MYTHS

BY ABSOLUTEIAS· PUBLISHED  · UPDATED 

The tremendous prestige of the examination has created an aura about the examination and given rise to many half-baked truths, which heighten the sense of awe. The challenging Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is spread over an entire year, divided into three extremely competitive stages, in which anything can go wrong at any stage leading to one’s failure. While beginning their preparation, many students have partial knowledge about the exam, and it’s nitty-gritty.

The challenging Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is spread over an entire year, divided into three extremely competitive stages, in which anything can go wrong at any stage leading to one’s failure. While beginning their preparation, many students have partial knowledge about the exam, and it’s nitty-gritty.

The challenging Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is spread over an entire year, divided into three extremely competitive stages, in which anything can go wrong at any stage leading to one’s failure. While beginning their preparation, many students have partial knowledge about the exam, its nitty-gritty and preparation strategy. Confused by half knowledge and filled with fear, many of the students start believing in myths floating around. In this article, an attempt is being made to dispel certain popular “myths”.

 

MYTH 1: Only highly intelligent students with an excellent academic record can be successful in CSE

REALITY: Although being a topper helps at many places, it does not guarantee you success in this exam. What is required is general awareness, logical reasoning, and good writing skills. If you can develop those, you can clear this exam even if you had a second division in Class X or XII. Yes, you might have to explain in the interview as to why you scored less, but it is not held against you if you have a valid reason.

 

MYTH 2: IAS officers/aspirants should know everything about every topic/subject under the sun.

REALITY: No, they do not. But since this is a generalist exam, they are supposed to be generally well read, with a balanced outlook towards issues. Moreover, the syllabus of the exam is huge, covering many subjects. So, an IAS aspirant is generally much more aware than others. What is required is a general understanding of the topic and conceptual clarity. The exam does not require one to be an expert in a topic, rather, aspirants should have a general awareness and analytical skills.

 

MYTH 3: I need to remember a lot of facts to clear CSE.

REALITY: This Myth is more hyped about CSE Prelims. However, unlike other PSC, Banking Exams, UPSC is more focused about understanding and conceptual clarity. The exam does not test factual knowledge at all. It tests your understanding, conceptual clarity, and analytical skills. However, some facts are considered to be the basis of building perspective, which is important to know. So, you should know a few basic facts such as the size of the GDP, demographic data, and so on, but it will be easier to remember them once you understand their significance.

 

MYTH 4: Writing skills cannot be improved, so one should read now and directly write in the exam hall.

REALITY: This is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. Writing at home and writing in the exam hall are two entirely different scenarios. There is so much pressure in the exam hall that you can find it hard to think about new points. So, if you do not practice, you would not be able to finish the paper on time. Writing skills improve slowly, hence, it is more important that you practice regularly. Consistent writing practice helps in honing articulation which leads to better expression, and, ultimately, better marks. Writing skills come handier in G.S. paper-4 (Ethics& Integrity) and Essay Paper. One can’t expect to get better at these without practice.

 

MYTH 5: One needs to study 16 hours a day to clear.

REALITY: Gone are the days when these hypes worked. Let’s face it. No one can study for 16 hours per day for an extended period and not crash. Moreover, it is not the hours that matter, rather the quality. So, you have people who clear by studying for four to five hours a day alongside a job, and people who have studied for 12 hours per day continuously for months. You must find your balance. Smart work is equally important as hard work.

 

MYTH 6: You need to read many books on a single topic to gain absolute “mastery” over the subject.

REALITY: First, “mastery” over any subject is a super ambitious target, in case of UPSC exam (That only Baba’s can do 😉. Second, it is always better to understand a single book in great depth rather than reading multiple books to understand a topic. Also, even though you have read and understood something, it takes time to get internalized as you are going to study many new topics. If you don’t make notes and revise, you might not be able to retain them effectively. If you genuinely understand a topic and want to expand your knowledge and/or build more perspective, reading more books can certainly help. Reading a single book, again and again, is more beneficial than studying and trying whole spectra of things.

 

MYTH 7: One must read standard books and Daily Newspapers from cover to cover and make notes on every topic in the syllabus.

REALITY: Absolutely not. Apart from NCERTs and some books, nothing is required to be read cover to cover. Though reading and acquiring knowledge is almost always helpful, it is far better to adopt a topic-wise approach. Break down the syllabus in keywords and try to cover them from relevant sources and books. Also, making notes is important. But they shouldn’t become an end-in-themselves. They should aid in your understanding and help in effective revision. Making a mind map is far better, and so is scribbling on the margins, than making traditional notes. Talking about newspapers, though are of utmost importance, especially now, but an IAS aspirant must not indulge in all kinds of daily news like My City News, Bollywood news, sports news etc. Also, making notes from newspapers is too hectic and is not always feasible for UPSC aspirants. So, we are providing our Monthly magazines to help them out.

 

MYTH 8: You cannot clear the exam without moving coaching hubs and big cities like Delhi and without the help of a coaching institute.

REALITY: Absolutely wrong. Time has changed and in this new era, one can make use of various great resources, such as mobile apps and websites. Coaching centers do have a study plan that they enforce on you, but it cannot guarantee success and they charge an astronomical fee, which many aspirants cannot afford. AbsoluteIAS is trying to bring all the resources to your door that too, absolutely for free.

We have tried to make everything clear. However, if thing comes up which bothers you, you are always welcome in the comment box 🙂

To sum up, we know you face a daunting task. Making a decision to prepare for UPSC is the courageous one. And Congratulations 🙂 if you have taken the very first step. The aura of UPSC is such that it will be enough to keep you motivated throughout the journey. Besides your zeal to be a civil servant should be that high to keep you going.  we are trying to make it as simple as possible and as open as possible. We hope that you’ll enjoy the learning experience with us, instead of becoming anxious and burning out in the “coaching Mandis”. Focus on the mantra of “Read, Revise, Internalize.” It is also important not to blindly follow any advice that is doled out to you, including this one.

And for the rest, we will be here to guide you and help you in all possible manners. We are trying to make this journey as simple as possible and as open as possible for everyone. We hope that you’ll enjoy the learning experience with us, instead of becoming anxious and burning out in the “coaching Mandis”. Focus on the mantra of “Read, Revise, Internalize.” It is also important not to blindly follow any advice that is doled out to you, including this one.

Be the openly eyed raven, observe everything, analyze everything, discuss everything and make the best possible choice. We hope you will enjoy the journey with us 🙂

 

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