When one talks about government examinations in India, it is not a rarity to discuss how difficult they always are. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services exam is without a doubt, one of the toughest exams in India.

Being a civil servant is a dream sought by many, however, it is a feat achieved only by a few year-after-year.

There are thousands of students who consistently appear for this grand event that is this exam but very manage to emerge victoriously.

IAS Surabhi Gautam Wiki

Surabhi Gautam IAS, a University Topper and Gold Medallist not only cleared the exam in her very first attempt but also secured a whopping AIR 50th rank. She is currently serving as the Assistant Collector at Vadodara in Gujarat.

Amdara Village in the Satna District of Madhya Pradesh is what Surabi Gautam proudly calls her home. Growing up in a joint family, Surabhi was always treated equally amongst all the other children in the family.

However, this one incident changed her and her parent’s lives completely. Studying in a Hindi Medium School, Surabhi was a topper in her class and always secured great marks.


Her marksheet was always a subject of astonishment for everyone. Her father was a lawyer in the Civil Court and her mother was a teacher.

After her Class 12 boards, Surabhi cracked the State Engineering entrance exam and moved to Bhopal for higher studies. She boasts her Engineering Degree in Electronics and Communications with massive elation.

More about the IAS

Before trying her luck in the Civil Services Examination, she nailed GATE, ISRO, SAIL, MPPSC PCS, SSC CGL, Delhi Police and FCI exams like a pro. Another feat in her bunch of achievements was securing AIR 1 in the IES exams of 2013.

Surabhi Gautam’s blog posts are well-received and read by a lot of people. Her Instagram account (@surabhi.gautam) also has many followers and the numbers aren’t just dialling down.

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Strategy for UPSC Preparation

The strategy for UPSC preparation that she gave is followed by many aspirants. Let’s take a quick glance at it.

Optional Subject

Surabhi recommends the aspirants to be extremely precise about the optional subject. She adds that the aspirants should understand that the difference between top scorers and those who come next lies in the optional subject selected by them.

One should always choose a subject that one is comfortable with. This should be a subject that the aspirant had worked on and studied thoroughly during graduation or post-graduation.

Surabhi suggests that there are subjects like Sociology, History, Geography that can help score good marks in the overall tally.

Even Surabhi went through a chaotic phase of deciding the optional subject. She recalls that she chose Electrical Engineering as her optional subject after a lot of thinking.

If she had had more time, she may have gone with something else. She appreciates that she chose a subject she studied before.

Time Management

When it comes to competitive examinations, the amount of content you study holds no candle to the depth of the smallest content you study.

Surabhi, while talking about Time Management mentions that studying for the optional subject thoroughly can always prove to be effective.

One has to make a proper schedule taking into consideration his weaknesses and strengths. Adherence to the schedule is of extreme importance. That has to be followed religiously.


According to Surabhi, almost 80 per cent of the work is done when one appears for the prelims. However, there has to be persistent revision and constant up-gradation of the content studied.

Sit-write-check-repeat is how she managed most of her studies since childhood.

As we have lost our practice of writing in the first place, she believes that one has to always keep a pen and paper handy and write the answers manually. Just skimming through the notes is never helpful.

Preparation During the Last Week Before the Exam

Surabhi stopped studying a week before the exam. She would choose a random topic and write long essays on it. She believes that this practice can help someone get better at those crucial questions.

While Attempting the Paper

She always suggests that aspirants should quickly browse the entire paper just to be sure of the division of various sections. Spending more time to answer questions that carry very fewer marks is not a good choice in her opinion.

There has to be a division of time according to the allocated marks for each question. Once done, cross-check the answers written and put a tick mark against the questions if needed.


It is this rigorous and detail-oriented work that fetched Surabhi Gautam her success. So indeed, a lot can be learnt from her journey and her valuable tips. Having a personal mentor while preparing for UPSC is the best way to ensure constant development.

UPSC Pathshala’s personal mentors are proficient in this field. Make use of the free demo class and experience the teaching methodology of UPSC Pathshala.

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IAS Surabhi Gautam Biography:  A Chronicle of Academic Brilliance
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IAS Surabhi Gautam Biography: A Chronicle of Academic Brilliance
Surabhi Gautam biography is pure inspiration for all the applicants who are trying their luck for years, let alone those who are hoping for a beginner’s charm.
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UPSC Pathshala
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