With the UPSC bringing about far-reaching changes to the pattern of the Civil Services Main examination, the panel of experts at an interactive session on the Civil Services Main examination, organised by The Hindu and Hyderabad Study Circle, answered queries of aspirants. Excerpts follow:

How does one prepare for exam, now that the pattern has changed?

Candidates can follow the curriculum development reports published by the University Grants Commission. They are available on the UGC website; pick a topic and study. UPSC requires candidates to understand the spirit and fundamentals of a subject.

I am a B. Tech with a Telugu-medium background. Which subject would be an ideal optional for me?

If you read Telugu papers or if you are good at Telugu literature, it is preferable to avoid technical subjects.

It is always best to pick subjects in which you are comfortable. Reading the newspaper daily will help a lot.

What abilities do interviewers look for during interviews?

There are several parameters — mental ability, alertness, grasping power, trainability, integrity. These details are available in the mains prospectus.

How does one deal with the Ethics paper?

The second Administrative Reforms Commission report on ethics is a good resource. It is available on the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) website.

Will attempting the exam in the Telugu-medium be a disadvantage, given the lack of resources?

There aren’t many resources available in Telugu. Unless candidates have a command over the language, the choice of Telugu-medium is not advisable. It is good to read and practice in Telugu literature, if a candidate decides to write in Telugu.

Can the interview happen in a regional language?

There is an option to take the interview in the language of one's choice. However, it is not advisable as the translator’s role becomes important. There is a possibility of the translator being unable to convey the exact message. It is best to learn English and attend interviews in English.

Can you provide us some tips for the essay paper?

There are no shortcuts. Identify topics from current contexts and practice accordingly. Generally, questions are statement-oriented and candidates do not have to defend or oppose the proposition. They will have to provide both sides of the coin.

How relevant is job experience?

There is no weightage for job experience.

I am a B.Tech. and wish to join the Indian Engineering Service. Please give me some tips.

Though there are many engineering colleges in the State, not many students are willing to join the IES. There are four to five disciplines in the IES. Choose the one which you are comfortable in. Prospects are good.

There are some common topics in the Optional subject and General Studies. Should there be any difference in answering them?

In General Studies, as the name suggests, the approach will have to be a general one. For the Optional paper, candidates will have to present their command over the topic here.

There is talk that the government plans to introduce legal services shortly. Could you provide some insight into the same?

There is a proposal but not many details are available as of now. There are alternatives though. Judicial and corporate services are good prospects, if one is interested.

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