I was chatting with a friend some days back and he expressed his desire to appear for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam. I said the CDS exam is a great stepping stone to a fulfilling career in the defence services. He agreed but quickly added that he wasn’t so much interested in the CDS as in the IAS exam. Puzzled, I asked then why is he talking of the CDS exam? He replied ex-servicemen get 5 years relaxation for civil services exam. Wait a minute, I said. “You want to appear for the IAS but will attempt the CDS first, only to get 5 years more for the IAS?”
“That’s right”, he replied. “And what’s you age at present?” I asked. “23”, pat came the answer.
23! You have all the time to prepare for the IAS exam and you want to appear for CDS, then serve for at least 5 years in the defence services and leave it to appear for the IAS? Hello, why not just appear for the IAS directly? The CDS exam may have its attractions but that’s not the point here. The issue is you are interested in the IAS, then why are you thinking about the round-about manner of appearing for other exams first? Also this person comes from an affluent business background so finances are not an issue.
Unfortunately, this is the state of mind of many IAS aspirants who aren’t clear about their goals or the dreams they wish to pursue and end up wasting the most productive years of their life appearing for competitive exams half heartedly.
Earlier we discussed about the motivations for becoming an IAS officer but this post goes into the question of bringing clarity to your decision or resolve to become an IAS.
After all, the IAS or civil services exam is not just another entrance exam for which you can prepare for in two to three months. It takes a minimum of 1 year of intense preparation and in most cases, more than two years, to crack the exam. The period of your life that you invest in preparing for the IAS is your most productive and your future career depends on the decisions you take and effort you make during your twenties. For this reason, you should be first of all clear in your mind that you want to crack the civil services exam before you invest two to three years of your precious time preparing and appearing for the exam.
If your attitude is ‘chalta hai’ type where you think ‘if I prepare for the IAS, surely then I can crack the lower exams like Bank PO’. Hello, what is it that you want to become? An IAS or a PO? If it is the former, concentrate on this one exam without thinking of the another and if its the latter, then forget the first.
You see, no two exams are the same although they may appear similar. If you feel your best chance of cracking the IAS is over, then by all means go for an alternative like Bank PO exam but if you are just starting preparing for the IAS then concentrate solely on this exam and not other exams side by side. You will end up compromising your goals even before starting the race.
Dr T Prabhu Shankar, 7th ranker in 2012 civil services exam, puts its very nicely when he says:
The IAS exam is not like a course and everything depends on interest, determination and preparation. So, doing right things in a right way at the right time holds the key to success.
I’ve highlighted the three important words – interest, determination, motivation. And he puts interest before determination and starting your preparation. What are you interested in really? Ask yourself this question today.
If the answer is IAS, start preparing for it thinking about no other exam. If you are confused, it would be better to solve this confusion first before investing years of your life into the IAS exam. And frankly if you have just completed your graduation or post-graduation and if there is no pressing issue of getting a job first, then why not devote full time to your IAS exam preparation? If you make it, well and good. If not, you can always appear for other competitive exams later on. Either way you will make it good in life. But don’t fall in the middle gorge of confusion and anxiety. This will only delay your ultimate success in life.