Reasons for Failure: 6 Main Reasons for Failure in IAS Exam

One of the common reasons for failing the IAS exam is to underestimate the importance of IAS prelims and to understand it throughout the qualifying exam. We are giving some information on why most of the candidates fail in the IAS Prelims itself.


The IAS exam is one of the most difficult examinations in the country. Normally a candidate dedicates four or five years of his life to become an IAS or IPS officer. Many candidates who dream of becoming IAS come to New Delhi. New Delhi is known for coaching centers and the exact environment of this exam.

Each year, out of 5 lakh candidates, only 15000 candidates are able to clear the IAS Prelims exam, it is not even 3% of the total students. These figures are really disappointing because 97% of their dreams are broken and dreams are lost. But these figures also show that most of the candidates miss out on the final list with a small margin. This shows that there is not much difference in IQ but there is a fundamental difference of approach between successful and failed candidate.

IA, IAS tries to investigate some common causes or mistakes in failure:

Fear of failure

Some students are so scared about the results of the prelims exam that the IAS prelims exam gets nervous on the day. Their attention is diverted from what they studied throughout the year and how hard they have worked till the day of examination.

It is very common to feel nervous and scared during the exam but the best way to avoid them on the exam day is to take as many time-bound tests as possible before the exam and analyze your performance in terms of the type of questions. This will definitely help in reducing anxiety during the exam as you will gain so much confidence that you have not dropped out of the competition despite not knowing the exact answers to many questions.

Underestimate the importance of prelims

Many candidates believe that only the main exam of IAS (Main Examination) is the true test of knowledge and intelligence and IAS prelims is a qualifying examination. It is very important to break this myth as soon as possible because no one can reach the top without climbing the initial steps from the ground.

It is a fact that IAS Mains is a subjective exam which gives candidates more opportunity to prove their abilities through their answers but you will not be able to reach this opportunity if you fail in IAS prelims. The IAS Preliminary Exam is a true test of how well you have understood the subject as most of the questions are statement based.

The best suggestion would be to adopt a complementary approach in preparing for IAS. Start preparing with data and current passages and mark important facts as it will help you to solve objective type questions and the facts in main examination will help you to support your argument on current issues or topic.

Lack of time management during the exam

Time management is the loose end that you need to tighten by practicing the time-bound test as much as possible. You should also have time to revise the paper at least twice and change your answer if needed.

Set a target time for the time you need to read the question paper and mark the questions for which you are 110% sure about the answer. In IAS Prelims, on an average 40 questions out of 100 questions are such which are asked directly and which you can answer at once. The first phase should be completed as soon as possible. Try to solve as many direct questions as you can because it is the highest scoring part of the exam.

Now let’s get to the hit and trial game which is based on how well you remember the facts. This is the stage in which you have to try to solve the questions with 50% definite answers. It takes time and thinking, so first analyze the question and then answer it. If you have reached the 70th question then try to stop.

Test series not practiced

If you have not given a single test and are thinking that you will do very well in the actual exam, then you are living in confusion. There is a need to identify how you will react in the exam more than the examinations.

Sometimes giving regular tests is more important than reading different study materials because the materials are always infinite but your question paper is limited. Therefore you need to practice to master a certain number of questions in a given time.

Candidates need to understand that self-assessment before the actual examination will be a more intelligent decision than the exam to determine your performance and luck.

Study Material

Reading the right material at the right time can work well for IAS prelims, but in such a situation, it can be disastrous not to choose where to study. There are many articles, tips and posts on the Internet about what kind of study material to use in the exam, but you also need to look at what you should not read.

Instead of wasting time reading the entire document of an entire yearbook or any government document, you can revise standard books and current events that are often in the news.


Any successful UPSC candidate will be able to tell how much revision of concepts is more important in preparing for IAS than reading new material. IAS aspirants must always remember that the only mantra for success in any examination is 3R – Read, Revise and Revise.

Most of the candidates who clear the exam are those who are always updated in the revision. They may not specialize in any subject, but they are correct and accurate in what they study. The axis of IAS prelims is based on memorization and analysis and both of these can be proved by revising as much as possible.


Instead of focusing on the process of becoming an IAS officer, most of the candidates are caught in the illusion of status and luxury. In a nutshell, it is important to decode the tricks of the first stage of the exam i.e., to be successful in the prelims exam before anyone can come to any conclusion on how to succeed in the IAS exam.

But candidates should remain motivated till they actually succeed in the Civil Services Examination. For most students, this is very difficult work. And with each passing year and with each failed attempt, the challenges become increasingly difficult.

As we get older, we start believing in ourselves. Previously, we could not know the hours we spent meditating. All friends also get busy in their lives. The people we grew up with have all made successful careers. However, if the candidate really wants to become a civil servant, then he has to intend to continue studies despite the defeat.

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