Thousands of civil services aspirants thronged about 100 examination centres in the city to appear for the preliminaries of the Civil Services Examination 2012, on Sunday.

A number of aspirants who had their schooling with Tamil as the medium of instruction, said they found the Civil Services Aptitude Test difficult on account of the large number of questions in English comprehension.

“The examination is very favourable to students who have an urban background or those who know how to read and write Hindi,” said Senthil Prabhu, an aspirant who appeared for the examination.

“Aspirants with English-language skills were able to perform reasonably well in the second paper of the examination,” said Sreejith, another candidate.

K. Sivabalan, another aspirant, said: “Many of the questions in Paper I required a deep understanding of the topic rather than mere knowledge of facts.”

The cut-off is expected to be lower this time, on account of the relatively tough nature of the questions. According to trainers, those who have scored over 190 out of 400 are likely to clear the preliminary examination this year.

Candidates who clear the preliminary will be permitted to appear for the main examination in October. The personality test that follows the main exam will be conducted in New Delhi in March, 2013.

The number of vacancies to be filled by the Union Public Service Examination is around 1,037, but this may change later.

Successful candidates will be recruited into services including Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Information Service, Indian Trade Service, Indian Corporate Law Service, Indian Civil Accounts Service and Indian Postal Service.

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