Why Candidates Fail in UPSC Preliminary Exam ?

UPSC civil services exam is considered as one of the toughest exams in the country to crack; normally an aspirant dedicates three to four years of his life so that he/she can become a Civil Servant. Every year only 15000 out of 5 lakh aspirants qualify the UPSC preliminary exam, which is not even 3 per cent of the total students. Something is missing between the approach of failure candidates and successful candidates.

Let us examine some reasons of failure of candidates in UPSC prelims exam:


Consistency and discipline is the most essential part of the UPSC Preliminary examination. Toppers also believed that consistency is key to crack this exam. Some candidates took their first attempt very lightly. It shows their indiscipline attitude towards the preparation. That’s the reason many candidates didn’t clear the prelims exam due to lack of determination, consistency and discipline.


Aspirants are generally advised to start with basic books that are NCERT books for UPSC preparation. These books are considered as the basic reading books to build the base of UPSC examination. Many candidates ignore these books; they directly jump to Standard books.

For example: candidates didn’t read the NCERT books of polity, they directly started their preparation from the book Indian Polity (Lax….th). Nowadays UPSC directly asks the questions from the NCERT books. So, if the base is not strong then how will the foundation become strong?


Revision plays a very essential role in the UPSC preliminary examination, no one can skip it. No doubt, the syllabus of UPSC exam is vast, that’s why aspirants keep studying till the last minute. They keep reading new things; they don’t revise what they have learned so far. It’s simple if you keep reading new things and don’t revise what you studied earlier, you will never come to know your mistakes. Revision is the only way to rectify your mistakes and not repeat them in the actual exam. Lack of Revision is one of the biggest factors that aspirants fail in the UPSC Preliminary examination.

So, the art of cracking UPSC prelims exam is 3Rs: Read, Revise and RE-Revise.


“A dream without a goal is a wish; a goal without a plan is just a dream”.

Too many aspirants jump into the preparation without any proper guidance. Preparation without any strategy or plan leads the aspirants nowhere because they don’t know what to read, how to cover the topics and subjects in a certain period, when to write the answers and when to give the mock tests and many more. A good strategy draws a thin line of separation between aspirants and aspirants who qualify the exam. Before start your preparation, a smart strategy needs to be scripted keeping in mind the details of each and every step that you have to go through. A proper strategy is an extensive plan about what you are doing, how you are doing it and what resources you need.


“Practice makes a man perfect”.

Many aspirants don’t take this line seriously. They don’t give a single test and imagine they will perform precisely great in the UPSC actual exam, and then they are living in a myth. Practicing a mock test is not just a test of your knowledge and depth of preparation, but also of your competence, in terms of time management, accuracy, and presence of mind. Aspirants need to realize that self assessment is very important for the UPSC Preliminary examination. Mock test series are very much available on the various coaching sites on the internet at free of cost or at a very nominal fee. When you appear in these tests you actually test your knowledge.


There is bulk of study materials available in the photocopy shops in the market especially in Delhi. Students collected lot of materials from market but didn’t have that much time to read all those books. They bought original economic survey, EPW, SAP, Kurukshetra, PIB summaries, AIR summaries, India year book. These topics can be easily covered through the monthly magazine and the newspaper. At the time of examination, aspirants are like what to get, what to study. Limiting your resources is very important for this examination.

Even the toppers give their advice, not everything in the market is worth considering. Wandering outside the syllabus definitely leads to failure.


Previous year question paper is very important for any exam and in UPSC also it plays a very essential role. Previous year question papers help the aspirants to understand the pattern of paper, types of questions to be asked and many more. Practicing Previous Year Questions show you the mirror and help you in boosting your preparation. By solving Previous Year Questions, aspirants get to understand which topics are more important. So, ignoring the previous year’s question paper is a huge mistake.


GS paper II (CSAT) is equally important as the aspirant is required to clear that paper with minimum marks. The CSAT paper is a game changer. How much you score in GS Paper I doesn’t matter if you don’t qualify the CSAT. But aspirants keep on skipping such papers while putting all their efforts into GS PAPER I, when the result is out, it turns out that they failed because they were unable to reach the minimum marks requirement of qualifying paper.


As exam day approaches, stress increases. Despite preparing so well, there is some kind of fear within the aspirants: What if UPSC gives a very difficult paper this year? What if I make a silly mistake in an exam such as writing the wrong roll number, filling the wrong bubbles, etc? What if the CSAT paper is very tough? And many more questions like this.  Students become so afraid of the consequences of the UPSC Preliminary Examination that they become nervous towards the climax of the Prelims Exam. They lose sight of what they had learned the whole year. Due to fear, aspirants do not read the question properly and end up answering unnecessary things and ignoring what is really asked.

Sometimes being overconfident also leads to failure in the UPSC preliminary examination. Some intelligent and brilliant aspirants also fail to crack the UPSC Prelims exam. For example, an engineering student ignores the CSAT thinking he/she knows it all and pays the price for being over confident.


Self prepared notes are very important for the UPSC Preliminary examination. You can’t read the whole book at the last moment. Self prepared notes should be in your own language. when the notes are not organised properly, it will lead you to failure in the examination. Get the expert study material from BestCurrentAffairs.com and easily pass this first and most difficult stage.

These are some common mistakes that aspirants do while preparing for the civil services examination, which leads to failure. Make sure to know how to crack the UPSC Prelims Exam, it is very important to decode the tricks to qualify the first step of the exam that is the UPSC Preliminary examination. If the aspirants really want to be civil servant, then they must have a well planned strategy.

Be positive and stay motivated. “Miles to go before I sleep”

All the best !