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IAS Topper’s Interview: Abhinav Agnihotri Rank 302 CSE 2015

Name Abhinav Agnihotri
Rank in CSE 2015 302
Total Attempts in CSE 4
Optional Subject Sociology
Medium English



Class 10 percentage of marks 89%
 Class 12Percentage of marks 80%
Graduation: College and marks 78%
Post graduation: College and marks N/A
Any other course N/A

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

Abhinav Agnihotri: Hard work, Short notes for Revision.

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

Abhinav Agnihotri: Integrated, tried to integrate history, geography, culture, economics, polity & governance.

GS Preparation for Prelims (Summary)

Study material / Guidance NCERT, Laxmikant, Ramesh Singh (ECO), Spectrum (History), Internet
Basic Books
Current Affairs GK Today, The Hindu, Mrunal, Vision IAS Notes
Any other

GS Mains Preparation (Summary)

Paper Study Material/Guidance Current Issues Source Answer Writing Practice
GS Paper 1 Standard Books The Hindu, Internet At Home
GS Paper 2 ARC, Laxmikant, Newspaper Do Do
GS Paper 3 Internet + Vision Notes Do Do
GS Paper 4 S. K. Mishra Sir Notes Do Do


Optional Subject Preparation (Summary)

Study material / Guidance
Basic Books Upendra Sir hand written notes
Current Affairs EPW
Answer Writing Nice IAS – Parveen Kishore Sir
Any other


IAS Score: How did you prepare for essay?

Abhinav Agnihotri: GS Score Essay Test Series by Manoj K Jha Sir.


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

Abhinav Agnihotri: Self – introspections practice to see myself in case studies as actor, discussion with friends.


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?

Abhinav Agnihotri: Referred and discussed with friends already selected.


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

Abhinav Agnihotri: Make notes simple, short and precise.


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

Abhinav Agnihotri: I realized that study beyond 9-10 hrs a day will not help me rather hinder me. So I managed time between studies and hobbies.


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?

Abhinav Agnihotri: For GS 2 & 3 point form; for GS 1 & 4 and sociology it was paragraph wise. No strict rule. I went for effective expression.


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?

Abhinav Agnihotri: I didn’t join any test series for prelims or mains. I think test series don’t help beyond certain points.


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?

Abhinav Agnihotri: I emphasized to remain cool, calm and focused. In pressure times, I used to talk to family and friends. I tried to pursue my hobbies. Enjoyed life with friends.


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?

Abhinav Agnihotri: I don’t agree that humanities and social science candidates are at any disadvantage.


IAS Score: Which sources you referred to prepare for Contemporary Issues.

Abhinav Agnihotri: Internet, economic survey, yojna, The Hindu.


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.

Abhinav Agnihotri:






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

Abhinav Agnihotri: Consistency and calm mind, add something new to your knowledge every day.

Abhinav Agnihotri Mark sheet

Paper Marks
Prelims 141+147
Essay (Paper 1) 113
GS 1 (Paper 2) 87
GS 2 (Paper 3) 98
GS 3 (Paper 4) 105
GS 4 (Paper 5) 97
Optional 1 (Paper 6) 126
Optional 2 (Paper 7 132
Written Tota1l 760
Personality Test 138
Total Score 898

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