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Mrunal (http://mrunal.

org/)

[Toppers Interview] Sakshi Sawhney (IAS-2013/ Rank-6): BA LLB,


Second among girl toppers, Law optional

motivation (http://mrunal.org/category/motivation) / 10 months Ago

(http://dl.flipkart.com/dl/books/special-offers?affid=mrunalrugm)
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.

General Studies (Mains) paper 1

14.

General studies (Mains) paper 2

15.

General studies (Mains) Paper 3

16.

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude

17.

GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2013

18.

Mains answer-writing?

19.

Law optional subject

20.

Before the interview

21.

During the interview

22.

CSE-2013 Marksheet

23.

Career Backup

24.

Views on UPSC reforms

25.

Insecurity about profile

26.

Wisdom

27.

Credit: Friends/family

28.

BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Prole

Name

Sakshi Sawhney

Rank in CSE-2013

Roll No.

200409

Age

24

Total attempts in CSE

Optional Subject

Law

Medium chosen for Mains


answers

English

Schooling medium

English

College medium

English

Home town/city

New Delhi

Work-experience if any

Nil

Details of other competitive


exams, including success/failures

Nil
Prelims Test series- Career Launcher(very good).
Vajiram and Ravi for Mains coaching(attended

Details of coaching, mock tests,


postal material for any competitive
exam (if used)

selective classes, but took lot of personal


meetings with Raveendran Sir).
Took the vision IAS Test series for mains mock.
(good because they provide flexibility)
Practiced answer writing everyday from
insightsonindia.com (daily tests)
1. IAS

service preference #1, 2 and 3

2. IFS
3. IPS
1. AGMUT

state cadre preference (top3)

2. Haryana
3. Punjab

Education
% in class 10

88.8

% in class 12

87.2

Schooling (Medium)

English

Graduation course and %

BA LLB(Hons.)7.62/8 (CGPA)

Name of college, city, passing out


year

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad 2012

Post-graduation

Any other professional courses

Hobbies & Extra curricular

Reading fiction, fitness enthusiast, adventure


sports

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

(https://www.flickr.com/photos/97816112@N02/14495415922)

I am a law graduate and belong to a family with a service background. My father is a civil
servant himself and my mother is the Principal of a school that caters to the underprivileged
children. My sister is a banker.
While studying law I realized I wanted to use my education for a purpose greater than my
own self. That is when I first entertained the idea of joining the civil service. The fact that my
father was a civil servant helped me a great deal.

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.
A mix of electronic and hardcopy. Firstly I memorized the mains syllabus.
I read three newspapers (most times)- The Hindu, The Indian Express and the Financial
Express/Business Standard (the business newspapers I read selectively). I maintained
separate notebooks I.R, Social Issues, Culture/History/Geography, S&T, Glossary,
Security Issues, Environment etc. wherein I took notes from the newspapers.
Websites to update notes: Mrunal.org; pib.nic.in; insightsonindia.com; relevant email
updates from PRS/idsa
I also made notes (hardcopy) from all the books I read for preparation.
For quick revision I used a lot of post-its on books where I did not take down notes directly
into any notebooks. This was especially useful while travelling, waiting in line, etc.

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?
I took frequent breaks. I exercised regularly. I tried to catch the latest release every Friday.
The days on which I could not study, I just took the whole day off. Still there were many days
when I did succumb to my mood swings. You will have rough days but take it easy and
remember This too Shall Pass. Also if you know the reason why you want to write this examit will immediately energize you and lift your mood and determination.

Struggle of a Senior player


After 1-2 failures in any competitive exam, a phase of mental saturation comes. The person
knows the booklist, he knows what is necessary to succeed. But it doesnt yield result.Not
to mention all the emotional struggle-against those irritating neighbors. MY question are two:
Q1. How did you survive through this mental prison and whatre your words of wisdom
to other senior players? If any specific inspirational incident(s), please share.
It was very difficult at first, especially in social situations. Thankfully, my family really
supported me. I read a very nice book called The Dalai Lamas Cat which really helped me to
understand that I need to deal with all situations with equanimity. It also emphasizes on
Impermanence and the concept of This Too Shall Pass. I tried to deal with my
disillusionment in this manner.
Q2. What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this
current attempt?
My essay marks in my first attempt were very low. Only 23/200. So despite getting decent
marks in everything else (including interview) I could not make it to the final list. I had written
on PPP : Whether a Failure in India. Frankly, I am still not sure why I was marked so poorly.
In this attempt I wrote on Colonial Mentality and made my position on the topic very evident
in the beginning itself so that there was no confusion regarding my stand. But even now I
have scored just 80/250- so I cannot really advise on essay writing.
Other changes made= answer writing; revision and re-revision. You will never really finish the
syllabus so dont wait till the end to start your revision. Do it every week. If you flip through
your notes regularly they will get ingrained and your memory recall in a situation of 25X10
questions will be much greater.

