Part-2 Some common exam related Myths and their Clarifications

“18 hours a day”; “It’s all about Luck”; “Extreme hard work”; Language Barrier; Academic Background; Coaching; etc.
By IT's Research & Analysis Wing
May 02, 2017


  • IAS/Civil Services is one of the toughest examination in the world?
  • Do you think chances of selection are very few?
  • Exam demands too much hard work
  • Fluency in English
  • Lack of first class academic record
  • Family background
  • Coaching is must!!!
  • They studied 18 hours a day!

This is the second part of the series of Strategy by IASToppers. To read previous or subsequent parts, click here.

The list of myths prevailed among the aspirants preparing for the civil services is not exhaustive. Here in this article, we try to cover some common myths and clarify them. If you have any doubt or query, ask in the comment box below the article.


IAS/Civil Services is one of the toughest examination in the world?

No doubt. It is the hard nut to crack. But we prefer to call it ‘Quite Difficult’ exam simply because it is conquerable. Many aspirants successfully cracked it in their very first attempt or in their successive attempts. Like any other exams honored with the tagline ‘Toughest examination in the world’, IAS also demands planning, hard work and dedication of its own type.


Do you think chances of selection are very few?

It is true that every year, lakhs of aspirants give this exam and only few get into IAS. Here we can’t conclude that chances of selection are very few without finding out the truth. As per the data, it is true that out of the lakhs of aspirants (around six to seven lakhs) applying every year, only meagre number of them (around one thousand) find their names in the final list.  

When you see the actual scenario, you would definitely find yourselves astonished. Out of this lakhs of aspirants, only few thousands (around two to three thousands) are serious in their preparation. Real competition is among this handful of aspirants. There is a lot of crowd, but it is not genuine.

You can definitely see your name in the final list of successful candidates if you study systematically and consistently. Don’t fear to enter the race. Be free your mind of this terror of competition.


Exam demands too much hard work

It is completely irrational to have a fear of hard work when you wish to crack one of the toughest exams of the world. If you fear hard work, then this exam is not for you.

However, it doesn’t mean that the exam demands so much of hard work that you can never think of. If your preparation method and approach to the exam is faulty, you would definitely face a negative result even after putting extreme hard work. Actually this exam demands a smart work and not hard work. 


Fluency in English

This exam gives a fair chance to aspirants coming from diverse linguistic background. You can opt your mother tong as a medium of the exam particularly for Mains and Interview. However, many non-English aspirants find difficulty to crack the exam only because of the non-availability of study resources in their respective languages. This is the reality we must accept and find solutions to it.

We firmly believe that you should never have a fear of English language. All you need a basic English and this can be easily achieved by putting efforts towards it. Read Newspaper on daily basis, write something in English that you read, watch news and debates of English TV and radio channels, try to participate in debates.

Keep in mind the basic fact that you can master in any language of the world only when your thought process starts in that particular language.   


Lack of first class academic record

Many aspirants believe that since when their entire academic bio data is in front of the interviewers, they will definitely reject them after seeing not so good academic record. This is not true especially for UPSC. We can conclude on basis of the fact that many candidates having poor academic record secured good marks in their interview.


Family background

Same as academic record, family background doesn’t matter in your interview. Perhaps, family background helps you to facilitate or smoothen your preparation milieu. But success in any stages of the exam demands consistency and perseverance same for all irrespective of their family background.      


Coaching is must!!!

Here, we like to clarify the most confusing and counselling-seek myth of whether to join coaching or not.

We simply propose our stand in single line: “Coaching is not an end, it’s simply a means to our common end i.e. crack CSE.”

To join coaching or not is completely optional and matter of your personal choice. Coaching is necessary for those who have stubborn mindset. These kind of aspirants can’t understand even a single concept without other’s help.  

However, from our experiences, we firmly say that success in CSE doesn’t need any constant coaching spanning from four to eight months.

“Without coaching CSE is a dream” is completely a myth, which get busted every year by many aspirants.

Yes, right guidance at every single time needs a help of some experienced one. You can get help from veteran aspirants in your surroundings.

So, what you should do in absence of coaching? The answer is Self-Study.

Self-learning is the most integral part of every successful candidate’s preparation. Surprisingly, this is the most essential element common to every one whether they engage with any coaching class or not. That means, if you are joining or already joined a reputed coaching class having a fee of more than lakh rupees, it doesn’t decide in any way your success. In simple words, you must do self-study irrespective of the case that you are connected with the coaching class or not.

Here, we don’t intend to devalue or defame any coaching class. We respect their sincere efforts they persistently put towards gaining good results. We are against of all those fraudulent coaching classes who opt any unjust methods to play with the future of the aspirants.

It might seem at first glance ‘self-marketing’, but we don’t intend to do so. If self-study ultimately decides your success in CSE, so we are happy to help you. We are running many useful initiatives free of cost, which facilitates your preparation and helps you to do smart work instead of hard work. We are always ready to guide you.

Going to Delhi (tourist attractions for many aspirants 😀 ), spending so much money on random classes and also on unpleasant dwellings and unhygienic food don’t show your sincerity or dedication. They all add only hardness to your already challenging task of cracking CSE.

No need to do trial and error or experiment with your valuable enthusiasm commonly find at initial stages of almost every aspirant when you can access all you need at your fingertips.

The decision is yours.


They studied 18 hours a day!


Considering the difficulty level of this exam, it is easy for many of us to quantify the preparation. But it is not correct perception. Study 18 hours a day is not possible for human mind (Possible only among few conditions and also for few days).

Simply speaking, preparation for UPSC CSE is a marathon-like process. You just need to maintain your speed. Over-speeding can’t give you earlier result. As the exam demands the same level of enthusiasm throughout of its all stages i.e. Prelims, Mains and Interview, decide your speed and put consistent efforts towards it.

Majority of toppers has an opinion that an average 6 to 8 hours’ study is sufficient if you start your preparation before one year of the exam (one year before the Prelims).

So, don’t lose your sleep thinking 18 hours is must. Start your preparation right from the beginning.  



This is the end of the part-2 of the series on UPSC CSE Strategy.

In the next part, we’ll discuss about the strategy for Preliminary Examination: Its trend analysis & suggested booklist.


If you find this part of Series on Strategy helpful, please like and share.

Thank you

Strategy 2020
  • manjit

    thanks alot very help full and clearing the doubts for the myth prevailing thanks alot


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