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How to Avoid Coaching Phobia And Find A Good Mentor Instead; IRS Officer Explains

IRS officer Anjani Kumar Pandey explains what UPSC aspirants actually need for success He refutes the view that coaching is necessary and stressed upon proper guidance He also says that the competition has changed much since his time
Indian Masterminds Stories

Cracking UPSC CSE is a dream for every competitive exams aspirant. But, there is a widespread perception nowadays that without coaching, one cannot crack such tough exams. This perception has reached such an extent that in rural areas, aspirants think that without going to Delhi and joining coaching institutes, they cannot compete at that level.

However, 2010 batch IRS officer Anjani Kumar Pandey vehemently refuted this. He himself cracked CSE with two optional papers without coaching. So he firmly believes that aspirants do not need coaching, but just a good mentor during the UPSC journey.

In an exclusive interview to Indian Masterminds, Mr. Pandey, who is serving as Additional Commissioner in Income Tax Department, Lucknow, explained the need to get over the phobia of coaching and instead find a mentor for the UPSC journey.

IRS officer Anjani Kumar Pandey

THE COACHING PHOBIA

“Wherever the diamond is, it will shine.” Mr. Pandey repeated these lines and said that be it Delhi or Dhanbad or Pratapgarh, one who works hard will be successful somewhere. If not today or tomorrow, the hard work will pay off, it may take just a little more time. Those who get nervous are those whose preparation is not complete and up to the mark.

While admitting that ever since fast internet and social media came into existence, space does not matter, Mr Pandey said that in this digital era, everything is available everywhere with just one click. “If you have the ability, you can do it all.”

According to him, what the aspirants actually need is a good mentor who can guide them through the UPSC journey. To prove that location does not matter in the digital world, he gave his own example: “I did not take coaching and cracked UPSC CSE with the help of a guide.”

Elaborating further, he said that a history teacher was one of his guides, and he had guided him personally. Most of his preparation was done while staying in Prayagraj, and the history teacher Liaquat Ali Ansari guided him from Delhi. He said that it was because of him that he got selected. He was his true mentor.

At that time, there were 2 optionals in UPSC CSE. His optionals were History and Psychology. But he never took coaching, instead he relied on self-study.

He said, “You can study from your home as the study materials are available with you. You just need some guidance.”

MENTOR

But how to find a good mentor? Finding a good mentor for UPSC CSE is not easy, he said, but only the one who has reached this destination by walking on the same path can tell better what mistakes he made and how he achieved success. Therefore, wherever the aspirants stay and prepare, they should meet the civil servants around them, stay in touch with them and take their guidance. They should be in contact with people who are successful.

THE CHANGE

He also said that over the years, competition has changed a lot. Explaining further, he said that competition is becoming tougher day by day, as the number of aspirants is continuously increasing. In 2009-10, about 5 to 6 lakh students took the exam, but now more than 10 lakh people take this exam.

“Apart from this, modern technology plays a big role in making the competition tough. As I already said, now people can prepare from anywhere. Therefore, technology has given assurance to the youths in remote areas of the country that, yes, you can do it,” he said.

That is why, he feels, it is very important to know what to do more, than hard work. An aspirant could be very hardworking, but if he is walking on the wrong path, then he will never reach his destination. And, that is why, there is a great need for a good mentor, he reiterated.

ROLE OF GUARDIAN

In fact, he believes that the role of the guardian has become greater than that of the children. Parents feel that if the child has been sent to Delhi, then selection should happen in one to two years. “However, it is not like that. The path to UPSC CSE is long and difficult, so encourage your children and have faith in them. This exam is such that it takes one to two years to only understand it and complete the syllabus.”

MESSAGE

Giving another important message for aspirants and parents, he said, “One who does not study at home will not study even after going to Delhi. That’s why, first develop the habit of studying at home for 8-10 hours and then dream of going to Delhi. No money is required to study at home. But, one has to pay 15-20 thousand rupees as fees to study in Delhi.”

He advised to give the first attempt after 2 years of preparation. First year to study 50 pages per day; and to write 5 pages per day. Second year to study, practice and revise GS and solve 10 years main papers of Optional, and solve minimum 10000 Prelims questions.

8 GOLDEN RULES FOR ASPIRANTS

Lastly, Mr. Pandey gave eight golden rules for aspirants to follow religiously:

  1. Start with NCERT books and then move towards advanced books.
  2. Have a book list ready and stick to it. Do not keep changing the book list by listening to other people.
  3. Solve previous years’ question papers, be it preliminary or mains
  4. Pay a lot of attention to revisions
  5. Solve mock tests, 30-40 will be enough
  6. Along with newspapers, read a current monthly magazine also
  7. Have self-confidence that you can do it
  8. Don’t waste time daydreaming

Indian Masterminds Stories

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