Prelims (CSAT) General studies


History Ancient

NCERT 11/12

History Medieval

NCERT

History Modern
(Freedom Struggle)

Bipin Chandra
Spectrum

NCERT
Trends in Indian Culture : DR Ausaaf Sayeed
Culture society

(http://www.flipkart.com/trends-indian-cultureheritage/p/itmdfgy3rguyybhz?
pid=9788124116487&affid=mrunalrugm)
Introduction to the Constitution- DD Basu

Polity (theory +
current)

(http://www.flipkart.com/introduction-constitution-india21st/p/itmdx9sfmbnfzsqp?
pid=9788180389184&affid=mrunalrugm)
Newspapers
Newspapers, NCERT,

Economy (theory +
current)

Economic Survey,
Dutt & Sundaram (http://www.flipkart.com/datt-sundharamindian-economy-69th/p/itmd7zhyyjp8wrqf?
pid=9788121902984&affid=mrunalrugm) (selective)
Newspaper (Hindu Science section)

Science (theory +
current)

Science and Technology- Ashok Kumar Singh


(http://www.flipkart.com/science-technology-civil-servicesexaminations-1st/p/itmczynvm8bzspqf?
pid=9780070655485&affid=mrunalrugm)

Environment (theory
+ current)

NIOS (http://mrunal.org/download), Newspaper

geography physical

NCERT, Goh Cheng Leong (http://www.flipkart.com/certificatephysical-human-geography-1st/p/itmczyt7kuqrvjyg?


pid=9780195628166&affid=mrunalrugm)

geography India

NCERT

geography world

Goh Cheng Leong (http://www.flipkart.com/certificate-physicalhuman-geography-1st/p/itmczyt7kuqrvjyg?


pid=9780195628166&affid=mrunalrugm), NCERT
Newspapers, EPW (http://www.epw.in/), Frontline

other
national/international
current affairs

(http://www.frontline.in/),
World Focus (selectively)

Pib.nic.in (http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx)
insightsonindia (http://insightsonindia.com/)
Schemes, Policy &
Filler Stuff

Yojana

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS prelim 2013 paper?


Know basics very well- so better to understand logically than to memorise. Mrunal.org really
helps explain logically. Also try to use howstuffworks.com, youtube, etc. to enhance
understanding of science concepts.

Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude


Maths

RS Aggarwal for competitive exams

Reasoning

Same

comprehension

Regular tests, fast reading of newspaper with understanding

Decision Making

None, just regular tests but the most balanced view point possible.

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Aptitude 2013 paper.


There was an increase in the number of maths questions and a reduction in English. Many
aspirants (including me) who have a mortal fear of maths have a mind block against solving
relatively easy questions. Please practice this area thoroughly since questions are in fact not
so hard. These are also more scoring in the sense that there is only one right answer which
can be gauged by sometimes not even solving the entire question. Lesson: DONT HAVE ANY
MIND BLOCK.

Prelim accuracy
Q1. Did you attend any mock tests? do you think theyre necessary for success?
Yes. Career Launcher. I feel it is crucial because it increases the speed, accuracy and
confidence of the aspirants (especially for CSAT).
Q2. Approximate no. of attempted answers vs. correct answers. in CSAT-2013

attempted Q.

Official score

GS

Around 65

103.34

aptitude

Around 70

165

Total

268

Mains: Compulsory language paper


Compulsory
language
paper

Your preparation strategy / booklist?

English
paper

Past years papers (http://mrunal.org/2013/12/download-compulsoryenglish-2013-question-paper-of-upsc-civil-service-mains-exam-last-17-yearsas-bonus1997-2013.html)

your
regional
language

Hindi Past Year Papers+ Hindi newspaper towards exam

Q2.other observations / tips / comments on the length / difficulty level of compulsory


language papers in CSE-2013
Very high level of difficulty in both English and Hindi. Dont ignore preparation for compulsory
language papers. Also complete the grammar portion first (especially for language paper
which is not a strength) as this guarantees easy and confirmed marks. Thereafter proceed to
do Comprehension, Essay, Precis and Translation.

Mains: Essay
Q1. How did you prepare for the essay paper?
Practiced essay writing. Made notes from newspaper which included interesting anecdotes,
difficult words, catch words, etc. But it evidently still did not work LOL
Q2. Which among the following essay did you write? What key points did you include in
it?
1. Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)
2. Is the Colonial mentality hindering Indias Success?

3. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the
right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country
4. Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.
Colonial Mentality- my definition of colonial mentality was benign despotism like that of the
British Raj. Thereafter, I mentioned clearly that I did not think it was hindering Indias success.
I spoke of how the civil service was a legacy of the raj and yet democratic processes(aka we
the people)- media, rise of Panchayats, etc had exposed and tried to remove lal batti culture,
etc. governance reforms like rti, etc. mentioned, civil service reforms, etc.
Same line of argument taken regarding the Judiciary, Legislature and how democratic
processes were exposing the hierarchical and opaque structures.
Finally spoke of foreign policy- how India perceived better than aggressive China, Gujral
Policy, Bhutans transition to democracy and away from protectorate as facilitated by India,
etc.
Thus showing how democratic processes were winning over colonial mentality and leading to
Indias success= largest functioning democracy, supported widely in quest for permanent
UNSC seat, one of the least impacted economies of global crisis,etc.
PROBLEM: was told that my definition of colonial mentality= incorrect as it is not white mans
burden but the feelings of the formerly oppressed and their need to stay oppressed and
inferior. (something like that)
Further, I did not cover various factors such as casteism, fair skin/dark skin, etc. Basically I
stuck to administration, governance and foreign policy. My essay did not touch upon
prejudices in daily life and the more micro level working of colonial mentality.
Score: 80/250

General Studies (Mains) paper 1


Topic

How did you prepare?

