Thursday, October 21, 2010

Civil Services Exam changes: Aptitude is important

ALL Civil Services aspirants who will take the Civil Services Preliminary Examination (CSE) 2011 must note that instead of choosing an optional paper, they will have to appear for two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had earlier announced an imminent change in the syllabus and pattern of the preliminary examination to be known as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

The change is in accordance with UPSC's argument of being able to choose civil servants with the right aptitude and also end the use of the scaling system.

Paper I: It will include current events of national and international importance; history of India and Indian national movement; Indian and World geography - physical, social, economic geography of India and the World; Indian Polity and governance - constitution, political system, Panchayati Raj, public policy, rights issues, etc; economic and social development-sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc; general issues on environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change - that do not require subject specialization; and general science. 

Paper II: It will comprise questions on comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision making and problem solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy of class tenth level (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc; data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc) also of Class X level; and English language comprehension skills (Class X level).

Commenting on the change in syllabus, Prof. PS Ravindran, Director of Vajiram & Ravi (coaching institute for CSE), said, "It is a welcome change and the introduction of aptitude test would certainly engage the students mind." According to him, students must not get carried away since of the two compulsory papers, the General Studies (GS) paper will dominate. However at the preparation level, he said, the aptitude test would require lot of practice.  He further noted that the change would be slightly advantageous to students with a science background, which the UPSC might consider to even out.

Up until this year, though the candidates had to appear for two papers, they could choose a subject paper of their interest, which obviously was their strong area to score higher marks. But from next year, there will be no subject - specialised paper.

According to some aspirants, the difference henceforth is that candidates will have to focus on English language and General Awareness, and at the same time prepare and practice more on questions of reasoning and mental aptitude.

Prof. Neetu Singh, a renowned academician who also runs coaching classes for CSE in New Delhi says," Overall the long awaited change is quite encouraging. The inclusion of contemporary subject matter such as environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change is good. But we need to wait for the detailed syllabus by UPSC to comment further." 

 A crucial factor concerning many is the imbalance in scoring pattern. Up until CSE 2010 Prelims, the General Studies paper (GS) accounted for only one mark per question while the optional paper had 2.5 marks per question.

Now both papers will have the same weightage. Two, due to the varying number of candidates appearing with a particular optional and its difficulty level, the final result was prepared after a process of scaling. This new pattern will provide a level playing field without any scaling in the Prelims.

Source: The


  1. dear sir
    for general knowledge and general awareness which standerd books should be prefered

  2. you can depend on csc magazine and tata mcgrahil GS book