UPSC CSE Rank Holders 2017 to 2020: 5 Success and Inspiring Stories of IAS

Every year, the final result of Civil Services Exam which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has thrown up various motivational and inspirational stories. Sometimes it has been seen that candidates from diverse background made it to India’s elite administrative service.

We can’t ignore that the journey becomes special when the hard work results into fruitful outcomes. The hard work and perseverance that you have, already begun for UPSC preparation can give spark and be fueled with these mentioned below 5 success stories of IAS aspirants.

1. Pratyush Pandey (21 Rank, 2019)

Pratyush Pandey a 24-year old has secured 21st rank in his first attempt in UPSC Civil Services Examination in 2019. He is an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur and IIM Ahmedabad. Do you know that despite from the Engineering background he chooses sociology as an optional? He said in one of his interviews that no matter what optional subject you choose, important and the matter is how thoroughly you follow through with your preparation.

Further, he told that the yearly analysis will show that no one optional has an upper hand in UPSC. Proper dedication, strategy, continuity matters and make you up in the field. Important is how well you study and how well you present your answers to score well. This comes only with practice and revision. Besides, optional is not the end of the road. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and conquer this journey. It is you only who knows better about yourself, your weaknesses and how it can be improved.

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Regarding Current Affairs, he says that relate the examples of positive or negative aspects of the topic. As far as if it is concerned with sociology any news that you read can be used as an example in Sociology. It will be better to follow a functional approach when trying to discuss any issue.

He also told regarding writing answers. During his preparation, he developed a common structure for his answers so that he could think quicker and write faster. He would begin with a simple introduction which would be a definition related to a question. Also, you can follow this up with the concept that you talk directly about the thinker’s philosophy about the topic at hand. Unless there is a mention of a thinker in the question, mention 3 or 4 of them at least. Understand the demand of the question’s keywords such as ‘Discuss’, ‘Analyze’, ‘Criticize’, etc. before answering. End with one of the few different pre-prepared conclusions.

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2. Himanshu Jain (4 Rank, 2019)

Himanshu Jain has secured 4rth Rank in UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2019. He is a native of Haryana and has done his schooling from his hometown till 8th standard. After that, he moved to Delhi for his 9th to 12 grades. He did his graduation in Economics (Hons.) from Hansraj College in Delhi. Immediately after completing his graduation, he started pursuing his passion for UPSC. In 2018, he gave his first attempt of UPSC but unfortunately, he could not clear prelims. He started again, corrected his mistakes with dedication and hard work he managed the astounding rank in his 2019 attempt.

In one of his interview, he gave a message to the IAS aspirants that Eat well, sleep well, stress less. This is the main message from him to the IAS aspirants. He also said that don’t listen to a million voices, listen to teachers or to people who have already taken his journey and use their advice in a manner that fits your personality. It will be better to keep your personal matters aside for now. He said that all these types of matters will resolve themselves once your target has been achieved.

He is an example that after not clearing Prelims in the first attempt you should not be disheartened. You should believe yourself and your passion to achieve or fulfil your dreams. Nothing is impossible.

He told about his study time also. He believes that 6 to 8 hours of the study was good enough for him. He also told that it will be better to mould your strategy as per your ability and comfort. For Himanshu, studying 4 to 6 hours in the morning-noon time and perhaps another additional 2 hours in the evenings proved to be good enough.

For General Studies Preparation he gave tip that pick up each topic/phrase mentioned in the syllabus and note down all static and current information you find each day under the given topic.   General Studies Paper-II (Polity) answer writing of Himanshu was based around debates on Rajya Sabha TV and the static information around it. Note terms in the news and write down short notes on each.

He heavily relied on texts and reports published on government websites like PIB to get hold of his facts and actual figures. He preferred newspapers for current affairs and websites over monthly magazines. He told that one must read newspapers consistently to develop analytical reasoning prowess.

He recommends that everyone should read NCERT books from standard 6 to 12 for developing a basic structure for his preparation. He further said that the UPSC Mains exam is very crucial and most effort of the UPSC preparation goes into preparing for UPSC Mains exam as it will decide your rank. Preparation for every subject and topic should be mains oriented as that would automatically cover all things prelims. He started his prelim specific preparation cum revision 50 days before the Preliminary Examination.