Culture

NCERT, Trends in Indian Culture, Friday Hindu

Indian history

Bipin Chandra

world history

Norman Lewis,
Mrunal.org/history (http://mrunal.org/history) (especially Africa)
NCERT questions

postindependence
India

Bipin Chandra: India Since Independence


(http://www.flipkart.com/india-sinceindependence/p/itmczyrqkf5sysbs?
pid=9780143104094&affid=mrunalrugm)

Indian society

Sociology NCERT 11, Newspaper

role of women,
poverty etc.

Googled role of women- found a Delhi University Paper; poverty


Uma Kapila; Dutt

globalization on
Indian society

Nothing specific- Vajiram handout (its okayish not exhaustive)

communalism,
regionalism,
secularism

Sociology NCERT, Bipin Chandra(india since independence)


(http://www.flipkart.com/india-sinceindependence/p/itmczyrqkf5sysbs?
pid=9780143104094&affid=mrunalrugm)

world geo physical

Goh Cheng Leong (http://www.flipkart.com/certificate-physicalhuman-geography-1st/p/itmczyt7kuqrvjyg?


pid=9780195628166&affid=mrunalrugm), Atlas, NCERT

resource
distributionfactors
for industrial
location

Past years geography optional papers


Mrunal.org/geography (http://mrunal.org/geography) (really
good)

earthquake
tsunami etc

Google- howstuffworks.com

impact on florafauna

NIOS (http://mrunal.org/download), newspaper

General studies (Mains) paper 2


Topic

How Did You Prepare?


Introduction to Constitution DD Basu

Indian
Constitution,
devolution,

(http://www.flipkart.com/introduction-constitution-india21st/p/itmdx9sfmbnfzsqp?
pid=9788180389184&affid=mrunalrugm)

dispute redressal
etc.

Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth (http://www.flipkart.com/indianpolity-4th/p/itmdmmsnbhqfwj3a?


pid=9781259064128&affid=mrunalrugm)

comparing
Constitution with
world

Ditto+ Vajiram Notes

parliament, state
Legislatures

Ditto

executivejudiciary

Ditto

ministries
departments

Ditto

pressure group,
informal asso.

Insightsonindia

Representation
of peoples act

Visionias handout

various bodies:
Constitutional,
statutory..

Ditto

NGO, SHG etc

Insightsonindia

welfare schemes,
bodies

Newspapers

social sector,
health, edu, HRD

Newspapers

governance,
transparency,
accountability

Vajiram notes, Laxmikanth(on Governance)

e-governance

Mohit Bhattacharya (http://www.flipkart.com/new-horizons-publicadministration/p/itmdyu7mah7ggcyf?


pid=9788173610660&affid=mrunalrugm) (just that chapter, had it
from pub ad optional last year)

role of civil
service

Vajiram notes

India &
neighbors

Newspapers, World Focus

bilateral/global
grouping

Ditto

effect of foreign
country policies
on Indian
interest

Ditto

Diaspora

Not much prep- skipped it except for policies for diaspora- done from
Ministry website

international
bodies- structure
mandate

Googled

General studies (Mains) Paper 3


Topic

How Did You Prepare?

Indian economy,
resource
mobilization

Dutt Sundaram

inclusive growth

Ditto+ vision handout+ planning commission

Budgeting

Vision ias + planning commission (especially recommendations on


changing the budgeting process)

major crops,
irrigation

Past years geography optional solved

agro produce
storage, marketing

Vajiram notes

e-technology for
famers

Newspapers

farm subsidies, MSP

Uma Kapila

PDS, buffer, food


security

Ditto

technology mission

Google

animal rearing

economics

Mrunal (very good)Vajiram notes


Mrunals [Food processing] article series

food processing

(http://mrunal.org/economy)
+ Ministry website
Uma Kapila Indian Economy (http://www.flipkart.com/indianeconomy-performance-policies-14th/p/itmdzjhxxnej7z5y?
pid=9789332700857&affid=mrunalrugm)

land reforms

Bipin Chandra(since independence)


(http://www.flipkart.com/india-sinceindependence/p/itmczyrqkf5sysbs?
pid=9780143104094&affid=mrunalrugm)

Liberalization

Uma Kapila

Infra

Newspaper, Eco survey

investment models

Vision Ias handout, extensive google

science-tech day to
day life

Newspaper.

