This UP PCS-2022 Topper Was Quizzed About Handling Political Pressure

• Sandeep Kumar Tiwari got 10th rank in his 7th UP PCS attempt and 5 interviews • He worked as Assistant Commissioner and Assistant Registrar after clearing PCS twice • He faced questions on homosexuality, and handling political pressure, besides on conjugal dilemma
Indian Masterminds Stories

Losing a closely fought battle can take its toll on the human mind. Now imagine not making the mark in an exam thrice in a row despite your best efforts. Some might lose hope and cave in, while others might blame their fate but not Sandeep Kumar Tiwari.

He is made of a different mettle altogether. Mr. Tiwari cracked the UP PCS in 2022 in his seventh attempt and got a deputy collector’s post. 

From 2018 to 2020, this aspirant from Gonda, who comes from the farming community failed thrice after reaching the Interview round.

His never lose attitude then secured him Assistant Commissioner and Assistant Sub-Registrar Cooperative post in UP PCS 2021.

Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Mr Sandeep Tiwari said, “I continuously worked on my shortcomings to get this far.”


One among five siblings, Sandeep Tiwari started with his CSE preparation in 2017 while already employed in the private sector. 

In 2018, he cracked the prelims and mains and reaches to Interview. But could not make it to the final list. 

Sandeep has also tried the UPSC twice but without any success.

“In 2018, I scored badly in the Interview (only 44 out of 100). In 2019, my Interview score was 71. But my marks in optional (philosophy) were bad,” he explained. 

In 2020, too, the vicious cycle continued, he added.

“By then I could understand my drawbacks, so in PCS-2021, I got selected,” he said.


Sandeep, who is the only brother to four sisters, was always a smart student.

After completing his primary education at Saraswati Gyan Mandir, he topped in his tehsil in the higher secondary exams in 2006. 

He completed his intermediate in science and did his B. Tech in Computer Science from IIMT Engineering College, Meerut. 

It was during his one-and-a-half year in a private sector job that he developed an interest in Civil Services.


Sandeep had started off his civil services preparation with an eye on the UPSC. He did not attend any coaching classes except for the optional subject. 

His strategy was target-based and he paid special attention to the test series.

He solved previous years’ question papers in a bid to develop an understanding of CSE patterns. He wrote his answers in Hindi.

For Sandeep, who started off with nearly 12 hours of study, it was soon clear that strategy could streamline the hours in the long run. 

While preparing, he was totally off social media, except for Telegram, where he joined a number of study groups.

“I took a dynamic approach and started bringing diversity in my answer-writing each year. I focused on diagrams and highlights, and started writing in a structured manner,” Sandeep Tiwari shared.


As it was his fifth interview, Sandeep faced tough and tricky questions.

For his choice of optional subject, he was asked why he choose Philosophy as optional after B. Tech

“As a software engineer, you could have done much better there, then why PCS? ” they told him.

He faced questions on augmented reality and virtual reality. The interviewer asked
him questions about VR use in movies. 

Then there were questions on climate change and NATO’s impact on Asia.

There was a lot of discussion on Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy and its impact as Sandeep considers him as his ideal. “There were discussions on Vivekananda’s Vedanta and Buddha Darshana too,” Sandeep shared.

“I was also given situational questions, like, if you are an SDM then how will you handle pressure from politicians and seniors?” he added. 

They also wanted to check what his answer would be if his wife pressured him to leave his parents. He was also asked to give his opinion on homosexuality. 


Prepare for this exam in an integrated manner, says Sandeep.

For Mains:

  • Aspirants should write the answers to every topic. 
  • Practice previous years’ papers
  • Preparation should be fact-based.
    One’s concept should be clear. 

“Be innovative, the questions may be repeated, but your answer has to look different and fresh with facts,” he stressed.

Sandeep advises all to prepare for a long haul. “One has to write 8 papers in mains, so you have to practice a mammoth amount. Never ignore current affairs. Read Newspaper daily,” he adds as he signs off.

Indian Masterminds Stories

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