UPSC Civil Services AIR 176 Shreya Singhal Shares Books, Preparation Strategy to Crack IAS Exam

Uttar Pradesh’s Shreya Singhal has cracked the civil services in her third attempt. A chemical engineering graduate from Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur (MNIT) Jaipur, 2018 batch, Shreya scored a total of 966 marks including 206 on the personality test and 760 on the written test. She has obtained an All India Rank (AIR) 176.

Hailing from Sarsawa, Sharanpur District, Uttar Pradesh the topper said, she relied heavily on the standard books and focussed a lot on revision. “I covered standard books including Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth, A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum, NCERT’s Geography, Mrunal’s study material for Economy and selected portions of Environment By Shankar IAS Academy.”

She claims that studying from single sources and having multiple rounds of revisions worked well for her. She also focussed on writing answers which she claims helped in self-evaluation. On average, she studied for 8 to 10 hours.

When she sat for the UPSC CSE for the first time in 2018, she couldn’t even crack the prelims but when she sat in the 2019 exam, she reached the interview round. It was only after her second attempt that in July 2019 she moved to Delhi and stayed at the Jamia Residential Coaching Academy (RCA).

“For my optional subject I took coaching from 2019 end for five and half months, so before the Covid-19 hit us, my preparations were almost over. After that again it was complete self-study,” she says.

“It’s a very long battle, it’s not a sprint but a marathon. Staying strong, working hard, and perseverance is the only way,” said Shreya.

When asked about the questions she was interviewed for during the personality test, she said it was a very comprehensive interview with questions mostly from her background. “Shaharanpur is popular for its wood carving industry, so I was asked about that, and other famous places there. I was also asked about my hobbies which is kathak dancing and since my optional was international relations, I was asked about the UN and India-Africa relations,” she told

Shreya’s interest to become an IAS officer began during her college days. It was when she saw some of her seniors prepping for UPSC that she came to know about the competitive exam.

“Before that, I did not have any idea about UPSC and it was when I saw some seniors studying and asked them about the exam that I realised that maybe it is an area where I will have an opportunity to help people and for the betterment of the larger society. One of my seniors, who is now in the forest services mentored and guided me for the exam,” says Shreya.

Post-college, she also appeared for the UPPSC PCS, without much preparation only to realise she really wanted to become an IAS officer.

She completed her schooling at St Mary’s Academy, Sarsawa. While her father works as a pharmacist, her mother is a homemaker. She also has three siblings — one sister and two brothers. While her sister is a software engineer, her brothers are still studying. Staying in a joint family, Shreya says her cousins too supported her with the UPSC both morally and financially. All her cousins are working professionals.

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