The UPSC civil services exam is one of the most competitive exams conducted in India. It is attempted by lakhs of candidates every year. However, only a fraction of those come out with flying colours in the end. Clearing this exam gives an entry into the prestigious civil services of the country. As soon as the IAS results are announced, the UPSC toppers gain limelight in the country.The IAS toppers serve as an inspiration to thousands of young people who aspire to clear the Civil Services Exam.


  • 29-year old Singh was an Indian Revenue Services Officer when the results of the 2019 UPSC exam were announced and he saw his name on top of the list. A total of 829 candidates were selected for various civil services posts after the 2019 UPSC exam.
  • He had also previously worked in the Income Tax Department after clearing the SSC exams.
  • This was Singh’s fourth attempt. His third attempt saw him achieving a rank of 260 and being selected for the IRS (Customs & Indirect Taxes). He had been undergoing probation at the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN) in Faridabad.
  • Pradeep Singh completed his entire education from Sonipat, his schooling from Shambhu Dayal School and computer science engineering from DCRUST College.
  • His mother is a housewife and he has a brother and a sister.

Pradeep Singh confesses it was tough juggling his Income Tax Inspector’s job along with the IAS preparation. But whenever he felt demotivated and thought of giving up, his father encouraged him to stick to his dreams and focus on the preparation.

Although Singh had initially joined some coaching, he had to later discontinue it due to time constraints. He later focused on self-study along with the help of his friends.

Singh’s message to aspirants is simple – “Self-motivation is the best key to achieve any goal.”


UPSC CSE Prelims

As just a few days left, Pradeep suggested the candidates solve sample papers and attempt mock tests to get familiarise with the pattern. According to Pradeep, “At the last moment, don’t go for additional topics or subjects. Revise well whatever you studied, the questions on current affairs or other topics will be from the past one year and not on recent topics as papers were already prepared. There are hardly chances on questions from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic or recent China-India border (Doklam) stand-off.”

The questions in prelims — whether it is current affairs, history, or geography — will be based on present events and not conventional type. Referring to his last year’s prelims, Pradeep said, “The questions from current affairs to history, even from science and technology was based on current events. A question in history was from recent excavations in Rakhigarhi, Haryana, among others.”

Regarding his preparation for prelims, Pradeep said he kept studying for 4 to 5 hours regularly, including his office hours and at the time of commuting to and fro. Singh was working as an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer in Faridabad. “For current affairs and other portions like geography etc. I had noted down all the recent developments every day from newspapers, especially from The Indian Express and The Hindu.”

For other topics from history to science and tech, Pradeep relied on books, online study materials, daily ministry updates on Press Information Bureau (PIB), among other sources. For history, Pradeep followed Spectrum Modern India by Rajiv Ahir, Indian Polity- M Laxmikanth, Indian Economy- Sri Ram Srirangam, environment- books by Shankar IAS, geography- NCERT books. Pradeep also took coaching from Pavan Kumar’s IAS.


Pradeep further said while preliminary examination tests your knowledge on subjects, CSE main analyses your depth and approach on topics. For main, Pradeep took Public Administration as an optional paper and for his answers, he relied upon the editorial and explained portion of The Indian Express. “To build good content and answers, Pradeep shared answers among friends and colleagues and also in online platforms like Telegram, Quora for recommendations and suggestions,” Pradeep said.

Source - Various Internet Sources