Common mistakes by IAS aspirants in exam preparation

Common mistakes by the aspirants in the Civil Services examination preparation.

The reason why we choose this topic is because, it is in the prime youth of 20 to 30 years of age that we undertook the civil services preparation each year.

This preparation is a very lengthy process involving one and of years of time for every attempt. Every mistake that we commit takes a precious one and of years of our lifetime. Therefore, less the number of mistakes in our preparation, less the time that we take to succeed in this examination.

Let me list out few common mistakes aspirants generally make:

Take Syllabus as Bible

The first and the foremost mistake is that the civil services aspirants do not look into the syllabus prescribed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Once you took an Optional & the General Studies paper, the Bible of every civil services aspirant should be the Syllabus. The right activity that should be carried out is that Give importance to each and every word given in the Syllabus, see whether that part of the syllabus, questions of arisen in the previous years.

So, each part of syllabus has to be covered methodically in the preparation process and then only you can have a complete overall preparation.

Previous Question Papers as a Guide

The Guide for every civil services aspirant should be the Pervious Years Question Papers. Candidates generally do not refer to the previous years question papers throughout their preparation, and may be at the fag end towards the examination that is for the prelim exam candidates refer the previous preliminary questions in the month of April or May, which is hardly have 15 days or one month time. So, once you start the preparation have the previous years questions in hand and refer to them.

When you study a chapter just go through what were previous years questions asked from this chapter, see in which part of the portion was it asked and give importance to that area when you study. So, have the previous years papers of Prelims as well as Mains as the guide for your preparation.

Choosing the Right Optional

The most grievous mistake of civil service aspirants is choosing the right optional. Choosing optional in a hasty mode with the opinion of the friends, then they think!, Was it a right optional for me? After wasting 2 or 3 attempts.

Students should avoid this. Choosing the optional is most critical decision of every civil service aspirant.

Therefore, before choosing the optional, go through the syllabus, see whether you incline towards a subject, whether you will be able to spend 6-7 hours of the day with the subject, whether the material is available for subject, whether you have any seniors who have actually passed with the subject successfully in examination. See all these aspects and then only decide an optional.

Whether, Coaching is rightly available and material is also available for the subject, whether subject is scoring, whether you will be able to score well with subject. So having answer all these questions, then choose the right optional.

Mingle with the Seniors

Another common mistake is, generally civil service aspirants do not mingle with the seniors, It is always better to have 4 to 5 seniors for every optional you choose. Have them as a guide, friends, philosopher and meet them once in a week, talk to them over phone tell them whatever the query appear in your mind, ask for clarifications. This is the way or I would say shortcut to success.

So having contacts with seniors is the next most important thing which aspirant should do and most of them fail to do.

Group Study

Form a group of 4 or 5 aspirants who are of the same wavelength. Most civil service aspirants endup studying in seclusion, in a room (all alone), and not knowing what is happening outside and trying hard. Every person would have the same difficulty, if we form a group we would be able to successfully come out of the battle in much better manner.

Therefore, a small groups of 4 to 5 candidates is very ideal. So that, you can discuss things, you have test sessions, you can meet frequently once or twice in a week. This aspect also students generally fail and they think that they will be wasting time with discussion and endup with seclusion and depression.

Writing Test Papers

The next common thing is that aspirants do not give importance in writing frequent tests. This is very important for preliminary and more so important for mains examination. Generally, candidates focus and spend more time on reading and studying but not in writing. Only when you write, when you appear for more test, only when you put yourself in a examination mode, and you will be able to check Where You Are!

Students do not get into test, unless they enter into the last face that is one month before the exam, and anyone have lot to correct in themselves leading to failure, even they have studied so much.

So, writing test is very important and candidates should start this in the very preliminary stage (Six month before the Pre and Main examination).


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Reference: V.R. Subbulaxmi, AIR: 147th - (Civil Services Exam 2009)

Test Series for Civil Services Prelims

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