TOPPER’S STRATEGY: From Kanpur to Bangalore, Journey of Trust and Determination, Offline Experience – Utkarsh Gupta, Rank 324, CSE-2016, Mathematics Optional, Second Attempt
“…..Sir, I would like to request you again that if possible kindly grant me admission on your Offline program. The reason why I am emphasizing so much is that I am based in Kanpur and am all alone. There is no one apart from my parents with whom I can talk about the relevant issues. Last year also I prepared in the same manner and though I cleared Mains but I always had the thought at the back of my mind that it would have been better if I had someone to talk to as it would have helped in breaking my comfort zone (i.e. my introvert nature). And, I get a feeling that I scored comparatively lower marks in my interview because of it. This year I thought to move out, after convincing my parents. I have two options: Delhi and Insights. The reason why I choose Insights over Delhi is because I get a feeling that you people are genuine, integral and well intentioned. I wanted to utilize this remaining time at a war scale and would not want to take any chances.So, if possible kindly consider me as a special case.
With Regards,Utkarsh Gupta
On 10th May 2016, the UPSC CSE final result date, was a watershed moment for many but not so for people like me who were not able to make it. Even though CSE 2015 was my first attempt but I was extremely disheartened because it is not only about the attempt but the amount of effort which we put in (which at that point of time I thought had gone for waste).
I had immediately started preparing for this examination after completing my graduation ( Hindu College, University of Delhi from BSc(Hons)Mathematics,) in 2014. I had given my first attempt while staying back in my home town and for the forthcoming attempt I thought of moving out for better preparation. At that point of time I got to know about the Mains offline classes of Insights. I mailed Vinay Sir about coming to Bangalore to which he replied in affirmation. I preferred moving to Bangalore because if they could help us so much via online mode then I thought I can learn much more by joining their offline program and also I needed an environment where I could interact with people not just from the preparation point of view but also to improve my communication skill. So, I landed in Bangalore on 24th August 2016 after giving my prelims.
Bangalore is a pleasant city especially its weather. Even the people are humble and cooperative. I got myself settled on the first day only (with the help of Vinay Sir) and most importantly with an awesome group of “building” mates (as there were 2 floors in the building where I had lived). My transition to Bangalore was smooth and from the next day onwards I started giving tests. I was regular in giving tests. Vinay Sir was pretty much accessible and I often interacted with him regarding all kinds of doubts related to test or in general. It was not just only me but almost all the students to whom Vinay Sir used to give a patient hearing and that too one-on-one. Even sometimes we used to visit his home to get our essays or answers reviewed to gain the confidence that we are on the right track.
One of the most important learning for me in Insights came from the “After Test Discussion” in the premises. Not only we get to know about the different aspects of the questions adding to our knowledge but personally I got the opportunity to do more “talking” or should I say purposeful “talking”. These discussions were fruitful and happens in cordial environment. We also get each other to review our essays and to improve upon based on the feedback. It helped me a lot as I was able to chalk out an essay strategy combining the feedback of people over there (and also the tips of Vinay Sir and past year toppers). I was particular about it as I didn’t score well in essay last time. People also used to have Optional Groups. Unfortunately for me no Mathematics groups, not because there was no Maths companion but I thought Maths require more practice than discussion.
The most enriching learning for me in Bangalore experience was my stay with my flat mates. We used to have quite regular and deep discussions and review of ethics case study, Secure questions and essays. Ofcourse there were many other discussions apart from studies. In the last month of my stay, we also started with “mock interview” practice though that was not regular due to the fast approaching Mains exam.
I should also mention that in Vijaynagar, there are lot of good and affordable food options available. Coming from north, I was a bit skeptical about the food but I really liked it especially the Rasam. To my surprise, expense of my whole stay (Accomodation and fooding) in Bangalore was much less than I expected. Cost was the only thing which I thought twice before coming to Bangalore but Vijaynagar is pretty affordable.
On 24th November 2016, I returned to my home. Three months of stay in Bangalore got over. Though I still had to write Mains but I was satisfied with my decision of coming to Bangalore. The final result which came on 31st May 2017 had only put a seal on my decision. I secured AIR 324 and the period of uncertainty got over though there is much room for improvement.
But it is not only about the result. May be I would have made it without coming to Bangalore. Even this time I could not score very high in interview (despite giving a better attempt with better preparation). BUT it is the self belief that we can change ourself for the better which, Insights experience gave me, was more important. It taught me the real meaning of self investment. I have improved as a person and I carry the self confidence to further improve with each passing day. For me preparation of this exam has brought about a tremendous change in my perspective and Insights will always remain an integral part of that process.
Thank You Insights