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How To Get Over UPSC Prelims Failure?

Guest Article

Vinay Nagaraju (

And come August, the results are out! After a year’s preparation and going out to write the exams, this is where it boils down to – the first round of results. Although I wish each one would clear, it always is a law of numbers and there would be a few unfortunate ones who don’t make it. The question is how to get over this?! The so called “FALIURE” always seems to loom large.

Being an aspirant at one point of time myself, I do understand the run of emotions to not to see one’s number in the list. The next set of things we do is something which defines a lot of things to us. Agreed that the results didn’t pan out the way expected, the way we wanted them to, but all the same we can’t deny what has happened. May it be the hundred reasons, either the opaque system of exams, mistake in filling out a roll number or one paper going very wrong at the expense of the exams. The truth remains the same and it is a simple one, it is but just a feedback.

The real question is – “How to get out of this feeling? – the feeling of dejection, the feeling of failure”. Easy for me to say right, I can hear some of them out there saying – “What does he know?”. Trust me, we do!

This very much reminds me of a movie dialogue from Rocky – “It is not how hard you hit but it is how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” or like Churchill says “Success is moving from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm”. What am I trying to say here? – Well getting hit is natural, not clearing the prelims is also natural, even the top rankers of the previous years have flunked bad. What made the difference?

  • It is how they take it? Some may plunge into alcohol, some into depression while some into the fighting mode. I reckon the last one as the most interesting one.

  • It always is a fight isn’t it? Prelims or Mains or Interview, it always is a fight and the result is nothing more than a feedback. It just means some strategy went astray and did not work in your favour. The onus now is how you are going to fix it. And I am sure I am talking to an intelligent set of people who know their solutions and will hunt and find them! It may not be very apparent but nevertheless doesn’t mean that it is not close.

  • Occupy yourself! Idle brain is the devil’s workshop! There are a lot of things to do in this world. Sing, dance, teach, run, fight! Don’t sit in a room dejected! You are capable of a lot more!

  • Should you write again? The answer to this question is how much the exam means to you. If you feel that it is important, so do I. You must write it, but not like your life depends on it. “There is a thin line between inspiration and desperation, Inspiration is fighting to win while desperation is fighting not to lose”. Pick the side you want to play and play it hard!

  • If this was your last attempt, feel good that it got over soon. The pain of getting to the last stage and being rejected there is a bigger overrun considering the time that goes in here.

  • What is the alternative? Well there are plenty aren’t there?! Why do you have to think that UPSC is the end of the world? There are so many interesting things to do. A corporate sector, teaching, research, poetry, literature, art – Achievement doesn’t need an exam.

  • Identify what the result is trying to tell you. It is not saying you are not worthy, it is just saying that things did not work. Or maybe it is saying you are capable of so much more, why not go behind that and make it happen! Or it may just be saying you need to work and study harder. Remember, the message is always a choice and you can always pick one to build from rather than wallow!

It sure seems like I am giving a lot of gyaan here. Maybe I am, probably I realize that all the time and energy along with the emotion you spend on feeling sorry for yourself is not worth it. End of the day, it is just an exam, clear or not has no direct judgement on your capabilities. It just means that you didn’t clear an exam – period! The world is a very big place and from the larger picture, 5 years down the lane, none of these would even matter – Only if you make it so!

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