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Things to Keep in Mind While Preparing for 2019 Prelims - Lessons from Failure.

I have flunked prelims 2018. I did an in-depth analyses of the question paper for the past one week. I urge everyone of you to do the same. You may think it's a waste of time, but this will save you time in knowing what to ignore and how to move prepare for next year (I am not giving this exam again). This has to be done immediately because every question is fresh in your mind and you will have many an a-ha moments when you actually get into the examiners mind.

I have the following things to say,

1) All the analyses of the question paper put out by coaching centers (Vision included) are extremely weak. Passively reading this will make you go back to the same mode of preparation and heart break next year too.

2) There is a profound connection between almost all the questions asked this time. When I found this out I was shell shocked. I am not going to tell you what it is but I urge you to probe and find out. We have been clearly outsmarted by the examiner. The examiner is like Kyser Soze of the Usual Suspects.

3) UPSC does not want you to quit your job. This is not new advice for senior players in this forum. But the point is, the prelims question paper is being set in such a way that, all you knowledge, no matter how much you know is pretty much junk. There is no use in knowing stuff any more. The luck factor plays a big role in stage 1 itself. In the mains stage, optionals are randomly butchered. People who performed well in interviews lose. In other words there are multiple points of failure and the risk of doing this without a job is just too much. A person graduating from tier 1 colleges nullifies his education due to a long career gap. A person graduating from low grade college doom themselves by a long career gap. In this case, they would neither have the experience nor have the educational backing. The outcome is years of a low paying job for the rest of your life.

4) Do not make you happiness contingent upon this exam only. Having found the profound connection (point 2), I realize now that I could have slept more, hit the gym more, pursued my hobbies more, socialized more, loved myself and others around me more. I could still have cleared the prelims. In other words, it is not the number of hours that I put in which decides whether I crack civil services. No matter how much I study I could still fail. The saying 'smart work matters more than hard work' is equally daft. Think of yourself as an examiner an imagine how many ways there are to outsmart the candidates. Yes, smart work is better, but there is no guarantee. Rank 2 (2017) flunked prelims (2016) Rank 1 (2017) flunked mains badly in preceding years. Once you have the basics covered, you just have be easy on yourself. Mindset matters.

5) You just cannot call UPSC unfair. There is no single question (well, there are few) which is random. It seems as if each question was thought out meticulously. All we could say after we come out of the exam hall is, 'we should have known this, but we did not, and we deserve to have failed'. It's that simple. If you ask UPSC to explain itself for the prelims 2018 question paper, it will smile at you, patronizingly pat you on the head and say 'why have you not read NCERT, the news papers, budget, economic survey and have made smart enough connections? why have you not saved yourself for grunt work by simply ignoring all the coaching center materials, mocks tests, revisions etc, you knew we were not dumb enough to copy those questions, right?'. Imagine you own a slave. You make him carry bricks from room A to room B which is a few kilometers apart in the blistering sun. And then you ask the same slave to transfer the same bricks from room B to room A without explaining why. UPSC is the slave owner and we are the slaves.

6) Prelims 2018 is dark. It is usual for questions to have a positive tone especially if it is a government exam. UPSC is after all is part of the government. Not this time. The origins of almost all the questions arise out of something negative. It seems like UPSC was questioning the government at times. That which we ignore in our preparation can no longer be ignored. That which we think of as trivial is no longer trivial. That which we consider important is pretty much what all the coaching centers would consider important, and it will not cut ice. Does this make our work harder? I think it makes your work simpler. Play the lottery, be happy when you win. Move on when you lose. Do not make high stake bets.

7) Vagueness in the question paper is frustrating but it is deliberate. It is part of your job as IAS officer to deal with it. All the situations surrounding you are vague, human knowledge cannot be absolute. Even at mains there is vagueness which puts us in a negative mindset only to miss the questions we know really well. The point is to ignore the unknowns and do the best that we can do in any given situation, including prelims.

8) You are better off internalizing (memorizing) things for mains, esp optional than you are internalizing things for prelims. There is no glory in clearing prelims and too much effort here is a colossal waste of time. This is even more true because you may or may not clear prelims regardless of how good and knowledgeable you are.

9) You cannot ignore one subject completely for prelims. Who would have guessed so many questions from technology this time. I usually ignore art and culture and have paid the price. When the subject you know best trips you in the prelims (history optionals guy not knowing any history question), it is the subject that you choose not to ignore that will help you.

