The Top 10 of UPSC CSE 2021: A Cut Above the Rest, Know How They Did It!

Shruti Sharma got the first place, while Ankita Agarwal got the second, followed by Gamini Singla with rank 3. Aishwarya Verma is the topper amongst the boys with AIR 4 A total of 685 candidates, including 508 men and 177 women, passed the examination

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) declared the final results of Civil Services Examination 2021 (UPSC CSE- 2021) on Monday afternoon. Shruti Sharma got the first place, while Ankita Agarwal got the second, followed by Gamini Singla with rank 3.

This is the fifth time that a woman has secured the top rank in the past 10 years. And it is after seven years that women swept all top 3 positions. The last time this happened was in UPSC CSE-2014 when women similarly swept the top honours.

A total of 685 candidates, including 508 men and 177 women, passed the examination and the commission has recommended their names for appointment to various central services.

Indian Masterminds presents the Top 10 toppers’ UPSC journeys in short.

Shruti Sharma, UPSC-2021, AIR-1


A student of History, Ms. Sharma hails from Bijnor of Uttar Pradesh and has graduated from St. Stephens College, Delhi University. She also joined JNU for her PG but dropped out. Later, she joined Delhi School of Economics in Sociology for her PG and completed from there.

“I was very anxious about the result. It’s a pleasant surprise for me. It’s a great feeling,” says Shruti Sharma who has bagged AIR 1. For her UPSC preparation, she chose Jamia Millia Residential Coaching Academy. Apart from studies, she likes to explore culture through food, books and cinema.

During a media interaction she said that if one keeps doing what he or she likes, then the UPSC preparation journey becomes easier. She also said that for her, UPSC is a great avenue for personal growth and learning experience. This is the reason she chose it as a career option.

Ankita Agarwal, UPSC-2021, AIR-2


Ankita Agarwal hails from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is originally a native of Bihariganj in Madhepura district of Bihar, but her father migrated to Bengal long back. She has cleared this prestigious exam in the past, too. She is an IRS officer of 2020 batch and had secured 236th rank in UPSC CSE 2019.

Her early education was completed in Bihariganj itself. After this, she went for higher education in Kolkata and Delhi. Presently, her family lives in Kolkata. Her father Manohar Agarwal is a hardware businessman there.

Ankita is a graduate in Economics (Hons) from Delhi University. She stayed in Delhi for her UPSC preparation.She had enrolled in a reputed coaching institute located in Rajinder Nagar area of New Delhi.

Gamini Singla, UPSC-2021, AIR-3


Gamini Singla hails from Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. She has studied from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, and has a B.Tech degree in Computer Science. She has made Tricity (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh) proud by bringing her name in the UPSC toppers list. Her optional subject was sociology. She credits this success to her father Dr. Alok Singla and mother Dr. Neeraj Singla, who work in primary health centers in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh.

On the success of the daughter, the whole family reached the shrine of Shri Naina Devi ji and took blessings. The parents gave the credit of Gamini’s success to her hard work.

Gamini said, “I used to study for nine to ten hours a day. I took coaching from Vinod sir in Patiala. I spent most of my time studying on my own to prepare for the exam and finally I passed. My father was instrumental in helping me prepare for the exam. I worked hard, for which he has got the fruits.My family, especially my father, has helped me a lot emotionally and in studies as well.”

She had appeared in this examination once before also but could not crack it. But she did not lose heart. She focused on self-study and studied of 9-10 hours daily, which paid off and she secured the third rank in the 2021 UPSC examination. She said, “What can women not achieve in life with hard work and dedication?”

Aishwarya Verma, UPSC-2021, AIR-4


Hailing from Ujjain, MP, Aishwarya Verma is the topper amongst the boys with AIR 4. Aishwarya Verma’s family lives in Bareilly city of UP. His father Vivek Verma is the chief manager of Bank of Baroda (BOB) in Bareilly. His father and mother Vinita Verma played lead roles in his success.

He has done his B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Pantnagar University, while he passed his 10th and 12th exams from Holy Child School in Rudrapur, Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand.

Aishwarya, who was brilliant in his studies from the beginning, had scored 93 percent marks in the 10th exam, while he got 87.41 percent marks in the Inter exam. He achieved this UPSC success in his fourth attempt. His only sister is studying in a private medical college. Both are very happy after the selection.

After completing engineering, he didn’t take any placement and started preparation for UPSC. With Geography as optional,he managed to crack the civil services exam with flying colours. He said he wants to serve the country with honesty.

Utkarsh Dwivedi, UPSC-2021, AIR-5


Utkarsh Dwivedi belongs to Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. His father is in private sector and mother is homemaker. He completed his 12th from DPS Indore. He did his graduation (B.Tech.) in Mechanical Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology. After doing graduation, he immediately started preparing for Civil Services. His optional subject was Political Science and International Relations (PSIR). He focused on mock test papers a lot and solved them. He relied on practice more than reading.

