IAS Toppers Story: Shikhar Chaudhary, Rank-97 CSE 2019: Cracking UPSC- CSE & IFS in First Attempt

In one of our previous success stories of Muskan Jindal, Rank 87, we quoted a term- “Ranker among Rankers”. We used this term for the aspirants who crack Civil Services Exam in their first attempt at very young age. Story of Shikhar Chaudhary, a young IITian is story of a Ranker who qualifies the category of rarest of rare success story.

The young Mechanical Engineer has cracked two toughest examination of our country conducted by UPSC at one go. Shikhar has proudly notched All India Rank-9 in Indian Forest Services and All India Rank-97 in Civil Services Examination. Earthing the profile of Shikhar is surely going to charge and stimulus us in achieving goal of Civil Services.

Shikhar spent his reasonable part of childhood in a village of Purnia District of Bihar. Being from an underdeveloped area, he developed a good knowledge of socio economic evils of rural areas like poor sanitation, underdeveloped infrastructure, patriarchy, issues of education, etc. Since childhood he developed a sense of societal spirit and public service. Being the son of a Government Servant in Indian Railways, Shikhar got convinced that a Civil Servant can impact lives of millions of people. Policy making roles of Civil Servant further strengthened his sense of conviction.

Shikhar passed class 10th from CMS Lucknow with 95.6 percentage and started preparing for IITs. After passing 12th from CMS Lucknow itself with 97.25 percent, he secured admission in Mechanical Engineering in IIT Patna.

Anyone with a seat in IIT gets immense confidence for his placement in a top MNC. But since Shikhar was extremely firm and decisive over his aspiration of cracking UPSC, he started preparation from the college itself. During college days only, he started light reading of some basic study materials. Specific and focused study started only in final year. He appeared in the placement process during final year but denied the job because he qualified UPSC Prelims 2019 in fresh year only. Along with CSE, he could also clear Prelims of IFS. Since he had to manage UPSC Affairs along with academics, he chose Maths as his optional. And the talented boy cracked both the exam with remarkable rank.

During his interview with one of our faculty members, we could outline following piece of strategy for his outstanding success:-

A. Time management is visa of entry into the elite club of Rankers. We need to first decide upon our own boundaries of time limitations. Once we are firm over available time schedule then the next task should be of “maximising output in limited time”. If someone is very adamant for career in Civil Services in college itself, he can compromise over the college curriculum with perfect and judicious balance.

B. One of the biggest deterrence factors in UPSC is fear of failure and thus majority of people do explore some alternate career plans as backup and corridor to enter CSE. So, with proper planning and little extra efforts, one can also prepare for other pro types exams like UPSC- IFS, UPSC- CAPF, UPSC- APFC, etc. But this should be done with great caution as it might split out focus and attention.

C. All optionals have some pros and some cons which is also true for Science subjects like Mathematics. Our educational background, interest in the subject, time constraint are some of the factors which help us in selection of optional. Science subjects demand more time and also are least helpful in other parts of GS but scale of score is a significant fact. Hence, if all other factors are favourable, they can be choosen for best results.

D. Synchronised preparation can only defeat the the vast, complicated and scattered syllabus of UPSC. Approach towards Prelims should be fact oriented and approach towards Mains should be analysis oriented. Exclusive preparation is required 2-3 months before a particular stage.

E. Answer writing is an art which demands a reasonable amount of time. An answer always has some static and some current part. So, content should be strongly developed. Without content, answer writing is a futile exercise. Analysing Toppers’ copies can help in development of the skill efficiently.

F. Time management in answer writing of Mains is a big challenge. It can be improved by attempting decent number of test papers in any standard Test series. Handy notes should be made in advance for smooth and fluent writing. Collection of facts, figures and data can be very fruitful during the mains.

G. Notes making is important but it should be with the use of rationality and intelligence. If underlining and using highlighters can work, there is no need of separate notes making. So it depends on the source, content and style of written material.

H. Personal Interview is not the test of knowledge but the test of your personality. And hence, being honest in front of the pays you a lot. Politely refusing any question never has any detrimental effect on your performance.

I. Cycle of UPSC is a viscous cycle and every attempt is equally important and unique irrespective of your past attempts. Hence, it’s advisable to warm up yourself immediately for the next stage after you fail in any of the stages.

J. Since, apart from knowledge, temperament, pressure handing, presence of mind, etc play important role in selection during Prelims. And hence, it’s suggested to appear in few offline Tests also. The more Tests we practice in exam kind environment, the more we sharpen our MCQs solving Techniques. It improves our confidence and minimise the examination fear.

We are proud that Shikhar Chaudhary has chosen GS SCORE in the journey of IAS preparation. GS SCORE has continued the legacy of producing IAS TOPPERS every year.

GS SCORE ( iasscore.in) is a teaching platform for Civil Services Examination, both in classroom and online. Learning in GS SCORE is driven by two predominant objectives- excellence and empowerment. For us, excellence is a drive to challenge yourself to be better. Empowerment for us does not mean only stuffing your mind with facts and information but to ignite your mind for imagination and creativity to respond to all kinds of challenges with wisdom and confidence.

For Full Interview of Shikhar Chaudharyhttps://youtu.be/D-DVA9p7R0M

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