Indian achievements
in sci-tech

Google

awareness in IT,
space, biotech, nano,
IPR

Vajiram notes

environmental
impact assessment

Vajiram + google

Disaster
Management

Yojana, special issue of Chronicle, Newspaper

non state actors,


internal security

Newspaper, idsa

internal security
role of media, social
networking site

Ditto

cyber security

Ditto

money laundering

Ditto

border Management

Ministry of Home, vision ias handout

organized crime,
terrorism

Newspaper, internet

security agenciesstructure mandate

Vajiram handout

General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude


Topic

How Did You Prepare?

1. ethics and
interface,
family, society
and all the

hathodaa
topics
2. attitude,
moral
influence etc.
3. civil service:
integrity,
impartiality,
tolerance to
weak etc
4. emotional

MOSTLY FROM VAJIRAM

intelligence,

BOUGHT Ethics, Integrity Aptitude By Retd. IAS Officers- G.Subba

its use in

Rao And PN Roy Chowdhary (http://www.flipkart.com/ethics-

governance

integrity-aptitude-civil-services-main-examination-paper-5-

5. ethics in
pub.ad,
accountability,
laws, rules
etc.
6. corporate
governance

1st/p/itmdpf9fxx8cqzt3?pid=9789383454181&affid=mrunalrugm)
these two will suffice for all the below mentioned topics.

7. probity in
governance,
work culture
8. citizen
charter, ethics
code, work
culture etc.
9. challenges of
corruption

moral thinkers of
India and world

How many thinkers did you prepare?4-5- I did Confucious, Gandhi,


Kautilya. Buddha. While reading Freedom Struggle I made a mental
note of incidents where our leaders faced moral dilemmas and
noticed the choices they made. I tried to quote these examples in my
answers. Further Subba Rao (http://www.flipkart.com/ethics-integrityaptitude-civil-services-main-examination-paper-51st/p/itmdpf9fxx8cqzt3?pid=9789383454181&affid=mrunalrugm) has
cited many thinkers while providing practical answers to case studies,
I went through these as well.

case studies on
above topics

Googled, + Subbarao (http://www.flipkart.com/ethics-integrityaptitude-civil-services-main-examination-paper-51st/p/itmdpf9fxx8cqzt3?pid=9789383454181&affid=mrunalrugm)

Any other comments, word of wisdom after going through the mains-2013.
Be prepared to answer questions in as short time as possible. Use mix of point and para
form.

GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2013


Q. in GS4 ethics papers, please give a sketchy overview of your case study answers:
Case

your approach/ keypoints

1: RTI: To hide or not to hide

Disclosure of Conflict of Interest if any + do right thing=


not to hide

2: Engineer: Bogus flyover vs


deadline

Public interest and not self interest= inform head of


problem, request for extra labour to help complete on
time, otherwise extend time period and explainto public
reasons + regret inconvenience.

Long and short


Recommend policy change= kids from elsewhere get
covered
3: Child Labourers in Sivakasi

Have panchayat get involved= can identify those kids


that are not relatives+ baal panchayats
Open school=> better long term employment
opportunity + prosperity rather than firecracker
Find ways to maintain register of number of kids

4: Nepotism in Job recruitment

Will act without fear and favour. In any case such stuff
doesnt suit the long term interests of maintaining
academic excellence

5: Leaking information

Without fear or favour. Will not leak information. Not in


public interest. Will explain the same to that Minister as
well. If forced/coerced= will tell law enforcement
agencies

6: Narrate one incident in your


life when you were faced with
such crisis of conscience and
how you resolved the same.

As editor of a Journal in assessment of editorial test of


my friend had to take action against her- despite her
being my friend. Because not in her interest (she will lie
for bigger things later), nor in interest of journal.

Mains answer-writing?
Q. How was your experience with the fixed space answer sheet?
No problem
Q. Did you write answers in bullet points or in paragraphs? Some players (who cleared
mains and got interview call letter) were claiming that they wrote entire paper in
bullet points, so it doesnt matter.whether examiner is asking examine, comment,
discuss or xyz.simply write in bullets and points.
Mixed. I paid attention to the examine, comment, discuss. If discuss for eg. I wrote in paras.
Q. Did you follow the introduction-body-conclusion format? because some mainsqualified candidates claim they simply wrote the points they could recall within the
time, instead of bothering with proper introduction and conclusion.

No. I tried initially but realized I was losing time. I then did away with intro, got straight to the
point and wrote a one line optimistic conclusion.
Q. In GS papers, Since UPSC came with those 100 and 200 words questions. What was
your approach in the exam (I wrote all, I only focused on the questions where I could
answer perfectly, I just not to high quality points to reach the word limit etc.)
I tried to maximize the number of questions. However, where there were straightforward
questions to be answered, I did not attempt unless I was sure or could make an educated
guess- eg. S&T. However, where I could gauge even vaguely, I attempted.
Q. How many marks worth questions did you skip/couldnt finish in the GS papers?
GS (Mains paper)

Couldnt finish __ mark.

GS1

GS2

4 ( 2 of which I knew very well and felt very bad about leaving them)

GS3

GS4

Q5. Did you use highlighters / sketchpens in your answers?