The mantra of Himanshu’s preparation was limited resources and indefinite revisions.

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3. Kanishak Kataria (1st Rank, 2018)

Kanishak Kataria an IIT-alumnus who bagged the first rank in UPSC in his very first attempt in 2018. He left the job abroad where he was earning almost one crore as salary to become an IAS officer. He achieved this feat by sheer hard work without worrying about the results much. He is an example that if a person decides something or set some goal in life then nothing is impossible.

In an interview, he shared his several tidbits from his UPSC preparation to his personal life. After completing his B. Tech in Computer Science from IIT Bombay, he took a job in a company in South Korea. He always wanted to live outside India and explore the world beyond. While working in South Korea he felt that he was earning well but was not able to help and connect people in his own country. So after working in the company in South Korea for one year he quit his job and returned to India.

He also revealed that in South Korea he was earning close to One Crore and after returning to India his salary was drastically reduced by almost one-third.

He also talked about the preparation strategy that he had started reading newspapers 2 years prior to appearing for the exam to stay updated about current affairs. He also read online news and magazines for current affairs topics.

In the initial phase, he also took coaching classes. For Prelims examination, he analyzed and looked question papers of the last few years and also appeared for test series. His optional subject was mathematics. He also told that Math’s was his favourite subject so he never gets bored with it while preparing. As the syllabus of mathematics is vast and longer than other subjects so he devoted more time to preparing for mathematics.

For Civil Services Main Examination, he devoted about 13 to 14 hours each day. His preparation style was a mix of self-studies and coaching assisted. Saying about social media, he told that two months prior to the exam he completely cut himself off of social media.

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4. Anu Kumari (2nd Rank, 2017)

She was dedicated towards her goal when she decided to be an IAS Officer and her life took a turn. When she cleared the paper she was a mother of 4-year-old and has been through a lot of highs and lows in her life. In Haryana Sonipat, she left her job and started living life any other homemaker despite being an MBA and Finance and securing a good job.

Being a homemaker at the age of 31, she decided to do something meaningful and worthwhile for society. And no doubt the day result came out she did not disappoint anybody. In her second attempt given her age, she was worried about the kind of support and resources that she would be able to gather.

But with the support of family, few friends and obviously hard work and dedication she finally cracked the exam. She proved that firm determination makes you achieve whatever you want to achieve in your life. It is never late or early. Only need to be focused, the right strategy and proper mindset. She came from the place where English newspapers and coaching centres were not available. She has to manage and balance life in a village where regressive mindset towards women is the norm. She was focused, put a smile and moved forward to realize her dream and goals.

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5. Saumya Sharma (9 Rank, 2017)

The success story of Saumya Sharma is one of inspiration. She secured 9th Rank in UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2017 in her first attempt. With sincerity and hard work, she proved that dreams can be fulfilled. With four months of preparation, this lawyer has achieved 9th rank at her first attempt in 2017. Isn’t amazing!

When she decided to appear for UPSC Exam, she was in the fifth year of her graduation in National Law School. She also proved that no disability could stop her!

Hearing-impaired Saumya Sharma’s journey of cracking the UPSC Civil Services exam without coaching in her first attempt is truly motivating. She lost his hearing ability when she was only 16 years old and since then she had to depend on hearing aid machine to listen. Despite this, her focus, determination and motivation help her to crack UPSC. She cleared the exam at a young age of 23 without any coaching. She told in an interview that cracking this type of exam needs proper planning and well-built strategy.

Due to loss of hearing power, she was included in the Disabled Person’s category. But she refused to fill UPSC Civil Services form under handicapped quota and opted for general category.

She was a bright student since his school days and catching up with UPSC Civil Services preparation as not that tough for her. As per her, a strong base is important for the aspirants to crack the exam easily. Do you know that she appeared for UPSC Civil Services exam while suffering from 102 viral fever? Saumya’s parents were a doctor and were with her at the examination centre to keep a check on her health.

In one of her interview, she advised IAS aspirants to read newspapers daily, practice model question papers and having a grip on your optional subject is the key to success.  She also told that with this it is important to prepare yourself not only for prelims but also for mains at the same time.

So these are some success and inspirational stories of UPSC aspirants. Hope you like it and just remember nothing is difficult to achieve required is firm determination and continuity. No doubt proper strategy also plays an important role.

Best of Luck!

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