Roman Saini (CSE 2013 Rank 18) UPSC Topper’s Interview – Part 2

Dr.Roman Saini in the first part of the interview with Clear IAS™ has shared his bio-data and preparation strategies in general. In this part, he explains in brief the books refereed for UPSC Prelims. General queries/doubts with respect to UPSC main exam answer writing is also clarified by this doctor. Roman’s mark sheet for Prelims, Mains and Interview is also shared for better understanding of the UPSC marks-break up.

UPSC Prelims Books and Study Materials Used Can you elaborate on your preparation strategies/approach and study materials and books used for Prelims Paper 1 and Paper 2 (Please mention books/materials used for each subject)?

• History : Spectrum- modern india, NCERT 6-12
• Geography: NCERT 6-12
• Polity : NCERT 6-12
• Economics: NCERT 6-12
• Science and Technology: NCERT 6-10, biology ncert-12 (atleast  last 4 chapters), chemistry vol 2 (last 2 chapters)
• Environment : NCERT 6-10
• Current Affairs: Hindu (either on daily basis or weekly basis), Yojana
• General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT) : TMH (for practice) : Any tips/advices for UPSC Civil Services Prelims?
Attempt 85-90%, use elimination method.

UPSC Mains Books and Study Materials Used

Essay: Books and Study-materials used for essay preparation

No single strategy/specific books, write on Hindu editorials, practice answer writing in general.

GS1: Books and online/offline materials for reference for each sub-subjects in GS Paper 1 like World History, Geography, Sociology etc.

  • World history- Norman Lowe, L Mukherjee
  • Geography- NCERT 6-12, GC leong part 1
  • Sociology- NCERT 11-12, THE HINDU

GS2: Books and online/offline materials for reference for each sub-subjects in GS Paper 2 like Constitution, Social Justice, International relations etc.

  • Polity-Lakshmikant-4th edition, Vajirams mains subjected (yellow book)
  • IR- The Hindu
  • Social justice- Vajirams mains subjected (yellow book)
Also read:  Renu Raj (CSE 2014 Rank 2) UPSC Topper’s Interview - Part 2

GS3: Books and online/offline materials for reference for each sub-subjects in GS Paper 3 like Indian Economy, Biodiversity, Science and Tech, Internal Security etc.

  • Indian economy- NCERT’S, Sanjiv Verma, the Hindu, Arthapedia.
  • S & T- NCERT’S 6-10, BIOLOGY- ncert 12,
  • Internal security-  google naxalism, basic concepts like crime, terrorism, how they are different, how did naxalism evolved over a period of time etc.

GS4: Books and online/offline materials for reference for each sub-subjects in GS Paper 4 like Ethics, Attitude, Aptitude etc.

Lexicon- chronicle publications, focus on practice papers, sample papers by upsc (5-6 questions were asked directly), solve previous year questions, stick 2 syllabus, for essays stick 2 word limit.

Note: For many of the subjects/topics mentioned above Roman has prepared video tutorials, and is available in his YouTube channel, unacademy.

UPSC Mains : General Doubts : What was the color of the pen you used for writing mains (Blue Ink/ Black Ink)? Also the company and brand name of the pen used:
Black. Pilot v5. What was your writing style in GS and optional? Bullet Points/ Essay style or a mix of both styles?
Introduction -1 line , bullet points and key phrases, conclusion- 1 line, no essay style. : What are the government reports that aspirants should go through, before giving Mains Exam?
Though going through the details of government reports is not a must, the summary of the below reports should help: 2nd ARC-Ethics and governance, economic survey, budget, India year book etc. : Did you use sub-heading/points/graphs in your essay paper?
Brief introduction, no points/graphs/ heading, conclusion- 1-2 lines

Also read:  Roman Saini (CSE 2013 Rank 18) UPSC Topper’s Interview – Part 3 : What was your exam-hall strategy for mains: attempting all questions even at the cost of compromising quality or writing only quality answers compromising on the number of questions attempted?
Attending all questions, 6-7 mints/question, Compromised on quality, introduction-1 line, various bullet points, ending point.

Roman Saini IAS Prelims Mains Tips

Marks – Prelims, Mains and Interview

Preliminary Exam (Just for Qualification)

General Studies Paper 1 : 125.34 (Out of 200)
General Studies Paper 2 : 183.33 (Out of 200)


Essay (Out of 250) : 145
• GS1 (Out of 250) : 97
• GS2 (Out of 250) : 61
• GS3 (Out of 250) : 108
• GS4 (Out of 250) : 98
• Optional Paper 1 (Out of 250) : 109
• Optional Paper 2 (Out of 250) : 112
• Written Total (Out of 1750) : 730


Marks for Personality Test(Out of 275): 154

Final Marks (Out of 2025): 884

[Read the Part 3 of Roman Saini’s interview with to read his success tips and advice.]

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