[Topper's Interview] Mr. Chet Singh Rank-2 (Worked as Tehsildar, UPSC CSE Mains Written Twice) (Age 32) (HPAS-2013): Geography, Zoology Optionals, from Jarag/Renuka/Sirmour/Himachal Pradesh

Topper's Profile : Chet Singh

A Hard working person passed HPAS in 2007, became Tehsildar, Appeared 5 times in HPAS Interview, Wrote UPSC CSE Mains 2 times and NET Qualified in Bio sciences. Finally Hard work Paid and Cracked HPAS 2013 and Selected as HAS getting Rank 2 in the Examination.

 Chet Singh (Awakened Tiger)
Roll No.
 Total attempts in HPAS
 Optional Subject
 Geography, Zoology
 Medium chosen for Mains answers
 Schooling medium
 Hindi up to 10th  English from 11th onwards
 College medium
 Home town/city/Village
 VPO Jarag,Tehsil Renuka ji,Distt. Sirmour HP
 Work-experience if any
 7 year experience in Revenue administration.
 Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures
 Passed HAS Exam in 2007. Got Tehsildar. Appeared 5 times in HAS interview, wrote IAS mains two times, NET qualified in Bio sciences.
 Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
 I have not taken any coaching, mock test etc.……
 Service preference

 Education Details :

 Fill the details below
 % in class 10
 % in class 12
 Schooling (Medium)
 Graduation course and %
 BSc. 68%
 Name of college, city, passing out year
 Govt. College Nahan
 MSc. Zoology from HPU Shimla
 Any other professional courses
 Hobbies & Extra curricular
Watching Awakening with Brahmakumari on Peace of mind Chanel, listening Sirmouri Folk Songs and watching Sirmouri Folk Songs Videos. 

Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, your place, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?

 I am a resident of village Jarag, Tehsil Renuka ji Distt. Sirmour HP. My father is a Govt. employ and mother is a housewife. I started preparation during my MSc.

                                                         Chet Singh HAS (Batch 2013)

 Nowadays many students rely on internet for study material, So how much do you rely on electronic material and how much on the paper material (Books, Newspapers)?
Narrate a typical day in your study life. What is your style of preparation in Detail?

 For optional subjects I relied on the paper materials only except those materials which are not available and difficult to understand in books. For general studies I relied 50% on electronic study materials.

Electronic vs Paper material:

Answer: Although Electronic material is helpful but one cannot afford to study on the computer all the time. I take help from the internet only when I don’t have paper material of it.

Your study Daily plan:

2 hour in the morning and 2 to 3 hour in the evening. During exam time hours are to be increased..

Style of preparation:

I try to complete the syllabus on time bound manner. So that I can write answers of all the questions in the exam

Q. Students know what books and syllabus points are to be prepared. But most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how do you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings and distractions?

 I think one cannot be sure about the success but one can be sure for it that he has to give his best in the exam. It is the examiner who will decide whether to select you or not. I think mood distraction comes because of over ambitiousness and thinking about the goal all the time. Although thinking about the goal or aim is a motivational factor also but sometimes it becomes harmful. If I study for 2 hours it gives me energy and satisfaction and help in fighting against the mood swings and distractions. Half hour walk in the evening helps in refreshing the mood.

If Struggle of a senior player

After 1-2 failures in any competitive exam, a phase of mental saturation comes. The person knows the booklist, he knows what is necessary to succeed. But it doesn’t yield result. Not to mention all the emotional struggle-against those irritating neighbors and relatives

Q.1 How did you handle the mental Stress and what are your words of wisdom to other senior players? If any specific inspirational incident(s), please share.

Answer: Mental saturation comes after appearing so many times in mains and interview. But one has to think about that he has to appear in the exam. Without appearing in exam you cannot succeed. We always have to try to think that I want to give my best in the exam. We should not think about results only.

