Insights

UPSC Civil Services (IAS) Preparation: Is Self-study better than coaching?

Written by Abhinash Chaudhary · 5 min read >
Is Self-study better than coaching

The UPSC Civil Services Exam or the IAS/IPS exam is considered to be one of the toughest exams in Asia. The Government of India has every reason to have such an exam, which tests the aspirants’ endurance, analytical skills, logical thought, and emotional balance. Perseverance is an attribute possessed only by an individual with Patience. An IAS aspirant has to persevere even as he/she prepares for the IAS examination, and the exam requires one to study with focus and patience, as the preparation requires at least 14-16 months.

As an IAS aspirant starts his journey to embrace his dream of becoming an officer, the first aspect that he/she considers is about mentoring / guidance/coaching. The various facets of this aspect manifest in the form of questions one might ask himself/herself. Here, I will try to bring these FAQs to the fore and answer the same to the best of my knowledge, which is of course informed by the previous year toppers from Legacy IAS and their strategies, Retired IAS officers and their expertise, Retired IPS and IRS officers associated with Legacy IAS academy and their experiences, and experienced faculties from Legacy IAS, excellent tutors and serious candidates of this esteemed institute preparing for the UPSC exam.

  1. Do I need Mentoring or Coaching/Guidance?

First of all, one has to understand the difference between these terms.

Coaching is a structured and formal way of teaching. While the knowledge is imparted from the basics, say NCERTs, the very process is short-lived and time-bound in nature. The targets set by many IAS coaching institutes are for either Preliminary or Mains or Interview separately. This approach highlights the basis on which coaching works i.e., helping the student or an aspirant reaches a particular short-term target. Leading IAS coaching institutes employ this strategy and enroll students for Prelims only, Mains only or Interview only or Test series programs.

Given that these programs are short-sighted and only set short term goals, the chances of an IAS aspirant getting through all the stages of the exam in one institute are slim, to say the least. The classes will be scheduled according to the whims and fancies of the coaching institutes, thus, giving less preference to the learning style and learning pace of students/aspirants.

Mentoring is an ongoing process that is of a long-term nature. The mentors and aspirants have meetings based on the requirement of the latter. The tutoring is at a personal level, thus paying attention to the IAS aspirant’s learning style and learning speed. This is the hallmark of Legacy IAS academy which is the Best IAS Mentoring Centre in Bangalore. IAS Mentors are those who bring in their experience to the table and empathize with the students and provide all the support which an aspirant needs, as he/she endeavors to find a place in the final rank list.

The focus is not just on the prelims or Main exam, but the exam process as a whole. Setting aside the short-term goals and embracing long term goals marks the defining feature of the best IAS academy. This is precisely what Legacy IAS academy does with its tutors, who also are exceptional mentors. They aid the aspirants to get a holistic view of the exam, keeps them informed about the pitfalls of their own strategies, course correct them at every turn, fine-tune and refine their preparation.

For all of this to happen, that is quality mentoring with individual focus, enough resources are to be expended both in terms of time and energy. And such efforts can be expected only from an institute that has a limited number of aspirants per batch. This is where Legacy IAS academy comes in and ticks all those boxes to qualify as the best IAS mentoring center with a fine blend of every aspect which every other acclaimed IAS institutes, which claim to be the Best IAS coaching center in Bangalore possess.

  • Should I rely on Self study or Coaching / Mentoring?

One of the biggest advantages of physical classroom coaching is the interaction or networking with a group of students, which can give you an edge over others in this competitive field of IAS preparation. Mentoring at Legacy IAS academy, the top IAS coaching center in Bangalore guides you for proper revisions and practice, which creates a solid foundation for the UPSC exam.

Coaching classes keep you abreast of the UPSC syllabus changes or crucial information that may not be acknowledged with self-study. And with this drawback, most of the students lose out in the race. You will be on the safer and stronger pedestal because the classes are time-bound and provide good conceptual clarity along with ample food for thought. At an institute like Legacy IAS, you will always be competing with your peers, who are the best amongst your competitors. It will motivate you to do your best.

