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Is clearing the UPSC Civils same as winning a lottery?

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The following extracts are from a discussion on the Orkut forum (the page may have been removed if the link gives an error) few days ago. It discusses among other things how the UPSC Civil Services Exam (IAS exam) is unpredictable, the subject score trends etc. Please note that all views below are the views of the UPSC aspirants in the said forum. Follow the link to see the authors if the page exists. Please note that it is a discussion and you may have problems understanding it; follow the link if the page is there.

UPSC discussion

Is cracking civils is same as winning a lottery?

I mean is it a COMPLETELY luck based(after pre) exam?(shabdo pe mat jao,bhavnaon ko samjho.).every year 2-3 optionals get rough treatment and some gets devine elevation.when a optional start getting bad patch, it remains this way for 3-4 years.(nd this time is it geog?).this LAW crush many enlightened souls.(one of my friend is a classic example-he passed out from DU in sciences with excellence,masters from iit ,again topped,wasted his years for civis,upsc declared him OBNOXIOUS WEED.just before his last attempt,the mighty MIT(USA)accepted his project which he was pursuing with iit for his phd,then he continued his phd with MIT .now hold ur breath-upsc again throw him out in his last chance with pathetic number in his own subject.).but on the other hand many average candis clear it surprisingly.
i m just appearing for 1st time.i have two questions-
1.which subs are getting gods blessings these days?
2.what kind of stones or jems i wear?
i heard that PALI and PUB AD are doing wonders these days.is it right?
please illuminate my way.

Yaa..a bit ….but Not exactly….

Yes..there are many incidents as perplexing as this….but still upsc attracts lot many intelligent and trustworthy fellows from diverse background..there are few intrinsic problems associated with UPSC procedure about ‘rough treatment’ and ‘divine elevation’ of some particular subjects..respectively ….uniformity for all subjects trough all steps of selection including personal biasing of individuals ..can never be completely wiped out…in given resources…
May be not convincing but.one have to accept when s/he deals with real time problems.
actually out of 3 lac ..few are selected …they are now through ..so they don’t speak much…not required for them..but a crowd of failures in spite of introspection start abusing everything…the system..and procedure.. People have their own philosophy..norms, policies and everything ..if these did not work..they start abusing everything..look at their volume ( 299950)..so it sounds …loud.

Actually Requirement of upsc are not getting rank in IIt,MIT,some prestigious scholarship. These things are Not even a part of criteria …An IIT topper although very good in physics but may be very dumb in Social issues..or in expression of humanities subjects….may be he is not praiseworthy by his ideas and thoughts..
Actually this is a taboo in Indian society…that all IITians are supernatural…. talent and capacity wise ….so UPSC should be a cakewalk for them.
UPSC is not all about solving complex numericals..it measures many qualities like this…so it’s not compulsory ..that all IIT toppers have all these qualities.
Lot many mediocre in physics or maths qualify the exam just because they are over all good (not only in physics/maths)..so most suited for bureaucracy… If anyone is only topper in maths / physics but lacking in social and moral aspects of personality ..he must not write UPSC.

the missing link

no doubt many good scholars get realy poor marks in their own sub…n the cases r numerous………but is this only cos of luck?
lets just do a bit of backward engineering…..
upsc is out there finding administrators………n by all means they hv to be generalists in there approach n specialisation in any one subject is neither neccesory nor sufficent.
so upsc wants to see both depth n bredth of a persons handling of any issue
n believe it or not specialists always prefer depth. result lower then expected marks.
many n many aspirants (including me) get higher marks in there first attempt then the 2nd(wish this wont be the case with u ….cos i know the pain attached) it is probably also becose of the above reason.
having said that i wd just add that luck goes with u always….even while going to the examination centre. so we can not segregate it from any outcome including civils.
n remember its not a theory…..or untested hypotheses……if nothing take it as just a way to motivate urself
n hay wt ever u do DONT WEAR STONES IN THE INTERVIEW

i agree wit u. prelims 95% intelligence hard work 5% luck
mains 70% smartwork 30% luck.and wn it comes to interview its 50% luck
as the stage progresses luck factor increases.so in my opinion those who get into services are really lucky people becoz it finally boils down to interviw which is like 20 20 cricket anybody can win anybody can loose.
so just hope for the best rest leave it to god

