How to Achieve Top Rank in UPSC without Coaching?

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How to Achieve Top Rank in UPSC without Coaching?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) Exam conducted by UPSC is one of the toughest and trickiest exams, and clearing this exam without formal coaching requires utmost dedication, consistency and perseverance from the aspirant. To the question of whether it is possible to not only crack the exam but also achieve top rank in the UPSC Exam without coaching,  a possible answer is yes, because there has been a history of top achievers in this exam who have achieved All India Rank with self-preparation.

There may be numerous reasons for an aspirant to not prefer coaching. A few reasons may be lack of financial resources, the aspirant’s location is remote and far away from good coaching institutes, lack of time as working professionals, or their choice to self-study.

It is evident from the previous years’ results that there have been success stories of IAS Toppers, who have cleared and topped the UPSC Exam without coaching in the first attempt. This article will give some tips to become an IAS Topper without joining coaching classes. These tips can be used by candidates to strategise their UPSC preparation effectively.

Tips to become an IAS Topper without Coaching

Clearing the toughest exam without coaching guidance is not an easy task, and often, it may demotivate the candidate and derail the path of preparation. The UPSC Exam is one of its kind and no single strategy, principle or method is applicable universally. The strategy or formula for success varies from one person to another, and it cannot be concluded that taking coaching classes or self-study is the best approach to crack the exam. However, a few tips are shared below for those candidates who wish to prepare for the UPSC Exam without coaching, and also aspire to top the exam.

  1. Discipline and Dedication – This is the first thing required if a person wants to self-study. However talented the person is, if he/she is not disciplined enough, then the input will not give good results for this exam. You should have a timetable for daily study and it should be followed strictly with utmost dedication. It is more important to be disciplined, consistent and dedicated during the preparation time than being talented, to crack this exam.
  2. Inner Motivation – This is very important for all aspirants as this process involves a long duration, especially for people who self-study for this exam. Whenever there is self-doubt or low tide during preparation, inner motivation will help in bringing the spirit back and make the aspiration to clear the exam even stronger. For clearing the UPSC Exam, the journey is equally important as the destination.
  3. Always refer to Syllabus – Before reading any topic or subject, the aspirant has to be very clear with the syllabus and use it as a direction while preparing for the exam. Don’t try to learn everything under the sun, be focused on the requirements and expectations of the exam, and that is detailed in the syllabus.
  4. Learn from the Experience of Toppers – Read the success and failure stories of IAS aspirants who have chosen to prepare for the UPSC Exam without coaching. Learn about their mistakes and avoid committing them. Adopt any useful strategies and tips if they are suitable to you.
  5. Choose the Right study material – Don’t try to read all the books in the market. Restrict yourself to read basic books (NCERTs) and standard reference books such as Lakshmikanth for Indian Polity, Ramesh Singh for Indian Economy, and so on. It is always preferable to read one book many times rather than reading multiple books a single time. Limit resources as much as possible. After completing the basic and standard books thoroughly, aspirants can read other books to gain comprehensive knowledge.
  6. Notes making is a must – Even though coaching institute notes and materials are readily available in the market, make your own notes as it is better and easier to revise from them.
  7. Mind maps – While studying, always try to interlink two or more subjects. This will give you a different perspective of the topic and will help you answer the question in a multidimensional manner.
  8. Practise Mock Tests – Practise mock tests from various sources and set a timer for solving the paper. This will be a practice for time management during the actual exam.
  9. Form a diverse study group – If it is possible, form a diverse study group in which there are aspirants/friends who take up coaching and also prefer self-study. This helps in the discussion of topics, which also can gauge your preparation level.

Nowadays, there are a lot of resources and study materials available on the web. In this scenario, the aspirants should depend on genuine resources for preparation, because over stuffing causes a lot of time being wasted during the preparation. In that case, UPSC aspirants can check UPSC free materials from the linked page for all related information in the context of the IAS Exam and make use of them.

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