IAS at 21 Ansar Shaikh’s Wisdom Behind the Success

Ansar Ahmed Shaikh became India’s youngest ever IAS officer when he cleared the UPSC civil services in 2015 and secured an all-India rank of 561. Shaikh shatters many myths associated with the civil services. He comes from a rural area in Maharashtra and his family’s financial situation was dismal. His father was an auto rickshaw driver. Shaikh took his IAS mains exam and the personality test in Marathi medium. Despite all this, he is an IAS topper who cleared in the first attempt. In this article, you can read about Ansar Shaikh IAS preparation strategy.

  • Native place: Jalna District, Maharashtra
  • Education: BA in Political Science from Fergusson College, Pune
  • Optional subject in UPSC exam: Political Science
  • Medium: Marathi
  • Decision to attempt the CSE: 2010 (When Shaikh was in X standard)
  • Preparation Duration: July 2013 to May 2016

Ansar Shaikh’s IAS preparation started when he was in his second year of graduation. His strategy of preparation is outlined below:

According to Shaikh, it is important to have a definite strategy for UPSC exam preparation especially if you are starting your preparation well ahead. Ansar was doing his graduation and no doubt, this head start had some say in his clearing the IAS exam at so young an age.

In the first six months of preparation, Shaikh concentrated on his optional subject preparation which was political science. It helped that it was also his graduation subject.

In the second six months, he focussed on the general studies papers.

In the next three months, he completed his revision and also the remaining portions of the mains papers.

In the next 9 months, Shaikh did his prelims exam preparation. After the prelims exam, he studied for his mains in the next 100 days. Finally, he prepared for his UPSC personality test in the last 40 days.

Ansar Shaikh’s duration of studies

Shaikh normally studied for 10 – 12 hours per day. For the mains exam, the hard worker that he is, Shaikh put in 14 – 15 hours on a daily basis.

Ansar Shaikh’s take on his success

According to Shaikh, he succeeded in his maiden attempt itself because he had come to know the IAS exam well.

Words of wisdom for aspirants from the young officer: KNOW YOUR EXAM

There are three stages in the UPSC civil services and each of them has distinct demands on the candidates. If the prelims exam requires information, accuracy and practice from the candidates, the IAS mains exam demands knowledge, expression and of course, practice from the candidates. Finally, in the interview round, all the UPSC wants is to get to know the candidate well. In the prelims, candidates are expected to know a great deal of information about the topics mentioned in the UPSC syllabus with good accuracy. In the mains exam, candidates will be tested on their knowledge. But knowledge alone cannot help you. A good expression of that knowledge is essential in this stage. As you would have seen, the common factor in both rounds is PRACTICE. You should take mock tests for both the prelims and the mains if you are to achieve success.

Ansar Shaikh also quells many myths surrounding the UPSC exam. The general notion that candidates from rural areas, poor families, and those who take the exam in regional languages cannot make it in the UPSC CSE has been bust by candidates like Ansar Shaikh.

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