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Fourth Time’s the Charm: Sidharth Ramkumar Bags Coveted AIR 4


Fourth Time’s the Charm: Sidharth Ramkumar Bags Coveted AIR 4


  • PK Sidharth Ramkumar lands prestigious AIR 4 in his 4th attempt
  • UPSC topper credits Rau’s IAS Study Circle & strategic prep for success
  • Focus on current affairs & core syllabus key to cracking the exam
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Cracking the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE), often dubbed the toughest exam in India, is a dream for many but a reality for a select few. PK Sidharth Ramkumar, an architect by profession, belongs to that elite group. His journey to becoming a bureaucrat wasn’t a meteoric rise. It was a testament to perseverance, demanding four attempts to finally secure a phenomenal All India Rank (AIR) 4. 

This wasn’t his first brush with success in the UPSC CSE. In his previous attempts, he had secured a rank of 189 and then 121, eventually landing him a place in the Indian Postal & Telecommunication Account, Indian Revenue Service and then the Indian Police Service (IPS) respectively.  However, his sights were set on the coveted Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and Sidharth refused to give up on his dream.

PK Sidharth Ramkumar (in the middle), UPSC CSE 2023, AIR 4

The Strategy to Success

During his initial attempts, Sidharth focused on foundational study materials while recognizing the importance of current affairs. He discovered a valuable resource in the Daily News Simplified (DNS) series on YouTube, offered by Rau’s IAS Study Circle.

This initiative provided him with concise yet insightful analysis of daily news, a powerful tool for building a strong foundation of current knowledge. Time constraints during his initial attempts made the DNS on YouTube a perfect solution for staying informed. He was a Quality Improvement Program (QIP) student at Rau’s IAS Study Circle and also took test series and mentorship there.

Sidharth Ramkumar employed a unique strategy to manage pressure during his UPSC preparations. He kept his decision to reappear for the exam a secret from his family, even after attempting it in 2020. He only informed them after clearing the prelims stage.

This unconventional approach might have been to minimize their expectations and shield himself from additional pressure, particularly since he wasn’t completely confident about his performance.

PK Sidharth Ramkumar (extreme left)

Beyond the Books: The Mental Strength Needed for UPSC Success

Cracking the UPSC CSE requires not just knowledge but also strategic test-taking skills and the ability to manage pressure. Reputed coaching institutes like Rau’s IAS offer structured programs that equip aspirants with these essential tools. Additionally, these institutes foster a supportive community of aspirants, creating a valuable network for sharing experiences and motivation throughout the long preparation phase.

Sidharth’s success story highlights the significance of a well-rounded approach to the UPSC CSE. Staying updated on current affairs, focusing on core syllabus areas, and potentially seeking guidance from coaching institutes are all crucial factors. However, the importance of individual determination and a healthy perspective on the exam cannot be overstated.

As Sidharth embarks on his new chapter in civil service, his story serves as an inspiration for countless UPSC aspirants. It’s a reminder that with the right approach and unwavering dedication, even the most challenging goals can be achieved. Notably, Sidharth chose Anthropology as his optional subject, indicating his potential interest in areas like tribal development, which aligns with his background in architecture and interest in urban planning.

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