No simply underlined with pen if I could
Q6. Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in GS1 Geography)
No
Q7. If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen?
N/A
Q8. Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand?
N/A
Q9. You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen?

Blue pen
(Mrunal since readers keep mailing such queries, therefore Im asking the topper to clear
all the air haha.)

Law optional subject


Q1. First the essential book/resource list.
Torts- Bangia
International Law= S.k. Kapoor (very repetitive) or Starke ( if there is enough timeespecially basics such as Treaty, Custom, etc)
Constitutional law MP Jain (http://www.flipkart.com/indian-constitutional-law7th/p/itmdvy3h8hnht7dw?pid=9789351430643&affid=mrunalrugm) OR VN Shukla
Contract= Avtar Singh (question on Agency or Partnership always comes)
IPC= Gaur/Pillai + pay special attention to the Offences Against Property
AK Jain Dukkis strictly for revision purpose for all subjects+ small Acts= Sale of Goods,
Partnership, Arbitration, IPR.
Q2. How much of internet-research / current affairs is necessary for this optional? OR
can one simply rely on the books and be done with this subject?
Not too relevant except for certain topics= eg. Terrorism in International Law.
Q3. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
It is my graduation subject so not very long. Shouldnt take more than 3 or 4 months if done
from scratch.
Q4. How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice?
Right after prelims- I started daily answer practice from insightsonindia
And test series from vision ias after one month of prelims( couldnt do all tests)
Q5. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or
paper?
Yes, I use post=its for revision. Paper form

Q6. Your observation about the difficultly level of 2013 mains vs previous papers. And
what precautions / rectifications are necessary in the future strategy for given
optional subject?
I thought the Law Paper especially Paper II was more difficult simply since the compulsory
questions touched upon areas such as IPR which many aspirants tend not to study in
detail due to the vastness of the course. Thus the best bet for a vast syllabus like law is to
start early- do everything and constantly revise.
It is my suggestion that where the question paper asks for a case and you are not able to
recall any (eg. In IPR) and you have no option but to attempt the question then explain the
basic concept with the help of an example. This shows the examiner that you understand
the concept and have displayed good skills by giving a hypothetical situation based on the
concept. In such a case you may still get decently marked for the question even if you
havent written a case name. I did this for the IPR compulsory question.
While giving case laws, please dont give a list of cases- just the most relevant.
One big problem most aspirants face while studying for law is what are the relevant cases
in Paper 2. It is here that it is best to use the AK Jain Dukki to guide you in selecting the
most relevant cases- the author has to be short so has most likely provided the most
relevant case. Yes, it is still hard to retain all the case laws in mind. Thus, it is important to
constantly revise. In any case, if you forget the name of the case you can still explain the
facts or give an illustration. SO please dont stress so much about the relevant cases in
Paper II.
Q7.How much did you skip OR couldnt answer properly, in the optional paper?
optional paper

Couldnt finish __ mark. + comments on any weird questions

Paper I

Did not skip

paper II

Did not skip

Before the interview


Q1. How did you prepare for the interview? Particularly college graduation subjects
related questions?

Made several questions from DAF, got questions from peers and parents, answered them
daily sometimes in front of mirror( had bad posture and wanted to ensure my hunch doesnt
come in involuntarily), Graduation subject not an issue since had studied it for Mains.
Q2. Did you attend any mock interviews by coaching classes? How were they similar /
different than official interview? Do you believe it is necessary to attend such mock
interviews?
Yes. I attended mocks at Vajiram and Samkalp. The official interview was not at all similar to
the Mocks. But they are useful for building confidence.
Q3. What did you wear? Some experts say coat is must, some say tie is must, and some
say black shoes must. What attire did you pick up?
Cotton Sari
Q4. Where did you stay for the interview? (Hotel / friends home ) and what
books/material did you bring for the revision before interview?
At home (Im based in Delhi). Just looked at my diary of DAF qs&As once. Diary is a good way
of introspection so that you know yourself thoroughly before you go into the interview room.
Never try to mug up an answer. It should come naturally and from the heart,

During the interview


Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Rajni Razdan Maam.
Q2. How long was the interview?
25-30 mins
Q3. Why do you want to join civil service? Why dont you continue in your graduation
field? Social service can be done from private sector too. [Since I dont know whether
they ask you this question or not. But if they had asked- what will be your reply?]

Want to use my education for purpose above myself. As civil servant any decisions can lead
much larger imprint than any other (eg NGO)+ offers diversity, career progression.
Q4. Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did
you reply and other pleasant or uncomfortable experiences during the interview.
Mam may I come in.
Yes please do.
Goodmorning Maam, sirs (with a big smile)
May I take a seat?
Yes please be seated.
CP(Chairperson)- Is this you?(showing photo)? Tell me your Roll No.
CP: Name members of the cat family?
Me: Cat family? Lion, Tiger, Leopard, Panther, Cat itself. Maam I cant recall any more.
CP: Come on. There are many more. Sounds like a car, shoes?
Me: Oh sorry Maam: Jaguar, Puma
CP: You are forgetting Cheetah the poor fellow
Me: Right Maam Cheetah as well
CP: What book have you read last? Tell me about
Me: Maam the last book I read was Khaled Hossenis And the Mountains Echoed.
(http://www.flipkart.com/and-the-mountains-echoed/p/itmdp95gaa4pp2xg?
pid=9789382951001&affid=mrunalrugm) The book is aboutCP: okay

