Life takes away everything from you but gives it back when you are about to lose hope; says Chetan Sharma (AIR 305; CSE 2017)

This is story about Chetan Sharma from Jaipur; Rajasthan. He secured 305th rank in Civil Services Examination 2017.

It was his fourth attempt in Civil Services Examination. He wrote Mains in all four attempts and it was his second interview, the first being in 2016.

He has kept History as optional subject.


When you are focused on your aim, deliberate about it; you can expect you are on the right path that will eventually take you to destination.

This is really inspirational story about Chetan Sharma (AIR 305; CSE 2017) who confronted some tough time due to a severe accident that impacted his preparation; however with strong will power and support from his family, he finally accomplished his goal.

You need to have a stubborn heart to face all challenges that come in way with ‘Yes, I Can’ attitude.

Conveying his feelings, Chetan said, “There are lots of strategies available on internet and elsewhere about How to approach Civil Services Examination. I would like to share my strategy which helped in keeping my nerves during tough times in life and during UPSC journey specifically.” 

I come from a middle class background and did my schooling in Hindi Medium. However, I was able to clear Pre Medical Examinations in 2007 and took admission in Dr S. N Medical College, Jodhpur.

It was after completing MBBS I realized that I wanted to do something else in my life.Chetan-Sharma-305th-rank-cse-2017

‘Civil Services’ as a career fascinates every youth in the country and I am no exception. I got attracted toward it because Civil Services provide a huge platform to improve you and to explore the diverse areas of functioning of the government. 

After graduation, I worked for six months and in October 2013 I quit my job and commenced preparation for UPSC Civil Services Examination.

Simultaneously, I appeared in some other competitive examinations and even cleared some; CAPF Examination 2014 (All India 20th rank) and Qualified Rajasthan Administrative Services Examination 2013 (Rank in 400s); but, my eyes were set on Civil Services Examination.

Initially, I was lucky to have some friends who started preparation earlier than me they gave me guidance on what to read and what not to. After initial hurdles were cleared, I devised my own plan along with some friends who were also preparing simultaneously. 

I did not join any coaching for either General Studies or History that year. I wrote my first attempt in CSE 2014, I cleared Prelims and wrote Mains. I was pretty satisfied with my performance in Mains.

However, there was something else scripted for me in life. After one month of completion of Mains I had a severe accident which resulted into a severe ocular trauma. I had to undergo three surgeries and post the surgeries I went into severe post traumatic depression.

When the Mains result was declared on 12th April, 2015 I was undergoing a surgery in Mumbai. I did not clear Mains. At that time I was least worried about my result as I was on the verge of losing vision in my one eye. When marks were declared I missed interview call by one mark only. My score was 677 and cut off was 678.

My preparation for CSE 2015 attempt took a severe hit due to my surgeries and associated depression. I did not want to write that attempt but my father persuaded me to write the attempt. Somehow I cleared Prelims again; but failed in Mains once again.

By that time I was ready to take one more full-fledged attempt and I gave my best shot in CSE 2016 attempt. I cleared both Prelims and Mains and gave interview, but was not able to get a place in merit-list. Reason -my optional ditched me. For General Studies and Essay I followed the same strategy but in Optional, I tweaked my strategy a little. I joined a test series in Optional and wrote answers on an online platform. This paid me back this year.

In first 2 attempts, I was not able to understand the demand of Main Examination; but, in my third attempt, I do not know what went wrong. 

Ultimately, this year in CSE 2017, luck was on my side and I finally became successful to see my name in the coveted list.

All I want to say is that be honest to yourself, there is no substitute of hard work in this gruesome exam. You should remain focused until you achieve success. There will be challenges in the journey but sometimes 'the journey itself is the destination'.

The thing that contributed in my success is my Parents and My sister's faith in me that pushed me hard to achieve what I desired. Talking about his family and their contribution Chetan said, “We are a family of four. My father is an assistant accounts officer in state government and my mother is a housewife. I have one elder sister who works in Food Corporation of India. My family supported me this journey. My father in fact helped me in preparing the Map portion of History optional. It was due to his contribution I was able to mark 16 sites correctly out of 20. My sister and mother were there to boost my confidence when I failed in 3 previous attempts at various stages.”

Secret of Success – Perseverance, faith in myself and taking things lightly in life because ultimately nothing matters.

Credit for Success - I give the credit to almighty, my family and friends

To motivate future aspirants Chetan said, “Do not develop a negative mindset due to failures in this journey. Failures will dent you but, be happy; you have taken a decision on your own, enjoy the process and keep working hard. If you believe in yourself the success won’t be elusive to you.” 

Last Update Monday 15th July 2019     

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