Artika Shukla became mega star when she secured Rank 4 in UPSC CSE 2015. This was her first attempt and she did it in a great style. But, only a few people, knows her complete strategy. In this article we will decode her strategy and try to learn from her.

About Artika Shukla

  • Artika is a Doctor by profession. She did her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College.
  • She belongs to Varanasi.
  • The idea of becoming an IAS officer clinged to her mind when she was doing M.D. (Pediatrics) in November 2014.
  • She resigned from her course a week later and started serious preparation for Civil Services in December 2014.
  • Her Optional Subject was Medical Science.
  • When she started her preparation she was clueless about it like a newborn child.
  • She knew only one thing that she has to give the UPSC CSE 2015.
  • She did not join any coaching institute but she did join Vision IAS Mains Test Series.

Prelims Booklist By Artika Shukla

  1. Spectrum’s Brief  History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir
  2. Economics: NCERT Book of Class 11-12,
  3. Geography:NCERT Book of Class 11-12 , GC Leong
  4. Shankar IAS Books for Environment
  5. Polity: Laxmikant
  6. Art and Culture: CCRT, Class 11 Fine Arts NCERT Books, Coaching Material, Themes In Indian History NCERT Class 11
  7. Current Affairs: The Hindu, Internet
  8. Economic Survey
  9. Budget’s Important Features


No need to science and tech booklets. Don’t attend any classes for Current Affairs. If you would read the above book list and follow the current Affairs properly with some daily  MCQs then you will clear this level.

Prelims Strategy By Artika Shukla

  • She bought Vision and Insights Prelims Mock Papers a month before the exam. She used to solve them day and night.
  • She felt that they were more beneficial than a book as they tested her knowledge, taught her time management and tried to boost her preparation
  • Though the questions were tough in the exam and she suffered to even score above 100 in these mocks but she believe that nobody should be disheartened from these results. But when you will regularly solve such questions the then actual exam would be a piece of cake for you.

Read: Indian Foreign Service Prelims Detailed Strategy

Essay Strategy By Artika Shukla

She did not write a single Essay for before the exam. She scored 139 in Essay but she believes that she could have done better in essay. She herself feel that Essay practice is required before the exam. She thinks that 10-12 essay should be written by a person before the exam.

Tips In Essay Writing

  1. Learn quotes of important leaders and personalities like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela on topics like education, democracy, social empowerment etc.
  2. Start your Essay with it. Try to solve previous years essay questions and try to write the answers. This will help you better in framing Essays.
  3. Make Headings for different topics in your essay.
  4. Do maintain the central theme of your Essay. Also, try to reiterate the same in your essay.
  5. Try to cover various dimensions as you can in your essay.
  6. Your conclusion should be optimistic.

There is no ideal essay on any topic but one should ensure that your essay should show your perspective to an issue as it will make your essay unique. Maybe it can help you in scoring high in essay.

General Studies 


Booklist And Strategy For Paper 1 By Artika Shukla 

  1. Bipan Chandra: India Since Independence
  2. Bipan Chandra: India’s Struggle for Independence
  3. Geography: Class 11 and 12 NCERT & GC Leong
  4. Art and Culture: CCRT, Class 11 Fine Arts NCERT Books, Coaching Material, Themes In Indian History NCERT Class 11, etc
  5. You can cover topics like Society by just reading the newspaper thoroughly. No need to do special preparation.

Booklist And Strategy For Paper 2 By Artika Shukla

  1. Laxmikant
  2. Vision IAS Current Affairs Notes
  3. PIB, PRS
  4. Various sites of Government Ministries

For this exam, she used to read around 10 articles each day and then she tried to answer some questions related to this topic. This helped her a lot and saved her neck.

By reading 10 articles everyday, she was able to gain enough knowledge which helped her in writing answers comprehensively covering its positive and negative points.

Artika Shukla made a notebook for Paper 2 where she used to write about a topic in one page in which she covered its details in concise and to the point manner. For example: The Juvenile Justice Bill. In its description she used to cover things like What is was, What it is now?, pros , cons, main points about the bill, why the amendment was introduced and what is the way forward.

She also prepared mind maps related to difficult topics which also helped her.

Try to make such notebook and try to cover at least 40-50 important topics and then revise it.

Booklist And Strategy For Paper 3 By Artika Shukla

Follow the same strategy as above. Read articles, prepare notes and

Remember for GS 3 do prepare :

  1. Economic Survey
  2. Key Features of Budget
  3. ARC report for disasters

Booklist And Strategy For Paper 4 By Artika Shukla

This paper is requires less preparation according to Artika. She believes that the tests your analytical and decision making skills. Also, if you practice some case studies, solve past year question papers and score well in the mock test series then your road is clear in this exam.\

But you have to understand how to approach case studies. So, mock tests can really help you in it. Donot go extreme especially in questions where you have to take a stand. Properly express your views through your answers and try to finish the paper on time.

Read: Indian Foreign Service Detailed Mains Strategy.

Personality Test Tips By Artika Shukla

Artika Shukla gave 2 mock interviews one at Vajiram and Ravi, other at Samkalp. These helped her in giving her a direction. The most important tip for UPSC interview is that apart from the quality of your answer, your confidence also matters.

Try to be honest and if you don’t know anything tell about it to the Panel. Also, Prepare your DAF well.

Read: UPSC Personality Test Detailed Strategy From Basics.

General Tips By Artika Shukla

  1. Don’t spend more than two months in Prelims preparation. It is because Prelims is a qualifying round and Mains as well as Optional preparation can be done in the rest of the time.
  2. Choose your Optional Subject wisely. You should be comfortable with that subject. This is because you have to read and understand it. A high score in Optional can be a Boon for you.
  3. Answer Writing is a crucial thing. One should practice to finish the paper within the given time. To do so, you have to increase your speed. Other thing is that you have to maintain the quality of your answers within that time. To develop both tings, first try to improve your answers quality then speed.
  4. Answers should be in this format: Introduction – Body- Conclusion. In between, you can also fill some data, report, etc.
  5. Try to do your best in Mains. Because if your score is good in mains then if your interview doesn’t goes well, there will be still some chances of your selection. But Vice-versa is less possible

Read: Anu Kumari’s Detailed Preparation Strategy

Final Words

Friends, this is not an exam, it is austerity. You have to work everyday. Make short goals and achieve them everyday. One day you will definitely be in LBSNAA as each drop of water makes a Sea. Similarly, everyday’s efforts will make you succeed.



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