it plays bigger role in selection processs as well
by a single mark difference u will b ips instead of ias….
&* by a single mark u may b out of the list……

yes priyanka u r true but nothing can be done on it…moreover it happens in all field…it is like tournament…only 4 team may reach in semifinals…..
see in many football world cups many good teams miss semis ,finals etc..by wrong move at wrong time…so right answer at right time is key in main exam….
but once final result is out no one go for details……why best candidates couldnt made it ,,may be some wrong interprtation of question or wrong conclusions.etc etc
so take this exam as olympic tornament where apart from your best ability u need many mor thing to perform on that particular day……those 180 minutes of exams matters ..hold your nerves on those particular days …u may perform better even if u have limited knowledge …….

UPSC discussions

Look i agree with this hypothesis that as one gets closer to the final ranking luck factor significantly increases. But there are some systemic holes as well, consider this
1) History and sociology as optionals in prelims
2) Pali, maithli and Pub ad in mains (in maithili the guy who coaches in patna is the student of the guy who sets the paper, 320 is assured if u sit with some funda and 340 + if one does 4 months of work, this cotire of maithili wants to promote the language as hell )
3) Balaguruswamy board in interview
vis-a-vis
1) Psychology or geography as optional in prelims
2) Geography , anthropology, electrical engineering, Physics in mains
3) Mr K K Paul in interview panel
The answer is painfully obvious. Painful coz we know it but can’t do much abt it. We want some bhagat singh but not in our house, ya neighbour’s house ll do.

luck is no luck

luck and God are just the names we give when we can’t understand thousands of factors and their permutations and combination ….. and fail to predict outcomes
someones performance is not just dependent on his/her alone but also the performance of his/her competitors as well..i.e how well they fared….and the books he/she read….afterall it is all relative
also to crack PT and MAINS one needs to really “slog hard and do intelligent study”
if one covers most of “standard books”,makes a strategy,read the mind of upsc with last year patterns…..accepts own flaws and seeks help from anybody how can help ,then the person can have control on many of the factors
although upsc still surprises…as it did this year…but then really hard working ones do get an advantage over the other run of the mill coaching types….because it is all relative
the more u read …the more ideas you have…more areas you have covered…more terms you know…more dimensions u know…more creative you can be answering
end of the day u have to be “JUGADOO” to some how write a good answer in that allotted time which is better than your counterparts
with the exact process of upsc not officially clear and also people victim of overconfidence of their ability or the tag of institutions they have….make mistakes
basically upsc doesn’t cares a fig about your intellectual ability if u can’t show it in their exam….
it is all about….cracking the exam…and giving upsc what they want…and not what u have
in this scenario we can say it is loss of upsc and not that intelligent guy/gal
regarding believers of rings and stones….i would suggest hold a pen in fingers instead and use it to make notes etc

Not at all…personally…actually the kind of satirical language u used conveys the deep frustration and distrust in UPSC procedure which is not good for newbies..so i was just honest..
Yes ..optionals have very ambiguous pattern of scoring….its largely accepted..but many times not always on the basis of wrong interpretations.. like now a days science subects are avoided due to poor scoring…while geo,pub ad..etc are favourite subjects ..previously it was anthropology….than science subjects too…
Primary reason behind the ambiguity is intrinsic nature of subject ..may be some others too…no body knows with certainty…had anyone been knowing intangibility could be resolved earlier….lot many inside source collectors of UPSC are ruling the world of speculation.
as for as crushing of innocent souls is concerned ……it’s not so..they are given opportunity to be mature enough….innocents may be full of honesty and morality
but system is run by sanity.

more one reads ….more probability of areas that he/she has covered….you can call it luck or hard work
and ya in interview…one may get zapped….but then what we can do …accept for this peaceful scribbling of our hypothesis on this forum

Luck Matters?

