As one who appeared for the civil services mains 2012, I agree with Mr. Ngaihte. Serious aspirants memorise even the editorials that appear in The Hindu for one year to prepare for the current affairs section. So it all boils down to tenacity, cramming and good memory as we don’t have the luxury of time in the examination hall.

There should be a wider public discourse on changes in the pattern of the examination, and comparison of marks obtained by students in different disciplines. Only an efficient recruitment system can ensure efficient civil servants.

Enjeti Sai Charan Tejaswi, Hyderabad

It is time the obsolete and ineffective pattern of the examination was changed. The mandarin style approach makes it impossible to find able administrators. Like CSAT (aptitude test), which has been introduced in the preliminary examination, an effective paper should be introduced in the main examination too. It is also important to have a Foreign Service Examination with greater emphasis on international relations and languages.

Abin Joseph, Kottayam

The current pattern seeks to create wax figures to be seated within steel-framed walls where the country’s most important decisions are taken. We need to create policymakers, not glorified clerks.

Deeksha, New Delhi

From my experience of writing the mains twice, I completely agree with Mr. Ngaihte. In a short time and under pressure, it is hard to think before writing. It is quite difficult to explain issues like the South China Sea dispute in 50 words.

G.K. Mithun Kumar, Tumkur

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