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Shri Jatin Lal, attained 42nd Rank in his 3rd attempt in Civil Services Examination, 2015

“A wise man will make opportunities than he finds”


Shri Jatin Lal, who attained 42nd Rank in his 3rd attempt in Civil Services Examination, 2015 conducted by Union Public Service Commission; in an important, exclusive, thought-provoking and highly inspiring interview; attributes self motivation, hard work, excellent guidance and his family’s support to the secrets of his success. Extracts of the Interview:

On preference in services opted for and priority:


All the services are equally important for the development of the country. However, IAS provides the maximum scope for working towards the progress of the society. IFS is necessary for India and its relations with the world. IPS is very important for law and order without which progress is not possible.

On ‘Success is Sweet”, confidence & reacting to the news of the Top Rank:

I was confident of some good rank but I did not expect AIR 42. It was like a dream. It took a little time for me to digest this news. I showed my name to every member of the family to ensure that it was really my name and roll number.

On IAS toppers being icons, media coverage to toppers, and your opinion about those toppers; and particular success story which influenced your journey to this result:

Before my success I felt that these toppers were from some other planet or were blessed with an extraordinary brain. However, now I feel that if I can become an IAS then anybody else can.

Stories of Mr. O.P. Chaudhary (IAS), Mr. Gaurav Agarwal (AIR 1, 2013) and Ms. Neha Jain (AIR 12, 2013) influenced me the most.

On exact moment of realizing importance of ‘Civil Services’:

It was when my father told me about the importance of being a part of these services and the role an IAS plays for the country.

On the point of time of making up mind to make career in ‘Civil Services’:

It was during my job itself when one of my colleague made it to the services and that I realized that I should give a shot at the civil services.

On CSE being a planned decision or parents’ wish: 

It was a planned decision but my parents gave their complete support.

On ‘Time Management’ being a key factor in preparations & writing Prelims or the Mains:

Time Management is the most important aspect for preparing for this examination. The day should be divided into 3 slots of 3 hours each of continuous sitting. Test Series is necessary during both pre and mains examination.

On choice & basis of selecting optional subject:

The most important aspect is the interest in the subject. Never follow anybody while deciding the optional. It is also important that the subject should have relevance in Essay and GS papers also.

Optional Subject: Philosophy.

The syllabus should be limited. It should be more objective and less subjective. It should complement Essay and GS papers and most importantly of interest to the aspirant.


Name: Jatin Lal

Father’s Name: Mr. Naresh Kumar Lal

Mother’s Name: Mrs. Kamlesh Lal

Date of Birth: 25-11-1987

Educational Qualifications :

10th: 2002-03, CBSE, New Era Public School (73·4%)

12th: 2004-05, CBSE, New Era Public School (75·2%)

B.Tech (IT): 2005-09, GGSIPU, HMRITM (72·87%)

Previous Selections :

Junior Manager in BECIL (PSU) under MIB.

On the number of attempts, achieving success in the attempt and visualizing previous attempts?

3 attempts

I took leave from my office and started studying full time and made it to the Reserve List in CSE 2014. In my CSE 2015 attempt I tried to overcome my weaknesses and tried to give my best with more revisions and practice.

On the first step being the most difficult to prepare & getting the right advice:

Reading toppers’ interviews and their strategies helped in making the right decision regarding optional, what and how much to read etc. In this regard I would like to thank Pratiyogita Darpan also for giving me an insight into the civil services preparation arena.

On approach towards Paper I (General Studies) & Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Prelims preparations:

Paper I requires concentrated approach. The books should be read in such a manner that all facts and statements are understood in depth so that questions can be tackled easily.

On tackling ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims:

The attempt should be limited and unnecessary guesswork should be avoided. The best strategy is to attempt only those questions in which you are able to eliminate two options.

On adopting a shift in strategy for Main Examination (Written):

More emphasis on answer writing and trying to analyse all the issues help the most.

For my optional subject Philosophy, I joined Patanjali IAS (Dharmendra Sir).

I divided my day equally between optional and GS. I joined a good test series for both.

Personal Qualities

Favourite Person:  My father.

Strong Point: My family.

Weak Point: My short temper.

Hobbies: Cooking & net surfing.

On special effort for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper & on pick up of topics:

I picked those topics for which I had the maximum and diverse content. I chose those topics in which my knowledge of Philosophy could be used adequately. I practiced few essays and made few structures to be more comfortable.

On preparation for Interview, the Personality Test & facing it:

I made a comprehensive file of possible interview questions. Utmost significance should be given to DAF because most of the questions revolve around hobbies, work experience, home state etc. However, GS and Optional should also be brushed up. It is necessary to attend 5-6 mock interviews. The right dressing is also important. Practicing in front of mirror helps a lot.

On preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for ultimate goal i.e. Career in Civil Services:

I was already working in a PSU so my only goal was IAS.

On Motivation towards Civil Services despite other lucrative opportunities in changing economic environment:

Money is one of the motivating factors but it cannot motivate us to work for the next 30-35 years. Working for the welfare of the society and the diversity and challenging nature of job of an IAS is the biggest motivating factor.

On Educational Level to start & minimum time-frame for preparation for Civil Services Examinations:

The best time of preparing for Civil Services is during Graduation. Atleast 1 year of thorough study prior to the preliminary examination is necessary.

On general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities:

I feel that it does not depend on the subject you choose but the interest in that subject is what matters. All subjects are scoring if you are able to master yourself in that subject.

On importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE:

I feel that in the present pattern English is having an edge over Hindi Medium. I also support the fact there should be some parity between them and all aspirants irrespective of the medium should have a fair chance.

On impact of educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant on preparation:

All the factors like Educational, Financial as well as Demographic status of the family do have an impact on the preparation. However, the most important aspect is self confidence and the support of the family. Aspirants with weak backgrounds also perform equally good in this examination.

On role the Competition Magazines play in preparing for an examination like Civil Services:

Competition Magazines like Pratiyogita Darpan do play a positive role in the preparation because they provide comprehensive data in condensed form readily available in one place.

On finding “Pratiyogita Darpan” close to expectations & comments on the Extra Issues Series on ‘General Studies’ particularly ‘Indian Economy’ & Optional:

It is a good magazine for aspirants and gives a good amount of information in a single package.

Indian Economy issue is really good and I also referred to it during my preparation.

On the Secret of Success:

The Support of My Family

On giving Credit for success:

My Family, My Teachers and My Friends

Have Faith in yourself, your teachers and also in UPSC. Work hard towards your goal and be dedicated to your studies.

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