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Civil Service Examination - Strategy

UPSC - Civil Services Examinations is essentially 3-tiered, namely Preliminary examination, Mains Examinations, and Interview / Personality test.

I. Strategy for Preliminary Examination

The UPSC notification for the Civil Services preliminary examination has made changes in the pattern of Preliminary examination. In the UPSC notification the Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of objective type (multiple-choice questions) carrying a maximum of 200 marks each. There are 100 questions for the Paper I and 80 questions for Paper II. 

  • The Preliminary Examination shall comprise two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.
  • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
  • However, questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level will be tested through passages from English Language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
  • Each paper will be of two hours duration.
  • Blind candidates will however, be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes at each paper.
  • Penalty for wrong answers

THERE WILL BE PENALTY (NEGATIVE MARKING) FOR WRONG ANSWERS MARKED BY A CANDIDATE IN THE OBJECTIVE TYPE QUESTION PAPERS EXCEPT SOME OF THE QUESTIONS WHERE THE NEGATIVE MARKING WILL BE IN-BUILT IN THE FORM OF DIFFERENT MARKS BEING AWARDED TO MOST APPROPRIATE AND NOT SO APPROPRIATE ANSWER FOR SUCH QUESTIONS.  

General Studies Paper-I Syllabus comprises of 'Eight' subjects.

1.    History of India and Indian National Movement;
2.    Indian and World Geography;
3.    Indian Polity and Governance;
4.    Economic and Social Development;
5.    Environmental Ecology;
6.    Bio-diversity and Climate Change;
7.    General Science;
8.    General Knowledge and Current Events.

CSAT – Paper II

Paper-II Syllabus comprises of 'SEVEN' subjects and is in the nature of Aptitude Test.

1.    Comprehension
2.    Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
3.    Logical reasoning and analytical ability
4.    Decision making and problem solving
5.    General mental ability
6.    Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.)
7.    Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc.

Note:

Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.

UPSC Civil Service Preliminary exam are usually conducted during August month every year.

II. Strategy for Mains Examination

Qualifying Papers:

Paper : A - (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution) 300 Marks
Paper : B English 300 Marks

Papers To Be Counted For Merit

Paper     Subject NameMarks 
 Paper-1  Essay     250
 Paper-2     General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)  250
 Paper-3     General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)  250
 Paper-4     General Studies –III  (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)  250
 Paper-5     General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)  250
 Paper-6     Optional Subject – Paper 1  250
Paper-7    Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
  Grand Total (Written test) 1750

 

  • Blind candidates will, however, be allowed an extra time of thirty minutes at each paper.
  • The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature; the marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
  • The Paper-I on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the North-Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland and also for candidates hailing from the State of Sikkim.

Note:

  • The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.
  • Each paper will be of three hours duration.
  • Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying language papers, (viz. Papers I and II of the Main Examination mentioned above), in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution or in English.
  • The question papers other than the literature of language papers will be set both in Hindi and English Only.
  • UPSC Civil Service Main exam are usually conducted during October / November month every year.

III. Interview Test

  • The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).
  • Marks thus obtained by the candidates (in the Main Examination as well as interview) would determine their final ranking.
  • Candidates will be posted to various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and Posts.
  • This test is conducted during March & April months of every year.
  • (Grand Total = Main Examination (1750) + Interview (275) = 2025).

Brief do’s and don’ts preparing for Civil Service Examination- UPSC:

  • Final preparation must start by testing self with the revision-type Model Test Papers.
  • Do not get discouraged by initial low score.
  • Emphasis on your weak-spots
  • Keep testing yourself at a regular interval.
  • Make a mental note of areas you have covered and what remains to be covered.
  • Be analytical in response.
  • Do not overstretch yourself area of coverage-wise.
  • Revise your stuff a number of times.
  • A calm mental state is most important.
  • Since there is negative marking, attempt only the answers which you are sure of.
  • Do not get stuck at any question, move on from question to question and attempt the difficult ones at the end.

The changes made the UPSC in the syllabus and the pattern of examination of the Civil Service Examination, points towards change in the nature of questions being asked. Therefore it calls for a change in strategy and change in the tools of preparation.