IAS TOPPER’S STRATEGY
Santhosh B M
Rank 307, CSE-2016
This is Santhosh B M. I have secured 307 Rank in UPSC civil service examination 2016. Here I would like to share my UPSC journey. First I would like to thank my parents, brother and my roommates Bharath, Venkatesh, Kamalesh, Praveen, Sharan who stood with me throughout this journey in all ups and downs and I thank God for giving me such a wonderful people.
“Well begun, Half done”, this was the first thing I read in an Interview of one of UPSC topper in an magazine and began my journey believing that I can clear this exam in my first attempt if I prepare well from beggining. In this belief after finishing my Kannada literature optional classes at Bengaluru I went to Vajiram and Ravi institute in Delhi where I got good basics of all subjects and also attended CSAT classes.
With good marks in CSAT I could clear prelims in my first attempt. For mains I did not write even a single essay and for GS too I hardly wrote more than 1 test for each paper, and started optional paper preparation only after prelims results so I could not complete any of the papers, despite these blunders because of having strong basics and regular reading of newspaper I just managed to clear mains with my marks exactly equal to cut off marks and got Interview call. Interview also I did not give much mocks and because of lack of proper planning and preparation I ended up getting very less marks. And result was I could not make into the final list.
In my second attempt being enthusiastic of going till interview in my 1st attempt I started my preparation well with more emphasis on GS for prelims because of this I cleared the prelims. For mains again I committed same mistakes by not writing more tests only thing I changed was that I began my optional preparation earlier and because of this I could improve my marks in optional but in GS and essay I got average scores and the result was almost same I ended up just getting 10 marks above the cut off in mains. For interview with more mocks and encouraging words of Vinay sir I got a decent marks(168) but with low marks in mains again I could not make into final list.
So despite going till interview in first 2 attempts I could not get any services this made me disappointed and lose hope and it was most difficult phase of my journey. But I remembered the larger cause for which I had left the job of MNC i.e. to serve the society and I believed in words of Gandhiji “The heart’s earnest and pure desire is always fulfilled”. So again I started my preparation with more determination and discipline. My roommates and parents also helped me in gaining back my confidence. In the mean time I went through articles of Nitish sir and Balaji D K sir in INSIGHTS website and decided to join INSIGHTS so along with my roommates I shifted back to Bengaluru.
In Bengaluru I came into contact with Vinay sir whom I had met once during my 2nd interview preparation. Then I joined INSIGHTS Prelims test series which helped me immensely and I got 139.34 in prelims which made me to start preparation for mains early and with greater confidence.
For mains also I joined INSIGHTS offline test series which helped me a lot. The rigorous schedule of test made me to work harder and here I also got good group for discussion like Pritha, Harsha and Geetha, Since all of us had Kannada optional it helped me in optional preparation also. Here I would also like to thank all of my Kannada teachers Narahalli sir, Shivakumar sir and Venkateshappa sir. The healthy discussion and competition among us made us to work hard and all four of us qualified for Interview.
I would like to specially mention about test series here because it made all the difference for me. It helped me to increase my essay and GS marks substantially. In my previous two attempts I had got just 109 and 103 in essay so this time I attended all the essay tests and got each of these essays evaluated by Vinay sir which helped me to increase my score to 159. Even my GS scores improved because of reading VisionIAS materials along with newspapers and writing INSIGHTS test series helped me to get 421 marks in GS. This substantial increase was because of covering syllabus extensively, proper planning, group discussions, writing practice and guidance by Vinay sir. And finally even with the average score in Interview I cleared the exam with AIR 307.
The journey which began from June 2013 ended happily in May 31st (Result date)2017. In these 4 years I have realized that believing in oneself, having greater cause and working hard ‘consistently’ with proper guidance and environment would definitely lead to success. Consistency is the key here because throughout my 4 year preparation I almost maintained constant timetable and I was reading till the moment I saw the result so if you are consistent, dedicated and hard working success is yours.
Finally I hope that like Nitish sir and Balaji sir articles which inspired me to work consistently with positive attitude in my difficult time this article would also help people in similar situation and lead to their success. All the Best!!