Second Time Lucky: Achieved Her IAS Goal In 2nd Attempt

IAS Garima Agrawal cleared UPSC in her very first attempt and was allotted IPS. But her heart was in IAS. Therefore, she decided to appear for the exam once again to get a higher rank. Her determination paid off as she secured AIR 40 in 2018 and finally got into IAS.
Indian Masterminds Stories

IAS officer Garima Agrawal had first joined Indian Police Service after clearing UPSC in her very first attempt. However, although she joined the service and started discharging her duties diligently, she was still restless, as deep in her heart, she wanted to join Indian Administrative Service. 

Lakhs of students try their luck in the Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission every year to get into the Indian Administrative Service, as it is considered one of the most prestigious services in the country.

However, considered one of the most difficult exams in the country, CSE is not for everyone. Only a brilliant few manage to crack it. Many do so after several attempts. However, there are a few like IAS Garima Agrawal who cracked the exam in the very first attempt with a good rank but still made a second attempt to better the rank and get into IAS. 

IAS Garima Agrawal’s heart was set in IAS


Hailing from the town of Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, Ms. Agrawal did her initial schooling from Saraswati Vidya Mandir in the Hindi medium. She was a brilliant student in academics right from the start. 

After completing her schooling, she went on to graduate from IIT-Hyderabad. Immediately, she received an opportunity to live in the United States of America for one year in a student exchange program, which she quickly grabbed. She also bagged an internship in Germany later on. 

Ms. Agrawal with her parents


Ms. Agrawal made her first attempt at UPSC in the year 2017, which she cracked easily. She secured the All-India Rank 241 and was eligible to get into Indian Police Service.

However, her heart and mind were set for IAS. Therefore, she decided to take another chance at the examination.

And her wish came true in the year 2018 when she cracked the examination once again with an All-India Rank of 40. This time, she was finally eligible to get into IAS and her happiness knew no bounds.

She cleared her exam in 1st attempt and became an IPS


While Ms. Agrawal scored AIR 241 in 2017 and AIR 40 in 2018, the high leap in her ranking was brought about by a difference of 12 marks only! Surprising, but true. Have a look at her marks:

Her mark sheets definitely prove one thing: When it comes to UPSC Civil Service Examination, even a difference of 12 marks can change your life! Within a year’s time, she managed to climb up 200 spots in rank by scoring 12 additional marks.

This implies that every mark is important and even one mark can play a major role in the ranking. Ms. Agrawal’s marks prove that with focus and hard work, one can easily walk up the ladder of success.


Ms. Agrawal’s optional subject for both attempts was Philosophy. She preferred Philosophy as a subject and believed that it was one of her strengths.

“Students should look to choose an optional subject which they have a liking for and are preferably strong in it. Choosing the correct optional is very important and is not something that should be postponed,” Ms. Agrawal had remarked once while interacting with media. 


Her strategy to clear the examination was mainly related to making a timetable and religiously following it. Her timetable contained daily goals, weekly goals, and even monthly goals. She used to create a new timetable for every month with new goals for each subject and would also mark down the sources she would use.

According to her, preparation of preliminary exam, main exam and interview should be done together and not separately. The same questions may appear in UPSC prelims and main exams. That is why, revision is necessary.

“Study for the exam as a whole, and not divide it into mains and prelims. Only one month before the prelims, work only on prelims. Preferable solve 2 to 3 papers every day before your prelims exam. Take tests. Taking tests will help you to understand your weaknesses and then you can work on them.”


According to Ms. Agrawal, revising often is necessary for both exams. “The syllabus is huge and can be tiring. So, keep a certain time slot for revising every day, so that you do not forget whatever you learned that day. Take revision tests often for both mains and prelims.”

IAS Garima Agrawal is currently posted as Assistant District Magistrate (Trainee) in Telangana. Throughout her educational and UPSC journeys, three qualities were apparent in Ms. Agrawal – focus, hard work, and dedication. These three qualities helped her to achieve whatever goals she set her eyes on. And the same qualities will continue to push her onwards to achieve more in the future.

Indian Masterminds Stories

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