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I am 30. I have just decided to prepare for UPSC with 2-3 attempts left. Are there any examples of aspirants cracking UPSC after their 30s with self-study?

Absolutely! You can. If you play the cards right, you can definitely crack the Civil Services Exam, even if you have just 2-3 attempts left. There are many examples of aspirants cracking the CSE, even after starting their preparation late. And believe it or not, some aspirants even did this while having a regular job. Take, for example, the case of Mittali Sethi IAS, AIR 56-UPSC CSE 2016. She started her preparation quite late, and in her 3rd attempt, she got AIR 56 and all the while working as a doctor. Hence, someone can clear CSE as long as your mind is strong. So keep yourself confident, and do not let your mind play tricks on you. Make sure that your mind is your source of strength and not a pot of self-doubt. Aspirants of this age often tend to doubt themselves as the late twenties/ early thirties are crucial in their time. This is the main reason they cannot believe that they can become a civil servant. Civil Services Examination is just like any other exam, but passing through all the three stages of CSE takes around 1.5 years, and this causes stress and self-doubt in students. It is this self-doubt that kills the dreams of many aspirants who have real potential.

How to reach your goal in minimum time?

  1. Timetable- Every minute in your life counts now. If you are working, make sure you now have a proper work-study life balance. You should be able to put in at least 8 hours per day and increase it gradually.
  2. Avoid Unwanted Interactions- Avoid any interactions that take away your time. This could be parties, social visits, social media etc. These use up your time and keep you away from reaching your dream. There is a certain addiction and comfort in these, and once you are in, your goal might slowly disappear.
  3. Get the Basics right- Now that the psychological preparation is done make sure that you get your basics right and thorough. You might be tempted to skip the basics and delve right into the complicated part citing lack of time, but this would eventually backfire. UPSC asks questions based on your understanding of basics, and you have to have a solid foundation to crack CSE. Stick to the NCERTs and then proceed to other books.
  4. Test yourself- Start attempting tests to improve yourself. You will feel dejected at first once you try these tests, but the important part is to keep trying. Every topper out there found these tests challenging and made many mistakes when they started. Hence, keep attempting these tests till you gain enough experience. Click here to begin with our free mock tests to get rid of those fears.
  5. Learn from the past– If you want to know what types of questions are asked, then get acclimatised to the Previous Years’ Question papers of CSE. This will gradually build your confidence and give you the ability to attempt similar questions in the future.
  6. Keep yourself Healthy– Physically and Mentally. This will be a long journey, and you have to be in your best shape to crack this. Along with the physical side, the aspirant should be strong mentally to push through any obstacle during the course of 1.5 years. Get enough sleep and do light exercises or meditate to improve your mental and physical calibre. Kindly do not overwork yourself, but make gradual improvements over time.

Last but not least, do not give up. Perseverance and smart work is the key to achieving your dream. At any point you feel dejected, pick yourself up and slide through, one step at a time. Keep yourself motivated when you feel down. Click here to see the session I had with Mittali Sethi IAS, where she has shared her civil services journey. Every aspirant goes through tough times, but those who decide to keep walking see their dream come true.



Published by
Officers IAS Academy – Best IAS Academy in Chennai.


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