Every year the Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Examination for the recruitment of officers for the Indian Civil Services. Known as the Imperial Civil Services (ICS) in the 1850’s, the IAS is the premier administrative civil service of the Government of India.
It is the highest administrative post among the 24 civil services followed by IPS, IFS, etc. Only the toppers from the list of candidates who clear the UPSC exam are selected for the IAS service.
List of UPSC IAS toppers since 1972 who were selected for the elite service
|Name of the IAS Topper||Year||Optional Subject||State|
|Duvvuri Subbarao||1972||Physics||Andhra Pradesh|
|Javed Usmani||1977||Economics||Uttar Pradesh|
|Dr. Hrusikesh Panda||1978||Orissa|
|Shashi Prakash Goyal||1989||Uttar Pradesh|
|V. V. Lakshminarayana||1990||Andhra Pradesh|
|Raju Narayana Swamy||1991||Medicine and Malayalam literature||Kerala|
|Sunil Kumar Barnwal||1997||Physics and Mathematics||Jharkhand|
|Devesh Kumar||1998||Chemistry and Geography||Bihar|
|Bhawna Garg||1999||Maths and Chemistry||Punjab|
|Sorabh Babu||2000||Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering||Uttar Pradesh|
|Vijaylakshmi Bidari||2001||Kannada literature||Karnataka|
|Alok Ranjan Jha||2002||Geography||Bihar|
|Ankur Garg||2003||Physics and Chemistry||Punjab|
|Roopa Mishra||2004||Psychology and Public Administration||Orissa|
|S Nagarajan||2005||Geography and Sociology||Tamil Nadu|
|Mona Pruthi||2006||English Literature and Sociology||Haryana|
|Mutyalaraju Revu||2007||Electrical Engineering and Mathematics||Andhra Pradesh|
|Adapa Karthik||2008||Zoology and Psychology||Telangana|
|Shubhra Saxena||2009||Psychology and Public Administration||Uttar Pradesh|
|Shah Faesal||2010||Public Administration, Literature of Urdu Language||Jammu and Kashmir|
|S Divyadharsini||2011||Public administration and Law||Tamil Nadu|
|Haritha V Kumar||2013||Economics and Malayalam Literature||Kerala|
|Tina Dabi||2016||Political Science||Delhi|
|Nandini K R||2017||Kannada Literature||Karnataka|
|Anudeep Durishetty||2018||Anthropology||Andhra Pradesh|
All the toppers swear by a perfectly strategized preparation as the foundation of their success. Most of them started preparing early in their life for the UPSC exam.
IAS Preparation Tips from IAS Toppers
Success never comes easy. Hard work, dedication and sincere preparation is the mantra to toppers follow. They swear by a perfectly strategized study framework as the foundation of their success. Most of them started preparing early in their life for the UPSC exam.
Here are a few tips from some of the Toppers we have listed above, they have shared some invaluable words of advice. We have combined all the pointers to make it easier for you to achieve your goal of being part of this elite service.
- She is a UPSC topper who cleared the exam with a bang in 2016. She started coaching and preparing from the age of 18. She says the secret of her hard work is lots of hard work, and patience.
- Focus, discipline and family support is the formula to her success.
- During preparation, taking an ample amount of break time is necessary to keep your brain fresh. Tina read many fictional novels to keep her mind from tiring from all the studying.
- Keeping a track of all the current affairs is of utmost importance.
- Following the news is as essential as reading all the course material
Anudeep Durishetty from Hyderabad is a topper from the 2017-18 batch. Here, we have an exemplary candidate who prepared for the Civil Services Examination without any help from training institutions.
He opted for anthropology as his optional subject. Anudeep, now an officer of the Indian Revenue Services vows on having strong basics. In one of his interview, he said to rely a lot on NCERT books for his preparations.
According to him, a strong mind, never-deterring aim to achieve the goal is the way to crack the exam. He is a sports person, which he believes to have brought discipline in his study regime.
- Ira Singhal is a candidate from the general category and is also physically challenged. Now in the IRS, she wants to work towards the benefit of the physically challenged people. In an interview, she advises UPSC aspirants to first get a professional degree and a few years of work experience and then take up UPSC exam.
