Nearly 5 lakhs candidates appear for UPSC exam every year in the preliminary stage. This filters down to a few thousands in the mains exam and finally after the interview, only a few hundreds clear the exam successfully. Some of the top reasons why candidates fail to clear the IAS exams are cited below:
Poor planning and poor time management
A pre-planning for the exam is as essential as planning what to study, how to study etc. This broadly means setting up a working time table and giving importance to less familiar concepts, structuring studies and setting up strict time rules to complete a particular subject. Setting up time schedules and sticking them accordingly will help you gear up for the exam.
Lack of working strategy and approach method.
What seemed a working strategy for others might not be a good choice for us. So, it is best to approach the exam this way- beginning with the preliminary and main exam preparation together and not ignoring the prelims at the cost of the mains. This mistake commonly done by many decreases their chance of faring well in the exam.
No clarity in terms of what to study.
A common question asked by many IAS aspirants is where to begin study preparation from? A definite picture of what is to be studied can be got by referring to the syllabus. Popular study materials can be collected from various sources, but care is to be taken not to overdo it.
No interaction with previously successful candidates.
Undermining the importance of peer discussion and discussing the paper with previously successful candidates may not be a good idea. Infact, it is very essential to interact with peers so that you gain an insight into the required tips and tricks to clear the exam successfully. Discuss what kind of questions may be anticipated and how manage time accordingly.
Lack of self-assessment time and analysis.
All studies and not assessing yourself and not devoting time to take up mock tests will definitely not work in your favour. It is very essential to keep a tab on analysing where you are going wrong and taking steps to correct them properly. Mock tests are a great idea in this regard. From time to time, keep attempting a series of tests to learn time management skills as well as to get accustomed with question types.
An ineffective way of solving the exam paper
If it’s an objective type of question, practice a certain way to answer them. Read more notes and newspapers to solve subjective type of questions. Keep a tab on time. Know what to solve first. Solve the ones that are easier to you. If you are good in a particular section of the question paper, attempt that first and spend less time on them. Spend more time on solving less familiar questions or the ones that are tough.
On a general note, be mindful about what subjects you select for the examination. The criteria for selection should not be based on whether you find it easy to study or not. The conceptual knowledge that you have in a particular subject should be the deciding factor for you to opt for a particular choice.
It is also a good habit know it well in advance about your examination centre, exam duration, timings and a route map to guide you how to get to the examination centre. Many candidates fail to keep this useful information handy, leading to last minute confusions and not knowing how to get to the exam centre.
A wise idea would be to write down critical information like facts, important years and dates on sticky notes and paste them wherever you are comfortable. A lot of people fail in the exam because they keep studying, do more studying but ultimately fail to recall at the time of examination.
Showing your best efforts on the exam paper is crucial to your success in the IAS exam. Many candidates get over confident when it comes to referring the NCERT books. NCERT books are sought after and must refer books that no aspirant should forget. Thinking about too many competitive exams at the same time can also act as a major deterrent when it comes to IAS exams.
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Many candidates perceive IAS preparation as a huge time investment and tend to get carried away somewhere in the middle. This is a sure shot step towards failure and must be avoided.
No revision exercises
What is the whole point in studying the subject and not revising it? Filing up of concepts in your mind and not giving room for revision is a blunder that should be avoided. Take frequent breaks in between studies and try to brush up what you have studied previously. Try to make this a routine and you will have better clarity in your IAS preparation.
Paying too much attention to others opinions
Everybody has a certain way of preparing for the exam which sounds exclusive in itself. But that should not be considered a universal approach. Neither should that be a de-motivating factor. One candidate may prefer to take up coaching but some others may find coaching unnecessary. Do what suits your preparation methodology. Stick to the books that you feel is important.
Not familiar with the examination factors
Familiarizing yourself with the exam pattern and the type of exam questions that commonly appear go a long way in supporting your success in the exam. Generally in IAS exams, covering a wide range of topics and knowing them reasonably well works out to be the best strategy. Going too much in-depth with a selected few topics may not help you reach your goal.
Spending a major chunk of time in attending coaching classes.
Coaching classes help you to set up a correct strategy when it comes to defining what to study and what not to study. They focus on topics from examination point of view. They help you balance both prelims and mains preparation. But choosing a coaching centre that only asks you to travel all day is not a good idea. You will be spending most of your travelling and giving very less focus on your studies. You will be exhausted by the time you sit to study and drained of concentration.
Every exam comes with its own share of stress and tension. But increasing your stress levels will further bring your confidence levels down and create tension in your mind. A focussed mind that is able to strategize and analyse its goal on achieving success in IAS exam should be too priority.
Make crisp, clear and concise notes to help you in revision. Candidates often tend to go overboard with their preparation not considering these very important factors that may lead to their success. Remember if you cannot clear it in the first attempt, give your best shot in the next one but do not lose hope.