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HomeStoriesSuccess Story of Neelabh Saxena IAS, AIR - 12

Success Story of Neelabh Saxena IAS, AIR – 12

Setting an example for IAS aspirants, Neelabh Saxena secured 12th rank the third time and got selected for Indian Administrative Services after failing the Civil Service Exam for three times has given Lucknow reasons to feel proud by attaining the 12th rank in the open merit list of the All India Civil Services Examination!Neelabh Saxena’s perseverance has helped him reach where he is today.

Neelabh Saxena attributes his success in IAS to his hard work, being patient, sincerity, dedication towards the goal and the blessings and support of his teachers and parents. He believes that as an IAS Officer he would be better able to serve the nation and contribute in its progress.

Neelabh Saxena says, “I am passionate to do what I have to”.

Marks Obtained

 Total Marks  Marks Obtained
Total (Written)  2000 861
 Interview 300  135
 Total  2300  996 (43.30%)

Must Read: Topper’s Story – Ayush Prasad IAS

Family Background

Neelabh Saxena comes from Lucknow. His father is a botany teacher in Government Jubilee School and his mother Rani Saxena is a principal in a Sanskrit Pathshala at Lucknow. Neelabh’s sister Nidhi, a working professional.

Educational Background

Neelabh Saxena has been a bright student since childhood. A student of City Montessori School, Lucknow, Neelabh scored 92%, both in class X and XII. He then completed his Electronics and Communication Engineering from MNIT, Allahabad and worked in a manufacturing company in Bengaluru. Two years later, he quit his job in 2010 and took admission in IIT- Delhi to pursue M. Tech in Computer Applications.

The same year, he topped the Indian Engineering Services (IES). He left M.Tech midway and joined the Indian Railways. The same year, he also cracked UPSC and secured AIR-478 and joined IRTS. In 2011, he again wrote civil services and secured AIR-173 after which he joined as assistant commissioner, Income Tax. Then in 2014, he cleared UPSC with 12th rank and became IAS.

Optional Paper

Neelabh Saxena opted Electrical engineering as his optional subject.


This was Neelabh Saxena’s third attempt at UPSC.

Also Read: Topper’s Story – Harshika Singh IAS, AIR – 8, 2011

Preparation Strategy of Neelabh Saxena and Advice for Aspirants

Strategy that Neelabh Saxena followed for his preparation are:

  • Go through Economic Survey. Read two newspapers- preferably Hindu and Business Standard. Keep a tab on current events and take help of internet to study all aspects related to it.
  • Theory and numericals both are scoring. Attempt theory as well if you are stuck in numericals i.e. not able to solve them or having paucity of time in completing the question paper. Just give small examples in your theory answers say a small RC circuit or any gate to emphasize your point made in theory.
  • But one needs to understand that Electrical Engineering requires a lot of effort. The syllabus is vast and many books need to be prepared for the completion of the course. However, the needs of UPSC Civil Services Exam are not very stringent and only basic knowledge of the topics mentioned in the syllabus will be sufficient to score well in
    this examination.
  • At the beginning, the aspirants should go through the papers of previous years and ascertain the level of difficulty for themselves. It would be useful if the aspirants actually try an attempt one of the papers to see their comfort level with the topics they may have already covered in the college. It is not necessary that you may have excellent grades in the college, but a general interest in the subject is necessary to overcome the rigors of the syllabus over the period of preparation.
  • The optional papers of electrical engineering are similar over a period of time. The questions are generally similar, with many repetitions over a period of time. The papers of the last 10 years are a pointer to the same.
  • Another point of note is that UPSC will never tend to ask extremely difficult or out of course questions. This makes this optional more predictable with a higher probability of scoring in the upper spectrum.
  • The most important thing is the use of internet for the course. There are many topics which seem extremely difficult and have not been done in college graduation, especially those in digital communication, coding theory etc. For this use of electrical lectures are available at NPTEL.
  • Given the nature of the exam, aspirants should at least cover the syllabus once, and prepare the previous year’s papers even if the detailed strategy as provided later is not doable.
  • The solutions for the previous years ESE papers is also a useful asset for the aspirants as it covers almost the entire spectrum of the course.
  • The book list given below is not the only source. Try to cover the subjects from books you have studied in your college and keep these books as reference only.

Don’t Miss: Toppers Story – Ananya Das IAS