Evan after repeated unsuccessful attempts, I remained focused and clear about my GOAL; says Utsav Gautam (AIR 33; CSE 2017)

After completing B. Tech. from Indian Institute of Technology, Patna in Electrical Engineering, Utsav got placement in Indian Oil Corporation Limited and joined as Electrical Engineer at Mathura Refinery in 2013. However, to become IAS was his dream as well as his parent’s desire.

Utsav’s whole preparation has been product of hit and trial methods. He learned a lot from mistakes that he made in ample amount during the course of his preparation.

Ultimately, in his fourth attempt he achieved this splendid success.

Optional Subject: Mathematics

No. of Attempts: 4 (Four)


Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination

The unpredictable nature of this examination is a challenge; but, covering everything given in syllabus and practicing it diligently can reduce unpredictability.

Views about Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Examination is indeed challenging because 2-3 wrong questions can change the result; but, I think it is very wrong to say that is pure luck.

Role of Optional Subject

Choosing right optional subject based on one’s strength and weakness is very necessary because it can be deciding factor in the final selection.

Many times aspirants take some optional and after exhausting 2-3 attempts, they realized that optional subject was not right for them.

So, a lot of thinking needs to be done before choosing an optional.

Targeting General Studies

General Studies has highest proportion of 1000 marks. My approach was to cover every topic mentioned in the syllabus and practice answer writing diligently.

My approach towards each paper

I covered topics with help of recommended books, online surfing and selective study of coaching material.

I focused on limited reading of material and more focus on answer writing.

Essay Paper

I used to write essay in exam like conditions every week. I used to get it evaluated by my friend. I wrote on the following topics:

  1. Has the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world ? :  I basically analyzed the topic, arguments in for and against both. It included various dimensions such as political, social, cultural, economic and international, environmental. In the conclusion I wrote that there is need for rebooting and reinventing NAM and gave arguments in support of it.
  2. ‘Social media’ is inherently a selfish medium: I focused on why it is inherently selfish medium and reasons, implications etc of it. Then I countered the topic by giving opposite set of arguments.

Interview (Personality Test)

My Interview was on 16th March 2018 in Forenoon session.

I was interviewed by Prof P K Joshi board. It lasted for almost 26 minutes.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

My marks in essay is just average; so, it has not been that much instrumental in final rank.

I think my rank is due to good marks in GS & optional Mathematics and above average marks in interview.

Had I not got 171 in interview, my rank would have there in 80s-90s.

171 marks in interview ensured 33rd rank. I anticipated double digit rank based on analysis of my performance.

However, marks I got in Mathematics were below my expectation.

Last Update Sunday 30th December 2018     

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