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Hard work, consistency key to success at UPSC exams, says 19th rank holder Shreshtha Anupam

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam 2020 Preparation Tips: Shreshtha Anupam, who secured UPSC CSE 2020 Rank 19, says success at the prestigious exam is a combination of both hard and smart work. In this exclusive interview, he shares his mantra for success.

Written by Shyna Kalra | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2020 1:44:13 pm
upsc,, upsc cse, upsc ias result 2020, upsc topper, upsc ias cse admit card, upsc cse ias books, employment news, latest upsc jobs, sarkari naukriShrestha Anupam cracks UPSC CSE in second attempt

UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 Preparation Tips: Shreshta Anupam, who secured 19th rank in this year’s civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), says his focus on the prelims helped him crack the prestigious examination. Though marks scored in the prelims are not added when the final result is announced, Anupam says hard work and consistency play a key role in UPSC exams.

“The reason I cracked it the second time is that I focused immensely on the prelims round, something that I could not achieve last time. During my first attempt, I was not in the right mindset and had not taken as many tests. This time around, I took the prelims round more seriously and attempted multiple tests for the same, in an exam-like environment,” he said in an email interview with

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Anupam’s study plan was weaved around his daily routine. “I followed two routines. The broader routine plan helped me section out my study material. I assigned a certain time slot for every subject, for example – I would assign five days to study model history and seven days to study polity. I was very strict about sticking to my timetable. I additionally made a micro routine as well. This routine decided what I would study on a day-to-day basis. I would spend time studying subject sections in the morning, practise answer writing in the evening and set aside some time to watch a few informative videos at night,” he said.

Having a very specific routine played a key role in me finding a balance, says Anupam. “My routine gave me a clear perspective on how much time was required for each subject and I was able to plan out my schedule well ahead of the exams. I also understood how much time I could take off once in a while,” he said.

He shares his section-wise journey.

For Prelims, I first focused on finishing all the standard books in the syllabus and then moved on to take numerous tests. I made sure to take the tests in an actual exam environment.

For the Mains – I understood that answer writing would play a crucial role and I practised it religiously. As soon as I finished studying a topic, I would attempt a part of the paper. Additionally, I practised previous years questions and analysed how UPSC asks questions and what their main focus was.

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For interview rounds – I attended the mock interview sessions at BYJU’S. They were very informative and engaging. The 1-to-1 interactive sessions were especially useful as a detailed analysis of my application form was done, after which I was asked possible questions based on the analysis. This helped me prepare for anything that came my way during the interview rounds.

My optional subject was sociology which is writing-intensive. I prepared for this paper in a strategic manner. After going through the standard syllabus, I started making very short notes. These notes were revised and recomplied multiple times. After the second and the third iteration, my notes were finally condensed to one copy and this was the copy I referred to right before my exams. I also took multiple tests for my optional subject.

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Books he referred to —

Polity – Lakshmikanth Indian Polity,
Modern History – Spectrum & NCERT book by Bipin Chandra
Economy – Mrunal’s videos on Economy
Geography – Class 11th and 12th NCERT books and Maps
Current affairs – Daily news analysis updates by BYJU’S

Anupam says success at the UPSC is a combination of both hard and smart work. “It is important to work smart and use different strategies. For example, while attempting the mains exam, I knew that diagrams were not my strong point and thus I made sure to focus more on writing my introduction, body and conclusion. It’s also very important for aspirants to be persistent and focused. Although, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the civil service exams, if you are persistent and consistent in your efforts, you will be able to do exceedingly well,” he said.

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