Some useful tips for aspirants planning to take the exam.

The Civil Services Mains Examination 2012 is yet another indication of the pattern of testing to be pursued by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to select civil servants for the most populous democracy on earth.

The number of questions that test the analytical ability of candidates has increased when compared to that of last year in the general studies paper.

In General Studies Paper I, the number of questions to test analytical ability has increased to 181 marks this year when compared to 111 marks in the previous mains examination.

In General Studies Paper II too, such questions have increased to 210 when compared to 117 last year. The total marks for each of the general studies mains paper is 300.

December and January are crucial for aspirants to focus on the preparation for the next prelims, as a chunk of the candidates who have appeared for the mains will have to sit again for the prelims.

Even those successful candidates who miss this opportunity in these three months to prepare for the next prelims will have no time because of the need for preparing for the personality test.

If a candidate gets selected to the Indian Revenue Service this year and wants to improve ranking to join the Indian Administrative Service next year, the preparation before January 2013 is important to clear the next prelims, says P.S. Ravindran, director, Vajiram and Ravi Institute for IAS Examination, New Delhi.

Preparation

The civil services mains 2012 results are expected to be released earlier in February and the preparation for the personality test has to begin this week.

Candidates have to start gathering information from broadsheets such as The Hindu, Frontline, World Focus, India Year Book, Economic Survey and Yojana, says Mr.Ravindran.

Such experts also stress the need for All India Radio news analysis at 9.15 p.m., the audio recording of such analyses on the AIR website, panel discussions and expert opinion at Lok Sabha TV.

Newly added topics such as biodiversity, climate change, environment and sustainable development carry around 15 marks in the prelims.

News coverage and editorial pertaining to important developments and conferences on these topics have to be read thoroughly.

Stress should be on the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) as the potential for scoring is likely to be high in the paper.

The most important reason is that scoring more than 95 in general studies will be tough even with thorough reading of the entire syllabus. So candidates have to try and score at least 125 in CSAT for a decent score in the prelims.

What to expect

Candidates with a score of 200 out of 400 are likely to clear the prelims comfortably.

The type of questions in the general studies question paper for the mains examination 2012 stress the need for focussing more on the bio-data of the candidates and their ability to form opinions.

The candidate is expected to start gathering information on the mains application form columns for a good score in the personality test.

Candidates who get to the next stage of the civil services exam by clearing the civil services mains examination will have to undergo a personality test which is likely to be a test of such aspects.

Candidates are advised to form a group of friends who have cleared the mains and discuss the issues in social, economic, national, international, cultural and political covered in a broadsheet newspaper.

According to the notification of the UPSC, the candidate will be interviewed by a Board which will have before them a record of her/his career.

So it is better to have the photocopy of the form and commence preparation based on the details given such as hobby, hometown, subject of graduation, previous job, interests and extra-curricular activities and so on.

Candidates will be judged based on mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

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