When the results of the Civil Services 2010 exam was declared in May this year the top two slots went to women – a first in civil service history. That is not the only change from the usual that the Civil Services Examination will witness this year. Starting 2011 the pattern of the preliminary
examination is all set to change.
These changes that the UPSC is bringing about will impact over half a million young men and women who will vie with each other to enter the coveted Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) along with other Central services. Last year 5,47,698 candidates appeared for the preliminary exam held in May 2010.
The preliminary examination shall now comprise of two compulsory papers each of 200 marks. Candidates will have two hours each to attempt these papers. All questions at the preliminary exam will be of the multiple choice objective type.
Earlier, in the preliminary exam, of the two papers that the candidate had to attempt only one paper was common. This pattern could create discrepancies based on the subject selected by the candidate as his optional. The new pattern, where the candidate takes two compulsory papers, will provide a level-playing field as all candidates will have to attempt common papers.
The main reason for the change in the paper pattern is that most observers had suggested that the aptitude of the candidate and his/her inclination to be a part of the Civil Service should also be taken into consideration rather than just the ability to acquire knowledge on any particular subject. The changes in the exam pattern for this year are restricted to the preliminary exam. There are no changes in the Civil Services (main) examination and the personality test.
Information courtesy Sai Kumar, Director, TIME Pvt Ltd (Mumbai)
The first paper
Will test the candidates on current affairs, history of India and the Indian national movement, geography, science, Indian polity and governance, economic and social development. Environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change would be the new topics that the candidates would be tested on. However, these new topics do not need any subject specialisation and can be attempted purely on the basis of general reading
The second paper
Comprises reading comprehension; inter-personal skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability; decision-making and problem solving; general mental ability and basic numeracy. English language comprehension skills will also be tested, but there will be no Hindi translation of the questions in this section