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Answer Writing, Self-Notes and Group Sessions are the Keys to UPSC CSE 2021 Topper Shruti Sharma’s Success

Shruti Sharma, a native of Bijnor's Basta village in UP, bagged the first spot by scoring a stellar 1105 marks in the UPSC 2021 exam. She did her graduation from St Stephens College in BA History and dropped out of JNU while doing master's to prepare for UPSC. She practiced answer writing a lot, made self-notes from newspapers, and prepared with friends in group sessions.

The UPSC CSE exam, which is conducted annually, tests how hard the candidates have prepared themselves and, at the same time, checks their personality and how they perceive things. This year’s topper Shruti Sharma, a resident of New Delhi, carries a strong personality as she follows in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, who she considers her role models.

Shruti cleared the exam in her second attempt this year, after choosing the wrong language and missing the interview by one mark in the first attempt. Securing the first rank in this tough competitive exam was “unexpected” for her, but she followed no different strategy from others and just followed a well-defined plan for the examination. She believes that her biggest support system was her family and friends who helped her lift the throne of UPSC in 2021.

UPSC2021 Topper, Shruti Sharma: She hails from Delhi

SPENDING CHILDHOOD IN A VILLAGE IN UP

Shruti’s childhood was spent in Bijnor’s Basta village after which she moved to the national capital Delhi with her family. Her father Sunil Dutta Sharma is an architectural engineer. She studied in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya and St. Stephen’s College. A humanities student, Shruti pursued BA in History and developed an interest in the UPSC exam during her graduation.

After completion the course, she went on to pursue post-graduation from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. However, she dropped out to focus on the UPSC exam. She studied for four years to bag the first spot in the 2021 exam.

Shruti Sharma with her family

Speaking to media, she had said, “I always wanted to give back to society in some way or the other and civil services is the direct form for that, hence my interest lies in it.”

UPSC PREPARATION

Shruti loved studying history all throughout her schooling and college life, hence she picked it as the optional subject for the UPSC exam. She had no different strategy from others, but she stuck to the basic books of NCRT and preferred making self-notes from newspapers every day rather than trusting other study material.

She joined the Residential Coaching Academy in Jamia Millia Islamia and was among the 23 candidates who got selected this year in CSE from the coaching centre. She said in an interview, “I practiced answer writing a lot and conducted group sessions with friends where we kept five questions and made model answers for each question. This answer writing practice and making a strategy for each paper helped me a lot in the mains exam.”

Daughter and mother on cloud 9: Shruti Sharma with her joyful mother

Shruti scored a total of 1,105 marks which included 932 marks in the written exam and 173 in the personality test (interview).

INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE

Shruti was not that satisfied with her interview as she wanted it to be more conversational on some opinions rather than being factual. She was asked factual questions related to History which included questions like, does history repeats itself, Champaran Satyagraha, Maurya’s, World War, Lord Mayo’s assassination, etc. She was also asked questions about governance including Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and about her hobbies and background.

Shruti Sharma, UPSC CSE-2021, AIR – 1

She suggests that aspirants should set targets for themselves, limit their sources and make self-notes to sustain the long and hard UPSC journey and successfully clear it with utter dedication.

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