Is IAS coaching a must to clear UPSC Exam? Can one clear IAS Exam without coaching?
Every year, when the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) declare 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. But 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.
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 IAS Exam Without Coaching Classes?
There are many instances of candidates who cracked IAS without going any coaching – without spending sleepless nights and truckload of money at any coaching institutes.
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 of students. By good guidance and clear knowledge, they can help students learn fast and succeed in the 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 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 requires specialized study. If your optional is not your subject of a 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 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 of attending coaching classes. At times, you might even know about students who fail to clear UPSC exam due to misguidance from coaching classes.
Coaching Classes: The latest realization
Of-course there are good coaching classes which 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 are just guidance and knowledge, in the online age there are alternatives. We are not saying that everyone should start subscribing 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 to 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 free service than many of the coaching centres, 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, IAS books and can’t formulate a strategy on your own to crack this exam.
- You are running short of time (got 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, don’t feel confident 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 which 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 your own and feel just like UPSC that 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, exam 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 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 which require an analytical frame of mind, an area where coaching institute cannot help much.
Conclusion: Can one clear IAS exam without classroom coaching?
Whatever conclusion you reach after reading this, to summarize, we are adding the below points:
- In the online age – one can say with assurance – Yes, any hardworking candidate can clear 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.
- ClearIAS website and ClearIAS mobile app are started just to help the bright minds in India do self-study and crack this exam! We have also launched full length timed online mock test series with negative marking for UPSC Prelims which can be attempted at the ClearIAS mock exam platform.
- Whether classroom or outside classroom, good guidance and study materials can supplement candidates’ preparation for 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 which 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 put the next 50% effort he cannot become an IAS officer. All the best for all future IAS officers!