M1: Can you tell us the latin maxim for no man can be a judge in his own cause?
Me: told
M1: How did you choose law?
Me: Sir I used to read a lot of books where young lawyers armed with a sense of justice and
fairness were able to take on seemingly undefeatable perpetrators of injustice. I also noticed
how many persons in public life had in fact been lawyers. I realized it would help me
empower myself and through me others and therefore I chose law.
M1: What books did you read? Perry Mason
Me: No sir,(M1 said I thought you were a reading enthusiast). I read John Grisham and Jeffery
Archer.
M1: Tell me as a lawyer and not as a woman, how do you see the justice system
operating with respect to women?
Me: Sir, there are two things. First, law does not have to be emotional but has to be sensitive
to women and thus many changes are being introduced to make justice more accessible to
women eg. that women do not go through the same victimization while giving their
testimony. Secondly, however, Courts have at times taken decisions that may not be in the
spirit of the law- eg. The Shakti Mills Death sentence
M1: But then are there no ethics in law?( referring to my opposition to the Shakti Mills
decision)
Me: Sir, certainly there are. But law cannot be emotional. Ethics automatically mean fairness
and justice and not emotions. Sensitivity ofcourse is good.
M2: You have been an editor of a magazine, what articles have you published recently.
Or else what interesting articles from the field of IPR will you recommend to the
board?

Me: Sir, I held the position of editor while I was in University so I have not published anything
of late. However, there have been many interesting articles appearing in the newspaper with
respect to Indias patent regime and how it is a friction point for Indo- US relations.
M3: How many years is patent given for? What is patent?
Me: Answered
M3: What is this special status of J& K?
Me: Answered
M3: From legal view point do you believe this has helped Kashmir?
Me: Certainly sir, first of all it is the link between the Accession Terms and the Constitution of
India. Secondly, it has given more autonomy to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they
have their own Constitution, Criminal Code, etc. this has kept the unique position of J&K in
mind.
M3: okay have you heard of Womens Representation Bill. Are you in its favour?
Me: Yes sir. I am certainly in favour of reservation for women in Parliament considering we
have amongst the lowest number of women in the Parliament.
M3: Yes so why has it not been passed?
Me: Sir, I believe there are differences of opinion wrt the provisions of the Act. I understand
there are concerns with respect to the rotation of constituency. But there are many solutions
eg. The dual member constituency. The Bill should atleast be debated.
M3: Do you think in the near future this is possible?
Me: yes sir, I am very hopeful and optimistic. As a woman voter I have voted keeping this
issue in mind. Women have even sent a womanifesto which included this as an essential
requirement of all political parties and a widespread consenus was seen. SO I am very
optimistic.
M4: Law is an Ass what does it mean?

Me: Sir, Charles Dickens had written that Law is an Ass if it does not operate on the basis of
ground reality but rather creates its own legal fiction. If law does this, then it is not being
sensitive to what actually exists and may not be a sensible proposition. However, sir I feel we
can even look at it in the positive sense that law is an ass because law works hard to keep up
with society just like an ass works very hard. (Laughter from all)
M4: You have done many treks. Can you describe your last trek?
Me: Yes sir, We went on a family trek to Snow View Peak in Nainital last February. Its called
Snow view but even that doesnt prepare you for the gorgeous sight that appears before you.
It was about 3- 4 Kms of a relatively easy trek and thereafter a slightly hard but rewarding
climb. Once you reached the top of the peak you could see a vista of beautiful snow clad
mountains. It was stunning. (Everyone nodding etc)
Today one Court decision comes, tomorrow another bench decides something else. So
where is the law?
Me: Sir, precedent is indeed very important. But sometimes if it is blindly followed then it can
lead to injustice. For eg. There was a case called Mathura rape case wherein Supreme Court
gave benefit of immunity to a police officer who had raped a young girl because he was
under employment at the time of the incident and Government servants were said to enjoy
immunity from prosecution when working in their official capacity. However, sir , this decision
was not followed as precedent as it would have led to grave injustice.
At the same time sir I do believe that the Supreme Court specially should strictly follow the
rule that only Constitutional benches (5 judge bench and above) can hear questions of public
importance, rather than the current practice wherein even 2 judge benches are deciding
issues. This will lead to the doctrine of precedent being followed even in the lower Courts.
M4: Is retrospective law a good thing?
Me: Sir, it depends. For instance criminal law should not be retrospectively applied but it can
be done in civil law. Even in civil law however, for instances such as taxation if applied
retrospectively it may not be correct if it greatly prejudices the tax planning.

