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MOTIVATION: Failed in 4 Prelims, Rank 300 in 6th Attempt – Amazing Story of Vivek Chauhan, a Insights Follower

My Journey

Vivek Chauhan

Rank – 300, CSE – 2015


                                    My journey starts with running after train at 5:30 am in morning every day, I lived in Ghaziabad but my school was almost 35 km away from my home, it was a government school (at civil lines Delhi), every day I spent 5 hours  on travel time to go to school and come back to home (struggle continued from class 8th to 12th), I had a dream to become a doctor but as of many middle class boys it was just a dream, I got selected to BTC/JBT/ETE (TEACHER TRAINING), after training joined as a teacher at MCD school Delhi (September 2003). I was 19 then.

Then I strained my energy in (so called) struggle for marriage – as love marriage is a taboo in Indian society, it took me almost 7 year to marry in 2008. I was almost 25 year old then.  I started thinking about taking up civil services exam. Being a general candidate it was already late to start preparation to use all four attempts (then we had 4 attempts), but I also had family responsibilities to look after. After arranging marriage for my younger brother and younger sister and after my own marriage, it was time to start focus on my dreams and needs (but it was almost March 2011 by then). I had given one attempt without preparing well and had lost one precious attempt in 2010.  I started serious preparation for Civil Services after relieving myself from home responsibilities, with one attempt already down. Meanwhile,I had passed BA, MA,B.Ed from correspondence mode and in addition to these pursued LL.B and LL.M

                                    During my service as a teacher in MCD School, I joined Teacher’s Association in 2009 as a nominated General Secretary (of Shahdara south zone), there I worked for issues of teachers and this work was one of the motivations for civil services, as working with association I came in contact with higher officials and came to know that what a bureaucrat can do with his authority(this encouraged me to go for civil services). Hence, I tried my luck in 2010 Prelims. 

                                    Now the great leap for the upsc started in 2011, with one attempt already down, my second attempt was a lost by 7 marks in prelims (CSE 2012).  After losing , I felt bad but got courage that if I could came so close, maybe I could clear upsc in another attempt. (This is the dilemma of all the aspirants, it’s like YA TO ATTEMPT KAHATAM YA AADMI KHATAM HO TABHI MUKTI MILEGI).

                                    For third attempt, I prepared well with the help of my Wife (POOJA RANI) and my friends. I was expecting score around 216 in prelims and committed a mistake by exaggerating my score with friends and relatives.  This kind of mistake is being committed by so many aspirants (I request them to please not to do this at any cost). In this attempt I got only 206 and cutoff was 209 (CSE 2012).  I wept so hard at that moment that some of my friends came to see me at my home (Naveen, Jitendra, Dr sunil). They came to ensure that I did not commit any wrong! My exaggeration was the reason of my grave pain. Nevertheless I had lost battle for the THIRD time with only ONE attempt left to go.

                                    Now it was the D Day moment for me. Final attempt with Zero Mains experience. This time one of my friend Neelotpal (AIR 98, CSE- 2013) helped me a lot and I again tried to work hard for the upsc. I scored 232 in the prelims (CSE 2013) and was very optimistic for the mains.  But destiny had  another shock for me, in the history of upsc, first time cutoff crossed 241 marks and it was my final attempt and hope at UPSC civil services.

 I wept whole night, but not alone this time, my whole family was weeping too, my mother , father, wife and even my brother. They all had high expectations from me.  Their Dream had shattered with my failure. Dream was important as I would have been the first civil servant from whole of my family and relatives. But my final battle was lost, at this point what I had experienced can’t be summarized, it was agony, pain, failure all around, and flood of tears, it was all over for me w.r.t. UPSC. All my four attempt for general candidates was over without clearing any prelims. I was 30 year old by then. I was ineligible to write this exam henceforth.  

                                    When I came back to teaching with empty hands. Colleagues taunted me, laughed at me , and started teasing me with sarcasm. I had created a hope and hype around my civil services dream. After my failure, people around me didn’t respect me much.  I was considered a non- serious aspirant because I did not even clear prelims. At that moment I thought about giving State PCS exam.

                                    But “JAKO RAAKHE SAIYAN MAAR SAKE NA KOI”, then came the opportunity of my lifetime.  UPSC gave 2 extra attempts. It was my Daughter’s 5th Birthday.  My Daughter’s birthday brought me a new hope for me in my life.  These two attempts were a life for me. I was 31 by then. It was like this opportunity came from heaven for me.

I gave my heart to this attempt and could clear not only prelims but could reach upto interview level. But when the final result came , I was out of the game once again. I lost in interview (got 102 only), but this loss also brought another flood of tears and sadness and madness to me and to my family.  Because failure after reaching at interview level is not an easy ordeal to bear with. My Fifth attempt was over and I was a failure for 5 years in a row. (CSE 2014)

                                    Now in CSE 2015,  my another final attempt, I gathered myself for another final fight. It was do or die for me (aged 32 now). I worked hard with more focused study, proper strategy for PRELIMS, Mains and moreover for INTERVIEW, & committed to myself that I would crack exam this time. Learned from my past mistakes and worked hard.  

The DAY of 10th May 2016, brought me that gift for which I was fighting for a last 6-7 years. It was AIR 300 Rank. The joy,  happiness I can’t express. I think you all can feel this joy of mine. Result was like an oasis for me.  It was everything for me. I proved with this result that simple middle class family boy with no formal education (all correspondence) can crack UPSC civil services.

                                    I think my never say die attitude, perseverance, parents blessing and continuous effort toward my goal made me successful @ UPSC 2015 exam.

                                    I would request to all my fellow aspirants that never loose ur hope , your perseverance, consistency and your passion will definitely pay for you. In my struggle for upsc I went through many ups and downs but I did not quit.


Exam Strategy:-

For History optional I referred Balyan sir notes and teaching only. Got 263 marks in CSE 2014 and 239 marks in CSE 2015)

For General Studies:-

One word solution:_ INSIGHT ON INDIA WEBSITE. I followed thoroughly and did well enough (360 in GS CSE2014, and 359 in GS – CSE 2015). I thank insightonindia for the single most score of mine in GS mains. Follow standard books only with focus on NCERT.

In interview I score 168 this time.

                                    My best wishes to all aspirants and this exam is test of all your skills and perseverance is one of those, this exam is bigger than we can think & brighter than we can expect, GOOD LUCK!!!

My best wishes for all Aspirants. May god bless u all!!!


Vivek Chauhan

AIR 300

CSE 2015