I personally feel one required some X factor to clear this exam apart from hard work, that X-factor may be anything like luck r gods grace r any other thing. But the point is “Fortune favors brave”. As rightly observed by Mr N.Narayana Murthy “Luck will bless prepared minds”. So be prepared and importantly have faith in the system

The number of candidates appearing with a particular subject & the average score is given below (Mentioned in that order, for the selected candidates of 2008 attempt). The data is arranged in descending order (on the basis of number of candidates who have taken up a given optional)
Public Administration 336 325.0
Geography 236 295.3
History 211 322.0
Psychology 116 313.0
Sociology 89 311.1
Political Science & Intnl. Rel. 84 315.8
Philosophy 84 302.7
Lit. of Hindi Language 56 316.4
Agriculture 41 333.6
Economics 37 334.5
Anthropology 37 305.2
Lit. of Tamil Language 29 308.6
Law 19 319.6
Lit. of Pali Language 18 318.4
Zoology 18 307.6
Medical Science 16 322.7
Physics 16 309.2
Commerce & Accountancy 15 310.3
Lit. of Kanada Language 14 322.1
Botany 14 296.4
Lit. of Sanskarit Language 10 306.4
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science 8 329.8
Lit. of Telugu Language 8 304.3
Mathematics 8 290.9
Lit. of Marathi Language 7 329.4
Lit. of Gujarati Language 7 323.4
Chemistry 7 304.4
Lit. of English Language 6 291.0
Lit. of Punjabi Language 5 338.0
Lit. of Malyalam Language 5 325.6
Mechanical Engineering 5 316.0
Lit. of Urdu Language 4 329.8
Electrical Engineering 4 303.3
Lit. of Assamese Language 2 350.0
Geology 2 334.0
Lit. of Maithili Language 1 354.0
Lit. of Manipuri Language 1 348.0
Civil Engineering 1 335.0
Management 1 310.0
Draw your own logical conclusions. Among popular subjects Pub Ad, History, Eco & Agriculture did well…..Geography n philosophy took a hit.

The same data arranged in descending order of average score is
Lit. of Maithili Language 1 354.0
Lit. of Assamese Language 2 350.0
Lit. of Manipuri Language 1 348.0
Lit. of Punjabi Language 5 338.0
Civil Engineering 1 335.0
Economics 37 334.5
Geology 2 334.0
Agriculture 41 333.6
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science 8 329.8
Lit. of Urdu Language 4 329.8
Lit. of Marathi Language 7 329.4
Lit. of Malyalam Language 5 325.6
Public Administration 336 325.0
Lit. of Gujarati Language 7 323.4
Medical Science 16 322.7
Lit. of Kanada Language 14 322.1
History 211 322.0
Law 19 319.6
Lit. of Pali Language 18 318.4
Lit. of Hindi Language 56 316.4
Mechanical Engineering 5 316.0
Political Science & Intnl. Rel. 84 315.8
Psychology 116 313.0
Sociology 89 311.1
Commerce & Accountancy 15 310.3
Management 1 310.0
Physics 16 309.2
Lit. of Tamil Language 29 308.6
Zoology 18 307.6
Lit. of Sanskarit Language 10 306.4
Anthropology 37 305.2
Chemistry 7 304.4
Lit. of Telugu Language 8 304.3
Electrical Engineering 4 303.3
Philosophy 84 302.7
Botany 14 296.4
Geography 236 295.3
Lit. of English Language 6 291.0
Mathematics 8 290.9
The average cannot be indicative where sample size is small but for popular subjects having atleast 80 candidates, when the average fluctuates by as much as 30 marks (as the gap between Geography & Pub Ad) then it forces one to think about the validity of UPSC scaling…..But in 2007 the average score of Geography was higher than that of Pub Ad but the gap was of 6-7 marks only. It will become a problem if the trend is sustained for long….else nothing can be said with surety..

@above

//3) Balaguruswamy board in interview//
i totally disagree with this.he is not always giving extraordinary marks. he also has the record for lowest marks.

exactly i ve borne the brunt of balaguru swamy n got extra ordinary 120 mks

(in a reply to above comment)

u r very much right that it is various permutation and combination factors that matters…..if all set right there may be chance whatever limited u have studied is asked in examination …and on other side who had extensive study but ommited few topics that are asked in exam is disadvantaged though mathimaticall such probalilty is less….
But reading more is not the key in mains exam…it is developing a prespectve of the topic and your ability to write and manovere your limited knowledge..
even if u have large knowledge bank and u dont know how to manovere in those 180 minutes it wil be of no use…..
Anlogy can be drawn from Army Genral….that large big army may be in advantage..but more important is your consolidated command and tactics of using that army…some times too large army makes chaos and lesser control to monvere in battlefield,similarly large factual knowledge may create chaos and confusion in examination halll so judious and intelligent study is more crucial……

