Cracking world’s toughest exams


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 I believe we can achieve anything if we really want it. For me there were no external benchmarks to conquer.

Team Crack it discovered this video and were completely fascinated with this man. Dr. Saini was born in Jaipur, Rajasthan and cleared the AIIMS entrance exam at the age of 16. In 2013, at the age of 22, he cleared the Civil Services Examination in his first attempt and became one of the youngest IAS officers in India by securing an All India Rank of 18. In 2013, Dr. Roman Saini created Unacademy, an online education portal for civil service aspirants (via Wikipedia)

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He recently gave a Tedx talk at JUIT, which we are sharing for all our subscribers and readers. This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The talk, given by Roman Saini is about his journey till now and the way he cracked some of the world’s toughest examinations. He emphasizes on extremely low acceptance ratio in prestigious Indian examinations. Making a mention of the importance of being risk friendly, he then goes on to explain how each one of us has the capability to achieve greatness but we are afraid to take that one step. He believes that luck is a probability and describes how each one of us has equal chances of succeeding at it. His deduction exhibits competence is more impactful than just having confidence. He is of the opinion that delayed gratification and Roman’s Rituals have helped him a lot in life.Finally, he ends the talk with a song.

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Here is the transcript of the talk (Via Unacademy)

TEDx talk by Dr. Roman Saini on How to Crack the World’s Toughest Examination

So let me start off first with something on how to crack world’s toughest examination. What defines the toughness of an examination is the acceptance ratio i.e. the no. of candidates accepted divided by the no. of candidates applied. More than a million people give the IAS exam. If you have to become an IAS officer, the acceptance ratio for that is 1/10000 or 0.0001. So you have better odds of jumping from 50th floor and surviving rather than clearing the IAS exam.

I am normal guy, an average student, exactly like you. No difference whatsoever. I had never been out of Jaipur till I was 16 yrs. of age. Never visited any state other than Rajasthan, studied from 4 different school due to different issues despite being living in the same place for 16 yrs.

Then something happened. When I was in 10th standard and 14 years old I realised that “I was very risk averse”. I was not taking any risks at all and then I realised that if was not living on the edge than I’m already taking too much space, despite my frail and fragile body of 40 kg and I’m not talking in the physical sense but in the metaphorical sense. So then, something happened. I cracked AIIMS at the age of 16. Than before I turned 18 I had my first paper published in a reputed medical journal called the Journal of Clinical Anesthesiology. After completing my M.B.B.S, I got into the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) where I worked as a junior resident in psychiatry wing, it was an amazing experience there but I had to resign.

Why you ask?

Because I cracked IAS at the age of 22. I was sleeping when the result came out on 12th June 2014, when I woke up it was 8 in the evening and there were 308 missed calls and 1014 notifications on my cell phone. Anyways, after that I went to my home town from Delhi and I got felicitated by J&K Governor, both present and ex-Chief Minister of Rajasthan, agriculture minister of Rajasthan, and a Member of Parliament.

Then I decided that the experience should not be limited to me and I was invited to do a cover story by Your Story. It is one of India’s largest entrepreneurial website. On Unacademy, I started to give free webinars. Right now we have 37.242 subscribers and more than 2 Million views on our YouTube channel. It is India’s largest growing education channel and No.1 source of preparation for IAS aspirants.

The point you should be taking with you to home right now is that nobody is a born genius, even and including Albert Einstein. Each one of you reading this has the knowledge, has the talent, has the calibre, and has the intelligence to crack each and everything in our lives that we set on but the problem is

You are Afraid, to come out of your comfort zone. You are really Afraid to give that extra push that is required and Afraid of going against what your family members want you to do. If you are so afraid all the time, you will never have to courage to succeed in these examinations.

First of all you need to learn how to learn before facing any challenge, you need to prepare for the challenge. Be it hiking, biking, swimming or anything you have to learn how to learn it.

