Is IAS coaching a must to clear the UPSC Exam? Can one clear the IAS Exam without coaching? read further to know more.
Every year, when the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) declare the results of the Civil Services Examination (CSE), we see hundreds of advertisements from coaching classes, claiming that that toppers studied in their institute.
The vacancies of top Civil Service posts are only around 800. However many institutes advertise that 400 or even 500 students were from their IAS coaching institute.
Very often multiple institutes claim the success of the same topper.
How accurate are the claims by IAS coaching institutes in various advertisements?
Only to an extent. Very often results are exaggerated.
As in many other sectors, there are many frauds in the IAS coaching sector as well.
The IAS coaching industry is worth Rs.3000 crore (reference: The Print).
One admission to an institute is often worth Rs. 1-2 lakh, so most institutes try to influence as many IAS aspirants as possible with the faces of toppers. Some institutes even pay toppers (in lakhs) to give an interview or testimonial in favour of them. Beginners are very often misled by advertisements.
Aren’t there genuine IAS coaching institutes?
There are a few quality players.
IAS coaching, if provided by an expert mentor is really helpful. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, effort, and money.
Even with quality coaching, the results are mostly the result of the effort put by the candidates themselves. Nobody can become an IAS officer these days just because he/she attended coaching in a top institute in the country.
To make it simple, we can say that the role of an IAS coaching institute in the success of a candidate is a maximum of 40%. The rest 60% is purely the effort from the candidates’ end.
Of course, 40% is crucial. However, such a level of support is provided only by a few quality coaching institutes. The help you get from most average coaching institutes in the country is 20% or less (true share in a candidate’s success).
Can I Clear the IAS Exam Without Coaching Classes?
There are some instances of candidates who cracked IAS without going through any coaching – without spending sleepless nights and a truckload of money at any coaching institute.
However, these are exceptions. Exceptions should not be generalised.
In general, we can say that ‘it takes two hands to clap‘. Most toppers take some form of guidance or coaching – online or offline.
Aspirants can consider combining the benefits of coaching with self-study.
Go through our UPSC toppers interview section. You can read the testimonials of toppers.
But is classroom coaching bad?
No; unless the institutes are misguiding you.
Upon checking the profiles of candidates who cleared IAS, we can also see that there are candidates who cleared with coaching, without coaching, left the job for self-preparation, who cleared the exam while working and so on.
And that itself gives the answer to this question “Can I Clear IAS Exam Without Coaching Classes?” – It can be a YES or NO – It all depends on the person.
Do you need IAS Coaching? The Answer To The Long Pending Question!
Let’s start with Sachin Tendulkar. Everyone knows that Sachin is a genius. He is talented and awesome. But why did he take coaching under Ramakant Achrekar and numerous other coaches? Will he be as successful as he is today without his coaches? Any clue? Ok. Leave that topic now, but try to ponder over this: Why did you attend schools and colleges if you were able to study everything on your own?
We think good coaches and mentors can help their students a lot. Of course, there are many students who do well without mentors (like Ekalavya did in Mahabharatha [excuse us, if the example is too old. Of course there are examples from the modern world too:-) ]), but there is no doubt about the help good mentors can do. In our opinion, what they do is – reduce the work of students by half! They help reduce the burden on students. With good guidance and clear knowledge, they can help students learn fast and succeed in an age of tight competition.
Having said that, we didn’t mean that in order to succeed in the IAS exam you need to attend coaching institutes the way you attended school. This is not necessary. And this is not a must. Why because you are already graduates! Apart from optional subjects, none of the questions asked in the examination require specialized study. If your optional is not your subject of graduation, you might need coaching for that, else it is not a necessity.
Wait, the topic is not over. What if you are not confident that you can finish the vast syllabus by yourself within a limited time? What if you do not know where to start and what to study? What if you don’t know the books and magazines for UPSC preparation? Here, like what I said before, a good coach can help you reduce your workload by half. But only a good coach!
