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Rahul Kumar Sinha UPSC 2011 - 60

th
Rank

With a balanced mixture of hardwork, grit, determination, discipline and confidence,
anything can be achieved.

Name: Rahul Kumar Sinha
Fathers Name: Shri Vijay Kumar Sinha
Mothers Name: Smt Anita Sinha
D.O.B: December 22, 1983

Educational Qualification:
Exam Year University / Board College / School % of Marks
10
th
1999 C.B.S.E St. Xaviers School, Hazaribagh 85.2%
12
th
2001 C.B.S.E Delhi Public School, Bokaro 80.4%
B.E 2006 Bharati Vidyapeech College of Engg., 76.2%

Previous Selections: UPSC 2009 (142 rank), BPSC 2009 (13
th
rank), JPSC 2009, Bank PO
2010 (SBI, Allahabad Bank, Bank of India).

Job Experience: Kanbay Capsgemini (Software Associate), Proto Tech.

Medium of Exam: English

Prices, Medals, Scholarships: 2
nd
Topper on University in Graduation, Merit Certificate by
CBSC for scoring 100% in Science in Matriculation, National Scholarship by Govt. of India for
scoring high marks in Board Exams.

Games, Sports and Extra Curriculars: Won many awards in sports, debate, quiz, painting,
elocution at school and college.

Favourite Person: Mahatma Gandhi

Strong Point: My patience, Never say die attitude and proper planning.

Weak Point: Being Emotional.
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Hobbies: Reading, Hindi Story books, listening to music and helping others.

Pratiyogita Darpan arranged an exclusive interview with Rahul Kumar Sinha who has been
selected in Civil Services Exam., 2010. He has achieved 60
th
rank. He deserves all admiration
and our heartiest congratulations on his splendid success. This important, thought
provoking and highly inspiring interview is being presented here in its original form.
PD: Achieving top slot in the Civil Services Examination is no small feat; accept out heartiest
congratulations on your splendid success.
Rahul: Thank you very much.
PD: Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services?

Rahul: I was a very small kid when my uncle (my fathers youngest brother) qualified the
Civil Services during the year 1991. Everybody in my whole family was so happy at that
moment that I thought that this is the best service in the world. I fixed my goal at that age
itself to make it to the IAS.

PD: Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in Civil
Services?

Rahul: During the final year of my Engineering, I got a campus selection in a Software
company. Having received a job security, I decided to start preparation for Civil Services.

PD: You must have read IAS Toppers interviews in newspapers / magazines; what inspired
you the most? Any particular success story which influenced your journey to this result?

Rahul: My exposure to Civil Services has been maximum through newspapers and
magazines only. In the initial phases of preparation, I relied mostly on IAS toppers
interviews to develop my strategy. The biggest inspiration was the fact that many of the
qualified candidates sacrificed their highly paid jobs in the corporate world and dedicated
themselves for the service of the nation. Many even did not bother to leave their settled life
abroad and risk their career.

PD: Was CSE a planned decision or your parents wish? Did you keep in mind some time
frame, for the examination preparation and number of attempts?

Rahul: It was both my parents and my wish. In fact my whole extended family was
interested in me joining this coveted service. They fully supported my decision of resigning
from my Corporate job while preparing and provided all kinds of support which I required.
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Initially, I thought of making it in the very first or at most second attempt though success
has come slightly late. But I can now say that fruits of hard work can be at most delayed but
not denied.

PD: The first step is the most difficult; how to prepare? Which optional subjects to pick?
What to read? How much to read? Many such questions come to your mind when you really
get serious about Civil Services Examination? From where did you get the right advice?

Rahul: What I did was that before starting my actual preparation I researched a lot. I
consulted many seniors, read Interviews of IAS toppers, did a cursory reading of various
optionals and then I was able to zero down on which subjects I should keep for the exams.
Regarding preparation plan, I used to learn from my own mistakes and kept on changing
methods whenever the situation required. However, I feel that such kind of long term
planning may not be of any use now as UPSC is changing the exam pattern quite frequently.
So the aspirants need to develop some kind of extempore preparation methods.

