The day she had been waiting for since a year or more- June 5th, had finally dawned. As the sun rose above the horizon, bringing with it a brand new day, she was suffused with optimism & hope- for her own new beginning. Having shed all the baggage of the past behind(the failures, bad mock scores, stress and troubles), she was ready to face the challenge that lay in front of her now- Prelims, fearlessly. Prelims wasn’t going to scare her, not anymore! It was an exciting challenge to her now- one that she had vowed to conquer.
Several of you may identify with our protagonist in the above paragraph. You’ll may be brimming with confidence & may be eagerly waiting for tomorrow. But a majority of you’ll may be anxious, afraid of what will happen in the exam hall- “Is it going to be absolutely random? Will I forget all that I have studied with painstaking discipline? What if I don’t cross the cut-off? CSAT! OMG!”. It is completely normal to get scared & nervous, it shows that you care too much and want to do your best. You are not alone. But it’s time to shed that attitude now. You know why? Because Prelims is a mind-game. You read that right! The one who clears comfortably tomorrow isn’t the one who has done 100 revisions or mugged up every material possible (they may too if they fulfill the below condition). But more often than not, the one who clears is the one who maintains absolute calmness, doesn’t get tensed on reading crazy questions & who is going to be stable like a rock when faced with trying situations tomorrow.
We’ll tell you something that you’ve got to repeat to yourself when you see the paper tomorrow (remember this well) – “EVERYBODY HAS GOT THE SAME QUESTIONS, If it’s tough for me; it is equally tough for everyone else too. We have all studied nearly the same material, attempted the same mocks, our knowledge levels are nearly equal, so I can do it & be amongst the 10k-11k who clear.” There is nothing stopping you from doing your best tomorrow, other than your fear & self-doubt. Paulo Coelho has written: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Remove the fear of failure from your mind. All the energy that you spend worrying & imagining the worst possible outcome tomorrow, can instead be spent in investing in imagining the best possible result. Be calm & maintain your composure now. It will make a huge difference in your score tomorrow.
After reading this article, pack your bags immediately. Keep your hall ticket(and another copy of it just in case), your identity proof, a few black ball point pens(carry extra ones just in case), snacks, chocolates & water to keep your energy levels up; but most importantly keep your positive attitude ready for tomorrow. If you ask us what the differentiating factor is tomorrow- it is YOUR ATTITUDE towards the paper. Reach a bit early, calm yourself down at the centre before the exam begins. Do not think that every question in the exam is so random & that it’s out to defeat you. No! You are out there to face the question, apply your skills & conquer it. You will be the victor, not the random question! It’s just another battle for you to win in this war. You will emerge victorious. Believe that whole-heartedly.
Victor Frankl had famously said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Choose your response; you are the one in control. You have the power to win tomorrow.
If you see tough & super random questions, don’t get flustered. Everybody is faced with the same challenge; you are not stupid or dumb. Majority of them won’t know the answers to several questions. Remember that. Don’t try to be a hero & waste time trying to solve random questions if you have no clue in the first round, you can get back to them in the next round to see if it’s worth guessing(remember negative marking!). Focus on what you do know in the first round. Get all the basic questions right. Be unshakable, a talkative invigilator or a creaky desk, should have no power over your mental composure!
Remove the fear of failure from your mind now. What is the worst thing that can happen if you fail? You’ll have to write prelims next year or you get to explore a whole new cool career. Is there a catastrophe waiting to happen? No, right? So don’t fear failure. You, my friend, are indefatigable! You are strong & courageous & we admire that about you! Tomorrow is going to be a great experience, forget the outcome. Enjoy the process; you’ve done your best, now it’s time to surrender the outcome to the universe. Just be in the moment tomorrow & soak in the experience. These are the experiences that mould your character & build your personality. UPSC is just an exam- just an exam. It is not life, it will never define who you are intrinsically. Your self-worth should be dependent on clearing it. You are special, whether you clear or not. Remember that!
Mahatma Gandhi had said, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” You have to believe in your abilities & carry a winning attitude along with you tomorrow. Believe that you’ll be getting AIR 1 next year.
Lastly, thank you for being so dedicated & consistent in participating in the various prelims initiatives on the site for the last few months. Your constant encouragement & consistent participation, is our biggest gift. We are so grateful for your support!
Team InsightsIAS wishes you the very best of luck for tomorrow. We hope that you will conquer prelims in great style & prepare for mains. We have a tonne of exciting & brand new initiatives planned for you’ll & can’t wait to share them soon!
Wish you all the best for tomorrow!
Go on and conquer prelims! You deserve to & we are confident that you will!
Until next time!