Be risk friendly 

I’ve already told you if you not living on the edge you are talking too much space because “seduction of safety is much more perilous than perception of risk”. We are seduced by safety and comfort. We seek it. We crave for it. But just once get rid of this natural intuitive feeling and you will find that you are capable of doing miracles.

Always take calculated risks. Do not become John Rambo and try to take out whole country’s army single handily. That is known as foolish risk, remember you have to always go for calculated risk.


It plays a very very big part. It is very important. But luck is something called as random distribution. It is entirely random. Anyone of you has equal chance of being lucky. But as Richard Dawkins said, even the chance of us being born at this moment where you can learn about of as much things just by a click of mouse are astronomically low. So please make sure that there is an element of luck. But you are lucky already, to have this college education you are lucky, to be born in this era you are lucky. So you are already lucky enough and you have to work hard to justify the luck that has been bestowed upon you by the arbitrariness and the randomness of the universe.

Then there is this debate which we constantly see, Competence vs Confidence

Which of this should we strive for people ask me. To be brutally honest with you, Fear will never go away, even if you have prepared something for 50 yrs. you will be fearful. So confidence is not the key. Competence is the key. If you are Competent enough, if you have achieved something. No one can take that away from you. Confidence is a very momentary sort of a thing, you might be confident one day you might feel unconfident the other but competence once acquired, no one can take that away from you.

You have to follow something called as rule of 10000 hrs, I have cut it to rule of 1000 hrs.

If you do anything for 1000 hrs, sir and mam you will be an expert in that thing, you will be better than 95 % of the people in that particular field. Just for 1000 hrs if you practices something you will reach your goal.

Theory of LAR

Logic Analysis and Reasoning

Question everything. Do not take anything for granted. Always have a rational outlook and that will see you succeed and then please,


These three C’s

STOP Complaining. STOP criticising. STOP Condemning.

Be the change you want to see in the world, as our great Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation said. STOP arguing with others especially with irrational people, because they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. Lastly STOP asking yourself what you want to do with your life. Even I don’t know what I want to do with my life.

Roman’s Rituals

It has nothing to do with me. There was the great Roman Empire 2000 yrs ago, they had these rituals for their soldiers.

Eat healthy stuff. Don’t eat junk. Don’t overstuff yourself till the food starts to come out of your mouth.

Exercise not meaning pumping iron for 3 hrs a day. Just walk, just swim, do yoga, do pranayama. Whatever you feel is good for you is good for you.

Sleep for 7-9 hrs. All the toppers I’ve seen are all from this planet earth and not from Jupiter. They do not study for 27 hrs a day.

Do not drink or smoke. They hamper your performance and memory operation.

The concept of Delayed Gratification

It is psychological experiment done in late 60s and 70s at Stanford University. It involved 5 yr old kids in an experiment known as the marshmallow experiment in which they were given one marshmallow. If they have eaten that marshmallow within 15 minutes they would have gotten only that marshmallow. But if they had delayed their gratification for a certain period of time they would have been provided with another marshmallow.

So those kids at 5yrs of age who showed delayed gratification had better life outcome in everything. Including higher SAT scores, better satisfaction of life, higher educational attainment, and better BMI that is Body Mass Index.

So make sure you have delayed gratification in your life.

Overcome SAD

This has nothing to do with your mood. After doing my M.B.B.S. After working as a psychiatrist for 4 months, I too get SAD at times i.e. SAD, ANXIOUS, and DEPRESSED. Accept it. But anxiety is not bad thing. There is a U-shape curve known as the normal distribution curve where on Y-axis, we have performance and on X-axis we have anxiety. Your performance is at peak when your anxiety is at optimal level and if you are not anxious at all or highly anxious, your performance will go down.

Be Decisive

Take decisions for yourself or someone else will. Either pursue you own dream or help someone else pursuing their own. There is lack of complete information in every decision you take, you will not be aware of the intricacies, nuances and subtleties which are required to understand the event or person at hand. You are not justified in taking a decision in certain circumstances but precisely that is required from your part. You have to take a decision in indecisive environment after doing this what happens is you undergo a transformation.

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