Cassian Baliarsingh

Do you know who has scored the highest marks in the interview round of the UPSC exam in the past decade? Well, if you are thinking of Tina Dabi, Srushti Deshmukh, Kanishka Kataria, or Shruti Sharma, then you are wrong.

It is none other than Zainab Sayeed who holds the record for securing the highest marks in the UPSC interview round. The brilliant mind from Kolkata secured an impressive 220 out of 275 marks in the interview round. She achieved this feat in 2014 when she passed the UPSC Civil Services Exam, securing 731 marks in the main examination.

Zainab secured All India Rank (AIR-107) and till today stands out as the candidate with the highest interview score. However, UPSC wasn’t an easy journey for Zainab who faced failure in her first two attempts. She couldn’t even clear her Prelims in her first attempts.

However, she did not give up and believed in herself. Her hard work paid off and she eventually clinched success on her third attempt. She cleared both her Prelims and Mains and went on to top the interview round as well.

According to Zainab, the interview round lasted for nearly 25 minutes and focused mainly on various current affairs, international topics, foreign direct investments, and the European Union.

Worth mentioning, Zainab hails from Kolkata and graduated from St. Xavier’s College in English literature. She then went on to complete her MA in mass communication at Jamia University, Delhi in 2011.

After her MA, she decided to prepare for the UPSC exams. She faced failures in 2012 and 2013, before finally achieving success in 2014.