Keeping this in view, UPSC is a prestigious examination which requires a holistic preparation. The holistic preparation starts with the building of the foundation. A foundation should be strong enough so as to achieve the desired result in this examination. The foundation is created by doing the Basics. This examination not only tests the knowledge of a candidate but also the consistency, perseverance, capacity, and capability to face tough situations in life. The knowledge testing is done on the exam days but the humane qualities which are required to be good civil servant or a good human being are developed everyday throughout this preparation in which a solid foundation helps.
Therefore why a strong foundation is needed?
There is a saying that “Excellence is a habit, not an act.” But at the same time one cannot be perfect especially an aspirant who has just started preparing for the Civil services Examination. This process of habit creation provides multiple dimensional and innovative spirits. These spirits are directly proportional to the efforts made by the candidate during the process of foundation building. This process of foundation development also includes developing innate qualities of a human being adds value and helps in the development of a holistic perspective. This value addition and development of holistic perspective helps to achieve success in the examination. This process also helps in maintaining a healthy balance between preparation, family, friends, and development of self. This process is a long journey which has to be enjoyed.
Thus a strong foundation brings about a comprehensive strategy which inculcates different values for a candidate. The foundation is also linked with the foundational values of civil services, humane values, familial values, societal values and civic values of an ideal citizen. Thus the process of value addition through preparation is a means to not only achieve success and a good rank but also developing an integrated personality which makes you a good human being with essential value system. This value system will help an aspirant in each and every stage of life, making sure that these would be sufficient enough to face any kind of adversity in personal as well as professional life. This adversity will help in developing character of an aspirant. And LBSNAA motto itself says “Character is the highest virtue” attained by an individual to work for the people, society, and country.
Thus what constitutes this process of developing a foundation for UPSC becomes important by an aspirant?
This process is developing the external and internal constituents required for the good preparation for the UPSC examination. The external constituents are skill set, knowledge while the internal constituents are values, social role, motives and social image of an aspirant. This integration of external and internal forces composes the process of developing foundation for UPSC. The knowledge helps an aspirant to enhance his perspective. The skillset is required to face the questions that are asked in the various stages of UPSC. The motive helps to internalize the preparation process. The social role and social image add societal perspective to the preparation. This leads to the development of values. Thus this is the composition of the Foundation for UPSC.
Hence how this foundation is achieved by an aspirant preparing for the UPSC CSE?
The step is to grasp the basics. The basics are attained through the knowledge and not only by attaining knowledge but also Imagination as it is said that knowledge is limited but Imagination encircles the world. This knowledge attainment requires hard work and patience. There is no short cut to success and hence an aspirant has to make a strategy of how and what he/she is going to read, write and think.
The reading, writing, and thinking are important to attain knowledge and develop a skill set to face the questions of UPSC CSE. The syllabus provides an aspirant with the structure of knowledge that has to be attained. But this is a broad structure that has to be delved deeper through smart and flexible strategy. This strategy varies from aspirant to aspirant but in general it can be said per se that it involves these following basic steps:
1. Study the syllabus comprehensively.
2. Study the previous papers and develop an approach to answer them.
3. Study the basic books NCERTs, offline or online.
4. Focusing more on optional paper on a daily basis.
5. Daily newspaper reading.
6. Making notes from the various sources used by an aspirant.
7. Revising the notes and the syllabus.
8. Practicing the writing by answering the questions. Hence the delving into the questions of Why, What and How will create value in an aspirant and helps to reach the destination of getting success in this examination which eventually will be beautiful. Manoj K Jha, Director, GS Score, New Delhi.