The Civil Service Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission is one of the most difficult of all the competitive examinations in India. While it promises a lucrative career option for any individual, it also makes sure that the individual is indeed a deserving candidate. A very slim percentage of candidates taking the UPSC exam actually make it through, this accounts for the high standards set for the recruitment of people into the service of the nation.
It is a dream of many to be an officer in the civil service of the country. To be capable of the status accorded to an IAS, IPS or IFS officer, one has to brave the storm of the UPSC. The civil services exam is one that is extremely difficult to clear in one attempt. Second or third attempts may bear fruit, but the first attempt rarely does.
Any student contemplating taking on the UPSC exam is bound to face certain difficult situations. Some examples are given below:
- At what point in their life one can start preparing for the UPSC exam
Technically an individual is allowed to appear for the UPSC service exam, if they have an undergraduate degree to their name. To apply for the UPSC examination in the year immediately following the final year of undergraduate studies, it is pertinent that you start the preparation at least in the second year of your course.
- How many days before the exam to start preparation
There is a simple answer to this- start as early as possible. Starting the studying process earlier will leave more room for revision in the end. Revision is extremely important for any test, not only the UPSC service exam. Revision is essentially calling to mind everything that you have studied in a systemised, orderly fashion.
- How to go about preparing
This is a question that plagues every candidate especially in the initial days of preparation. The syllabus is vast and there never seems to be enough time to cover everything. Preparing a timetable and getting things done is the only way to make progress. You could opt for coaching or online classes to help you through.
- Whether to take online help
The digital wave in India has not left the academic sphere untouched. Numerous apps and online portals exist today that are meant to aid you in your UPSC preparation process. While a lot of it can be helpful, affordable and accessible, it is best to have a guiding voice while taking online help to understand and soft through and absorb the relevant material and ignore the irrelevant.
- Are previous years question papers important
Any preparation is incomplete without a through observation of the previous years question papers. This not only allows you to understand the pattern of the questionnaire, but also gives you a fair idea as to what approach to take to which topic in the syllabus. Going through question papers is key to the preparation process.
- Should one apply for a job and then start preparing
Applying for a job is a good fall back option to have in case the UPSC exam does not work out. Besides, you could work and prepare simultaneously and ensure continued financial support to aid your preparation and multiple attempts at the exam, if required.
- Should one complete their post graduation degrees beforehand
While it is not mandatory to complete a PG degree to take the UPSC exam, it will definitely be helpful. A masters degree ensures that the individual can fare better in the subject of their choice in the second round of the exam that will require the writing of essay type answers.
- What subject to choose for the exam
There are many myths about how choosing a specific core subject fetches more marks in the papers, but it is not necessarily true. Everyone has their own vocation and subject, and this paper is aimed at giving the candidate an opportunity to display his or her talents with regards to the subject he or she had studied.
- What kind of guidance to take for the exam
While there are many online portals and question forums that can be of extreme help, face to face interaction and advice from someone you know and respect can go a long way in boosting your confidence. The familiarity ensures that the advice given to you is not generalised, but rather specific and therefore more relevant.
- What happens if they fail the first time around
The difficulty level of the UPSC exam is one of the unique features that sets it further apart from other competitive examinations. Clearing it in one go is well nigh impossible. That is no reason to lose hope, however. There have been many cases where individuals have qualified in the second, third or even fourth attempts. If you truly believe that the civil service is your calling, do not give up on your dream on account of a single failure.
These are a few difficulties that one has to manage before they embark on a journey to success on the civil service route.