Five Don’t’s of UPSC Preparation from IFS Topper Priyanka Mehtani

The 2014 civil services topper for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) was Chandigarh girl Priyanka Mehtani. She had bagged an all India rank of 59 in the CSE and opted for the IFS. Mehtani is a chartered accountant by training and had also completed a short-term business management course from the illustrious Stanford University. A bright student throughout her academic life, Mehtani had previously secured the 18th rank in her CA final examination. In this article, Priyanka Mehtani gives you some invaluable tips which she calls the five don’t’s of UPSC preparation.

#1: Do not hoard

This basically means always study as per your schedule and so not stockpile stuff to study. This is a dangerous thing to do because material keeps on accumulating until you feel frustrated and give up your pursuit. Avoid this scenario by maintaining a realistic study time table for IAS exam and be a stickler for it. Another thing implied by this tip is not to hoard books which you would never read. This is a sheer waste of money and a pile of unread books can also be source of disappointment.

#2: Do not fake study

Some people “study” for 10 hours and don’t go beyond one chapter whereas some others study for 4 hours and are able to finish way more. This is because of the manner in which people spend their study time. While engaged in reading for the IAS exam, it is important to be fully focused on the task at hand. You should keep distractions in the form of friends, TV, social media, negative thoughts, etc. at bay. Only when you concentrate and study with a fierce determination to complete what you set out to finish, your productivity will be maximized. And this is imperative if you wish to study the humungous UPSC syllabus. You may sit at your study table for ten hours but if you daydream for the most part of it, you lose precious time. Avoid this kind of fake study.

#3: Do not avoid mocks

Under no circumstances must you avoid taking mock UPSC tests both for the prelims and the mains. Mock tests give you the opportunity to assess your strengths and weaknesses in an exam format. They give you a perfect simulation of the IAS exams. You will also learn to manage time which can be a deciding factor in your success in the IAS exam. BYJU’S offers the best IAS test series for both the prelims as well as the mains exams. Read more.

#4: Do not compare

There is a tendency among aspirants to compare their levels of preparation with their peers. While competition is an important factor in propelling people to push themselves harder, it is also important to keep in mind that different people have differing levels of speed and styles of IAS exam preparation. Unnecessary comparison can lead aspirants to depression and also make them give up their pursuit. An important rule of comparison is this: Compare yourself only to yourself. Assess where you are now and where you stood, say a month back. This should guide you towards your destination in a systematic fashion.

#5: Do not blame others

There is a saying which goes, ‘You are the architect of your own future.’ This is true in every aspect of life. If your IAS attempt had been a failure, you cannot blame your family, your friends, your coaches or the UPSC for it. The UPSC ensures a level playing field for all the candidates. Everything is in your own hands and under your control. If you toil hard, you will be paid for it. The success stories of many candidates prove that no matter what your family circumstances are, or what your educational qualifications are, no matter whether you are young or on the wrong side of 30, success comes to those who sweat it out. When faced with failure, own it, accept responsibility, and pick up the pieces and surge ahead.

Also Read | UPSC IAS Exam Preparation: Make Your Last Attempt the Best

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