(Success Story) UPSC 2021 TOPPER, AIR-2 ANKITA AGARWAL Winning Strategy for Cracking IAS Exams

(Success Story) UPSC 2021 TOPPER, AIR-2 ANKITA AGARWAL Winning Strategy for Cracking IAS Exams

Ankita Agarwal has secured the 2nd rank in the UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2021. She is a native of Kolkata. She has given the UPSC exam thrice: in 2019, 2020 and 2021. She secured the AIR 236 in 2019 and got into IRS. Ankita wants to be an IAS officer; she reappeared again in 2020 and 2021. Finally she scored a total of 1050 marks and secured AIR 2 in her 3rd attempt 2021.

During an interview she expressed her desire to work for women empowerment, primary health and school education sectors. She also said that she was very clear about her goal and therefore chooses not to enrol for a post graduation.


She completed her graduation in Economics (hons) from St Stephen's College, Delhi University. During her college days she was also a part of the Campus Placement Cell and the Finance and Investment Cell. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook Editorial Team. After working for a year she decided to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Examination. She prepared through self study and also took the help of coaching. She believes that coaching and study both play equally important role in UPSC preparation.

When asked about her strategy she said to NDTV, “More than strategy she thinks if someone wants to be a civil servant, they should be very clear about their motivation as only that will push you on difficult days”.



She believes that first step towards the UPSC preparation is to made a study time table. Create a realistic time table and stick to it. It is very difficult to complete the syllabus in a limited time period, but if one follows the right strategy and organises time then one can easily cover the major portion of it. Instead of putting in a definite number of hours, she tried to maintain a sustainable study schedule. 



She believes in consistency during preparation. Maintaining consistency and determination over such a long time is crucial for cleaning this exam. She studied 8 to 12 hours daily.


Ankita began her preparation with basic books that is NCERT books. She considered NCERT books as the basic reading books to build the base of the UPSC Exam. This NCERT book covers all topics which are important and gives us a clear conceptual clarity about the subjects and topics. It guarantees that candidate’s are no longer a beginner once if you read these basic books thoroughly. 


Ankita said that notes making is one of the most important part of the UPSC civil services examination. It is one of the essential steps in the learning process. She made her notes on the computer and organizes it digitally. After reading any topic she made notes in her own language. She believes that making up notes in your own language is the best way of revising entire syllabus. At last moment, you can't revise the whole syllabus that's why short notes are very important especially for UPSC Mains Examination.


There is a bulk of reading materials, especially with Current Affairs. Ankita follow the monthly magazine and the news paper for current affairs. Apart from basic books and standard books she didn't read any additional books. She believes that limit your resources is very essential for this examination, revision matters the most. Revision is extremely important. At the end of the day what you read it doesn’t matter, what you remember in the exam matters.


Ankita believes that practice makes a man perfect. She solved a few mock test series to help her get enough practice before the actual UPSC exam. She follows the test series strictly and analyse it properly.

For Mains preparation, her centre of attention was answer writing practice. She took Political Science and International Relations as her optional subject. She also solved previous year’s UPSC question papers to get an idea about the nature of the questions asked in the UPSC examination.

While preparing for the UPSC exam, Ankita kept a balanced schedule, taking time out to relax and to meet her friends. To help her prepare with full concentration, she also deleting all her social media so that she would not get distracted during the preparation. She expressed her desire to serve at the grass root level. 

At last, we hope that Ankita Agarwal taught you how to be dedicated, focused and hardworking. Be positive and stay motivated. Ankita Agarwal wishes you all the best.

Ankita wishes you all the best!



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