Pratibha Verma optional subject was Physics, and her message for the aspirants of the civil services exams is to be very cautious while selecting the optional subjects.

She also shares that one needs to choose the optional subject based on the pursuance of the course and subject during graduation.

Hailing from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, the UPSC Topper Pratibha Verma is an alumni of IIT-Delhi 2014 batch holding a degree of BTech with engineering physics.

She is serving in the capacity of an officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax). UPSC 2019 topper Pratibha Verma (AIR 3) is presently serving as the Income Tax Commissioner for the Nagpur district of Maharashtra.

What was Pratibha Verma’s Strategy for IAS?

The 26-year-old Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer, Pratibha Verma, had her taste of success after a double feat of two attempts consecutively at UPSC exams in 2017 and 2018, and amid a preparation which was pandemic-controlled for this year.

After completing her schooling from Uttar Pradesh, and BTech from IIT-Delhi, she served for two years at a multinational telecom company. In 2016, she left her job and decided to dedicate all her efforts to the UPSC preparations for the next few years.

Pratibha was unable to clear the preliminary examinations in her first attempt in 2017, and then in 2018, she achieved a rank of 489.

But in the year 2019, she was able to get the sweet smell of success with AIR 3 and was selected as an IRS officer at the young age of 26 years. Her Instagram account Pratibha Verma @iaspratibha.verma was flooded with congratulations messages.

Also Read : IAS Jatin Kishore Optional Subject: All about His Strategy, Preparation Journey and Rank

Pratibha Verma Strategy

Here is the Pratibha Verma strategy for IAS, which will benefit all UPSC or IAS aspirants.

  • A cautious choice of optional subject is a must. She says that a person should have a good command over the subject that happens to be the choice.
  • While preparing for the prelims, one should try grouping the entire syllabus into five to six main areas: Geography, Indian Polity, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, International Relations and Current Affairs, and Environment and Ecology.
  • One should focus on logical reasoning and comprehension being the main aspects of the aptitude test.
  • One should concentrate on doing continuous practice by taking 30 to 40 mock practice tests prior to attempting the prelims.
  • One should try finding focus through meditation
  • Keeping in constant touch with the current affairs in India through referring to multiple publications for understanding different perspectives of the same story will be extremely beneficial
  • While preparing for the personality test, it is suitable for a person to attend several mock interviews arranged by classes for learning how to keep calm and have confidence at the same time
  • To get rid of anxiety and last-minute nervousness, she advises the aspirants to find an ample amount of time to relax and ease their minds

Pratibha Verma’s main strategy for UPSC preparation was to spend long hours perfecting the essay style of writing for various topics.

Books Referred to

Some of the books referred to by Pratibha Verma are as follows –

  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikant for politics
  • A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum Publications) for History
  • Environment by Shankar IAS Academy for Environmental Studies
  • NCERT Standard XI and XII textbooks for Economy, Geography, and Culture


On seventh August 2020, the cut off marks for 2019-20 for UPSC for all the three stages were declared by the Commission.

According to these cut-offs, the UPSC IAS final 2019 marks secured by the last recommended general category are 961 compared to 982 marks in 2018 and 1006 marks in 2017.

On fourth August 2020, UPSC declared the UPSC CSE 2019 final results of 829 candidates, which were qualified for the appointment of Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Central Services, with Group A as well as Group B.

All India Rank

Pratibha Verma was declared AIR 3. The Commission will update the Pratibha Verma marksheet sooner for UPSC – IAS aspirants to have a look and prepare accordingly.

It would be surprising and motivating to know that Pratibha Verma had already accepted the position of an IRS officer after her second attempt.

But she was not satisfied with her result and wanted to give herself a chance as she thought she owed herself a third attempt to achieve the goal of being a Topper that she had always dreamt of.

And finally, in her third attempt, Pratibha Verma cracked India’s most challenging examination by gaining the rank of AIR 3 and topping amongst 197 women candidates. Kudos to the determination of Indian women!


So, friends, never give up and keep on trying with a personal mentor to prepare for UPSC and you will surely achieve your goal.

UPSC Pathshala’s personal mentors are experts of UPSC with years of experience. With their free demo class, experience expert teaching methodology of UPSC Pathshala.

Also Read : Anu Kumari Strategy: Posting, Optional Subjects & Everything to Know

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Pratibha Verma Optional Subject: Take a Look at the UPSC Topper’s Marksheet
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Pratibha Verma Optional Subject: Take a Look at the UPSC Topper’s Marksheet
Pratibha Verma UPSC topper of the year 2019 secured the third rank and was declared a Topper among 197 women candidates clearing the exams.
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UPSC Pathshala
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