Mistakes the UPSC candidates make

AK Mishra, enlightens aspirants upon the 10 common mistakes they do and the ways to rectify it.

Not following the curriculum
One of the biggest mistakes the aspirants commit is not following the syllabus given by the UPSC. Many of them start their preparation without referring to the syllabus and within no time find themselves in ‘no progress zone’. Though the topics may be vast, but not completely unlimited. Civil Services aspirants need to break this myth as this may prove fatal in the long run costing you with time, money, energy and resources. In their course of preparation, consider the UPSC syllabus as your roadmap to start with and continue referring it at all points of preparation.
Missing to go through
previous years
Aspirants do not realize that the previous year papers can help them prepare in accordance with the latest trend followed by the UPSC. While preparing, refer to previous years after each step in order to co-relate with the topics finished, as this is a good indicator of whether you are moving in the right direction or not.
Piling up irrelevant books
Flooding the room completely with UPSC preparation books does not always land you in success. For effective preparation, choose handpicked books that are genuinely relevant. Though there are several market place in the city that is the hub for such preparation books with various authors and publications available, scrutinize for the relevant book to idealize your preparation. It is preferable for the aspirants to seek advise from their seniors, experienced mentors or reliable sources before going for a book purchase.
Not getting basic reference
Most of the aspirants do this by going for heavy weight books instead of getting the basics clear. The NCERT books upto 12 standard are a good source of knowledge to initiate steadily. This is the most atomic sized mistake that can compel your preparations to fall.
Writing skills deficiency
The mains exams is the criteria for the selection process which is entirely a series of descriptive papers, included one essay, one Indian language, English Comprehension, 4 GS Papers and 2 Optional subject papers. One lacking writing skills may not be well efficient in clearing the selection process in this stage.
The aspirants should be well equipped with facts, required knowledge and current affairs & must have the wisdom to write an answer in such a precise and skillful manner manner that reflect the wisdom, knowledge along with the right administrative traits. Hence, it is always advised to aspirants to practice answer writing, solve previous year question papers and most importantly, do enroll for Mains Test Series to not only get an idea of probable questions but also an evaluation and writing suggestions from experts.
Way of Choosing optional paper
Aspirants opt for the optional paper based on the subject scores and marking trends, length and extent of the curriculum and subject that covers almost the GS paper. Though these things should be considered at some level, but it should mainly be chosen in such a way that it should also suit the aspiranssts interest and inclination towards it, and having a strong background with that subject can be an added advantage.
Notperceiving the bottomline
of the Newspapers
If the Newspapers and the magazines are not understood about ‘what and how to read’, the results will yield low in the long run.
A Newspaper has three segments from an exam point of view – events (that gives facts and figures), Issues (provides views and reviews that helps in developing an individual’s understanding and opinion on contemporary subjects. In addition, editorials on various other segments of National and International importance also helps aspirants to frame and write well structured answers. Hence utilize the newspapers with persistent efforts.
Improper analysis of
your strengths
SWOT analysis is undertaken to identify the internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. As the nature of Civil Services Exam demands high dynamism and adaptability, candidates often miss to analyse their inbuilt strengths and weakness along with the posing opportunity and threats. This takes them in a wrong direction during preparation leading to loss of tempo and zeal. Aspirants should therefore keep a consistent grip over their strong areas and atleast a loose fist over weaker sections.
Not prioritizing the task
Improper management of time can lead to undesirable outcomes. It is always advisable to not make Civil Services Examination a long term plan, but target a specific year when you want to appear, and learn to manage time and priortize work accordingly to be prepared well by that set time.
Any ambition without a time frame is nothing more than a fantasy. Moreover, even during the exam, candidates get number of question to answer within the stipulated time, so time management must be inculcated in the personality at a trait.
Circumventing regular reviewing
To retain the information stored during the preparation, it is necessary to revise consistently. There has to be a very well maintained cohesion between what you read and ‘revise’ what have you read till date. Video Lectures, Subject Audios and Group Discussions (Group Study) can prove to be a boon for a Civil Services Aspirant.
The author is Founder and Chairman
Chanakya IAS Academy