Apala Mishra secured an All India Rank of 9 in UPSC CSE 2020.
Her story is very inspiring as she didn’t give up even after failing to clear the Prelims twice and persisted to crack the CSE in her third attempt.
So read on.
Apala Mishra hails from Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Her father, Amitabh Mishra is a retired colonel in the Indian Army and he worked in the Army Education Corps.
Her mother, Alpana Mishra works as a Hindi professor at the University of Delhi.
Apala Mishra’s elder brother, Arik Mishra is an Army Major.
As her father worked for the Army, she grew up in many states of India.
Apala Mishra did most of her schooling in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
Later, she moved to Delhi and also did her schooling here.
Apala Mishra did her intermediate in Delhi Public School Rohini.
Since the beginning, she was very good at studies.
After completing her intermediate, Apala Mishra joined Army College Of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad to study Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).
BDS is a five year course and she passed out from the college in December 2017.
As Apala Mishra was a gold medallist in BDS, she received many opportunities in dentistry but instead she chose to prepare for the Civil Services Exam.
Getting attracted towards Civil Services-
In her final year of BDS, Apala Mishra realised that she can better contribute to the society on a larger scale by becoming an administrator.
So, she decided to shift from being a dentist to becoming an administrator.
After passing out from college, Apala Mishra started preparing for the Civil Services Exam from 2018.
She joined a coaching institute in Karol Bagh, Delhi.
Apala Mishra attempted the Civil Services Exam in 2018 just after passing out from the college.
And as she didn’t prepare for the exam well, she couldn’t clear the Prelims.
Also, at that time, Apala Mishra prepared for the exam without properly reading the syllabus.
After failing in the Prelims, Apala Mishra prepared for an entire year for the next year’s Civil Services Exam.
As she was from a medical background and as the Civil Services consists of humanities subjects, it took her a long time to understand them and also at that time, there was no one to personally guide her.
This time around, Apala Mishra prepared for a whole year only for the Prelims and couldn’t look beyond it.
In her second attempt also, she couldn’t clear the Prelims of the Civil Services Exam.
As Apala Mishra couldn’t clear the Prelims twice, she evaluated her strategy.
And this time around, she started preparing for everything needed to clear the Civil Services Exam like answer writing, interview, etc.
Apala Mishra made it a point to daily study for 7-8 hours with full concentration.
For effective time management, she also prepared a time table.
Apala Mishra used to start her preparation from 8 AM and divide her time in many two hour shifts.
And in between these shifts, she used to take small breaks.
Apala Mishra used to keep a track of her study shifts with a stopwatch.
Essay writing and ethics were her strengths.
As Apala Mishra loved writing and expressing her thoughts, essay writing wasn’t a problem for her.
Also, she enjoyed reading ethics.
Apala Mishra used to start her day by reading the newspaper.
NCERT books and question papers-
Apala Mishra started her preparation with the 9th grade NCERT books and then, referred to the other books.
While preparing for the Prelims, she revised the NCERT books multiple times.
Apala Mishra also practised MCQs and in between 9.30 AM to 11.30 AM, she attempted mock tests.
She referred to the previous years question papers starting from 2013.
Preparing notes in OneNote-
Apala Mishra prepared notes for GS Paper 1 to GS Paper 4 on her laptop with Microsoft OneNote.
She prepared very detailed notes for the interview.
Preparing for the interview-
Apala Mishra prepared for the interview by discussing with her father and one of her dentist friends.
She also took a lot of mock interviews at the Unacademy and received good feedback here and this boosted her confidence.
Apala Mishra’s mother was very confident of her and she wrote an inspirational poster saying that she can definitely clear the exam and glued this poster in Apala Mishra’s room.
She also designed another poster saying “You are within 50” (implying Apala Mishra would secure a rank within 50).
Whenever she used to feel low, she used to get motivated by seeing these posters.
As the preparation for the Civil Services Exam is very exhausting, Apala Mishra used to relax with the help of her parents.
She used to daily play table tennis with her father for half an hour.
Also, Apala Mishra used to occasionally go out with her mother for a coffee.
As she was studying from home, her parents provided her with emotional security.
Taking help for Prelims-
As clearing Prelims was difficult for Apala Mishra, she took the help of Sarrthi.
The videos of Varun regarding the tricks of solving MCQs in Prelims helped her.
Apala Mishra’s preparation got negatively affected by COVID and also, the exam got postponed twice.
Also, both her parents suffered from COVID but she continued her preparation even during that difficult time.
As Apala Mishra studied BDS and as it was unavailable as an optional, she chose anthropology.
She studied anthropology for three and half months and took separate test series for it.
In October 2020, Apala Mishra attempted the Civil Services Exam and secured a rank of 9.
She chose the Indian Foreign Service.
Highest marks in interview-
Apala Mishra scored a record high mark of 215 in the interview.
The previous year’s highest marks in the interview was 212 and she broke this record.
Apala Mishra’s interview round lasted for around 40 minutes.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Apala Mishra?
Share with me in the comment section below.