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TOPPER’S STRATEGY: Meghashree D R, Rank 289, CSE – 2016, No Coaching, Insights Offline Student



Meghashree D R

AIR 289, CSE – 2016


Hello Friends,

My name is Meghashree D R, I have secured AIR 289 in UPSC CS 2016. First of all, I would like to thank almighty for leading me throughout this journey of life. My parents, family and friends for their unflinching faith and unconditional support. My teachers and mentors for the knowledge imparted and the right guidance. It’s because of them I am what I am today. Just like you, even I used to read all the toppers article on insights website and had a dream of writing an article here one day.  It’s a dream come true for me 🙂

A little about myself,

I hail from a humble family in a village called Dodderi in Chitradurga dist., Karnataka. My parents are government servants and are the first generation of literates in our family. I completed schooling at St. Joseph’s Convent School, Chitradurga, Pre-university and graduation (CSE) in Bengaluru. In 2011, started working in a software company through campus recruitment. Then, resigned job and started UPSC preparation in Aug-2014, didn’t qualify in UPSC 2015 CS (P). Finally, under the guidance of Vinay sir and the right environment of Insights secured a rank this year.

Why IAS?

My school was next to DC office and there used to be a huge crowd to meet the officers. My father used to explain about the kind of powers and opportunities DC has to serve people.  Although, I was always fascinated towards pursuing IAS, did not have the courage and confidence that I will be able to make it. After 3 years of IT job, I sat back and thought what I wanted out of a career, wrote down many things and finally short listed these,

  1. To be able to make a difference in the life of people, to be able to reach out and serve people on a larger scale.
  2. A challenging career with loads of opportunities to learn and improvise.
  3. Job satisfaction and security.

So decided that, IAS provides all these and a lot more. After discussing with my family and my Husband Vikram Simha H. V. (then friend ;)). We decided to give a serious try for IAS. I am glad we made that decision. I must thank my brothers Dr. Ananth Prasad and Dr. Varun Prasad for believing in me and standing by me.

Meghashree D R Rank 289

What happened in 2015 attempt?

After the decision to pursue civil services, came the period of confusions. How to start? Which coaching institute? Should I go to Delhi? The same year KPSC issued notification for Gazette probationers so started preparation for both UPSC and KPSC simultaneously in Bengaluru. I could clear KPSC (P) and fully concentrated on KPSC (M) which took a serious toll on UPSC (P) 2015 and I missed cutoff by 1.66 marks. Then my brother’s friends Dr. Prasanna B. P. and Dr. Anup N. who have constantly encouraged and guided me throughout UPSC preparation, introduced me to Insights. Then this beautiful journey with insights started.

Choosing Optional     

After interacting with few aspirants and seniors, I opted for Kannada literature, reasons being

  1. Interest in subject- Started reading Kannada books from a very young age.
  2. Ample guidance available for Kannada literature in Bengaluru.
  3. Recent analysis showed good success rate for Kannada Literature.

I am thankful to my school teachers for helping me develop keen interest in Kannada. Also, thankful to Sri. Venkateshappa sir for his valuable classes. For Kannada literature have followed the strategy provided by Sri. D. K. Balaji sir in insights website.

Insights and core group

By then I made friendship with fellow aspirants Dr. Nayana N. and Aadarsh who later became my best friends. We got ourselves enrolled into insights offline test series and started preparation for UPSC-2016. Fortunately, got through core group selection and then we never looked back. Most of the aspirants who have secured ranks through insights were already quite familiar with the examination syllabus, they had some levels of preparation which they improvised at insights. But, I was a clean slate, had ever been to Delhi or any classes for UPSC CS preparation. All that I have learnt is at Insights and it was a very challenging journey. We used to follow timetable and take every test very seriously.  Like instructed by Vinay sir we used to have 5 note books for GS 1,2,3,4  and essay. We started writing secure answers, essay challenges in them regularly later to be checked by Vinay sir (like homework in school days :D). Sir constantly guided and motivated us to keep up the pace and reach our goals. Good environment with serious aspirants gave us the competitive spirits. Also, we interacted with many successful candidates like Sri. D. K. Balaji, Ms. Neha Kumari, Sri. Madhu Sudan, which was very inspiring. When we listen to such stories, we realise we can also do it and push ourselves for that extra mile. This pace continued and with insights revision plan we confidently faced UPSC (P)-2016.

In fact, prelims was close to Insights test 33 (we wrote 32 tests in practice test series). We started mains preparation with confidence and gave the very challenging and exhausting mains test series at insights. Also, Vijay Niranjan sir (IRS-IT) guided for Kannada literature writing practice and gave valuable inputs.  My friends Shruthi and Renuka helped me a lot in Kannada literature. All the writing practice, discussions, revision and tests helped us sail through UPSC (Mains)-2016. I literally jumped in joy looking at our register numbers in the qualified list. Vinay sir brought our heels back on earth saying “qualifying in mains is nothing, focus on prelims 2017 and interview, get a good rank and then celebrate“.

We started working on DAF, formed groups based on common areas like graduation subject, optional, hometown, hobby and started discussions.  Simultaneously, gave mock interviews and reached Delhi a month before interview for the first time in my life. Our stay at Karnataka Bhavan was a pleasant one, my best friends Nayana and Shruthi were my room mates. So, with the positive environment half the battle was won. I have to thank my insights friends Akash(Rank 453), Nikhil B (Rank 107), Vivek, Jagdeesh(Rank 443), Shabarish(Rank 617), Kavya, Swagath, Arjun, Santhosh sir (Rank 307)  and many others for the quality discussions and encouraging words before interview.

On the D day my father took me to the interview with lot of friends waving at us outside Karnataka Bhavan. Thanking the universe for the opportunity I entered the interview hall with confidence. Board was cordial and encouraging, I accepted things that I was not aware of and answered the ones I knew honestly with a smile throughout the interview.

If you decide to do something, decide to do it well. Give your best. Even after that you are not able to make it, either you are not giving your best or you are meant for a higher purpose. Belief is the most important thing in this examination. Believe in yourself, in the strategy you follow and work for it and the universe will conspire to help you reach your goal.  I completely believed in Insights and worked consistently from Feb-2015 till Interview which gave results.  Just when I was about to lose track somebody was always there to pull me back or push me ahead. I am fortunate to have great companions. My heartfelt Thanks to Insights team especially Vinay sir for the guidance and support. 

I wish you great success in all your endeavors. You can reach out to me on my email id

Thank you.


“Desire, when it stems from the heart and spirit, when it is pure and intense, possesses awesome electromagnetic energy. This energy is released into the ether each night, as the mind falls into the sleep state. Each morning it returns to the conscious state reinforced with the cosmic currents. That which has been imaged will surely and certainly be manifested. You can rely, young man, upon this ageless promise as surely as you can rely upon the eternally unbroken promise of sunrise… and of Spring.” –A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire.