Civil Service preparation
The technical aspects of Civil Service preparation have already been discussed in vivid details in multiple platforms. Which books or websites to refer, whether to go to coaching or not — all these discussions are available in plenty. So, in this answer I would like to share my opinion on the ‘intangible aspects’ of the preparation — what kind of personality you need to have, your mental fitness, etc. daily time table for ias preparation
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(1) When we start our preparation for UPSC CSE, the majority of us have common misperceptions about people who top this exam. We consider such toppers to be exceptionally talented, and endowed with multidimensional qualities. And most of us keep telling ourselves that, compared to such people, may be we are just ‘ordinary aspirants’. When I started preparing more than 2 years ago, I also had similar thoughts. However, my ideas have changed radically once I got into Probationary Training for IRS (C&CE).
(2) In my batch, I have interacted with people of all kind. And this has led me to conclude that the vast majority of toppers (including me) are nothing different from the people who missed the final merit list or failed to clear Prelims just by a few marks. Earlier, I had this notion that may be the people who clear the exam are distinctively different from the rest. In reality, that is not so.
(3) Only ONE crucial difference does exist — the combination of willpower and mental strength. And this is the MOST important quality of the aspirant that is put to test by UPSC. How long can you endure the uncertainty of career? How far can you go to see your dream fulfilled? How good are you in handling the challenges of life while preparing for UPSC CSE? The way you answer these questions goes a long way in determining whether you clear Civil Services or not.
And this is where toppers distinguish themselves. They possess exceptional mental strength to see through the turbulent phases of UPSC preparation. So, once you set certain things in order — booklist, place of accommodation, test series, etc — start honing your mental strength for guaranteed success in the long run. YOUR MIND will decide whether you succeed or not — I have successfully experimented this in my case, and cleared the exam in 1st attempt against everyone’s expectations.