me too the victim.. out of service only because of him.(75) [about Balagururswamy]

i.e . what i meant by being “jugaadoo”…..it is a popular north indian (dilli-wallah) word to explain innovative solutions out of very limited resources
in sophisticated UPSC lingo we call it developing a perspective on topic/question
regarding the army example when a leader sets up his defence or plans a raid, patrol or ambush….he has to study the ground first and own strengths/weak points…enemies strength /weakness….own reinforcement…weather
(incidentally…i was in army too.i.e why i know… )
the more knowledge he has more fire he can unleash
just like upsc….

i refuse to believe that as exam progresses luck factor increases.
can we say on any basis pre is more in our control than mains.?
i think no
there r two factors working here
1 pre is just a screening test ….no of seats are more so toughness level n chances weeding out of less prepared r more
2 the near the goal appears more desperate we become n internal locus of control just becomes weak ……
i think we cant quantify luck n studies part in civils n for that matter in anythin else (as some r trying to do)
luck just walks throu entire life n civils is just not different

i prefer middle path….not as winning lottery but still luck matters…..
in winning lottery one totaly(99.99%) depends upon luck but not d same case wit civils…
in civils d ratio changes from luck to hard working…till mains its hard work,strategy n planning matters…but v can say luck play role in interview…n definitely some subjects give more selection..but selecting d subject is part of ur strategy n if v honestly do d best in any subject tan hard work never goes in vain..so altimately cracking civils is not lottery at d most luck can decide ur rank but hard work n selection is sure…………it means..
LUCK=Labour Under Correct Knowledge..so all d best to all including me..

true to an extent…

well one cannot discount the fact that luck does play a lot of role in the upsc..but ..BUT ..there is also the question as to where the luck plays a role..luck plays a role in the kind of question paper we get, the way we manage our time in the exam room and things like this..and trust me, competition is very different from normal academics.. here the deviation of even one mark can change the fate of many.. CAT,MAT,GATE…all have this element of luck and doubt in them..
as far as optionals are concerned pub ad,pol sc,, history,psycho,socio,pali,geography,philosophy, are concerned to be among the better optionals..
if you have a career to fall back on then it is better..it cuts down the risk factor and allows you the peace of mind.. and i suggest not to keep on writing endlessly.. take a break in between and find a foothold in some other career before you get back to upsc.. all izz well…all the best to all of you..

LUCk Do matters in civil service prep..yes its “Labouring Under Correct Knowledge”(LUCK)..my PERSONNAL OPINION From my & from my seniors who cracked civils ..
Upsc testifies a persons inherent traits like “cool headed,handling pressure etc” rather than only on subject..Ex: releasing interview results just penultimate day of pre r few examples..
My Mentores used to say “The system in itself will filter & wht they want is GOOD MAnagers thats it”..i have seen few IIT ians quit field in middle and mediocre students hve topped exam..Every exam has a logic in it..the success rate depends on how fast a person understands its @this juncture QUALITY INST-MENTOR-Availablity of material-Seniors guidance{as they have done enough of trial and error we can learn a lot from their success to reach our goals even more faster).
If just Expertise in English alone matters then all eng proffesors would hve cracked “IELTS”..same way expertise in maths alone matters all Maths students should crack CAT,GMAT..Hence i summarize tht “All competitive exams follow a thumb rule of “selection by elimination” by testing a persons knowledge in prelims-understanding of subject in mains-Inherant Personality in Interview..thus select a subject n which ur passionate-quality coaching-and availability of materials once these r set in keep marching.Take Charge..

Written by upsc aspirants

January 12th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

One Response to 'Is clearing the UPSC Civils same as winning a lottery?'

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  1. don’t know about luck…. luck u cannot control. try to find weaknesses in you and rectify them. Look inside and u will find the answer. Don’t take this exam emotionally but professionally. Also, this exam is not for geniuses but for ordinary people with extraordinary drive to succeed. I know people who have been topping in their academics and were not extraordinary, but were focussed and most of them(at least who i Know) have cleared this exam. So, you have it in you or you have to develop it to clear this exam. But again luck has more to do with this exam than any other exam like CAT, IIT etc.

    santosh

    29 May 10 at 9:53 pm

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