 What went wrong in your previous attempt? What changes did you make in this current attempt?
Answer:  I was not getting good marks in one optional. That’s why I was appearing in the interview only. This time I attempted all five questions in optional. I wrote a good essay and I was satisfied with my interview.

If Working professional
If you’re a working professional, share some tips on how to manage studies with job?

morning time is best time if it can be utilized. This time can be utilized for optional papers. GS and current affairs can be managed in office time if it is not very hectic. 


Prelims: General studies (GS) :

Study plan/booklist/comment
Himachal Pradesh General Studies :
Art & Culture
Economic & Social Development
Jagmohan Balokhera, Hari Krishan Mittoo, Mian Goverdhan,

Economic Survey of Himachal, 

History Ancient
ArihantLucentmanorama year book, chronicle year book(selective portion)
History Medieval
History Modern (Freedom Struggle)
Freedom Struggle by Bipin Chandra Or Here +
Modren History by Bipin or Here
Culture society
Polity & Governance (theory + current)
Economic & Social Development
(theory + current)
Science (theory + Current)
Environment & Biodiversity
(theory + current)
Did not prepare
Physical Geography,
Indian and World Geography
Did not prepare
Other national/international current affairs
Chronicle magazine or Pratiyogita Darpan,The Hindu, Indian Express and Divya Himachal, Amer Ujala  internet insightsonindia.com,mrunal.(selective portion)
Schemes, Policy etc

Note… NCERT books are very good. If somebody do not have concept clarity go through the books. These books are very well written and easy to understand. But I think above mentioned books can cover the GK portion of the prelim paper to a greater extent.

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about GS Prelim paper?

Answer: Trend of the Paper is current affairs oriented. So focus should be on current affair of the last 7-8 month. Traditional books are not covering HP GK portion, so more research is needed in this regard.

Prelims: Aptitude Test (CSAT)

English / Comprehension
Newspaper Indian express or any other paper.
Reasoning and Analytical Ability
RS Aggerwal Or Here or any other book in the market
Maths / Quant / Data Interpretation
Quant by RS Aggerwal Or Here or upkar maths.
Interpersonal Skills including Communication
Decision Making and Problem Solving
RS Aggerwal or any other book in the market

Q. Any observation / comments / tips about Aptitude (CSAT) paper?

 Do not ignore the math/arithmetic portion. Without math/arithmetic it is difficult to clear the pre exam.

Q. Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? Do you think they are necessary for success?

 I did not attend mock tests. But it can be helpful.

Mains: Compulsory language paper

Q. How did you prepare for the Compulsory English Paper? (If then Book list and Study pan/comments/tips)

 from English Grammar by HG Publications or any other good English Grammar.

Q. How did you prepare for the Compulsory Hindi Paper? (if then Book list and Studyplan/comments/tips) 

 Any Hindi Grammar.

Essay Writing : 

 How did you prepare for the essay paper?

 Not any special preparation. I read the editorials from the news paper and try to make my opinion. Watching debates on the TV can be helpful. But if one can remember some figures and facts it can be helpful.

 Which among the following essay did you write? What key points did you include in it? (If you remember)

 increasing rural and urban divide

 General Studies (Mains) Paper :
How did you prepare? Studyplan/booklist/comment
Indian History 
ArihantLucentmanorama year book, chronicle year book(selective portion)
Freedom Struggle
Post-independence India
Indian Culture

Physical Geography

ArihantLucent manorama year book,chronicle   year book( selective portions)
Indian Geography

Khuller  (selective)
Indian Polity

I have read the DD Basu / Here but in case of HAS exam no need of DD Basu above mentioned books help.
Indian Economy

Ramesh Singh / Here ,
ArihantLucent manorama year book,chronicle   year book and Mrunal.org( selective portions)
Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi

Himachal Pradesh General Studies:
Art & Culture
Economic & Social Development
Wonderland Himachal by Jagmohan Balokhera, Hari Krishan Mittoo,
Mian Goverdhan, 
Economic Survey of Himachal,

Q. Any other comments, Tips or word of wisdom after going through the mains?

Answer: general studies is current events oriented in Mains exams. There is need of preparation of current affairs of the last 8-9 month. Persons, places and many questions of 1st compulsory question come from current affairs.

