If you are facing your last attempt for IAS Exams, the challenges that lie before you are truly monumental in every way possible. In addition to preparing for the coveted exam, the fact that you will be appearing for your last attempt puts a tremendous amount of mental pressure upon the aspirants. You would have already put in a good 4 to 5 years in the preparation phase with a number of failures to crack the IAS exam. In addition to this, the social and peer pressure would be breathing down your neck, making you doubt your ambitious decision to opt for IAS a career choice. To top it all, the uncertainty about your future and life after IAS preparation ends with the last attempt is all sure to complicate things even further.
While many people will tell you that; the darkest hour is just before the dawn’; when it comes to IAS exam preparation there is no darkest hour. The greatness of IAS exam lies in the fact that is a great equaliser for everyone; be it person taking it for the first time or the last; both have an equal chance of cracking it. In fact, the person attempting the IAS exam for the last time would have the advantage of experience and years of preparation to help them along the way. In other terms, you are already half way there, where many others will take years to reach. If you are also worried about taking up the last attempt of IAS exam, here are a few tips that you can use to your advantage.
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You are already familiar with the drill
Like stated above, you are at a great advantage if you are appearing for the IAS exam for the last time. You have already faced majority and figured out solutions to the challenges that plague the freshers during the initial period of IAS preparation. Being familiar with the regular drill, puts you at a great advantage, as you are better equipped both mentally and resource-wise to handle the problems. While the exam pattern, exam format, and even subjective priorities might change over the years; the knowledge accumulated by you over the years will remain constant and will help you ace the exam in your last attempt.
Find out what was missing earlier?
One the best ways to begin preparation for the final attempt of IAS exam is by conducting an extensive review of the preparation strategy of previous years. This exercise is not only aimed at finding loopholes and things that might have been missed by aspirants in the previous attempts but also to find out the true strengths and ways in which the same can be used to plug the existing loopholes in the IAS preparation strategy. In addition to this, self-evaluation also helps in improving the overall IAS preparation strategy and rebooting the same to make it more streamlined as per the changes, trends and requirements of this year.
Use academic background to your advantage
It is a common practice among IAS aspirants that they completely ignore their academic background and pick optional subjects on the basis of on-going trends and sometimes as per peer pressure. However, it is just because a subject worked for someone else, doesn’t necessarily meant that it will work for them also. Apart from this, we have already discussed that the IAS exam is a great equaliser and therefore, it is very unlikely that some subjects will help you crack the exam more easily than others.
Therefore, even if you have ditched your academic background for IAS exams previously, you might want to go back to it again. The main advantage of depending upon your academic background is that you have already spent a good part of your life studying it at school as well as graduation level. Therefore, when it comes to preparing the subject for IAS exam, you may not face so much of a challenge compared to preparing a subject that is completely new or alien to you.
Avoid being an expert, be a hard-working generalist
Many experts have suggested that the key reason for the continued failure in the IAS exam is not due to lack of knowledge or commitment from the students, but the focus. The Indian education system is aimed at creating subject matter experts with the academics being more concentrated on the in-depth study of a single subject rather than the general study of everything. Such an approach in for UPSC exam can spell doom for the aspirants. The coveted IAS exam is aimed at screening generalists that have a thorough knowledge of a diverse range of subjects, rather than a just deep understanding of a single subject. In other words, the exam looks to shortlist generalists and not subject matter experts. Therefore, if you are at your last attempt for civil services exam, you should keep this factor in mind during the course of your study period.
Don’t Follow; Lead
For an IAS aspirant, it is very easy to fall prey to the culture of being blind followers of toppers. Reading success stories and preparation tips is a good exercise to get to know different methods and techniques.
However, every aspirant will have to design their own preparation method and strategy that suits their pace, study requirements, strengths, and weaknesses. This factor becomes even more important for candidates, who would be attempting the IAS exam for the last time. Such aspirants would already have relevant knowledge and experience for IAS preparation and would be able to pinpoint specific needs in order to drive a strategy that meets their goals. Moreover, if you are giving your last shot at IAS exam, it better be at terms that are defined by you and not derived from the collective consciousness of toppers, mentors, and peers.
While the aforementioned points may seem generic in some sense, they are in no way ineffective when it comes to cracking IAS exam at the last attempt. Like any competition, the rules remain the same, be it your first game or the last; the difference in this equation is marked by your positive outlook, self-confidence and learning from past experiences and failures.