Importance of guidance for UPSC Preparation

By Hemant Kumar|Updated : June 24th, 2020

Making it to the final list of the UPSC civil services examination is one of the toughest tests of endurance, patience and resolve. The exam gives an account of a candidate’s determination, mental strength and persistent hard work over a period of time and in a consistent manner that too at all the three stages of the examination be it the preliminary examination, the mains and the interview. This article will help you analyse the role and importance of Guidance/Mentor for UPSC IAS Preparation.

Importance of guidance for UPSC Preparation

Common issues faced by UPSC Aspirants

  • Figuring out Sources: With so many books available, the candidates are in great confusion about what to study and what to avoid. The candidate who has just begun preparation for the civil services examination will find it difficult in differentiating between useful information and unwanted study material.
  • Motivation: Clearing the civil services examination is just like running a marathon, a candidate needs to cover the entire syllabus within the stipulated time and with multiple revisions. In such a long time frame aspirant tend to easily lose their focus therefore they required regular doses of motivation so that they are able to put consistent efforts.
  • Time Table and Schedules: This is one of the most essential and yet most ignored point among aspirants. Creation of time table and following them sincerely helps in completing the syllabus in a timely manner and do revision accordingly.
  • Writing Practice: candidate is required to attempt 20 questions in the mains examination in each paper in a time limit of three hours. Here, the candidates find it difficult to finish the paper on time.
  • Strategy to approach Prelims and Main syllabus: Candidates are often confused about the timetable to follow. A proper schedule is an instrument which helps an aspirant to follow a daily routine and ensures that the entire syllabus is completed. For example, it is important to complete the mains portion (general studies and optional) before the prelims. The four months post the prelims exam should be used for revision and answer writing practice.
  • Sense of Despair at times: Every year very few candidates clear the exam in their first attempt. Clearing UPSC is a game of patience and persistence. Therefore, before the examination, some candidates may develop a negative sense or fear of failure. This instinctively reduces efficiency and decreases the self-confidence level.
  • The dilemma of time management between current affairs and Static Portion: The civil services exam is known to be unpredictable. And candidates are often left confused whether to focus on the static portion or the current affairs. A sincere candidate should keep an optimum balance between the static part and current affairs during the preparation. So that even if more questions come from one portion than the other the candidate is comfortable to handle them.

Just as any sports person requires regular training, setting targets each day and striving to achieve it, training with the right technique, intent and improving his performance with as he progresses. Similarly, a civil services aspirant looking to crack the exam will surely benefit from the right guidance and having the right mentor who also puts in an effort so as to help the aspirant sail through the examination.

The civil services examination cannot be cracked without rigorous hard work and undivided attention, grit and determination. however, merely hard work is not sufficient to clear the examination in one go, a candidate needs the proper guidance and a mentor to steer him and his efforts in the right direction and ensure that maximum output is derived from his hard labour.

Proper guidance can help in the following ways:

  • A good Action Plan:
    • A mentor helps in Providing an action plan to cover the lengthy syllabus of UPSC in time. This involves the process of making notes from the topics of the syllabus, allocating the correct time for the different portions mentioned in the syllabus.
    • There is no one size fits all approach towards covering the entire syllabus, here the role of a mentor becomes important. the mentor allocates does the time frame in which a topic has to be covered as per the strengths and weaknesses of an aspirant and helps to maximize his efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Choosing the right study material: 
    • There is no dearth of study material available both online and offline to study for the civil services examination. Therefore choosing the correct sources becomes very important.
    • As the strategy should not be to focus on numerous study material and revising them only a few times but it should be to stick to limited sources but revising them multiple times. this ensures that a candidate is able to develop command over the different topics of the syllabus For example to cover history a candidate has to, first of all, make a sound base which can be developed by reading the NCERTs,  after covering the NCERT the second level entails reading standard textbooks such as spectrum’s modern India.
    • Once the two levels are completed now a candidate can move to the third level which requires practising MCQs for the preliminary examination and as well as answer writing for the mains examination.
    • Thus progressing in a sequence becomes important to master subject for the examination and here comes the role of a mentor who can help to evolve strategies to cover the sources effectively.
  • Help in selecting the right optional subject for the mains exam.
    • Proper guidance of a mentor can help to narrow down the choices of an optional subject and help in better decision making towards choosing the optional. Because selecting the right optional is very important as in the mains  500 marks are allocated to the optional subject and it constitutes around 30% of the total mains marks and optional being a high scoring area needs to be prepared well so as to have higher chances of clearing the examination
  • Devoting the right amount of time to each topic as per its importance for the exam.
    • A mentor helps an aspirant to know the right weightage of each topic from the examination point of view. For example every year almost 12 to 15 questions are asked from the environment section in the preliminary examination and around 8 to 10 questions from polity around 10 questions from geography. Thus, focusing on the right subjects and the right topics becomes crucial for clearing the examination
  • Ensuring that candidate remains motivated: 
    • Clearing the civil services examination is a long drawn process because the entire cycle of examination runs for 12 to 15 months. Thus it becomes important that a candidate remains motivated and is focused and on the right track, studying the correct study material and is putting consistent hours of study. For this, the role of the mentor becomes important as he can ensure that the candidate is on the right track, is motivated and remains positive.
  • Providing Recent trend analysis of exam: 
    • Doing a smart study is crucial for such a competitive exam and for this, the recent pattern of the exam must be known to aspirants. Mentors analyse the paper in an effective and comprehensive manner for the benefits of aspirants.
  • Helps in providing clarity on topics: 
    • Syllabus of UPSC is so vast and one is supposed to read almost everything under the Sun. Topics range from easy to very difficult and to deal with difficult portions, guidance is very much needed for clarity of concepts.
  • Reducing the efforts put by aspirants:
    • Covering Current affairs holistically by reading the newspaper will take hours and similarly, editorial analysis and topic notes are too much to handle for aspirants to cover in a given time frame. Mentors provide a helping hand by giving Daily Current Affairs, Daily Editorial analysis, UPSC Study Notes etc.

Thus clearing the civil services exam requires persistent effort from the candidate and this becomes easier under the right guidance.

All the best!

Check other links:

Previous Year Solved Papers

Monthly Current Affairs

UPSC Study Material

Daily Practice Quizzes, Attempt Here


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