“Don’t write first essay directly in Exam – from 100 Marks in Essay to Rank 69, Navneet Mittal, IIT Jodhpur, Delhi Boy

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Every year there are some candidates that you meet, who remain remarkable just because of their persistence. We saw Navneet two years back. He was part of MGP & Current Affairs in the past two years.

His journey has not been easy. In the first year of his preparation, he lost his father. Somehow he gathered himself, and focused on the exam. He cleared the exam, and was placed in DANICS. But Navneet, was not one to be complacent. He wrote the exam again, in a complete aspirant mode, and somehow managed his enthusiasm for the next year. He was an offline student, and we saw him throughout the year until last week, when we met one last time – when he secured Rank 69. And a place in the IAS.

Students like Navneet have been a big source of motivation for us at ForumIAS Academy. His humility, and clarity of thought on what he wanted is something we can all learn from. Here is his story.

Hello everyone, I am Navneet Mittal. I am 26 years old and I am from Delhi itself. I have done my schooling from St Martins Diocesan School, Delhi Canntt.

Candidate Profile

  • Your Name – Navneet Mittal
  • Place of Birth -DELHI
  • How old are you? – 26
  • Schooling done from which school and city? – St Martins Diocesan School, Delhi Cantt
  • College from which City and Gpa – IIT Jodhpur, 8.78
  • PG if Any – NA
  • Your attempt at the exam( 1st, 2nd, 3rd) – 2nd Attempt
  • Did you write any other exam? If yes, mention details like Exam Name & Rank- NO
  • Who else is there in your family? Mother, Sister And Brother
  • Work-experience if any -6 Months- Deshaw And Co.
  • Optionals -Political Science And International Relations (PSIR)

1st Attempt


Hello everyone, I am Navneet Mittal. I am 26 years old and I am from Delhi itself. I have done my schooling from St Martins Diocesan School, Delhi Canntt.  Following the herd mentality like the majority of us I also chose engineering.

I prepared for IIT JEE and got into IIT Jodhpur Computer Science. After graduation did a job for a small time. All this time I had in my mind that I want to prepare for UPSC CSE but not sure when to start.

It was my father who motivated me to resign from job and prepare full time. On his persuasion, I left my job and started my preparation in 2017. However, as it is said that life is not fair when everything seems to be working fine life proves you wrong.

Unfortunately in the middle of my preparations my father died of cardiac arrest. I was devastated but I had no luxury to stop since it was my father’s dream and I had to achieve it. It took me around 4 months to get back into the process.

Since I had lost a lot of time I knew I had to do smart work to cover the backlogs and also to prepare for prelims. Due to this, I could not get time to do answer writing practice. I decided that I will focus entirely on completing my optional in December and January and will focus entirely on prelims after that.

Once I completed my optional theory, I left everything else and picked up standard books for the static portion which I had earlier read in the starting. 2 months before the prelims I made sure that I write mock tests daily, check it and assess it at home.

I used to mark new things in the solutions which are not there in static books and current affairs booklet and used to revise only underlined from those mock tests. For Current affairs, I have been reading newspapers daily but could not read it in 4 months gap. So I picked up magazines that come near prelims and referred that.

For Csat I did not prepare specifically, just referred 2 previous year papers (This is because I had an engineering background and had solved these types of questions earlier. So people from other backgrounds please practice CSAT thoroughly)

Mains 2018

After giving prelims I joined ForumIAS MGP and Optional Mock Tests. I wrote tests on the schedule, assessed my mistakes and improved them in both GS and optional. For static portion, I revised the books and for current affairs I referred newspapers and Mains 365 Magazine.

One mistake I made in Mains that punished me badly is that I wrote my first essay in mains exam due to which I performed poorly and only got 100 marks into it.


I gave 5-6 mock tests and kept track of current affairs and formed views on the issues those were in headlines.

Prepared the DAF in great detail by making question on every aspect possible. For this took the help of mentors in ForumIAS and other institutes who prepared DAF based questionnaire for me.


Rank- 318

Service- DANICS

2nd Attempt

My overall strategy was same. But this time I made sure that I read newspaper Daily.

Especially during Mains I practiced 5-6 essays before exam.


Rank- 69

Preliminary examination



History Ancient11th NCERT
History Medieval11th NCERT
History Modern (Freedom Struggle)Spectrum
Culture  Nitin Singhania
Polity (static + current affairs)  Laxmikant
Economy (static + current affairs) Sriram IAS notes and Vajiram Notes
Science (static + current affairs) Current Affairs only
Environment (static + current affairs) Shankar IAS
Geography(Physical +Indian+World) NCERT( 11th and 12th ) + Vajiram Class Notes

Which test series did you join? How helpful do you things such test series are?

Prelims- I brought Vision mock test from the market and solved at home- very helpful

Mains- ForumIAS MGP– Very helpful, especially their detailed checking and Dipin Sirs Current affair classes.

If you had to prepare again would you change your strategy in any way?

  • Yes, I would read newspapers daily or daily prelims-based news and editorial analysis
  • Make short notes on each keyword of the syllabus for Mains Examination
  • Do preparation in an integrated manner( Prelims+ Mains)

Mains Examination

How did you prepare GS?

Static- Standard Books

Current- Newspaper, ForumIAS Current Affairs Classes

Answer Writing- ForumIAS MGP

How did you prepare English?

Previous year papers

What was the optional subject?

Shbhra Ranjan mam notes and answer writing

Did you join any classes for your mains preparation? If yes then how useful did you find them?

I joined ForumIAS MGP. I also did Dipin Sir current affairs classes which were class apart. It covered current affairs in the most concise way which is needed for mains and also had relevant points to make our answer different from the crowd which is rewarded by UPSC.

Are you a working professional? If yes then please tell us how did you manage preparation with your job?

Yes, but I gave my Prelims and Mains before Joining DANICS and for interview preparation, I got sufficient time it.

Click here to download the MGP Copies of Navneet Mittal 



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