Therafter there was a discussion between me and M4 on the difference between tax evasion
and tax avoidance; the Vodafone case and finally Chairperson stepped in and said Okay
THankyou.
Me: Maam the interview is over?
CP: Yes you can go before this debate continues endlessly (everyone was laughingmaybe M4 was a tax expert)
Me: Right Maam, Thankyou Maam and thank you sirs.
Q5. Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask
you totally unexpected questions? Was it a stress interview, did they ask any
uncomfortable questions? If yes, how did you handle it?
Not really a stress interview. I like a quote that says you are ready for an interview not when
you know all the answers but when you can handle all the questions. That was how my
interview went. Rajni Maam pretended to sleep, ate peanuts , etc. but she was paying
attention. I did not get distracted but if I felt I was going to get distracted then I did not look at
her directly but looked at everyone else once in a while( this also kept them all engaged ).
Q6. Any side details about technicalities like make sure you bring xyz document or do
xyz thing, or youll face problem?
Photos+ completed survey+ date of birth confirmation (10th std certificate)
Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?
Carry a water bottle, wear something comfortable, carry a book. It takes from 9 Am- 4pm.

CSE-2013 Marksheet
SUBJECTS

MARKS

ESSAY (PAPER-I)

080

GENRAL STUDIES -I (PAPER-II)

093

GENRAL STUDIES -II (PAPER-III)

062

GENRAL STUDIES -III (PAPER-IV)

088

GENRAL STUDIES -IV (PAPER-V)

109

OPTIONAL-I (LAW) (PAPER-VI)

124

OPTIONAL-II (LAW) (PAPER-VII)

139

WRITTEN TOTAL

695

PERSONALITY TEST

217

FINAL TOTAL

912

Q2. After looking at the marksheet, suppose you had to prepare again next time, what
changes will you make in your studies?
I would really find out what goes wrong with my essay each time and work on that.

Career Backup
Q1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?
Practice as Advocate/ Research Assistantship/ write Judicial Service Exam
Q2. When were you going to execute that backup plan?
Simultaneously with next attempt (3rd)

Views on UPSC reforms


What are your views on following issues?
Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present stalemate is helping
no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers.
Optional subject still accounts for 500 marks. Maybe reduce weightage to 250 and then
slowly phase out.
Q. Despite what UPSC has done in recent years, it has failed to curb the nuisance of
Delhis coaching factories. In fact its increased under the new syllabus in 2013. Lets
face it, most toppers who gave Mains-2013 have (partially or fully) relied on (authentic

OR Xeroxed) coaching notes because there was hardly any time left to prepare so
many topics in such short time. This system work against an individual preparing from
far-away area without any contacts in Delhi.
I agree. Syllabus changes should be announced well in advance. At the same time, maybe a
basic prescribed book list will help- which are available as free download.
Q. Half-merger of IFoS with CSE is a bad move because it has raised the cutoffs for
players whore solely dedicated to IFoS only (and not to IAS/IPS). Adding salt to the
wounds, many who had applied for both jobs, cleared the prelims- they did not even
bother to appear in all the papers of Mains-IFoS. (RTI revealed this).
I agree.
Q. UPSC should disclose official prelim answerkey and cutoffs, immediately after
prelim is over, instead of postponing it till interview phase is over.
While disclosing cut offs immediately maybe difficult administratively till result for prelims is
announced, UPSC should definitely have an answer key ready immediately.
Q. UPSC should be conducted online like IBPS and CAT exam to shorten the duration of
exam.
This may not be a good option for students who are in remote areas, or where internet
connection is poor. Several times CAT aspirants have faced difficulties with the test being
conducted again in particular centers. The numbers UPSC is dealing with is much greater
than CAT. These issues might in fact slow down the process,
However, maybe UPSC can begin experimentation on pilot basis and then apply it to the
exam.
Q. If you are made the UPSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the
civil service exam?
At the interview stage I would follow some kind of standardized policy of marking.

Insecurity about prole

Q. Many candidates prepare sincerely but constantly live under fear about profile
insecurity. Im not from a big college, Im not from English medium, and I dont have
work-experience. What if they ask some stressful questions in the interview about
this? Did you suffer from such insecurities? What is your message to these candidates?
The best thing about this exam (especially after recent changes) is that it offers a level
playing field. It doesnt matter if you are not from a big college or from a non- English
medium. You are eligible for the exam which means you are as much competition as the
next person.
Your personality is not dependent on the aforementioned factors. Dont let these distract
you. Focus on the task at hand. Everyone comes to the exam with a clean slate.
I have read so many inspiring stories about aspirants from rural backgrounds studying
under a street light at night and succeeding in the exam. What matters is that they are
passionate, determined, and have grit and courage. This is all you need.

Wisdom
Q. Through this struggle and success, what have your learned? What is the wisdom of
life and competition? What is your message to the new aspirants?
Equanimity- Dont get affected by either the success or the failure. Enjoy the journey that
this exam is. It teaches you a lot about yourself and makes you stronger. When I got the
result I was with my grandmother who was hospitalized.
I realized that even if the Result had not been positive, it would not have led me to be very
frustrated because being in the hospital where people strive for life when they are this
close to death I realized that there is so much more to life than worrying about a result.
The exam is not the end , it is but a beginning of a journey. If you do not succeed, it is not
the end of the world.
Q. Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of CSE-2013. Theyre
feeling dejected- what is your message to them?
It happened to me in my first attempt. It feels terrible. But if you decide to go ahead with
giving the next attempt then pick yourself up because there is no other way. Take it one day
at a time and study for the next round. Here are lines from a very inspiring song.


