The UPSC exams are renowned as one of the toughest exams in the world, and perhaps the toughest in India by far. Candidates prepare for the UPSC Civil Services for months if not years and often make a number of attempts to clear it with a good rank that allows them to opt for a Civil Service they want. How To Crack UPSC Toppers Share life goals and preparation tips.
If you are someone with your heart set on clearing the Civil Services but couldn’t crack it this year, don’t worry! Gear up and try again next year with the strategies the UPSC toppers explain here.
The UPSC Civil Services 2019 results were declared in August and 829 candidates were recommended for appointment in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS); Indian Foreign Service (IFS); Indian Police Service (IPS); and Central Services, Group A and Group B posts.
Pradeep Singh topped the UPSC exam this year followed by Jatin Kishore and Pratibha Sharma. We spoke to a few of the UPSC rankholders before to understand their exam preparation strategy. Here we speak to three more UPSC toppers to understand what makes them tick and how they prepared for the country’s toughest exam. How To Crack UPSC Toppers Share life goals.
Abhishek Saraf (All India Rank 8)– How To Crack UPSC Toppers Share life goals and preparation tips
Why did he appear for the UPSC exam?
Abhishek Saraf first realised why the Civil Services are important while undergoing training for the Indian Railways from around 2015 to 2016.
“Prior to this, my outlook on life and my intellectual horizon were limited to civil engineering,” he says. It was only after this training period that he realised there was much to learn beyond the civil engineering domain.
“I enjoyed the learning process and decided to pursue a career where learning about various disciplines and implementation of the learnings would be a part and parcel of the job,” he adds.
Abhishek’s father had passed away when he was just 10 months old, and his mother and elder brother always encouraged him to pursue whichever field he would be the happiest working in.
“They always supported my decisions no matter what and that played a huge role in my success,” he says.
Abhishek completed his BTech in engineering from IIT Kanpur and then cleared the UPSC Civil Services in his fourth attempt. His preference of service would be IAS, IPS and IRS (IT) — in that respective order. How To Crack UPSC Toppers Share life goals.
What was his exam preparation and daily routine like?
Abhishek explains how the initial portion of study is the toughest as there are a lot of subjects to cover and revise.
“However, I soon realised that with perseverance it gets easier with time. I made sure to diversify my reading during the initial months to get the hang of every single subject,” he says.
He chose his optionals based on how interested he was in the subject and the study material available to him.
“The online space is a boon to aspirants today with multiple resources that can help us prepare for the exams in a short period of time,” he adds.
He praised BYJU’s learning programmes and the daily news analysis it puts up that helped him prepare for the current affairs section.
He also got help from his peers who had already cleared the UPSC Civil Services and analysed previous years’ question papers and the answer sheets of toppers to boost his preparation.
The 8th rank holder in UPSC Civil Services said that he divided the time he allotted for studies depending on the knowledge he already had.
“There has to be a balance in the time devoted to each paper and each topic,” says Abhishek.
For his action plan, he spent four hours each day reading and analysing newspapers, and then four hours each to two topics selected for the day.
“I rigorously practiced writing answers for a period of 7-8 months consistently during my first attempt. While attempting the exam itself, I followed a set of rules and time frames to make sure I cleared the exam with ease,” says Abhishek.
“I used a digital watch during the exam and strictly spent only 7 minutes each for 10 markers, 11 minutes each for 15 markers and 15 minutes each for case studies in GS 4,” he added. How To Crack UPSC Toppers Share life goals.
Sanjita Mohapatra (All India Rank 10)– How To Crack UPSC Toppers Share life goals and preparation tips
Why did she appear for the UPSC exam?
Clearing the UPSC Civil Services was a childhood dream of 10th rank holder Sanjita Mohapatra. And as she grew up, that dream only grew in strength, driven by the ardent desire to serve the society.
“Society has always come forward to help me when I needed it the most, especially in terms of financial aid through NGOs, trusts and NROs,” says Sanjita.
So, she felt that the best way to give back would be through the civil services.
“My life goal is to have positively impacted the lives of at least 100 people through the course of my career and to have them walk up to me and say that I improved their life!” she says.
Sanjita completed her BTech in mechanical engineering from IIT Kanpur and then cleared the UPSC Civil Services in her fifth attempt. His preference of service would be IAS, IPS and IRS (IT) — in that respective order.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride. I remember attempting the paper twice during my graduation, when I had absolutely no idea about UPSC. And during the 3rd attempt I couldn’t even clear the prelims round,” she says.
What was her exam preparation and daily routine like?
Sanjita prepared for the UPSC Civil Services for close to a decade. She began preparing during her graduation days by regularly reading the newspaper and keeping track of current affairs.
“I think it’s much easier to prepare for these civil services today because of the abundance of online resources. During my preparation I often used online platforms such as BYJU’S to get a detailed overview on various relevant topics which helped me save time,” she says.
She also praised BYJU’s mock interview programmes which helped her gain confidence and recommended the same to future UPSC aspirants.
However, what the 10th rank holder didn’t do is cut off all fun activities for exam preparation
“I am a garrulous person with a lot of friends that I enjoy spending time with. My friends were a great support system and helped me sail through the tumultuous journey of UPSC preparation,” says Sanjita.
“Instead of attending frequent social gatherings and official parties, I would spend a single day every week with friends to unwind,” she adds.
Sanjita was preparing for UPSC alongside working for five hours daily. So, she focused on the quality of her studies instead of thinking about how many hours she studied for.
“I made a schedule every Sunday for the syllabus I am planning to complete next week. I can say with certainty that weekly and monthly schedules worked for me,” the UPSC topper adds.
Pratibha Verma (All India Rank 3)
Third rank holder in the UPSC Civil Services Pratibha Verma credits BYJUs for her exam preparation, especially appreciating their mock interviews.
“Their mock interviews stood out in quality and helped me gain many new perspectives. This helped me work on my areas of weaknesses across many dimensions of the personality test,” says Pratibha.
We wish all the UPSC Civil Services toppers all the best for a brilliant and productive future working for the country!