MOTIVATION: Alankrita Pandey, Came out of Depression to get Rank 85, UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2015

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Alankrita Pandey

Rank 85, UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2015

Hello Insights,

Thank you for providing me this opportunity of sharing my experience of preparation. I have myself learnt a lot, have been inspired from previous year articles of toppers. If my forthcoming article is able to inspire and project even one mind towards the goal, I would assume that my efforts have fructified.  

Writing this article is not an easy task because I virtually have to revisit those tough days and struggles once again.

In January 2014, I decided to start the preparation. But in mid 2014, I had to go through a personal crisis. It brought me to the level of using anti-depressants, anger management sessions and counseling by friends and family.

I had planned to write prelims in January 2014 and started reading some basic books but due to the aggravated situation, I could not even write the exam. These circumstances went on till October and finally I had it under control. By this time, I had decided to focus only on my career and plans for the next year and make my dream come true. This crisis gave me a clear sense of purpose.

The life changing moment was not 10th May 2016 for me, when the results came out, but it was the day when I had stuck a paper on a wall in my room saying- “I want a 2-digit AIR in CSE-2015.”

It has been said that – all things in this universe are created twice, once in your mind and then in the physical world. The first time was that day. Then began the hard work of day in-day out studies. I planned my preparation first at macro level and then at micro level eg completing full mains syllabus by May 15, then reducing it to topic wise scheduling and then hour wise everyday.

There used to be moments of doubt, depression and stress quite often for me. To tackle it, I used to run in the mornings, meditate and exercise. Sometimes, I would lose patience to go on. Then, I used to write on a paper as to why I started all this and this would provide me the motivation to move forward with more enthusiasm. Whenever I used to feel lethargic, I would see the newspaper and problems faced by various sections of society and think as to how could I help.

This always used to give me a sense of urgency to get into that position. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, family, teachers(Prof BRA Rao and institute) and my friends (Lokesh, Deepankar, Odyssey, my college gang and seniors) for supporting me throughout. Talking to my father always used to be such an encouraging experience. He used to make me believe that it is going to happen for sure, the belief and faith that he showed always kept me positive. Rao sir too had believed in me right from the first day and never refused any kind of help despite his old age and other difficulties. It was not a coaching institute for me but an extended family. I would not have been able to achieve this without the support of these people.

With these experiences, I kept going and cleared this examination in my first attempt.


Newspaper played the most important role in my preparation. One must not ignore it at any cost. Apart from this, 50-60% of my preparation was from internet and Insights was definitely one of the most important source.

I followed secure mains initiative, answer writing based on current events, peer evaluation process, mind maps during revision, strategy articles of toppers the most. These initiatives are immensely relevant and helpful in current pattern of examination.

One more thing that I think I did differently was studying very selectively but making it strong. I read a single book 4-5 times rather than reading 4-5 books for one subject. As we know, the process of this examination itself is a year long. One must study something keeping it in mind that it might be asked a year later in their interview. One should be able to retain the points in long term memory and that can only be done once you have understood and analyzed the issues properly.

I would try to share my detailed strategy for different papers later.

Lastly, I just want to end with one line that has been my motto in last few years- ‘Your thoughts become things. Make them good.’ The power of positive thinking cannot be emphasized enough. I think it was my most important asset throughout the preparation. I always saw a silver lining in every challenging situation from the unfavorable start to my preparation or managing financial difficulties.

And always remember, attitude is more important than aptitude.  All the best to future aspirants. Give it your best shot and fight it all to be where you want to be. 

  • Sheryl


  • Gulab Deore


  • SherniZaad

    Salute to you.

  • Himaanshu

    Very Inspiring… Congrats and all the very best for your life. God bless you 🙂

  • Alag

    Thank you very much ..wish you good luck

  • Utsah Chaudhary

    A story as beautiful as the name … Well done

  • P.s

    Thank you sir. Was the pressure of clearing civils reason for your anxiety in 2014?

  • kcriest

    thank you

  • ajit parate

    Very inspiring madam. Is it feasible for you to share your crisis? Thank you.

