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Success Stories

Issue no 10, 08 - 14 June 2024

Success Follows Consistent Efforts

Patience and consistency serve as the cornerstone of triumph, asserts Ashish Kumar Singhal, hailing from Rajasthan, who clinched the eighth position in the 2023 Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Embracing the Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta’s philosophy of 'Karmanyevaadhikaraste', he emphasises the significance of wholehearted efforts, finding contentment therein, and relinquishing attachment to outcomes. For Singhal, fulfilling one's duties diligently is paramount, with acceptance of outcomes being a natural consequence. Upholding the principles of perseverance and unwavering commitment, he attributes his success to their steadfast application. In an exclusive interview with Chandan Kumar Chaudhary for Employment News, Singhal offers advice to aspiring Civil Services candidates, underscoring the importance of persistence and steadfastness in pursuit of their goals.

What are your reflections on this remarkable achievement, particularly securing the 8th rank? How does this accomplishment make you feel?

Experiencing success after putting in hard work brings immense happiness. This victory is particularly special because it comes after four previous attempts. I feel really content knowing that my efforts have paid off. Before the results were announced, I was quite nervous. Interestingly, I didn't check the results myself. Instead, I found out about my achievement through a phone call from a friend who informed me that I had secured the 8th rank.

What was your key approach to succeeding in the exam?

My approach has always been consistent effort. Once you set a goal, it's essential to keep pushing towards it, consistently taking steps forward. Persistence and patience are crucial; success may not come immediately, but it doesn't mean you should abandon your preparation. Patience is key. Initially, I devoted eight to ten hours daily to studying when I commenced my preparation. However, as I progressed and covered the necessary material, my study hours gradually decreased. During my fifth attempt, I allocated six to seven hours for study sessions. This adjustment was possible because I had already laid a solid foundation of knowledge. Ultimately, I attribute my success solely to hard work and the unwavering support of my family.

How did you cope with failure? What are your thoughts on the stress associated with studying?

Experiencing failure is undoubtedly disheartening. However, I firmly believe that in the realm of uncertainty surrounding success, failure is equally uncertain. Competitive exams inherently carry the possibility of both outcomes. While anticipating success, one must also be prepared for the prospect of failure. Despite the daunting odds, it's imperative not to let fear deter preparation efforts. Instead, one must persevere and strive to give their best. In moments of doubt following failure, it's essential to reflect on the initial motivations for embarking on the preparation journey. This introspection serves as a source of inspiration, reinforcing determination and resilience in the face of challenges.

Did you consider pursuing an alternative career path before preparing for the UPSC exam?

I pursued both B.Tech and M.Tech degrees at IIT Kharagpur, completing the five-year programme in 2017. Following my studies, I gained employment at a company in Gurgaon, where I worked for a year. However, in June 2018, I decided to appear in UPSC exam. At the onset of my preparation journey, I was resolute in my ambition to become an IAS officer with the alternative option of returning to the corporate sector.

How important is coaching in UPSC preparation?

For general studies, I relied on self-study using available books and supplemented my learning with online classes when needed. Additionally, I participated in test series to gauge my progress. However, for my optional subject, I sought guidance from a reputed coaching institution. Coaching provides valuable direction, aiding in selecting appropriate study materials and understanding complex topics. While coaching can be beneficial, it's important to note that success can still be achieved through diligent self-study and hard work.

Could you share your experience of the interview process?

My interview took place on 7th March 2024 and was quite lengthy. Throughout the interview, I experienced moments of pressure and nervousness, but I managed to navigate them. The panel predominantly asked questions related to current affairs, with some inquiries related to my optional subject, Sociology. I received a score of 179 in the interview.

Which publications do you recommend for UPSC preparation?

I found The Hindu and Indian Express to be valuable sources of information during my preparation. However, I suggest students select one newspaper to follow consistently. Additionally, I supplemented my knowledge with a monthly magazine for current affairs and explored journals like Yojana and Kurukshetra.

What are your plans upon joining the service?

Once the training commences, I intend to utilise it effectively. As I transition from a student to a civil servant, my focus will be on personal development and acquiring the necessary skills for the role. I have expressed a preference for the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh cadre.

What advice would you offer to aspiring UPSC candidates?

I've observed a trend where students apply for multiple exams without a clear focus. Personally, I believe this approach can be distracting. It's essential to commit to one exam and pursue it diligently with the main goal in mind. Success will follow with dedicated effort.

(The interviewer is a senior journalist. Feedback on this article can be sent to

Views expressed are personal.