What are the three advices you would give to a newcomer who is planning to write the Civils exam? - ForumIAS

What are the three advices you would give to a newcomer who is planning to write the Civils exam?

You cant advice them ( dont write the exam ? )

jack_Sparrow,Naadan_Parindaand17 otherslike this


Words of wisdom-

1.It’s a process -requires perseverance, spirit, discipline

2.listen to your body - take care of your body both physically and mentally i.e don’t be too harsh with yourself ,set achievable targets , take planned rest ,do some things you like or develop some good habits w

3.Don’t underestimate the power of defeat - own the failure analyse your mistakes ,make a strategy how to correct them and move on ( as said most painful defeats pave the way for greatest victories)

4. Stay humble - don’t make this exam a life and death case ,enjoy the journey as it teaches a lot as it brings a paradigm shift in one’s outlook,behaviour ,give time to your loved ones don’t ruin friendships, relationships with parents 

At last -“Even if you're the best in the world, you're not God. The applause will eventually stop. If you have nothing inside you but your ego, that moment could hurt a lot.

“Your soul needs more than a exam to be fulfilled.”

( I have just rephrased the Idea of BLANKA VLASIC in context of UPSC) 

Neyawn,Naadan_Parindaand23 otherslike this

1. do not be overconfident: it is tougher than you think (your past credentials/successes will have no bearing here)

2. do not be underconfident: it is easier than you fear

3. own the failures.

Just_restless,sbhatiand18 otherslike this

A bit more specific advice I wished I'd received at the start 

1) Invest time and money in technology.

If you can afford it, buy a tablet compatible with a stylus/pen. It will make note making easier. Plus you'll save a lot on the books, monthlies and other resources that you can download instead. It's easy to mark in it, highlight, write side notes etc. Further, it saves cupboard space + shifting your residence would be easier 

If not a tablet, atleast start with digital notemaking on any device. While initially it's a struggle, over time it becomes much more convenient due to ease of updation, categorization etc. 

On a similar vein, invest in Anki from the very beginning. Learn it's best practices. And revise regularly. Delete what's irrelevant over time. 

2) Seek mentors 

Find people who are one or two levels more successful than you and learn from them. This makes them approachable, relatable and at the same time capable enough to guide you.

For a beginner it might be someone who's qualified for the interview or even someone who's written mains before.  Their advice would help you avoid a lot of pitfalls. 

Perhaps the best way for this is to join this community. But since I'm already writing this comment here, it kinda feels redundant mentioning it. 

3) Create a process that's intensive yet sustainable in the long run. 

If you don't plan for your breaks, or you don't find other avenues to refresh yourself, you'll burn yourself out. Create a schedule that's replicable not just for a week or a month but for a year or two, maybe even more. 

Neyawn,D503and18 otherslike this

Few things bas 

1) Be selective 

        In the world of upsc, 5% stuff is relevant and 95% stuff is irrelevant. Respect that and avoid fomo. 

2) Trust yourselfonly if you can. Do what works for you the best, only if you can trust yourself.

3) Stay on track, this prep phase will make you understand the real meaning of slippery slope. Occasional breaks are necessary but should know what kind of breaks and with whom. 

4) This is a bit controversial but still here it is. Avoid forum if you already have your peer group. This is nothing but reddit for upsc with all social media features. It makes you feel good about using it but it's addictive, time consuming if you don't have control on yourself. Also, induces fomo. 

5) Avoid beginners pitfalls, they're many. Just like point one, 95% stuff is irrelevant

6) imo there is no integrated mains and prelims prep after initial 7-8months of prep. Those 7-8 months are there to understand the concepts of every subject. Post that, there's nothing common in prelims and mains. Demand of the paper is itself way too different. 

7) No one studies 8-10+ hours everyday(at least none in my peers). It touches only 10 around the exams. Be realistic, don't be hard on yourself. Also, efficiency follows sine curve, don't get too excited on your highs and be soft when you're at your lowest. 


