16 Mar 2019


I am AGRIM SAINI. I have recently secured AIR 26 in the Indian Forest Service Examination 2018. This was my second attempt. I studied Zoology and Forestry as my optional subjects.

I have done Dual degree BS-MS from INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (IISER) PUNE in Biology with a MS thesis in Evolutionary Biology. I graduated in 2016 and since then I have been preparing full time for both IFoS and CSE exams.

I prepared at my home in Silvassa (UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli) for my first attempt. I scored 119.34 in prelims 2017 but missed the IFoS cutoff by some 2 marks. In November 2017, I came to Bengaluru to prepare for my second attempt. I joined the Insights OGP 2018 programme. It is here that I came in contact with Manjunath sir and Ayush sir who were faculties in Insights IAS then. I regularly attended their classes especially of History, Polity, Economy and current affairs. Manjunath sir’s polity and history classes were very organised, coherent, and multidimensional in nature. For example, the polity class integrated the static, contemporary, and current affairs in a coherent manner from multiple sources like NCERTS, Lakshmikant, Sriram booklets, and current affairs. The excellent flow in the classes helped in consolidation and the class notes were very easy to revise multiple times before the prelims. This boosted my confidence before the prelims. Similarly, Ayush sir’s economy classes were full of relevant current affairs related information that were otherwise difficult to find on own from newspapers and other current affairs sources. This really helped me in preparing Economics without referring to any standard books except NCERTs. Moreover, his classes kept me informed about different Govt initiatives that allowed me to predict areas from where questions can be asked.

Overall, knowledge gained in these classes allowed me to intelligently guess in the Prelims 2018 and also eliminate options. For example. I vividly remember Ayush Sir mentioning about the nascent status of semiconductor manufacturing in India. This appeared as one of the statements in a question in Prelims 2018. I am expecting around 117 in Prelims 2018.

Interactions with these faculties also helped me in discovering new and better sources that fine tuned my preparation in the right direction.

I would also like to add that these class notes also helped me in GK paper of IFoS mains as at the mains stage most of the time goes in preparing the optional subjects. Hence, in this context, these class notes allowed me to quickly revise static portion for the GK paper.

At the interview stage I am grateful to the entire Manifest IAS team for organising mocks that allowed me to practice before the actual IFoS interview. All the aspects of my DAF were covered in these mocks and I got valuable feedbacks from all the faculties. This allowed me to improve on different aspects of DAF and in general communication. I am also thankful to the team for putting efforts so as to ask environment-based questions both opinion and situation based. This gave me a glimpse of IFoS interview as IFoS interview has higher proportion of environmental questions. Overall, I am thankful for the entire Manifest IAS team for putting specialised efforts towards IFoS interview by appreciating its slightly different nature than the CSE interview.