?

Ultimate patience is the success key for this exam. Do not worry about your failure. Do not feel low with criticism. Be independent, if it is possible. As this exam is very tuff, keep a backup plan. I always suggest to each person, give your all attempt without any hesitation. Selection is important thing, but learning is also very important thing. Failure in UPSC is not the end of the road but it strengthens you to take up the new Endeavour in your life with the same dedication which you put in during civil services preparation.

Anyone can contract to me via my mail id i.e. ashunao@gmail.com or facebook id- 00007as. If you are already appeared in cse mains exam, I love to talk you on mobile. Just send your mobile number in my mail box.

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?

When you feel low, think about my journey. One can be selected in last attempt, if he does not give up. When your are feeling depression, think what are going to get just after selection in UPSC CSE.

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?

Yes, I want to thanks my each family member & friends. I miss my younger brother Late Vikash Patel who sacrificed much in making 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 know Mrunal Sir from that time when he was moderator in Indian Officers site. I am one of the oldest subscribers of this site. Mrunal.org is very helpful site. I like Mrunal’s unique presentation style very much. I know Mrunal sir though SPIPA, Ahmedabad. He was in mock Interview panel (2015 & 2017).

UPSC Mock Interviews Mrunal

UPSC Mock Interview Panel from left to right: Mrunal Patel, P.P.Pandey (Former DGP of Gujarat), Dr. V.V. Rama Subbarao (Former Home Secretary of Gujarat), Hon’ble Judge Dr. Jyotsna Yagnik and Dr. S.Venkatakrishnan (PDPU University). Venue: SPIPA, Ahmedabad

Two important things I also want to include. I was among the very few invitees of his marriage (unfortunately due to my office work I could not attend). Second and most important thing, He sent me a whatapp message after my selection. It was very much precious for me as he mentioned that he has not habit to greet toppers but as he was very happy with my selection, he congratulates me. I will be always gratified to Mrunal sir for his help personal as well as his site/u-tube channel during my preparation. Even today when I have nothing to do with UPSC preparation, I visit mrunal.org regularly just for reading his innovative way to present posts/video (वो पान के गल्ले वाला डायलॉग मुझे बहुत मजेदार लगता था।).