What advice would you give to a student who is preparing for UPSC?
First and foremost, I congratulate you for deciding on becoming a Civil Servant. It takes a lot of courage and passion for choosing this field. It is one of the most respected fields in India, and you will shoulder a lot of responsibilities, and you work to make the dreams of millions come true and make their lives better. It is always good to prepare for Civil Services from a young age. Starting early ensures that you have enough attempts, and you are freshly out of your college with a mind that is still in the learning curve.
Many students have doubts regarding the preparation of Civil Services, and I would like to clear the usually asked doubts that students ask.
1. Ranks and Super Intelligence do not matter– There is a myth that only the toppers
can get ranks in Civil Services. This is untrue, and anyone with perseverance and
average intelligence can crack the exam. The exam has been designed in such a way
that questions are not of master/expert level, but of the standard type, with importance
given to analysing the question. There are no complex mathematical computations nor
any questions that require high IQ.
2. Work Hard, Work Smart- Gone are the days when you could take up the textbooks
days before the college exam and pass it. This is the Civil Services Exam, and UPSC
does not want anyone to clear the exam just with shortcuts. The knowledge that you
get is going to be useful as a Civil Servant. So, you have to do the hard work if you
want to clear this exam. Here, hard work does not mean mugging up facts. UPSC does
not want anyone taking a coveted post who could mug up knowledge. They want
people who can use knowledge to tackle a problem. Hence, along with hard work, you
have to put in some smart work in your preparation, which is analysing previous
years’ papers, carefully reading the syllabus etc. Visit our website Officers' Pulse for
understanding what the syllabus is and how the previous question papers are analysed
by clicking this link.
3. Start Slow and Steady- Do not rush your preparation. Take your own time to study
everything and move to the next topic when you are clear with the basics. Please start
with the NCERTs and cover them meticulously. If the basics are not covered, then
you will have a shaky foundation, and you may not be able to answer the questions
which are based out of these basics. Do not study every book that is out there in the
market. The right way is to study the standard book and master it rather than going
through multiple texts and remember nothing.
4. Discipline in Life- If you are preparing for Civil Services, then there must be a
certain discipline that you should follow in your life. The precious time that you lose
in preparation is primarily due to social media and unwanted social gatherings. Limit
the time that you spend on these things, and you can find that you have more time for
5. Civil Services and Luck – Again, it’s a myth. Luck has nothing to do with your
success in your preparation. Focus and perseverance are what give you success. If you
have these two qualities along with a solid basis of what you are studying, you are
good to go for the exam, and the success is just a mile away.
6. Unlimited power does not come with the Job- Movies often misrepresent the reality
of India. An IAS/IPS job does not give you unlimited power. You are and will always
be a “Civil Servant”, and you are always under the Constitution. When you become
an IAS/IPS/IRS officer, it’s not power that comes to you, but rather its responsibility. You have to shoulder the weight of achieving what is right for millions of people, and
this is not an easy task.
7. Proper Timetable and Sleep- You have to have an appropriate time table once you
start preparing for the exam. It allows you to understand what you have missed and
where you are lacking. This fills the minute holes in your preparation and makes your
knowledge more concrete. And yes, getting sleep is very important. Your time table
might take you to your preparation from 10 to 12 hours, but at the same time, you
have to take care of your health too. Getting good sleep and moderate exercises keep
your body healthy. For retaining gigantic volumes of information and for studying
long hours, both your mind and body have to be healthy. Remember, this is a test
cricket match and not aT-20. Play it according to the plan you made.
“With great power, there must also come great responsibility”- you might have heard this
from the Spiderman movie, although it has been in existence from the French revolution! The statement speaks the truth when it comes to being a Civil Servant. You are given the power to change the course of millions of lives, and there are few posts like that in India to help one change the country for good. I wish everyone taking this journey to become successful Civil Servants and do the best for our country!