MUST READ: PRELIMS 2019 MOTIVATION- All Possible Scenarios-Where Do You Fall in Exam?
Given the fact that the coveted civil services attract lakhs of youngsters to appear in the examination every year, stiff competition is a given! With the experience attained through multiple interactions with thousands of students and mentoring them, we have realised that cracking this examination takes more than just plain learning and application of concepts. It requires emotional management also. In fact, we can put it first in the prerequisites of qualifying this examination. With hardly a month remaining for the preliminary examination, we thought that sharing our experiences and the ways to tackle various scenarios that you must be facing now will help you manage your anxieties and apprehensions.
One thing that we must understand is that we are all different, our problems, priorities and pains are different and therefore the ways and means to address them are also different. You might be facing the same examination as your roommate is; but for both you, the challenges and moods might be different. In the next few paragraphs, we present an exhaustive list of scenarios that you as a candidate might be facing. Please see whether you fit somewhere in this classification. We have also provided the reasons behind the feelings that you might be experiencing in different scenarios and have also tried to give solutions to address them positively. It is also possible that you find yourself in two or even more than two scenarios. We hope that this objective scenario analysis will help you overcome your anxieties and lead to your success eventually.
Scenario 1: You have not yet completed your revision. Wit each passing day, you rewrite your schedule and convince yourself that there is enough time to revise all the subjects. But deep within, you are a bit scared.
Why does it happen: It happens because your emotions are torn between your commitment to excel and reality. You are committed to clear the exam but at the same time have apprehensions that you might lose it eventually. It happens with the majority of candidates (in fact with the top rankers as well!). The major factor could be your overcommitment due to which you covered so many things in the first phase of the study that it is becoming unmanageable to revise them all. The fear of not revising the hard work already done creates even more anxiety! Another reason could, of course, be procrastination. This is a fundamental human trait in the 21st century. With the internet and social media in our hands, we tend to postpone important things in our life.
What can be done: The first and the foremost thing that you need to do is to prioritise. Believe us, it doesn’t take more than 50% of your acquired knowledge to take the form of wisdom. It is wisdom that does the rest. It simply means that an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. You might not be able to revise everything that you have read in the past few months but still, the wisdom acquired with the help of those readings will sail you through. Therefore, make a fixed time table and stick to it. Prioritise the areas you need to focus without getting too much concerned about the portions that you are going to leave in this process. The second most important thing to do is to stop procrastinating. Do it now, sometimes later becomes never!
Scenario 2: Everything was going fine. You were scoring high marks test after tests and everyone was betting on your preparation and potential. But then, the last few tests have gone haywire. You have lost the sheen and your performance has dropped. You feel that you are losing it now!
Why does it happen: Success makes us complacent. It also makes failures hard to accept. Our mind and emotions get habitual of pride and praise. A departure from the norm makes it difficult to adapt to the new realities. It hurts the confidence and brings a further dip in performance.
What can be done: No success is permanent and no failure is fatal. The mocks that you are appearing in are meant to train you for the ultimate battle. By no stretch of the imagination, they can become the yardstick to decide your performance in the actual examination. Your failure or rather the limited success in the recent tests mean nothing more than a reminder. It simply tells you to be more careful and don’t take things for granted. You are well prepared and only need to focus harder. Don’t lose the momentum now! It will be fatal. Take your failures with a pinch of salt and move on. Neither try too hard nor be listless. Just keep doing your job.
Scenario 3: This is your last attempt and you are in severe stress. You always think about the results. What if you don’t qualify this time too? What will your parents, friends and family think? have you waited your career?
Why does it happen: It happens because we humans are insecure beings. The feeling of insecurity of any kind overpowers our thinking. We start focusing too much on the negative possibilities rather than the positive ones. We start blaming our fate and also lose faith in hard work. Moreover, having spent a considerable amount of time, the feeling of impatience and frustration starts to foster. Lack of security in terms of career makes us uneasy an under-confident.
