I come across IAS aspirants, emails, blog comments and forum posts with many queries regarding IAS exam and how to prepare for it. They have some knowledge about the exam but much of it is myths or incorrect information they picked up from various sources. This post busts the various myths surrounding the IAS exam and also aims to provide correct information in place of the misinformation that you might have picked up from random and unreliable sources.
IAS Exam Myths
Myth 1: You need to study 15-20 hours a day to crack this exam
You might as well study 24 hours if that’s possible 🙂 Frankly speaking I do not know how is it humanly possible to stay focussed for 15 hours a day on any topic. What you require is not mindless slogging but smart and focussed study. It does not matter if you study 8 hours or 10 hours daily. What matters is consistency and focus.
Myth 2: You need to select two optional subjects for Mains
This is such a common misconception that I had to put this myth at the second place in this list. Hello, the Mains pattern changed in 2013 and you need to select just ONE optional subject and NOT two in the new pattern. Please drill this fact in your mind and stop asking questions about selecting two optional subjects comments and email. Read this guide on selecting the best optional subject for Mains.
Myth 3: You need to read all NCERT books for Prelims
Obviously, NCERT books are important but that does not mean you read each and every NCERT book for Prelims or that merely NCERT books are sufficient to crack the Prelims. Rather there are particular NCERT books that you should read for Prelims.
Myth 4: You need to study a dozen or so books for Prelims and Mains each
Do this only if you plan to pursue a doctorate in IAS! For cracking the Prelims and Mains, these IAS books will be adequate. Aspirants enrolling for coaching in institutes in Delhi will generally be handed a 3 to 4 page book list. Now my question is if you are required to read all these books then why join a coaching class in the first place? You might as well start teaching in these classes 🙂 But you should not deviate from your only purpose of cracking the IAS exam and for that you require smart study as I mentioned above and part of this approach is reading only what is required and not every book recommended by your peers or coaching class.
Myth 5: IAS is the mother of all exams and is almost impossible to crack
IAS is neither the mother nor father of any exam. It is an independent exam which requires its own approach to achieve success. Remember, every year more than 900 aspirants are cracking this exam and getting selected in various services. These aspirants are just like you and me and have fascinating stories to tell. But the first thing they will tell you is that this exam is very much doable and that they achieved success through consistent hard work and a can do attitude. If they were in awe of this exam they could have never cleared it in the first place.
Myth 6: I am Hindi or non-English medium candidate. I am at a disadvantage as compared to English medium candidates
The language you choose is not a handicap, rather, lack of confidence and non-availability of study materials is. Every year numerous students from non-English background are clearing the civil services exam. You too can. Also, you should always select the language you are most comfortable in expressing yourself. So please don’t opt for English as medium of examination if you aren’t comfortable in it.
Myth 7: I am nearing the age limit in my category so its too late to attempt the exam
So long you are eligible to apply for the exam, you have a chance of clearing it. A friend of mine attempted it in his 30th year (when the age limit was 30 years for General category)) and got selected for a respectable Central Civil Services, if not IAS. Another acquaintance got selected for IPS at the age of 35 years (when the age limit was 35 years for SC category). So its never too late to attempt the IAS exam provided you have a definite plan and will power to make it through.
Myth 8: IAS is the most powerful service in India and you are virtually the King once you become an IAS officer
IAS is a service that offers you the best opportunity to do good for your country. That does not mean it is the most powerful job in India. Rather, it is the politicians who wield the real power. Do not join the IAS if the only motivation is power. Rather read this post on why you want to become an IAS officer?
Myth 9: There is no need to practice answer writing or attempting mock tests rather I will just prepare and do my best in the Exam hall
Good luck to you then! Attempting any exam, and not just IAS, without proper practice beforehand is like shooting in the dark. No matter how good your preparation is, you have to test it before entering the exam hall. After all, you don’t want to blow up a crucial attempt and an entire year of hard work simply due to lack of practice. That’s why you need to know the importance of a good test series for IAS.
Myth 10: IAS require a lot of luck and chance to get through. Luck won’t shine on me
Luck and chance play a role in varying degrees in any endeavour of our life. But that does not mean luck and chance is the only thing that matters. If it were so, you don’t need to work hard for the IAS exam rather you will only need to perform rituals so that luck shines on you. What you should instead focus on is the right preparation with the right focus and a persistent attitude to achieve success in the IAS exam.
I hope the above information will help dispel any myth you might be carrying about the IAS exam. If you have any further doubts or misconception, you can ask your query in the comments below.