In an interview with high UPSC rank holders i.e. 3rd, 8th, and 10th in CSE 2019, shared their preparation strategy and life goals for the toughest exam of India.

UPSC aspirants all around India prepare for Civil Services Exam 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. Undoubtedly, it is the toughest exam in India, if not the world.

You can be one reading this article that has his/her heart set on clearing the Civil Services but might be that you couldn’t clear it this year. If so! then don’t worry, is here with toppers preparation plans to help you out!

829 candidates in 2019 UPSC results were appointed as IAS, IFS, 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. Here below mentioned are about three of their preparations.


Abhishek Saraf first realized why the Civil Services is important while undergoing training for the Indian railways in around 2015 and 2016.

“Prior to this, my outlook on life and my intellectual horizon were limited to civil engineering,” he says. Soon after his training period, he realized there was much to learn beyond the civil engineering domain.

“Every discipline has a role to play in the world. That is when i started learning about other disciplines,” says Abhishek.

“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 only 10 months old, and his mother and elder brother always encouraged him to pursue studies in whichever field he wants to go.

“They always supported my decisions no matter what and that played a huge role in my success,” he says.

From IIT Kanpur, Abhishek completed his BTech in engineering and then cleared the UPSC CSE exam in his fourth attempt. His preference for service would be IAS, IPS, and IRS (IT)- in that respective order.


Abhishek explains how the initial portion of the study is the toughest as there are a lot of subjects to cover and revise.

“However, I soon realized 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 optional 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 prai8sed BYJU’s learning programmes and the daily news analysis it puts up that helped him prepare for current affairs. He also got help from his peers who had already cleared UPSC CSE exam and analysed previous years question papers and answer sheets of toppers to boost his preparation.

He divided his time depending on the knowledge he already had. He says that he balanced his time and devoted himskef to each paper and each topic. He spent four hours each day reading and analysing newspaper, and then four hours each to two topics selected for that 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 cleared the exam with ease,” says Abhishek.

“I used digital watch during the exam and strictly spent only 7 minutes each for 10 markers and 15 minutes each for case studies in GS 4,” he told.


Clearing the UPSC Civil Services was a childhood dream of Sanjita Mohapatra, rank 10. 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 NGO’s, trusts and NROs,” says Sanjita.

So, she felt that the best way to give back would be through 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 had done bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, B.Tech from IIT Kanpur. After that she prepared for UPSC and cleared it in 5th attempt.

“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 my 3rd attempt I couldn’t even clear prelims round,” she says.


Sanjita prepared for the UPSC Civil Services for close to a decade! She began preparing during her graduation by regularly reading 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 had 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.n My friends were a great support system and helped me sail through the tumultuous journey of UPSC preparation,” says Sanjita.

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 gives her UPSC success credits to BYJUs. She specially praised 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 weakness across many dimensions of the personality test.” says Pratibha.

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