[Topper’s Interview] Rajat Chaturvedi (Rank-480/CSE-2015) Anthropology, B.Tech, Earlier cleared ACIO, SSC, hails from Lucknow

Rajat Chaturvedi

[Topper’s Interview] Rajat Chaturvedi (Rank-480/CSE-2015) Anthropology, B.Tech, Earlier cleared ACIO, SSC, hails from Lucknow

  1. Candidate Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Struggle of a Senior player
  7. Working professional
  8. Prelims (CSAT) General studies
  9. Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
  10. Prelim accuracy
  11. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  12. Mains: Essay
  13. Mains General studies paper 1 to 4
  14. General Studies (Mains) paper 1
  15. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  16. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  17. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  18. Mains answer-writing?
  19. Mains Optional Subject
  20. Before the interview
  21. During the interview
  22. CSE-2015 Marksheet
  23. Career Backup
  24. Views on UPSC reforms
  25. Insecurity about profile
  26. Wisdom
  27. Credit: Friends/family
  28. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Q. Details
Name Rajat R Chaturvedi
Rank in CSE-2015 480
Roll No. 301837
Age 25
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 2
Optional Subject Anthropology
Schooling Medium English
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Lucknow
Work-experience if any 2+ years, Assistant in IB
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures SSC 2012 – AIR 104
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) Vajiram 2013 batch (left at half way point)
Mrunal, Insights mostly
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS,IPS,IFS,IRS(IT),IRS(C&CE)
state cadre preference (Top-5) UP,MP,Rajasthan,HP,UK


% in class 10 89.6
% in class 12 88.7
Graduation course and % B.Tech (CS) 75%
Name of college, city, passing out year GLA Mathura, 2012
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Playing Guitar, Diploma in Classical music, Reading non-fiction


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

I hail from Lucknow, studied from ICSE board throughout, B.Tech from an UPTU. My father’s in Govt service, mother’s homemaker and brother is AVP in CITI Bank. Honestly, I never thought I would end up here. I always had a lust for private sector lifestyle, was placed in Infosys, scored 98.6% in CAT, got into MBA colllege, but I don’t really know when I chose a different path. Flushed the MBA plan and went for UPSC, and took the job in IB.

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 much do you rely on electronic material and how much on the paper material (Books, newspapers)? If possible, narrate a typical day in your studylife. What is your style of preparation (e.g. I continue making notes no matter what I’m reading, I just read multiple times but don’t maintain notes, I make mindmaps on computer …or xyz style)
In my successful attempt, I mostly depended upon the Electronic material, though I continued to make notes from newspapers. Special thanks goes to Mrunal revision series, it formed almost 30-40% of my preparation. Further, I wrote occasional answers and essays on InsightonIndia.

Tempo and style

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?
Actually, I didn’t. I get easily distracted. I am used to party hard. Almost every weekend. I don’t believe in studying like hell even if you don’t want to. I believe in rewarding myself. Working and studying 5 days a week becomes tiring. So I partied on weekend with friends. However, with 2 months left to pre/mains, I used to study almost the whole day and night. (Follow at your own risk! )

Struggle of a Senior player

Q. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
I ignored my optionals and the essay paper. That is the most disastrous thing you can do to sabotage your chances of getting in.

Working professional

If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job
It is undoubtly hard to manage both. I earned my seniors’ favour by working hard initially and hence got leave before mains. On other days, I used to squeeze a hour or 2 durng job to check out internet material. Rest after job.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient Skipped
History Medieval Skipped
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Bipin Chandra, Vajiram notes
Culture and society Vision notes, society- Exclusively Mrunal revision series
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikant, newpaper
Economy (theory + current) NCERT 11th, Vajiram notes, Economic Survey (Most important), Mrunal
Science (theory + current) Not needed for prelims, skipped for mains (No questions asked in 2014, took the risk)
Environment (theory + current) Shankar notes, NCERT
geography physical Vajiram notes, G.C.Leong
geography India NCERT, Vajiram, Mrunal lectures (very helpful)
geography world Mrunal lectures (Rajtanil ones)
other national/international current affairs Newspaper, Mrunal IR lectures, InsightonIndia- Current events
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff Mrunal revision series (more than enough!)

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2015 paper?
After CSAT being made qualifying, prelims is a nightmare for me. However, the key to crack lies in attempting maximum questions (Attmepted 90, left only the ones which were ridiculously difficult)

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths Once a CAT aspirant, hence not needed
Decision Making

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
Go for the english portion, can easily score 33%

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
Definitly, I solved about 30 test papers of InsightonIndia prelims series. I also posted online answers for Mains series on the same website. Universal truth- for prelims, solve more and more MCQs and for Mains, write more and more answers. (and mug up the optional!)
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2015

attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 90 No idea 118
aptitude 98 167

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper Not needed
your regional language Not needed

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2015
Pretty easy

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
That was the most important addition for my second attempt (2014-98, 2015-136). I mostly followed InsightonIndia Sunday essay writing initiative. I occassionaly wrote essay on that. Read the links given, quite useful. I wrote about 25 essays before Mains, after prelims. Strategy followed is simple. You gotta touch most dimesions. For that, use your UPSC syllabus !

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