Aparna Ramesh IAS: Cleared UPSC With A Full-Time Job

aparna ramesh ias

Aparna Ramesh IAS claimed that she decided to balance both because she didn’t see any benefit in abandoning her work in order to study for the exam. She made the choice to plan her performance and keep her attention on the subjects she had studied.

It is not always easy or seems a good idea to prepare for any exam with a full-time job.

In the case of UPSC CSE, it seems impossible or sometimes foolish to take a decision like this. The civil services examination is such a huge exam that demands strategy, planning, intelligence, patience, hard work, and of course focus.

Focus is something that keeps you on track, as it is so tough to remain active and motivated throughout the harsh journey of the IAS exam.

UPSC demands time for proper planning and managing it with a job demands a high level of patience and management.

However, there are various candidates who crack this huge exam being in a full-time Government job or any sort of private job.

Aparna Ramesh IAS successfully cracked the code and became a rank holder with AIR-35 in Civil Services Examination 2020. Working as an Architect Cum Urban planner, there is no strict routine and civil service exam preparation requires consistent efforts. So, the 35th Rank on the 2nd try is a fantastic accomplishment.

Here, in this article, we are going to discuss Aparna’s journey, strategies, and recommendations.

Family And Educational Background Of Aparna Ramesh

Family and the academic background of Aparna Ramesh IAS are given below:

  1. The father of Aparna Ramesh is a civil servant.
  2. The fact that her father is a civil servant led to her living and studying in ten different cities.
  3. Having learned new languages and about different cultures, she is more adept at dealing with new challenges.
  4. Dr. Gurushree Ramesh, the mother of Aparna, is a Ph.D. English Language Teacher.
  5. She Graduated from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology.
  6. Aparna earned her master’s degree at CEPT University in Ahmedabad.
  7. She interned at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Urban Planning..
  8. She completed her fellowship with the Government of India’s Smart City Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Aparna Ramesh IAS: Her Job And Life Before UPSC Exam

Aparna Ramesh IAS was living a good life before her selection to UPSC. She was born in Chennai and has lived in ten different cities throughout seven Indian states.

She changed many cities during her childhood because of her father’s job due to which she experienced many cultures and made friends with people from various cultural and lingual backgrounds.

Her father served as a Civil Servant in the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Indirect Taxes). Her mother has a doctorate in English Language Teaching. She attributes her accomplishment to her parents and praises their support.

In 2015, Aparna graduated in Architecture from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur.

She has a Post Graduate degree in Urban Planning from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, which she finished in 2019.

She was always a bright student and received many awards. She received the Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence in 2014.

She is a two times recipient of the Wipro Earthian Prize for 2017 and 2018.

While working as an Urban Planner she came across various problems related to cities and urban planning. Her job gave her exposure to many IAS officers like Municipal Commissioners, Officers of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affair, and CEOs of Smart Cities.

This exposure helped her build the spark to become in a position of authority and do something related to infrastructure issues, and the betterment of the people and cities.

Her Journey To Civil Services Exam With A Full-Time Job

“Since I had limited time, my strategy was to focus on preparation. I studied only those components which were relevant for the exam.”Aparna Ramesh IAS

Aparna decided during her preparatory period to study from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. every day before beginning her professional career, following which she worked the entire day. She used to study for at least 8 to 10 hours on her weekly off.

She liked her current job and enjoyed the whole process of preparation for UPSC CSE  along with the full-time job.

Aparna Ramesh IAS says “I didn’t see any point in quitting my job to prepare for the exam, so I decided to balance both. It was my decision to strategize my performance and focus on the subjects I have studied. Since I had limited time, my strategy was to focus on preparation. I studied only those components which were relevant for the exam.

I didn’t let myself get distracted and unprepared by the limited material. My goal was to get the basics clear and then revise as much as possible instead of reading as many books as possible or mentioning more study material”

Key Points Of Aparna Ramesh Journey

  1. Gave the first attempt during her Post Graduation

  2. In 2020, she cracked the UPSC CSE on her second attempt.

  3. Her optional was Anthropology

  4. Aparna strategized her study along with her full-time job. She studied for 3-4 hours in the morning hours before going to work and utilized her weekends to the fullest

  5. She covered the entire syllabus from NCERT when she was in college itself. This gave her a lead in her preparation

  6. She analyzed her mistakes by solving mock tests which helped her a lot in qualifying the second attempt of the IAS exam.

