Arth Jain, a 24-year-old from Madhya Pradesh, has cracked the most difficult exams held in India, including the IIT entrance JEE Advanced and civil services exam. Set to be an IAS officer, Jain says that contrary to popular belief, an all-in approach is not the right way to crack a competitive exam. Be it JEE or UPSC, the entrance exams need a sustainable preparation strategy.
“It is important to have a sustainable preparation strategy while preparing for a competitive exam. I have seen some extremely talented kids leaving their preparations midway not because they were not smart or were not dedicated enough, but because they followed an exhaustive routine and could not keep it up for years on," says Jain.
He adds that during years-long exam preparations, motivation eventually fades. “One needs to remind oneself about what inspired them to take up this path in the first place. If one remains consistent throughout their preparations, they are already ahead of 90% of the competition," he says.
ALSO READ | Thoughts on Women Marrying Unemployed Men to First Aadhar Holder: Questions Asked in UPSC Civil Services Interview
For Jain, too, the UPSC preparations went on for years. While he was able to crack JEE Advanced in the first go and gained admission in IIT-Delhi with 703rd rank, the civil services exam wasn’t that easy. He had to appear twice to crack it. In the first attempt, Jain could not even get through the preliminary stage. In the second attempt, however, he scored 1,021 marks, including 168 on the personality test and 853 on the written test. Jain secured an All India Rank (AIR) 16.
The 24-year-old says he attempted more than 200 mock tests for his second attempt. While agreeing that the number of mock tests was unusually high, Jain says he “overcompensated" as he did not want to leave anything to chance.
ALSO READ | Karnataka’s Aparna Ramesh Gets Rank 35 in UPSC Civil Services Test While Working Full-Time, Shares Secret
Despite the intensive preparation for the second attempt, Jain had already moved on to getting ready for a third attempt before the results were announced. He had decided to give maximum of four tries to civil services and zeroed in on a backup career in public service if he failed to get through. Luckily, the backup plan wasn’t called into use.
Jain believes that the extra time he got due to pandemic-related delays in the exam was also helpful. “The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t do much harm to those who had already appeared for one attempt like me. I had my basics clear and took coaching in online mode. Preparations moving online also gave me more time and easy access to test series," he says.
The MP youth referred to Modern Indian History by Lakshmikant, and NCERT to strengthen his basics. To keep up with current affairs, he read at least one newspaper daily. He also referred to online courses and Amrita IAS academy for preparations. He devoted 10-11 hours on an average per day to civil services preparations and set targets for every month.
A mechanical engineering graduate from IIT-Delhi batch 2019, Jain opted for Mathematics as his optional subject. To keep himself entertained, he also dedicated time to relax and watch sitcoms like Friends.
ALSO READ | How did Satyam Gandhi Clear UPSC Civil Services in First Attempt, Get AIR 10
Despite being an IIT graduate, Jain did not consider Engineering as a career because “Class 10 was too early" for him to decide on a career. It was in the second year of college that he realised that he wanted to pursue a career in public service instead.
The son of an investment banker mother and IPS officer father, Jain says he decided to take up civil services as a profession for its “aura". Talking to News18.com, he said, “Civil services officers have an aura. It gives one satisfaction of working in an NGO while offering all the benefits of an MNC. At end of the day, it’s about making an impact on society while having a profile and facilities for oneself," says Jain.
Read all the Latest Education News here