Shubham Kumar

Year : 2020

Rank : 1st

Topper Story - SHUBHAM KUMAR Background
UPSC Topper Shubham Kumar hails from a village in Bihar's Katihar district. He secured all India rank (AIR) 1 in the CSE 2020 conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). He secured 52.04 percent marks. Shubham Kumar graduated from IIT Bombay.
Shubham got selected by the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) after qualifying for the UPSC 2019. He was undergoing training at the National Academy of Defence Financial Management (NADFM), Pune (Maharashtra). However, Kumar's ambition to serve the country as an IAS officer compelled him to reappear for the exam.
As per Shubham Kumar, IAS gives a broader platform to work for the betterment of the people. He wanted to work for underprivileged people, especially in rural areas. Development of villages, employment generation, and poverty alleviation in rural areas of the country will be the focus areas of Shubham Kumar.

Strategy for Prelims (3-month strategy before UPSC Prelims)

  • Do not study any new things
  • Revise everything that you have studied, including mock tests
  • Please look at Previous Year Questions. In my 2019 attempt, I used to attempt PYQs in 1.5 hrs, like a mock test in the last week- 1 test per day.  In the 2020 prelims, I used to attempt 20 questions every day for the last ten days. You can refer to PYQ from 2013 onwards
  • Have confidence in yourself- it is a huge thing and can make a lot of difference. I will share more on this later.

How I used to attempt prelims paper

(I practiced this strategy in mock tests in every detail. Prelims are just a week away, so I would suggest not to change your strategy entirely)
  • My target was to attempt around 95 questions. This is because I always used to do a minimum of 20 questions wrong, no matter the difficulty of the paper.
  • My strength area was the environment and Science & Tech. So even if I had eliminated one option (and I doubt over three options), I used to attempt using some other logic. Because I never read ancient and medieval history books and I used to make more mistakes on these topics- I used to leave around five questions from these areas only
  • Please attempt all those questions where you have eliminated two options, i.e., you are having doubts over two options
  • I used to attempt the paper in 3 iterations.
  • I used to start bubbling my omr sheet at 1hr 35minutes

UPSC Prelims Tips

With only two days to go for prelims, it is pretty obvious that you may feel like you have not read many things, and there is a lot to read and revise.
 Many may feel to not read anything now.
Every Prelim, I used to feel like it. But I was also aware that it is quite obvious to have a fear of prelims, and if I hold myself just for two more days, then whatever hard work that I have done in the last year will be paid off.
I used to read 10-10hrs per day for the last week. In the last two days, I used to go through all the subjects and notes (highlighted parts from my notes I used to revise).
It is important to revise factual things like modern Indian history, reports and indices, environment (National parks, etc.), maps, Art &Culture, and Polity in the last two days.
I used to focus more on the static part in the last two days. There is no limit to Current Affairs. So one should not make mistakes in easy to medium level static questions.
On the day of the exam, in the morning, I solved around 5-8 previous year questions that I had already solved in the past. It used to boost my confidence.
I used to wear loose clothes like pajamas/track pants and sandals/sleepers. One should feel comfortable in an exam, especially when many times the benches are very small.
Keep the focus on your paper for the entire 2 hours. Don't start judging yourself. Think that if a paper is tough, then it is tough for everyone.
Many times it happens that tough questions are at the start of the paper. Be patient; you will get easy questions as well. Every question should be started with a fresh mindset. The last 30 minutes are very important. In my last attempt, I was able to solve only 40 questions for 1 hr 25 minutes. I had gone through all questions once, but I was having doubts about options. Being calm helped me to go through the remaining questions and solve them with decent accuracy.

Tips for CSAT

  • For CSAT, I used to focus only on solving 50 questions (42-44 matches and 6-8 passages)
  • Few Logic reasoning questions can be solved by putting the four options given on paper.
  • Don't become sentimental in CSAT paper when you are not able to solve any maths/reasoning questions. If you are not able to solve any question, then leave it and solve other questions
  • In English passage questions, I used to select and solve only the short passages first.

Life Mantra from Shubham Kumar

Those who are in doubt, please remember that this examination is not life. The ultimate goal should be to become a better person and be happy in life.
A lot of us delay our important life decisions due to this exam. If you think that you have given 100% for this exam and are finally not able to make it, then you should move on. The examination, specially prelims, is becoming more and more random and fact-based.

Many people have asked me how I got so good marks in Anthropology.

Frankly, I also don't know exactly
 Everything is posted with result analysis
 I will tell you what I did, which many people may miss. ol type="1">
  • Interlinking the topics in papers one and paper two and within papers also
  • brainstorming questions regularly  And scribbling the topics - helps in remembering things and in interconnecting topics.
  • Mock test papers - analyze yourself or by a good friend (no coaching is there where you can get very DETAIL feedback)
  • Quote thinkers on many topics
  • Use current affairs and case studies in answers - use google and read journals- just focus on the main essence
  • 80% of answers I wrote in POINTS- In every question, even if I'm writing in paragraphs on the first page- on other pages I used to write in points  Also, divide the questions into sub-questions- and address each one.
  • Writing answers in an organic manner is very important.  Just don't write whatever you have read but focus on the demand of the questions first and link with whatever you have studied.
  • Analyse the PYQs- and discuss them also
  • Revising everything in the end thrice helped me a lot (between GS and optional Papers) - helped in building linkages
  • Innovation and Uniqueness are highly rewarded in UPSC as they differentiate your answers from others. Write like an anthropologist
  • I have explained this thing in L2A's video (toppers talk)