Is coaching necessary to prepare for the UPSC?

The answer to this question has less to do with the actual necessity of coaching and more to do with your mindset and circumstances. I believe ‘coaching’ in this context refers to classroom training which you have to attend in some institute.

Most coaching institutes charge a very hefty sum of money upfront. I did not have access to that much money. And I surely did not want my parents to waste their hard earned resources just to pay a coaching institute. No money, no coaching. It was a simple decision for me. I never thought about classroom coaching after the first couple of weeks into preparation. Moreover, I had already wasted precious money for coaching during IITJEE preparation and realised what a colossal waste of time, money and self-esteem it can turn out to be.
People who have the financial cushion more or less always end up going to these institutes. And out of these enrolments, 90% drop out sooner or later, after having invested the whole amount in one go. There are too many honest toppers’ testimonials out in the public, where they have confessed about not going to certain institutes after the first few days or weeks.
Classroom coaching in most institutes is a waste of time. Dig deeper into the internet, and you will find many people saying the same thing. The problem with people who are always looking for coaching is that they never spend time with themselves. I had the same problem 8–9 years back, during IITJEE prep. I used to run from one coaching to the other, without ever calmly thinking about the actual target that I was required to achieve. I have now learned that 6 hours of self study is any day better than 6 hours of so called ‘coaching’ and ‘guidance’.
My aim of writing this answer is NOT to rant against coaching institutes. India is a democratic country, and these institutes are not doing anything against the law. What I find rather problematic is a growing national obsession with “coaching”.

This obsession ends up pushing many people into a web of mediocrity. They think that they are not capable of clearing an exam without some holy help from a coaching institute. People who cannot join coaching are either financially weak or live in far off areas where such facilities are not available. In such circumstances, they keep cursing their luck. And they persistently feel that people getting ‘trained’ in coaching centres are way better than them. This is outright wrong. And this is why I want to tell them how ‘dispensable’ coaching can actually be if YOU want it to be.

The solution to this unending coaching debate is this –

Have the money? Have the access? Go join a coaching institute, and get a first hand experience.
Don’t have the money? Don’t have access? Stop thinking about coaching. You just don’t need it.

reference Debotosh Chatterjee, IRS (C&CE), Batch of 2016

2 thoughts on “Is coaching necessary to prepare for the UPSC?”

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