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TOPPER’S STRATEGY: Rohan Jagadeesh, Rank 224 CSE-2018, PSIR Optional, InsightsIAS OGP Student



Rohan Jagadeesh

Rank 224 CSE-2018, PSIR Optional

InsightsIAS OGP Student


Rohan Jagadeesh rank 224 IPS Karnataka


Hello, my name is Rohan Jagadeesh, I have secured Rank 224 this year. What I shall try to write in this post is a brief insight into my journey. I hope this finds you in the best of spirits and that it creates a sense of positivity in your preparation.

My Background.

I am a student of law. I have an integrated law degree comprising of B.A L.Lb and Economics(Hons.) from University Law College, Bangalore University. I graduated in the year 2015. My UPSC journey began thereafter and it has taken me the whole of three attempts to clear the exam.

What transpired between my three attempts.

We often here fantastic stories of success and only seldom get to see what goes into making that success possible. Unlike many aspirants who plan for the exam during their graduation years, I on the other hand only decided to pursue it post my degree in law, I was already 24 years of age by then. My biggest hurdle was NCERT, coming from the ICSE board I had no clue about NCERT. Second was guidance, the lack of guidance has been the biggest hurdle. I tried getting in touch with several people that had appeared in mains or interview but I was turned down as mere disturbance by many (Most of these Ivory Tower heros are still writing mains). So my first attempt went down the drain thanks to my own lack of understanding of the exam and the lack of guidance. In my first attempt in 2016 I scored a dismal 95 in prelims.

Moving on the second attempt, I thought I was going to rework my strategy and do something good.  I started studying more religiously and the efforts started to show. Nonetheless I was still looking for guidance, that’s when I met Mr. Suhas Ram. He was the first person to be my guide, motivator and philosopher in my UPSC journey. He helped figure out what studying the NCERTS was. Together we made a study plan and we solved tests. In a single word he was the STUD that I looked up to. My preparation seemed good for this attempt and yet again I flunked out of prelims and OHHH BOY, the pain that followed was terrible.

Post this I seriously started questioning my ability, had so much self-doubt and disbelief that it was starting to mess with my mental well-being. It was at this time that Mr. Suhas Ram pointed me towards the OGP Program. I wanted nothing but guidance and the OGP setup worked for me. In addition to this I was banking on law to be my optional but Mr. Vinay(Sir)  pointed me towards taking up PSIR. I believe that was a very crucial decision that has given me a rank today (In addition to guidance given on GS answer writing and Essay evaluation by him). So there I was staring at prelims 2018 with more self-doubt and disbelief than disbelief itself. I had to now deal with two things, one was to prepare for prelims and second was to study for my optional PSIR.

It was at this time that I decided to keep it simple (as suggested by Vinay Sir), in spite of all the misguidance that came my way by certain elements – I religiously followed the yearlong Insights schedule and their prelims test series. For PSIR, I have done nothing apart from Shubra Ranjan mam’s notes. Neither did I take coaching nor any classes, just kept it very simple, EAT, SLEEP, RAVE AND REPEAT THE NOTES.

In addition to this I would also like to mention the role of my dear friend Mr. Jagadish Singh who was my partner in crime when it came to answer writing. His thoughts and ideas have motivated me to work harder, smarter and better. He has also played a vital role in pointing me towards the right direction when it came to the personality test.

Some things to remember (call it a piece of advice from a brother from another mother)

  • Be realistic about the preparation, only few crack the exam in the first attempt, even then years of preparation would have gone into it. Give yourself at least two attempts and set a realistic target.
  • Don’t fall prey to false tips and misguidance. Trust me, it can wreck your attempt.
  • Stick to just one source and revise it at least five times.
  • It’s common to have phases of extreme negativity and the feeling of being low, so go out there and talk to people and pour your heart out, it makes you feel so much better.
  • Mains is all about completing the paper and making it teacher friendly so always make sure it stays that way (I will attach a few of my answer transcripts in a later post, please do take a look).
  • Don’t involve yourself in unnecessary gossip or speculation, it’s simply a waste of time and energy.
  • Haters will hate. Don’t give two thoughts about it. Use the hate as an indication of your growing success and continue to climb.


A word about the interview phase.

I can whole heartedly admit that I was mediocre at prelims, good with respect to mains and excellent with respect to the interview. I have scored 193 marks in my interview this year and thereby I can safely tell you as what may work. Remember the KISS formula, it basically is to ‘keep it short and simple’. Answers must be crisp and one should always be honest. Personal grooming is also necessary, wear a nice suit or a saree and look sharp. Most importantly smile, it’s the best accessory that one can wear. Just doing this will give you upwards of 170 even with the trickiest of boards.

A closing thank you note.

The last three years has been the toughest phase of my life and has also been the most beautiful phase of my life. None of this would have been possible without the support of  my loved ones. Most importantly my girlfriend deserves all the praise in the world for she has been a constant rock. She has picked me up when I was low and helped me discover the power to move on and  toil harder.

YOU TOO CAN DO IT. All you have to do is to believe in yourself and let the past be the engine to fuel your positive emotions. Take all those emotions of anger, frustration, misery and use it to propel the fire in you. Believe that your time has arrived, that you will shine and that you will rise from the ashes to be reborn as the magnificent phoenix.