[Topper’s Interview] Suraj Patel (Rank-819/CSE-2015) 1st Attempt, Anthropology, Pepsico Executive, NIT Allahabad

[Topper’s Interview] Suraj Patel (Rank-819/CSE-2015) 1st Attempt, Anthropology, Pepsico Executive, NIT Allahabad

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

Candidate Profile

Name Suraj Patel
Rank in CSE-2015 819
Roll No. 0675047
Age 24
Total attempts in CSE (including this one) 01
Optional Subject Anthropology
Schooling Medium Hindi
College medium English
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Medium chosen for Interview English
Home town/city Kanpur
Work-experience if any 1 year 9 months at pepsico
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures Qualified SBI PO, IBPS , CAPF , RAILWAY senior section engineer in this year only
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used) Joined vajiram (batch B11 ) of session 2015-2016 for GS , srinivas anthropology
No mock test
Service preferences (Top-5) IAS IPS IFS IRS(it) IRS (CE)
state cadre preference (Top-5) U.P >Rajsthan>MP>Bihar>Uttarakhand


% in class 10 80
% in class 12 82
Graduation course and % B.Tech , 83%
Name of college, city, passing out year N.I.T allahabaad , 2013
Post-graduation na
Any other professional courses na
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements Political activism at college J
Blog : surajreformer.wordpress.com


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

I am a married man ( got married to love of my life at an early age of 23 , p.s : biologically most optimum age , but socially and economically less viable 😛 ) .
my father is a farmer and my mother is a government teacher (primary school ) .
most intresting thing due to which I am writing this article is the time which I took in cracking the exam ( otherwise rank 819 is not sufficient enough to grab eyeballs for strategy ).HENCE MY STARETGY IS MOST USEFUL FOR THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE STARTING PREP THIS YEAR AND WANT TO QUALIFY IN THE SAME YEAR , SOMEHOW .
I left my job in april 2015 , came to mecca ( I mean karolbagh ) on 17th may 2015 , joined vajiram and ravi on july 2015 , qualified prelims of 23rd august 2015 , started coaching of optional (anthropology :: no background ) in September 2015 , qualified mains of December 2015 .resumed my vajiram coaching in January 2016 , then mains result , then interview , then selection on 10th may 2016.
( Total time taken :: 365-7 = 358 days )
reason behind giving so many exams ( SBI PO and all ) in between ( all in span of july 15 to feb 16 ) was to keep investor confidence up ( with every result dad got assured that BETA PADH RAHA HAI , KHARCHA DETE RAHO ).
my wife also supported me by leaving me alone for 7-8 months and allowing me to study in a warlike manner.

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)
information overload coupled with choice overload is a problem  , not only in civil services but in every walk of life ( u feel it in mall :: inability to choose one product among many ) .
as a person who is opting to have a leadership position it is very necessary to trust on your decisions .
amidst multiplicity of websites and advices and strategies , its very necessary that you stick to your choices while remaining flexible for improvisation.  for strategy specifically I will say that follow any one strategy with dedication ( EK RAAH TU PAKAD CHALA CHAL , PAA JAYEGA MADHUSHALA).
as I had very less time ( 50-60 days for prelims and 80-90 days for mains ) , I took a rasical decision of not reading news paper .  I only watched big picture and read random online articles (specially from project syndicate) .
insights and vision were not in my list as I was a novice in the market ( but this year I am including vision GS booklets in my catalogue ) .
mrunal as usual helped very much in understanding economy  ( I finished econmy fro  it in 2 days ) and had all questions right in prelims.
I used evrnote to jot down important points .

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?
as I had very less time , every thins was on a war footing….
in sep , October , November I used to spend 8 hours in coaching ( 2.5 hours vajiram GS + morning and evening batch of anthropology so that syllabus can be completed ) . I had nothing to loose as nobody was expecting that I will even qualify pre .
but after prelims I thought lets challenge myself  , lets break the records of quick successes in CS and this thing kept me going . along with that a good chunk of motivation material ( invictus poem , IF poem , dinkar’s poems ,  inspiring movies etc ).

Prelims (CSAT) General studies

Topic strategy/booklist/comment
History Ancient Didn’t study (no time), but this time I am reading sriram notes (15-16 pages )
History Medieval Didn’t study (no time)
History Modern (Freedom Struggle) Spectrum ( mugged it twice before pre )
Culture and society Singhania notes , 11th ncert , festival from mrunal , philosophy from unacademy
Polity (theory + current) Laxmikanth
Economy (theory + current) Mrunal , survey
Science (theory + current) 12th biology ncert ( 2-3 chapters ) , mrunal , googled some topics provided by gsscore on there facebook page
Environment (theory + current) Shankar ias + ncert (3-4 chapters )
geography physical NCERT NEW
geography India NCERT NEW
geography world NCERT NEW
other national/international current affairs NO TIME
Schemes, Policy & Filler Stuff GK TODAY SCHEME COMPENDIUM

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2015 paper?
Either you should have wide and deep knowledge
OR you should have a threshold amount of knowledge supported with intuition and courage .
I tried 98 questions .
Q. Now that Aptitude paper has become qualifying, obvious more attention needs to be paid on the GS paper so apart from the books that you already have gone through, what else would you have tried for CSE-2016 (if you were going to appear)?
already mentioned in book list.

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude

Topic strategy / booklist
Maths No specific prep
Decision Making

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2015 paper.
no specific preprpration is needed but art background people may solve few mock papers.

Prelim accuracy

Q1. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? do you think they’re necessary for success?
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2015

attempted Q. correct (Expected) Official score
GS 98 70-75 122.6
aptitude 152

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Compulsory language paper Your preparation strategy / booklist?
English paper No specific prep
your regional language No specific prep

Q. other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory language papers in CSE-2015
if you have basic knowledge of languages then no need to worry .

Mains: Essay

Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
had no time to prepare properly for essay . read vajiram’s essay booklet .
lack of preparation of essay proved to be a blunder ( because of it only I lost good rank  , just got 95 marks )

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