People, who clear this Exam, do it due to their Unwavering Commitment and Relentless Hard Work; says Anupama Anjali (AIR 386; CSE 2017)

Anupama Anjali (AIR 386; CSE 2017) talks about her preparation strategy in detail and how to handle preparation for it effectively. Get some insights about the steps you need to take while facing huge syllabus with a bit of planning.

Optional Subject - Anthropology 

No. of Attempts – Two (2)


Anupama Anjali

(AIR 386; CSE 2017)


Medium (Language)

Language for Writing Examination: English

Language for Interview: English

Nature of Examination

UPSC is a challenging exam. The syllabus is immense. You need to focus on multiple areas simultaneously; GS, subject, Current Affairs, Essay, Answer writing etc.

Therefore, a beginner often wonders if it’s even possible to cover all this. When I started my preparation, I felt exactly the same way. So, please understand that, almost everybody feels intimidated and the key is to build a strategy to sail through!

I will like all of you to start by saying- It is possible to command the syllabus!

My first advice would be to take one step at a time. When you have a wall to build, thinking about its enormity will fail you. Instead focus on those little bricks and lay each brick perfectly. So, instead of looking at “the ocean of subjects" approach; take each subject, in fact each chapter one at a time.

The truth is, in this exam you will find no problem in understanding the topics. Mostly, the syllabus consists of general awareness topics. However, the problem arises in recollection of what you read. There is no need to memorise the entire syllabus word by word. Instead, focus on the following:

  • Frequent revision. Revise it over and over again until it becomes a part of who you are. Go for daily, weekly and monthly revision plans.
  • Keep your material concise. If you have read multiple books, make sure all crucial points are written at one place.
  • Focus on conceptual understanding rather than memorising facts, irrelevant data etc. To write a mains answer you need few points only ( few positive, negatives, steps taken, way forward and one or two facts to write introduction)
  • Out of all subjects, I found history and culture the toughest to remember. So, I made recordings of myself reading the main points in my notes and listened to them repeatedly. This was really helpful. I also made self notes for culture from Nitin Singhania, CCRT, Baliyan etc. I read it several times before prelims and mains.
  • Make acronyms, jingles, mind maps etc. This helps a lot in prelims. For example, making acronyms for countries bordering Caspian Sea etc. I used mind-maps for environmental bodies.

You don’t need an extraordinary memory or intelligence for this exam. Instead, all you need is repeated practice and revision. People, who clear this exam, do it due to their unwavering commitment and relentless hard work. Believe in yourself and do your best!

Views about Preliminary Examination

I feel prelims has become really challenging and tricky since paper 2 is only qualifying.

The fate of thousands depends on the score of a single paper. Many deserving students miss the cut-off by 0.33 marks and lose out on one entire year.

I do feel that luck plays a significant role in the exam. However, that is the case for everyone.

A candidate should focus on being prepared on all fronts. It's very important to do the best you can by making sure no stone is left unturned.

Role of Optional Subject

Deciding on your optional subject will be the most crucial decision that you will take in your UPSC journey. Always chose a subject which interests you. I chose anthropology as I found it interesting and concise. I scored 291 in my optional and it played a huge role in my selection.

Essay Paper

Essay is probably the most scoring paper in mains. Please do not neglect it. I made a point to solve one essay paper a month and got it corrected from my teachers. I made gist of Yojana and Kurukshetra.

I collected data and quotations and wrote them done at a place. One day before the essay paper I revised all the above. 

Interview (Personality Test)

Board : Mr. Arvind Saxena

(Interview Questions)

Role of Essay & Interview marks in success

I did well in both essay and interview.

Evaluation of my efforts by UPSC

My final score was a little below expectation as I couldn't complete by Ethics paper and lost out on marks there. 

Last Update Wednesday 18th July 2018     

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