Smart strategy to crack UPSC Civil Services Examination by Suharsha Bhagat, IAS (Rank 5, CSE 2014)

Suharsha Bhagat is one name, all IAS aspirants would be aware of. He is an epitome of belief for his attempts in UPSC Civil Services Examination, clearing it every single time, only to achieve the desired position of IAS with all India rank 5 in his 5th consecutive attempt. Hailing from a nuclear family of Samastipur, Bihar; Suharsha was always motivated by his family for Civil Services. Suharsha Bhagat recently visited Chanakya IAS Academy for a one on one discussion with Success Guru AK Mishra, Founder and Chairman, Chanakya IAS Academy to share his journey to success in Civil Services Exam.

Suharsha’s parents constantly motivated him but it was only in 4th year of his graduation at IIT, Mumbai, when he started preparations for UPSC civil services. He cracked civil services in his very maiden attempt in 2010 and got Indian Accounts and Audit services. Suharsha willingly resigned during the training period and started preparing for his next attempt in which he qualified but wasn’t allotted any service as he gave preferences only to IAS, IPS and IFS. Very next year too, he qualified in the reserve list but did not take up any service. He got IRS income tax in CSE 2013 attempt while still preparing for CSE 2014 side by side. His 5th attempt gave him the double joy for not just making it to IAS but also securing a rank which would entitle him to get the home cadre as per his choice.

On this, AK Mishra said, “Children should get clear about their career choice from young age. This helps them stay focused and not lose the path towards their desired goal”.

One on one discussion started, and here are the insights for you


What was the first step towards UPSC Civil Services Examination?

Suharsha considers him-self a lucky guy for having a supportive family and encouraging friends to guide him throughout his journey. His teachers, and friends who have already qualified, became a strong source of motivation that paved the way for him to succeed in Civil Services Examination.

Despite being a hardworking person, he believes that lack of right guidance often wastes a person’s efforts and time. Since his successful selection in the very first go, became strong point of motivation, he decided to prepare even well for his next attempt and not stop until he reaches to his dream destination. He believes that it was his luck and apt guidance that helped him crack UPSC in all 5 attempts.

“Visualisation is important factor for success in life. Cosmic forces push us towards the destined path, only if we believe”, said by AK Mishra.

 Could 12th grade be the right time to prepare for UPSC?

UPSC’s syllabus clearly states that candidates will be tested for their general awareness. An aspirant is eligible to sit for UPSC only after the graduation. GS Paper is based on 10+2 syllabus while optional covers the graduation part. It sounds feasible if a student is preparing from 12th onwards or is even aware for Civil Services, as it becomes easier to develop a balanced personality as per requirement of UPSC Civil Services. But it doesn’t mean that aspirants ‘must’ start preparing right after class 12th. Graduation subjects deserve full justice and focus. It is advisable to prepare for UPSC Civil services by the end of graduation final year. Exam specific questions & UPSC syllabus should be the base of preparation.

Suharsha believes in developing habits like reading newspapers, creating a general awareness about the political, social & international events; staying updated with standard magazines for UPSC like Kurukshetra & Yojana, India air book, PIB and Economic SurveyClick here to get Daily News Analysis and other resources for your preparation

UPSC is believed to be Unpredictable. What made Suharsha successfully attempt Civil services examinations? His mantra to crack India’s most competitive examinations-

His journey with UPSC has been long and different. Civil services examination being 3 staged – Preliminary, Mains & Interview, cannot be altogether categorised as unpredictable. Prelims being objective in nature could either be answered right or wrong. Hence there is nothing unpredictable about the prelims. Mains exam is subjective and could be unpredictable as there is a lot to be written like essays, GS Paper and Optional. These optional subjects like literature, humanities and others are also quite elaborative. Depending upon subject wise performance, mains could be unpredictable up-to certain level.

Interview for Civil Services could also be unpredictable as it’s a sort of scientific exam which has a defined syllabus and study material. Last 5 year question papers can guide aspirants over kind of questions UPSC is trying to ask you. It is more important to focus on what not to study rather than what to study while preparing for UPSC Civil Services. Hence right guidance, relevant study material and smart strategized study keeping UPSC syllabus in consideration is Suharsha’s Mantra to crack UPSC.

Why do toppers claim to be preparing for mains before getting into prelims preparations?

UPSC exam and its 3 stages – Prelims, Mains & Interview, have a designated syllabus. If you look at it, most of the syllabus is overlapping, and so content wise it is quite similar. But focus is different in each case. Prelims is focused on information. Even smallest of the detail is important to clear prelims. Mains exam deals with overall views, detailed analysis, elaborative explanation, and illustration about a statement or idea’s. Co-relation is more important than facts. Different points and aspects are to be analysed on social, political, economic angle. So you will see that subject content is similar, only focus is slightly different. We can also say that mains syllabus is more exhaustive than preliminary. We hardly get 3-4 months’ time to prepare for mains after prelims exam. There is so much to study which cannot be cleared in that little time left after prelims. Hence it is advisable to focus on detailed preparations and start prelims centric studies only 2-3 months before the exam.

What personality traits does UPSC expects of its candidates?

AK Mishra said– To apply for an administrative job, candidates must have administrative traits like leadership qualities, problem solving vision and decision making capacity. Administrative approach towards UPSC syllabus and Civil Services exam will reflect in ones answers and help examiner judge one on their suitability for the supervisory duties.

Importance of Time management

Preliminary exam is a qualifying stage and every candidate must try to stand eligible for writing the mains. Maximising efforts in prelims to score 80-90% of the questions will never suffice the purpose of scoring high in top final ranks. Focus should be on the Mains exam as it carries a good 85% weightage.

GS syllabus is quite vast but significantly the proficiency is lesser than the optional as questions are mostly 10+2 based. Along with GS, optional subject should be a command over, for it carries its own scores in final ranking.

If you look at history, the syllabus is quite vast. It is further classified in world history, Indian history, pre and post-independence. But, if you look at sociology in paper 1, syllabus is comparatively short. There are 10 questions from history and 5-6 from sociology. So it is better if you complete sociology first. 1 week is enough for sociology revision. Geography is again a vast syllabus and needs time for preparation. Depending upon scoring pattern, required efforts and candidates’ strength and weaknesses, time management is extremely important for UPSC civil services examination preparation.

Tips in nutshell for UPSC Civil Services aspirants

UPSC examination is a demanding process and hard work in right direction is extremely important. Right guidance will help candidate understand nature and expectations of exam Often, hardworking people miss the track of the exam due to wrong preparation strategy or getting lost in the myths prevailing. This exam has a fixed criterion already stated in the UPSC syllabus. Candidates need to believe in them. Even UPSC gives you 6 attempts, which means they believe that even a deserving candidate might fail to qualify in 1st attempt and deserve their chances to improve on. Suharsha motivates candidates to not be disheartened because once they get this vision and level of UPSC; it becomes easier to crack civil services examination.

 Importance of having a Mentor

Hardworking candidates also fail at times in absence of right direction and guidance. Hence a good mentor is extremely important for the UPSC Civil service aspirants to understand following points –

  1. Keeping a burning desire at will & have a focused goal
  2. Right guidance
  3. Understanding patterns from Previous year questions papers
  4. Relevant study material & right books
  5. Time management
  6. Emotional management
  7. Stress management
  8. Warding off myths and doubts.

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