10) Ego kills you. I thought my English was good and ignored preparing for essay and ethics. Had I concentrated on these two papers, I may well have been giving you all this advice form the other side.
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Comments

  • @Adrian

    I can totally relate to each and every point mentioned.

    Nobody Owes Nobody Nothin'. You Owe Yourself !
  • Very well written as a veteran aspirant who spent years unemployed on this exam I have realised this fact very well Imo the reason why most of us don't clear is the mindset.You can't clear this exam without being mentally stable and most of us sitting for years without a job and wasting our potentials are basically unstable mentally although we ignore or choose to hide it.I haven't appeared this year as I took a break with a new job but I have realised this dark side of CSE. I also feel at much ease now and urge many other serial attempt takers to explore other options and even if they do continue always try to find a job and study with it.It is pure Russian roulette after a certain point once u know u have done whatever the exam demands or what toppers have told you with multiple attempts at pre/mains/int.
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • edited June 10
    Can't relate to point 2 as of now. Maybe because I skipped this attempt. Will try to go through the paper once again and see if I can find any connections. :sweat_smile:
    Rest of the points are very true to the core.
    Slow and steady ain't enough. You gotta be Fast & Furious.
  • Very well written as a veteran aspirant who spent years unemployed on this exam I have realised this fact very well Imo the reason why most of us don't clear is the mindset.You can't clear this exam without being mentally stable and most of us sitting for years without a job and wasting our potentials are basically unstable mentally although we ignore or choose to hide it.I haven't appeared this year as I took a break with a new job but I have realised this dark side of CSE. I also feel at much ease now and urge many other serial attempt takers to explore other options and even if they do continue always try to find a job and study with it.It is pure Russian roulette after a certain point once u know u have done whatever the exam demands or what toppers have told you with multiple attempts at pre/mains/int.

    +1.....used to read your comments from long time. I will probably write ifos mains this time but I know it might end in undesirable way as usual. Next year will be my full and final attempt for civils and after that Adios. Btw where are working now? have you cleared mpsc rajyaseva this time or wht?
  • Sitting idle at home after 2 serious attempts doesn't make any sense, whatever be the level of motivation or situation.
    As far as job is concerned, people left their job because it becomes impossible for them to study with some particulars jobs like it sector, banking etc .only rare ones who are not much interested in social life could handle it.
    People make mistakes but it never too late to come back to right track. Its blessing in disguise to make mistakes in 20s because it will make us more mature in long run. The unfortunate ones are those who do blunders in late 30s or in 40s because making a comeback become difficult at such age.

    Start working. Hit the gym. Make daily plans and instead of delaying your happiness for an year or two start living in present. Staying happy is the secret.
    Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that's more productive.

  • Any hints for point 2? Couldn't put a finger on it. Rest all points are very true.
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

  • edited June 11
    Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear
  • Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear

    +1:0
    na hindi ke na angreji ke pde farsi jote khet :D
  • Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear

    +1 Art of making tukkas right can be learnt by solving as many mocks as possible. One topper of this year who failed to clear pre in previous four attempts said that she solved almost 100 mocks this year and cleared prelims
  • Point no 2 if elaborated would be highly appreciated :smiley:
  • edited June 11
    dusra point ni smjh aaya
    once again HUSTLE
  • LuV said:

    Point no 2 if elaborated would be highly appreciated :smiley:

    +1
    once again HUSTLE
  • dusra point ni smjh aaya

    Wahi toh USP hai is thread ka

    ps: samajh mujhe bhi nahi aaya
    Sociology Optional
  • Jo cheez jahaan samajh mein NAA aaye wahaan bhagwaan ka naam lekar Tukka maar dena chahiye.


    Yahi siddhant hai Prelims ka.
  • Hahaha ..upsc will surprise next year too...don't sit at home. This is all i can say.
    Sabka maalik domino
  • Jo cheez jahaan samajh mein NAA aaye wahaan bhagwaan ka naam lekar Tukka maar dena chahiye.


    Yahi siddhant hai Prelims ka.

    You are right!

    Got scared and only attempted 70. Rest is history as they say.
  • edited June 11
    @Adrian Most of this is so apt and accurate I could cry! It's like you're inside my mind lol. I have the same thoughts.

