The Last Hurdle – 48-72 hours of Calmness
By Manish Kumar Rank 61, UPSC CSE-2017
Dear brothers and sisters, as the temperature is increasing this summer , courtesy people still fooling themselves about global warming being unreal, we had been running #AprilCool Campaign and planting as many trees as possible in our limited capacity. And yes you also need a tree in your human brain at the end to get the much needed calmness/relaxation before the D-Day. These last 48-72 hours are exciting, challenging, difficult (too less a word to describe the feelings) and I would say Psychologically and emotionally difficult. I am back again to on my mentor website – Insights to share few important things with you. Many learned people would be knowing it already, however it might still help few of our friends.
Your Journey from “Buddhu to Buddha” started the day you entered in this journey/marathon of preparation. Close your eyes for a moment and forget the Q/A/ Test series everything. Just remember what you were 1-2-3-4 years back. Yes a bit young of course, now may be little more under-confident due to some failures, however you have come a long way in terms of appreciating things happening around. We all want that appreciation for knowledge irrespective of results and trust me dear friend, your intellect level is very different from what it was few years back. So the transformation towards Buddha is happening 🙂 So first of all feel good about yourself. Not everyone musters the courage even to enter this exam!!
Secondly people often make a mistake of becoming emotionally attached with exam and loose out the professional killer instinct of nailing exams. The best way to understand this is the cricket performance of our team in late 90s and early 2000. And for that matter of fact our hockey team in 2004-14. We all loved Sachin, but somehow we were never like Australia. Similarly the hockey team, you name a match and they would concede last minutes goal to lose/draw from winning position. And now see both the teams of our country. The PROFESSIONALISM is what has changed over the years. Similarly you now have to treat PRELIMS as an exam with a goal of getting about 110 (+/- 2 Q) and how are you going to crack it. Becoming over emotional that it has been a long journey or being too much anxious about your first attempt will not help you. So just think about Kohli and Dhoni and be cool and achieve the target. Take this game deep. Just DON’T give up.
Thirdly many of us start feeling blank. I was in fact crying and was speculating of leaving my job 3 days before prelims if I had not cleared it this year. I was like there has been no substantial improvement in me from my last attempt. I still felt blank similar to last year. Too many static / Current affairs section are still pending. But I have no shame in accepting I was wrong. I could see a change in my confidence in facing the Questions in exam hall. I was able to control my nerves in the exam. So you know things, they are inside you, the hard work you did on nights when other friends were partying will pay off . Have faith on YOURSELF
Avoid any negative feeling , negative thought, just try to read positive things. I would say watch positive motivating videos of 5-10 minutes, or 1-2 songs every 3-4 hours which are close to your heart. We need to shield our Tessaract (our brain) from Lokis’ of this world. Don’t fight with your near and dear ones in the last moments. Emotional stability and happiness will magnify your marks.
Don’t try to solve a new test paper as many will come at last moments to create more fear psychosis. It is better to have 120 marks in easier papers than 80 marks in a tough/non standard one at the end. I liked the way insights had their last 3-4 papers explicitly little easier last year to give us that confidence. All I was doing in my last 48 hours was looking at the UPSC Q papers and their official solutions. Only read the Current affairs Qs from whatever source you read – Insights/Vision/Forum/IAS Baba. Choice is yours but nothing new things.
There is no guarantee that next year even these many seats will remain, so even if your preparation seems not complete, go out and attempt. The interview panel will never deduct your marks on the number of attempts. You never know, things might click this pre and you would be writing an article next year – how underconfident I was, the story of a new topper in town.
*******************Some key things to be done/ not done at the last mile*******************
– Accept that this day was going to come and it has come. The denial or the fear will not help you in any manner.
– This is your exam and not your flatmate, room mate or gf/bf/hubby . What I mean to say is while preparing all was good, but now you need to play on your strength.
– You need a mix of all Rohit Sharma’s/ V Kohli’s and MSD’s in real paper. If the paper/ pitch is flat score a big century like Sharma ji, if it is difficult then keep the calculated chase on like the chase master and be the captain cool to finish the game / paper in style
– Make sure you see some previous years of UPSC papers very well, and if you have made your own notes, check them only at last moments. Some current affair info can be taken but please refrain from starting to read geographies and histories..
–Last day you can devote some time may be 30-40 minute to constitution, Preamble, FD, FR and DPSP. These are always asked and become very confusing if you have not read it. A little glance can fetch a handy 4 marks
–Similarly the basics of world maps, some tributaries of Brahmaputra, Cauvery and Godavari are always repeated just like Buddhism. If not done, make sure you check them
-Sleep is key as I lost one pre due to less sleep. I had lot of Brain fade moments in 2016 Pre paper. Reading will help only a sound and little more relaxed mind. Even 5 hours sleep is a bliss but 3-4 hours, you might also observe brain fade moments.
-Silly mistakes are going to happen, how much you try avoiding them. Just one advice- read the data related questions twice/thrice . Our mind is so much preoccupied we overlook the data
– No one is confident about S&T, Environment or Govt schemes or even organization. The exam nature is very analytical. Read the options there and take a calculated risk.
–Fill the OMR well within time. I used to fill it after an hour or 1 hour 15 min. It used to take 20 minutes for me and then I used to return to unfilled ones. Carry a scale to avoid wrong fillings due to any anxiety. Choice is of course yours.
–CSAT 2 happens a good 3 hour post paper 1. If you are under confident about it , don’t now read for it. In those 3 hours try to utilize it for basic maths formula and other things. Mrunal sir has come up an article, go through his on his website. Don’t let that fear overpower you.
There are few tricks to save/preserve/increase your marks on the final day. I found a very good article on insights whose link I am attaching. Trust me this is a gem . You can thank me later for sharing this again 😀
Similarly I have made a very small 30 minute video with many a tricks in real exams which will actually work and hopefully help you improve your performance.
Apart from all these, remember how in many mock tests you have been able to score about 100 marks even having just a knowledge of may be 70-80 marks. So in real exam also it will happen. Just don’t let this fear that this is UPSC so Q will be tricky and how can it be so simple..UPSC me Q are sometimes very simple as well
Reinforce why you want to do it | You have done well by even continuing this journey and you will do well | Even if not things don’t end, there is always another attempt, there is always new learning from life.
So my dear brothers and sisters you have run 41-42 km in this marathon. It is the last 200 odd meter distance which you have to just complete. When I used to run , I used to think nahi ho raha, chod deta hun , let me leave now after 4-5 rounds of a 400 m field in my college, but then I used to imagine/ think my parents are seeing me ( i used to imagine), I need to cross the line for them, it is just one more round. The body never tires, it is just the brain which starts giving up. Let me extract the last bit of blood inside me and help it to convert to sweat. And there was never a logic but always this magical presence of theirs, which helped to complete my daily target. So you just make your mind not make you feel tired.
REBUILD -> REJUVENATE -> REMOVE FEAR / REGRET -> REDO-> REFIRE & then RELAX
Lastly remember one important thing in life. There are always two LUCKS in this world. One which we have created and one the REAL luck ( remember pk). Tapasvi ji wrong number de rahe bahut dino se, because LUCK actually is LABOUR ULTIMATELY COMPLIMENTING KNOWLEDGE, so more the Labor you do, more it will FAVOR you. Hope your Real Luck Favors you this sunday
My best wishes & prayers to you all .
A glimpse of our April cool Campaign. Planted many baby plants at a very far away school in Mumbai . We started from April 1 when people celebrated April Fool we celebrated April Cool
#WYFY Campaign (With You For You) ————————All the Best