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Failed Twice, Lost Father During Interview, Yet Cracked UPSC With AIR 44

Divyanshu Nigam cleared the UPSC exam in the third attempt

Divyanshu Nigam from Lucknow had ticked all the right boxes, yet could not clear the UPSC CSE in his first two attempts. Indian Masterminds spoke to the young bureaucrat to know find out what changes did he bring in his preparation to clear the civil services scans.

EARLY LIFE

Divyanshu’s father Late SK Nigam served in Uttar Pradesh cadre of Indian Forest Service (IFS). Like all children of civil servants, Divyanshu also had to switch many schools. He passed class 10 from St Mary’s School, Saharanpur and 12th from DPS Kalyanpur, Kanpur. He then opted for getting into the prestigious IIT however, couldn’t clear the exam and got into BITS Palani (Goa campus) to pursue chemical engineering. Divyanshu was among the top five children during his schooling and was decently good during his graduation as well.

He told Indian Masterminds, “I always wanted to get in the civil services as my father was my role model. Moreover, my cousin brother who is in the IRS motivated me to it. He told me how difficult it is to be in the administration. This challenge motivated me further to civil services.”

Started preparation during graduation

He agrees that bureaucrats’ children do have an advantage over others in getting good guidance. I never had that dilemma of necessarily working for financial independence after graduation which many people at my age do. Also, my father wanted me to start preparing for the exam as soon as possible, rather than joining a corporate job.”

EARLY PREPARATION

Divyanshu’s preparation started before he even completed his graduation. It was his fourth year itself when he started studying for the UPSC exam. He said, “I started with reading newspaper daily and some basic books about the UPSC exam. Like other UPSC aspirants, I  took UPSC coaching from Delhi. However, it was not a very good experience for me. In 2018, when I appeared for the exam for the very first time, I failed to clear it as I was very under prepared and was just focusing on the prelims exam rather than aiming for the mains. As a UPSC aspirant, according to me one should prepare for the mains exam and they will surely find success in the prelims.”

Preparation room

Divyanshu considers his first attempt as a waste but did not want to repeat same mistakes in the next year. He said, “I took guidance from the toppers and prepared for the exam with full focus. I was very confident about clearing the exam and even found success in the prelims. My mains exam also went very well however, I could not clear it. I did know what more to do. This was a tough time for me but it made me more confident as now I literally wanted to clear the exam so bad.”

STRATEGY TWEAKED

There were quite a lot of things which Divyanshu changed in this preparation for the third attempt. This included his approach towards the exam which he by giving more weightage to other subjects like science rather than focusing only on Economics. The main thing which he changed was his practice in writing answers for the mains exam. He wrote around 50 tests in total and also added some fillers in his answers like diagrams and maps through guidance from IAS officer Anudeep Durishetty and Akshat Jain.

Divyanshu Nigam, IAS (AIR 44)

With these changes nit did he manage to clear all the stages of UPSC 2020 and cleared it with an All India Rank 44 to get into the IAS and accomplishing his childhood dream. Even his father’s death due to Covid-19 in the middle of his interview couldn’t weaken his resolve.

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