  7. She stayed up to date with current events and made notes each day.

Why Aparna Did do UPSC CSE After B.ARCH? 

As to why an architect might want to join the civil service, Aparna said “While doing Urban planning degree, I got a chance to interact with many IAS officers like Municipal Commissioners, Smart City CEOs, people from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, etc. All of them were working for something I was passionate about, such as the city, the infrastructure issues, etc. Basically, that inspired me to use my knowledge as a civil servant. My father has been a civil servant, too.”

Balancing Her Full-Time Job And Studies

Aparna Ramesh IAS strategized both the things really well and planned in such a way that she never felt burdened while enjoying the journey of India’s toughest exam.

Anthropology As Optional

Aparna Ramesh IAS chose Anthropology as she was interested in studying different cultural backgrounds, human societies, and their development. 

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Final Round: The Interview

Many mock interviews were attended by her to undergo difficult situations at the time of an interview and improve her performance.

A Versatile Personality

As the daughter of a Civil Servant, she has resided in ten different cities across seven states. Apart from her mother tongue Kannada, she is fluent in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati.

Outside of work, she likes to write about issues in society and has won several awards. She was named as the winner of the Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence in 2014 as an undergraduate.

In her spare time, she likes to read lots of books, practice yoga, and explore new cities. Her objective is to make rural India smart and child-friendly by employing her expertise in architecture and creativity as a civil servant.

Aparna’s UPSC CSE Preparation Strategy

  1. Aparna Ramesh IAS feels that focusing on Prelims is the trickiest section of all the different phases of UPSC CSE. Aspirants can easily prepare and clear the Prelims section using a variety of question patterns. Analyzing question papers from previous years, the type of questions, and in which way the question traps an aspirant is the most important part.

  2. She prepared last year’s question papers from 2010 onwards and analyzed every section of it.

  3. She had a collection of anecdotes, quotes, and fascinating facts to incorporate into her essay. Aparna Ramesh used a template to answer the essay paper.

  4. She stresses tailoring the notes. Tailoring is very important for answer writing in the UPSC Mains exam. By tailoring, she means that everything you write in your notebook should be used in a proper way in your actual examination also.

  5. UPSC CSE Notes should be concise, clear, and structured i.e. notes should have coherence to the syllabus of UPSC CSE.

  6. For the UPSC Interview round, she attended a lot of mock interviews for a better understanding of the whole interview process by the officials.

Aparna’s Views On The Decision Of Alternative Career

Aparna says that being in a job or having an alternate career choice is very important in an aspirant’s life. She believes that everyone has a unique set of parameters in their lives and everybody has their own preferences.

Some people may feel distressed while preparing for any examination along with a full-time job.

Aparna Ramesh IAS feels that jobs in areas like Public policy, Sustainability, and energy or any sort of job that deals with the public domain or have an opportunity in which you can directly connect with the general public or their problems will surely benefit an aspirant.

Father of Aparna Ramesh IAS was a civil servant and she has lived and studied in almost 10 cities in different states. This only gave her the opportunity to seek different cultures, areas, domains, and perspectives.

Having a different perspective on diversity is something that is needed in a civil servant.

Completing a fellowship like India Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under the Government of India, and having a job as Architect and Urban planner is a boon in itself.

She also focuses on jobs of different niches like Data Scientists, Engineers, planners, and developers that have some sort of public dealing because these things will shape you in a long run for a service like UPSC.

Therefore, having an alternative career according to Aparna can be the best option to sustain while preparing for UPSC CSE-like examinations.

The only thing an aspirant needs is to plan, focus on important things that are aligned to the syllabus of UPSC CSE, have some patience, and be calm throughout the journey.

How Examarly Can Help

With Examarly, your UPSC Preparation will be at full fledge even with your full-time job. It not only provides you with your own customized micro plan but also analyses your performance and enables you to maintain your benchmark so that you can balance your work and preparation together.


This article examines the factors that led to the success of Aparna Ramesh, an Indian IAS topper. And also her journey from her career to a UPSC Exam. Aparna Ramesh IAS attributes her success to her hard work, her focus on her studies, and her dedication to her goals. By understanding the factors that led to the success of this IAS topper, other students can learn from her example and achieve great things.

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