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10 Mistakes Made by Every UPSC CSE Aspirant and How to avoid it


AK Mishra

  1. NOT following the curriculum – One of the biggest mistakes the aspirants commit is not to follow 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. CSE aspirants need to break this myth as this may prove fatal in the long run costing you with time, money, energy and resource. In their course of preparation, consider the UPSC syllabus as your roadmap to start with and continue referring it at all points of preparation.
  2. Missing to go through previous years – Aspirants do not realise 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.
  3. 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 marketplaces in the city that is the hub for such preparation books with various authors and publications available, scrutinise for the relevant book to idealise 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.
  4. Not getting basic reference – Most of the aspirants do this by going for heavyweight books instead of getting the basics clear. The NCERT books up to 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.
  5. Writing skills deficiency – the mains exams is the criteria for the selection process that includes writing essays. One lacking writing skills may not be well efficient in clearing the selection process. The aspirants should be well equipped with facts and wisdom, fluent flow of knowledge in a very precise and skillful manner. Being one of the toughest task, if not rectified on time, failure is guaranteed. Aspirants should be focusing on exam pattern oriented writing rigorously rather than blogging to improve writing and typing skills.
  6. 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. These insights and estimations can prove fatal during results. Optional paper should be chosen in such a way that it should also suit the aspirants interest and inclination towards it.
  7. NOT perceiving the bottom line 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 individuals understanding and opinion on contemporary subjects) and gossips. In addition articles on various other segments also helps aspirants to frame and write well-structured essays. Hence, utilise the newspapers with persistent efforts.
  8. 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 the UPSC exam demands high dynamism and adaptability, candidates 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 at least a loose fist over weaker section.
  9. Not prioritising the task – improper management of time can lead to undesirable outcomes. As aspirants put years together for UPSC preparation, managing time and prioritising their work is a must. Any ambition without a time frame is nothing more than a fantasy. Understand the difference between urgent and important to achieve fruitful benefits.
  10. 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 an aspirant of UPSC CSE.

(The author of the article is the Founder and CEO, Chanakya IAS Academy)

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