These are the views of Kunal Angrish (AIR 2, IFoS 2014 batch). I am merely hosting it. Thanks to him for coming up with this. He may be reached at https://www.facebook.com/kunal.angrish.5
AS YOU CHOOSE A COACHING INSTITUTE……
Following pointers are written to cater those who have just started their preparation for the exam and are looking forward to enroll at a coaching institute.
– There is no co-relation (direct or inverse) between number of ads in newspaper and quality of the coaching institute.
– Don’t believe that all the selected students that the coaching institutes show in their print ads come out of their classroom programme. The list generally gets longer because of the selected candidates from the mock interview sessions conducted by the various coaching centers. The number of candidates selected from the classroom coaching might tell you a very different story.
– There is no point that you blindly believe in stuff like ‘unki ladki ne wahaan se coaching kithi, IPS ban gayi’. If you are about to put your money and (to some extent) future in the hands of a coaching institute, you have to get a good background check. You may well try and find out the ‘shining stars’ they exhibit in their ads on Facebook and ask for an honest feedback. Believe me, those who clear the exam have gone through their ordeals and in most cases would be happy to help. You can then try to make a broad consensus from the feedbacks of the very same ‘shining stars’. However, do not form an opinion on the basis of a single observation. Try to ask from at least four-five different people.
– It is obvious to infer that what matters with a coaching institute is not the absolute number of students successful in the exam but the conversion rate. Of course, they don’t provide data on the same (but you may at least try to inquire it).
– It is advisable that you try and coax the institute for payment of coaching fee in installments (many of them will simply not allow it, but wherever manageable, try to pay in installments to minimize the loss in case of disappointment).
– It is always better to opt for coaching schedules that are flexible. There might be different coaching institutes excelling in different things. E.g. a coaching institute might have a great foundation programme but the test-series might be better somewhere else. Your enrollment at a center should not be a barrier in case you wish to join a course somewhere else.
– You have all the right in the world to ask for a demo class. If they refuse it, they are already doing badly at GS-paper IV (Ethics). But the decision to join a coaching institute should come from performance in the class-room and not at reception.
– In the end, even if you find a great coaching institute, depending solely on it will not take you anywhere. The exam in its present form requires a careful application of the knowledge gained. This requires conceptual clarity which can only be had by a personalized understanding of topics.
KUNAL ANGRISH, AIR-2, INDIAN FOREST SERVICE,2013.