IAS Chitra Mishra Biography: The Woman Who Cracked the UPSC in Her Sixth Attempt

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. For Chitra Mishra, who cleared UPSC in her sixth attempt to bag AIR 20 in UPSC 2018, it was all of the above. During the first three years of her preparation, she was working as a guest lecturer at Miranda House, University of Delhi, and later at a private educational firm till 2016 when she quit her career to dedicate all her time to follow her preparation. Learn in this article Chitra Mishra’s wiki and strategy.

Chitra Mishra Wiki

Chitra Mishra Wiki

Source: chitramishra.wordpress.com/

Year: 2018

Optional Subject: History

Attempt: 6th


  • Written- 864
  • Interview- 193
  • Total Score- 1057

Her Previous 5 Attempts that Ended with Failure

Her first serious attempt was in 2016 when she cleared the written exams and reached the interview stage but missed out on making it to the final list. Chitra holds a Bachelor’s in History (Hons) from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and a Master’s in Modern History from St Stephens College, University of Delhi and took History as her UPSC optional subject as well.

She said that she had a lot to learn from her previous failures and improve her preparation strategy. In the earlier attempts, what she felt she could have done better was to focus on practising mock test papers both at preliminary and mains stages. She also analysed her weaknesses and overcame it by renewing her strategies.

For instance, in History optional, she scored 240 in 2016 but in 2018 she improved her score to 300 by practising the map section more where she was lacking. Similarly, in her Personality Test, she scored 193/275, which was a significant improvement from her previous attempts. She heard a lot of Rajya Sabha debates to understand the ways of handling questions.

Also Read: IPS Officer Lipi Singh Biography: Know Lipi Singh Rank, Age and Strategy for UPSC

Chitra’s Preparation Strategy

He referred to the standard sources such as NCERT textbooks, government websites, Press Information Bureau (PIB) website, Vision IAS current affairs magazine and newspapers, etc. for her preparation. Despite her will to succeed, she was not undaunted by her multiple failures. She read standard books multiple times and not multiple sources single time, she strove to be updated with current affairs and understood that answer writing practise is a key for Mains exam.

Enhance the structure, presentation, using a flowchart, table, diagrams, maps, wherever necessary is important. “Link the question to the broad theme asked from the syllabus and finally, do not let the outcome of this exam overpower you,” she advised.

Chitra Mishra’s Advice to Candidates Sitting for the UPSC Exam

  • You should be extremely clear what to read and what-not-to-read. In this case, for instance, do not read entire books. Read chapters- selectively;
  • Ensure you do not end up making a lot of ideal revision plan which becomes almost impossible to complete further making you fall in the loop of the mental trap.
  • Try to remind yourself that all these preparations are not going to enable you to find the question in the exam hall; instead, all the last-minute revision, reading, memorizing will give you the much-needed confidence to approach the exam differently in the exam hall on that particular day;
  • Ensure you narrow down the reading material. Trust me that eases off the burden at hand and makes you feel already halfway through;
  • Many of you by now must have given 20 odd test papers and fared exponentially well and must be gaining a lot of confidence. For those of you who are not, trust me, UPSC is going to throw bouncers alike on 2nd. Hence, it is plain psychological therapy.

Also Read: IAS Surabhi Gautam Biography: A Chronicle of Academic Brilliance


“There are times when one can feel let down by the massive unpredictability of the outcome of the exam, competition at hand, eventual results despite putting best efforts. At that crucial juncture, it is very easy to give up.” Chitra Mishra says, adding that one still needs to stay motivated and work relentlessly to succeed.

Chitra is the face of students who are working hard everyday, years at a time and facing rejection and failure but refuse to give up. She sat for the UPSC exam 6 times and was finally successful in her endeavour in the 6th time. The plethora of information that you are needed to carry in your brain to the exam hall is too much and that can be a big issue. Do not let that overpower you but learn to connect, link and sort so that you can easily get to the content and points that you need.

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IAS Chitra Mishra Biography: The Woman Who Cracked the UPSC in Her Sixth Attempt
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IAS Chitra Mishra Biography: The Woman Who Cracked the UPSC in Her Sixth Attempt
It’s not always the geniuses and the intellectuals that get to the most coveted post of a civil servant but sometimes it’s sheer hard work and perseverance that gets people that. Chitra Mishra is one such woman.
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UPSC Pathshala
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