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MOTIVATION: How to Conquer Mains?



It is funny that just before exam you start facing many problems. Having spent so many months preparing for this exam, suddenly you get fever, common cold, typhoid, migraine, insomnia and what not. It’s also unfortunate that some of you face personal tragedies; some face the responsibility of looking after ailing mother, father or a spouse – all while you are gearing up for final round of revision. 

Some start losing their nerves. They start telling themselves that game is over for this year and they should give their best attempt next year. Some just give up. They don’t even attend Mains.

The major worry that haunts victims of these bad circumstances is that while others have revised well and moved ahead, they have wasted their time thanks to their illness. They start thinking that their chances of scoring very good marks this year is very less. Once you fall into the trap of self-defeatism, all you want to do is escape from challenges. But unlike other exams, civil services exam is not a challenge to most of you. It’s a responsibility.

No matter how much time you have wasted – either because of your own fault or due to unexpected unpleasant circumstances, you must not give up. Instead you should utilize remaining hours to calmly prepare as much as possible. Yes, your plan to revise this and that has been destroyed, but worrying over it again and again will waste your remaining time.

Basic reason for worry is the assumption others are well prepared compared to you (unless you are in their shoes, you will never know what problems others are undergoing – they too will have problems). Let them prepare extremely well, but the real test is in the exam hall. Unlike other exams, here so many factors decide fate of your final rank. Assuming you are not prepared well for GS-1, you can still do better in other papers and compensate. Or you can prepare very well for interview and score highest marks there (don’t believe those negative comments such as interview is subjective etc). Moreover, as said earlier, it’s a responsibility. How many people clear prelims? Many deserving ones don’t clear and feel very bad for not able to write mains. When you have cleared prelims, it’s crime not to do well in mains whatever be the hardships you have faced or facing. When you are given an opportunity, you should make use of it most!

If you are one of those who have ‘wasted’ 10-15 days due to illness or due to other emergencies, stop worrying immediately. In Mains, all the knowledge that you have accumulated till now helps you, not the stuff you stuff into your head during last few days. If you have to use this accumulated knowledge, you should be calm and relaxed. The hardships which you have just faced are real tests to make you strong. If you are a believer in god, assume that you were subjected to these tests to prepare you well for mains. (If you are an atheist, then don’t worry. You have nothing to lose. You are the god.)

In UPSC Mains, what matters most is relevance and clarity in your answers. If you are worried and depressed, you can not bring clarity in your answers. You should be cheerful. You should be relaxed now. Revise as much as you can, but without straining yourself. 

If you are in this race for 1-2 years and have prepared well all these days, wasting 10-15 days will not affect your chances of clearing Mains. To believe this, stop worrying and give exams with a happy state of mind. When the result comes, you will be surprised. 

If you look at your life, there is nothing much to lose even if you fail this year. Life goes on. Around you more Trumps will win; more poor will stand in long queues; more soldiers will die in the border; more species would get added to endangered list; more national anthems would be sung across cinema halls. 

Yet, the world will not end. Life goes on. UPSC will go on conducting exams. More opportunities will come in your way. 

But the immediate opportunity which you have now is excelling in Mains. Don’t screw it up by being negative. Bad things are happening around us – they will happen to us, but fun lies in enduring them and laughing at them. If you give up, you will be laughed at. If you somehow win these bad situations, you will be treated as hero. 

Go write best essay of your life; go write best answers you have ever written. It’s all possible. All you need is immense determination and self-belief.  Be mad. Tell yourself that no matter what happens to the result, you would give best effort of your life.  

 Take a deep breathe and plunge in.