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


Harshika Singh who dreamt of being an IAS officer since adolescence brought laurels to the state Ranchi, the hometown of Indian cricket icon MS Dhoni. Harshika Singh returned from London to plunge into UPSC preparations and undeterred by her average performance in her first attempt the Ranchi girl’s her hard work with determination and regular study achieved her a single digit All India Rank 8th in the merit list and fulfilled her dream of becoming a Civil Servant in 2011.

Jharkhand and Bihar were Harshika’s first and second posting preferences. “Issues involving women are big here — be it crime or mortality rate. My aim will be to address these first,” Harshika Singh said.

Marks Obtained

Total Marks Marks Obtained
Total (Written) 2000 1093
Interview 300 204
Total 2300 1297 (56.39%)

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Family Background

Harshika Singh was born and brought up at Kanke residence in Ranchi. Her father Anil Singh is a real estate developer and her mother Rekha Singh is a senior executive with Central Coalfields Limited.

Harshika’s mother said, “I feel like top of the world. I knew she would do well but her being in the top 10 is out of the blues. Most importantly, our daughter was always clear on what she wanted to do. As parents, we supported her in every possible way. She was a champion right from her school days”.

Giving the credit to her parents, Harshika Singh said, “It was only because of the support and moral boosting of my parents who stood by me through thick and thin. I never felt that I could not do it and as I had appeared for the exam once. Their one statement that struck me was, ‘You can do it and you will do it, give it a second try’ helped me to regain back my senses and I decided to give my 100% for that one dream”.

Educational Background

Harshika Singh completed her matriculation from Bishop Westcott Girls’ School in Namkum and senior secondary from DAV-Hehal, Ranchi. She completed her graduation in Economics (Hons) from St Xavier’s College, Ranchi in 2007. After completing her graduation, she went to pursue her Masters in Economic History from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) London,UK in 2009.

Harshika Singh started reading magazines since her college days but got into the serious preparations from October 2009 after completing her masters. Harshika was fascinated by cars with red beacons since her childhood. And that was her first motivation to work hard and achieve using such a VIP car!

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Optional Paper

Harshika’s background and the interest in the subject was the most obvious reason for choosing Economics and Anthropology as her first and second optional subjects. Economics was her passion so she never considered this as just a subject. Harshika Singh enjoyed her preparation and religiously followed the day to day developments in World Economy/Indian Economy through Internet /Newspapers and News channels. Availability of study materials and a background in biology also helped Harshika Singh in choosing Anthropology as her second optional.

Attempts by Harshika Singh

A candid Harshika Singh minced no words to admit that this was her second UPSC attempt. In her first attempt in 2010 she got a rank of 638, but decided to give it another try for a better rank and her confidence didn’t waver. Her rank was very low so she was not getting the post she wanted. Harshika Singh was selected for allied services, but she knew she would make it to IAS. She decided to give it another try and was expecting a better rank but 8th was beyond her expectations.

Also Read: Meet Gaurav Agrawal- UPSC civil services 2013 topper

Preparation Strategy

Harshika Singh prepared a balanced strategy at the very beginning of preparation. She roughly made a mental preparation plan and ensured on a daily basis that she was following it thoroughly. Harshika Singh studied till the time she was able to concentrate roughly 8-10 hrs daily and she was preparing for CSE since 2009 December for her first attempt in 2010 (AIR Rank-640).

Harshika Singh emphasized on making my concepts very clear and re-read the textbooks. When she was bored or lacked enthusiasm, she took a break saw TV, went on Facebook etc-did anything that diverted her mind but only for max 10 mins. After that she reminded herself of her dreams and was back on her study table.

She used to practice some test papers and also make a rough time plan before the exams. They helped her in proper time management. Harshika Singh made her concepts were very clear and was able to express and substantiate the theories with adequate presentations and eg’s, she also used diagrams wherever feasible.

Any person who is preparing for CSE faces the frequent bouts of enthusiasm and boredom. Even Harshika Singh faced it especially in the evening hours. However she feel 1 year of intensive study is sufficient.

Advice for Young Aspirants

  • Never get disheartened.
  • If you follow your dreams, then work hard, you will definitely succeed.
  • Covered all the relevant topics from NCERT books for conventional part.
  • Work hard on making concepts very clear and then practice answer writing from last years question papers.
  • Dream a dream and make a determined effort to achieve it and you would surely succeed one day.
  • CSE preparation is a beautiful and life changing experience. Live it and you will enjoy and relish it forever.

Don’t Miss: Meet IAS Topper Dr. Bharti Dixit – Rank 5 in first attempt

Articles are written and edited by the Syskool Staffs.


  1. mam I am narasimha as I had completed my Bsc in 2015 and I want to do postgraduation but at the same time I want to be successful in CSE.
    here I have 3 problems :
    1. I want to study but I can’t concentrate more than a few minutes as I often shifted to other thoughts.
    2.I had a low economic background and now in BPL.
    3.I also have no basics of NCERT and no knowledge regarding CSE structure.

    on behalf of all these I tried to stop thinking about CSE but it was also not working.
    I want a solution to this from you.

  2. Hi narsimha.. Anyone may find it monotonous to sit and study for hours.. But can sachin tendulkar get bored of playing cricket..? No!.. Because it is an interesting stuff fr him.. So build ur interest in the topics u got to study.. And doing post graduation may broaden ur career scope… And our PM started off as a tea seller.. Dream big.. And work hard on it… U will succeed 1 day..

  3. i am an average student but very interest to join civil service.. during my prepartion i get disheartened wit a thought dat m average student… avg. academic career will hv negative impact during final selection…. so any1 can suggest me wether i sud prepare or to leave it… Need honest suggestion…. plzzz help me out

  4. Hi Saumya, your story is truly inspirational. I want to ask you if it is really necessary to go for coaching and all to prepare for CSE as there are so many UPSC CSE related coaching centers these days. Is it enough if we cover all the syllabus topics straight from the text book (without going through the study materials of these coaching institutes) and solve previous year papers?

  5. Dear Mam,
    I am a civil service aspirant and is a dream for me frm my childhood. For the last 4 years I wasn’t able to make a single step to my dream due to various reasons. But now I am taking it serious.
    But I don’t have any idea on where to start or how to start. Could you please guide me to get a starting point, some sites etc..

  6. mam i need a suggestion. i have no time for other study i mean fr prepartion,because m doing because of’s exams i have no time for prepartion.. plz tell me how i do prepartion for upsc.. i really really want to be an IAS.

Comments are closed.

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