Hard work undoubtedly is the most critical factor in Civil Services preparation. However, the effect sharpens when it is complemented by smart work. The strategy to prepare, what to stress upon, what to spare, what to give the passive reference, what to analyze in great detail, how proportionately the time is to be allocated among the subjects and so on are equally vital in addition to the sheer hard work. In light of this, an IAS aspirant must keep in mind the few following probable mistakes, he/she should avoid:

Believing the rumors

First and foremost is to avoid rumors spread by the fellow IAS aspirants and the senior persons. The IAS aspirants should not believe the rumors and insist on the government sources of information. There are some miscreants who generally spread the half-baked information and do not know the clear reasons or miss out the big picture. The IAS aspirants should always keep in mind the big picture and the macro concerns of the nation so that they can comprehend and interrelate the various aspects of the issue.

Consulting too many books

The enormity of study materials and the plethora of books available in the market for Civil Services Examination preparation today have surpassed all the limits. There are hundreds of books and notes on every topic. Moreover, most of these books cover all the topics and sub-parts. It should be evident that the demand of UPSC from appearing candidates is the analysis of the topic, rather than a mere explanation of the facts. Therefore, consulting too many books on the same topic will only create redundancy and inefficient utilization of time. It is strictly advisable to read a book many times rather than many books of the same topic.

Reading not writing

Civil Services examination is considered to be the mother of all the competitive examination and hence the justification to read scores of books is apt. The number and the varieties of the books are huge. No matter how much one reads, the void is still felt and hence the aspirant goes for further study and revision. However, having gathered appropriate knowledge, it is equally important to learn how to use it for becoming successful in the Civil Services Examination. It is very vital for a candidate to practice writing answers in quick time to develop writing skills. Good reading with enhanced writing skill will make a candidate perform much better than someone who has only read.

Heavily relying on newspapers

Newspapers undoubtedly are the backbone of civil services examination preparation. It is an important source for the current affairs, opinions, and analysis of a topic. A substantial portion of the preliminary examination and huge portions of General Study’s paper 2 and 3 in the mains examination are directly related to the newspaper.  It is not too important to make a summary and notes of newspaper contents. International issues should also be avoided to be read for a long time, as its proportion in the main examination has drastically reduced.

Studying not sleeping

Long hours of studies are undoubtedly critical for the success of the Civil Services Examination. However, there are certain limits, beyond which the efficiency of mind deteriorates. The human mind cannot process and analyze the data beyond some time span. However, owing to immense cut-throat competition, an IAS aspirant wants to read as much as he wants which leads him to work for hours. So much so that the aspirants start cutting their time from sleep, entertainments and recreational activities. Excessive and continuous studies without any break and without ample sleep may not keep a candidate efficient and sharp. Having 7-8 hours of sound sleep is equally necessary for the preparation of Civil Services Examination.

Dependence on coaching institutes and lesser on self-studies

Off lately, this has become an established norm to take admission while doing college studies or immediately after that. People consider relying on the coaching institutes makes one's chances quite high to become successful in the Civil Services Examination. Students who rely excessive on and only on the methods of coaching institutes often regret not having self-studied. Coaching institutes merely guide an aspirant on the path to be taken and topics to be read about.  They helped the students ease out a concept and make them practice. However, such practices and preparation will be futile if not complemented, aided and supported by hard labor, self-studies and self-reliance.