Harkeerat Singh has secured the 10th rank in the UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2021. He is a native of Gurugram, Haryana. He gave his first attempt in 2012 just after his graduation. But he failed in the preliminary examination. He gave 5 consecutive attempts but failed in every attempt. He didn't give up and also did not lose his patience. Finally, he secured AIR 10th in his last attempt. It took him 10 years to crack this exam. During an interview by India Today he said,
What is a dream without failures? If you dare to dream, you have to dare to take on failures, too. He further added that IFS is his teenage dream.
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND AND HIS UPSC JOURNEY
Harkeerat completed his graduation in History (Hons) from St. Stephen's college, Delhi University. Harkeerat started his UPSC journey in 2012. He gave his first attempt just after graduation but didn't qualify the Preliminary Examination. In the second attempt he also failed. In the third and fourth attempt he didn't qualify the Mains Examination. Again he failed the Preliminary examination in his fifth attempt. In 2021 it was his last and sixth attempt. In final attempt, he tried to change his strategy and did not even make notes of the subjects. It was a do or die situation for him. This time he did not follow the strategy of the last 5 attempts. Finally he got All India Rank 10 and became the topper in his sixth attempt.
HARKEERAT SINGH RANDHAWA'S UPSC PREPARATION STRATEGY
MAKE YOUR OWN STRATEGY
Harkeerat advised the aspirants don't follow or copy any strategy blindly. Consecutive failures made him realise that whatever strategy he was following, those were others strategies. So in his last attempt he decided that he didn't try to copy any toppers strategy. He decided to stick to his own strategy. Literally, he did not make any notes, nor did he give any mock interviews. He just focused on reading and understanding as per UPSC syllabus. At last he cracked the exam with AIR 10th.
CHOOSE YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECT CAREFULLY
When he started his UPSC preparation, he took History as his optional subject. He completed his graduation with a history subject so he felt it was suitable for him. But after four attempts he realized that he should change his optional and took the Political Science and International Relation (PSIR) subject.
NOT RELYING ONLY ON STANDARD BOOKS
He believes that just not relying solely on standard books. Take the help of online sources such as Wikipedia. His optional was Political Science & International Relations. He used to read newspapers like Indian Express, Hindu, New York Times, Washington Post and a diplomatic magazine called International Affairs for enrichment of his knowledge. It also helped him Mains Examination.
ALWAYS KEEP A DON'T GIVE UP ATTITUDE
He said that it took him 10 years to crack the UPSC exam. But he never gives up. He always learnt from his past mistakes and was careful in his next attempt. Despite a series of failures, he did not give up; he knew that determination and hard work would pay off one day.
At last Harkeerat said that his biggest learning was not to take anything for granted. He changed his preparation strategy. He worked on mastering every aspect, right from time management to general knowledge. He also advised the aspirants to take frequent breaks. He also used to take short breaks every hour to stay fresh and focused throughout the day.
Civil service officers like Harkeerat prove that failures are, indeed, the stepping stones to success.
Harkeerat Randhawa wishes you all the best