PD: Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this
news of your success?

Rahul: Yes, I was confident of getting success. The only glitch is that I got it slightly late.
Anyway All is well that ends well. When I received this news I was getting treatment on my
fractured leg at IPS Academy Hospital hence I was not able to enjoy the result as others
would have enjoyed. However I too had my share of happiness when I qualified for IPS last
year.

PD: In how many attempts have you achieved this success? How do you visualize your
preparation / previous attempts?

Rahul: This was my fourth and last attempt. I made it to IPS (AIR-142) in my third attempt.
Though I appeared at the Interviews in all the four attempts I missed the final Selection only
by a couple of marks in my first two attempts. Those attempts gave me a chance to correct
my mistakes and acted as a learning for my further attempts.

PD: Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your
ultimate goal i.e., Career in Civil Services?

Rahul: Yes, I was appearing in a number of other exams simultaneously consider the
unpredictability of this exam. I appeared for Bihar Civil Services, Jharkhand Civil Services,
Central Police Forces Exam and many Bank PO exams. Fortunately I was successful in all
these exams. This gave me a lot of confidence and at the same time a security of job.
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PD: While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career
opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services?

Rahul: I myself was working with a Software company which was paying me handsomely.
But then all of us will agree that the inner satisfaction doesnt come when you are serving
yourself alone; rather it comes when you serve others. It is only the Civil Services which can
bring such an opportunity. So this concept of public service was my prime motivation.

PD: While making final choice for optional subject/s, whats important and whats not?
Share your thoughts and opinions.

Rahul: In the beginning I started with Maths and Electrical Engineering as I am an Engineer
by education but within three months I realized that these subjects are not going to pay. I
checked the past years success rate of various optionals and accordingly sorted out two well
established optionals. In my opinion the arts subjects are doing well and so it would be
intelligent to choose from them. There is also an ample availability of study material and
coaching facility on them.

PD: What were your optional subjects? Give the basis of selecting them.

Rahul: Prelims: Geography.
Mains: Geography and Public Administration.
Geography is a subject which is of semi scientific nature and hence interesting. Public
Administration is actually the bread and butter for any administrator. I wanted to
understand the governing process of the country. Both these subjects had a good track
record of success and resource availability was optimum. Moreover the biggest benefit was
that both these subjects integrated well with the General Studies, Essay and Interviews.

PD: Did you keep the same optional subjects in all your attempts?

Rahul: Yes, I cleared the Mains in my first attempt with Geography and Public
Administration. So there was no point of changing the optional.

PD: In your opinion at which Educational Level should one start preparing for Civil Services
and what should be the minimum period of time required to prepare for Civil Services
Examinations?

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Rahul: One should start preparation during the final year of graduation and must sacrifice a
minimum of 2 years for a good preparation for the exam.

PD: What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better
chance to score than Humanities?

Rahul: It is completely opposite. I have been preparing for this exam since past many years
and I can say this very confidently that Humanities have a much better chance of scoring
more than Science subjects.

PD: What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE?

Rahul: English medium does has some kind of benefit on account of availability of guidance,
books, newspapers and magazines. But with the increasing number of successful candidates
in Hindi medium I dont think that medium is a handicap anymore.

PD: Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have
any impact on the preparation?

Rahul: In my opinion the educational and demographic status have not too much to do with
preparation of the candidate. But yes, the preparation is definitely getting expensive due to
rising inflation. In order to cut down expenditure, candidates can live on sharing basis. With
a room partner they can also share books, notes, magazines etc, which can bring down
expenses.

PD: In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing
for an examination like Civil Services?

Rahul: The Competition magazines are a must for CSE preparation. They contain everything
necessary for the candidate ranging from current affairs, burning articles, model test papers
and editorials to inspiring interviews of toppers. Reading at least two magazines every
month is a must.