    • Mission_15

      Thanks Ajit. But if I could have, I would have. 🙂

    • AJ

      Sigmund Freud can give you the answer as he says that there is only single cause for most of the psychological problems of human life….:-)

  • Congratulations Alankrita! Please do share your public administration preparation details.

  • phoenix

    Congratulations!!!! …..Very Inspiring story…

  • rajesh

    Thank you madam

  • KumarM

    Can any one help me with Public administration Test series materials.If
    any body with lukmaanias , pavan , synergy Test series material ? Thanks
    in Advance .

  • Affu

    Thank you mam,i could sense how difficult it would have been for u to revisit those tough days after having attained ur goal,but u decided to do this tough task for us,thanks alot! all the best for all ur future endeavours

  • Keratam Ala

    I Really thankful to u ma’am I’m in same situations u motivated me

  • Usha T N

    Thank you mam for ur best wishes

  • ChildOfRevolution

    Congratulations ma’am.

  • Ayush

    really motivating article.. rightly said.. it is perseverance that matters most.. You have to bear pain of loneliness, not able to hangout with friends, living away from family, not attending parties, not able to watch favorite movies.. but the one who keep on working hard despite odd situations definitely get success.. Thank you for sharing with us.. and congratulations..

  • nivedita

    Truly highly motivated story mam, i also throughout same situations and ur article help me fight again.Thanks alot

  • Ruchi

    Awesome! Thank you… Ma’m 🙂 best wishes… 🙂 🙂

  • rajashree

    Congrats mam…..thanks for sharing ur hard journey towards success

  • Mayuresh Pawar

    Congrats!!!!! Alankrita…thanks for writing…

  • Abhilash M Gowda

    really inspiring…

  • Mission_15

    Thank you so much everyone for your kind words. And sorry for delayed response.

  • WhatGoesAround

    al d best ….once again congrats..!! These topper stories motivates every aspirant..keep rocking.. 🙂

  • ruchi shree

    very inspiring..

    ma’am at least u can share the type of crisis? Was that regarding loss in family or regarding job and financial crisis ET-cetera..

    thnx in advance..

  • Tom

    Alankrita I understand u joined Insights forum on dec 2014 but were not regular in writing……………..shall u please share what had been your writing strategy…………

    did you write regularly or followed Insight’s secure initiative…………..and how you recalled dots while writing answer

    Please share as it would be beneficial for aspiring aspirants like us

  • Jaya Swatantra

    Thanks for sharing it.. 🙂

  • Aazad

    Thanks Alankrita mam! Hope our struggles too will bear sweet fruit one day. 🙂

  • Anurag

    Thanks for sharing experaince that will help us

  • AJ

    Is it the strategy for aspirants ?
    More like a frustration releasing story of urself rather thn tips/strategy for students.

    Persons like you make people fool that see how brilliant i am that i just started preparing in oct14 ( even aftet crisis) n cleared it!!!

    No doubt ur achievement is very great….but stop making people fool..

    I surprise why Vinay sir or insight team asked to u to share ur strategy….n even after seeing ur article..why they published it.

    Seems more like a filmy story thn reality.
    And one last thing….For every personal crisis , culprit resides inside you not outside.

  • manjhi

    it shows that upsc is all about winning yourself..thanks

  • Priyanka Jain

    Could u plz suggest me some books….as I am a new aspirant fr IAS….I didn’t know which book I prefer or from where I start my prep….plz help me

  • Meera

    Dear Insights team, pls pls help me get out of this dilemma pls…
    Can u pls tell me ,is it necessary to read everything we need for exam from first page to editorial to sports page and take notes from a days news paper,the Hindu? Or can we just read the needed tthings and take notes only for prelims leaving editorials & other lengthy write ups which are useful for us etc and try to follow insights secure regularly and read &study articles given with them would suffice? I find it very difficult to take notes of all the things on a daily basis for, I could only sit with the paper the whole day, every single day.
    Sincerely hope you reply at the earliest! Thank u in advance.

  • Rokxtar Pankkaj

    Thnxxx madam its help me lots of 🙂

  • thank u mam….