Linguistic competence for IAS exams : Tips for CSE

The Sunday post : 17/04/2016

Civil service exam: preparation tips

Dear student
Thank you for being with beautiful mind ! I hope you are doing well with your studies. I try to remind you every Sunday what you must keep in mind to prepare well. Today I would like to underscore one important factor that play a key role in the preparation.
Few years back, I came across with a student who was going to make his sixth attempt for the civil service examinations. Like most of the people, I also appreciated his courage, enthusiasm and perseverance but due to my inquisitiveness and professional training, I became interested in knowing why it was taking such a long time. If you think in a casual way you might say that the reasons could be very obvious . it could be lack of hard work, sincerity in preparation, lack of good study materials, good coaching, support from family , financial resources and several factors of this kind.
I too believe that these are the factors that commonly interfere with the preparation. You however may be surprised to know that a bigger hindrance in the successful preparation is ” Linguistic Inferiority “. He was very poor in language – both in writing and in oral expression.
You probably may not evaluative this as a big threat but believe me -it really is. Have you ever noticed that students hailing from the rural areas or belonging to relatively lower socioeconomic backgrounds, usually require several attempts to clear this exam. They not only develop their knowledge over the years but they knowingly or unknowingly refine their language also. The overused suggestion- ” you must practice answer writing” helps improving language also.
I myself have observed this shortcoming in the answers of several students. Surprisingly, their knowledge is not less adequate and appropriate than those who clear CSE Exams in one or two attempts. For example, one of my student used to read and memorise sentences and when required to write an answer, he would just try to cut and paste the pieces of information from the memory. When I reminded him ” it’s not essential to memorize, understanding is more important “…he replied -” this is what I understood”…
Even research findings suggest that speedy uplifting of the disadvantage learner really start with the training of language. Only financial assistance is of little use. Linguistic Inferiority is the a very tough handicap. Students despite making efforts, don’t understand exactly what they read from the books and they don’t articulate exactly and correctly what they want to say. This is the root cause of their underperformance.
I see the same point valid for the civil service aspirants. There are several skills required to perform well in the examination and language proficiency is the most potent one among them. Everything being equal, one who is better equipped with language, require less time to get success in CSE.
I therefore would like to suggest :
Prefer to write the main examinations in the language you are most comfortable. If you need to write the exam in other language due to issues of technical educational background or unavailability of books and coaching, give some time everyday to improve it also. it will add to your speedy success. ..
Remember I am not suggesting to master jargons and write very attractive and fancy words and sentences. I only mean that you must develop Linguistic skills up to the extent that it enables you understand and express the meaning exactly and correctly.
God bless you!
Arun kumar
Mentor, beautiful mind IAS institute.