What should a good coach do?
There are two things you need to clear the UPSC exam:
A good coach or a good coaching institute should be able to provide these two. If you are not getting relevant and latest strategies and guidance from a coaching institute, even after spending thousands and lakhs of rupees there, then there is no meaning in attending coaching classes. At times, you might even know about students who fail to clear the UPSC exam due to misguidance from coaching classes.
Coaching Classes: The latest realization
Of course, there are good coaching classes that care for the students and not their money. And not all are bad. Do Join if you find quality institutes. Don’t join institutes with a reputation of misguidance.
As what you need to get from a coaching class is just guidance and knowledge, in the online age there are alternatives. We are not saying that everyone should start subscribing to this website from today :-). Of course, you can, and we hope it will do more good than harm! But as this post is not intended to sponsor ourselves let’s focus back on the topic. Apart from ClearIAS.com, there are many other good online coaching websites also which are valued by the IAS aspirant community, which you can rely upon. Good online IAS coaching websites provide much more free service than many of the coaching centers, which charge you lakhs of rupees for their misguidance!
If you are still confused, scroll below.
When do you need Civil Service Exam coaching?
- If you are totally ignorant about the UPSC syllabus, latest pattern, and IAS books and can’t formulate a strategy on your own to crack this exam.
- You are running short of time (hardly 2 or 3 months before the exam), and need a crash course to go through all the important topics.
- If you are a person, who, after whatever efforts put, doesn’t feel confident enough to stay alone (without coaching, because of peer pressure.).
- If you have only very little knowledge about the optional subject you plan to take for the main exam and feel it’s a risky strategy to take it on your own.
- You don’t have access to the internet to browse good websites that provide IAS study materials and guidance free of cost and online shopping websites like Amazon. in and flipkart.com, which provides door delivery of all books needed for IAS with free shipping and cash on delivery options.
When don’t you need Civil Service Exam coaching?
- If you are confident that you can crack it on your own and feel just like UPSC coaching institutes are not a necessity in this exam.
- If you are from any top institutes in India like JNU or IITs and know about the subjects, exams, and pattern with details much before.
- If you have already attempted this exam with coaching – Since you already know the pattern, necessary books, and syllabus, spending time again in the same classes will make you feel bored.
- If you are a serious analyzer of previous year’s questions – UPSC is putting sincere efforts to reduce the effect of coaching and spoon-feeding in IAS selections, by making a drastic change in the exam pattern by avoiding traditional questions and developing questions that require an analytical frame of mind, an area where coaching institute cannot help much.
Also read: Best UPSC CSE Coaching Institute in Kerala
Conclusion: Can one clear the IAS exam without classroom coaching?
Whatever conclusion you reach after reading this, to summarize, we are adding the following points:
- In the online age – one can say with assurance – Yes, any hardworking candidate can clear the IAS exam without attending classroom coaching! Yes, one can clear the IAS exam without coaching. But may not be ‘everyone’. It depends on his/her efficiency in self-study.
- If you are good at self-study, you can clear UPSC CSE without any classroom coaching.
- The ClearIAS website and ClearIAS mobile app were started just to help the bright minds in India do self-study and crack this exam! We have also launched a full-length timed online mock test series with negative markings for UPSC Prelims which can be attempted at the ClearIAS mock exam platform.
- Whether in the classroom or outside the classroom, good guidance and study materials can supplement candidates’ preparation for the UPSC exam. Underline the words – good, guidance, study materials, and supplement.
- Join a coaching institute only if it serves the above purpose.
- Now there are online coaching websites that provide quality guidance and study materials.
- Realize that no coaching institute or online website can make a candidate an IAS officer, unlike the claims they make. The combination can be best described as 40:60. A good coaching institute can play 50% part, but unless the candidate puts in the next 50% effort he cannot become an IAS officer. All the best for all future IAS officers!