Modification made to the new syllabus of Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2011 has more focus on general studies. It requires early preparation and a relaxed approach.

The recent announcement of the new syllabus for Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2011 by the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is likely to create jitters among aspirants.

A closer look at the syllabus and pattern of the examination mentioned in the text only stresses the need for more focus on general studies and revision of mathematics learned at the secondary school level. Aspirants analyzing recent question papers of other examinations conducted by the UPSC will have a better understanding of the new pattern and syllabus.

According to Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the Civil Services Preliminary examination will consist of two papers with a total of 400 marks. This is different from the earlier pattern that had one optional subject paper along with a general studies paper.

Relaxed approach

Hereafter, the civil services aspirants can be much more relaxed in their approach as the need for studying an optional subject has been dispensed with for the preliminary. But they have to complete two optional subjects for the mains. So balancing the main and prelims in the coming months will be the challenge before them.

The new pattern has forced coaching institutes to change strategy. The All India Civil Services Coaching Centre run by the State conducted its entrance examination on October 31. “The selected candidates will have special coaching sessions on comprehension, interpersonal skills, logical reasoning and other similar new topics covered in the new syllabus,” said P. Premkala Rani, principal of the centre. The strategy for the new pattern will be different, she adds.

Paper I is worth 200 marks and has been allotted two hours. Earlier the pattern was 150 marks for the general studies. In paper I, candidates will be tested on their knowledge of current events of national and international importance. Emphasis will be on Indian history, Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, including the physical, social and economic geography of India and the world.

Early preparation

The candidates can start preparation as soon as possible by reading newspapers and other periodicals to enrich their knowledge of current affairs. Questions on current affairs are likely to play a key role in scoring the required marks in the new pattern. Questions will also be asked on Indian polity and governance as well as the Constitution, the political system, panchayati raj, public policy and rights issues.

Apart from NCERT books, the Union government publications that have information on latest developments on these subjects are also important. India 2011 year book published by the Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting may continue to be of use to answer a large number of questions. “The new system is going to identify the comprehensive knowledge of an aspirant and his / her ability to apply it in decision making. The focus will be more on testing the personality of the candidate,” says Nandakumar, a civil servant.

Study material

Candidates will have to prepare for questions on economic and social development, sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics and social sector initiatives. NCERT books will provide a chunk of answers to questions pertaining to general issues on environmental ecology, bio-diversity, climate change and general science. Candidates are advised to revise the class X English language books for English language comprehension skills of Paper II. Appropriate IGNOU study material on interpersonal skills, including communication skills may be useful.

Study material used by aspirants of banking services are enough to tackle questions on logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision making and problem solving as well as general mental ability. Class X books of NCERT should be studied in detail for solving questions on basic numeric skills such as numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude and data interpretation.

Solving the paper is likely to be easy for the aspirants who go though the previous questions asked by the UPSC for other examinations such as NDA, particularly those conducted recently.

Spending at least six hours a day for solving such questions is crucial. Analysing the previous questions of examinations conducted by Reserve Bank of India and other banks is also likely to throw light on the new pattern of examination.

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