Coaching classes / Mentoring give you a readymade plan, with enough room to restructure it based on your strengths and weaknesses. You don’t need to plan your studies much as everything to the last detail is carefully thought out and laid out. All one has to do is to concentrate and study with consistency. What’s more? You can also get more clarity on what is important and what is not, with the help of coaching classes at the Best IAS academy in Bangalore, as faculties at Legacy IAS are well versed in the dynamics of the exam. In order to remain motivated and keep your spirits, high Legacy IAS arranges interactive sessions by successful civil servants of the past and present.

The best part about self-study is the cozy, comfortable environment you can arrange for yourself with time or place of your choice. Another major benefit is the monetary factor. Ensure that you work really hard or else you might regret saving the money and losing time appearing for a re-exam. Coaching classes are on a tad expensive side, but to be honest, your association with the right institute is worthwhile.

Speaking of the economic cost of coaching classes, some coaching centers offer the entire course for ₹30k to ₹60k. This isn’t possible considering the expenses that go into hiring faculty, administrative costs, and infrastructure costs. This can be a possibility if it is a government-funded institute or some community-based IAS coaching center. But, these institutes hardly care about the students, much less about the results

Self-study is a time-consuming process, and a lot of research is involved in it to successfully weed out the redundant information. It needs a lot of discipline and planning. On the other hand, the Best UPSC coaching center provides in-depth study material and easy access to faculty for doubt clearance. You will not have access to such things while studying alone. So, if you are not willing to take these factors into consideration, pay heed to your rational thought, which would in all likelihood point you towards saving time and mental effort through physical coaching.

  • Should I opt for online or offline classes/Mentoring?

In the fast-moving digital world of ours, almost every good and service is delivered at your doorstep. However, one cannot be oblivion to the fact that certain services like Education and Health cannot be delivered to the home with the same efficiency as it would in institutional setup.

Online classes need internet access which is uninterrupted. So, anytime lost in loading the pages or video would distract the person from the concept being learned. More importantly, the distractions would come in the form of information that is displayed on various sites that are not required for your preparation.

If there is an issue with the subject or anything else, immediate aid cannot be assured. As it is online, a query sent will be answered only if there is someone online on the other end. If not, the student has to wait until a response comes back. There is no interaction with others. It is an isolated form of learning.

Many things can be learned from a peer, but in this form, there is no option for the same in “real-time” (unless there is a web chat or a forum where the others attending the class can discuss the subject).

The process of learning is not isolated in the case of Offline classes. There is an instructor or a teacher present at all times to answer the student’s queries. The exchange of ideas and views in offline classrooms is “real-time” and effective. The probability of learning is high. As there are other students learning along and sharing knowledge. Any doubts and problems can be solved immediately. The true form of learning is where there is the involvement of people sharing and receiving knowledge without delay. And this is achieved in a conventional offline classroom. This is the reason why Legacy IAS academy, a leading IAS coaching center in Bangalore, does not entertain online classes.

However, there exist some drawbacks with Offline classes including travel expenses, accommodation, and food away from home, etc. The learning is confined to fixed timings. When distance and funding are considered, online classes are much better than offline classes. But, with all the pitfalls of online and offline considered, one can safely come to the conclusion that Offline classes are a better option. We have to understand the fact that it is essential to accept the tradeoff that might ultimately lead you towards success.

Check out the Best IAS Coaching Institutes in following cities of India

  1. Best IAS Coaching in Delhi
  2. Top UPSC Coaching in Mumbai
  3. IAS Coaching in Bangalore
  4. Top 5 IAS Coaching in Jaipur
  5. Top IAS Coaching in Pune
  6. Best IAS Coaching in Hyderabad
  7. Top 5 Best  IAS Coaching in Dehradun
Written by Abhinash Chaudhary
Abhinash Chaudhary is a Passionate blogger, Entrepreneur & Digital Marketer in India. He has been blogging since 2013 & writes about Education, Web Design, Web Development, SEO and Technology. Profile