The most challenging exam in the country is now throwing up a new challenge.

About 30,000 civil services aspirants from the State have been left in the lurch due to the inordinate delay in the notification of the exam. Precious preparation time is being wasted, they say.

“We are forced to prepare for an examination whose pattern is yet unknown,” says an aspirant.

Change in exam pattern?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts the exam, was supposed to release the notification on February 2. It, however, put up a note on its website expressing its inability to do so ‘due to some unforeseen circumstances’.

The UPSC had changed the pattern of the Preliminary Examination in 2011 and had been pushing for changes in the Mains examination since then. A decision to this effect was widely expected in 2012 itself, but the UPSC has been silent on the matter, fuelling anxiety among the aspirants.

“Any changes should be informed in advance,” says Gopala Krishna, a trainer of Civil Services at Brain Tree.

“Unlike other exams this is an emotional drain on not only the aspirant but also the family. Lack of information is bound to upset the preparation.” “Changes are inevitable since reforms were brought in the preliminary test two years ago, but the delay is only hampering the preparations,” says Krishna Reddy, Director, Hyderabad Study Circle.

Trainers say the government has been toying with the idea of reducing the importance of optional subjects that were diluting the purpose of testing. Due to lack of uniformity in scoring, some subjects like Sociology, Public Administration and languages had emerged as favourites. Even doctors and engineers from IITs had been opting for these subjects.

“Based on the recommendations of the reform committees, we expect that compulsory subjects may be increased to four and the weightage of optional papers reduced,” Mr. Krishna says. Others feel choosing an optional may be linked to the academic background of aspirants. The present pattern has two general studies papers of 600 marks, two optional papers of 1200 marks and a general essay of 200 marks.

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