Despite putting lots of efforts, you might be having doubt about clearing this year’s prelims exam. You are not alone. Most people get this fear. Most people get these self doubts (We know it because we speak to lots of people and receive lots of mails)
Always remember – in this journey, you are not alone. Even if you have revised everything, because of uncertainty that’s hallmark of UPSC, you will be little worried about how the paper is going to be set on D-Day – Will it have more current events based questions? Will it be more factual – oh I am very weak with facts!? Will it be more analytical? Will it have more questions from art & culture part – which I have skipped? Will it have more environment related questions – which even after repeated reading appears vague and unfamiliar?
Should you succumb to these fears and worry about your performance?
Absolutely not. On the day of exam, it’s not the ‘test of knowledge’ that makes you eligible for Mains. It’s your common sense, calmness and confidence that helps you cross the hurdle.
There are people who read for 2-3 months and clear prelims. There are people who solve thousands of quality questions from good test series just one month before prelims and nail it. These people rely more on confidence and commonsense.
At this moment, you have enough knowledge to clear prelims (if you are preparing for 6 – 12 months). All you have to do is revise everything you have read till now and focus more on staying calm and confident. You must start enjoying your days from tomorrow. No matter where you stand now, you must stay relaxed (in your mind). Anxiety can cost you few precious marks in the exam and throw you out of the race.
Some brilliant people who can top this exam often fail at prelims stage. In our opinion, it’s more to do with mindset and attitude on the day of exam. Some take too big a risk. They attempt too less or too many questions because of overconfidence.
Some of them might become nervous and forget to fill roll number; or might enter wrong booklet code, or fill bubbles in wrong order! Minor mistakes like this will cost you whole year.
Therefore, start working on these small things. Take print of OMR sheets and practice them beforehand. Solve as many question papers as possible. Be prepared. While preparing next 38 days, try to enjoy every minute. Yes, it’s a pressure situation. But it’s also a moment where you will experience increased efficiency and productivity in your preparation. Enjoy this phase and stop thinking about what would happen on 7th August.
How you face adverse situation defines you. You must take it as a challenge and face this situation. It’s those who face challenges with a smiling face often win those challenges. They are well prepared through lots of practice, and when the moment comes, they will win challenges because they will have won their fears in their mind.
Never give up hope and never let your mind become victim of unknown fears.
Now is the time to bury all your fears. Don’t let all the pressure from all quarters of your life affect you. Ultimately you are giving this exam for your own interest – so listen to your own conscience. Whether you fail or succeed, it’s you who has to truly experience your feelings. Others respond to your feelings, but they won’t experience them. A relative who’s putting pressure on you and your parents won’t care if you fail or succeed. They will talk about you anyway. Don’t care. You don’t owe anyone anything. Your pain is yours. Your happiness is yours. People come and go, but it’s you who has to go through all hurdles alone.
This struggle in yours alone. Own it. But own it responsibly. Not by putting lots of pressure on you. The more you enjoy what you are doing, better will be your chances of success.
Sleep well. Smile always (this helps your loved ones more than anything you ever do to them). And on the day of prelims, try to enjoy each and every moment.
Remember! you know the answer and it should come out. It comes out only when you are not scared of anything – not even UPSC! (once you are IAS, you are IAS – you will forever forget anything even remotely related to UPSC – unless you remotely harbor a desire to become its chairman or member!)
In case you think you still unprepared, there is still time. Work hard. You can still clear prelims. Try to give everything you have. Don’t worry about competition. As long as you are giving your best, you will always have a chance to succeed – even if you start today. It’s all in your mind. As Buddha said (and did) long ago, you become what you think of. If you make up your mind now to push the limits, you might go on to get a top rank.
Wish you all the best 🙂