When it comes to cracking UPSC, what do all the best people in the field really do to score the best they can on the exam? If you’re curious to know as well, then here’s a list of UPSC toppers who’ve shared their preparation strategies to ace the exam. Take a look. 

1. “I rigorously practised writing answers for a period of 7-8 months consistently during my first attempt. While attempting the exam itself, I followed a set of rules and time frames to make sure I cleared the exam with ease…I used a digital watch during the exam and strictly spent only 7 minutes each for 10 markers, 11 minutes each for 15 markers and 15 minutes each for case studies in GS 4.” 

– Abhishek Saraf (All India Rank 8, 2019) told India Today


2. “During my preparation I often used online platforms such as BYJU’S to get a detailed overview on various relevant topics which helped me save time…..I made a schedule every Sunday for the syllabus I am planning to complete next week. I can say with certainty that weekly and monthly schedules worked for me.”

– Sanjita Mohapatra (All India Rank 10, 2019) told India Today


3. “Initially, I studied for 8 to 10 hours. Eventually, I increased it to 10 to 12 hours, and about two months before the exam, I further pushed it to 12 to 14 hours..”

– Jagrati Awasthi (All India Rank 2, 2020) told India Today. 


4. “Apart from books, or available notes in the market, I discuss answers with my friends and colleagues and also shared content in online platforms for suggestions..There is confusion among aspirants that if I criticise the government’s policy, I could not clear the UPSC interview. The concept is totally wrong, you may criticise the government’s policy, but when asked, you have to explain why you are criticising such policy and what changes you want to make in such policies.”

– Pradeep Singh (All India Rank 26, 2019) tells India TV.

6. “I think prelims preparation is divided into three parts. And you need a certain amount of consistency and continuously revision. There are three parts to the portion that we need to do… the first one is the static portion, which most of us do from the same sources…..I think it’s more productive to go through the same two textbooks again and again and make sure what you know, you know well. The second part of prelims preparation is current affairs. So did it the long term strategy that I used for Mains as well… I had The Hindu with me during the lunch break. I would see which all articles were relevant from the paper on that particular day. And I would come home and spend 30-40 minutes to which article from the paper was mentioned in the syllabus…The second thing I did for current affairs was go through PDFs that many coaching centres release… I related what I read from the monthly PDF to what I read in the papers. The third part was doing approximately 50-60 test series from different places.”

– Anjali S (All India Rank 26, 2017) told Delhi Knowledge Track. 

7. “If we rigorously study for 8 to 10 hours each day, that preparation is as fruitful as spending 14-15 hours. I have an interest in sports, hence I shell out a fixed amount of time to play table tennis every day. It helped me keep my mind rejuvenated during the preparation and also killed the monotony.”

– Radhika Gupta (All India Rank 18, 2021) told Indian Express. 

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8. “Make your strategies, try to have an independent mind, and don’t follow somebody’s path because they give you notes, tell you to read these books, but they can’t give you assurance. Just study that topic whichever you choose with interest.”

– Sarthak Agarwal (All India Rank 17, 2021) told Indian Express. 


Wow, look at all the hard work it takes.