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[Guide] How many mocks should I take for preparing for the Interview?

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  • A common question that most people face is about how many mocks should one take before the actual Interview. Since I have been on both sides of the table, I would like to share my opinion, based on my experience with the UPSC board and the candidates.

    Firstly, the number of mocks that you take totally depends on you. There are both Pros and Cons of taking Mocks

    Taking large number of Mocks help you in below ways

    • You get a huge practice of appearing before several people and are able to practice a lot.
    • You get a databank of questions. If you have done enough number of mocks, you will soon start to see that questions begin to repeat - both in the mocks and in the UPSC
    • You get so used to interviews, that you do get rid of fear, hesistation, and nervousness to a great extent ( although , i would admit that the actual Interview turns out to be quite different )
    • You get some common remarks across the board, so you immediately know that this is an actual problem with you.

    Taking a large number of Mocks has below dis-advanatges

    • They waste time. I mean you have to travel to the place, then wait for your turn, and you would soon realise that for one mock you have wasted a single day.
    • Since your productivity during Interviews is also less, ( and its winters ) a mock is the only thing you have done in a day !
    • Every Panel tells you something different and you do not what to follow. Someone says speak slow, so you learn to slow down, someone then says your lack energy

    How to decide how many Mocks to take?

    Saying that three mocks is a good number, or four mocks is a good number has no scientific basis nor does it have a psychological basis. However, in my opinion, the decision of how many mocks you need to take should be taken after taking your first mock.

    And the first mock should be taken as early as possible, because most people lack the direction, productivity and overall roadmap for preparation until they face one.

    I have often come across people who have realised BIG problems in their preparation , only after the first mock they took. To make matters worse, some people take the first mock one week before their actual PT. ( The Mock Panels, often do not give any feedback if they know you have your PT in a week or so. At least the experienced ones, because they know that positivity and confidence is half the game, so do not say anything negative to a soldier who is his gears, ready for the battle )

    So here is the thing , take your first mock as early as possible and make decision on "how many mock" you need to take thereafter.

    Secondly, You have to be very clear why you are taking the mocks.
    If your goal is to build a database of questions, you have just won half the race. This is because taking mocks is the best way to build a database and subsequent answers for them. If you are clear about this, by all means take as many mocks as you can.

    However, if you are thinking of taking feedback too, then this would be a wrong approach. Taking feedback from a million sources will pull you into being multiple personalities - which is clearly not desirable. If you plan to take too many mocks , you must develop the ability to listen to the feedback from one ear and let it pass through the other. You should decide beforehand whom you will listen to and whom you will not. Identify 2-3 sources whom you plan to listen to and stick to them.

    Thats all.

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