    To all the people, it's not worth your long gap years. Better join your jobs and take it from there. Govt is planning lateral entry anyway. There's too much risk to ignore it. Even after long year of preparation, it all comes down to sheer luck these days.
  • Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear

    Ye tukke marne ka art kaun si coaching me sikhate hain... :D
    We shall overcome.
  • edited June 11
    :#
    2018 Lottery round :#
    Lucky enough to get out of this shit >:)
  • Inputs on point 2?
    Anyone..?
    Sociology Optional
  • Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear

    +1
    I've deleted my gmail account. So your messages won't reach me. ATB. :)
  • Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear

    +1
    +0!


    Many reasons to still remain happy.
  • Bhai sahi Tukke maarne ka art develop karo.

    kyunki Kitna kahin se kaisa bhi kitni bhi baar revision karke bahut saari test series Solve karke padh ko,,,,, exam mein jaake maarne Tukke hi hain.. Isliye Tukke sahi maarne par dhyaan do.... Prelims ho jayega clear

    +1
    +0!
    Baat to ek hi hai. :trollface:
    I've deleted my gmail account. So your messages won't reach me. ATB. :)
  • How many around 90 (UR) here who’re sure of clearing pre?
  • edited June 11
    hunkaar said:

    How many around 90 (UR) here who’re sure of clearing pre?

    aye :trollface:
  • kuch log ke samne narayan(afg) hote hu bhi log narayani-sena(marathon) chun lete hain !!!
  • Very well written as a veteran aspirant who spent years unemployed on this exam I have realised this fact very well Imo the reason why most of us don't clear is the mindset.You can't clear this exam without being mentally stable and most of us sitting for years without a job and wasting our potentials are basically unstable mentally although we ignore or choose to hide it.I haven't appeared this year as I took a break with a new job but I have realised this dark side of CSE. I also feel at much ease now and urge many other serial attempt takers to explore other options and even if they do continue always try to find a job and study with it.It is pure Russian roulette after a certain point once u know u have done whatever the exam demands or what toppers have told you with multiple attempts at pre/mains/int.

    So true, 6 years after a so called Tier-1 education, here I am!
    Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.
  • Point no. 2 needs some serious elaboration becuase it's easier said than done !

    Secondly what should be the approach now ! Static portion becomes extremely important now! Nothing is irrelevant anymore ! Current affairs is beyond reach I don't think any perosn who prepared daily Hindu notes religiously could solve this year's questions ! Mock tests don't gurranty anything anymore ! Elimination technique was not very useful becuase options were very close ! Upsc frustrated everyone ! Saare coaching centres bakwas nikle they will misguide you more than anything ! Answer writing karke kya hoga jab prelims hi nahin niklega! Tukkebaazi hi karna hai toh betting kar lo !

    Feeling lost and frustrated ! Need some genuine person on this forum to show a clear path!
    Sab yeh sochte hai ki hero woh hota hai joh jeetta hai.
    mera yeh manana hai ki hero woh hai joh haarta hai ... kyun ki wohi jaanta hai jeetne ki asli value!
  • Point no. 2 needs some serious elaboration becuase it's easier said than done !

    Secondly what should be the approach now ! Static portion becomes extremely important now! Nothing is irrelevant anymore ! Current affairs is beyond reach I don't think any perosn who prepared daily Hindu notes religiously could solve this year's questions ! Mock tests don't gurranty anything anymore ! Elimination technique was not very useful becuase options were very close ! Upsc frustrated everyone ! Saare coaching centres bakwas nikle they will misguide you more than anything ! Answer writing karke kya hoga jab prelims hi nahin niklega! Tukkebaazi hi karna hai toh betting kar lo !

    Feeling lost and frustrated ! Need some genuine person on this forum to show a clear path!

    Hope @Neyawn sir will come up with a write up or something
    Aur toh kuchh samajh ni aa raha
    Though I didn't take exam this year but the paper and experience of others are so scary
    Sociology Optional
  • There is nothing hidden like that.
    Just they spread their coverage and going deeper. For newspaper not only the Hindu, also (possibly) exclusively from others (need our own research with help of vision analysis) even from the hindu news like "81 lakhs Aadhaar numbers deactivated" were not considered as pre worthy point but now it's become. Few economy questions originated from NCERT, same with polity to some extent. Need to dig govt websites, environment related org websites + IYB, Eco Survey.

    The point is our perspective of study of these need a change, what we believed not so imp for exam is imp now, gauge that difference to get close to the questions, after that pray for sanity of question paper setter, UPSC officials
    2018 Lottery round :#
    Lucky enough to get out of this shit >:)
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