Taking the first step will always be the most significant one. You might be having countless doubts and inhibitions about the uncertain future that you have to face after you take the step, but at the same time, you now dare to start something new.
The same thing happens when you decide to start your UPSC Civil Services Exam journey. Your initial journey will be euphoric, and you will feel thrilled and contended as your intentions are pure, and you are learning a lot of amazing things that improve your knowledge and world view.
The following months will bring the best and worst out of you. All these feelings that you face are a part of the journey, and you should identify and correct it for the best outcome.
- Overconfidence: The reference books for civil service preparation are quite basic. In the initial days, one might even think that it is effortless to crack it. This happens when one is right out of college, and the usual College Exam demands just reproduction of knowledge on the exam paper. After the initial phase, you will understand that not the knowledge, but the application part is what sets the Civil Services Exam apart.
- Competition: You will tend to compete with everyone at the initial phase. There are too many aspirants out there who are trying to crack this exam, and when the competition gets to you, the focus is somewhat lost. The whole journey is long and hard. The only competition you should have is with yourself. Having competition with the world will tire you out. Having it with yourself will better you every day.
- Oceanic Syllabus: There are too many subjects, and too many books. Though the topics are simple to study, the vast amount to learn will overwhelm you. The doubts start cropping up after the overconfidence stage fades. Just take it slow. Study the syllabus at the pace that you are comfortable with and make sure you get the basics right and move on only after you are thorough.
- Too many books: When there is a myth that CSE expects you to know everything under the sun, you tend to buy all the books with the name “Civil Service Preparation” and read it cover to cover. What many do not understand is that you should know the basics and not the whole book. Keep reading the basic texts and master it instead of reading all the books without success.
- Confused Timetable: When there is too much to learn, you tend to be confused about the execution part. This is where a timetable helps you. But, in the initial phase, the chances of making the timetable work is tough as you may take more time to learn something, and that makes the timetable seem unworkable. But, once you cover the books, you will definitely need one as it brings stability in your preparation.
- Searching for Strategy: Every topper who cracked CSE will have a strategy. When you start the preparation, you will desperately try to find the master strategy and make it help you win. The truth is, you can never get the Master Strategy in day one, nor should you try to copy the topper’s strategy. In reality, your strategy grows with you every day during your preparation.
- Scared of Mistakes: You are now at a point where you are bound to make a lot of them. The critical thing to remember is that you should muster your courage to face these faults. Not facing the mistakes is the real mistake you make in the initial stage. They are your own reflection in your preparation and the opportunity to better yourself comes from learning from these mistakes.
I want to assure everyone reading this that whatever I have shared happens to everyone. It is only typical for a new aspirant to pass through the above phases. You should just come out of it and make it right before these mistakes start affecting your preparation in the long run. Since every aspirant goes through such difficulties, some truly potential candidates tend to side-track and miss their opportunity. This made us start our mentoring program, where a senior staff who knows the secrets of this exam is there to guide and mentor you.
Lastly, please keep in mind that these initial feelings do not define you. They are just normal in every aspirant’s journey. Better yourself every time you hit a roadblock, for success is on the way. All the best!