What can be done: Understand the concept of time zones. Different parts of the world have different times because they lie in different time zones. Human beings are also in their time zones. It simply means that just like sunlight doesn’t come all at once to the entire planet, success also comes at different times for different individuals. What affects your chances however is despondency. What if this is your time right now? What if there is a guarantee of success this time? Don’t lose this opportunity. Give your 100% and hope for the best. If you sail through, nothing can be better and even if you don’t, there are millions of opportunities waiting to be explored.
Scenario 4: This is your first attempt. You know that there are so many experienced players already in competition. You have a feeling that you don’t stand a chance.
Why does it happen: Contrary to the concept of ‘beginner’s advantage’, freshers suffer from the ill-placed syndrome of ‘beginners disadvantage’. They have a feeling that cramming up concepts of UPSC for years can give an individual edge over the others. This is natural as it happens in many other fields also, most notably sports and jobs.
What can be done: How do some sportsmen have the dream debuts? Why do many first-timers crack UPSC in the very first attempt? The answer is simple. If you have the right tools, the right attitude and the right frame of mind, it doesn’t matter if you are a fresher or a veteran; you will always succeed. You have nothing to lose and no one to compete with except yourself. Just focus on improving your own performance without bothering too much about the people around you.
Scenario 5: You see highly intelligent people around yourself. They study in groups and always keep discussing new concepts, some of which just fly over your head. You have a feeling that you don’t have what it takes to become a civil servant.
Why does it happen: We always tend to put ourselves in comparison to others. Even a slight hint of inferiority bewilders us. We start feeling that we can’t compete with the more competent and the smarter lot. We start feeling excluded and that affects our confidence adversely.
What can be done: Even the smartest and the most talented players have been defeated by the consistent ones. Civil services examination requires consistency in efforts and a willingness to better ourselves. If one goes on to make others as the benchmark, he is bound to get lost in the process. The best thing to do is to stay true to your commitment, strive hard with each passing day and hour and keep improving your abilities. Believe us, success shall be yours.
Scenario 6: You are scared of numbers. Can you succeed by competing lakhs of students? You didn’t even feature in the top 20% of your class in the school/ college! How can you be there in the top 0.5% of the candidates appearing in the examination?
Why does it happen: We get overwhelmed by numbers. India is a country of millions of jobless youth competing neck to neck with each other to get their dream jobs. It is natural to be scared of such stiff competition.
What can be done: A reality check will soothe your senses. Of the lakhs that appear in the preliminary examination, the ones who are actually prepared and hold some potential might only be thousands in number. Moreover, they are all facing the same competition. They are all equally scared of the numbers. You are not alone in this fear. The more you overcome this fear, the better are your chances to succeed.
Scenario 7: Everything is going great. You are high on confidence. You have firm belief in your abilities and hard work. You are sure to crack this examination.
Why does it happen: Hard work and a high level of preparedness give confidence. But it can also lead to overconfidence which can be fatal for you. Many times, brilliant candidates peak much before the actual examination and falter on the ‘D day’.
What can be done: Don’t let your performance peak right now. Remain humble and wait for the right time to give your best performance. There are many like you who are confident of clearing the examination. You have to compete with them and the best way to do it is by not letting your confidence corrupt your senses.
Scenario 8: You are appearing this year just to measure the depth of waters. You will come stronger and better prepared next year. You simply want to have a “feel” of this examination.
Why does it happen: This again is a natural human tendency. Many a time, we don’t give the full throttle fearing failure. We keep convincing ourselves that we have the potential to succeed and we will definitely taste success one day. This escapist tendency might actually be harmful sometimes.
What can be done: Don’t appear in the examination if you aren’t fully prepared. Examination as a process seeps into your intellectual faculties and can cause irreversible harm by affecting your confidence. You won’t even realise it and it will break your spirits. So it is better to stay away from such wishful thinking. If at all, you want to have the “feel”, it would be much better if you attempt the paper at home after the examination.
So, where do you find yourself? It’s perfectly fine to be scared or anxious. We are all human beings. But at the same time, we must have the intelligence to tackle our emotions and move in the right direction.
Success is what we want and success is what we should work for!
All the Best