STRATEGY + MOTIVATION: Vaibhav Gondane, Rank 25, CSE 2018, PSIR Optional, Insights Online Test Series Student

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Vaibhav Gondane, Rank 25, CSE 2018

PSIR Optional, Insights Online Test Series Student

Vaibhav Gondane Rank 25

Hi everyone,

My name is Vaibhav Gondane. I have secured AIR 25 in UPSC Civil Services Exam,2018.I come from Pune, Maharashtra and have done my B.Tech in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from College of Engineering,Pune.I graduated in 2018 and in the very first attempt at age of 22 secured an AIR- 25.

Vaibhav Gondane Rank 25 IAS 2018Written below is my strategy and what worked for me in this exam.


I believe prelims is one of the toughest phase of this exam seeing the sheer number of people giving the exam and the consistent unpredictability that UPSC brings in the questions.

To tackle prelims,I followed the same general list of books:

Ancient History-RS Sharma

Medieval History-Satish Chandra

Art and Culture-Nitin Singhania+11th std. NCERT Fine Arts

Modern History– Bipan Chandra+Spectrum

Geography-11th and 12th standard NCERTs


Economics-11th and 12th standard books on Macroeconomics and Microeconomics.

Environment-Had googled major national parks/wildlife sanctuaries,etc. + followed questions coming in past year question papers.

Science and Tech-Followed Current Affairs+ did basic study of nuclear, space technology, etc. from internet.

Current Affairs-The Hindu newspaper and Vision IAS monthly magazine.

Here I will like to mention the contribution of Insights in my success in prelims.I was a student of online prelims test series programme of Insights and regularly gave the tests on weekly basis.The high quality of questions along with detailed explanation helped me to ace my prelims.

Apart from the basic books,I would suggest aspirants to go through the previous years question papers to understand the level of UPSC questions.It is also imperative to at-least solve around 50-60 mock tests that will help to get real exam like experience.  



For Mains,I will first advice everyone to download UPSC syllabus and practically memorise it.It will help to filter out the mains related information from the varied sources that we read for the exam.

I followed the same books for mains as mentioned above.To cover other aspects,I had followed Vision IAS booklets which are available online.I had made short notes on all sub-parts of GS syllabus on ever-note and revised it multiple times.

With this,I think answer writing is equally if not more important to clear mains with good marks.I used to write 3-4 answer daily from the Insights Secure Initiative.I had also given 8 full length mock tests at Vision IAS.In every answer,I tried to give some data, make a diagram ,flowchart, map, etc. wherever possible.But I will suggest not to overdo it.GS answers should cover multiple dimensions.Further a small solution oriented conclusion is perhaps appreciated by UPSC.My focus in mains was to complete my paper and write good quality content in maximum questions.Time management is crucial for this and hence a lot of answer writing practice is needed.

In a nutshell will say that mains is 50% reading and 50% writing with proper time management and giving justice to majority of questions.



UPSC calls interview as Personality Test.Hence it is a test of personality and not knowledge which has already been tested in mains exam. Here, the focus should be on thorough study of each and every word of Detailed Application Form, predicting maximum questions that can be asked.I think honesty, confidence and calmness is rewarded in interview than mere knowledge.

To conclude,I will say that my success lies in reading limited books, doing maximum revision, giving lot of mock tests and doing answer writing practice.Lastly,I will also say that UPSC is not the end of life.Hence it should be treated just like an exam.Whatever we learn during the course of preparation for UPSC is helpful throughout our life.

All the best to everyone!