Why IAS Aspirants Fail In Their USPC Civil Services Exam

Lakhs of IAS aspirants take up the UPSC civil services exams in our country. Some clear the prelims and don’t cross over the mains bridge. A few leap over the mains but stumble at the UPSC board interview. The IAS exam is one of the toughest in India but what are the precise reasons candidates fail? Let us take a look at a few reasons for failure compiled from the experiences of various candidates.

Reasons for Failure in the UPSC Exams

The following are some of the reasons for failure in the UPSC Exams-


The UPSC exam is known for its vast syllabus to cover and diverse subjects to learn. All this combined with the competition makes IAS aspirants to be burdened with fear. Their fear clouds their focus and makes errors in judgement. Fear of failure stifles them into inaction. Even if written exams are cleared, people fear facing the board interview.

2. Overconfidence

Some academically brilliant students also fail to crack the UPSC civil services. For example, an engineering student can ignore CSAT thinking he/she knows it all and pays the price for being arrogant. Remember that knowledge is never constant and can always be added upon.

3. Lack of strategy in the IAS preparation

Too many aspirants jump onto the IAS bandwagon without any plan or idea of how tough and taxing its preparation can be. They study without a proper strategy for the subjects. Clearing the IAS exams require a proper plan including USPC-specific preparation for all the subjects. A lack of direction in the approach would mean not being able to complete the syllabus on time.

4. Lack of revision

UPSC civil services preparation takes up almost a year. It is impossible to remember everything if you don’t revise periodically. 

5. Poor grip over the UPSC syllabus

Many students don’t give the UPSC syllabus its due importance. The UPSC sticks to the syllabus and even the current affairs questions are related to the syllabus.

6. Panic during the exams

Exam fear is a genuine problem as even the most prepared candidates falter because of the perceived enormity of the situation. Panic fogs your mind and you end up not being able to think and recall; thus fare badly in the exams.

6. Answer the question asked

A common mistake made by the aspirants is to not read the question properly and end up answering unnecessary things and ignoring what is really asked. Consider the question:

“Why have the resource-rich African and South Asian countries not developed despite decades of independence? Explain.”

Here, you don’t have to waste words and time talking about and comparing the poverty figures of both regions but start listing the reasons for the poverty.

7. Writing practice/mock tests

Some candidates fail because they don’t practice answering question papers. This is a fatal mistake as you will never learn to time your answers and also not know the pattern of the question papers.

8. Reading from too many sources

Gather all the material to study first and then stick by them. Except for current affairs, avoid going on collecting material for other subjects. This only confuses frustrates you.

9. Lack of time management and study plan

Many candidates fail because they don’t follow good time management techniques. 

10. Choosing the wrong optional subject

This is also a cause of failure in the IAS mains. Most candidates, for different reasons, choose the optional subjects ill-suited to their interests and knowledge. This leads to disastrous results in the exams ultimately.

11. Attitude

Last but not the least, many aspirants fail to make it because of their reluctance to give it all. Cracking the UPSC civil services require dedicated preparation throughout. This is not for the faint-hearted or languid ones.

Aspirants can find more UPSC related preparation materials through the links given below:

Related Links

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