India's most aspired Civil Services Examination tests millions of candidates every year on their competency and suitability for the highly responsible Administrative Services and only a handful are selected for the same. Reasons being varied, the first feeling of an aspirant failing at any level of the examination, is - where did I go wrong? After having studied an entire ocean of syllabus, still not being able to make it to the next stage unknowingly creeps in the feeling of depression.
Not going in the depth of what must not happen, let us learn the cleanest way of dealing with stress and anxiety post exam failure.
1. Refine your attitude: You can never conquer the fear of failure until you have the guts to do so. Always remember, life has its own ways to test you throughout your journey of life and failure is only a temporary halt and not the ultimate destination. You have a long way to go and you must be ready for that. Change your attitude& refine it for good! Be open only to positive & progressive thoughts and people. Rest will automatically fall into place.
'Fear limits your vision! Be your own searchlight!'
2. Assess the reasons behind the failure: The first and foremost step to deal with the horrific feeling and refining it to a more assertive ambition is to not let the feeling creep inside you. Rather, accept that you must start over& stop only after making it happen! Best way to do so is by assessing what went wrong analytically and how it can be rectified.
You have the question paper& you have your study sources. Go through the entire question paper and cross-check where you went wrong, and start working on it again. Learn from your mistakes and rectify the loopholes. Since you have already prepared well and covered the syllabus, consider this as your strength and focus more on improvising the lacking areas.
'Mistakes have the power to turn you into someone you can never expect out of yourself
3. Circumvent from thinking about failure: Do you remember the story of 'Robert the Bruce and the spider'? If no, time to read it today! Robert Bruce was a king of Scotland under the rule of English King. He wanted to make Scotland a free country. He fought many battles but was defeated many by his enemy. He fled from the battlefield and hid in a cave to save his life. He had no more courage to fight another battle. In the cave, the king saw a spider. The spider was hanging with a thin thread. The spider was about to reach its cobweb when he fell to the ground. He tried, again and again, to climb up to reach his web and every time he failed. But he did not give up his efforts. At last, he succeeded and reached his cobweb and successfully taught a lesson to the king as well. After looking at the will power of the spider, the king again gathered his lost courage, gathered his army once again and decided to defeat his enemy, and he finally succeeds.
All you need is to find a motivation for yourself, surround yourself with the people who have strong will power, and who can motivate you to try again and give your best again, because people with strong will power and self-faith can never be defeated in life and find their way to success after conquering all the challenges.
So what you need to do at the moment?
- Surround yourself with positive people who can positively encourage you
- Watch the videos of successful candidates who succeed in their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th attempt in Civil Services Examination
- Set your priorities
- See where you went wrong
- Learn from your mistakes and rectify them
- Trust yourself again, and go for it
4. Derive a fresh study plan: Start all over again!
Yes, please do it!
Go ahead with planning a new study schedule with a strategized time table dedicated to providing enough time for each topic from the static & dynamic portion. But, before that –
- Learn the syllabus by heart – UPSC syllabus should be the first thing you learn, before starting off for preparation of Civil Services Examination. The paper will revolve around the same curriculum only.
- Dedicate a stipulated time for studies from your regular routine – Write down your daily routine, including all regular chores and then circle the hours you can dedicate to studies. Strategize your study sessions, accordingly. Dedicate long hour sessions to your static subjects and keep enough time for current affairs preparation.
- Plan your subjects with priorities – Having attempted the exam once, you already know what subjects are easy for you and what holds your weakness. Prioritise your subjects, giving enough room to each subject that needs your attention.
- Practice your way out – Mock Tests and previous year papers hold their own importance and you obviously already understand that better. The more you practice with these papers, the better will be your performance.
- Give in your best efforts: You are the only person who can use your abilities in the best efforts. Often failures tend to block your thoughts and actions. But if you are willing to trust yourself enough and give this attempt with the best of your preparation and dedication, you will be soon controlling the sail even in the worst currents. Nothing and no-one can stop you! Let this be the best of your efforts and may the hard-work reap you the contentment and gratification of success, you deserve.
A. K. Mishra is Founder and Director, Chanakya IAS Academy, New Delhi.