By now, you might have dreamt hundreds of times seeing yourself getting first rank in civil services exam; imagining yourself giving speeches on TV, in your school and college, to magazines and newspapers, to yourself. You might have also visualized yourself being treated as celebrity in your home, village, city and in state.
Have you noticed one thing? You usually dream about this Big Day in your life mostly after spending few hours productively preparing for this exam. Study well for 2-3 hours, you will soon start imagining yourself to be the future topper.
Once you realize you are actually wasting time, you will be shaken and awoken to reality: you will again start reading/writing something; the dream evaporates!
Daydreaming is mostly accompanied by spurts of productive hours in your exam preparation. If you are not studying well, your confidence level will be low and you will rarely think about getting a rank. Your ambition level climbs down once you see yourself wasting time on doing things that doesn’t take you anywhere. The less you study, lower will be your ambition level. For some people, clearing prelims will be a goal, for some Mains, for few reaching interview level and for a few getting a rank will be the dream: it all depends on how well you are utilizing your time now.
If you are dreaming about getting that top rank, you have everything in you to reach there. You just have to make sure that in coming days, you dream less and work more.
But blindly working won’t take you anywhere. There are extremely hard working people – every year – who don’t make it to the list. It’s not about ability. It is about attitude. The more you are willing to learn and enjoy new things every day, the better will be your chances in succeeding in this exam.
Many people stick to old methods or resort to shortcuts. A day you spend on studies, should be an improvement over the past day. For example, if you are writing 2-3 answers daily, after few days you should be writing 4-5 answers within same time. Many people either give up writing after trying it for few days, or never start it, or worse – they just copy paste content from variety of sources and store them in their hard drive!
To top in this exam, you must use your strengths very well. Analyse in which area you are strong and weak: If you are strong in optional, study even better and try to get highest score possible. If you are weak in essay writing, make sure that you write at least 40 essays on variety of topics before Mains. You can overcome your weaknesses by working on them; but you can not easily make them your strength. Instead, work more on your strengths – be it optional subject, essay, GS papers or interview and try to score maximum marks in them. Toppers usually score highest marks either or both in optional, essay and interview.
Scoring good marks is not the thing you should be worrying most now. You should be worrying about being consistent in what you are doing. Take a break of 10-15 days, you will see your confidence level plummeting to low levels; it’s difficult to restore the momentum if you lose it once. But it’s not difficult. In such cases, you should just stop worrying about backlog and focus entirely on future. The cost of not studying for 10 days isn’t much if you don’t waste a single day in future.
No topper will know for sure that he/she will top in this exam. Until the list is out, it will be a surprise. However, one can be sure of getting a rank in a desired range – like within top 100 or 200. This depends on your performance in Mains and interview. And also on your honest and objective introspection of your performance. If you are happy about it and have a gut feeling that you have done well in all areas, you might be surprised (or shocked) to see your name right at the top of the list.
To see your name in top 100, two mistakes you must never commit or repeat: Treating this attempt as your experimental attempt and doing too many experiments influenced by too many advices.
We believe, it’s possible for you to crack this exam in one attempt provided you follow any one good strategy completely.
Most of the times, it’s experiments which cost dearly. You might have already taken coaching for optional subject, but you will again join another institute, or won’t revise any of your notes until exam nears. You might join 1-2 test series for the same subject and end up not completing either of them. This wastes lots of your time and energy directly affecting your confidence.
There is a reason why only a few make it to the top. Even after lots of motivation, only few will be consistent. They just want IAS/IPS/IFS at any cost. Even when they fall ill, they don’t miss their targets; even when there are personal problems, they just focus on their preparation; even when friends and relatives try to demotivate them, they silently re-focus their time and energy on studies; even when they fail, they are not affected by it.
Most people either give up or start something new – be it a strategy, or a job. If 100 people start writing 5 secure answers today, by the end of the month, 50-60 will be still writing them. Among them 10-20 will be writing 5 – 10 answers. After 2-3 months, there will be less than 30-40 people regularly writing answers. In the end less than 20 will be toiling hard. Of these 20, a topper will emerge. Others out of these 20 too will succeed today or tomorrow. Certainty is 100%.
You must try to be one among these 20 people. The 20 who never give up. All it requires is strong will to succeed, a strong desire to see your name among toppers and a clear roadmap to follow till the end. This exam doesn’t require you to be a graduate of top university or college; it doesn’t require you to be an intellectual; it doesn’t demand you to master english or any other subject.
All it requires from you is consistency in your efforts, and sincerity in your desire.
Compared to all the struggles that you see around the world, giving 100% to this exam is the easiest of all these struggles, or from among those that you will ever face in your life. May be because this exam appears easy, some people take it for granted, and some people don’t give their 100%.
If you are consistently seeing improvement in your grasp over current events, optional subject topics, general studies concepts, essay writing skill and finally in your own personality, then never give up. It might take longer than you expected, but success will be yours.
Some people achieve it in one attempt. Combination of many factors, including 1% luck, help them achieve this. Don’t compare with them. You are not them. Take your time, but also show sense of urgency in achieving your goal.
You know what to do. Start doing it. Don’t stop until you succeed. Your dream is not just yours. There are people who love you most in the world and want to see your dreams come true. At least, work hard for them.
Self-doubts, confusions and other negative feelings will be your constant companions in this journey. Don’t give in to them. Neglect them, and keep on moving. These negative feelings should make you stronger, not otherwise.
Work hard and start dreaming again.