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Civils in favour of urban candidates?

R. Ravikanth Reddy
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Testing time: Since the change in exam pattern of the Civil Services, students are both happy and anxious. — Photo: Mohd. Yousuf
Testing time: Since the change in exam pattern of the Civil Services, students are both happy and anxious. — Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

The rural touch that brings some romanticism to Civil Services with successful candidates springing up from remote villages and poor economic and deprived social backgrounds may be a thing of the past. Making English mandatory in the preliminary test and introduction of mathematical-based testing in the changes announced for Civil Services examinations from next year certainly strengthen the view that it is loaded in favour of urban students.

A vast majority of students in smaller towns see the changes as a big impediment to reach their goal while those hailing from urban areas argue that changes provided a level playing field. However, students who are tuned to management and technology courses will have an upper hand, feels V. Gopalakrisna of Brain Tree that trains Civil Services aspirants.

From next year there will be no optional paper which will be replaced by an aptitude test. The preliminary examination would consist of two papers - Paper-I and Paper-II with 200 marks each. The paper-II will have seven segments including Comprehension, Interpersonal skills including communication skills, · Logical reasoning and analytical ability, Decision making and problem solving, General mental ability, Basic numeracy and Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency. The 33 per cent negative marking, however, continues.

The paper-II looks certainly in favour of students who prepare for management tests and banking examinations.

In fact, coaching institutes say the syllabus has been picked up from management and banking segments. Though the testing style and content may differ but those well-versed with such tests will definitely benefit. “We can see more MBAs and engineers cracking the test now,” feels Hariprasad, a Civil Services aspirant. However, Mr. Gopalakrishna says that instead of jumping to conclusions one should wait for the model papers, which are likely to be released along with UPSC notification.

Though the syllabus prescribed is of 10 {+t} {+h} class, trainers express apprehensions that UPSC may not stick to it while preparing the question paper.

They say the paper will be more dynamic with the pattern likely to change every year maintaining the surprise element on the lines of IIT-JEE.

With environment taking centre stage, General Studies paper will have environmental studies that would test candidates for their knowledge in environmental ecology, bio-diversity and climate change.

The changes have paved way to an argument that those memorising subject-based text material and reproducing them in the test will now find it difficult. The modifications will provide a level-playing field to all candidates as they have to answer the same set of questions. Earlier, different cut-off marks were being taken for different optional subjects.

Will the new pattern increase burden on candidates? The opinion is strongly in favour of it. As a teacher at R.C. Reddy Study Circle in Hyderabad feels candidates have to study optional subject from a new angle.

Earlier, candidates used to choose an optional subject right from preliminary and continue it till the Main exam. But now they have to prepare for English and Maths related questions separately for prelims and start afresh for the optional subject after clearing prelims.

Nearly 25,000 students from the State apply every year but only half of them end up taking the test. The number might increase now as employees and those working in the industry feel that they too have a chance with the introduction of English and mathematical-based questions. With State students known for their Maths prowess one can expect more aspirants and more successful candidates from the State in the near future.

R. Ravikanth Reddy


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