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  • 60

    Nikhil Pavan Kalyan

     Rank:  60
    CSE  2011
     Profile Viewed:  12590 time(s)

    Marks Obtained

    Total Marks Marks Obtained
    Essay 200 90
    General Studies 600 249 (126 + 126)
    Public Administration 600 290 (140 + 150)
    Anthropology 600 369 (187 + 182)
    Total (Written) 2000 998
    Interview 300 210
    Total 2300 1208 (52.52%)

    Optional Subjects

    Optional Subject 1:

    Public Administration

    Optional Subject 2:


    I wanted to read some optional subjects to some extent before I select. I started with Public administration. Very soon I realized that I am thoroughly interested in the subject. I also realized that my private job has lot to offer as a real world example of administration. It is important from a Civil services job perspective too. All these simply encouraged my already formed confidence over the subject.

    I did a similar exercise for Anthropology, and soon I fell in love with this social science. There was no turning back.

    I kept the same optional subjects in all attempts.

    Success Plan

    Unless we believe in what we do, it is not possible to stay focused. It applies not only to the Civil Service Exam, but for most other tasks. I was confident the first time I wrote, the second I appeared, and the third time when I cleared.

    Result doesn’t depend or define the confidence. Confidence is a must.  And because of that, over a period, I was able to completely detach myself from the results or ranks. When I saw the result this time, the only reaction I had is, I don’t need to write again!

    For the most of the questions relating to preparation, I found my own answers. That is the best way to find, in fact. But it is as easy as I said, and it took me considerable time before I found them, but as I said, it’s the best way!

    Throughout my preparation, and for discussions, doubt clarifications and for providing the much needed support, there were few  friends, well-wishers  and seniors whom I trust in, and who immensely helped in framing my opinions and showed me the way, whenever it is necessary. It was indeed a gift, to be alongside these people.

    My knowledge and my selection is an accumulated consciousness from all of them. I continue to learn from this small section, my ‘elite’.

    Number of attempts
    This was my third attempt. It’s the same preparation model for me right from the beginning. I had a plan, each time, and I make sure I follow it promptly. Planning is the single most important factor that will make sure that I clear the exam. That belief in the planning came after my first attempt, even though I failed in it.

    The model of planning remained the same; I improvised on its efficiency, to learn more, to write better answers, to solve more questions, to develop more understanding, to form better informed opinions.

    'Time Management'
    Through a proper plan, right from the first day till the exam date, is the only most important factor. One should be able to identify what to study, to estimate how much time it takes to study what is identified and finally, to study it and make changes as necessary through a continuous self-feedback.
    I did this all and it is shown in the result.

    I had job in parallel and I know I only will get very less time than all those who work for the exam dedicatedly. This made me to utilize whatever time I get more productively. Having high energy levels all through the day is very important to feel fresh and able to focus even after a day’s job. All these directly help in managing the time to the best.

    Secret of success
    My success was never a secret. Whatever I followed and whatever I believed, I made sure I shared it with as many friends and people as I could (who can listen), and make use of it for themselves.

    I followed a well sorted plan, driven by utmost passion regardless of time, money and efforts, with improving on my principles and ideals in life.

    Blogging (www.worthview.com) traveling (adventurous and bike trips across India) and IT technical designs.


    I was preparing from around 2007 and Prelims pattern was nowhere a consideration. When it changed, I already gave two attempts, and I felt the changed pattern was indeed more biased to my strengths. 

    I have myself seen a lot of apprehension around, some of the people I knew didn’t attempt this time to just ‘see’ how the new pattern will be. I was never bothered with changes and I knew I can prepare for all kinds of question papers.

    Anyone who understands the subjects and can logically apply himself has a more chance from now on. Having a Math background (in +2 and B. Tech) and working in IT for five years with lots of communication skills acquired, it made my CSAT (paper II) very easy, I prepare for not more than two weeks.

    But I knew the expectations for this paper, you need a quick mind. It is more of a preparation for an alert mind that can work fast. Physical exercise and mental peace, however unfit it looks in this discussion, makes a lot of difference in how the mind works, and how the results turn. I did that.

    ‘Negative Marking’
    Practicing more mock tests at home enabled me to understand how many to attempt, how many to take risk/fluke and how many questions to not touch, so that negative marking is ‘taken care of’.

    On a whole I had around 15000 questions solved for my second and third Prelims each. That should be good enough for tackling negative marking and time management.


    There was no shift in the strategy in any format. In fact, it is one single preparation I had for the whole set of exam and not separate preparation for prelims and mains.

    Planning the full time, having high energy levels, focusing passionately, solving lots of questions and making sure to have a calm mind that can think fast.


    Yes, I wanted to make sure I make special efforts for the essay. I got very good help from some of the very less classes I took for essay writing and answer writing in general. I had a plan on how to approach essay and questions from then on, and practiced thoroughly on it.

    I took the Essay topic “Does Indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it?” I practiced on a process of filtering the given choices, to look for patterns, lots of ideas, and ‘the wow’ factors etc.

    I never wanted this process to be too specific; neither had I wanted to take more time for choosing the topic. I spend five minutes in deciding it and then start with expanding it on all sides.


    I had appeared in UPSC interview earlier and have been practicing with friends. Also took Mock Interview sessions as part of my Personality Test preparation.

    I was interviewed by Madam Rajini Razdan Board. My interview lasted for about 15-20 minutes.

    Interview Questions

    I was asked about Justice, Lawyers, why I am leaving my software job, reason for choosing Civil Service and whether I would be having a satisfaction in civil service? Some questions on contemporary issues were also asked.

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