15 Common Mistakes to Avoid in UPSC Preparation or IAS Preparation

UPSC or Union Public Service Commission is considered one of the biggest and toughest exams in the country and to crack the UPSC exam, you need to start your preparation for this exam carefully. As this is one of the reputed exams in the country, a mistake or any kind of mistake can lead you to your failure. Union Public Service Commission selects Group A officers through this exam, so they expect from all the candidates that they are mentally trained, have dedication and quick decision making ability etc. 

15 Common Mistakes to Avoid in UPSC Preparation

Cracking this exam is a tough task and during UPSC preparation, candidates make many mistakes unknowingly. And in this exam, one small mistake can ruin your dreams as well as your hard works. Preparing for the exam requires a grasping strategy and a strong mindset. Although mistakes or failure is a part of success, but you can avoid it and save your time, years, months and days by knowing some important things about this exam and obviously with your dedication and perseverance. Today we'll share 15 common mistakes made by UPSC aspirants during preparation. 

15 Common Mistakes That Aspirants Make During UPSC CSE Preparation

Not checking the syllabus properly

Students who are preparing for this exam, they probably know that UPSC syllabus is huge. Although most of the students know that this exam consists of huge syllabus but some of them do not check the syllabus properly or thoroughly. They just read the summary or headline of the syllabus like General Studies II Paper is about Indian Polity, Constitution, Governance, Internal Justice and Social Justice. You must avoid this mistake and have to analyze the syllabus thoroughly and deeply.

Not checking previous year papers

Previous year papers are the most important thing or material for any competitive exam preparation and it becomes more important in terms of UPSC exam preparation, but many students don't follow it properly or ignore this thing completely. To get selected in the first attempt or early attempt of IAS exam, you need to follow and analyze the previous year question papers. This gives you an idea about what kind or type of questions UPSC asks.

Choosing multiple newspaper

Many students in the initial stage of this exam preparation, they get confused to choose the best newspaper for UPSC and they start searching it like Which is the best newspaper for UPSC preparation? In different online platforms and during this time they go through different recommendations and they choose multiple newspapers for this exam preparation. You need to avoid this mistake and choose only one best newspaper for your preparation.

Not having the right strategy

As we said earlier that UPSC is one of the toughest exams and consists of a huge syllabus, so cracking this exam requires a popper as well as the best and effective strategy. And here many student make this mistake, they just start their preparation without making any popper strategy. To clear this exam, you must make your own strategy according to your reading capacity and your own ability. 

Not reading newspaper

Newspaper is the most important thing for this exam preparation as well as other competitive exam preparation, it keeps you updated with the latest national and international events. And most of the question UPSC asks from current affairs and event, so reading daily newspaper becomes more important. But many students neglect it in the initial period of their preparation and eventually it turns out to be a big mistake for them.

Choosing multiple books 

New students in preparation for this exam, initially they are very confused to choose the best book for UPSC exam and they choose multiple books for one subject, for an example Economy book, Many students bought the economy books of Nitin Singhania and Ramesh Singh together to prepare for their economy subject, but you have to avoid this mistake. Choose only one best book for one particular subject. 

Bad time management

Many aspirants have been preparing for this exam for one or more years but they still fail to pass the exam, and time management may be one of the reasons behind their failure. It is highly advice to all the aspirants to follow a best and effective time table consistently to avoid further mistakes while preparing for UPSC exam as well as others exams. It is one of the key factors for this exam preparation.

Too much reliance on newspapers

Some students do not read the newspaper regularly or consistently, while some students have a lot of dependence on the newspaper. It is important to follow or read regular newspaper but it is better not to rely on it completely or not to give more time to read newspapers. Read the daily newspaper about 30 to 40 minutes no more than that and simply read the relevant topics according to syllabus. 

Lack of revise or practice

Revision or practice is the most important thing to prepare for any exam, and it becomes even more important for the IAS exam. Revision helps you remember what you have read before and it also helps you to clear your concepts, for example when you read a topic for the second or third time the concepts becomes clearer to you and also clears your idea on that particular topic. But many students avoid this practice and it becomes one of the biggest mistakes for them.  

Not choosing relevant optional subjects

Choosing a best optional subject for UPSC is a tough task. Optional subjects help you to score well in this exam but many students choose irrelevant subjects as their optional subjects and at the end they realize that it was a mistake. Some toppers randomly select optional subjects to watch some topers videos. Choose your favorite subject or your subject of interest or you can select optional subject according to your educational background to avoid the mistake.

Lack of writing practice 

Writing practice is another important factor in remembering your subject matter and it also improves the quality of writing and the quality of notes. Only reading will not help you to memorize your topics, you should practice writing regularly on the topics you read. This will help you to make your own notes and avoid depending on the notes of educational institutions. 

Not taking mock tests

Mock test is the most important thing to check your preparation for a particular paper and a particular exam. And this is where many aspirants make a mistake, they don't participate in any kind of mock test. One thing to remember self study is good but to get selected for your dream job you need to attend mock tests. Nowadays there are several educational institutes providing free mock tests for competitive exams, you can attend those mock tests and improve your preparation.

More dependent on coaching institutes than self study

Nowadays students are attracted by some educational institutes who claim that reading their notes or taking their coaching will help you 100% to become a civil service officer. And that is why many students these days go to coaching centers and become totally dependent on them. And here they students) go wrong. Caching institution only guides you for this exam, you have to do self study to crack this exam.

Lack of consistency and focus

The level of the exam is high so one needs to be focused and maintain consistency. During your preparation you will face different types of obfuscation, like nowadays students are distracted by mobile phones or other electronic gadgets or especially social media sites and other thing as well. And many candidates still fall into this trap. To avoid this mistake you have to be focused and you have to be consistent.

Participation in multiple exams

Most of the students who are preparing for the IAS exam are from middle class or lower middle class families and preparation for this exam requires a lot of time and money, so during their preparation candidates appear for multiple job exams, even if their dream is to become an IAS officer or an IPS officer or a civil servant. As we said that this exam requires concentration, so try to avoid appearing in multiple exams.


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Hello everyone, I’m Mritunjoy Biswas and I did masters degree in English literature. Now I’m a private tutor and I have been teaching for last 5 years.

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