UPSC is considered one of the toughest exams in the country. With subjects ranging from economy, polity, science and technology, art and culture to the environment, the syllabus is very vast. There is a saying amongst UPSC aspirants that UPSC can ask anything and everything under the Sun. On top of that, the time span for the exam is very lengthy. The exam spans over a period of one year and is divided into three stages.
Naturally, attempting UPSC is like running a marathon which requires a consistency in speed and high stamina and not a sprint race which requires a short burst of energy. It requires an individual to draw up a plan for a year and approach the exam in a planned manner rather than an ad hoc approach. For this, the student needs the guidance of an experienced person.
It is not just about completing the syllabus but also about developing the certain skills which are mandatory for clearing this exam. Just knowledge collection does not mean a student can clear the exam. So what are the skills that a student needs to develop to attain success in this exam in the very first attempt?
Here are 5 skills that you need to develop to clear UPSC
1. A student needs to read a lot
Not just the curriculum books but also other books related to economics, sociology, environment, world affairs etc. With a syllabus that is so vast a student needs to develop the ability to read voraciously. Only then will the student be able to finish the syllabus in time.
On top of that, as the mains is a subjective exam, there is a need to develop analytical ability and various perspectives of the same ideas and present it in an articulate manner.
For this, a student needs to read and organize his thoughts. It has been observed that the majority of the students who clear the exams are not the most knowledgeable but are the ones who can express their ideas well. You will find a majority of the toppers have great presentation skills.
2. It is a writer’s exam
A successful UPSC candidate might not know the right things but has the ability to write the right things. To understand the question and to comprehend it well within seconds and then to write your answer in an articulate manner is truly an art. The magnitude of writing is very high as well.
In the mains, a student needs to write 10000 words in a day for 4 days each. This in itself is a difficult task. For this reasons, a student needs to write a lot in the preparation days. This writing ability is something that can be acquired by consistent writing over a year or two.
3. The need of the exam is filtered information
It is more important to know what not to read than what to read. With so much online and offline content available today, a person needs to filter the sources and use only the best material. Even while reading the newspaper, which is a humongous task in itself, the majority of the students waste time reading all the unwanted news.
A student really needs to talk to former students who have cracked the exam to get insights into what to read and what not to read. To pick up what is important for the exam, to organize it and to remember it during the exam is a knack which every aspirant needs to know.
4. Feedback is the key to improvement
While studying for such a long time, a student needs to take timely feedback or else he can stray away in his preparation. What to study? What not to study? How to prepare a study plan? All such question need a proper feedback mechanism to ensure that there is optimum efficiency.
Feedback helps to realize one’s weaknesses. This helps you to work on them. However, feedback has to be from an experienced person who has appeared for the exam earlier. Or else an inexperienced person can give a wrong feedback which can cause more damage than good.
5. Discipline and consistency go a long way
As I have said earlier, UPSC is not a sprint race but a marathon race where the student needs to study regularly. For this consistent effort for two to three years, an individual needs to be disciplined. To keep all the distractions aside and to focus on one goal for such a long time requires a stable mind.
It has been observed that most of the students who make it to the final list are actually very consistent even though they are not the most intelligent of all. It is the attitude that matters for this exam and not the aptitude.
We, at UPSC Pathshala, have designed our Foundation course keeping all these factors in mind. Ideally, a student is expected to have developed these abilities over his years of education. However, we have designed our course in such a manner that even a student who lacks these qualities will be able to develop them.
Developing these skills need a lot of time. Consequently, our foundation course is spanned over a period of two to three years.
In the first stage of preparation, the student is prepared for various skills in a robust manner ensuring that the student is ready to take the pressure of the full-scale preparation of the examination.
In the second part, the student is trained for the examination with the help of high-quality video lectures with the assistance of specialized mentors, helping him/her through the course.
In the last stage, the student’s preparation fine-tuned with revisions, writing practice, interview guidance and a lot of other exercises. For the whole period, a team of mentors is available for the student to train him/her on a one to one basis.
To know more about our Foundation program click here
Author: Akshay Palande
Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.