IAS Preparation Tips from UPSC Topper Artika Shukla [AIR 4, CSE 2015]

Dr Artika Shukla secured a commendable All-India rank of 4 in the civil services exam 2015. What makes this UPSC success story amazing is that this was Artika’s first attempt. In this article, she shares her valuable tips to aspirants preparing for the IAS exam.

In this article, she shares her valuable tips to aspirants preparing for the IAS exam.

Read about UPSC 2020 AIR 4 – Yash Jaluka in the linked article.

Dr. Artika Shukla IAS

Dr. Artika Shukla – IAS Topper Story

  • Artika Shukla is a native of Varanasi.
  • Her father Brijesh is a physician and mother Lena, a homemaker.
  • Artika is a doctor by training and was pursuing an MD in paediatrics during her IAS preparation.
  • She completed her schooling from St. John School in Varanasi and was a topper throughout.
  • After her schooling, Artika completed her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi.
  • She also worked as an intern in the Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi.
  • She quit her MD course midway to pursue her IAS dream.
  • Artika is inspired by former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

Artika Shukla’s IAS Preparation Tips

In this section, we give you some tips offered by UPSC topper Artika Shukla for UPSC aspirants.

UPSC Prelims Preparation Tips

  • When you prepare for the IAS prelims, your goal should be to qualify for the mains and not necessarily to score maximum marks.
  • The CSAT requires only 33% marks, so don’t spend too much time on it. If you are weak in English and Maths, just solve the previous years’ UPSC question papers and work on your weak points.
  • When you prepare for the GS paper 1, start with those topics that overlap with the mains papers. Focus on history, geography and economics. Understand concepts but for the Prelims, you cannot avoid studying facts also.
  • Focus on the daily current affairs. The science and technology, environment and ecology sections should be sourced from the current affairs topics.
  • Read the newspaper every day. Don’t stop reading it prior to the prelims. Questions can come from news items that featured even a few days before the exam. In addition, this is important for the mains exam too. For a crisp analysis of the daily newspaper, check our Comprehensive News Analysis every day.
  • Practice at least 20 – 25 test papers for the IAS prelims exam. This is more important than all the textbooks. A month before the exam, practice a test daily.

UPSC Mains Preparation Tips

In the case of the UPSC Mains, you must focus on how to improve your answers than the average candidate because your total marks will decide your final rank, which in turn decides your fate in the UPSC civil services exam.

Essay paper

You don’t need a special preparation plan for this paper. The material can be obtained from your preparation for General Studies 1 and 2, and also current affairs.

Always practice essays in a time-bound manner.

Learn a few quotes about women, education, empowerment, democracy, nationalism, youth, etc. by eminent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Max Webber, Auguste Comte, etc. They embellish your essays and take it a notch up.

GS Paper 1

  • There is a lot of static material here.
  • World history is important.
  • India after independence is not that important. You should prioritise the topics according to the time you have left for your preparation.

GS Paper 2

  • This paper is all dynamic. It is recommended that you finish Laxmikanth’s book on Indian Polity before the prelims itself. Now, you should focus on current affairs.
  • PRS website, PIB and Yojana are absolute musts. Check out BYJU’S Gist of PIB and Gist of Yojana in the table below:
Best of PIB Gist of Yojana
  • You should also note that the questions on International Relations are not that deep. You don’t have to delve deep into the topics.

GS Paper 3

  • Economic Survey is extremely important. It helps in apart from GS paper 2, also in GS paper 2 and the essay paper. You can expect a question taken directly from this document.
  • ARC reports are also important.
  • In the science and tech and environment sections, current affairs should be the focus. For the basics, you can go through the NCERT textbooks. If you come across a new development in science that is important or a new initiative in science by the Indian government, always go through the basic science behind the new technology or initiative. You can download NCERT books for UPSC exam here.
  • Questions can come from space technology and satellites. This is an easy and scoring topic.

Artika Shukla’s message for IAS aspirants:

Don’t be worried about the exam; be regular!

Artika Shukla’s optional subject was Medical Science Optional.

IAS Topper Marks

Paper Marks
Essay 139/250
GS 1 88/250
GS 2 96/250
GS 3 112/250
GS 4 106/250
Optional 1 (Medical Science) 144/250
Optional 2 (Medical Science) 142/250
Written Total 827/1750
Interview 173/275
Total (Mains) 1000/2025 (49.38%)

Artika Shukla Facts

  1. Rank: 4
  2. CSE: 2015
  3. Native State: Uttar Pradesh
  4. Attempt: First
  5. Optional Subject: Medical Science

Aspirants have to practise answer writing on a daily basis and get evaluated by mentors or experienced faculty to enhance answer writing skills. It is advisable to go through Artika Shukla answer sheets and other toppers answers to get a clear understanding of 

  • The demand of the questions.
  • Word limit management.
  • Time management.
  • Various dimensions covered in a specific word limit.

For more such UPSC success stories for inspiration and motivation, you can check out the linked article which covers strategies of IAS Toppers.

Related Links:

UPSC Books Current Affairs Quiz
UPSC Eligibility Criteria UPSC Mains Syllabus
NCERT Notes for UPSC Exam Monthly Magazine for UPSC
UPSC Calendar 2023 UPSC 2023


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