The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failures.
Failure is a teacher and we must learn to grab the best out of its experiences. Civil services is one of the most competitive examinations in India and thousands of candidates fail to get through, every year. But as this phrase says, ‘Pressure creates diamond and fire creates goals’, failures create conquerors.
With success stories of toppers from all over India, it is an evident fact that most of them have cleared UPSC only in their re-attempts and their never-say-die attitude is a big-time motivation. So in case you have failed in UPSC, or, for the matter of fact, in any aspect of your life, believe that it’s not the end, but a beginning of a journey with better experiences and lessons.
‘Success is just a trial away’.
Be Positive – Failures are a part of life and one must be open to accept, learn, get up again and give it another shot. It doesn’t mean that one cannot crack the Civil Services exam in first attempt, people can and do crack, but it vary from person to person. The one who successfully crack the exam are undoubtedly deserve applause, but those who fail to crack in first attempt should not feel disheartened at all, and must not distract from their goal of cracking the most coveted exam and serving the nation.
After backsliding in UPSC examinations, most of the students get depressed, and it is understandable because students indeed put lot of efforts, time and hardwork in order to make it to the list; but remember, hardwork never goes in vain. So use your failed attempt as a stepping stone to success and get ready to outshine in another attempt.
As Janet Fitch rightly quotes, ‘The phoenix must burn to emerge’; failure makes you wiser, experienced and courageous enough to stand again and thrive.
Rectify your mistakes – Rectify the flaws that made you stand slightly back from other CSE toppers. Reasons could be anything; such as;
- Lack of preparation and sometimes, over-confidence
- Abridgement of thoughts
- Shortfall of apt vocabulary
- Lowered confidence
- Lack of revision or
- Absence of proper guidance
While preparing for the re-attempt after having rectified the shortfall, keep a good check on the following:-
- Strategize your preparation process well – It is not the time to prepare for the Civil services at a beginner level. You are already aware of the techniques; you only need to brush them up. Integrated preparation is the key. Study for both the prelims and mains together and shift your focus entirely to prelims only 2 months prior to the preliminary exam. Remember most of the GS syllabus of Mains is covered by Prelims too.
- Read NCERT – Grab the NCERTs immediately, in case you haven’t already. New NCERT has a lighter language and is precisely informative. So find your pick according to your suitability. Even if you have already studied NCERT earlier, one round of mug up is recommended to strengthen the basic knowledge.
- Grab previous year question papers – Previous year papers and the one you attempted are essential to go through and solve to get a good understanding about examination pattern and the kind of questions asked by UPSC. These question papers also help you assess and evaluate on points where you lacked. And of course, it helps improving writing skills and time management.
- Revise your notes – With updates in numerous aspects of subjects that you cover while preparing, your notes need revision. Focus on important subjects like History, Geography, economics, social science and especially your optional subject along with Current Affairs. Make notes of everything you study and keep one or two day in a week for only revision before moving further to the next topic.
- Current affairs are priority – UPSC has lately changed the examination pattern quite much in terms of current affairs based questions. With increasing intent towards current affairs, manage your preparation priorities and stay well updated on same. Analyse news stories and grasp the logical explanations associated with current updates.
- Read your Newspapers well – Current affairs can be majorly covered by reading ‘the Hindu’ and ‘the Indian Express’ for English and ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ or ‘Dainik Jagran’ for relevant information for Hindi medium students. Do not jump to multiple news sources as they will only confuse you more.
- Be informed – Keep a keen eye on Government Schemes & Initiatives, Economic surveys, PIB notifications, budgets updates and other important government announcements.
- Enroll in Test Series – IAS coaching institutions provide aspirants with updated test series time to time, enabling students to scrutinize their performances and let them experience the real-time exam pressure. Take these Prelims and Mains test series to check where you stand and find your holes to bank up on the relevant and needed information.
- Practice writing for speed and clarity – Along with your knowledge, personality traits, UPSC Civil Services exam is a test of your speed and time management too. There is a lot to write, and time is in its limitations. Hence, focus well on your writing speed. Answer previous year question papers and make notes not in digital but written form. This will not just increase your speed but also let you improve your writing skills. Do not forget to scrutinize your writing and its clarity as it will be no use knowing it all and doing your best if the examiner is not able to understand a word that you wrote. A neat answer-sheet always carries its own impression.
- Choose your Mentor Wisely – Subject matter experts are known for their expertise over a particular aspect. UPSC is one exam where not many are willing to take risks and hence a good mentor is necessary for the right guidance and positive insight about Civil services. Every person has their share of understanding and experience. Consult only one person whom you think you can actually rely upon. A good coaching institute is recommended, instead of searching for a mentor outside; as you will get experts’ guidance and support in a coaching academy to discuss your doubts and strategize your preparation process.
- Nothing is Impossible if you have faith – A failure will never stop you from achieving what you have worked hard for. So is with UPSC as it gives you options to re-attempt (in set criterions, though), only because UPSC too know that it is a hard nut to crack and the right candidates deserve chances to prove them best to get into Administrative Services. Have faith and keep going. We do believe in you!