10 Good Habits Every UPSC Aspirant Should Follow
- Becoming inquisitive- This is something no one ever tells. I was never told when I was preparing. Aspirants think that asking silly questions is contrary to the dispositions of an officer. Let me remind you that your training for an officer starts in LBSNAA, Mussoorie. Right now, you should focus on how to get there. And therefore no harm in asking questions. When you read an article in the newspaper about an event, look it up on the internet, its history, it’s a background. Also, it’s relevance in current times. For example, the recent ban on Masood Azhar should trigger questions in your mind- what does the ban mean, what is the procedure to ban an outfit, etc.
- Meditation– This is very essential. You are able to focus, you remain less anxious, you become patient. All this is very essential when you write those arduous papers that test you not only as a student but also as a person.
- Reading. A lot. Be it daily newspapers or a related magazine, you should develop a habit of reading a lot. This was one thing that helped me immensely. I had a lot of content to write in my GS papers, fairly good vocabulary, brevity in language. So you see, reading not only gives you content but also helps in improving your writing. Your mind also starts to think a step ahead when you have read a good deal on any topic.
- Knowing where to STOP. Since I have mentioned the above habits about reading and being inquisitive, I must add a caution that you should also know where to stop. Am aspirant should know that UPSC tests in breadth and not in depth. For example, Masood Azhar’s ban can be related to IC 814 hijack. But you should stop from going into details of the hijack. Remember you have limited time but unlimited resources. Know where to stop.
- Talking to one’s self. Don’t laugh at this idea. Because it helps. The exam is taxing, to say the least. You need confidence, positive reinforcement. The best way to boost your morale is to talk to your self. Look into your eyes in the mirror and tell- ‘ I am hardworking and confident, I will get Rank 1 in UPSC Civil Services Examination.’
- Listening to music/taking pet for a walk/catching up a movie/practicing any activity that releases stress. Enough said. Pressure needs to be released, lest you would burst out!
- Rewarding oneself– This is rather underrated. Every time you score in a mock test, or complete Laxmikant chapter revision in time bound manner- treat yourself with ice cream, a Shah Rukh Khan movie, or a shopping spree on H &M. Whatever works for you. It will keep you motivated for your next reward session. I see to shop online every time I fared well in a mock test.
- Developing stamina. This is again not many tell aspirants about. You should know that in Mains you need to write for three hours at a stretch, twice in a day. Your body should be accustomed to such rigor else you will miss out on writing despite knowing the answer. This can be best done by practicing mocks and doing stretching exercises.
- Not comparing yourself with others. This is an Indian drawback, I would say, to compare oneself tirelessly with others without appreciating that we all are different. Just because two people chose to write the same exam doesn’t make them the same person. Your and Sharma Ji ka beta have different abilities and different weaknesses. Do NOT compare. EVER.
- Becoming a morning person. This is a continuation of developing stamina. If you see, all your exams are held in the slot of 9 onwards. Being a person who burns the midnight oil and wakes up at 11 the next day will make you feel drowsy in the actual exam because they will not shuffle their timings for you. Also, once you are in LBSNAA, 5 AM morning PT is unavoidable, so why not become used to mornings rather early. You can always catch a nap in the afternoon.
Over a year-long journey of preparing for this exam, you need to prepare yourself mentally and habits help you in that regard. An act done for 21 days becomes a habit, so just do it.