UPSC is more about conceptual clarity than just mugging up!


Akhand Swaroop Pandit

UPSC is considered to be the toughest yet one of the most valuable examinations in the country. Several lakhs of candidates fill out the application for different examinations conducted under UPSC and compete for just 1000-1100 vacancies. Being such a popular examination and due to the recent changes made in the exam pattern, the fear of not being able to crack the UPSC in various attempts is higher than any other examinations.

While getting into the Union civil services, particularly the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) or Indian Police Service (IPS), is a fantastic career option, the basic notions and myths around these exams can prove to be a big hurdle. Some aspirants spend years learning and perfecting their skills to crack the examinations. While continuous revisions and in-depth study is important for every examination, aspirants often do not realize that conceptual clarity around various topics is crucial. They require to be receptive to increasing the thirst for knowledge than just mugging up the given topics and points around the syllabus.

It’s in fact all the more important today to be able to “ up to speed ” on current developments in the market place on aspects related to the subjects. To do well in the exams, students must understand the subject, be able to replicate the understanding in the exams and also be able to carry forward the learnings for their career ahead. For this, whenever an aspirant gets a doubt, it is important for them to clear it immediately because they don’t know how it will affect them in the process of preparation. Being strong in the concepts, taking the plunge & discussing all the problems with teachers & other students is always the best way to progress.

Here are a few other myths around the UPSC examinations that needs immediate attention:

Interviews are very difficult and it’s impossible to clear them without intensive study

UPSC Interviews in general is not just a selection test, it is a test of your overall knowledge and personality. One has to be confident and presentable. Even if they do not know the answers to certain questions, one needs to know how to say that ‘No’ word.

Aspirants should follow only what the toppers say

While it’s important for the aspirants to listen to toppers and reach them out for help, however, following one’s own time table is suggested since each one of us have a different style, method and pace of studying. And we always know ourselves better.

Aspirants have to study for 16-17 hours a day

It’s not like one has to sit in front of the books and succumb themselves with only the exam preparations. The best way to prepare for UPSC examination is to make sure to follow one’s own time table. Even if they are studying for 5-6 hours a day, keeping up on the regularity and complete focus during those few hours will always suffice. Even though these examinations may seem tough, one needs to be confident enough while preparing.

One must have good command over English to ace the interview

It’s rather one of the most absurd myths among the aspirants. UPSC interviews have never been focussed on any particular language. Every year there are many students who are giving interviews in Hindi while being selected into the final merit list. The point is to be able to express clearly to the interview panel whether it is in English or in Hindi.

Aspirants from well-off families or urban areas are the ones who crack the UPSC exam

UPSC demands regular and serious preparation and anybody following the dedicated schedule can clear the examination irrespective of their family backgrounds.

Only English medium students can score well

Even if one is attempting papers in Hindi, they can clear the exam. As mentioned earlier, more importance is given on the aspirants views, concepts and knowledge pertaining to the subject, while the other things should not deviate an aspirant from their goals.

The writer is Founder and CEO, The Catalyst group



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