Neyawn,GaryVeeand17 otherslike this
1. Discipline is non-negotiable. Show up every day- you'd surprise yourself
2. Start from Scratch, Even if you are the smartest kid.
3. The process becomes a lot better if you look at it mechanically. Videos of LBSNAA can wait.

My fav- there is room for mistakes as long as you don't repeat them. 

"Accept the failure, get to the root of it, see the change for yourself."
Neyawn,Just_restlessand15 otherslike this
1.Coaching  helps. You'll cover things in span of 1 year of coaching, that you would otherwise get to know after 2-3 years of self study. Respect the time.

2. Just like failure in love makes you a better and mature human, same applies with competitive exams. Just dont give up and have trust in this process, [in love too :) ]

3. They say, to succeed one need will to never give up ,however a wise man knows when to give up. Have a balance between the two.

4. "Build your opponent (negative people) a golden bridge to retreat across.” - Sun Tzu

5. There'll be dark days, and darker nights. What do you do when you're going through hell? Keep going. Dont succumb to fears and insecurities.
6. Anything beyond what we need is poison. Hence dont study recklessly, take periodic breaks

7. Why do you want to start UPSC prep when you are in school or even in 1st/2nd year of college itself? Thodi zindagi jeee le, 'Aiyashi' karle xD
"Dharma Artha Kama Moksha". Without satisfying one's pleasure (kama), one cannot attain moksha (UPSC in this case). 

8. As Neyawn sir said in past (shayad), "this (Forum) is community where we eat competition". You'll meet one of the best minds and souls here.

9. You knew this prep was tough, right? Despite this you signed up for this, then fight. This prep is a fight against yourself.Brace yourself, but dare not forget to embrace yourself too :)

10. Take risks. Life is too short to not to pursue brinkmanship.

"Manzil milegi , bhatak kar hi sahi, Gumarah toh woh hain Jo ghar se nikle hi nahin."
Neyawn,Just_restlessand15 otherslike this
Fir se soch lo😬
Neyawn,Naadan_Parindaand15 otherslike this

1. 8-10 baar basics book and 1.5 yrs k current affairs  padh lena... Log bolenge ki concept clear rakho, understanding banao- jaruri hain ye concepts and understanding and banana chahiye but last mein jo dimaag mein YAAD hai wahi kaam aayega. Notes banane ki aadat lag gaye toh samjho dusron se double speed hai aapke clear karne ki.

2. Pre K liye 40-50 tests laga lena and Mains k liye around 20.(With 30 yrs PYQ for prelims and 5 yrs PYQ for Mains)

3. Ye guarrantee nahi hai ki mehnat krne par ho hi jaayega but es baat ki guarrantee hai ki mehnat nahi karne par nahi hoga (exceptions are extremely rare in UPSC)

4. Ye khel kai baar lamba chal sakta hai, toh thoda sabar rakkho but jyada nahi... You need same energy level for around 3 years.( qki kai baar prepn hi 1-2 saal baad samajh mein aati hai)

5. Khule dil se swagat hai tumhara, qki u are destined to change ur personality and outlook towards society in 1.5 yrs of intensive preparation.... Plato socrates waali feeling aayegi.

6. HIMMAT HAUSLA SANYAM ANUSHASHAN ki bahut jarurat padegi- keep a lot of it for emergency situations

7. Life and UPSC is no different....Saare concepts apply kar sakte hain ek dusre pe

Neyawn,DMand14 otherslike this

1. Don't underestimate yourself - past achievements or failures don't matter. This exam is a great leveller. What you see or hear are just 1% of those who have cracked the exam.

2. This is merely an exam, normal exam. Don't see it as a matter of ego or prestige. This will also guide you to know when to enter and when to leave the cycle.  

3. Choose the right people you seek advice from, who you look up to and who you share your thoughts with. 

4. Make UPSC PYQ your best friend especially in mains. Nothing is more predictable than mains if you have done PYQ right. 