It was his third attempt, and he achieved the feat of securing all India rank 5. He had also cracked the exam in the last two years and reached till the interview round but did not make it to the final list.

Yaksh Chaudhary, UPSC-2021, AIR-6


A farmer’s son, Yaksha Chaudhary hails from Naya village of Naugawan Sadat, Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. He got the sixth rank across the country in the UPSC CSE 2021 examination. He did his primary education from his village and has passed class 10th and 12th examinations from Saraswati Sarvodaya Academy, Amroha. He completed his B.Tech. from IIT Guwahati in 2017.

This was his third attempt. He had earlier appeared in 2019 and 2020 but could not clear the exam. In 2020, he reached till the interview stage.

In 2019, he got selected for the post of Assistant Commandant in CRPF and joined duty. He went on leave to prepare for civil service.He considers his own hard work and the support of parents and family as the reasons behind this success.

Yaksha said that he did coaching in Delhi for a few days. After this, he continued self-study at home. He studied for six to seven hours daily and kept distance from WhatsApp and Facebook. Although,at times, he went active on the Quora platform of social media. This platform also contains questions related to the exam.

Samyak S Jain, UPSC-2021, AIR-7


Samyak’s story is most inspiring amongst the toppers. He is visually impaired from the age of 18, yet achieved the all India rank 7 and will become IAS officer soon. His exam was written by his mother as Samyak dictates his answers.

He hails from Delhi. He has a bachelor’s degree in English Honours from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (SOL). Then, he did a course in English Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). After this, he took an MA degree in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Samyak Jain’s first attempt was in the year 2020, in which he failed to clear the exam. However, he did not give up and once again appeared in the UPSC examination in the year 2021. This time, his hard work paid off and he secured the 7th rank. His optional was Political Science and International Relations (PSIR).

He started his UPSC preparation in March 2020, when the lockdown was imposed for the first time to prevent spread of corona virus infection. At that time, he thought that the colleges were closed,so it was a good opportunity to study. In such a situation, he got a lot of time to prepare. He spent 7 to 8 hours a day preparing for UPSC. Samyak said, “The journey of UPSC was very difficult, but now looking back, the journey looks pleasant.”

He also said, “I belong to PWD category and am visually impaired. My family always stood by me. My mother wrote for me in examinations. I also took help from friends. I am very happy to see the result.”

Ishita Rathi, UPSC-2021, AIR-8


Ishita Rathi is from Delhi. Her parents are in Delhi Police. She is the daughter of Assistant Sub-Inspector Meenakshi Rathi and Head Constable IS Rathi in Delhi Police. She reached her desired destination in the third attempt.

Ishita has done her graduation in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College after schooling from DAV Public School Vasant Kunj. She did her MA in Economics from Madras School of Economics. She said that when her result came, she could not believe that she had made her place in the top 10. “I consider myself lucky,” she said.

Ishita gives credit for her success to her parents and friends. “My family members had a lot of faith in me. I always kept IAS as my first preference. This exam is very difficult, so it is necessary to focus completely on it. Have faith in yourself, then if you give the exam, your chances of selection increase.”

Preetam Kumar, UPSC-2021, AIR-9


Pritam Kumar Jakhar is originally from village Kotra in Neem Ka Thana area of Sikar district of Rajasthan. His father lost a leg while fighting the Kargil war. Even after that, he took care of the whole family and inspired Pritam to study. Subhash Chand Jakhar is serving as LDC (Babu) in CBEEO office, Neem Ka Thana.

Pritam’s mother is a housewife. She has the biggest hand in the success of her son. Despite two failures in earlier attempts at CSE, she did not let her son lose courage, and in the third attempt, his persistence and hard work paid off. Pritam has two elder sisters. He studied from class 1 to 4 in a school in village Kotra and did class 5 and 6 from Sam’s School in Neem Ka Thana. He studied class 7 in Royal Rajasthan English Medium School, Kotputli Jaipur. He took a degree from IIT Ropar Punjab and started preparing for UPSC by staying in Jaipur. He studied 15 to 16 hours daily.

Pritam said that during the placement in the fourth year of IIT, he had made up his mind to take up a job in a multinational company. But in his heart, there was always the desire to serve the country like his father. So, after completing college, he went to Delhi to prepare for UPSC. In 2020, returned to the village due to Covid-19. He studied at home for about a year and a half. He used to watch funny videos on YouTube to keep himself relaxed. Preetam said that during the third interview, he was asked about sedition, law, and his hobby. “One can get success in life only by having a goal and moving forward,” he said.

Harkeerat Singh Randhawa, UPSC-2021, AIR-10


Harkeerat has done his graduation in History honours from Saint Stephen’s College, Delhi University. His optional subject was History. He strongly believes that UPSC aspirants can qualify the exam by relying on self-study, coaching is not that necessary. He himself studied through Internet, especially good Youtube channels and Google. His dream is to join Indian Foreign Service.

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