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I’m losing interest in civil services preparation. What should I do to get back on track?

Congratulations! You are a perfectly normal UPSC aspirant, as you are conflicted between choices. This is what MOST people feel through their preparation phase, although few admit. Those who plod through regardless, are the ones who make it. And frankly, this is how things work for most of us.

Let’s analyse it further:

  1. The positive aspect is that you have been able to  determine the fundamental mistakes you have committed. How many are able to do it? Not many. And secondly, as you say, you have a keen desire to  work towards eliminating them. So, this has to be the key focus area for  you. It will bring the biggest incremental change in your learning process. Otherwise, what is the point in having identified your problems / mistakes / weaknesses? You were better off not having done that


  2. Though I understand and appreciate your dilemma, I still  would not advise you to give up IAS preparation. Very rarely have people managed  to clear the IAS exams in the first attempt. I am sure you know that the number is perhaps an average of 10% of selects in any given year. In case of exams like these, it  usually is a question of The Last Man Standing. As Sean Connery memorably asks a demotivated Kevin Costner, while dying of multiple gunshot wounds, in ‘The  Untouchables’, “What are you prepared to do now?” That (metaphorical) allegory is apt here, for you.

  3. UPSC Exam  preparation does result in a lot of fatigue. It’s not child’s play, after all. The second time you may again find it monotonous. Maybe your problem lies in the fact that you think this is  happening only with you. Trust me, this would be happening with a lot of people  right now. However only the ones who fight, survive.


  4. Try taking  a break for a week or two. By taking a break I mean being physically and  emotionally away from UPSC. This strategy works very well. In you case, I think,  you haven’t had a formal mental closure on the 2015 attempt and you started preparing for 2016.  Bad idea. A 7-10 day break will help you achieve closure. It’s like a catharsis. You can then start  afresh with renewed zeal and optimism. In November you can afford a break. Take  it. This option will not be available one month down the line.


  5. Finally, keep up your spirits. Day in and day out. Ask your parents, siblings or friends (onlythe real ones 🙂 ) to perk you up from time to time. No shame in that. What else is the choice? Going back to what you had left? Not now. Not so fast. Watching a  few motivational movies may also help.
  6. Finally, if after the break and the thinking and the analysis, your heart still tells you – drop UPSC, get into a corporate job – go ahead, and do it with all the conviction you can muster, and then forget about UPSC once and for all. No harm done. Life does not stop for anything. Be happy.

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