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UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam – 2014: How (And Why) To Face It Calmly

You might be telling to yourself:

I am getting bored by reading the same books. I am exhausted — I feel like sleeping a lot. I am studying less than I used to study few day ago. I am tired of all the UPSC related news. I just want Preliminary exam to get over as soon as possible so that I can bounce back and study like hell for the Mains. And yes, somewhere I am little nervous about August 24th exam. Hell with it, I don’t care whether I clear Prelims or not, I just want this whole exam to get over soon.

But somewhere you still dream about the future – celebrating success with family or with girlfriend/boyfriend, proving someone something for past insults, saving poor families as DM, getting closer to the elite power circles to change the face of India, living in a bunglow, moving in a lal batti car etc.

And again, there are these tensions:

I have to revise Economic Survey; I haven’t touched the India Year Book – 2014; Oh God! I have to revise this test series and that test series question papers; I have to read environment notes from that institution; I need to revise all my notes by Saturday night; Oh! I have to scan NCERT books at least once before Sunday morning; I have to solve at least one more CSAT mock test today……; This list of ‘I have to do this and that’ will never end.

These are part of your journey towards your goal. You have to live with them. You should learn to laugh at them. Every time you face above situations, you emerge stronger.

If you are giving Preliminary exam this year, in 50 hours you will be given an OMR sheet and General Studies  Question Paper- 1 in your exam hall to ‘continue’ your journey towards your dream. It’s not ‘the beginning’, it’s just continuation of your journey. It doesn’t matter when you started this journey, whether 3 years ago or 3 months ago, the exam you are going give in 50 hours is just another step towards your dream. Don’t overrate it. It’s just another day. So relax. If possible watch a good comedy show on Saturday night.

The only thing you have to do is to make sure that you perform better on 24th August, for this you should be relaxed and happy. If all these days’ preparation has to yield something positive, you can not afford to be nervous or panicked. Getting nervous is injustice to your hard work.

If somewhere you are feeling that you haven’t worked hard, it’s fine. You can still perform better provided you remove all your fears from your head.

But how?

Don’t think about the result. Don’t think about how you are going to perform on D-Day. Don’t be conscious. Just like yesterday, treat the exam day. Getting more serious about exam won’t help you perform better. You should be serious during exam preparation, not on the day of performance.

Your performance depends, especially in UPSC preliminary exam, on your common sense. And common sense prevails only when you are calm.

Don’t take this exam as a life and death challenge. Don’t shut yourself from the whole world and think that wasting even a single minute is crime. Yes, you should read and revise as much as possible, but if you go to exam thinking that you haven’t completed everything, you will be under pressure. This will affect your thinking in the exam hall.

I bet, nobody before, not even every topper in last twenty years, would have completed the syllabus and gone to give the exam. It is normal to not to study all parts of the syllabus. You can clear Preliminary exam if you can recall information better. Questions are such that they require clear thinking, not reproduction of random facts.

You have to realize the importance of giving this exam with a calm mind. I know it’s easier said than done – all of us have fears, but this exam is different. I reiterate that it is just a continuation of your journey towards IAS dream.

You will again go through same agonising moments mentioned above. When Mains is few days away, you will again feel the same ‘I have to do this and that’ problem. Accept that this is normal and give the exam with a free mind and light heart.

Don’t worry about all the time you wasted all these days. Stop thinking about how others would perform. All these things make you anxious. You are not alone in having experienced these feelings. Every great person has gone through these things.

The fact is that of all the lakhs of aspirants who give this exam, there will be only 4-5 thousand very serious contenders. You are competing with very few people. You are one of these serious people. You have a very good chance of getting a good rank provided you perform well on coming Sunday.

So read and revise as much as possible. In between sleep well, watch some good videos, talk to your loved ones, room mates and just treat the exam day as any other day.

On the exam day make sure that you go there with a bottle of water, fruits and biscuits (in case there is no canteen nearby your exam centre), pens, hall ticket (printout), ID card (in case) and your Smile. 🙂

Also make sure that you leave behind mobile phone, any papers in your pocket, fear, anxiety and pressure too.

You will do well in the exam. You will succeed. You just go there with a big smiling face. Let others in the exam hall think that you are not serious and you are mad.


If you are relaxed, even the difficult paper will appear easy. You can cross-check this theory on the exam day. Try it with a smile.

Wish you all the best! 🙂