To attend Foundation ( FC ) or Not – for Selected Candidates not clearing Prelims / Writing Mains

This October 10th, the Prelims examination threw in more surprise than usual. Not only was the GS Paper trickier than previous years, the CSAT Paper was of the highest difficulty level in the past decade since its introduction.

Several students who have been selected in the final list of CSE for the year Y, and are planning to write the exam again in Y+2 face the common trilemma

  1. Should I join the foundation or not. Will I miss out on the fun/ social network ?
  2. If I am appearing for Y+2, will I be able to make significant improvements in the Mains examination?
  3. Will I get the time to prepare for the T+2 Prelims immediately after FC

A lot of candidates have been querying for this, and I so I decided to speak to some candidates who have been with Forum over what they did. The decision in this regard is based on following facts

Benefits of Joining FCNegatives of Joining FC
  1. You get a much needed reprieve from the gruelling exam cycle. If you are drained, its rejuvenating.
  2. You get to know your batchmates. This is the last phase of the life where you have the chances of making friends. After this, you only have work colleagues, no friends.
  3. If you are in the Allied Services at the end of the exam cycle, it is good to have friends in Administrative & Police Services or other services, whose help you may need in the future for ‘n’ number of reasons.
1. Depending on the FC Joining date, you may or may not get sufficient time for making the said improvements in your Mains ( GS+ Optional ) Answer Writing, which you need for rank improvement

2. In the case of FC for CSE 2020 people ( 21 Batch ) , the FC gets over in March, and Prelims is in June, and if your weakness is Prelims, then the time may not be enough for your to ace the next Prelims.

3. The FC does add things to your personality, but it is not useful from the exam point of view for Mains.

So those of you who are concerned about the question, To Join FC or to not Join FC, you must make a decision on the basis of three factors (a) the scope and amount of improvement you need to make for Mains (b) Whether you are good enough at Prelims so as to crack it in the time following the FC.(c) how tired are you with the exam? Are you completely exhausted such that you cant really study ?

Unless you have a compelling ground of (c) exam fatigue, – and you have a clear desire of going only for a specific service – that is – your unhappiness in the existing service is going to be very high –  in my opinion, it is acceptable to skip the FC, and go for one’s Mains improvement. And for CSE 2022, given the calendar of FC, if you have a prelims problem, you may not have the luxury of time for FC.

However, in case you plan not to join the FC, you must have a clear cut roadmap and an action plan for the exam. We should make a common case of having dropped FC, and doing nothing for rank improvement.

The only logic which goes in favour of joining FC is that you are completely drained, you have exam fatigue and you need a break to rejuvenate yourself. In such a case, chill, and prepare to join the FC!


Opinion is completely personal and based on interaction with candidates who have taken FC as well as skipped FC for rank improvement. For any queries, you can write to the author at

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Categorized as Strategy

By Neyawn

Neyawn is an anonymous member the founder of ForumIAS. He is a coder Mentor & Teacher by profession, and often writes for ForumIAS. You can buy him coffee , if you really really like his work. He has built ForumIAS - the community - twice. You can say Hi to him or ask him a question on ForumIAS, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn . You can also write to him at RxAxVxI@FOxRUMxIAS.COM ( remove the small "x" from the email ).