Got 11th rank in UPSC’s 1st attempt, became IAS officer, never understood NCERT

Got 11th rank in UPSC’s 1st attempt, became IAS officer, never understood NCERT

Shubhankar Pratyush Pathak is one of the lucky candidates who has cracked UPSC exam in his first attempt and secured 11th rank. UPSC has started the application process for the year 2023 exam. If you are also preparing for UPSC and are about to take the exam, then you can take inspiration from the story of Shubhankar Pratyush Pathak.

Shubhankar Pratyush Pathak is originally from East Champaran (Motihari) district of Bihar. Although he has spent most of his life in Kolkata and Delhi due to his father’s posting.

He completed his 10th and 12th from Sanskriti School, New Delhi. He was shocked when he failed during his first attempt for IIT-JEE. He wanted to study in IIT, for this he decided to take a drop year and prepare again. Passed JE exam in his second attempt i.e. in the year 2016 and has obtained his graduation degree in Electrical Engineer from IIT(ISM) Dhanbad in 2020. Shubhankar had completed his internship at Cisco Systems in his third year and was awarded a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO).

After which he joined Cisco Systems as a software developer in August 2020 and resigned from his job in February 2021 to prepare fully for the UPSC CSE exam.

Why choose UPSC?

Shubhankar said, my father is a 1995 batch civil servant. Having seen his career very closely, I knew the ups and downs, the positive and negative aspects of the services. Besides, since I always lived in government quarters, I was always surrounded by civil servants.

Civil Services as a career attracted me right from the beginning. But the process of becoming an IAS has always been challenging for me. In school, I often focused on rote learning in social science subjects, but I was very good at maths. That’s why I chose science stream after 10th.

This is how preparations started

Shubhankar said, I decided in the third year that I will prepare for CSE with all my heart. I read many blogs of toppers, watched videos and prepared a list of books. I tried reading NCERTs but could not understand much of them. Then I initially planned to work for 1 year before giving the exam.

As luck would have it, the Covid lockdown was announced in March 2020. I was supposed to join Cisco in the month of July but it happened in August. Then due to Kovid, work from home happened. During this time I decided that this time would be the best to prepare for UPSC.

I started my serious preparation for CSE in June 2020 whose preliminary exam was scheduled to be held on 26th June 2021.

NCERT was not understood

While studying NCERTs, Shubhankar could not understand most of the concepts and felt lost. So, I was sure that I need help with GS syllabus. So I started taking coaching classes.

He further added, “I would like to clarify – coaching is neither necessary nor sufficient to clear the CSE exam. Many people have cleared the exam without coaching and many have failed in the exam even after taking coaching. Even if you opt for one, self study is the best. Just joining coaching is not enough.

Such was Shubhankar’s timetable during UPSC preparation

He told, ‘Initially when I used to work, I used to go to work for 8-10 hours. After that I would watch the recorded videos of the classes uploaded by my coaching. There used to be 2 classes of 2 hours each week. It used to take me around 3 hours to cover these on a daily basis (as I had to make notes as well). By the end of the day, I had very little time left, so could not read much. I used to wake up at 5 in the morning, do self-study till 7 in the morning. Then he used to take out one hour to read the newspaper and after that he used to get involved in office work. In the evening, when I would finish my classes, I would study for a maximum of 30-45 minutes after dinner and go to sleep around 11 pm. I had such a routine with my job.

Whereas when he left the job in February 2021. After that I used to study for 8-10 hours every day. I divided my day into 2 parts – first half day for optional preparation and second half day for GS preparation. At the same time, as the examination came closer, the time of study also increased.

Shubhankar gave tips

Shubhankar said, make notes only after reading the book 3-4 times. When you do this, on subsequent readings you will realize what you missed and what you forgot. Along with this, note down which is the important topic, which you often forget. Underline or highlight it and keep revising later.

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