Every year more than 2 lakh candidates appear for UPSC CSE Prelims exam but only about 10,000 to 15,000 candidates are successful in clearing the Prelims hurdle and writing the Mains exam. What are the common mistakes committed by the bulk of IAS aspirants that, you, as a budding UPSC aspirant should avoid while preparing for IAS exam? This article addresses the most common mistakes to avoid when preparing for UPSC IAS exam.
Not Attempting Mock Tests
This is one of the most common mistakes that IAS aspirants commit. Although you might have prepared for the Prelims with full dedication and effort but if you do not attempt mock tests, you will not identify your strong and weak areas. Also, you will not get proper time management practice. Mock tests also boost your self-confidence before the actual exam. Therefore, you should always attempt mock tests while preparing for UPSC IAS exam and not wait till the last moment to attempt mock tests.
Not Analysing Previous Years Questions
Previous years UPSC questions for Prelims and Mains are an excellent method to know the current trend of CSE exam. Candidates who do not refer to the previous year’s questions while preparing for Prelims or Mains usually get surprised during the actual exam which increases their anxiety and often results in below par performance. The best strategy to prepare for IAS is to look up the previous year’s questions before preparing a topic and after you have completed it.
Not Setting a Preparation Time Table
Let’s face it. You do not like to get stuck in a routine as far as your IAS preparation is concerned. But guess what, if you wish to succeed in the IAS exam, you will need to develop a routine for your Prelims and Mains preparation. Random study without any definite plan or strategy can result in failure and frustration. Therefore, you must prepare a daily, weekly, monthly and long term timetable and stick to it. This way you will develop discipline in your preparation efforts and also cover the topics in a time-bound manner leaving adequate time for revision and mock tests.
Not Preparing Short Notes for IAS
Many candidates to the UPSC exam fail to succeed because they ignored this crucial advice to prepare short notes for IAS preparation. The short notes help you to revise quickly before the Prelims and Mains exam since you cannot go through an entire 300-page book just before the Prelims or Mains. Hence, you should prepare short notes for IAS preparation which you can go through quickly 15-20 days before the IAS prelims or mains.
Trying to Study for 15 Hours Daily
Have you been made to believe by your peers and friends that you need to prepare for 15 hours daily if you want to crack the IAS exam? This is one of the most popular myths about IAS exam and often results in burnout of candidates. After all, how is it possible to study for 15 hours daily with total concentration daily on a consistent basis? Rather, you should focus on preparing for 8-10 hours consistently. The short message is please don’t try to be a Superman or Wonderwoman as far as your IAS preparation is concerned.
Not Taking a Break while Preparing
Some IAS aspirants feel that they can prepare for 5-6 hours at a stretch, which is frankly, quite impossible. So this is another mistake to avoid when preparing for the UPSC exam. You should take a 10-15 minutes break every 90 minutes of studying so that your mind remains fresh and you can study without feeling fatigue. Short breaks also help you to learn more effectively and also aid in memory retention.
Leaving Current Affairs Preparation to the End
Many candidates have this belief that they do not need to prepare current affairs on a daily basis and they can postpone current affairs preparation till the end. This is another major factor for failure in the IAS exam and should be avoided. You should develop the habit of reading a good newspaper daily and also prepare short notes based on current affairs. If you do this, you will benefit tremendously in the Prelims and Mains.
Not Developing Writing Skills
You may have prepared for the UPSC Mains in the most intricate manner possible but if you do not practice answer writing you will not be able to structure your answers in the Mains exam. After all, you will be rewarded by UPSC only if you are able to reproduce your theoretical knowledge into written answers.
Not Revising Before the Exam
Proper revision before the Prelims and Mains is crucial for your success in the IAS exam. This revision will help you to recollect and retain important facts figures during the exam more. This last-minute revision can often be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful candidate.
I hope you found these common mistakes to avoid of use for your IAS preparation. You can also go through the detailed guide on IAS preparation for more tips related to UPSC preparation.