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‘My UPSC Mains Marksheet’: IAS Officer Shares Prep Lessons With Memories of Her 1st Failed Attempt

Searching for preparation tips for UPSC CSE? IAS officer Sonal Goel, who bagged AIR 13 in 2008, shared how she turned her failure in the first attempt into an opportunity to learn and triumph.

‘My UPSC Mains Marksheet’: IAS Officer Shares Prep Lessons With Memories of Her 1st Failed Attempt

“Every failure is a stepping stone to success.”

This statement rings especially true for many successful individuals, particularly in the realm of civil services. The UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exams stand as one of the most competitive and challenging examinations to conquer. Behind the triumph of many rank holders and nearly all officers, lies a compelling story of perseverance and resilience amidst setbacks.

One such story is that of Sonal Goel — an IAS officer, currently serving as the Resident Commissioner at Tripura Bhawan in New Delhi. She secured the All India Rank 13 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination in 2008.

But not many know that this was her second attempt, as she fell short of going to the interview stage by a few marks.

Sonal recounted this story alongside a picture of her UPSC Civil Services 2007 Mains mark sheet, shared on X (formerly Twitter). She reflected on the trials and tribulations that paved the way for her selection in May 2008.

And remarkably, she achieved this feat while simultaneously pursuing her LLB (Bachelor of Laws) and working part-time as a Company Secretary (CS).

As she had low marks in the general studies paper, she didn’t qualify for the interview stage. “However, this setback fueled my determination to leave no stone unturned in achieving my goal, UPSC,” she wrote.

She devoted herself to mastering the general studies paper, investing significant time and effort. Sonal also disclosed her strategy for excelling in the exams — which included meticulous note-taking, repeated revisions, and consistent practice in answer writing.

Her diligent efforts bore fruit as she not only secured a commendable rank but also earned high marks in the subject.

To every aspirant, she shared this message: “No obstacle is insurmountable. Every setback and failure is an opportunity to learn, improvise and ultimately, triumph. It is through perseverance, that greatness is achieved.”

Read her complete post here:

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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