“The greatest power is the power to change lives. All that matters on your last day on Earth is the potential you’ve leveraged, the heroism you’ve demonstrated and the human lives you’ve graced.”
-Robin Sharma (The 5 AM Club)
Changing one’s own life is easy. But, changing the lives of people around – now that takes courage, conviction and grit. Ambitious youth take the IAS route to touch the lives of people. It is one thing to sincerely follow the policies and another to be a part of the policy making. This brings us to the question: “Is the IAS exam impossible to crack?” IAS exam is undoubtedly one of the most challenging exams, its syllabus is vast and it does require a good amount of your time and dedication. But it is a fact that hundreds of aspirants make it to the final merit list each year. If they can, so can you! They soak themselves in preparation and don’t pay heed to the hearsays of people. But there are several people, blogs and websites with partial knowledge that misguide the aspirants with their own understanding of what the exam is all about. These myths are obstructions to your preparation. Here are the common myths about the IAS exam that often do the rounds, busted!
- MYTH 1: The UPSC syllabus is “Everything under the sun and beyond”
Is the UPSC Syllabus huge? Yes!
Should I know everything under the Sun to clear this exam? No!
UPSC has never asked a question outside the purview of the exam syllabus. The syllabus is indicative and NOT exhaustive. You must know where to stop reading, and how much you must know about a topic. That is where guidance from someone who knows the exam will help you. It becomes much easier to crack the exam when you have your preparation strategy chalked out and an expert eye to evaluate your preparation every now and then.
- MYTH 2: IAS exam is all about rote learning and memorizing facts.
Think of the IAS exam as the beginning of your career as an IAS officer. Would you be able to produce pre-designed, memorised solutions to problems that arise in your district? Will rote learning help you contribute to policy making? Do not think of clearing the exam as an end in itself. It is a means to help you serve your country. UPSC selects those candidates with an analytical mind and rational decision-making ability. Your answers must reflect your ability to solve complex problems, make rational decisions and execute well-thought-out projects. It is essential to have conceptual clarity and develop analytical thinking skills. It is NOT about memorising facts and statistics, it is ALL about conceptual clarity. Nothing more, nothing less.
- MYTH 3: You can qualify the examination only if you prepare in DELHI.
It is an undeniable fact that Delhi has become the hub of IAS aspirants but this does not mean one has to shift to Delhi to crack the examination. Begin to think like an administrator and do the cost-benefit analysis. Moving to Delhi for preparation would require you to incur expenses on your stay, get adjusted to the extreme weather conditions, keep measures handy to deal with the pollution and what not! There are countless examples of people from different states and cities clearing the examination by preparing at the comfort of their homes. The place of preparation, therefore, is not a determinant of your success in the examination. Your seriousness and preparation strategy with the right guidance is your pathway to LBSNAA and your journey does not have to start from Delhi. In fact, the best place to prepare for this exam is your home. All you need to do is find someone willing to help you plan your preparation and guide you through your journey and evaluate your performance.
- MYTH 4: One has to study for 14-16 hours every day to clear the exam.
Let us get real here. If you were to take up a 9-5 job, you would work for 8 hours. If you were to attend college, you would spend at least 8 hours taking classes, completing assignments. IAS preparation takes up exactly that much of your time, but with laser-sharp focus. It is not the number of hours that you put into studying that matters. One year of focus and alignment can put you FIVE years ahead in life. Don’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire. Have a study plan for 5-6 hours every day, stick to it. Constantly get your preparation evaluated. No force in the world can stop you from achieving your dream.
- MYTH 5: Luck plays an important factor in clearing the exam.
Success is 1% Luck and 99% Perspiration. If you are determined enough to put in the hard work and study consistently, you definitely can achieve your goal. It is all about self-belief. Only those who do not put in the hard work blame their fate for their failure. More often than not, aspirants give up their preparation due to lost focus or lack of guidance. This exam is easier to crack if approached in the right manner. The importance of right guidance, revision and evaluation of your preparation cannot be emphasised enough. Get a mentor who can guide you through your preparation and help you stay focused. It could be a friend who has appeared for/cleared the exam, a coaching institute or any form of trusted online guidance.
Every aspirant starts preparing for the exam with partial knowledge, unaware of the realities and substance of the exam. It is completely okay to take some time to understand the syllabus, strategy to be followed and other nitty-gritty. Do not let these hearsays get in the way of your preparation.
We have busted the common myths surrounding the IAS exam. Now it’s time you bust your own apprehensions and self-doubts and get started!
Candidates can check the UPSC Eligibility Criteria at the linked article.