- She provides a very sound advice that any insecurity in life shall pass with time.
- She suggests the aspirants, to read any useful information you can get your hands on. No information is less valued, any information will come in handy.
- Ira Singal also told “No matter what you do, remember to have a life”
- Another candidate who bore the fruits of his hardship is Gaurav Agarwal, who hails from Jaipur. He worked as an investment banker, before working over his passion for IAS. He emerged successful in the year 2014.
- Gaurav advises all UPSC aspirants to identify their weaknesses, work on it and to overcome them. As per his opinion, “We should strive for our ultimate goal. Hard work is the only way. The results will come automatically.”
- He suggests making notes on the computer instead of paper.
- Read, imbibe, recall and write are the steps which he followed during his preparation.
Detailed Preparation Tips to succeed in UPSC exam
The fruit of this journey is sweet but not the whole journey. To reach your goal of becoming an IAS officer, everyone has to prepare with utmost dedication and hard work. Most of the IAS officers owe their success to hard work.
Keep a realist approach, the more passionate you are about your goal, the more you will be able to focus on your success.
It is always recommended to start your preparations as early as possible. You may want to give yourself at least a year of dedicated preparation time.
You will not have any idea when you start-out, rather you will be full of insecurities. Look at how your role models have prepared. Pick up bits and pieces from their strategies and make one solid strategy that suits your needs. Everyone comes from a different background, so, design your strategy accordingly.
There will be days where you will feel overwhelmed and the exam will seem impossible. It is just a hump on the highway. Don’t give up! Yes, the career path you have chosen for yourself is far more challenging than the exam itself.
Work hard with a dedication
- Irrespective of your background and coaching, hard work has no replacement. Be focused on your, cultivate discipline and dedicate yourself in achieving your goal. Almost all IAS toppers have achieved success because of their dedication and hard work.
- Understand the syllabus
- If you are an IAS aspirant, the syllabus of the UPSC exams must be on your finger-tips. You should have complete knowledge about the syllabus.
- Bifurcate the syllabus into 3 levels: Easy, Hard and Complex. Study accordingly.
- Rely on standard textbooks and magazines. Also, refer to annual reports of various ministries.
Create a time-table
- Formulate a time-table with the difficulty level of the topics and allot time which you think is needed to read the syllabus.
- Do not waste time wondering what to study. There is actually no single good source. Planning is the foundation. Like they say, planning is half the work done.
- For a strong plan, review various topics independently and timely.
Take up Mock Tests
- Practising previous years question papers regularly will help candidates analyze their strength and weakness.
- Taking up mock tests is necessary for both prelims and mains. Answering mock question papers, will help students’ gauge their answering skills.
- It will also provide ample practice.
Prepare short notes
- Make notes while studying. Jot down formulae and concepts that are important for revision. These notes will become your primary source during your revision.
- Being up-to-date with the current affairs is crucial for both prelims and mains and also for the interview process.
Revise and repeat
- Revision is one of the most important steps in the IAS exam preparation process. Topper’s advise to revise the complete study material thrice before the prelims exam.
- Make a point to revise from your short notes, do not waste time reading through the whole syllabus.
Preparation for Prelims
- Prelims are the most crucial stage of elimination. Many aspirants struggle with the preliminary paper in their first attempt.
- Practice as much as possible.
- Reduce the time needed to solve your practice question papers.
- Pay more attention to your comprehension skills, and quantitative analysis and logical reasoning problems.
Preparation for Mains
Unlike prelims, the mains require revision and precise recollection of all the topics you have studied. You have to finish the syllabus and understand each topic in an elaborate manner. Approach the syllabus realistically, smart studying will help you during the time between your prelims and mains.
Preparation for Interview
- If you are through your mains, then the hardest part of the exam is done. Interview begs for smart work.
- Be yourself and showcase honesty in your answers.
- Be calm and composed.
Success in civil services is obtained with the right mix of hard work, and smart work. Approach everything with complete enthusiasm.
Be passionate about your goal. Come out of your comfort zone. Focus on improving the areas where you lack expertise. Be firm and determined to achieve your goal.