Civil Services Exam (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is one of the toughest exams in the world. This can be gauged by the fact that result of this exam is around 0.1%. Every year approximately one million aspirants compete for less than thousand vacancies.
Those who make to the final list are obviously the deserving lucky ones but there are so many who are unable to make it to the list.
This is surely bound to make majority of the aspirants anxious, which is quite human, what if I am not able to make it? Will it be worth the effort? What will I gain from studying so much if I am not able to clear the exam?
Before we discuss this, let us first remind ourselves of two famous quotes:
- ALL THE SUCCESS STORIES IN THE WORLD BEGAN WITH A FAILURE
- EDUCATION NEVER GOES WASTE!
Preparing for Civil Services Exam is one of the most enriching journeys that anyone can embark on.
A person who has dived into this will never be the same again. The learning process and knowledge gained is bound to transform the person to become a thinker, an analyst, in fact a scholar who has insight into all the aspects of life.
This journey is so unique that at the end of it, knowledge gained not only influences the intellectual capacity of an aspirant positively but also makes the aspirant stand apart from the crowd.
When you prepare for the civil services examination, you get the ability to absorb knowledge in a very different way and you will be able to analyse issues from multiple dimensions.
The best example one can quote here is of our Honourable President Mr Ram Nath Kovind. After graduating in law from DAV College, Kanpur Mr Kovind came to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination. He passed this exam in the third attempt, but he did not join because he had only scored high enough to work in an allied service rather than in IAS and thus started practising law. And today he is the 14th President of India.
Another example, one can give is of Mr Ravish Kumar. All of us have heard his name, the famous journalist and television personality from India, who has recently been bestowed with the Ramon Magsaysay Award. He too had appeared for civil services exam but couldn’t clear it. The knowledge which he had gained during the preparations has helped him outshine as a journalist.
Honourable President and Mr. Ravish Kumar are not exceptions. There are scores of people like them who have done exceptionally well despite their not having fared well in the civil services exam.
So, everything boils down to how serious an aspirant you are while preparing for the exam. If you prepare for the exam in a systematic manner putting your heart and soul into it then there is a very good chance that you will clear the exam and will be able to serve the society with the powers conferred by the President of India.
In case, you are not successful in becoming a civil servant, you will still be contributing in nation building and serving the people with the power of knowledge and analysis that you have acquired during the preparation of exam. So in either case you are going to gain.
Not getting selected in any competitive exam is not equivalent to failing. In any competition there is a process of selection and not rejection. Life without setbacks will be insipid and tasteless.
After having prepared for this exam, there are multiple options available to an aspirant to pursue in addition to appearing for CSE.
Since the syllabus of various other exams is a subset of UPSC syllabus, you can appear for other government exams.
- One can apply for State Civil Services Exams (State PCS) and can become a civil servant in a State. One doesn’t need to have a domicile for applying for a particular State and can appear for as many State PCS exams as one wants. However, one needs to qualify that State language exam. Hindi speaking aspirants can in fact appear for nine State PCS exams.
- You can apply for other government jobs like Combined Graduate Level (CGL) conducted by Staff Selection Commission (SSC), as Probationary Officer (PO) in banking sector, as a teacher by qualifying Teaching Eligibility Test (TET). You can also become a lecturer in a College, where you can teach undergraduates.
- Other government exams you can appear for and clear easily are the UPSC EPFO, CAPF, CDS, RBI Grade B, Intelligence Bureau, Railways.
- Candidates who fail to clear the interview stage can get recruited for top posts in the Public Sector Units (PSUs). To quote an example the newly constituted body, International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSC Authority) has invited applications from those applicants who had reached the final stage of CSE exam but could not be in the final merit. Similarly, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) have shown interest in recruiting people who have appeared for the UPSC interview.
- You can even join the private sector/ corporate sector for a job.
- Becoming a faculty/teacher in the field of UPSC preparation industry is also a very rewarding career for people.
The knowledge gained with the CSE preparations brings a totally new perspective towards life in whatever occupation you choose.
In a nutshell, there are many opportunities and you can plan for fall back options along with your preparations for civil services journey to cater for contingency of not having cleared the exam.
Always remember, that if you are not chosen for a career in civil services, then you would be chosen for something different and much more apt for your skill-set.
The moot point is to be ready to grab that opportunity and preparation for the exam is a mechanism to prepare yourself for that.
So, just dive in and enjoy the preparation stage and look how it evolves you into a much more mature person.
Very often it is said that CSE is the mother of all exams. However, we believe that LIFE is the mother of all exams. One can fail in exams like CSE but not in life. You must take IAS preparations as a phase in life and not as your life.