RANK 275: Vikas Jakhar, 3rd Attempt, History Optional

Vikas Jakhar has secured Rank 275 in Civil Services Examination,2015. This was his third attempt at the coveted exam. He has also featured in the merit list of UPSC in his previous 2 attempts

Vikas has been associated with forumias.com since the last one year and has been an active member throughout. He has inspired many with his timely advices, comments and now, with his success.

ForumIAS would like to congratulate him for his spectacular success and wish him all the best for his life as an officer.

Given below is the transcript of his interview with forumias where he describes his journey, experiences and preparation strategy. We hope that it would be of immense help to everyone.


Your Name

Vikas Jakhar

All India Rank in Civil Services Examination 

CSE2013 – 637, CSE2014 – 696, CSE2015 – 275

Your ForumIAS User Name 


Which attempt was this at Civil Services Examination?


Where do you hail from?

Rohtak, Haryana

Mother is mathematics teacher in govt. high school. Father a college professor.
Tell us something about your family background

Your graduation or early education

B.Tech from IIT Roorkee

Your Optional Subjects


Your medium of Instruction in School?


Your medium of instruction in college?


Your medium of writing the Mains?


Any initial preparation?

Read newspapers and competition magazines in college time.

First, tell us something about yourself!

IIT graduate and civil servant. Veteran player of UPSC. INTJ by personality type. Good orator and great presenter. Creative bent of mind. Socially liberal but politically conservative. Sketcher, dramatist and playwright.


What books/notes did you refer to for General Studies and CSAT for prelims?

For GS NCERTs, GS Manual, Bipin chandra, Laxmikant etc. standard books

How many questions did you attempt in GS in Prelims?


Do you think attempting more questions is the key to success in Prelims? Is there an ideal number of questions one should attempt? How did you decide to attempt those questions which you were not sure of?

Yes.Ideally around 75 to 85 should be attempted. Intelligent guesses sometimes.

What was your score in UPSC Prelims?

P1:120 P2: 160

How much was the variation in your official Prelims score in comparison to that of coaching keys?

10 marks


When did you start preparing for Mains Examination?

In final year of graduation

How did you cover Current Affairs?

The Hindu plus Vision material

Full Preparation: The Conquering of GS 1

Hisory is my optional so major part was done there, geography from standard sources. Socio part no special preparation.

Full Preparation: The Conquering of GS 2

Mainly current affairs from newspapers besides the standard books.

Full Preparation: The Conquering of GS 3

Mainly current affairs from newspapers besides the standard books

Full Preparation: The Conquering of GS 4

Took S K Mishra sir’s classes at GS Score

Full Preparation: The Conquering of ESSAY

No specific preparation just some writing practice.

Full Preparation: The Conquering of Optional Subject

Coaching from Baliyan in 2012. After that mainly self preparation from standard books.


How many questions did you attempt in GS1, GS2, GS3 and GS4?


Which Essays did you attempt in the Mains Examination?

Lending hand better than giving doles, Technology cannot replace manpower

Did you use the headings/subheading in an Essay?


Did you underline the important statements in Essay?


What went wrong in your previous attempt(s)? Which changes did you make in this attempt?

More focus on GS than optional.

Did you write your answers in bullet points or in paragraphs?


Did you make any diagrams along with your answers in any of the GS papers?


Did you give examples in most of your answers? Also did you mention any points from govt. reports like ARC, Punchhi Commission etc. in your answers?

I did mention recommendations of different committees.


Did you join any coaching classes for Prelims or Mains? If yes, which one?

Baliyan for history optional. GS score for ethics.

How far do you think is coaching necessary for preparing for Prelims and Mains Examination?

Not much.

Did you join any test series for Prelims and Mains? If yes, please mention the name and also how useful it was.

None for prelims. Vision for Mains, found it beneficial.

Did you practice answer writing for mains? If yes, please mention the approach you followed.

Wrote Vision test series


Which Interview Board did you face?

H.C. Gupta

How long was your interview?

35 minutes

Can you tell us briefly about your interview experience?

Based on highly factual questions. I have always held a viewpoint that people coming from non-civil services background like H.C. Gupta and D.K. Dewan are not suitable for judging candidates since they have little idea about civil services.

What did you wear for the Interview?

Light blue shirt, dark trousers.

What qualities do you think are being tested in the Interview? Some strict Do’s and Dont’s for the Interview for aspirants and Interview candidates?

Refer to this: https://www.quora.com/What-type-of-questions-are-asked-in-UPSC-CSE-interviews/answer/Vikas-Jakhar

What magazines /newspapers did you refer to for preparing Current Affairs?

The Hindu, Yojna, World Focus, EPW

Did you attend any mock interview sessions at the coaching classes? If yes, were they beneficial?

Attended mocks at Vajiram, Chaitanya, Chanakya etc. Not much beneficial with respect to actual assessment but good for practice.

Do you think marks in school or college can impact one’s score in the Interview?

Not at all.

Was there any improvement in your interview marks this year as compared to previous year(s) (if applicable)? If yes, what changed did you incorporate this time?

Actually there has been depletion. My interview marks have been 179( CSE13), 175 (CSE14), 143(CSE15)


How far did you use the Internet for your Preparation? Do you think in the changed UPSC pattern, today an aspirant can prepare wholly by referring sources from the Internet?

Made notes online, read paper online. Sources from net are very important these days.

How far did ForumIAS.com help you as a social network, as a sharing platform for you Prelims, Mains & Interview Preparation (and the excruciating period between the exam and results to chill out with co-aspirants and other successful candidates)?

I commented occasionally but was a regular follower as such. It is a good platform.

What is the best thing you like about ForumIAS?

Good moderation unlike the Orkut groups earlier.


Congratulation for making it. Is there any message you would like to give to IAS Aspirants who look up to you?

Work hard without expecting anything in return. You need to be true Nishkaam Karma believer in this game.

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