10 Success Secrets of an IAS Topper - Smriti Mishra (Rank 4, UPSC CSE 2022)
In an interview with Evolution, Smriti Mishra, All India Rank - 4 in UPSC CSE 2022, shared her preparation strategy and her journey with Evolution Educare. She stresses on the importance of choosing a familiar optional subject, maintaining interest in it, leveraging coaching services, and taking a long-term approach to UPSC preparation.
Post written by
Dr. Abhishek Kumar
A teacher and guide to the students preparing for the UPSC CSE and IFS examination for about two decades. He has helped close to 2100+ students secure a rank in these examinations, with 9 of them getting All India Rank 1 and 100+ of them finding a place within the All India Top-10 list.
Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Smriti Mishra, an exceptional candidate who has achieved All India Rank - 4 in the UPSC Civil Service Examination, with Zoology as her optional subject.
Smriti is a life sciences graduate from Delhi University's renowned Miranda House College. She graduated in 2019 and has been on an impressive journey since.
Smriti joined Evolution's Regular Programme in Zoology and also attended our Test Series in 2022 before her Main Examination.
Smriti's Testimonial: Journey with Evolution
Smriti shared her thoughts about Evolution Educare:
"I enrolled in both the Zoology Optional Regular Course and the Zoology Test Series at Evolution, which were instrumental in my UPSC preparation. The well-structured courses and meticulous planning at Evolution enabled me to prepare high-quality, comprehensive notes, which became the backbone of my study material for the Main Examination.
Despite being a B. Sc. Life Sciences Topper (Rank-2) at Delhi University, Evolution's classes greatly enhanced my understanding and added significant value to my existing knowledge base. Evolution's courses also helped me master advanced topics, usually at the Masters level, with ease.
I am particularly grateful to Abhishek Sir for his constant support and mentorship throughout my journey. Even two years after completing the course, I was able to reach out to him and the rest of the team and found them willing to assist and encourage me, which is truly remarkable."
Smriti’s 10 Key Strategies for Success
Choose a Familiar Optional Subject: In a competitive examination like the UPSC, time is of the essence. By choosing a subject you are already familiar with, you save the time required to build understanding from scratch. This allows you to invest more time in refining your understanding, solving advanced problems, and developing effective answer-writing skills.
Have Interest in Your Optional Subject: Genuine interest in your subject not only makes your study time more enjoyable, but it also increases efficiency. Interest fuels curiosity, leading you to explore topics in-depth, ask questions, and achieve a deeper understanding. This not only assists in better retention but also helps generate insightful perspectives during the mains examination.
Leverage Coaching Services: Coaching institutes bring structure, guidance and expertise to your preparation. Even if you have a background in your chosen subject, coaching services can provide updated study material, practice tests, and personalised feedback, helping you navigate the complexities of the UPSC syllabus and examination pattern effectively.
Adopt a Long-Term Approach: A two-year horizon for UPSC preparation is advisable, especially for beginners. This time-frame allows a balanced approach to understanding the syllabus, developing note-making skills, staying updated with current affairs, refining optional subject preparation, and practising mock tests.
Take Handwritten Notes: The act of note-making itself is a learning process. It not only consolidates information for quick revision but also reinforces understanding. Handwritten notes, however, should not be verbatim transcriptions of your source material. They should reflect your active engagement with the material, summarizing key points and highlighting interconnections.
Address Weak Areas: Everyone has certain topics or areas where they struggle. In a competitive scenario like UPSC, leaving such areas unaddressed can cost dearly. It's crucial to identify these weak points early and take help from teachers, coaching centres or seniors. Relying on unreliable sources or half-baked knowledge can lead to misconceptions.
Follow a Comprehensive Strategy for Prelims: Prelims preparation requires a multifaceted approach. Stick to basic books for conceptual clarity, keep a keen eye on current affairs, solve previous years' questions to understand the pattern and types of questions asked, and take regular tests to assess your preparation level and time management skills.
Practice Answer Writing: Answer writing is an art that requires practice. It's recommended to start answer writing practice once you've a decent command over the subject. This practice aids in interlinking concepts, understanding the demand of the question, and presenting answers effectively. Regular feedback on your answers from a mentor or experienced individual is also crucial.
Avoid Excessive Social Media Use: Social media, though a powerful tool, can often lead to distractions and time wastage. Instead, cultivate real-world connections with family, friends, and mentors who can provide genuine support, constructive feedback and motivation during your preparation journey.
Master Necessary Facts: Not all aspects of the syllabus can be comprehended purely on a conceptual basis. Memorizing certain facts, dates, provisions, articles, etc., is inevitable. This not only helps in precise answer writing but also assists in creating interlinked understanding across topics. Remember, this is not rote learning but an essential part of comprehensive preparation.
By diligently following these strategies, Smriti achieved a significant milestone in her UPSC journey. Her insights offer valuable guidance to future aspirants aiming to clear this prestigious examination.