Optional Subjects :

 First the essential book/resource list and strategy:


Book List: Paper 1 of Optional 1: 

1. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh / Here
2. Human Geography by Majid Hussain / Here
3. Atlas / Here
4. Remaining portion from internet.

Book List : Paper 2 of Optional 1 : 
1. Geography of India by DR Khullar  / Here
2. Remaining portion from internet.

First the essential book/resource list and strategy: Zoology

Answer: Zoology

Book List : Paper 1 of Optional 2: 
 Zoology1. Non chordates and chordates from Kotpal and Dhami. 
2. Cell biology from Graduation books (Dhami)  
3. Genetics from Vir Bala rastogi and Dhami.

Book List : Paper 2 of Optional 2 :  Zoology

1. Evolution by Vir Bala rastogi and Dhami.
2. Biochemistry and Physiology Dhami and AK Berry and Singh (selective portion as per syllabus)
3. Embryology Dhami. 
4. Biotechnology by BD Singh / Here (selective portion as per syllabus) 
5. Immunology from any book available in the market and internet. (Selective portion)
6. Applied Zoology. From Graduation books and internet.
7. Ecology Bhatia and Nigam / Here
8. Histology from Kotpal / Here

 How much of internet-research / current affairs is necessary for this optional? OR can one simply rely on the books and be done with this subject?

 internet is needed for only those topics which are not available in the books or it is very complicated in the book which is difficult to comprehend.

Q3. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?

 I think for the beginner each optional paper will take 3 to 4 months. To finish both optional it will take app. 15 month.

Q4. How much writing practice you did for Optionals?

 I was not having much time to do the writing practice. So I did very little writing practice but writing practice is very much beneficial.

 Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? Or you simply rely on reference books?

 I underlined the important lines on the reference books with pencil. I do the revision by reading these lines. Although self notes are beneficial but process of making them is time consuming.

Q6. What do you think about the Importance of Optionals in HPAS in existing pattern?

optional subjects decide the merit so there importance cannot be denied.

Q7. What you will suggest to the young aspirants about how to choose the Optional Subjects?

1. Choose optional subject according to the interest and educational background.
2. Trend of score in optional subject can be seen by taking copy of marks obtained in various optionals by candidates. Choose the optional subject accordingly.

Mains answer-writing?

What style you follow like “introduction-body-conclusion” format or just simply write down what comes in mind first or any other style?

 it depend on the question how it is asked. Sometime I follow “introduction-body-conclusion” and sometime only body and conclusion. I select the questions which are to be attempted and do brainstorming for 10 to 15 minute. Then I start the answer writing. 

Q2. Did you write answers in bullet points or in paragraphs or any other style?

 Both styles it depends on the demand of the question.

 What was your approach in the exam writing questions in fixed word limits ?

 I do not count the words. I follow the time limits which is app. 30 minutes for each question. I always try to complete the answer in 30 minutes.


 How did you prepare for the interview?

I prepared bio data questions, issues of national and international importance by reading two newspaper and sites like insightsonindia.com and mrunal.org. I prepared my Distt. Sirmour.

Q2. Did you attend any mock interviews by coaching classes?


 How long was the interview?

 it was around 25 minutes.

Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did you reply and other pleasant or uncomfortable experiences during the interview. (Or you can simply tell about the questions asked in the interview, but it will be better if you try to narrate in question-answer pattern). 

Answer :   Interview begins...

Chairperson :
1. 1st question from Chairperson kaise ho aap?
2. What is the meaning of sirmour?
3. Tell us about Dr. Y.S.Parmar other than that he was 1st chief minister?
4. Book Written by Dr. Parmar.
5. What is polyandry and its benefits?
6. Why Sirmour is backward although first chief minister was from Sirmour.
7. Which region of Sirmour is demanding tribal status and what are the constraints?
8. Obama’s 3rd day visit. What controversial he said?
9. Gher wapsi or conversion?Your opinion on conversion.

