Aspiring to become a part of civil services is not for everyone. To get into the coveted Indian Administrative Services (IAS) Grade A, B, or C, one must first conquer the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) Civil Services entrance exam. It includes three stages: prelims, mains, and interviews. Successful candidates get opportunities to become a part of the administration. However, the syllabus, examination pattern, the choice between self-study and coaching, and the never-ending list of best guides for cracking the UPSC are enough to confuse students and make them commit common mistakes. Let us look at the common mistakes that UPSC aspirants are most likely to make and how to avoid them.
Common Mistakes # 1 Ignoring the Syllabus
The UPSC Syllabus provides the blueprint for a Civil Service aspirant’s preparation. By carefully studying this, one is less likely to forget important points during exam time – thus decreasing stress levels and saving precious study time. The syllabus shows which subjects have more weightage. If you have a clear picture of the syllabus, you can draft your strategy for preparation – which may allow you to cover key areas that you have neglected thus far due to lack of knowledge!
Common Mistakes # 2 Not Taking Mock Tests
Another mistake to avoid is ignoring mock tests, as it is crucial to perfect your preparation with practice. Mock Tests are vital for success in the competition, scaling the ranks, and avoiding negative markings. Taking mock tests develops your skill, helping you learn how to guess the right option. Practice sessions also teach how to complete the paper on time with confidence, solve multiple-choice questions, and improve writing, accuracy, and assimilation of answers.
Common Mistakes # 3 No Specific Plan
Aspiring UPSC candidates often make the mistake of not sticking to a well-balanced study schedule. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals to ensure you stick to your current routine. Making time for relevant subjects like history and social sciences is the key to success in the exam. Find ways to improve your time management skills to have time for all the papers. But also know when it’s okay to pick just one and focus on it every day.
Common Mistakes # 4 Reading Every Kind of Book
Often enthusiastic candidates buy multiple books on every subject without research wasting effort and time. It is better to take a little time to find quality reference books, preferably one or two books per topic, and avoid such costly mistakes.
Common Mistakes # 5 Neglecting NCERT Books
Aspirants tend to neglect basic NCERT books, a common mistake. The NCERT books provide a good base and are readily available. NCERT books clear basic concepts preparing the foundation for advanced study for UPSC mains.
Common error # 6 Neglecting Newspapers
UPSC aspirants often give less importance to reading daily newspapers. Most aspirants prefer referring to magazines and try to cram everything at the last minute. However, it is essential to avoid this mistake and make it a habit to read at least one national newspaper daily to prepare Current Affairs questions.
Common Mistakes # 7 Not Having A Study Partner
Candidates should avoid the common mistake of isolating themselves and have a study partner to practice mock test questions. Solving multiple-choice papers with a study partner is a great way to destress. Studying for competitive exams is stressful and can lead to anxiety and depression. However, aspirants can overcome such fears by discussing topics with a suitable study partner.
Common error # 8 Not Taking Time Off to Relax
Staying away from friends and family is one of the common mistakes to avoid. Constant stress and study can lead to poor physical and mental health. Hence, it is essential to relax with yoga or hobbies to refresh the mind and spend a little time with family members to feel good. Regular exercise, good vibes, and good friends boost morale for preparation.
Common Mistakes # 9 Not Making Refresher Guides
Students tend to make the mistake of not doing revisions. Preparing for UPSC involves a lot of revision. Aspirants should make their revision notes from the beginning and understand that it is the best way to remember topics. Having a schedule that accommodates multiple revisions is best. Referring to short revision notes helps retain information and reduces last-minute panic.
Common Mistakes # 10 Not Selecting the Right Optional
Success in the UPSC depends on the proper selection of subjects, and rankings depend on marks scored on the optional papers. Hence, candidates should avoid some common mistakes of taking options without research. It is better to generally select options from the graduation subjects.
Common error # 11 Not Having A Positive Mindset
Preparing for the highly competitive UPSC examinations is daunting. Many factors can contribute to stress and anxiety, such as social expectations or fear of failure. The pressure and anxiety that this causes can spell disaster for your efforts if you do not keep a positive attitude and stay focused on your goal. Instead of relying solely on your mental resources, you should seek help from others, especially mentors who have experienced success in achieving their goals in the past. A good mentor will be able to keep you from letting outside pressures get the best of you and making common mistakes.
Common Mistakes # 12 Neglecting Time Management
Preparing for the UPSC requires balance and a proper pace in time management. The Civil Services aspirants must avoid the mistake of marathon study hours which may be stressful. Instead, they should take up two or three hours to study at the beginning and gradually increase the time later. Thus, it will help them adapt to a rigorous study schedule closer to the main one without stress.