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Civils spring no surprises

The civil services main examination 2012 conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) did not come with too many surprises for the candidates.

education Updated: Nov 07, 2012 15:02 IST
Gauri Kohli

The civil services main examination 2012 conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) did not come with too many surprises for the candidates.

It consisted of the following: Paper I (300 marks), one of the Indian languages selected from those included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution; paper II (300 marks), English; paper III (200 marks), Essay; papers IV and V (300 marks each), general studies; and papers VI, VII, VIII and IX, which are optional subjects.

The main examination aims to assess the overall intellectual traits and a candidate’s ability to understand the subjects instead of simply testing their level of information and memory. The syllabus for the optional subject papers is broadly of the honours degree level, which is slightly higher than a bachelor’s degree level and lower than the masters level. In the case of engineering and law, the level corresponds to the bachelor’s degree. The papers on Indian languages and English were of matriculation level or equivalent standard and aimed at helping students achieve minimum qualifying standard. Marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

The marks in essay, general studies and optional subjects will not be disclosed to candidates who fail to make the grade in the Indian language and English sections.

The essay
In the essay section, candidates were required to write an essay on a specific topic. They were expected to stick to the subject of the essay and put across their ideas in a concise and crisp manner. Credit will be given to candidates with an effective and correct expression. “Question papers for essay writing, compulsory language and English compulsory had no surprises for the candidates this time,” says Anuj Agarwal, director, Career Plus Coaching.

General studies
The questions in this section of the exam were fairly simple and did not require any specialised study. They were meant to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which have relevance for a career in the civil services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, ability to analyse and explain, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates were required to give relevant, meaningful and concise answers.

“The UPSC has been introspecting its role as a model agency to select the right candidates who can meet the objectives of the All India Services (AIS) and Central Civil Services (CCS). Last year, main exam questions were short-answer type and mostly current in nature with little scope for analytical skill, synthesis, creativity etc,” says Satya Sahani, faculty member at Career Plus Coaching.

In the main exam 2012, the pattern of question papers of general studies was different from that of 2011 and similar to the pattern of 2010. “This pattern is suitable for selecting candidates for AIS and CCS who are responsible for policy formulation and implementation which needs vast knowledge, analytical skills and a great mission and vision,” says Sahani.

In the general studies main question paper, the focus areas were law (consumer protection act, right to information, Pariwarik Mahila Lok Adalat, child labour, administration environment, and culture etc. “Though the UPSC has not specified a cut-off for qualifying the exam, candidates with 25-33% marks overall have a good chance ,” adds Sahani.

Watch out for

Civil Services Preliminary examination 2013
* Date of notification: February 2, 2013
* Last date for receipt of applications: March 4, 2013
* Date of commencement of examination: May 19, 2013
* Duration of examination: One day

Civil Services Main examination 2013
* Date of commencement of examination: November 8, 2013
* Examination spread over: 21 days