Why do the majority of the IAS aspirants fail to qualify the IAS Prelims?

A task not well accomplished often indicates that the candidate did not focus well simply because he could not comprehend the importance of what he was going to do. The same applies to the IAS Prelims as well in most of the cases.

As all are aware, the Prelims exam is the qualifying exam. The CSAT Paper must be qualified, so that the GS Paper I for the Prelims is evaluated. The psyche of the IAS aspirants (for a huge majority, unfortunately) makes them treat the Prelims only as the qualifying exam.

What the candidates fail to understand is that if they do not qualify the Prelims, UPSC will not allow them to appear for Mains. No Prelims, No Mains. And as a result, No Interview! So, if you do not focus on qualifying the Prelims, it would be a good idea to forget joining IAS altogether! And, of course, you would not like that!

Clearing the IAS Prelims gets even more crucially important as a number of factors can be co-related with the same (apart from paving the road to the Mains Exam and hence, gradually to the Interview). A considerably huge number of the Civil Services aspirants rush to Best IAS Coaching in Delhi in order to prepare for the this exam.

It is not difficult to understand that the IAS aspirants coming to Delhi from across the entire nation are required to pay for a suitable accommodation i.e. IAS coaching with hostel facility, meals and bear many other expenses, apart from the fee they are required to pay at the IAS coaching institutions.

Thus, failure in the IAS Prelims, often amounts to almost shattered dreams for a number of the IAS aspirants as well as their family members. The reasons, why do the aspirants fail in the Prelims may vary from one candidate to another depending on a number of factors. However, the major causes behind the failure are as described below:

  • Poor time management skills while answering the question paper: Unlike the subjective Mains exam, you do not get any opportunity to prove your logically convincing skills by writing at length in the Prelims exam. Besides, the negative marking, more specifically so in the CSAT Paper which is the qualifying exam, requires you to answer the question paper correctly.  

It obviously requires that you manage your time properly while facing the exam. Poor time management is only going to result in more of the incorrect answers. As a result, there would be more of the negative marking as well. Besides, the poor time management may also result in panic during the exam. And it would only serve to increase the probability for marking the answers incorrectly and also the negative marking even further.

Thus, time management during the exam must not be ignored. You should read the question paper thoroughly at least once, paying sincere attention to all the questions. Only then, you should begin to answer.

Moreover, it is good not to be in a hurry while answering the questions. It would help you further to answer the paper with a relaxed mind, thus reducing the number of incorrect answers and hence, negative marking. Besides, answer those questions first, of which you are most confident of.

However, it should not be forgotten that you should not spend too much of time on reading the question paper or answering a few questions only. The entire time you are allowed by UPSC to answer the question paper should be balanced in a manner so that you score the maximum, reducing the probability for negative marking to the minimum. Also, there should be sufficient time left to consider the correct answers for the questions you do not feel very confident of. And it is a good idea to revise all your answers before the time for the exam is over.    

  • Lack of focus on what to read and what not to! Though Prelims is the qualifying exam, we have seen how important it is. Besides, more than sufficient study material is available for the Prelims. However, it makes only more of sense to focus on what to read and what not to! The study material should be selected very carefully, keeping in mind that it covers the syllabus prescribed by UPSC.

Thus, reading the relevant study material can equip you better to qualify the Prelims. Quite a number of suggestions, posts and articles can be found on the Internet. But knowing what not to read would save a lot of time. It is wiser to study the current affairs rather than reading the entire government documents or the yearbooks word by word. However, you should refer to these sources of information while studying as and when required. It would further help you focus on the preparation better.

  • Practice the Test Series: The point to be noted is that practicing the Test Series for Prelims offers a number of advantages that you simply cannot ignore. It helps add up to your confidence and equips you to face the Prelims exam in a better manner. Moreover, the practice of answering the Test Series frequently within a fixed time would also enable you to manage your time well during the examination.

Finally, what should be noted is that inability to clear the Prelims exam is not so much a result of the lack of the intention to prepare hard for the exam, but the need to recognize to do so! As already stated earlier, the majority of the candidates do not focus well on the preparation for the Prelims as they perceive it only as a qualifying exam.  

Again, it should NEVER be forgotten that though it is the Qualifying exam only, nobody would deny that it is the stepping stone towards further success for the Mains and hence, the Interview, ultimately leading you where you want to be, i.e., the most coveted of the UPSC cadres, the Indian Administrative Services.

If an IAS aspirant fails to understand this, and does not prepare for the Prelims exam sincerely, he is very likely to fail. So, the sooner you realize the importance of the Prelims exam and begin to take it seriously, the higher would be your chances to clear it and materialize your dreams of joining IAS!