Cassian Baliarsingh

The Civil Services Exam conducted by the UPSC is regarded as India’s toughest exam. Among the lakhs of aspirants, only a handful of candidates manage to clear the coveted exam and become IAS, IPS, and IFS.

It takes years of struggle and hard work to crack the Civil Services Exam (CSE) while there are also aspirants who have cracked it in their first attempt.

Interestingly, there is no specific formula to crack the UPSC exam. It depends on the strategy and preparation methods of the candidate. Today, let’s meet IAS Gandharva Rathore, who cracked UPSC without any formal coaching.

As per a report in DNA India, Rathore, who hails from Rajasthan, studied at a local school in her hometown Jaipur as a student. After completing her intermediate, she went on to receive her degree from the University of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).

She also went on to finish her post-graduation and then decided to give her dreams of becoming an IAS officer a try. Despite day and night of hard work, she failed to make it to the qualifying list in her first attempt.

Instead of being disheartened, she decided to give it another try. This time, she focused on self-study without any formal coaching. She gave her everything and studied hard day and night. 

Instead of joining a coaching institute, she prepared notes for each topic and carefully studied every subject’s curriculum and study guide. She also talked to her friends who attended coaching institutes and understood the strategy.

Her hard work finally paid off and she passed the UPSC Civil Services Examination in 2016 in her second attempt. She secured an AIR-93, that too without any coaching.

During an interview, Rathore said, “Aspirants should begin their preparation with Mains in their mind. I used to devote 80% of my time to prepare for the Mains and other time to focus on extra topics. One topic that is crucial for passing the civil services exam is the optional subject.”