Dr Renu Raj, a doctor turned IAS officer, topped the UPSC CSE while juggling a full-time job.

She was practicing as a house surgeon when she decided to become an IAS officer to bring in social change.

She appeared for the exams in 2014 and went on to bag AIR 2.

She shares a few insights on how she prepared for UPSC while juggling a job.


A strong base in English helps easy flow of ideas while writing, as well as during the interview.


But remember that there are candidates who have cracked the exam and given the interview in regional languages as well.


Start with reading newspapers and journals and then move to syllabus-based study.


It is not the duration, but the quality of time spent studying that matters more.


To improve the quality of time and to stay motivated, it is essential to take short breaks in between.


She also suggests that aspirants brush up on their lessons from graduation.


While preparing for the interview, one must be well-versed about themselves — where they are from, their language, culture, and anything that is unique.


Learn to build an opinion about everything and convey it politely. For that, attending mock interviews will always help.


While preparing, if you get stuck on a concept or find yourself unable to move forward, don’t panic. Give yourself time and you will eventually get the clarity.


Build a schedule while preparing and stick to it. Make sure it is realistic and achievable.


Identify your strengths and weaknesses, which will help immensely during preparation.


Attempt papers from previous years diligently, along with mock interviews. This will boost confidence and also give a sense of how the papers are framed.