Here we are going to put the current scenario as far as UPSC Civil Services Exam is concerned. We shall also try to figure out the changes made in the examination pattern in the recent past as it will give you a clear picture. This will help you to prepare yourself in a better and systematic way.
To start with Prelims first, till 2010 there used to be two papers- one each for GS and Optional Subject. This created issues like varying levels of difficulties among optional papers and scaling etc. So in 2011 UPSC scrapped optional paper and replaced it with a new paper called CSAT. CSAT paper consisted of English Grammar & Comprehension, Reasoning & DI, Elementary Mathematics and Decision Making. It is to be noted here that before 2011 few questions from mathematics & reasoning used to appear in GS- Paper I itself which were done away after advent of CSAT paper from 2011 onwards. Till 2014 CSAT paper’s marks were added in the score for declaring the result of Preliminary Exam (although marks of English section were not added due to protest from rural/Hindi belt students and pressure from politicians of mainly Hindi speaking states in subsequent years). Later UPSC setup Nigvekar Committee to examine how CSAT Paper is ruining the chances of students from rural background. Finally on the recommendations of Nigvekar Committee and increasing pressure from political strata UPSC made CSAT paper qualifying from 2015. Now only marks obtained in GS-Paper I became decisive in selecting the candidates for Main Examination. This scenario still persists in the current pattern of UPSC Civil Services Exam.
Taking a look at GS-paper I, its pattern has been unpredictable. From 2011 to 2013 questions asked in this paper had been analytical with very few direct or straightforward questions. During this period Current Affairs section saw a decline while Environment & Biodiversity became new darling of UPSC. Other sections like Economy, History & Culture, Geography, Science-Tech, and Polity remained hot & cold at times. From 2014 again era of straightforward questions & one liner current affairs questions have begun keeping composition of other sections unpredictable as usual. And this surprised one and all. Due to this many veterans couldn’t clear prelims. So message from UPSC is loud and clear- “Do your basics right and be ready to face the unknown challenge.”
Switching to the changes in UPSC Civil Services Main Examination pattern in recent times we can trace following changes over the years:
1. Till 2011 there were 2 GS papers and 2 Optional Subjects (each optional having 2 papers). Every paper had full marks of 300. Also there was an essay paper of 200 marks. Scores obtained in these papers were used to prepare the merit list. Besides there were 2 papers, one of English Literature and another of regional language’s paper (from list of languages present in 8th schedule of the constitution, opted by candidate). These were qualifying in nature only.
2. In 2013 instead of 2 GS papers, 4 GS papers each of 250 marks were introduced. In a stunning move statistics part which used to figure in GS- paper II earlier with a decent weightage was scrapped which made scoring in GS papers more difficult now. Topics of old syllabus of GS papers-I & II were accommodated in GS-I,II & III with subtle changes whereas an entire new paper IV was introduced to test candidates’ ethics, integrity & attitude. One optional paper was removed and 2 papers of this optional were assigned marks of 250 each.
3. In 2014 besides changes made in2013, essay paper was made of 250 from 200. This entire pattern is in vogue currently.
4. In addition to that few minor changes like age relaxations, attempt to candidates who appeared in 2011 exam (who had exhausted age/attempts) etc. were made. But these are beyond our focus of discussion.
Finally summing up with Personality Test (Interview), maximum marks for this were reduced to 275 from 300 in 2013 to mitigate the uncertainty in the process as voiced by many students & experts. This remains same as of now.
We shall come up with more articles of your interest in coming days!
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The Preliminary Examination of Union Public Service Commission for Civil Services Examination is also popularly called CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test. The CSAT is actually the second paper of General Studies that was introduced in 2011. The CSAT was implemented to end the use of scaling system for varying subjects in the General Studies paper and was a matter of concern for many Civil Services councillors. With the introduction of the CSAT, the UPSC now intends to choose Civil Servants who not only have the knowledge but also the aptitude for reasoning and analytical brain. However there was much opposition to this move made by the UPSC and the government had to interven. This year in 2015, the UPSC has made the CSAT of only qualifying nature and one needs to only get 33%. Only marks of Paer 1 will now be considered for ranking in the prelims, based on which candidates will apear for the Mains exam. The IAS 2015 pattern is therefore considered more friendly to rural candidates.A very important point to be noted is that there is Negative Marking in the prelims and 1/3rd of marks allotted for every question is reduced from your score if you get it wrong. So do not guess!There are some changes made in the Civil Services Examination from 2013. It's for the first time the Indian Forest Service (IFS) aspirants were combined with the Civil Services aspirants and are made to take Preliminary examination. Those Indian Forest Service aspirants who may eventually clear the Preliminary examination have to write separate exams for their Mains Indian Forest Service examination. This was done keeping in mind that the UPSC holds both the exams and most science students give both the exams. This will facilitate aspirants and save time.There is also a pattern change in the Civil Services Mains examination introduced from 2013. Now there are four compulsory papers of General Studies, there is only one optional subject now instead of two, plus there is one compulsory essay paper. English and one language paper is of only qualifying nature.Scheme of Civil Services Examination IndiaThe Civil Services Examination consists of two successive stages -Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; andCivil Services Main Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and post. The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) each of 200 marks and carries a total of 400 marks. The question papers are set both in Hindi and English. Each paper is of two hours duration. Blind candidates are allowed extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.Scheme of Preliminary ExaminationThe UPSC prelims exam is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts.The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers with objective questions or generally called as multiple choice questions.Both the papers carry 200 marks each (total 400 marks), this exam is designed to serve as a screening test only. In the CSAT or Paper-II of Preliminary Exam, that is the General Studies – II, the candidate will have to score a minimum 33% of marks for qualifying in Mains (written).The syllabus for Preliminary Exams Paper-I includes mainly the current affairs for which the candidates have to update themselves with the national and international happenings all over.While the Paper – II (CSAT) covers the analytical or as generally called as aptitude test, is the paper where a candidate has to score at least 33% to qualify for the Civil Services (Mains).A candidate qualified for mains in a particular year will be eligible to appear for main exams of that particular year only.UPSC Preliminary Examination Syllabus 2015Syllabus of Paper I -(200 marks) Duration : Two hoursCurrent 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialisation General Science.Syllabus for Paper II-(200 marks) Duration: Two hoursComprehensionInterpersonal skills including communication skills;Logical reasoning and analytical abilityDecision-making and problemsolvingGeneral mental abilityBasic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. - Class X level)Note 1: The CSAT aptitude test or Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) examination will be a qualifying paper only with a minimum of 33% to be secured to sit for the Civil Services (Mains) exam.Note 2: The questions in both Paper-I (current affairs) and Paper-II (aptitude test) will be of multiple choice, objective type for 200 marks each and the time allotted for each paper is two hours.Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he or she does not appear in both the papers of the (Prelims) exam. We at Vajiao & Reddy Institute Known for Best coaching for IAS in Delhi, Top UPSC Coaching Institute in Delhi