Jammu : With prelims for IAS examinations, just two months ahead, every student who is going to appear for prelims is bound to experience stress and anxiety. This is not unique to this particular examination and is experienced by all aspirants.
According to Mr A K Mishra, Founder and Chairman of the Chanakya IAS Academy, the first time a student experiences this is during the 10th standard board examination when undue pressure is exerted on the student from friends and family, as if this is the examination that will define the course of his life.
While giving tips to the students on managing stress and anxiety, Mishra says that primarily, stress and anxiety are not bad in moderation. Stress during the UPSC preparation process can be due to various factors which may be because of that the most of the aspirants attempt to cover every resource that is available in the market (visit bookshops, photocopy shops, online portals and collect all available resources). Once the materials pile up, they create stress and anxiety).
He adds, “The solution is, instead of taking everyone’s suggestion and trying to study everything under the sun, gain a thorough knowledge about the syllabus first of all and then one NCERT book should be focused on and an additional book can be used as reference. It is important to be content with limited material and focus on understanding rather than superficially reading many books or referring to different materials”
“Lack of proper planning & time management make aspirants feel exhausted. Aspirants have a common myth that studying 12-14 hours every day would help them prepare well. In truth, this is an unplanned schedule, which only creates stress and makes the preparation process even slower and cluttered, Mishra says further. He suggests that a proper planning is must throughout the preparation process. A plan should include short term, middle term and long term targets. And rather making the preparation quantitative, aspirants should rather make it qualitative; which means instead of studying for 10-12 hours in a day with completely exhausted mind, rather study for 5 to 6 hours with complete focus and devotion.
“In order to get an edge over the competitors, instead of focusing on their own strategy and level of preparation, aspirants try to imitate others blindly. In this process, they fail to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. (At times, a topic or a question mentioned by a friend we are not aware of create stress and anxiety. We fail to understand that no one can be aware about everything)”
“Aspirants need to understand that everyone have his/own potential, learning ability, different perspective and own way of grabbing or understanding the things. So instead of following others strategy, aspirants should analyse their own weaknesses and strengths; and based on that they should follow their own strategy looking at their comfort and capacity.”
Mr A K Mishra further tells that because of several myths about Civil Services Examination, most of the aspirants believe that they have to sacrifice their social life and study day & night during the preparation for Civil Services examination. As a result, they end up confined themselves to a room for long durations to study which is the major cause of stress. He suggests, “Students should understand that they are preparing to become officers who will have to serve their country and its people. Therefore, having sound knowledge about what is happening around, how people are talking about the happenings, how satisfied or dissatisfied they are, what kind of change they are looking at in our society is equally important for an aspirant. Aspirants should not only focus on enhancing academic knowledge but should develop the right personality traits, which are prerequisite to successful get through all three stages of examination. So, at times it’s important for aspirants to go outdoors, play a sport they like or discuss the current events with others to know others perspective and to think like an administrator. This helps unclutter aspirant’s mind while reducing anxiety and stress.”
For handling stress a day before the examination, Mishra suggests that there are different approaches to study for the examination which include choosing between ‘study till the last moment’ and ‘stop studying a day before the examination and relax’.
“Though there is no one size fits all approach and students can follow an approach that will suit them the best. But it is advised not to study immediately before the examination as it helps to unclutter your mind. Revision on the other hand is very important, so keep your notes handy for last minute revision.”
On how to handle stress and anxiety during the examination, he says, “Don’t feel stressed if you are unable to answer a question as the question paper contains questions of varying difficulty. Try to attempt questions you know and leave the ones you have no idea about. Making few informed guess is inevitable for all the aspirants.”