The 2017 UPSC civil services exam is knocking at your door with the scheduled date being 18th June 2017 for the UPSC Prelims exam. If you get the required cut-off in this round, you will be eligible to sit for the UPSC mains exam which is due in the month of October this year. For many of you, this would be the maiden attempt while for some others, this would be the second or third or fourth attempt. Lakhs of aspirants take this prestigious exam and only a handful makes the cut in the end. Clearing the UPSC CSE requires a meticulous and dedicated approach to studies. This article talks about the top 12 common mistakes that aspirants should avoid during their UPSC IAS preparation.
Mistake #1: To be coached or not coached
A lot of aspirants have preconceived notions in their heads regarding coaching. They either think they ought to go for coaching classes or they think coaching classes can only ruin their preparation. The truth is, coaching can or cannot help – it depends on the individual preparing at the end of the day. Having such rigid notions can affect your preparation psychologically. Don’t fall into it.
Mistake #2: Not planning wisely
It is widely accepted that without planning, the IAS exam cannot be cracked. So, most aspirants plan. But why is it that only some of those plans come to fruition? The reason lies in the kind of planning people make. If you commit mistakes in the planning stage itself, you cannot realise your dreams. It is important to have a long-term plan of course. But also have micro-plans. Have small and achievable plans so that you can check a few boxes every day. This will go a long way in enhancing your confidence. Also, concrete plans work way better than vague idealistic goals.
Mistake #3: Keeping heavier stuff for the end of the day
It is a psychologically accepted fact that your willpower decreases as the day progresses. So, start your day’s preparation with the heavier stuff which requires more concentration and motivation. Keep the lighter work for the end of the day.
Mistake #4: Not taking all three stages seriously
Every stage of the UPSC exam process is important. Don’t take the prelims or the interview lightly as it can cost you an attempt.
Mistake #5: Not taking NCERTs seriously
NCERTs are the basic books required for IAS preparation. Don’t ignore them as they help you understand the basics very well. Also, many times questions seem to be asked directly from them.
Mistake #6: Taking multiple sources
No doubt the UPSC Syllabus is vast and you need a plethora of sources to comprehensively cover it. But it would be a mistake to refer to too many sources for a single topic. Take one of two sources per topic and cover them well. As they say, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
Mistake #7: Not practicing question papers
Without answer writing practice the mains would be a tough nut to crack. This is because the exam is for three hours where you have to read the questions, analyse and frame the perfect answers.
Mistake #8: Focusing too much on static portions
The UPSC is changing its format with more weightage given to dynamic portions rather than static ones. You have to develop the ability to analyse events and write answers, rather than just regurgitate static information.
Mistake #9: Spending too much time on newspapers
Newspaper reading is important, but out of say, 10 hours, it would be unwise to spend 3-4 hours on reading the newspaper daily. You need to spend only a maximum of 1 hour for it.
Mistake #10: Not preparing for the IAS Interview
A lot of people tend to think since the IAS interview is only a personality test, it requires no serious preparation. This would be a grave mistake. Respect the UPSC board and prepare exclusively for the UPSC Personality test.
Mistake #11: Being nervous
Despite whole-hearted studying for a year, if you are nervous during the three hours of exam, your civil services dreams may be shattered. Nervousness will cloud your ability to think and focus.
Mistake #12: Being overconfident
A few aspirants also become overconfident because of their academic records or good performance in mock tests. Remember the UPSC exam is a highly competitive one. Be confident but avoid being arrogant about your preparation.