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     Rank:  4
    CSE  2010
     Profile Viewed:  55012 time(s)

    Marks Obtained

    Total Marks Marks Obtained
    Essay 200 105
    General Studies 600 305 (170 + 170)
    Geography 600 385 (196 + 189)
    Political Science and International Relations 600 326 (138 + 188)
    Total (Written) 2000 1121
    Interview 300 195
    Total 2300 1316 (57.22%)

    Optional Subjects

    Prelims: Geography

    Mains: Geography & Political Science & International Relations

    Basis of selection - interest, availability of guidance & study material. It is best to go through the syllabus & previous years’ question papers before selecting a subject.

    Chose geography because had a natural liking towards the subject since school days, and also due to my interest in wildlife & travel.

    Opted for political science as the other optional because of my natural interest in international affairs.

    Success Plan

    IAS - Karnataka Cadre

    Passed out of college in June 2009.

    From June to October, completed reading almost 70-80% of the syllabus of both optional & GS papers.

    After that joined coaching in October 2009. So it was easier to understand & grasp the subjects in a much shorter period of time.

    Number of Attempts
    First attempt in CSE

    'Time Management'
    Time management was not a big issue since we were trained in the same during coaching in Chennai. In mains I followed the deadline of (number of marks/2) minutes for answer completion & did not take into account the number of words. Eg: I put aside 10 minutes for a 20 marker. So I had a buffer of 30 minutes out of the total 180 minutes which I could spend as per my need.

    I practiced writing several mock tests before the prelims & main exams.

    Secret of your success

    I have no secrets that are unknown to aspirants. Hard work, dedication, proper guidance, regular revision, moral support from family & friends, and most importantly faith in God are the factors which contributed to my success.



    As I had been preparing myself, in coaching institute it was easier for me to understand & grasp the subjects in a much shorter period of time.

    For current affairs, I prepared my own notes from The Hindu, and filed them under different headings like national, international, economics, awards etc. I revised the self-made notes at least once in a month.

    Regular tests were conducted by Shankar Academy, which also helped me a lot. NCERT books & standard texts were the other sources of information.

    For Geography, I mainly relied on Shankar sir’s classes. He conducted many mock tests & individually advised the candidates on how to improve their answers.

    I spent equal amount of time for GS & geography during preliminary exam preparation.

    ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims

    I avoided doubtful questions & practiced mock tests to improve time management & accuracy.


    I practiced writing answers & got them corrected by my teachers.

    I also discussed previous years’ questions & current issues with fellow aspirants in order to formulate clear views & attain a balanced perspective.

    Thinking & reasoning became more important than studying facts during mains.


    I did not prepare separately for essay paper, and I solely relied on my GS preparation for generation of points. But before writing the exam, I practiced creating structures for around 10 different essay topics, dealing with various issues, from previous year question papers.

    I wrote my essay on the topic “Preparedness of our society for India’s global leadership role”

    Reason to pick this topic was feeling that it was the easiest of the four given topics.


    Interview preparation: After mains exams, I read only the Hindu, Frontline & Mathrubhumi (Malayalam newspaper).

    I prepared my biodata in depth, based on the details provided in the summary sheet of UPSC mains examination form. Name, Place of birth, home state & district, hobbies, family, academic background etc. were the various aspects I concentrated on, apart from regional, national & international issues.

    Before attending the UPSC interview, I was given interview training by the Kerala state civil services academy in Trivandrum. I attended some mock interview sessions in Kerala state civil service academy (Trivandrum), Shankar Academy (Chennai) & Naipunya Academy (Kochi).

    Mock interviews are useful in pin-pointing one’s positives & negatives, thus providing an opportunity for self correction & improvement.

    Interview was on 11 April 2011 & Interview board was chaired by Mrs. Rajni Razdan.

    It was a very normal interview & was neither too tough nor too easy, which went for about 20-25 minutes.

    Interview Questions

    Most of the questions were related to India-Pakistan relations & Kashmir issue, diplomacy & India’s relations with South Asia.

    Coaching Institute
    Shankar IAS Academy

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