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IAS Topper’s Interview 2015: Rahul Gupta Rank 306

Name Rahul Gupta
Rank in CSE 2015 306
Total Attempts in CSE 02
Optional Subject Chemistry
Medium English


Class 10 percentage of marks 87%
 Class 12Percentage of marks 87%
Graduation: College and marks IIT Delhi 7.8 CGPA
Post graduation: College and marks IIT Delhi 8.4 CGPA
Any other course N/A

What Could I do for Better Rank

IAS Score: What were the basic mantras of your success?

Rahul Gupta: Keep it simple. Eat -> Study -> Sleep -> Repeat

Simplify syllabus, notes, answer writing, content, and personality.

IAS Score: What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?

Rahul Gupta: For Prelims: Understand past year trend of questions. They want basic understanding of everything. Ask questions like what, why, how when for every topics.

Mains: study like prelims but special focus on clarifying the knowledge.

IAS Score: Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate in the changing scenario?

Rahul Gupta: Before prelims, I studied the part of syllabus that is common in prelims and mains from both perspectives as explained in previous questions. But I made notes for at least half of GS syllabus after prelims.

GS Preparation for Prelims (Summary)

Study material / Guidance Test series solutions Vision
Basic Books Spectrum, M.I.H., lakshmikant, Geo NCERT, Shankar for environment.
Current Affairs Newspaper, The Hindu, vision CA

GS Mains Preparation (Summary)

Paper Study Material/Guidance Current Issues Source Answer Writing Practice
GS Paper 1 Plassey to partition , Nitin Singhaniya, Mrunal Geography, Vision Hand notes Newspaper, Vision CA Magazine Vision & Synergy Test Series
GS Paper 2 Do basics, newspaper issues, 12th ARC, Shubhra Ranjan IR Do
GS Paper 3 Eco survey, mrunal, internal security book Do
GS Paper 4 Vajiram Notes

Optional Subject Preparation (Summary)

Study material / Guidance
Basic Books Prui Sharma Pathania, K. L. Kapoor, Relevant tutorials material
Current Affairs
Answer Writing Test Series at DIAS
Any other

IAS Score: How did your prepare for essay.

Rahul Gupta: GS Score Test Series + Work previous years essay. For guidance Puneet sulari blog and topper answer script.

IAS Score: Did you adopted any specific strategy for GS Paper 4?

Rahul Gupta: Improved understanding of content by asking basic questions.

IAS Score: What were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard?

Rahul Gupta: I referred standard sources mostly. Quality of content can be judged by applying WH words (What, why, when, how) test. If a source answer these, then it’s good.

IAS Score: What is your advice on notes-making for other aspirants?

Rahul Gupta: Make them as crisp as possible. Neat, structured. They will help memorize the content. Do not leave it till the end.

IAS Score: How did you manage your time during the preparation?

Rahul Gupta: I studied 12 hrs a day. I used to have weekly target before beginning my studies in the memory. I used to make time table describing what I will be studying or what time during the day.

IAS Score: What was your style (paragraph or point format) of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?

Rahul Gupta: I wrote in point format with suitable headings, underlining important points. It came natural to me. I improved it with practice.

IAS Score: So much focus is being given to Test Series, both for Prelims and Mains, in your opinion how useful are they, in the course of a preparation process? Which Test Series did you join and how useful did you find it to be?

Rahul Gupta: Test series a barometer of your hard work. Very necessary in such competitive exam. They also help in time management. I joined vision and synergy for GS mains, GS Score for essay, DIAS for chemistry.

IAS Score: Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?

Rahul Gupta: Achievement of target and improvement of marks kept me moving. You have to constantly remind yourself why you are studying. To keep up the pace I used to talk to my friends during breaks. I used to jog in the evening to keep me fresh.

IAS Score: The trend suggests that professionals or working people are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Rahul Gupta: I think professional and working people may get better marks in the interview because they can manage time better.

But there is nothing to suggest that this exam proves difficult for humanities and social science candidates. Exam requires common sense and answer writing skills. Which can be developed by anyone?

IAS Score: Given the recent boom in online initiatives to support an aspirant, which were the platforms that you find useful enough during your course of preparation? Please list the sites.

Rahul Gupta:




IAS Score: What is your advice to the candidates who is still in the process of preparing for this examination?

Rahul Gupta:  Hard work, persistence, motivation are basic necessity. Focus on parts where you can secure more i.e. optional, essay and ethics. Don’t underestimate answer writing and presentation.

Your Mark sheet

Paper Marks
Prelims 119+157
Essay (Paper 1) 126
GS 1 (Paper 2) 93
GS 2 (Paper 3) 73
GS 3 (Paper 4) 93
GS 4 (Paper 5) 83
Optional 1 (Paper 6) 113
Optional 2 (Paper 7) 123
Written Total 704
Personality Test 193
Total Score 897

Click Here to Download Topper’s Test Copy of CSE 2015


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