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A Year Break Helped This SDM to Earn A Place in IAS

Shishir Kumar Singh cleared UPSC CSE 2022 with AIR 16 in his fourth attempt After three consecutive failures, the UP boy took a year break and opted out of CSE 2021 With Maths as optional, he followed an integrated approach by studying for Prelims and Mains together.
Indian Masterminds Stories

‘A lion takes one step back before launching a bigger attack.’ This popular saying worked well in the case of SDM Shishir Kumar Singh from UP. After continuously failing for three times in UPSC CSE, he was heartbroken. But, instead of giving up, he reworked on his strategy. Meanwhile, his plan B worked for him as he cracked UP PCS-2020 in his first attempt and became a SDM.

So, he took one year break from UPSC to focus on his weaknesses and rework his strategies. He utilised this time to the fullest with hard work and dedication. And it worked! He cracked CSE 2022, his fourth attempt, with AIR 16. He will now get his dream service.

Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Shishir shared his long journey to Indian Administrative Service.

JOURNEY SO FAR

“This has been a very long journey for me. It took many years and attempts. In the first few attempts, I probably made many mistakes, which were gradually corrected and eventually led to success,” Shishir said.

He started his preparation after quitting a job and gave his first attempt in 2018. But he could not pass the Prelims. Next year, in 2019, he reached till the interview stage but could not clear it. In 2020, he failed again in Prelims. Tired of his repeated failures, he then decided to take a break for a year, to rewind and rework.

He did not give CSE-2021. After the one year break, he appeared for CSE-2022 and cracked the exam with the top rank of AIR 16. His one year break really worked and brought him the desired success.
Meanwhile, he had cracked UPPCS-2020 in his first attempt with 4th rank and had become a SDM. At the time of his CSE 2022 result, he was posted as SDM of Varanasi Sadar.

Shishir Kumar Singh with family member and friends at his ancestors village

BACKGROUND

Shishir is fond of photography, watching films and drama series, and reading revolutionary Hindi poems. He originally belongs to Siwan, Bihar, but his family moved to the Ballia district of UP long back and has been living here since then. When the UPSC result came and Shishir realised that he would get IAS, the family first thought of their ancestral village and their Kuldevi. The whole family reached village Banpura and paid obeisance in the temple of Mata Rani.

His father Sinhansan Singh is a Medical Representative (MR) and his mother is a homemaker. He has done his elementary to high school education from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ballia. He did his 12th from DPS Bokaro and completed his B.Tech in Petroleum Engineering from IIT Dhanbad.

He took up a job for two years in Bengaluru as a business analyst. But his dream was to become a civil servant. Around 2016, he made up his mind to prepare for UPSC. So he left his job and started focusing on his preparation.

At village temple

UPSC

He selected Mathematics as his optional and took coaching for it. For GS, he prepared by himself and focussed on various test series.

He said, “Earlier, due to exam pressure, I always scored less in optional and did not get good marks in GS also. Hence, I decided to drop a year and not give CSE 2021. This was a boon for me as I could prepared well and work on my weaknesses. In the 2022 exam, I could do all papers well, and that’s why my rank is good. Perhaps, because I was already in government service as a SDM, it helped me to stay relaxed and prepare well.”

STRATEGY

His strategy was following an integrated approach. He prepared for Prelims and Mains together. First, he studied all the basic books. Then, he thoroughly studied PYQ and identified topics for Mains and made notes. For current affairs, he regularly studied newspapers and solved many test series and appeared for mocks.

Why Maths as optional? He replied, “Being from an engineering background, it was a natural choice for me. Also, I thought that in Maths, there will be fewer things to mug up. This exam is so unpredictable, so with this subject, I could know how much I will score. I tried to bring objectivity in this subjective exam with Maths.”

Shishir Kumar Singh, AIR 16, UPSC CSE-2022

INTERVIEW

His interview mostly centred around his job and DAF. A few questions he was asked: What is your job profile? What is your best work in your job till now? What is more important: Rights or Duty?
Interestingly, he was not asked any question from his optional, Mathematics.

MESSAGE TO ASPIRANTS

Giving suggestions for aspirants, Shishir said, “Always have a plan B. With this, you will be in less pressure. Aspirants should follow an integrated approach and prepare for Prelims and Mains together. And, if you feel that you are not prepared, then drop a year and come back with full preparation. You will definitely succeed then.”


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