10 common mistakes made by UPSC aspirants during preparation

Irrespective of the fact that a UPSC candidate is self-studying or taking coaching, they are likely to make some common mistakes.

Known to address the pain points of UPSC aspirants, here are the 10 most common mistakes that the candidates tend to make, and how to solve them for the UPSC Prelims 2021:

1. Not checking the syllabus thoroughly

The UPSC syllabus is humongous, which is why the candidate must check it thoroughly to cover each and every aspect of it and not just rely on notes and study material of institutes. Not only the subjects and topics, one must be aware of the UPSC Exam pattern where many aspirants go wrong if they blindly follow the IAS mock test series or other Civil Services test series that may not have upgraded themselves with the changing patterns in the UPSC exam over the years. The syllabus is updated each year so the IAS aspirants must keep their eyes open to get the latest information from a reliable source.

2. Not revising

IAS aspirants really need to be thorough with the syllabus and the right technique to do well in the IAS exam. Memorising is not enough, a candidate needs to instill the concepts in their brain as only as they would be able to reproduce them in the exams. Multiple revisions and regular practice are crucial to inscribe the concepts and to be able to apply them in the exam.

3. Not taking mock tests

Studying alone for hours would not give an IAS candidate the correct insight into their preparation unless they test it. Mock tests give IAS aspirants simulation of the exam environment and also help them gauge their knowledge.

4. Piling up multiple books

UPSC aspirants must understand that collecting multiple books for a single subject is not going to help them in any way. The objective is not just to read the books, rather to imbibe and memorise the knowledge imparted therein. The correct approach is to zero in on a specific set of books that cover all the topics for a single subject. There is no need to waste money on too many books or study materials and surround yourself with its pile. In the UPSC IAS exam, quality weighs more than quantity.

5. No time management

This is probably the worst mistake, and if not made, the most effective tool in the UPSC exam preparation. It is crucial that all the subjects and topics are scheduled for studying and evenly spread across the preparation span. Constant, quality study-time must be invested to crack the UPSC exam and make it to the IAS selection list.

6. Choosing irrelevant optional subjects

A thorough analysis of the syllabus is a must before selecting one the aspirant is most comfortable with. The candidates make the mistake of selecting the most opted subject or the one selected by previous year’s toppers. However, it may not be suitable for all. So, students must explore their strong subjects and choose accordingly.

7. Reading irrelevant news in the newspaper

Reading newspapers is probably the first advice aspirants get if they aspire to become an IAS, IPS, or IFS officer. However, very few sources would tell you how to effectively read a newspaper and not waste your time. The candidates must be smart enough to find the right topics from current affairs, as well as those related to subjects to gather relevant information.

8. Not having a mentor

There is a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn”. Mentors do the same in an aspirant’s life by involving them in learning and helping them achieve their goals at a higher level. Mentors help provide unparalleled insights to push the aspirants to their limits by being their idols. Their constant motivation and guidance help prepare better.

9. Juggling multiple things

Most candidates often end up grasping at straws when it comes to clearing IAS Prelims, hence facing failure and requiring multiple attempts to clear it. The utmost focus of the aspirant should be on the UPSC exam preparation and that too through practice. The level of the exam is towering, so one really needs to be focused and one-pointed.

10. Lack of constructive group studies

Studying alone is preferable as everyone has their own learning curve. However, a constructive group for studies can boost an aspirant’s morale and keep monotony at bay. Not only that, but it also helps a student to test the waters and gives an idea of where they stand with respect to their peers. Aspirants should make study groups, be aware of the latest information, study, and share knowledge constructively.

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