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TOPPER’S STRATEGY: Shabarish P, Rank 617, CSE-2016, Insights Offline Student



Shabarish P, Rank 617, CSE-2016

Insights Offline Student


Hello friends,

I am Dr. Shabarish .P, have secured 617 rank in CSE- 2016 and am here to share my journey of UPSC civil services exam and the lessons that I learnt through out.

Before getting into that I would like to thank ALMIGHTY  for giving such a wonderful parents- my father PARAPPA P.K who is serving asst. director in dept. of handlooms and textiles , seeing the work of whom I had dreamt of becoming a civil servant ,my mother VEDAVATHI.S and  my elder sister DR.AMRUTHA. P, who have encouraged me immensely and literally went through all the phases of my preparation (prelims, mains and interview) for the past three years.

How it all started ?

As many of u have,  to be an IAS officer was my childhood dream (though you cannot tell this in interview) but I had never prepared anything for that. I finished my MBBS from JJMMC Davangere , Karnataka in march 2013 and then I started pursuing my dream. Believe me literally I had no idea about what UPSC was.. didn’t know about stages of exam , no idea about syllabus , no idea about whom to ask for guidance etc.  but  only one thing I knew was that I have to become an IAS/IPS OFFICER and I will put my hear and soul into preparation leaving all the things aside. At that time my close friend (also my 1st guru) SACHIN.N guided me about pattern ,syllabus and also took me to DELHI VAJIRAM IAS COACHING CENTRE. There I took coaching for 8 months and I was able to get through Prelims, Mains and interview in my first attempt in CSE 2014 but was not able to come in the final list which was the most heart breaking moment till then !! yes only till then because one more was waiting to come – I could not clear PRELIMS in CSE 2015!! (thanks for the change in the UPSC exam pattern PAPER 2 was made qualifying, in which I was strong!!) Here I should definitely thank my childhood friend SAGAR M J who was entirely responsible for my moral boost up after my failure  and towards continuing my UPSC journey.


To be frank  only after first 2 attempts I GOT A REAL PICTURE of what UPSC is !!

Mistakes I committed :

In prelims: no study beyond NCERTS, didn’t study art and culture, no focus on environment related topics, vajiram test series for GS-1 (though vajiram is the only reason for making me strong in basics and also clearing prelims and mains in my first attempt), never looked at previous year upsc question papers, anxiety at the exam hall which is definitely major reason for me not clearing prelims in 2015.


 Not choosing a good optional – public administration.  Please note that this is not to discouasge any of you guys, its just that I was not comfortable with.. Infact because of PUB AD I was confident in GS PAPER2  and also ETHICS.

1ST essay I wrote was in the exam hall .  I paid the price for it  got only 108 marks .

No proper guidance.

Only thought of attending all the questions . did not worry about quality.

Could not update myself on current affairs topics.

Overall I can say that my preparation was such that it could only give me the satisfaction of clearing mains but could not get me a rank..!


If anyone asks me to describe the reason for my success in  one word I get confused choosing  between  two  words- VINAY SIR OR INSIGHTS.!! (yes u r right .. both are same) That much is significance of the guidance.

When I could not clear prelims in 2015 I decided to stay back in Bangalore and start my preparation once again. I took INSIGHTS TEST SERIES  and contacted sir who gave me the clear guidance of how to approach prelims and the strategy that should be adopted which could fetch me a marks of 140.66 from 98 in CSE 2015.

I would like to share some tips beyond having a clearing idea of all the concepts from NCERTs.

1) Solve previous year question paper – backlinking of all the topics that are mentioned in the questions.

2) Comprehensive coverage of all the areas including international organizations and summits. Here I would like to tell u that while reading about the members of organizations have a look at the important countries like CHINA,USA,JAPAN,NORTH KOREA etc. whether they are members of that organization or not. For instance in MTCR,  china is not a member and this ll be definitely in the options . also in members of EUROPEAN UNION Switzerland is a non-member and paper setter will make it easy for u by giving that as one of the option eliminating which u ll arrive at the answer.

3) Quality test series- of course taking test series only will not help .. you have to complete the prescribed syllabus for the mock test and take every test seriously. This would help in knowing what is that important part which  should be remembered rather than mugging up the entire topic. Also it would help in improving your guessing standards because a calculated guess in UPSC prelims is always necessary .

4) Concentrate more on often neglected parts- mapping, national parks, tiger reserves, GI tags, martial dances, Buddhist monasteries.

Finally do not neglect PAPER 2 IN PRELIMS which is mandatory to qualify for mains.

For me clearing prelims was the toughest part 🙂

              After the day of prelims I was confident that this time I would definitely clear prelims and now is the  time to start hitting a bigger rock – MAINS..!! I would like to thank VINAY SIR ( for general studies including essay)and VENKATESHAPPA  SIR  and my friend ABHINANDAN (for kannada literature ) because of whom my mains marks increased from 642 in CSE 2014 to 837 in CSE 2016 ( yes almost an increase of 195 marks ) Reason for this was the regular writing practice along with the inclusion of valuable advice given by vinay sir.

My suggestions for readers:

1)As u all know you should complete the paper along with maintaining quality ,writing practice is sine qua non.

2) When you have collected sufficient informations related to one topic don’t keep on reading articles on the same . after all you will not have much time to write in the exam

3) Make notes with respect to syllabus – i.e in secure initiative of entire year there will be more than 20 questions on uniform civil code . ensure that you will write all of them at the related syllabus file so that it will be easy for revision

4) When it comes to essay ensure that you write a minimum of 20 essays before exam  . Also include examples , justifications to whatever you argue.

5) Choose right optional – which should be both interesting and scoring . Both factors are important.



When we are trying for civil services we are trying for most difficult exam in  the world and so we are bound to face the failures which we have never faced before. Seriously, I never believed in quote FAILURE IS THE STEPPING STONE FOR SUCCESS  but now defenitely I agree with that only because, the major reason behind my success in cse 2016 was my failure in prelims cse 2015 which gave me adequate time to change my approach entirely.

It is definitely too scary to think of not clearing civil services but  before thinking that u have to ensure that u ll leave no stone unturned to put in all ur efforts so that failure ll stay away from you . Push yourself so much so that you ll have no regrets after writing the exams.

Have good friends around you who are serious aspirants.

Throught the journey there were only two sayings which kept me motivated – one was by OJHA SIR (VAJIRAM) who always told  ISOLATION IS THE NEED FOR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT which coincided with my strategy of getting isolated from every1 and all the social networking sites. And the other was –  “ DREAM IS NOT THAT WHICH YOU SEE WHILE SLEEPING IT IS SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT LET YOU SLEEP” by Dr.APJ ABDUL KALAM

I would also like to thank DR.VISHWANATH and DR. BHANUPRASAD who were also the main strength behind me.

Thank u one and all .