Few things are common in this year’s UPSC toppers. Weeks after the results, the successful candidates are now talking about their preparations and what they did to clear the toughest competitive exam. It has emerged that most of the toppers did not use social media during preparation to avoid distractions. Some of them even deactivated their social media accounts.
All-India topper Kanishak Kataria considered the use of social media a waste of my time. Speaking to the Indian Express, he said: “…I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am on Instagram but checked it only rarely…I only connected with a few people close to me.
He was not alone in doing so. Several others like Shreyans Kumat from Rajasthan, Srushti Jayant Deshmukh from Bhopal and Varneet Negi from Bilaspur also stayed away from social media. Rahul Sharanappa Sankanur who got rank 17 did not even use his smartphone while preparing for the exam.
Tanmay Vashistha Sharma who got rank 10th used Facebook but not Twitter. He used Facebook to follow some newspapers pages. Not Twitter, but I used Facebook to follow pages of newspapers like The Indian Express. And also, YouTube the Rajya Sabha proceedings on YouTube is very good for preparation for the civil services exam, Sharma told IE.
Akshat Jain, who came second, said that he mostly used WhatsApp as there were study groups. He used to spend only five minutes on Facebook after hours of studying. But he did not upload anything.
The toppers have another common link. At least 25 of the top 50 are engineers. They include graduates from IITs, BITS-Pilani and NIT-Surathkal. A number of them also left their private jobs to focus on civil services preparations. Kataria worked with Samsung in South Korea for more than a year.
Kumat worked with Ernst and Young for a few years.
Some toppers come from a different background. Junaid Ahmed, who secured the third rank, is from Aligarh Muslim University. Sreelakshmi R graduated from the London School of Economics, while Priyadarshini is an alumnus of Columbia University.