‘Preparation in right earnest is the key to clearing Civil Services Examination’

Most candidates find the Civil Services Examination a hard nut to crack. But, the fact remains that with better preparation, one can easily clear it, Arvind Mantry, course director at TIME, said on Sunday.

“Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) aspirants have about eight months for the next preliminary examination and almost a year for the mains. The examination can be cracked easily, if the preparation is structured according to the pattern,” Mr. Mantry said, speaking at a workshop, ‘Civil Services Aptitude Test Approach and Opportunities’, organised by TIME in association with The Hindu Education Plus.

The preliminary examination is essentially an elimination test following which the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) shortlists candidates for the mains, and the cut-off mark usually hovers around 210 for students from the General Category. Candidates should principally aim at the cut-off mark, as it is not considered in the final test.

“To achieve this, candidates should get the best score in Paper II of the preliminary examination, as it is the easiest paper,” Mr. Mantry said. Paper I has seven subjects (History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Current Affairs, Environment and General Science), and Paper II has English language comprehension, analytical and logical ability and general mental ability.

The UPSC does not follow a precise pattern with regard to the number of questions based on specific areas and subjects, and candidates should give equal attention to all topics, he said. A successful CSAT candidate is usually well-read and knowledgeable, and a sustained effort is essential to develop those traits, he added.

CSAT has undergone a sea change, and new areas such as internal security have been introduced of late. To score better, one should read thoroughly, he added. Mr. Mantry also gave practical tips on the occasion. The participants took a mock test paper at the end of the workshop.

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