Humans are shaped by circumstances. Often, the circumstances are beyond our control. Humans may have developed an arrogance that makes them believe that they can control their milieu and that their control over the environment is insurmountable. However, this notion goes for a toss as and when the fury of nature brings with it the devastations that we have no control over. We become helpless spectators. Having said that, there is is one thing quite remarkable about humans. They can be helpless sometimes but never hopeless. Even in the hardest of circumstances, humans have the tenacity to innovate and keep going. This is what makes us remarkable. This is what we must remember today.
With the extension of the Civil Services Preliminary (CSP) examination to 4th Oct, we are observing three types of responses.
The HAPPY lot: Many students are happy. They think they have got 4 more months to prepare for prelims. They were somewhat ambivalent about their current level of preparation. Therefore, the extension has come as a blessing in disguise for them. They will prepare harder for the next 4 months and appear in the examination with higher levels of confidence on the 4th of Oct, provided the dates don’t get extended further. But it also means that even the others would be more prepared. Will it not increase the competition further?
The SAD lot: These are people who were ready to go on 30th May. Their preparation was on full throttle and they were confident of clearing Prelims. However, with the extension, they are thinking that they have lost their edge over others. Their preparation has reached a plateau now and therefore after 4 months, they will face stiffer competition. This lot has other categories of people as well. For example, the ones who were preparing while working full time. They had taken leave for the examination and now their bosses are ringing them up to join the office. The momentum that they had gathered for the past few months is now gone. Since they have to join their work back, will they be able to compete with the highly focussed group on 4th Oct? These thoughts must be giving them sleepless nights.
The INDIFFERENT lot: These are candidates who were either planning to appear next year or were planning to appear this year for fun and take the “feel” of examination! They are like the birdwatchers in a park. It doesn’t matter if Prelims gets extended. They have their eyes on 2021. But in this indifferent lot, there is a small bunch of sincere candidates who are getting paranoid by a distant but scary possibility. What if Prelims gets extended further and UPSC decides to combine CSE 2020 with CSE 2021? It is very much possible. After all, Bihar used to conduct the examination for 4-5 years combined! If that happens, imagine the level of competition.
It doesn’t matter which lot do you belong to. You will have your insecurities and feelings. The very objective of talking about the spectrum of feelings and all possible futures of CSP 2020 is to put across a simple point- Don’t Worry! If you have no control over the circumstances, the best you can do is to bring the focus back on yourself.
This extension has given you the golden opportunity to do all the course corrections that you wanted to do initially. This course correction has to be done keeping in mind that the Mains examination might happen within sooner than the usual. Since UPSC must be aware that they will have another cycle of examination in 2021, they will try to stick to the timeframe.
Let us simplify it:
- If you are underprepared today, utilize this time well to cover the topics that you are not confident in. However, keep an eye on Mains. For example, you can divide your preparation time into two chunks- invest 70% on preparing for Prelims and the remaining 30% on Mains. While you are preparing for Prelims, don’t forget that you might have lesser time after Prelims to prepare for Mains. Keep writing at least 3-4 answers daily. You can also focus on those areas that are common to Prelims and Mains both- Polity, Economy, History, Culture, Environment, Science & Tech, etc. What we mean is that in these subjects, you should extend the Prelims concepts and study from the Mains point of view also. It will be really handy after Prelims.
- If you were ready to appear on the 30th or you had taken leave from your office to prepare, don’t panic with the extension. Just keep revising. Divide your day into two parts. In the first, revise the Prelims concepts and in the second, prepare for Mains. A daily revision schedule will ensure that you will never lose your edge over others. It is important to invest more time in Mains preparation, at least during June, July, and August. In September, you can turn your focus completely on Prelims.
We are all affected by the pandemic, albeit to different extents. What we must realize is that the ongoing crisis is teaching us a lot of things. It is teaching us to face adversity and uncertainty at the same time. It is making us learn the art of adapting to changing circumstances. It is making us appreciate the virtues of gratitude and empathy. In the entire scheme of things that shape your life, the Civil Services Examination is an important but small factor. However, what you are learning during this process will go a long way in shaping you into a well-rounded individual.
Therefore, accept things as they come to you and get ready for the future. Remember the quote by Albert Einstein- “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”.
To keep your Preparation more Focused for the next 4 months, we have launched a NEW INITIATIVE-
P.S: IRP 2020 will be starting from tomorrow (10th June, 2020)
All the Best