Tips and Tricks to Ace the UPSC Exam from UPSC Toppers

by swinxpress
Tips and Tricks to Ace the UPSC Exam from UPSC Toppers

Over the years, many candidates have topped the UPSC exams with grit, determination and a little bit of luck. They have had their ups and downs, tips and tricks to deal with the way in which they tackled the UPSC Exam.

Many take an umpteen number of attempts before cracking the exams, some made lesser attempts, and even a very few got it right on the first try. 

What they have to say will be useful for many upcoming candidates who seek to follow in their footsteps. That being said, this article will give the tips and tricks of some of those UPSC toppers who made a name for themselves in the UPSC exams.

Pooja Gupta – AIR 42: UPSC 2020

A Bachelor of Dental Science from ESIC Dental College, Delhi, Pooja Gupta got the IPS post in her first attempt by securing rank 147. Not the one to be satisfied with the hand life dealt her, she made a third attempt in 2020 that netted her the coveted IAS post. Her primary source of inspiration is her mother, Rekha Gupta, who is an Assistant Sub-Inspector in the Delhi Police.

Her UPSC Strategy involved:

  • Referring to IAS toppers interviews as well as the UPSC Booklist.
  • Putting great efforts into solving UPSC Question Papers from previous years.
  • Relying on the NCERT Notes for current affairs and clearing up basic concepts.
  • She also recommends watching government websites like PIB and Rajya Sabha TV in order to know more about government policies and news.
  • According to Pooja Gupta, her interview consisted of questions regarding her tenure in the IPS. She was also asked about Anthropology, her optional subject.

Alankrita Pandey – AIR 85: UPSC 2015

Alankrita Pandey hails from a middle-class family in Kanpur. She completed her Software Engineering degree from MNNIT – Allahabad. She underwent personal hardships before finally resolving to write her UPSC exam in 2015. To that end, her strategy involved:

  • Studying for 8 hours a day, beginning after a round of jogging and Yoga
  • Planning her preparation at the macro and micro level, which she had broken down into topic-wise and hour-wise scheduling
  • She focused on reading one book 4-5 times rather than reading 4-5 books for a single subject. Get a list of the required list of UPSC books in the linked article.
  • Newspapers were the mainstay for her UPSC preparation.

Vaibhav Rawat – AIR 25: UPSC 2020 

Before trying for the UPSC, Vaibhav Rawat worked in the R&D department of Samsung. Driven by a passion to represent India on the world stage, he secured the 25th rank in his first attempt.

His UPSC preparation strategy involved:

  • Understanding the requirements of the UPSC syllabus is the key step. This way, candidates can have an idea of what they can expect in the exam themselves.
  • Along with being well prepared for the exam, one must also focus on their own attitude. It is not enough to be well prepared with the subject knowledge at hand but also be mentally prepared for the UPSC exams, which will help immensely in the final interview.
  • In the UPSC Mains, mastering the art of answer writing is crucial as some of your characteristics will be assessed on the quality of the answers you write.
  • Making use of free UPSC material like mock tests and previous years’ question papers whenever and wherever possible.
  • It is highly recommended not to wait for the UPSC Prelims results in order to start preparing for the Mains because the time gap between the two stages is not enough to practise answer writing. One must practise the same at the very beginning of the UPSC preparation.


Now, one must realise that every candidate has their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to UPSC preparation. That being said, they must identify which strategy works best for them and which doesn’t and deploy them accordingly. This will invariably lead to much success.

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