With the world moving towards digital mode, it is quite obvious that IAS aspirants who are preparing for the much coveted civil services examinations have also taken to the internet to supplement their efforts. IAS examinations are often termed as one of the toughest recruitment test in the world with an ever expanding syllabus. To tackle such a challenging feat, it seems obvious for aspirants to take help of the ultimate encyclopaedia of knowledge ‘The Internet’. Many experts and even coaching classes have adopted digital route to offer preparation materials and training for IAS preparation. The move has been further fuelled by penetration of mobile devices like Smartphones and tablets and even laptop computers in some cases; that are now being treated as the primary medium of instruction and study materials by aspirants. Easy availability of materials, low cost of operation and excellent penetration has made internet the most preferred mode of preparation for IAS aspirants today.
While everyone is busy jumping upon the digital bandwagon as far as IAS preparation is concerned, no one has truly evaluated the success of internet as a study medium. If you are an aspirant following the internet-only preparation model for IAS preparation, then you should seriously consider the following implications as well as limitations that it poses before you.
1. Inclusive nature of Civil Services Examination
Indian Civil Services Examination or what is more popularly known as the IAS examination is one of the most inclusive recruitment tests in the country. This all-India level examination is conducted to select the best candidates from across the country to be
excellent administrators. Therefore, the exam format, pattern and the syllabus is designed in such a manner that doesn’t favour candidates from any one state, educational or economic background. Despite its high rate of penetration, internet is still termed as a rich man’s convenience, which is not freely available to candidates from rural backgrounds. To counter this, UPSC follows a very specifically designed syllabus that focuses upon core concepts and theoretical aspects of subjects and topics that are easily available to all candidates through established research papers, newspapers, reference books and other traditional sources. These traditionally preferred materials may or may not be available via the internet, and therefore merely relying upon it as a mode of IAS preparation can work to your disadvantage.
Ask anyone who has ever used the internet, and they would tell you it is addictive in more than just one way. Depending upon such a source that is full of distractions; it be in the form of informative websites, social media pages or mobile applications is a big-big risk. Civil services aspirants who are pressed for time, have often reported being distracted by the internet, resulting into wastage of time and effort.
3. Abundance of Information
Internet is the encyclopaedia of everything under the sun and things even beyond it. Civil Services Examination has extensive but a fixed syllabus. In order to crack IAS examination successfully, you need to focus only upon the topics that are part of the syllabus and in a manner that helps you to achieve basic conceptual clarity about it and not in-depth research-level knowledge of the domain. IAS candidates who rely upon the internet as a medium of study are often overwhelmed by the study material presented before them through the internet. Unable to focus upon which topics to cover and how much importance and time to allot to a particular topic, aspirants often end up wasting precious time and effort in studying things that are not necessary for civil services examination.
4. Physical Strain
Traditional modes of study with the help of textbooks, reference books or pen & paper are the processes that we have all been brought up with. Therefore, we as well as our body is familiar with the kind of physical strain it is going to put us. When it comes to the internet, our body is probably first time going through study cycle that merely relies upon digital resources, and, therefore, isn’t probably ready for what lies in store. Many experts have suggested that excessive screen time (it be for laptops, mobiles or tablets) is harmful for the eyes, the sitting posture that have while during computers and other digital devices also adds to physical strain that our body experiences. All these little things add up to leave a lasting impact upon the body. In fact, many IAS aspirants who have reported to using the internet as their primary preparation mode have expressed symptoms like fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness and lowered study times, compared to those who follow the traditional methods.
5. Internet Surfing doesn’t mean Studying
There is a big difference between merely surfing the internet and scanning through thousands of articles and write-ups and actually studying. Not many aspirants, who choose the internet as a medium, understand this difference well enough. Aspirants, who are scanning through articles, even from reputed publishers like The Hindi / Economist / Yojna; are bound to forget the information they have looked through over the period of time. This where the traditional study and make notes approach comes in handy. Wherein, aspirants prepare self-explanatory notes regarding the topics they have studied, to revise the same in future. Internet, unfortunately, doesn’t offer any such opportunity and merely collecting and bookmarking them will only add to the pressure of studying them later.