Q&A With Raunak Agarwal – Ranked 13th in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 2019 Exams

Kolkata’s youngsters Raunak Agarwal and Neha Banerjee have recently made the City of Joy extremely proud by not only cracking Union Public Service Commission examination but also being featured so high in the merit list. Raunak, a chartered accountant, secured the 13th rank while electrical engineer Neha was placed in the 20th position. Agarwal tasted success on his third attempt, while Banerjee did it at the very first go.

In an exclusive interview with Baishali Mukherjee, the future IAS spoke about the secrets behind his success.

How to Crack UPSC IAS Exam

Always a good student, Raunak has an illustrious academic profile which includes a gold medal in B Com from St Xavier’s College and a Chartered Accountancy degree which he got in 2016. 


Raunak’s flair for writing was developed during his school days ( he studied in a school under West Bengal Board) and that he feels helped him do well in the UPSC exam.

A voracious reader Raunak also pens poetry in English and Hindi. Additionally, He offers help to CA aspirants during his free time.


When did you decide to appear for the UPSC exam?

In class XII (2011)


It was when I was in class 12 that my grandfather first started talking to me about civil services. He also told me that we can earn money through business and professional courses, but the satisfaction and prestige of civil services remains unparalleled.

Do you have anyone in the family who is into civil service?

No, there is no one into civil services.

Was there someone who inspired you to write the UPSC Entrance exam?

My grandfather and his friend inspired me a lot. However, my family (mom, dada and grandmother) helped me a lot and were there to support me at every weak point and failure of mine. Most of the credit goes to them.

How tough it is to crack UPSC?

Well, it is difficult!

How many hours did you study for how long?

I did not have any specific hourly schedule. I instead had weekly targets and tried to achieve those. Moreover, I took 10 minute naps and breaks in between.

Did you enrol yourself to any tutorial? If yes which one?

Yes, I took tuitions at Vajiram & Ravi in Delhi in 2016. For interview, I took at Institute for Civil service Aspirants(ICSA)< Kolkata.

What books did you follow?

They can be found in detail in my blogs.

What other preparations did you take?

After doing CA in 2016, I started preparing for UPSC. “Initially, I lacked understanding about the nuances of the exam and decided to go to Delhi and attend tuition classes. I did that for about half a year. My attempt was to comprehend the nature of questions asked in the exam. I started watching videos and online tutorials on civil service exam preparations. Instead of following one source, I explored multiple platforms on UPSC exam preparations which enhanced my understanding of the exam and write better answers.

What are the 3-5 most important things that every aspirant must do to get success in the exam?

Hard work is definitely a must, but also smart work, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, evaluate the pattern of past year papers, give mocks early so as to improve upon them, and study will a good heart and intention.

What are your future plans?

I have opted for Indian Administrative Services (IAS) as want to serve the society. My focus will be to work in sectors like commerce, tax, trade, education, agriculture, etc. I would also like to work for the education and economy sectors.

What would you like to say to aspiring UPSC candidates?

While starting your preparation adopt an approach of hard and smart work. And always maintain a good intention.


We wish you the very best in life!!

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