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It is absolutely a no-brainer that UPSC is the toughest exam in India.

With loads of resources available on the net as well as offline and moreover, every other person sharing some tips, it becomes highly important to filter out the unimportant stuff from the important.

Being a UPSC aspirant myself, I have watched loads of videos and read copious articles on the finer points on how to crack UPSC. It’s quite natural to fall into this trap and never be able to get out of it. No wonder we have so many candidates who are still into the UPSC conundrum despite giving 4-5 attempts.

Of all the posts and advice which I read, this is the probably the best advice which one should follow.

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The answer has been written by Bhavesh Mishra, SDM Patna at Indian Administrative Service (2017-present) on Quora: 

What is the one thing that you have learned which most of the aspirants are missing out during their preparation?

“One good habit that I had developed during IIT days was to read from standard books and resources even if they are tough to read and time-consuming.

An extension of this habit in case of CSE meant that I developed a liking for reading standard materials and never resorted to shortcuts like reading the summary of reports, books etc.

For instance, I completed:

  • All 3 Five Year Plans books (~1000 pages)
  • All important ARC Reports (~1500 pages)
  • Punchi Commission Reports (~1500 pages)
  • Did not skip a single editorial from The Hindu for 1.5 years.
  • Listened to AIR news daily from 9 – 10 pm.
  • Watched all Rajya Sabha debates for 1.5 years.

In Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna advises us to follow the path of Nishkam Karm (work without attachment to result). Being a follower of this path, I did not care whether any direct question would be asked from the above books or whether reading them is taking a heavy toll on my daily routine.

I normally see students taking shortcuts while preparing for UPSC. It’s not uncommon to see students reading Foreign Affairs, Security issues or Economics from classroom notes of Vajiram, Sriram etc and skipping the excellent resource like Economic Survey, Down to Earth or IDSA altogether.

There is no harm in reading such notes but you definitely can’t compare or compete with those who have gone through the rigor of studying the standard resources. The difference gets reflected when it comes to Essay and Interview where one can clearly differentiate between a well-read and a coaching-notes type student.”

Well, it’s a must for the UPSC serious aspirants to follow this and not be just part of the herd.

Image: Google

Sources- Quora, ClearIAS, CareerIndia

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