5. Don't isolate yourself. Be with people and among people. Isolation hampers intellectual growth and mental health. 

DM,Marigoldand14 otherslike this

1. Incremental development has massive potential. Keep growing and keep moving forward.

2. Choose the optional wisely i.e. recent trends in scores, availability of material, interest and ease of studying (subjective).

3. Practice, Practice, Practice and revise, revise, revise

4. Somedays will be as gloomy as  grey skies with a green top at Trent Bridge(Cricket reference:P)  but you gotta hang in there all day like Rahul Dravid once did in his legendary knock.

5. Having some form of economic security with a part time job or any other gig is not a bad idea (given that it doesn’t eat too much of your time). 

6. If you’re going to invest your years of youth and sacrifice a lot of comforts that you might have enjoyed, MAKE IT COUNT. 

“Through hardships, to the stars” 

Per Aspera 

Ad Astra

Neyawn,TsarBombaand12 otherslike this

1) Always be the first one to stand for yourself. You will need this when you need motivation ..when u feel alone

2) Be clear with what you want. Dont compromise with those values . This will make you feel proud on yourself in present as well as in future.

3) be focused and dedicated but do find time for

 your parents always. 

Neyawn,Just_restlessand11 otherslike this

Mental healthis the most important part of this journey.. 

Never ignore it... I firmly believe that mental health should be the top priority for any person at any point in time and preparing for upsc specifically calls for this... 

Neyawn,DMand11 otherslike this

You had decided to come into this game.. now only saviour of yours is you yourself. 

It's the acceptance which will lead you to glory. Own your deeds be brutally honest with yourself. 

Failure is the biggest lesson but at times you need bit of success (motivation for small period) to go forward. You really nee

True. The exam is challenging but not impossible. Different people take different time to prepare the syllabus. You will

need to work your arse off and may need more time than you first thought. Has nothing to do with you, has to do with the nature of the exam.

Accept the truth.

“The truth shall set you free”

DM,sbhatiand11 otherslike this

1.Don't compare yourself to others stay focused on ur own journey and leave footprints behind.

2.Hard work is more important than having genius

3.DISCIPLINE-suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret

4.start studying within the first hour of waking up .If u don't do this ur mind will forcibly push u towards negative thoughts.

5.practice,practice and practice:whether it be prelims mock papers or mains answer writing if u don't test urself u will fail even before upsc will fails u.

6.Quietly,scecretly work towards progress,not perfection.

and lastly believe on urself

Neyawn,DMand10 otherslike this
In order:
  1. Know thyself.
  2. Know your why.
  3. Know the exam.
Neyawn,DMand9 otherslike this

Read well

Revise well

Write well



A strong foundation is needed ,so coaching might help newcomers but more important than coaching is a mentor or a guide (not necessarily a faculty,even friends in good spirit can help)

Optional should be read repeatedly especially if it's not your graduation subject

, ethics essay papers also needs regular practice

After 2 attempts ,Backup job advisable as competition is cut throat and social pressures

Mocks help us realise our mistakes ,better to commit mistakes & learn  in mocks then in real exam which may prove costly

Marigold,SAand9 otherslike this
Welcome to chakravyuh
Neyawn,MaeveWileyand8 otherslike this

1. Its a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be patient and keep taking small steps towards the goal every day. Good things will eventually come in one way or another.

2. Syllabus and PYQs are your best friends. Let them be your guide through this maze of UPSC.

3.Try to enjoy the process. Not just the fun bits, but the most boring parts of the preparation. Keep chipping away. Keep revising.

4.Do not hesitate to ask for help. 

5. Do not lose sight of your physical and mental well being in this pursuit.

Neyawn,SAand8 otherslike this

1 . Do not get intimidated by looking at the syllabus 

2. Have patience it's a long journey .

3 . Always remember why you started.  

SA,MaeveWileyand7 otherslike this
  1. Revise: anything you read, you've to revise. Figure out for yourself, how to revise and remember.
  2. Learn to say no. Your time is precious.
  3. Endure.
Just_restless,SAand7 otherslike this
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