Why is it so that a person who does five years of UPSC preparation is not selected, but some people clear UPSC in 1 year?
Civil Service is an Exam designed to test your analytical, reading/writing proficiency, reasoning, mental ability skills. The interesting fact to be presented is that many times, aspirants cannot clear the exam, even if they were toppers in their school/college. Some say that those who got the bare minimum pass marks in their college/school can’t crack the Civil Services Exam, but that again is not true. There are many cases where aspirants who were never academically brilliant have topped this exam. So, what makes the difference? Why is it that some students need just one attempt, and for some others, it is not achievable even after their 5th or 6th attempt?
The very first doubt I would like to clear here is that your academic brilliance does NOT play a role here. It is a widespread misconception that those who are products of India’s premier educational institutions can top this exam in their first attempt! There is no connection between your academic brilliance and the number of attempts you take.
How to not waste your attempts?
Basics- An aspirant has to cover the basic syllabus and get a grip over what the syllabus demands. To cover the syllabus fast, an aspirant neglects the basics and tries to cover the gigantic syllabus. Ultimately this leads to your doom as UPSC wants you to understand the basics, and the questions asked are often based on the understanding of the concepts. When you do not give the required time to master the basics, the issue of taking countless attempts to clear the exam happens.
Learning from mistakes- To err is human, and that is the reality one must accept. You must shed your ego if you want to clear this exam and learn from your own mistakes, test after test and polish yourself until you get it right. It is as simple as that. The power of self-acceptance will do wonders for you while studying for this exam.
Smart learning- Gone are the times when one could get full marks by mugging the information and reproducing it. I started this answer with the qualities that get tested in the Civil Services Exam, and nowhere it says that UPSC demands an extraordinary memory power from one. What they expect from a Civil Servant is an analytical mind that can assimilate knowledge and produce solutions. Hence, you have to learn to create answers in that context when you absorb the knowledge. Instead of rote learning that one is used to, do intelligent learning aligned to the needs of the exam.
Previous Years’ Question- Never fear these questions when you look at them. Many aspirants do and often neglect them, thinking that it can induce fear. This sole reason can take precious attempts from you. An aspirant who does innovative learning will never forget to look at the previous years’ questions and learn from them. What UPSC expects/ how to structure an answer etc., can be understood by practising them.
Proper timetable- Any long term goal should be backed by a solid timeframe so that you can focus on the goal and track your progress. When an aspirant starts this journey without a timeline, often they wander and study aimlessly. This is, in fact, counterproductive as you might end up learning things that are not required, or you might not be judiciously giving the necessary time for each subject.
Disciplined life- This is an exam that demands hours every day, spanning over months of your life, that requires dedication and sacrifice. Once you put in the effort required, slowly, results start showing. When an aspirant tends to overlook this and gets attracted to social media and other distractions, it ultimately reduces the quality and quantity of study hours.
The Civil Service Exam is an all-encompassing test and is one of the most reputed ones. The respect and responsibility you get once you crack this exam are enormous, and I urge every aspirant out there who reads this to give their best and not get disheartened with failures. Even if you had followed everything mentioned in this article and yet the result was negative, do not be discouraged as it is just a minor setback. Your ultimate aim should be to crack this exam and, for this, polish your skills slowly regardless of how many attempts it takes.
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