[Please do not read it if you have cleared UPSC Prelims.]
My friend, you might be engulfed with all sorts of negativities if you have not been able to clear Prelims! You got to believe that you are not alone! Yes, you revised all the static portions, current affairs were on your tongue, test series were perfectly practised, yet it did not click! Some had an emotional setback right before the exam, some may have fallen sick, whereas others may have got a bit too nervous. It is one exam wherein your efforts are necessary but not sufficient condition for success. There is something else required that is beyond your control. I remember a friend of mine saying casually, that to crack this exam, apart from efforts, we need blessings of birds, trees everything.
There is a silver lining to not clearing prelims.
Imagine you cleared prelims and started preparing for Mains. With little time left, you would try to cover everything in this short span of time. You appear for mains and waste the time till UPSC Mains results are declared, hoping to clear the exam. Due to subjective nature of UPSC Mains, almost every Mains-appearing candidate is confident of clearing the exam, though in delusion. Mains results are declared – you could not clear – now you have to prepare for Prelims again, since there is not much time left.
This is where those who cannot clear UPSC Prelims have an advantage. After you recover from the shock of failure, your ego would still be hurt that you have not been able to clear even the first stage of UPSC CSE. You will start preparing from NOW. You will work on all possible weak areas you can think of. You will join Mains test series right after UPSC Mains is over. Optional would be secured by December. You will work on your emotional intelligence. Gain better control over your fragilities. Eventually, you may actually start thanking your failure for making you a stronger person.
Come next Prelims! It is a cake walk for you – after all you have worked for a year, strengthening the foundations. Mains is already secured. Optional – done! Beware – do not be overconfident! You just need to revise those short notes you made, practise answer writing, listen to Rajya Sabha discussions etc. Come Mains result! You do not jump out of ecstasy! Because you already knew well in advance that you will make it.
Now, you will look back and laugh at yourself for beings so disturbed when you could not clear the last Prelims! Please make use of the latent opportunity this failure has offered you!
Remember, you may have failed this time, however, you are not a failure!
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