IAS/UPSC Exam Preparation – You must ask this question now how UPSC will assess you for everything that is required in an administrative officer through this exam. If this question is occurring to you then it is a good sign that you have the potential to be an IAS officer.
It is obvious that if you opt for history and become a district collector you will not be asked to write a history of the district. If you take geography you will not have to produce a map of the district when you are a District Magistrate. Your vast reserves of general knowledge will not be of much use, once you start working as an administrative officer. So if all this is not required later, why does UPSC make us toil overeat?
The answer is simple, it is through these methods only that UPSC test your mind thoughts and character. This is similar to how before buying a new pot you tap it with your fingeres to check it. If you do not like UPSC pattern then I would like you to suggest another improved pattern which is full proof with no errors. This is not just difficult but almost impossible. You may hold any opinion about the UPSC selection process but as of now you have to say that whatsoever it is, howsoever it is, you have to tackle the current scenario and prove that you are IAS material.
I decided to talk about this because I have seen young students study for up to twelve hours, year after year. They have this misconception that the more they will study; the more likely they are to pass the exam. This reasoning steams from there successful experience of university exams. However, the requirements of civil services and university are different. University exams test one’s knowledge not personality but knowledge is not required for civil services. Knowledge is only the means to test the analytical ability of the mind. If you do not develop the ability to critically analyze the knowledge you have gained, it will be difficult to qualify the civil services exam, even if you have memorized the entire syllabus. Civil services require strong personality and the way you analyze your knowledge can give clues to your personality.
Another thing I would like to mention here is that UPSC is not bothered whether you get IPS or IRS or any other service if you have proven that you have the desired metal in you, the UPSC will recommend you that’s it. It is your personal preferences which service you want to be in but please do not let this preference influence your preparation. You just have to prove your mettle that you deserve to be a civil servant. All the ministries have their own training institute. You will be trained according to the service you get. You are to remember that if you have the mettle the training institutes will handle everything themselves. Your job is only to follow instructions.
The qualities that require the following: –
The first is that all the options you must choose from seem to be correct. They are correct. But the question is which option is related to what you have studied in the comprehension you will only be able to choose the correct answer. If you have remained focused while reading the comprehension. The second problem is how much of your mind could you control. You will notice that most of the answers that are given are correct if viewed from the perspective of general knowledge. In fact, it is not compulsory to answer keeping comprehension in mind. The option you decided based on the general knowledge, each probably is the better match. So when you are deciding upon an answer based on comprehension your general knowledge will invade your mind. So you face the challenge of ignoring this invasion and keeping your mind from drifting.
I had no hesitation in saying that this and I want to convince you to that the true IAS potential of yours is judged by the main exam. It is to that you would not reach this level without clearing the preliminary examination but the true assessment of your knowledge understanding with etc. is at this level only. It has been observed that sometimes students who clear the preliminary exams cannot even score 25% in the main exam. On the other hand, there are students who fear the preliminary exam but are well prepared for the main examination. I am discussing this fact here so that you can understand the difference between the two exams. This will help you approach your studies in a scientific manner and you can mold your brain and personality accordingly. Now we shall see what expectations UPSC has from you in the main papers.
The nature of the mains exam is as follows: –
Analytical Ability – Your ability to memorise will not work here. The questions asked in the exams are such that you cannot write a memorized asked in the facts you have memorized will be useful so far as to provide content for your analysis. Whatever you have studied will be the raw material to feed your answer just like you need potatoes, cabbage, chilies, salt and spices to make vegetable curry. You can’t make a curry simply by mixing the vegetables you also have to cook them. This applies to the mains too.
Originality – An analytical ability alone is not enough. You read the questions in the unsolved papers again. You will notice that most questions end with ‘give a critical analysis’ or ‘what steps should be taken’ etc. You have read the subject and you have the general knowledge. It is fine. You can analyse what you have read. Fine again, whatever you have studied and absorbed indicates the awareness and alertness of your mind. An ability to analyse what have been studied and absorbed hints at the brightness and productivity of your mind but when you express your thoughts about the subject it reveals what exactly your productive mind has produced. This tests the originality of your mind. This shows what and how your mind thinks about a certain subject. Do not forget that when we think of something which is original and present our thoughts, it unveils our entire personality. Consequently, UPSC finds the originality of the mind needed to be a good administrator missing.
Language Proficiency – Civil services included an essay writing paper before 1979. It was discontinued for a decade. It was then re-introduced for various reasons. The first was to test a student’s thoughts on any given topic. Secondly, it tested the language profanely and style of the candidate. Essay writing is a paper that you cannot really prepare for it. It is sort of a self-writing exercise and there are no students who do not attempt the essay. They may choose their topics and write differently but all students write the essay. It is the simplest paper but also full of challenges. The challenge is that the paper is more of an art and less science. Here the role of writer is that of a bee that must suck nectar from many flowers to create honey. Similarly, to write an essay the writer collects his wisdom from many sources. This reveals how vast the ocean of the writer’s knowledge is, how well understanding of facts is and how will he use the facts to reach a desired conclusion. The most important of all is the presentation and expression. Remember, essays are not written for intellectuals, they are for average readers so the challenge while writing an essay is how to write a piece the common reader can understand even if the topic of the essay is tough or related to science. Now let us address the question of language as an administrator you will deal with all kinds of paper. Some of them may be illiterate. They will come from different backgrounds whichever department you belong to your role will be that of a leader who guides others. If your language is not simple, not fluent, and not relevant and if it lacks sympathy, it will fail to make an expression and you will not be able to govern people effectively.
Brevity – I feel that if the word limit is removed from the questions asked in general studies papers it would become much easier for students to answer it. But something which is easy for one person would become easy for everyone else too. It will then become difficult to select the best. The purpose of word limit to test which brain can control and express its thoughts within the limits that it has been asked to. This ability can prove how efficiently we can control our thoughts. To follow the word limit and give the best possible answer is not easy unless the person has thoroughly imbibed the subject. Your ability to say what you need to within the word limit reveals your unique style of expression it is like the ability to drive safely in the narrow, winding roads in the hills. You are in total control of the steering of your car because you know that one mistake will cause the car to fall in the gorge.
Integrity – Whether we talk about an administrator a politician, a farmer, a labour or an average citizen. The quality and the quantity of the gross effect on their surroundings depends on their integrity. You may have heard the name of ENRON, a big MNC that was in the process of setting up and ambitious power project in India but suddenly it caught bankrupt. Nobody can believe it. How can this be possible? People were asking each other. Specialists the traits tried to find out the exact reasons behind this breakdown. Do you know what their findings were? They concluded that though ENRON succeeded in hiring the best engineers in trade. They probably could not hire the best people. Don’t you think if every citizen of India promises to hold his or her integrity we can change the fate of our country? We have never been sought on resources. We can claim to have the best brain in the world. The only thing we are lacking is the integrity that should be an essential part of our character.
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