The announcement of UPSC Civil Services Exam results has invariably been an occasion for celebrations for all of us at the CSR. No, please don’t get me wrong. True, neither we appear in nor does anyone of us crack the prestigious exam. But, as a result of constantly helping the aspirants with the quality reading material in their preparations for the exams throughout the year, we get so much identified with the toppers and all other successful candidates that we cannot but celebrate their success as our own. We also invest a part of our emotional self while we invite and felicitate the toppers with the CSR Toppers Awards year after year. This year was no different.
However, more than anything else, we keep a sharp eye on what makes them click at the toughest of all the exams. After all, it is not a small feat to stand out among hundreds of thousands of candidates. What is it that makes a few hundreds of them come out with flying colours in comparison to many thousands of those who fail to make it? Even after keenly observing a large number of the toppers over the years, I must say there are no standard answers to the question. Every success has its own formula. Every success has its own recipe. Every success has its own uniqueness. You learn from the toppers of previous years. There are myriads of sources that you take help and inspiration from. But everything goes and melts in the innate uniqueness of your mind and personality to give shape to your singular, unparalleled template of success.
Take the success of two of the toppers from the 2020-21 UPSC Civil Services Examination. Mr. Yash Jaluka, 24, natively from Jharkhand, and Mr. Satyam Gandhi, 22, from Bihar, ranked 4th and 10th, respectively, stand out even among the toppers this year by securing stupendous success in their very first attempt and that too without any help from coaching institutes. Both are neither IITians nor come from families of Civil Servants or like. Hailing from simple backgrounds, both did their preparations on their own to invent their unique formula of success. Mr. Gandhi “self-studied for 12 hours a day”, whereas studying “7 to 8 hours a day” was sufficient for Mr. Jaluka to crack the exam. While the first one had maps and timetables pasted on the wall of his small PG room in New Delhi in order to follow his weekly and monthly targets during his preparations, the latter concentrated on “one book for one subject” and kept repeating it. But both devised their distinct strategies and worked accordingly for sure.
And how do you formulate your strategy? Again, there could be several ways to do so. Here is what Mr. Shubham Kumar, 24, an IITian, natively from Bihar, and the topper with the 1st rank this year, says, “Self-analysis is at the root of every strategy you plan in your life. Your ambition and your potential must match to get through.” He also enlightens us about how not get distracted from our path of success, when he says, “By analysing the situation, distractions can be kept at bay. Power of self-assessment and self-analysis may bring a student out of such distractions.”
Earlier, the focus used to be on ‘hard work’. The refrain was: since the syllabus is vast and all-encompassing and every aspect of innumerable topics of each subject has so many dimensions to it and merely facts are not enough to know but you have to find out how to interpret them by correlating one with another, hence there is no way but to put in a lot of dedicated hours of study. As Ms. Mamta Yadav, 24, ranked 5th this year, says, “Have faith in your hard work. Go, read and practice again and again.” Now, an element of ‘smart work’ has also crept in since past few years. As Ms. Jagrati Awasthi, 24, from Bhopal, ranked 2nd and the topper among women candidates in 2020-21, realised this only after her unsuccessful first attempt. Subsequently, she adopted a strategy of smart work along with the hard one and cracked the exam in her very second attempt. She took, as she says, a month to do her research and understand the pattern of examination. Here, she has a clue for all future aspirants. Your smart strategy has to be derived from a proper analysis of the pattern of examination keeping your own strengths and weaknesses in mind.
You will find many more tips and tricks for the much-coveted success in this issue of CSR. Keep apprising yourself of current goings-on by reading newspapers and magazines, especially the CSR, is a must. Mock Tests are also gaining increasing currency as everyone recognises them as very helpful. As you prepare for your exams next year, CSR, as your most reliable friend and guide, will keep getting better and more useful for you.
Once again, I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the toppers and successful candidates this year and wish best of success and health to all future aspirants.