Navigating UPSC 2024: Tips from Previous Year's Top Scorers

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Examination (CSE) is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. Cracking this exam opens doors to a fulfilling career in public service, serving the nation in various administrative capacities. As we approach the 2024 UPSC CSE, many aspirants are gearing up for this challenging journey. This blog aims to provide valuable insights and strategies from previous year's toppers to aid your preparation.

Understanding the Toppers' Approach

A. Importance of a well-defined strategy:

Success in UPSC is not a matter of luck; it demands a well-defined strategy and meticulous planning. This strategy serves as your roadmap, guiding you through the vast syllabus and diverse stages of the exam. It should encompass crucial aspects like resource selection, time management, revision plan, and exam-taking strategies. Remember, a good strategy is not a rigid framework but a flexible guide that adapts to your individual learning style and needs.

B. Diverse paths to success:

There's no single "one-size-fits-all" strategy for cracking UPSC. Different toppers have achieved success through diverse approaches. Some have thrived with self-study, while others have opted for coaching guidance. Similarly, the choice of optional subjects varies greatly, highlighting the importance of understanding your strengths and interests. This diversity emphasizes the need to discover your own unique path to success, drawing inspiration from the experiences of toppers while tailoring their strategies to your strengths.

Key Strategies from the Toppers:

A. Building a strong foundation:

Previous year's toppers unanimously emphasize the importance of mastering NCERT textbooks as the foundation for General Studies preparation. These textbooks provide a clear and concise understanding of fundamental concepts across various subjects. Supplementing NCERTs with standard reference books and subject-specific materials is also recommended.

B. Mastering the art of answer writing:

The ability to write clear, concise, and well-structured answers is critical for success in both the Mains and Essay papers. Consistent practice with answer writing, focusing on time management and adhering to the prescribed word limit, is essential. Analyze toppers' answer copies to understand the expected format, language, and content structure.

C. Staying updated with current affairs:

The UPSC syllabus demands a comprehensive understanding of current events and their impact on various national and international issues. Develop a habit of reading credible newspapers, magazines, and online platforms. Utilize government websites, official reports, and analytical articles to gain deeper insights.

D. Importance of mock tests and self-analysis:

Taking regular mock tests throughout your preparation journey is crucial. These tests help you assess your knowledge retention, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and practice time management skills under exam pressure. Analyze your performance after each mock test, focusing on areas requiring improvement. This self-analysis is vital for making strategic adjustments and maximizing your potential.

Beyond the Syllabus: The Toppers' Mindset

A. Importance of consistency and perseverance:

Cracking UPSC is a marathon, not a sprint. Consistent effort and unwavering dedication are key ingredients for success. Develop a realistic study schedule and stick to it, even on challenging days. Celebrate small victories and milestones to maintain motivation throughout your preparation journey.

B. Maintaining a healthy balance:

While dedication to studies is crucial, neglecting your physical and mental well-being can hinder your performance. Prioritize regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. Engage in activities you enjoy to manage stress and maintain a positive outlook.

Inspiring Journeys: Unveiling the Toppers' Paths

Here are a few glimpses into the inspiring stories of UPSC 2023 topper strategies:

1. Srushti Jayant Deshmukh (AIR 5): A young graduate, Srushti defied expectations by cracking the exam in her first attempt. Her secret? Focus on conceptual clarity and building a strong foundation through NCERTs and standard reference materials. She also emphasized the importance of regular revision and practicing answer writing to improve time management and presentation skills.

2. Garima Lohia (AIR 2): Garima, a doctor by profession, took the unconventional route of self-study, relying primarily on online resources and mock tests. Her key takeaway? Discipline is paramount. She meticulously followed a structured daily routine, ensuring consistent study hours and focused learning.

3. Mayur Hazarika (AIR 5 2022): Hailing from a non-engineering background, Mayur chose to take the UPSC plunge after working in the corporate sector. He highlighted the importance of finding a study partner or mentor who can provide guidance and motivation throughout the journey. Mayur also emphasized the value of staying positive and believing in oneself, even during challenging times.

These are just a few examples, and countless other toppers have conquered UPSC with their unique strategies. Remember, there's no single "one size fits all" approach. Find what works best for you, draw inspiration from these success stories, and embark on your own remarkable journey!


This blog has provided insights into the strategies and mindsets of previous year's UPSC toppers. Remember, these are just guidelines, and you should adapt them to your individual learning style and needs. Remain focused, consistent, and positive throughout your preparation, and you'll be well on your way to achieving your UPSC dream.