Friday, May 24, 2013

Hobson's Choice

Final results of CSE 2012 were declared on 3rd of this month. I got a rank of 217 and I will be allotted Indian Police Service when the service allocation is done in July or August. No chance of any other service. So there ends my childhood dream of becoming IAS officer. I never ever thought even in my wildest dreams that I will wear khaki dress in my life. I dont have any choice now. Not that I am unhappy but I am not jumping with joy.

UPSC declared marks a few days back and as usual UPSC ruined chances of many people including me because of it's flawed normalisation system and flawed evaluation process full of subjectivity. I got 115 n essay, 115 + 115 in GS, 48 + 124 in PA, 99 + 147 in History, 220 in interview. In total 983. 30-32 marks more and I would be allotted IAS.

I wonder how I can get so low marks in PA1 when I was expecting above average marks relatively speaking. And I feel the average is around 75-80 marks in PA1 which in itself is very low when compared to Sociology, Economics, Commerce, Literature (especially Malyalam, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada), Chemistry etc. PA is worst hit among all the optionals with people getting even single digit marks in PA1. On an average PA candidates are awarded 70 to 80 marks less than what candidates with Sociology or Economics or Commerce or Literature optionals are awarded. So your selection and rank depended upon the optionals you chose rather than your worth. I curse my stars as I didnt take Sociology or Economics instead of PA. I was good in both of them.

I was expecting far better marks in GS1 than in GS2 but I got same marks in both! What is the probability that I get 115 in 3 papers? How on earth! As if I am given that number deliberately by UPSC. Even though the marks I got in PA2 and History1&2 are above average relatively speaking, I was expecting far better marks, especially in History1. This is what I wrote after CSM 12. You can see what my expectations were.

You can also see from the above link that there is a strong correlation between my handwriting and marks I got. I mentioned in that post that my handwriting in PA1 was bad and in History1 it was not good at all. I also mentioned that my handwriting in Essay was excellent. Incidentally I got worst marks in PA1, bad marks in history1 and excellent marks in Essay. I am happy because the notion which I long held that 'UPSC examiners who evaluate our answersheets are stupid and handwriting not the actual content is the deciding factor' is vindicted.

I got good marks, 220, in interview which saved the day for me. If I got only above average marks of around 175, I would have been out of the final list. I should thank Rajni Razdan for being reasonable and rational and for giving me what is due to me. You can read here my interview transcript and my expectations from the interview.

This exam is a grand lottery and if your stars and planets are aligned in correct positions, you will be in the list even if you are an idiot. And that saying 'allah meharban to gadha pehalwan' is apt for this exam. I always held that there is little correlation between the marks we get and the subject knowledge we have, what we write and the way we write in the exam. Many people came to me after the results are out to seek guidance. They didnt know my marks in PA1 at that time. :-) I dont have a surefire formula for scoring marks. No one can have, not even the first ranker. I dont know how to get good marks but what I know is how to study, what to study, how to write the answers well.

I will share scanned copies of all my notes which includes 2nd ARC reports, World History, mapping in history etc with in the next 10 days. I wanted to share the notes immediately after Mains but I couldnt find a scanner. Only today I found a scanner.

PS: I have taken down some 30 odd political posts on the blog keeping in mind neutrality of Weberian bureaucracy which my future job demands. So if you are reading my interview transcript and didnt find the posts I mentioned in my answers in the interview, dont think that I lied in the interview. :-)


  1. congrts bhai, i find ur name in list then again vist ur blog after long time,

    1. thanks kaka....kaise hai aap?....r u still in jodhpur?.....what r u doing now?

  2. this article is a good read. I will ask everyone to read this as even i hold the belief that there is no correlation b/w what we write and... :). May be a word from authoritative figures like you who has cleared the exam may demystify the air.

    Even then i would like to know how to write the answers well. Because there is a way which am not aware of. Pls can you share some pointers in this regard. The things which made u get the interview call twice. My marks are utterly hopeless even after two mains. Totally clueless

    1. yaar....many selected candidates have already shared their so called answer writing strategies before, and you may have come across them many times and wondered what is the difference between them and you when you to do the same things....let me tell you they are no different and infact you may be writing better answers than them....

      with time and experience everyone formulates their own answer writing strategies keeping in mind their own weaknesses and strengths....some are good at writing in paras, some at writing in points....nothing is inferior, nothing is my first 3 attempts i wrote in paras, in my last attempt i wrote in points wherever it was feasible....remember not to write in points when it looks odd....i am slow in writing so i prefer to write in points as that permits me to write more in less words....moreover it looks more organised to me when i write in points....

      everyone writes an intro and conclusion, i too write....30 words or so for intro and 30-40 words for conclusion in a 200 words answer....i never thought of a pattern for intro and conclusion, i always think of intro and conclusion then and there in the exam hall after reading the just comes with practice and time....remember that in the exam hall all the strategies fail often and so one should develop thinking on one's feet....

      one should carefully look into question and think for few seconds what is being heed to those words like 'examine', 'analyse', 'critically examine' etc...know the meaning of those words....dont rush into writing the answers....if it is a long question where you need to write more than 200 words, then it is better to jot down the things you want to write in the answer (just the keywords) and organise the structure of the answer, think about the intro, this in one minute and then begin writing the answer....

      handwriting is very important....some people opine that handwriting is not important and content is important....they cite the examples of anay dwivedi and varun whose handwriting is not good but good marks....these people were lucky that their answer sheets were evaluated properly inspite of their poor handwriting....most of the people are not that lucky....go to a handwriting expert who can suggest you some tips on improving your handwriting....choose a pen which suits you the best....aesthetics can do wonders to your marks.....

      practice makes man perfect....write tests and get them evaluated by your friends....they give better feedback that those coaching-wale....coaching centers just loot us....

      after reading these things, you may get a feeling that there is nothing different from what you do....cant help there... :-)

  3. congrats...sincerity and hard work pays :) your blog is really helpful for naive ppl like me :) looking forward for your guidance with respect to GS...I have given prelims this year,my score is 239...but i'm not really that prepared for mains...still got 4months,so thinking positively.. :)

    1. thank you....

      you got 6 can still do it if you utilise this 6 months properly......