Saumya Sharma | AIR-9 , CSE 2017-Topper’s Strategy

Hello everyone,

I am Saumya Sharma. I have scored AIR-9 in UPSC 2017. I graduated from National Law University, Delhi in 2017.

Newspaper Reading

  • Regarding newspapers, I used to read The Hindu before prelims, and post prelims I was reading The Indian Express in addition to The Hindu and made short notes from them.
  • One should develop the habit of reading newspaper to clear this exam. Newspaper reading will be very helpful for the mains exam, my score in mains exam is better due to my newspaper reading habit.

If you want to clear UPSC  exam then be ready for the hard work, cause there is no substitute for it.

The one thing that kept me motivated throughout my CSE  preparation was  ,if I will work hard now then I will get a  platform to serve my country in a  better way.

Daily Schedule and Routine

  • Don’t copy schedule of anybody else, your routine will follow for you only.
  • I can sit for long hours and study in one place and my schedule revolved around my studies , you should make a schedule that  you can sustain for  long duration.
  • I have studied for 16 to 17 hours on a daily basis as I have started studying for prelims only 4 months before. I was very short of time and I had to do this as I didn’t have any other alternative.
  • I will suggest you to don’t study for these many long hours as this will exhaust you, as you will be approaching prelims. I would recommend you to study for at least 8 hours daily.
  • Dedication and focus are extremely important for the preparation for Civil Services Examination.

While I was preparing for the Civil Services Examination,  I deactivated myself from all the social networking sites. If you have a  goal in mind then it will be very easier  for you to leave these social networking sites.


  • Whether you want to take coaching or not it is a very subjective question. If your education base is not strong and you can’t sit at home and study, then you can definitely take coaching.
  • I did not join any coaching, I referred to online material quite generously.

How to cover current affairs

  • When I learned to read at the age of 3, newspapers were one of the first things I picked up to help me with my alphabets. So reading multiple newspapers for this exam came naturally to me.
  • To write answers in mains exam it is important to have a good opinion, I read the editorial sections of The Hindu and The Indian Express.
  • You can also prefer any good monthly magazine for current affairs.
  • Talk shows are also important for CSE preparation, I used to watch Rajya  Sabha Televisions show The Big Pitchers.

Test Series

  • Test series are very important and I cannot emphasize enough how much important test series are.
  • I joined the online test series with Insights. I also practiced some of the Vision IAS preliminary mock tests. I think they are important for success, as one is able to practice attempting the examination in a controlled environment
  • I have not taken any coaching, but I took various test series.

My mains experience of writing the exams with a 102-degree fever, with a cannula inserted in my left hand and getting IV drip injected thrice a day, taught me humility. My experience made me realize that despite the best of our planning, our efforts may not go the way we want them to. And in these circumstances, it is best that we put our best foot forward and face whatever life is throwing our way. The worst of circumstances are testing times that have the potential to reveal our inner strength and dedication towards our goal.

  • At last, I want to say that you cannot give up no matter what happens. Self-confidence is very much required while preparing for CSE.
  • People are already there to discourage you why are you discouraging yourself.
  • Never stop believing in yourself. The only obstacle is a negative attitude. Remain positive, remain honest with yourself and your preparation. Take out time to do things you love, but never forget the target before you. Every second matter, so go ahead, seize the moment!

Thank You!

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