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Monday, March 22, 2010

Civil Services Exam

The Civil Services Examination is a challenge and thousands of candidates appear in it every year. As many students appear in the examination, we answer some commonly asked questions. To achieve success in the exam, it is important to study in a focused manner, both for the Preliminary as well as for the Main Exam. For an IAS aspirant, it is important to know the plan of the examination as well as what one might expect.

The examination consists of two parts: the Preliminary Examination (objective type), which is a qualifying examination, and a Main Examination consisting of written examination and interview. The marks obtained in the Preliminary Exam are not counted in the Main Exam and it is only a screening exam. The Preliminary Exam is an objective type test. One can appear in the Main Examination only after passing the Preliminary Exam. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) holds the Preliminary Examination in May/June and the Main Examination is held in October/November. The notification for the Preliminary Examination is published in December every year. The exam is held in many cities in India and one can opt for a centre near one's place so that unnecessary travel is avoided. The number of vacancies are 600-700 every year. Reservation is made for candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Age: The candidate must be between 21 and 30 years of age as on August 1 every year for the exam. Relaxations to the age limit are available for 5 years for candidates belonging to the scheduled castes or those who were domiciled in J & K from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 1989. A relaxation of 3 years in the case of Defence Services Personnel disabled in operations; upto 8 years for Scheduled Caste candidate who is also a defence personnel, disabled in operations; upto 5 years in case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on August 1 of that year; upto 10 years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers who belong to the Scheduled Castes and who have rendered at least five years Military Service. The date of birth acceptable is the one entered in the Matriculation or School Leaving Certificate. No other documents with respect to age are acceptable.

Educational Qualifications: The candidate must hold a degree of any of the Universities incorporated by an act of legislature in India or educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament. A degree from deemed universities under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 is also eligible. Candidates having professionals and technical qualifications recognised by the government are also eligible. Candidates having an MBBS degree but have not completed their internship will be provisionally admitted to the Main Examination provided that they submit a certificate of their Institute that they have passed the final professional medical examination. Those who have appeared in the final year but do not have the result can also apply but they would have to produce proof of passing the exam with their application for the Main Exam.

Attempts: A candidate is permitted 4 attempts at the examination. There is no restriction on the number of attempts for scheduled caste candidates but Other Backward Classes have seven attempts. If a person appears in the Preliminary Exam or even appears in one paper, it is counted as an attempt. One should make up one's mind before applying and taking an attempt and only a serious attempt should be made.

Fee: The fee for the exam is Rs 50, to be paid through Central Recruitment Fee stamps available at post offices. The post office must cancel the stamps so that the impression of the cancellation stamp partially overflows on the application form. Instruments such as postal orders, drafts and such are not accepted and candidates should only send the fee through the Recruitment Fee stamps. Candidates belonging to the scheduled castes and physically handicapped persons are not required to pay any fee.

How to Apply: Applications should be made in the prescribed format (the form is available from all leading post offices) and sent to: Under Secretary (CSP), Union Public Service Commission, Dholpur House, New Delhi-110 011. A registration number is given as a token of receipt of the application. If a candidate does not receive an acknowledgement within 45 days, he is advised to contact the UPSC. Admission certificates and Roll Nos. are sent and if they are not received one month before the exam, the candidate should contact the UPSC. Communications to the UPSC should contain name of examination, registration no., name and postal address as given in the application.

Plan of the Preliminary Examination:

The Preliminary Exam consists of two papers of objective type having maximum marks of 450, as follows:

Paper I General Studies 150 marks
Paper II One subject to be selected from below 300 marks
Total 450 marks

Subjects for Paper II (one subject to be selected): Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.

The question papers are in Hindi and English and each paper is of two hours duration. The course content of the syllabi is of degree level. Each paper is of two hours duration. Blind candidates are allowed an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper.

Plan of the Main Examination:
The Main Exam consists of a written exam and an interview test. The written exam has 9 papers of conventional essay type. Marks obtained in the Main Exam will determine whether a candidate is called for the interview. The interview carries 300 marks and the number of candidates called is about twice the number of vacancies. Interview calls are sent on the basis of minimum marks fixed by the UPSC at its discretion. Marks obtained in the Main Exam plus interview determines the final ranking. Candidates are allotted various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and preferences expressed by them. The written examination consists of the following papers:

Paper I One of the languages to be selected from the Eighth 300 marks
Schedule of the Constitution
Paper II English 300 marks
Paper III Essay 200 marks
Paper IV & V General Studies 300 marks each
Paper VI-IX Any two subjects from list of optional subjects. 300 marks
Each subject has two papers.
Interview 300 marks

Optional subjects: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering,20Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology. Each paper is of 3 hours duration.

The following combinations not allowed are:
Political Science & International Relations and Public Administration
Commerce and Management
Anthropology and Sociology
Maths and Statistics
Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Management and Public Administration
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and Medical Science
Any two branches of engineering.
Literature of any of the following languages: Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Marathi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telegu, Urdu.

The object of the interview is to assess the suitability of the candidate for a career in public service. It is an assessment of not only the intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities judged are: mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, social cohesion, leadership and above all, intellectual and moral integrity. To succeed in the interview, candidates should take an intelligent interest not only in areas of their subjects, but also in what is happening around them, both within and outside their country. They should be aware of modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should arouse the curiosity of well educated youth. That is why it is most important to read magazines and newspapers, watch television programmes on current affairs and also discuss the issues with friends or parents on a regular basis.

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