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  • 92

    Rajanvir Singh Kapur

     Rank:  92
    CSE  2011
     Profile Viewed:  10106 time(s)

    Marks Obtained

    Total Marks Marks Obtained
    Essay 200 80
    General Studies 600 242 (0 + 0)
    Geography 600 329 (0 + 0)
    Sociology 600 343 (0 + 0)
    Total (Written) 2000 994
    Interview 300 195
    Total 2300 1189 (51.70%)

    Optional Subjects

    The most important is your interest and passion in the subject. You have to study the subject for at least a year so interest is very important. Then is practical consideration like coaching, notes and guidance. Just going by scoring pattern or “trend” is something I fail to fathom.

    Optional Subject 1: Geography
    Optional Subject 2: Sociology

    I chose Geography because I liked maps, diagrams and the subject requires these things.
    Sociology attracted me because it covers all the social issue which help one in GS, Essay and even Interview.

    I kept the same optional subjects in all attempts. One should not change them until there are some unavoidable circumstances.

    Success Plan

    I used to be an avid reader of topper interviews and they inspired me a lot. More than the suggestions, I enjoyed reading the mistakes that they made. I was highly impressed by the stories of toppers like Khushboo Goel, IAS 2008, as I merely began my preparation at that time.

    This time, I had filled only 2 options, IAS and IFS. The reason is that being in the IRS already, I wanted to join only these two services.

    Number of attempts
    Three. I took from first attempt in college itself and was not even fully prepared. In my second attempt, I got into the IRS (Income Tax). In the current and third attempt, I got IAS.

    In my first two attempts, I was merely focusing on completing the syllabus. However, this time, it was about assimilating ideas and writing holistically.

    Time Management
    I followed some basic rules. I first made a macro plan of say 5-6 months. Then, I made monthly, weekly and daily targets. Sticking to the targets, I was able to manage time. However, the targets should be practical and flexible. They should be realistic and not overburden or underutilize your potential. Flexibility means that you should be able to party, see a movie without feeling guilty.

    Secret of success
    I think it’s a mix of internal motivation and external freedom. I was intrinsically very inclined to join the service so it kept me going. Externally, my parents gave me a free hand and my friends motivated me throughout to go on. Add to that God’s grace.

    Music, dance, sketching, traveling, enjoying good food


    Change in Prelims pattern
    I kept my mind open. When you are flexible, you learn fast. Moreover, I knew the pattern is equally new for all. This realization kept me cool. I kept a simple approach. Study less but study well!

    I was already preparing for Civil Services Examination. In fact, I was happier to know about the changes as I have interest in the subjects of CSAT. Moreover, it was refreshing to study something new for the exam.

    This was the first time the Preliminary Examination was staged with the new pattern, I focused on the syllabus and that guides one to know what to study and what not to study. As far as strategy is concerned, I followed one or two basic CSAT books only and practiced a lot for math portion. The English required no special preparation.

    Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test)
    For Paper 1, I focused on quick reading and memorization of facts. But this time, I also went into concepts and detailed understanding of GS syllabus. Nowadays, trend is of concepts and basic logics in GS.

    I feel the Paper 2 Aptitude test is a welcome change. It tests various dimensions of aptitude - lingual, arithmetic, logical, ethical etc. For English and ethics, I simply followed the notes available in market, no special preparation. I practiced for the math and quantitative aptitude part from 1 or 2 basic books. For English and ethics, I simply followed the notes available in market, no special preparation.

    I put in a little more time for Paper 2 as that was the new paper in 2011 exam.

    Negative Marking
    This is very interesting issue. I never played very adventurous or very safe. I take calculated risks. In the first reading, mark all you know for sure. That is normally 30% of the paper. In the second and final reading, mark the ones where you have little doubt, which is about 40% of the paper. The rest can be left. It is simple law of probability. Don’t be too safe or too casual.


    For the Mains, I believed in two things: assimilation of ideas and holistic writing.

    One has many books, notebooks and papers while preparing. The idea is to assimilate ideas into concise form through making good notes.

    The other is holistic writing which means answering every question in entirety- covering all dimensions and linking different perspectives. All this makes a holistic answer.


    I did not prepare too much for the essay paper. All I did was reading some good essays on social issues. Moreover, I compiled a notebook of some good quotations that could be used here and there in essay writing.

    I picked up the topic of 'Does Indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it?'. I chose it because I thought a lot of innovative ideas could be incorporated in such a topic.


    Interview needs three things: Knowledge, Skills and Attitude.
    •    For knowledge, I focused on my bio data, optional subjects, graduation, and current affairs.
    •    Skills, for me were my computer engineering and taxation laws (IRS).
    •    The most important is the attitude and one should focus on things like communication, openness to ideas and willingness to think beyond the routine.

    I faced board of Sh Purushottam Agrawal. The interview went really well and lasted for about 25 minutes.

    Interview Questions

    The questions were many linked to hobbies, graduation, FDI in retail, political pressure in IAS etc.

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