Member 1 : 
1. What is approximate GDP of Himachal?

2. What is app. Sales tax collection?
3. In which year you became tehsildar?
4. What is Aadhar? Benefits of it, why Govt. focusing on it?
5. Is this a statutory body? Is there any error in it?
6. Name the power projects in Yamuna Basins?
7. When are you going to be promoted?

Member 2 :

1. What are you doing at Nainatikker?
2. Who was renuka? Parshuram, jamdagini Rishi his Father,various temple, village where temple is situated,Parshuram which incarnation etc ?
3. Disputed dam on which river between Uttarakhand and Sirmour.
4. What is RTE? Its benefits and drawbacks? How to improve quality in education (full discussion)?

Member 3 : 

1. There was a controversy in census of 2011?
2. Population religionwise increase or decrease.
3. What are the reasons in increasing population of muslim?
4. Obama’s visit why not visited Agra, saudi Arabia,king Abdulla,King Salman and salman khan Michelle Obama(long Disscussion)
5.  Corruption in Revenue department? What steps have been initiated by you to reduce corruption in your office?(long discussion)

Interview Concluded...

Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions?  Was it a stress interview, did they ask any uncomfortable questions? If yes, how did you handle it?

 I cannot say that interview was on expected lines. But I was feeling comfortable during interview. It was like healthy discussion. They did not ask any uncomfortable questions. Board was very cordial.

Insecurity about profile :

 Many candidates prepare sincerely but constantly live under fear about ‘profile insecurity’. I’m not from a big college, I’m not from English medium, and I don’t have work-experience. What if they ask some stressful questions in the interview about this? What is your message to these candidates?

Answer: it is only the marks in mains exam and performance in the interview which matters nothing else. I think if they ask stressful question in this regard it can be answered honestly.


Please provide your marks when they will reveal the marks it will help future aspirants.

Mains 549 + Interview 98 = 647

Career Backup

If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?

 I was already working as tehsildar. 

Views on HPAS reforms :

Q. Optional subjects should be removed altogether. The present pattern is helping no-one, except coaching-owners, book publishers and the candidate whose optional subject gets favorable treatment. What’s you take on this? 

new pattern which is going to be introduced from 2016 is having one optional. It will remove one optional. It will create a level playing field to all.

 What’s your thoughts on the Aptitude test (CSAT)? (Honest Views)

 Honest view hahaha…I think weight age of the aptitude paper should be reduced. History, geography, economy, constitution, general Science, reasoning, arithmetic, interpersonal skills and Himachal GK, I think equal weight age should be given to all these topics. I personally feel that more weight age should be given to economy and constitution which are more helpful in administrative job.(bhashan kuchh lamba ho gaya)


Inspiration : 

Through this struggle and success, what have your learned? What is the wisdom of life and competition? What is your message to the new aspirants?

 We should focus on the work only. We should improve ourselves by working on weak points by making them strong. Life and achievements/ competition should not be mixed together. Life should be respected. Give importance to it by keeping yourself happy. It will increase your efficiency to do the work.

 Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview of HPAS-2013. They’re feeling dejected- what is your message to them?

 In HPAS exam a stage come when you have to wait for the better luck. Give one more chance to yourself. Do not feel dejected. Just focus on your work. Everyone has his own journey. Move on in your journey. 

Khadubhai :
 Thanks A lot for the valuable Knowledge and Experiences you shared. Interview was really very Detailed and valuable for all the Youngsters who also want to join Administrative services. I would like you thank you again for sharing your experiences. Wishing you All the best for the Great Job. 


  1. you are deserving Brother for this post and more more...

  2. Great. Congrats

  3. Sir,
    Heartiest congratulations.

  4. Hard work always pays, big goals big sacrifices and lot of hard work

  5. Hard work always pays, big goals big sacrifices and lot of hard work

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