The civil services preliminary examination held on Sunday is being touted as the toughest in the last five years with the candidates’ conceptual understanding of the issues tested making those with superficial memory of facts losing out.
The candidates said those who had gone through the India Year Book and Economic Survey thoroughly could get a hang of the test as most questions were framed from them. Also, a lot of questions were on the initiatives of the Central government such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Smart India Hackathon and National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF).
“Questions were derivative in nature,” said Rambabu Paladugu, director of La Excellence in Hyderabad. Popular topics in the last one year, including the GST and Benami Transactions Act, were the areas where questions were asked from and most aspirants were well prepared.
Gopala Krishna, director of Brain Tree, said the questions were in tune with the recommendations of the Alagh Committee, which observed that “the standard of testing should be raised incrementally and the questions should be designed to test a broad spectrum of knowledge”. He said the qualifying mark was about 58% last year (116/ 200 ) while this could be lower this year and it may hover in the range of 50% to 55%. “As majority of the aspirants felt that the paper was tough, the qualifying mark is expected to be relatively low.”
This year, 46,118 candidates applied from the Hyderabad centre, of which 20,075 appeared for the test. In 2016, the number of aspirants was 48,901. The slight decrease could be due to most aspirants preferring to write the examination in other centres that are geographically close to their place of domicile.
The exam was conducted in two sessions — from 9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. It was of an objective type with multiple choice questions. Paper- I comprised general studies and Paper- II comprised questions on quantitative aptitude and English.
With Paper-II made a qualifying one since 2015, the aspirants have to score a minimum of 33% in it to ensure that their Paper- I is evaluated. The selection for the main examination depends exclusively on the marks scored in Paper- I.