The Civil Services Examination results always mesmerise me with their new set of achievers earning their much-coveted success in their own unique ways. The results of UPSC CSE 2021-22 also came with their own extraordinary success stories and inspiring tales, not only for the future aspirants but everyone out there who wish to make it big in his or her own life as well as contribute to the greater good of the society. Newspaper headlines focussed on the most obvious highlight of the results—after a gap of seven years, the top three positions went to the women candidates. True, it has its symbolic importance as the women in the country continue their glorious march toward breaking one glass ceiling after another. But they still have to go a long way as they constitute only around 25% of the successful candidates, much less than their ratio in the population.
The stories of CSE 2021-22 toppers offer useful insights for future aspirants to prepare for the exam. One of the challenges that every topper faced was to deal with the huge syllabus of the CSE. There is a lot of material in the market. So, one has to be choosy. Solution does not lie in any single formula. Everyone has to evolve his or her own way to deal with the vast syllabus. As Ms. Shruti Sharma, the topper (AIR-1) this year, says, “It is very important to focus on basics.” All the toppers emphasise on the need to make your own notes on each and every topic and keep them updated as and when required during the long journey of preparation. Some say that it is necessary to “clear your concepts” while for others the notes come handy for a quick revision at the time of exam. There is a growing consensus that how many hours you put into your studies is not of much importance. Instead, quality of the study carries much more weight.
Before embarking on a CSE journey, you must ask yourself what is your motivation for appearing in one of the toughest examinations. Ms. Ankita Agarwal, the second rank holder, was inspired to do something for underprivileged people and this became the motivation for her to achieve what she has now achieved. She preferred a balanced schedule, sparing time for family, friends and recreation too, while Ms. Gamini Singla, ranked 3rd, almost completely cut off from friends and family to keep her absolute focus on just clearing the UPSC CSE. Mr. Aishwarya Verma, topper among men, considers putting very long hours of studies impractical, and he used to play cricket and chess to lower the unnecessary pressure. While Mr. Yaksh Chaudhary, ranked 6th, adopted simple strategy of getting practical knowledge of each and every concept he came across, Mr. Preetam Kumar, ranked 9th, says that going slow and grasping the depth of the subject is always better than moving quickly without retaining anything. All of them relied on solving as many Mock Tests as possible. Mr. Utkarsh Dwivedi, ranked 5th, says that his whole preparation was based on solving test papers. Ms. Ishita Rathi, ranked 8th, extends an interesting advice to carry logic to examination hall, indicating that whatever you do, decide and put on paper while writing examination from the point of view of solid logic and reasoning.
With a common thread of dos and don’ts, each and every successful candidate has his or her unique qualities, attributes and strategies that have contributed to their success in their own way. However, two of the top 10 have something more unique about them.
Mr. Samyak S. Jain of Delhi achieved 7th rank overcoming his visual impairment. He prepared mostly by listening and not reading as he reads book in audio format and his mother wrote the exams for him while he dictated. Advising future aspirants, when he says that keep a positive mind and always believe that you will do this, his words carry more weight and credibility. Mr. Harkeerat Singh Randhawa, ranked 10th, was motivated by his childhood dream of becoming IFS and achieved the success in sixth and final attempt. He believed entirely in his own uniqueness for success. His strong advice to all future aspirants is to weigh in your personality and frame your own strategy around it.
On a personal note, the CSE results always come with a sense of satisfaction and gratitude for us in CSR as year after year they reveal a deeper connection of most of the successful candidates with this magazine. This year has been no exception. When we interviewed and felicitated the topper Ms. Shruti Sharma for her stupendous success, she made it a point to tell us that her father was also a reader of the CSR in his youth.
As we continue to help you in your preparations, please go through the success stories emerging out of CSE 2021-22 results in this issue of CSR and formulate your own strategy to come out in flying colours in coming years’ results.
Wishing you all the success for all your endeavours.