Ravi Kapoor quit his job as an IRS (Indian Revenue Service) officer last year to mentor thousands of UPSC aspirants for free.

The 2011-batch officer has been running a Free Online Mentorship Programme (FMP) for aspirants, and is also the Chief Mentor of UPSC at Testbook, an online exam preparation platform.

With over a decade of bureaucratic experience and a master’s degree in clinical psychology, Ravi’s mentorship focuses on mental fitness and motivation.

This approach has worked, as 7 of his students cleared the UPSC exam last year.

“I started this to eliminate the requirement for [paid] coaching. In practice, this didn’t happen. Aspirants wanted to consume my content but that did not stop them from joining coaching institutes,” says Ravi.

The idea is to give students a choice of not paying for coaching by solving the problem of lack of guidance.

“You can bypass the requirement of coaching by simply availing our FMP courses which are much like the paid material available elsewhere,” Ravi explains.

Ravi’s need to challenge the status quo of coaching institutes comes from his own struggles with the Indian education system.

Growing up as an overweight boy, he suffered bullying. He later realised that he had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which helped him understand himself better.

Despite wanting to tread the path less taken, by doing a course in psychology, he was pushed towards engineering.

It was psychology as an optional subject that helped him clear his UPSC civil services exam. He later earned a masters degree in it.

He felt unhappy with his role as an IRS officer and first started a blog, which has been published as a book, called, ‘The Ultimate Cheatbook for UPSC Civil Services’ in 2020.

People started approaching him with more questions, necessitating the need for developing his FMP, during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The FMP consists of a lecture he posts on YouTube followed by an email with an assignment. Students have to complete it on the day they are given.

“I put you through this series of assignments and in that process, I not only provide the requisite study material but also psychological advice. The process I have established helped bring regularity and consistency to UPSC preparation,” he explains.

To facilitate this process, he employs Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools which most businesses employ to sell their wares or services.

After the aspirants clear the prelims, he organises the Mains SuperGroup, which provides mentorship for essay writing, ethics and which optional subject to choose.

For the interview process, the FMP asks students to record a video about why they want to join a particular service.

The IRS officer also shares how his ADD diagnosis changed his outlook on the failures of the education system and it is his aim that no other student suffers similarly..