A lot of candidates make promise with themselves to crack the prestigious Civil Services Examination, and they begin foray in to it with a view to emerge successful in this attempt.
You among many such candidates waiting for this opportunity, would be indulged in serious preparation.
Among many factors that influence the outcome, I have listed 3 questions an aspirant need to answer before commencement of Preparation-Plan.
No hollow promises; it is a big examination and you have to take such steps that bolster the chances for success.
I have been tracking Civil Services Examination arena for more than 3 decades and acknowledge that among educated youngsters, the aspiration to become IAS in is on rise.
I have tried to closely watch the aspirants and even the successful candidates and have been trying to identify what helps them succeed.
Is there any secret about these successful candidates?
Answer is - No; nothing specific that can be termed as unique and can be used as a template!
All these toppers and successful candidates are no different than you. Almost all acknowledged this fact and agree that a ‘blink’ changes their status from an aspirant to an achiever.
The basis of success in Civil Services Examination is your relative performance and if you adopt a habit of never drop a chance to score even a single mark, you will find yourself in comfortable situation.
“Action speaks louder than words” this phrase precisely sums up Civil Services Examination preparation and reminds you that you should be careful about what you do during preparation period.
An aspirant needs to answer following 3 questions before commencing preparation for Civil Services Examination and making study-Plan.
Q 1: Do I feel confident and encouraged to perform?
This is the most important thing that casts it shadow on your final result. Self-believe is one thing that helps you perform.
Civil Services Examination is a different ball game and only a positive mindset would help you stay – be it preparation or facing the real examination.
You can’t take it for granted; you have to work hard and only moving in the right direction will certainly enhance chances for your success.
To yield positive result, surround yourself with optimistic people with constructive orientation. It is a long process that may have bouts of ups and downs during preparation and all the time you have to remain motivated.
You have vision; set a goal for yourself and being confident about desired success will help set priorities and handle preparation load effectively.
Q 2: Should I be selective with my Study-Plan?
There is a popular saying “Invest in yourself may be the best investment you’ll ever make.”
Understand the UPSC’s intent and their generalist approach while recruiting most suitable candidates for top posts.
We have access to a wealth of information at our fingertips. Reading books and study-material, may be attending coaching classes will improve your knowledge; learning from practical experiences, general awareness and real-life situations will help you in managing the vast syllabus.
Gone are the days when the ‘Selective’ strategy worked. Look at the recent changes that have come in domain of General Studies.
With candidates equipped with professional degrees and higher studies entering the scene, competition is getting stiffer. Add to this the innovative and inventive approach UPSC is adopting, you have to prepare effectively and being selective in study-plan can be disastrous.
A glance at the question papers be it Prelims or Mains, questions from the diverse disciplines, inter-relation within and across disciplines are being framed with a little twist.
The way traditional part is touch and reliance on dynamic events and issues is put on show, all you need is conceptual clarity as well as being updated with the recent actions and deeds.
While preparing the practical application of knowledge should take the front seat.
Q 3: Should I immediately join the Test-Series as it is delivering now-a-days?
Even before serious preparation commence, joining Test-Series is marked ‘to do’ in the aspirants’ priority list. If not all, for majority of candidates it is considered to be the short cut to success.
Let me clear my stance I am great admirer of effective evaluation as you need to measure what you have read.
Wait, don’t get excited - be clear; joining ‘Test Series’ is not a guarantee for success in Civil Services Examination.
I know you are fascinated about recent toppers’ views and how they were benefitted with ‘Test Series’.
Even, some institutes assert to have mastered the Preliminary as well as Main Examination pattern and decoded what the examiners’ expectations are.
At times believing these fallacies actually harms more than doing anything good.
It is pure business for coaching institutes and you should not ignore this fact. Why to blame only classroom coaching; in recent time what most of the online websites/portals have done while rendering ‘free’ service, slowly and smartly how they have churned out a business model in shape of ‘Test-Series’ and other offerings that attracts a large section of Civil Services Examination aspirants.
A New Perspective
‘Test Series’ would be effective only if you are done with the syllabus and have revised it meticulously. In such scenario, Test Series would help you assess preparedness as well as in identifying the areas that need attention.
Some of my coaching friends may argue about it and will term ‘Test Series’ as a preparation tool; but, I maintain previous years’ question papers are the best source to identify the current trends and examiners’ expectations.
One can argue that Preliminary Examination needs lots of practice and for small ‘daily’ or ‘weekly’ goal, assessment is needed. You can take a call if it is like that and evaluation is being undertaken under expert guidance.
But, in current atmosphere where thousands of candidates join ‘Test Series’ particularly for Main Examination, the biggest challenge is being abreast with the latest and above all, getting the right evaluation and genuine feedback is a challenge.
In my opinion, not just follow blindly’ but, ‘Test Series’ is such a tool that should be used few months before the examination and as near as possible.
Only those institutes should be trusted where most of the variables are taken into account and you are assessed in almost real conditioned.
Above all, be very specific who is going to assess your performance as only a genuine feedback will help.On Sunday 9th December 2018