,


,



,



.
Translated: Change your destiny, gather your strength and just walk towards your
goal.your courage will alter the lines on your palm, so come and colour your world in
the colours of your dreams. SO what if its dark right now, tomorrow will be a new
morning.

Credit: Friends/family
Q. Behind every topper are many people who stood by during those uncertain times
when he/she was merely an aspirant. Would you like to tell the world, who were those
people in your case? Any specific incidence that you would like to share with the
readers?
Credit to my family and fianc. They really supported me throughout, especially on days
when I was low.

BOGUS Marketing Propaganda


Q. You are well aware of the sacred rule the last question must be about selfmarketing. So, Did you use Mrunal.org for your preparation and if yes, how did it help

you? And you can even reply No. Ill still publish your answer without tempering,
unlike those competitive magazines.
Yes. I used it all the time. I have subscribed to the email updates. I would regularly update my
notes from this website. I love the crisp and logical explanations which ensure that a person
truly understands rather than memorizes a concept. Mrunals notes on colonization of Africa,
factors affecting location of industry, economy, etc. were really very useful. Great job Mrunal!

Mrunal relies: Thanks a lot Ms.Sakshi, for detailing out your preparation strategy for general
studies and Law optional, itll greatly help the future aspirants. We wish you the best for
cadre allocation and long career ahead. Keep in touch.

Tags: Optional-Law (http://mrunal.org/tag/optional-law), Topper-CSE-2013


(http://mrunal.org/tag/topper-cse-2013)

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30-Apr: Tamilnadu Youth Inst. (http://rgniyd.gov.in/node/710)
30-Apr: Ranchi Nurse (http://www.cipranchi.nic.in)
30-Apr: Sikkim Univ (http://www.cus.ac.in/index.php/su-rec-2015)
30-Apr: Ranchi Medical (http://www.rimsranchi.org/)
30-Apr: KGMU Lucknow (http://kgmu.org/job-opportunities.php)
30-Apr: Uttarakhand (http://www.recruitmenthnbgu.co.in/)
29-Apr: Utkal Univ. (https://recruitment.utkaluniversity.ac.in)
27-Apr: Assam Diphu Uni. (http://apsc.nic.in/Advertisement%206_2015..pdf)

Uniform
15-May: Havildar Edu. Corps (http://joinindianarmy.gov.in)
05-May: Lok Sabha Ex-Servicemen (http://164.100.47.132/JRCell/Module/Notice/Advt.12015.pdf)
04-May: BSF Constable Sports Quota (http://www.bsf.nic.in/recruitment/r240.pdf)
01-May: Indian Navy Logistics (http://nausena-bharti.nic.in/forthcomingOfficer.php)
01-May: Indian Navy Air Traffic (http://nausena-bharti.nic.in/forthcomingOfficer.php)
28-Apr: CAPF SI(1706)

(http://ssc.nic.in/notice/examnotice/Notice_SI_in_CAPFs_ASI_and_Delhi_Police_2015_27_03_2015.p
28-Apr: CISF ASI(95)

(http://ssc.nic.in/notice/examnotice/Notice_SI_in_CAPFs_ASI_and_Delhi_Police_2015_27_03_2015.p
28-Apr: Delhi SI(1101)

(http://ssc.nic.in/notice/examnotice/Notice_SI_in_CAPFs_ASI_and_Delhi_Police_2015_27_03_2015.p

B.Com,CA,HR,MBA
10-Jun: AAI Finance/HR
(http://www.aai.aero/employment_news/Employee_Recruitment_new.jsp)
31-May: NPCIL Fin/HR (http://npcilcareers.co.in/MainSite/default.aspx)
15-May: MP Nigam CA (http://www.mppmcl.com)
30-Apr: HMT HR ( http://www.hmtindia.com/pdf/MTL_Extranal_Recruitment_Advt_2015.pdf)
29-Apr: Vijaya Bank (CA) (http://www.vijayabank.com/Careers)
27-Apr: SBI Specialist (CA) (https://www.sbi.co.in/portal/web/home/careers-with-us)

RESULT /MARKSHEET

TENTATIVE NOTIFICATIONS
IAS-IPS-IFoS: 16 May
IES: 7 Feb
SSC CGL: 2 May
SSC 10+2: 6 June
SSC Sub insp: 28 Mar
CAT: Aug 2015

RBI Officer / Assistant: ??


IBPS PO / Clerk / RRB: ??
ACIO 2015: ??

1. Online Form Part-I stops few days before deadline, so don't wait till last date. Dont
forget reg.id & roll no.
2. I usually update vacancy list every Monday. Purple link= newly added, Blue= existing.
Last updated Mon. Apr 27, at 6:20PM

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