The UPSC Roller Coaster – A Glimpse into my Journey!
WhatsApp Channel  Join Now
Telegram Channel Join Now

The UPSC Roller Coaster – A Glimpse into my Journey!

Hello everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, I am Aranyak Saikia and I secured All India Rank 59 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2019. Prior to this, I had secured AIR 148 and 287 respectively in CSE 2017 and 2018. By virtue of my rank in CSE 2017, I was allocated the Indian Police Service (IPS). I am currently serving as an IPS Probationer in the rank of ASP (under training) in Karnataka cadre.
I am originally from Guwahati, Assam, where I did my schooling till Class 12. I graduated in Economics (Honours) from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi in 2015. I completed my Masters and MPhil respectively in 2017 and 2019 from Delhi School of Economics. This is essentially my brief introduction.

Having secured a rank in the CSE exams, there have been a few learning points and experiences that I have acquired over the years. As with all aspirants, when I first jumped into the CSE bandwagon back in 2016, I was at a loss as to what to do. There was just too much to study! At the same time, there was too much information on how to go about it. This information overload only added to the confusion, as it was humanely not possible to cover everything in such short span of time. It was then when I began to read the blogs and preparation strategies of a few successful candidates that I finally got an idea as to how to go about the exam prep. It was a long process but I think by being able to filter out the unnecessary things from the prep, I was able to focus on the limited sources with more clarity and depth, which helped me to secure a relatively good rank in CSE 2019.

As suggested and requested by many of you, in this post, I am sharing my experiences related to my CSE preparation strategy. Although this will appear more of a strategy advice to future aspirants, I have tried my best to make it clear that this is just my experience. Your strategy can be completely different from mine. I would be happy if you read my preparation style and decided to chart out your own route for the same.


As you all know, CSE Prelims 2020 is just about a month away. It is scheduled to be held on 4th of October. Thus, these last 40 odd days ought to be devoted to prelims by those aspirants appearing in this year’s exam. The first post of mine likewise is devoted to sharing my experience and tips in prelims prep.

Prelims, I feel, is the most risky component of the exam. For any question, you either know the answer or you don’t. There is no middle ground. I have seen many brilliant candidates getting thrown out at this stage of the exam itself. Then all the preparation for mains and interview go for a toss. So, focussing on the prelims is key to getting a good chance to secure a rank in the exam.


In my subsequent posts, I will focus on CSE Mains prep. Again, that involves a number of issues related to note making, answer writing and current affairs. I shall try to deal with them one by one.


Please do not be bogged down by the fact that you were not able to prepare in Delhi. It is true that Delhi provides an environment for CSE prep, especially in its centres like Old Rajinder Nagar, Mukherjee Nagar and Munirka. However, with the advent of the internet and social media, a large number of the coaching centres, study materials and discussion groups are available online.

A large number of websites are now providing very good quality content on a daily basis and that too for free. Some of them offer video tutorials at a nominal cost. Others provide discussion forums for the aspirants to discuss and jot down the answers. The previous year answer scripts of the successful candidates who appeared in the test series of the centres are also available online. I shall discuss these websites and portals as I go along in the subsequent posts.

I am mentioning a few here:



Some examples

Test series ,,

Previous year answer scripts

Discussion forums

Toppers’ Strategy blogs ,

Video Tutorials , ,

Initiative by previous toppers, , ,

Disclaimer: Just because I have mentioned these websites does not mean that I endorse them in any way. These were websites that I had referred to during my preparation. There are multiple other websites that are equally good. The websites that I have mentioned above provide many materials for free. So any candidate can have access to them without having to pay anything. At the same time, there are many things that they charge for. I hope you will use your own judgement in dealing with these.

Finally, there are shops in ORN and Mukherjee Nagar that can courier the study material to your doorstep after you pay the required amount through any online payment gateway.

This article is written by Aranyak Saikia, AIR 59 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2019.