(Success Story) UPSC 2020 TOPPER, Meera K's (Rank-6) Winning Strategy
Meera K from Kerala secured the coveted all India rank of 6 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2020. Meera is a B.Tech graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Thrissur government engineering college, the batch of 2016. She was placed in Bengaluru for a successful corporate career, but she left it behind to pursue her UPSC dreams. This was Meera's 4th UPSC CSE attempt and she is one of the 10 from the state of Kerala to qualify in the top 100 of UPSC CSE.
UPSC Study Sources
Meera insists on covering all NCERTs from class 6 to 12 and made detailed notes to use as her main source. Making NCERT notes ensures that you can revise books worth hundreds of pages in a matter of hours. For current affairs, she followed Indian Express daily and monthly compilation booklets. She also recommends using the compilations specifically released for prelims or mains. Meera further for the rest of the subjects.
Meera concentrated on reading the static portions related to the current affairs very thoroughly and it aided in her prelims exam. She also solved 26+ full questions papers in the 2 months leading to the prelims examination. Each Mock paper has 100 questions and thus solving these papers gives one access to 20 to 30 thousand questions. Cracking prelims after covering so many topics becomes a lot easier. She also recommends solving a question paper each day between 9:30 am and 11:30 am, which is the time slot when UPSC conducts Prelims paper-I each year. Not overthinking the options and answering confidently during the actual examination gives you a big advantage over most aspirants.
The key to cracking mains according to Meera is practising answer writing and paying extra care to your optional subject. After reading each topic, try to summarise the contents in your own words to get a hang of presenting your thoughts accurately. Set aside at least an hour each day to practice writing a few answers. Take Mock tests for mains as this would allow you to test yourself in exam conditions as well as evaluate your answer writing skills.
For optional, start with covering each topic mentioned in the syllabus thoroughly. In-depth coverage is the key here. Meera had taken up Sociology as her optional. Sociology is first introduced in class XI, and thus the NCERT books for XI formed the base of her preparation. Once her concepts were clear, she moved on to recommended books.
Meera says there is no need to overthink your attire or appearance. Being polite and presentable is good enough as long as you have prepared well. Tell the board about yourself with confidence and have the backup knowledge to answer any question related to Your DAF and you should sail through. The board is not looking for infallible candidates, but those that can make reasonable deductions even without knowing everything.
Like Meera, never giving up on your dreams can be your greatest strength too. She wishes all candidates the very best for their life ahead.
Best of Luck.
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