Raised By Mother On Her Father’s Small Pension, Nidhi Is Now A SDM

Nidhi Shukla from Ayodhya cracked UPPCS-23 with rank 8 She had lost her father at the impressionable age of 13 She was determined to get into civil services from her school days to ensure a good life for her mother and sisters
Indian Masterminds Stories

No adversity can impede your progress if you have set your eyes firmly on your goal. It all broils down to how passionate you are about crossing the finishing line. That defines the success story of UPPCS-23 topper among girls, Nidhi Shukla.

She fought and struggled her way up towards her goal of cracking the civil service exam to give a good life to her mother and sisters. And, her determination bore fruits and she is on her to becoming a SDM now!

After losing her father at an impressionable age, she and her two sisters were brought up by their mother on their late father’s pension. Life was difficult and they struggled to meet all their needs. But, this made the strong willed Nidhi more determined to achieve success, come what may.

Speaking exclusively to Indian Masterminds, Nidhi narrated her inspiring journey in detail.


She appeared for civil services exam for the first time in 2021, when she sat for UPSC CSE prelims, but could not crack it.

In the same year, she appeared for UPPCS, but could not pass this exam too. She then made up her mind not to make any further attempt in UPSC but focus solely on UPPCS.

In her second attempt in UPPCS-2022, she reached till the interview, but could not make it to the final list. But destiny smiled on her in her third attempt in 2023 as she cracked the exam with rank 8.

She said, “The initial phase of preparation is always very difficult. To take the decision to prepare for civil services is a tough one because this exam is very unpredictable.”


She originally belongs to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. However, her father used to work in Chhattisgarh’s Tribal Department. Hence, she studied till the 10th standard in Chhattisgarh. When she was 13 year old, her father died of a sudden heart attack. So she moved back to Ayodhya with her mother and sisters. Her mother is a homemaker.

Nidhi completed her 12th from Anil Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Ayodhya. Then she did her graduation (BA) from Avadh University in 2020.

She joined a coaching in Prayagraj for a year in 2021. Then she shifted to Delhi in March 2022 for giving test series and mock tests.


She was determined to get into civil services from her school days. Hence, she had started preparing in her graduation first year itself by studying NCERTs and making notes.

In Jan 2021, she started focusing on both the UPSC and UPPCS exams. She started solving and analyzing PYQs and the exam patterns of these two exams.

Books: Apart from NCERTs, she focused on other standard books like Spectrum (History), Laxmikant (Polity). For prelims, she studied Lucents book for GS, PYQs from Ghatna Chakra and Eduteria Magazines for Current Affairs. She also revised 8 to 10 times all the topics.

For mains exam, she prepared different notes for every GS paper with many authentic sources, like google and toppers’ notes. For UP Special, she read the Only IAS’s books. For Hindi, she studied S Kumar’s book which helped her a lot.

Visualization Technique: For better memory and revision, she worked on a visualization technique. For example, she studied a topic from any book. If she is not able to memorize that topic, she googled the book and found photos of the book about the related topic or person. Thus, this visualization technique helped her to memorize things better.

She said, “My focus was on revision more, rather than studying many books, so that I could remember the things that I had studied.” She had taken Sociology as optional for UPSC.

However, since studying for two exams at the same time did not work in her favour, she dropped the idea of giving UPSC exam and started focusing solely on UPPSC.


Her interview for UPPSC-23 was taken by the same board of the previous year. She was asked many questions from her background, specially her graduation subjects, and Sociology.

A member asked her, “What is the role of a women in society? How can she change the society?”

Another member asked her a question from a poem, and she had to complete the answer with the last 4 lines of the given poem.

Her answers were to the satisfaction of the board and she too came out of the room confidently knowing she had done her best.


Giving suggestions for aspirants, she said, “Keep your resources minimal and do revisions as much as you can. This exam demands consistency, revision, and your dedication. Apart from it, develop regular newspaper reading habit.”


She still harbours the dream of cracking UPSC CSE after a better preparation. But, till then, as a SDM, she hopes to provide service to the public, which is aligned with the basic principle that the government has chosen them to serve the common people. “I will always strive to be honest in my duty for the sake of my people,” she concluded.

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