About Me

Hi, I am Dhananjay Singh Yadav. I got Rank 95 in UPSC CSE 2018. This was my first attempt. My optional was Political Science and International Relations (PSIR). I took the civil services exam to get into Indian Foreign Service.

I graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) in 2014. I worked for 3 years with Reckitt Benckiser, a British consumer goods company, in sales and marketing. I worked there till June 2017 and quit to prepare for Civil Services Exam 2018.

I decided to prepare from home, utilising the abundant resources available online. In this journey, blogs and articles of people who took this exam before me were immensely helpful. Advice of people who could clear this exam, or not, both were important in helping me figure out my plan of action. I am putting together the pieces of my 22 months of preparation here, hoping someone somewhere finds this of use.

A word to the wise: There’s no one definite approach to this exam, everyone has to find their own method in this madness. This also means no can “guide” you. Somebody else’s strategy might not work for you. You will have to assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and as heartless as it may sound, figure your way out on your own. You cannot clear by hoping to be spoon fed. There’s significant trial and error involved, and whoever’s strategy you might be reading can only detail their own.

I have cleared this exam but not suddenly gained insights that people who didn’t make it are not privy to. I do not know what worked for me. I would have been as clueless about my strategy being right or wrong if I hadn’t cleared. All I can do is detail out everything I did during this prep.

Ernest Hemingway – “It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”

Knowing the unpredictability of this journey, I believed that hard work will make me luckier. Beyond that is intricacies of working of the cosmos. Maybe the babaji who accosted my mother many moons ago for Rs. 100, with an unsolicited prophesy that her son will become adhikaari, really set things in motion.

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The name of this blog – English, Agastya – comes from the novel “English, August” by Upamanyu Chatterjee. Inception of the idea of taking civil services exam took place with my reading of the said novel in 2016.

My mark sheet for both prelims and mains is attached here. I have talked about DAF here.

Comment here or reach out to me on Quora or Twitter for any doubt that you might have. I might take weeks to reply but I try my best to reply to relevant questions that I have not covered here already.

Someone let me talk on the camera for more than 5 minutes, and this was the result: https://youtu.be/8IcvfKRxqUY

If you have recently heard of the UPSC CSE and are wondering what this exam is all about and Wikipedia hasn’t helped, I have written a short note here.

152 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Anonymous

    Sir, I am the only child of my parents. For a minute, let’s presume that I have been selected in the I.F.S like you. In the future, God forbid, if my parent’s Health condition becomes such that they have to be kept under my personal care and observation even when I am posted at a foreign country. Then the relevant rules (read in an IFS officer’s Quora answer) state that — “For parents to stay with me at place of posting abroad, their visas will have to be renewed periodically. This is different from spouse and children who will get automatic visa”.

    Now, if by any chance, I am posted in a hostile country, say Pakistan, and anyhow they refuse to renew the visa of my ailing parents. Under such circumstances, I have to either get transferred out or resign. There are no other options. Am I correct? Please reply Sir.

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    1. dhananjaysy Post author

      Hostile countries are designated as non-family stations, where you anyway shouldn’t be taking your parents. And these non-family stations are by choice, so you won’t get posted there against your will. So your option will neither be transfer or resign because you won’t be there in the first place.

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      1. Anonymous

        Thank you so much Sir. I read the best thing of my life today.

        On the day I had posted the comment, due to some technical reasons, it was not displaying. So I messaged you in Quora. I don’t think you know such an option exists, so I took a chance but there was no response. I accepted it with a heavy heart that IFS was out of my dreams. Today, I suddenly came across your reply here, also that you had replied that day itself. I was so stupid.

        I promise you I shall try my level best for IFS, this day onwards. Thanks once again Sir and wish you a great life ahead.

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  2. ABHI

    SIR,
    1. did u read Economic survey?
    2.which year should i read for if i want to give 2021 attempt?
    3. Can i read just its compilation by any coaching?

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    1. dhananjaysy Post author

      1. Yes
      2. 2018 one, it came out before prelims. Read the latest one that comes before prelims
      3. Do a reading of original survey before depending completely on a compilation

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  3. Gayatri Behera

    Hello Sir. Many congratulation for your achievement. I found your blog and notes extensively useful for my preparation. I’ve started full time preparation from Sep,2019. I’ve started reading Geography NCERTs first. For class 11 physical Geography I’m taking almost 8-9 hours to understand and make notes for a chapter. I’m not getting that where I’m going wrong. But I feel that I’m taking more time than required. Kindly suggest how to go about it?

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  4. Adarsh sharma

    Sir , while referring to DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS on INSIGHTS ON INDIA ,do i need to cover up their points regarding what to study for prelims and mains …Or else i can go up only wid whatsoever is given in DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS…reason being there’s so bulky amnt. of current if i go for “wat to study for prelims and mains feature of insights ”
    It would be of tremendous help if u can reply to my query… Thanks in advance .

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    1. dhananjaysy Post author

      Not everything that will be covered in daily current affairs will be important, you will have to apply your own judgment on what you think is important. Going through both prelims and mains past papers will help you get a great idea.

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