Vandana has proved that where there is a will there is a way at the age of 24. She secured 8th rank in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2012 and not only earned a place among the top 10 in the merit list but also ranked top among the students of Hindi medium. Vandana amazed everyone by her exceptional performance at the Civil Services Examination 2012. It is heartening to find a Hindi medium candidate with single-digit rank.
Marks Obtained by Vandana
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Vandana was born in a very traditional family, a resident of Nasrullagarh, Saharanpur in Haryana that does not have a history of getting their girls educated. But Vandana made an exception, she often coaxed her father to allow her pursue education outside her village.
Vandana’s father Mahipal Singh Chauhan said school in the village was not good, so he sent his elder son out for higher studies. Simply repeating the same since that day was the hymn. However, Vandana defied all odds and proved all her opponents wrong when she secured the coveted seat in Indian Administrative Services (IAS) examination.
Vandana’s early studies was done in a government school in the village itself. She found a mentor in her father who not only encouraged her but also showed the guts to send her to Kanya Gurukul, Chotipur (near Muradabad) for schooling. She has done graduation in Sanskrit (Honours) from Kanya Gurukul and LL.B. from BR Ambedkar University, Agra. Vandana cherished the dream of becoming an IAS officer from a very early age. She had fixed her goal very early in her life when she was in 10th standard.
After studying in Gurukul XII Vandana studied law at home. She had never been to college. Vandana’s father used to take her with him to give test or exams. In Gurukul, Vandana utilised her time judicially. She devoted hours to study, followed a strict disciplined scheduled, washed her own clothes and focused her entire attention on studies.
Most of the decisions she took, she kept in her mind. In fact, LL.B. was a part of her preparation strategy for Civil Services Examination
Vandana opted for Law and Literature of Sanskrit Language as her optional subject. Both the optional subjects were her own subjects as she have done graduation in both the subjects, so she was comfortable in managing these two.
Vandana just relied on her books that she read earlier. For her, it was sort of revision. For optional subject Law, she got immense help from her elder brother who is a lawyer. Hindi medium draw attention again with success of her (AIR 8, CSE 2012).
Vandana gave this outstanding result in Hindi medium and also in her first attempt that also did her all her studies without any coaching.
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Preparation for Civil Services Examination was like worship for Vandana. When she started serious preparation after completing her LL.B., she looked at the syllabus and just believed in what UPSC has mentioned in that. She had no one in her surroundings who could guide her or tell her how to plan for UPSC Exam. She didn’t have any role model.
Vandana took the safest route by covering all topics covered in the syllabus and relied on most of the books and study material that she had used in her graduation and LL.B. Be it Preliminary or Mains Examination, she faced all with full confidence and after her Mains Examination, for the first time, she realized that she had performed well and the final result should be good. She did a lot of answer writing practice just keeping in mind the importance of time management for the examination.
Vandana had done her schooling from UP Board and had not read NCERT Books. So she needed to lay a solid foundation with basics and that really helped her a lot.
Vandana used to shut herself in her room and used to study 20 hours in a day. She shunned all luxuries, even air cooler, as she feared that comfort of the cooler may prove to be a distraction for her.
Secret of success
There is nothing hidden – only hard work, support from her family and self belief. The mantra that worked for her success was dedication and focus.
Advice for Young Aspirants
- One should care for negative marking and the Preliminary Examination should be attempted with
alertness and care.
- Do not follow herd mentality; have faith on your capabilities. There is no substitute to hard work.
- Positive Attitude is important while preparing for Civil Services Exam.