Fear of Prelims: It Will Only make Things Worse. Please Overcome It.

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2015 Prelims might be your first or second or even last attempt at realizing your dream of becoming an IAS/IPS/IFS officer. In four days you will be getting ready to give your best shot at this exam. You might be feeling nervous right now. You might be confident as well.

But one thing is true: you will feel that you don’t remember anything right now. Even though you have read so many things, you might feel you don’t remember even 10% of it. Funny thing is that people who went on to get a rank in Top 10 felt the same. Some of our students who topped this year told us the same thing – repeatedly at each stage of this exam.

The toppers, those who get a rank in top 25 will never know beforehand they would get such a great rank.  They might have dreamed of it, just like you do now and then in day-dreams, but they would have never thought it would be realistic to achieve such a rank. This is because of the uncertainty factor. Despite uncertainty you must work hard and inch towards your goal. When you feel like quitting, you never know you might be just few inches away from being a topper. Therefore never quit.

But the present fear (if it is haunting you) is not because you do not remember what you have studied. This fear is the result of uncertainty that you are about to face in coming days: you do not have an idea about the cutoff; you do not know if the paper is going to be very difficult this time; you do not know how much of the things you have read might actually come in the exam; you don’t know what to do after prelims; you don’t know how to correct your strategy this time (because last year it didn’t work); you don’t know how many questions you need to answer in Paper-1 to cross the cutoff marks. Uncertainty is endless. Looking at life itself, we don’t know what is awaiting us tomorrow. Whatever shall happen, will happen.

Having said that, should this uncertainty be allowed to affect you?

The biggest factor which decides success in prelims is your attitude. If you are fearless, confident and calm, you will clear this exam hands down (provided you have read for this exam). Even after good preparation if you are feeling low, please cheer up. Low confidence, fear and anxiety won’t help you in any way. You have to clear prelims. August 23 is the day you have been preparing for all these days. Will you let your fear conquer you and defeat you?

No matter how bad is your exam preparation, go and give the exam (if you are contemplating to postpone it even after spending whole year preparing for it).  Believe us, despite your perception that you haven’t prepared well, you are well prepared to clear prelims. All you need is mad confidence.

One absolute truth is that this exam is neither life nor death for you or for your loved ones. No matter what is the outcome, the real people who care about you will always be with you. Even if they have to wait for so long to see you succeed, real people in your life will wait. If you fail, they will not desert you. But failure is difficult when you can succeed by making few minor corrections in your exam preparation.

If fear of failure is worrying you, give it a damn. Some day you will win. You will see every one thronging you for your attention. Hitherto unknown people who used to talk on your back will tell you that they are your close relatives and knew that you would become great in life when they first saw you in the cradle. Enemies who wished you all the failures will start sending you gifts. People with power and money will be on your doorsteps for your acquaintance. When you succeed, the whole world wants to be with you (or around you).

But at this stage, it is your own battle. It is a lonely battle. No matter how many motivational articles you read, no matter how many people try to cheer you up, in the end it is you who has to stand up and face all difficulties to emerge victorious. Feeling low? Don’t look outside for help. Remember your goal and work towards it. Don’t waste time in searching for solace. It is within you and you must rely only on it.

Do not worry about the result. Take a deep breath and face this exam. Honestly it won’t be as difficult as you think it is once you realize that the biggest difficulty we face in life is life itself and not these exams. To be honest, your situation is lot better than millions out there.

You will definitely do well in exam. Just remember that those two hours are the moments to enjoy and not the ones to be dreadful of.

The beauty of prelims exam is that you will be surprised to know that you can answer seemingly difficult questions from nowhere. The knowledge is hidden somewhere in your head and it just comes out when you look at the question. But your mind should be calm and enjoy this exam process to experience this feeling. It is not possible to know correct (exact) answers to more than 30-40% questions. Only through application of common sense and logic you can score more marks. A calm mind ensures this.

Because fear is your greatest enemy, kill it now itself. Act like a rebel. Let the world talk all nonsense about you. Despite your efforts and sacrifices, there will be people accusing you of doing something wrong. Listen to them but don’t react. People who listen to your critics will not be ready to listen to your side of the story. Don’t mind.  Your success is the only best answer to all your critics. Have faith in your abilities and work towards your goal.

It is universal truth that as long as your efforts are sincere, honest and consistent, success will be yours. No one can stop you.

You have sincerely prepared for this exam. Again don’t doubt it because there were certain pitfalls. Everyone faces them. Every topper has faced it. Sincere preparation is the one where you have invested time, money and energy toward achieving your goal. Have patience and faith, your efforts will bear fruit. August 23 is the day when your real journey begins. You want to start this journey with a smiling face and with confidence. First step should be optimistic. Even if you see darkness, the first step shows that you have faith in what you are doing. As they say, faith can move anything.

You may be about to become a topper. If you do well in prelims, you can go on to get a great rank. You never know. As said above, toppers never knew that they would top this exam. Don’t be surprised to see your name in the final list next year. Just don’t give up on anything. Isn’t it exciting?

There is something big coming on Insights after Prelims. You can realistically dream of getting a rank. Getting a rank will be real, but getting a great rank, say in Top 100, depends on your consistent efforts and leap of faith. We are not promising you to provide everything.  Before your hard work which ultimately gets you where you want to be, our efforts are miniscule. We will just try to bring the best out of you. To repeat from above: it’s a lonely battle out there.

So, do well in prelims.  Fears will kill your chances. Be relaxed and face Prelims.

Next three days, read or revise as much as possible. Sleep very well (7 hours). Take care of your health (most important). It is ok to not to read everything (nobody can read everything). Stay fit, stay healthy and stay cool. Imagine how good you will feel when you go for probationary training as an IAS?IPS/IFS officer trainee? It is so good. You definitely want to go there. Forget everything that is negative.

This journey is exciting. You should really keep it this way.