The concept of a backup career option, popularised by the TVF Aspirants web series as ‘Plan B,’ is real among UPSC civil service exam candidates. Aspirants frequently find themselves at a crossroads after years of preparation, preparing for a backup career in case they do not pass the exam.
While some aspirants take a break from studying and look for other opportunities only to find themselves back in the competition, many others continue to study and take other exams at the same time.
Let’s look into some preparation tips and buckle up your strategy.
Plan B for UPSC Aspirants
The UPSC exam is divided into three sections. The preliminary examination is the first phase; the second phase is the mains; you can only get to the mains if you pass the prelims; and the third phase is the interview/personality round, in which you are asked a series of questions about yourself and current events in the world.
This article will concentrate on the first phase, the prelims, and how to succeed if your Plan A failed. So let’s get Part B started.
UPSC Prelims 2021- Highlights and Analysis
This year, all of the subjects were almost equally weighted. Most questions were asked in politics, history, and environmental sciences. The polity section had textbook knowledge-based questions, whereas the economics section had application-based questions.
The questions were also based on recent events such as parasites and viruses, as Covid 19 has been prominent in the news for the past year.
The majority of the questions came from history, which was a mix of ancient and modern times. Candidates were also exposed to questions about art and culture that were based on current events.
To everyone’s surprise, UPSC this year asked questions about sports activities, which made sense given that the Olympics were held this year.
General Studies-I and General Studies-II are the two tests that make up the UPSC Civil Services Prelims (CSAT).
Because of its perceived difficulty, the General Studies section is frequently considered the most difficult to crack in the UPSC preparation strategy. Furthermore, because the UPSC cutoff is determined by the score on the General Studies paper, it is a critical exam.
Polity and Governance
The value of government policies has risen dramatically in recent years, both in the preliminary and final stages. The current trend is expected to continue. The questions are straightforward and can be answered quickly after thorough research.
Polity contains many chapters that raise questions. The Judiciary, Changes, Constitutional Changes, Local Governance, Fundamental Rights, Federalism, and Elections are all included.
Many of the books available do not include information on recent constitutional amendments. That is why it is critical to gain a thorough understanding of the Constitution’s provisions.
History and Culture
The questions in the UPSC prelims exam were moderate to difficult in complexity, according to the pattern. The UPSC has frequently asked questions about contemporary Indian culture, including the British Raj and social reforms. Questions were taken directly from the NCERT textbooks.
The applicants must understand the historical significance of various themes in Ancient India, such as the Mauryan Empire, the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Society of Post-Mauryan India, among others.
Geography and Environment
This is one of the most important sections of the prelims, as it covers a wide range of topics.
You should be able to identify locations and have a detailed understanding of the physical elements of India in order to study Indian geography.
The conferences and approaches developed to preserve the ecosystem should be known.
This area should be covered with a good review of the NCERT geography textbook, ‘A Certificate Course in Physical and Human Geography‘ by Goh Cheng Leong, and an understanding of the atlas.
Social Development and Economy
The Indian economy, poverty, public finance, national income, foreign trade, and industries are all covered in this section. The Indian economy is responsible for the majority of the issues in this field, but international economics that affects India must also be monitored.
In the last few years, there has been a significant shift in this market. The majority of the issues, for example, are current in nature (you could be asked of Jan Dhan Yojana)
However, a thorough understanding of the traditional topics of Indian economics is also required.
Global issues have become increasingly important in the planning of civil services. With each passing year, its importance has grown.
Because there is so much content to cover and memorise in this section, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few helpful hints:
#Focus on issues rather than headlines—for example, the news that NCR is planning to release a Rs. 12,441 crore loan for infrastructure projects. Why the number Rs. 12,441? You must comprehend the underlying issue. What are the locations where these projects are being developed? So do your homework and look into the bigger picture. It would be absurd to try to keep up with all of the news because there is so much, so focus on the issues.
#Make notes- As you come across new information, jot down key details. You can use mind maps to connect events that are connected to one another.
#Keep it brief and jot down main ideas, themes, and recurring keywords. In UPSC preparation, less is more.
Why UPSC Aspirants Fail in Exam?
As previously stated, only.1% of IAS candidates are successful in this prestigious and difficult exam. That isn’t to say that this isn’t true. Only 1% of students have exceptional abilities. They are, however, different and smarter than the other aspirants who failed to pass this exam.
We all made mistakes in competitive exams such as Bank, UPSC, and others. Many times, IAS aspirants recognise their errors and do not repeat them. And, in most cases, they make another error in order to correct the first. You’ll be surprised to learn that these blunders, or should we say reasons for UPSC exam failure, are extremely common.
Easy Syllabus is a Trap
If you are applying for the IAS exam for the first time and believe that the Prelims syllabus is not too difficult, be warned that the UPSC syllabus for the IAS exam is like an iceberg. The IAS prelims syllabus is extensive. You will not be successful in the UPSC Prelim exam if you delay your preparation after reviewing the syllabus.
Choosing Wrong Optional Syllabus
Many IAS candidates select the incorrect optional subject. They keep attempting to memorise it, but if the subject does not appeal to your mind, your efforts will be in vain. Most aspirants choose their optional subjects for Mains in an unusual way: they choose the subjects of previous years’ toppers as their optional subjects.
Not Using NCERT for Optional
Alternatively, they can look at the statistics and choose one of the most popular options. If you continue to play this guessing game, you will never pass this exam. Choose optional subjects that interest you in order to pass the IAS exam. Use NCERT books to gain a solid understanding of the subject before moving on to more advanced books.
Lack of Conceptual Ideas
An aspirant for the IAS exam is usually surrounded by books. All of the country’s well-known publishers publish their best books, which contain advanced knowledge. However, in order to read all of these new books, students often neglect to brush up on their fundamental skills.
IAS aspirants must understand that this exam is about more than just bookish knowledge; it also evaluates your approach. The main exam essays are all about your conceptual understanding of the subject, which you can get by reading NCERT books.
As I previously stated, conceptual knowledge is required to pass the IAS Mains exam, and the NCERT books are the best resource for this. These books are ignored by Manu aspirants, who prefer to read books by well-known authors. These other books will broaden your knowledge, but NCERT books will form the foundation of your subject. The NCERT book should not be your only source of study material for IAS preparation, but it must be included.
Lack of Revision
There’s no denying that the IAS exam syllabus is extensive. That is why the majority of applicants study until the very last minute. They don’t review what they’ve learned so far in order to keep cramming something new into their heads. It is one of the most common reasons for IAS exam failure.
If you continue to learn new things without reviewing them, you will never learn about your flaws. Exam mistakes, no matter how minor, have far-reaching consequences, and revision is the only way to identify and correct them.
Remember UPSC is not life, and failures don’t define you. If not UPSC try for any other skill which you are good at. Take a day and relax. Failing UPSC doesn’t mark the end, but your mindset does. Have a day out and seek out your talents and skills, because they define you.
The most important takeaway from this article is to concentrate on acing the prelims section, which has a wide range of topics to study and explore. The advice given above will undoubtedly assist you in passing the prelims and mains when you appear after your failure. You can always look to previous IAS toppers’ interviews for more inspiration.