by Deepanshu Khurana, Indian Foreign Service CSE 2017     So, this might be a little late in the long queue of articles that are pouring since the final UPSC result. While thinking as to what to write, I could see that there are already multiple articles on the various strategies, the book lists to follow and personal journeys to the road leading to success. So as I sit and ponder what maybe I can offer which can be beneficial to you all, there are few lessons which might be worth your time. So, here goes:
  • When you decide to sit for the exam, understand the concept of competition. While people who have already cleared JEE and PMT may understand this, but for the common people like us this means a few things which are more than the regular studying that we did till our college life. Most importantly, understand the value of TIME. It is a limited resource. Make small and achievable targets. The first thing that you can do is to look at the full mains syllabus. Do that on a daily basis till you can remember each word of it or well, most of it. This will streamline your preparation and will help you not to fall off track and read things not required for the exam.
  • Understand that motivation can be created and sustained. This is mostly directed towards candidates in their subsequent attempts. Do not get complacent in your post mains period. Sweat there and you won’t regret. Try to maximize each session and every day. While this is an ideal situation but try and persevere as much as you can. You may follow motivational channel on you tube like Matseuz M or remember the moments in life that make you more hungry to reach your goal or just the sacrifices that our parents make. Utilize them, convert them into positive motivation and work hard to reach your goals. ( Or follow Neyawn's articles ;-) )
  • In my experience, UPSC Civil Services is an exam of balance. Balance four GS subjects, your optional and essay, balance study with health, balance confidence. It is like making a recipe with optimum utilization of ingredients. For this, learn to leave. Whatever time you have allotted to a particular activity, dedicate that and leave that for the next activity. Do not be greedy that if I put in ‘X’ more amount of time, I’ll finish it. Rather over the period, you’ll become a better task manager.
  • Take care of your health. By this I don’t mean that you should be gymming ( which is good, if you can ;-) ) every day for a couple of hours or hemming away 4 mile jogs but maintain a functional body which actively absorbs all the knowledge that you are providing. For this sleep is essential. 6-8 hours is a good enough time. One may do 15 minute daily exercise routine also, it works wonders. Please do give a try.
  • Often in UPSC preparation we disconnect ourselves with the rest of the world. That is understandable. But try and have a good company within the UPSC circle or outside as you may feel comfortable that keeps you motivated and cheerful in this long drawn process.
In the end I would say, that initially when I decided to start the preparation I often used to hear that this preparation changes you. I always used to find it amusing that how one exam can make such a huge difference. Well, 5 attempts later, I would say that I am another testimony to the same dictum. It has made me more aware of my surroundings, the challenges that people particularly we Indians face. It has made me a more conscious citizen and much more appreciative of the resources that I and all of us got. I hope that all of you will definitely give your best in the coming exam and while standing on the other side, will definitely realize ‘that it was all worth it’. Kudos to all of you to take this brave plunge and best of luckJ . Peace out.