PD: According to a recent report published by reputed survey agency, PRATIYOGITA
DARPAN (Hindi) is the largest read Career and Competition magazine. It has overall 2
nd
spot
among all magazines published in India. How do you find Pratiyogita Darpan?

Rahul: I must agree to the fact mentioned above. I personally have read many of its monthly
and special editions regularly and I have found them very useful.
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PD: Please give your comments on the PD Extra Issues Series on General Studies and a few
Optional Subjects?

Rahul: I would like to mention names of two of the special editions which I adore PD
Economics and Pd Indian Polity Special Issue. They are awesome. The meticulous coverage
of all the conventional and latest facts impressed me a lot. They reduced my search of
materials tremendously and customized my preparation. The other issues are also similarly
good and they cover the syllabus in a very handy and intelligent manner which makes the
task of the candidate easy.

PD: Did you refer to Pratiyogita Darpan Year Book? What is your opinion about the
contents, size and the time of publishing?

Rahul: Yes, I referred to Pd Year Book. Everything is perfect regarding the book.

PD: What is the secret of your success?

Rahul: Hardwork, patience, determination, confidence and consistency are the basic mantra
behind my success. I credit my achievements to the blessings of my near and dear ones and
above all to the grace of Almighty.

PD: What preference in services have you opted for?

Rahul: IAS, IPS, IFS.
PD: Any suggestion / advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.
Rahul: Friends, believe me that you all are genius. You only need to awaken this genius. If
you will show a balanced mixture of hard work, grit, determination, discipline, patience,
belief and confidence, leave alone UPSC, you can conquer the whole world.
Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.
Thanks a lot.

MY STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS
FOR PRELIMS
In my case all the three subjects had many things in common so it helped me to integrate
the preparation. I applied information of one subject into another which broadened my
knowledge and ultimately wisdom. The division of time was equivalent for every subject.
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As for negative marking I was used to such kind of papers so I didnt face any problem as
such. In questions where I had a confident answer, I marked them. Then in some questions I
applied elimination principle, in some I used intelligent guessing and in the rest where I had
no idea, I left them blank.
FOR MAINS
I didnt adopt any shift per se. I was fortunate to clear the Mains each and every time and so
I continued my time tested methodology of my earlier attempts.
FOR ESSAY PAPER
No special efforts as such since my optional took care of essay as well, though I kept the
writing habit for the essay paper also. Essay reflects ones originality and constructive skill
and so preparation is not a one day game. This time I wrote the essay on Indias Global
Leadership. I was well-read on this topic.
FOR INTERVIEW
This was going to be my fourth Interview in four attempts so I was hardly afraid. I had
already done too much of interview preparation in my previous attempts so I did not put
any specific efforts towards the preparation. Also since the training curriculum at the IPS
Academy was so rigorous that we were hardly left with any time for studies. So, I preferred
focusing on only a few aspects like policing in India, law and order, Criminal Justice System
etc. Since I had consistently scored very less marks at this stage in my previous attempts
(96, 156 and 117) so the fear of losing anything was absent with me this time. So I was not
nervous at all. I went to the Board quite confidently. It was chaired by Dr. K.K. Paul whom I
had faced in my second attempt.
The first question by the Chairman was about IPS and the content of the present training.
Then he enquired something about. Afghanistan. The other members posed questions from
areas like IPC, Cr. P.C, IEA, Janlokpal Bill, Role of DM, Tussle between DM and SP etc. Overall
the interview went quite well. Only simple questions were put before me and no tricky or
hypothetical questions were asked. It lasted for about 30 minutes.
This time I must admit that the board was highly cordial which actually surprised me
considering my past experiences. Even the Chairman who I faced two years back was also a
different person this time. My earlier interviews were highly stressed and non-cordial. There
was no cross questioning and they gave me sufficient time to respond to each question. I
scored 180 marks.
TIME MANAGEMENT
By nature I have been a very organized person since my childhood. I know how to manage
my time so I never faced any kind of difficulty either during preparation or inside
examination hall.
Courtesy:Pratiyogita Darpan
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*****

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