Roman Saini (AIR 18) STRATEGY : The key factor behind my performance in Prelims was high-risk-taking attitude. I attempted all the questions in both the papers. In Paper 1, I attempted 100 out of 100 and got 72 correct, with 125.33 marks. In Paper 2, I attempted 80 questions and got 75 correct, getting 183.33 marks. So, my total score was 309. If I didn’t take high risk, I would have scored 262-265 marks in total. For Mains, I used to read a lot from the same sources again and again. Self-study of 6-8 hours a day is the key to success. In Main exam, I attempted all the questions from all the papers. I did not leave any question unanswered and secured 4th highest marks in India. In interview, my performance was not very well as I got only 154 marks. About your performance in interview, there is nothing to do with lack of preparation. It is a chance kind of factor, sort of randomness and arbitrary goes along with an interview. You cannot separately prepare for it. Other important factors behind my success are single-minded focus and not worrying about backup plans. For example, I did not think if I failed, I would be called a loser in life. Further, there is no need to worry about advisors in life. You need to just focus on study. OPTIONAL STRATEGY : Medical Science was my optional subject in Mains. I used to read The Hindu editorial on daily basis, which helps immensely in essay writing. I wrote essays in simple paragraphs without using bullets, numbers, graphs and diagrams. I gave extra attention to intro, body and conclusion in essays. Knowledge of History and Political Science helped me significantly in essay writing.