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Coaching versus Self Study for Civil Services – What is Better ?

Cerebration

There is no universal rule favoring coaching over self study. “To each their own” philosophy works best in the context of Coaching versus Self Study. Let me enlist the pros and cons for each –

Self Study – Pros

  • Flexible schedule. One can choose topics and prepare as per convenience.
  • No Dependency. There will never be a dependency for a fixed kind of study material, notes or schedule. The fact that you have to study yourself will work out the best hit and trial method for you that will determine success.
  • Saves Time. Self study saves way more time than coaching since an aspirant doesn’t have to venture out every day and spend a fixed amount of time in the classroom.
  • Better Research. The fact that an aspirant knows that he/she is own his/her own with regards to the resources of study, better research for content, subject matter and content will be done.
  • No Distractions. Since an individual will be preparing in isolation, there will be no external distractions. A lot of candidates waste precious time discussing topics.
  • Notes. The best thing about self study is that it instigates one to make damn good notes since there is nothing else to rely on.

Self Study – Cons

  • No Guidance. One should be very sure about the overall preparation strategy since there will no be any external guidance.
  • Doubt Solving. Each doubt will have to be solved by you alone. This can be irksome at times.
  • Optional. For aspirants new to an optional, a certain amount of guidance is necessary. Else, the preparation strategy might be jeopardized.

Coaching – Pros

  • Study Material. Good resources required to prepare for CSE are provided by coaching centres. So no individual running around is needed.
  • Handy Tips. The professors at Coaching Centres will be more than sufficient to provide handy tips – subject wise – for the exam.
  • Optional. A candidate new to an optional subject will surely find coaching useful because the initial push towards a new subject will be given there.

Coaching – Cons

  • No Guarantee for Success. No matter what coaching class you join, there will never be a 100% guarantee for success. What will come to your rescue will be your own efforts and hard work, nothing else.
  • Dependency. One flaw of coaching is that it makes most aspirants dependent on their style of teaching, resources and even questions. Now this is dangerous because UPSC CSE is not a predictable paper.
  • Time Wastage. Candidates waste a lot of precious time attending coaching. Many times, their own schedules get disrupted due to the schedule of the class. This isn’t good.
  • Expensive. Coaching classes are expensive because at the end of the day, it is somebody’s business venture. Spending so much money on something that doesn’t even guarantee success doesn’t seem right.
  • Nature of UPSC. The biggest disadvantage of joining coaching is that it will never prepare you with the unpredictability with the nature of UPSC. Each year aspirants get surprised so far as the questions are concerned. No coaching class in the world can be sure of the pattern that can be expected for a particular year.

Having mentioned all the above points, I would like to highlight the importance of Mock tests. Coaching or no coaching, do enroll for mock tests to get your preparation and performance evaluated.

Akriti Mattu

  • If you can create a roadmap and then have the discipline to follow the plan religiously, you can go on your own. Coaching brings in that discipline which keeps you on track and helps those who tend to lose track of the milestones.

    • As I said, “to each their own.”

  • Hi ma’am
    Firstly I thank you from the purity of my heart. I don’t have to join any coaching centre and this article explained me that I am right in this decision. I completed my graduation this year and have aspirations of becoming civil servant. I have nobody to guide me and I am asking you one thing. Please do me a favor in the form of guidance especially at times of ups and downs. And I need you to be with me in difficulties.
    Am I asking too much ?
    I am eagerly waiting for your assurance.
    Thanks and Regards.

    • I’m glad , my article could help Nikhil.

      Every sincere aspirant always has my assurance. Tell me what is that you’re struggling with ?

  • Thank you from the purity of my heart. As I have mentioned before that I have just completed my graduation and begun my preparation. So struggles are yet to come. One thing causing diffidence was having nobody for guidance but your assurance is certainly going to boost my preparation and having somebody with me in this journey gives positive mindset.
    Thanks and Regards.

  • Thank you from the purity of my heart. As I have mentioned before that I have just completed my graduation and begun my preparation. So struggles are yet to come. One thing causing diffidence was having nobody for guidance but your assurance is certainly going to boost my preparation and having somebody with me in this journey gives positive mindset.
    Thanks and Regards.

    • Feel free to put forward queries whenever you feel like. I try responding aspirant within 24 hrs

  • Sonam sharma

    Hii ma’m
    I m 30 yr old married lady I wanted to prepare fr upsc so I have joined iasbaba platform online program.. but they demanded too much from student like me who is new to it.. madam according to them studying 8 to 10 units of any standard textbook in one weekk is very normal plus current affairs ,optional , gs mains portion n what not . I don’t hv capacity fr so much so I m disappointed now I thought only those students hv so much of calibre how can I crack it bcz I can study fr 6 hours/per day only .. plz suggest me some rough strategy like if I start from Oct itself with gs n optional integrated.. is there any hope to cover gs till June 2018.
    Secondly is it practically possible to crack exam if started now… And third query is it imp to complete ncerts page to page.sorry fr writing so long but i need to be answered madam…

    • Hi Sonam,

      First of all, there’s no need to apologize for the long query. It really is ok.

      Secondly, you can crack the exam even though. You’ll have to pace up your preparation.

      I won’t disagree with what IASBaba is saying. However, that isn’t the only way to do it. If you think you can devote only 6 hours daily, make sure every moment of those 6 hours counts.

      I insist stick to a daily planner.