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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes

[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes

Prologue Act I: Mindset of the Enemy Prelims GS Prelims Optional Mains: 90s Era General
Prologue
Act I: Mindset of the Enemy
Prelims GS
Prelims Optional
Mains: 90s Era
General studies (mains) of 90s Era
Optional papers: 90s era
Literature optionals: 90era
The Back-breaking TM era (2010 onwards)
Backbreaking TM era: Prelims
Backbreaking TM era: Mains (General Studies)
Adaptation

Prologue

Prologue

There are lot of tips scattered in various articles, but for a new person it is sometimes hard to follow what is going on here.TM era: Mains (General Studies) Adaptation Prologue So this is my attempt to combine and consolidate

So this is my attempt to combine and consolidate everything onto five part series on prelims cum mains cum interview approach for General Studies for UPSC Civil Service Exam. prelims cum mains cum interview approach for General Studies for UPSC Civil Service Exam.

If you’re following this site for many months, you will find repetition of ideas and tips in this article, so apologies in advance for any boredom caused.approach for General Studies for UPSC Civil Service Exam. War on Terrorism UPSC, consists of three

War on Terrorism UPSC, consists of three battles

1. Prelims (CSAT)

Multi choice questions (MCQs)

2. Mains

Descriptive-essay type questions

3. interview

This strategy is divided into five articles, click on the appropriate links:

Topics discussed

Article link

1. In Act I, We shall try to understand the mindset of our Blood Enemy (UPSC)

Discussed in this article itself.

2. In Act II: The weapons required to defeat him. (Booklist, art of Note making, How to use Yojana,Kurukshetra etc)

3. In Act III: We shall see how to effectively use those weapons and wage the war(Topicwise strategy for General Studies Prelims, Mains)

4. In Act IV: How to conquer your own brain, before conquering UPSC (cleansing the doubts of coaching classes, working professionals, Hindi Medium etc)

5. In Act V: We shall see how to retreat from the war, if victory is not achieved. (Career Backup plans)

6. 6th PArt (updated on March 2013): This is latest update in the strategy, with respect to, new modification introduced in UPSC 2013.

Act I: Mindset of the Enemy

Act I: Mindset of the Enemy

We can classify Bollywood movies into eras- tragedy ridden 50, musical 70s and so on.

Similarly UPSC question papers too have gone through evolution.

To keep it simple, I would classify this into two phases

 

90s era

Back breaking TM era

Timeline

Everything upto 2009

2010, 2011, 2012…continued

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

   

1. History

1. Environment

Prelims

Main areas

2. Geography

2. Science

3. Current Affairs

3. History/Polity

   

Older NCERTs    New NCERT

New NCERT    Older NCERTs

Weapons

Std.Ref BooksWeapons Std.Ref Books

Std.Ref BooksWeapons Std.Ref Books

Competitive MagazinesNewspapers

NewspapersCompetitive Magazines

   

History    Diplomacy

Diplomacy    History

Mains

Main areas

GeographyMains Main areas Yearbook

YearbookMains Main areas Geography

PolityEnvironment

EnvironmentPolity

DiplomacySci-Tech

Sci-TechDiplomacy

   

1. Standard Reference books

 

Weapons

2. Coaching class notes

Mostly Newspapers, your own notes.

So how was the 90s era?

So how was the 90s era?

Most people did not have internet or computer. Internet was prohibitively expensive. Even cybercafés were hard to find. There was hardly any information on internet, about how to prepare for this exam.Mostly Newspapers, your own notes. So how was the 90s era? And whether information/booklist was available

Those who could afford to goto Delhi for coaching, had distinct advantage over others. Because they knew what to prepare, from where to prepare and what to skip. (Nowadays situation has drastically changed).discussed in Act II “List of Not recommended Books” ) in those days, Prelims had two

in those days, Prelims had two papers

a. General Studies (150 marks)

b. Optional Subject (300 marks)

There existed a proportional representation system rule. Crudely speaking it means

Suppose 2 lakh students appeared in prelims and 20,000 had History optional. (10%)representation system rule. Crudely speaking it means And UPSC wanted only pass 10,000 students for next

And UPSC wanted only pass 10,000 students for next stage –mains exam. In that case, UPSC would need to reserve 1000 seats for candidates with history optional. (10%)appeared in prelims and 20,000 had History optional. (10%) Prelims GS By and large the structure

Prelims GS

Prelims GS

By and large the structure for prelims was like following

1. There would be about 20 questions on History. You had to Mugup old NCERT + any coaching notes regarding location of Harappa sites and other boring trivial things.

2. There would be 30-40 questions on Geography (including places in news): so you had to prepare old NCERTs + competitive magazines + TheHindu accordingly.

3. About 40 questions on science: NCERT + GS manual.

4. Prelims GS questions used to be current affairs heavy : Almost 40 questions on persons/places in news, books-authors, sports, awards, science-tech etc. so competitive magazines (chronicle wizard etc) and coaching class material on current affairs compilation were precious.

5. Remaining was filled up with polity, aptitude etc questions to make a paper with total 150 questions.

Prelims Optional

Prelims Optional

Let’s consider the case of Public Administration. The topicwise breakup was pretty much identical every year. Basically you had to mugup following books religiously and you would clear the prelims (even without coaching or great command over GS).

a. M.Laxmikanth’s book on Public Administration

b. Prasad and Prasad

c. Mohit Bhattacharya

d. Sharma n Sadana (or Avasthi or Fadia)

But in those years, if you lived in a small town, there was no internet and nobody to tell you those books were important. So you had to join a coaching class in Delhi, just to figure out the damn booklist (or worst- fail in first attempt and learn from mistakes).

Overall, The nature of prelims questions was such that you’d need to mugup lot of data on solar planets, PSLV missions, metal-alloys, location of Harappan sites, winners of lawn tennis, Shanti-Swaroop Bhatnagar awardees and other boring things like that.(or worst- fail in first attempt and learn from mistakes). Same for your optional subjects. (for

Same for your optional subjects. (for Public Administration you had to mugup quotes-who said what, books and authors, timelines etc.Bhatnagar awardees and other boring things like that. Because of the proportional representation rule, in the

Because of the proportional representation rule, in the preliminary exam you were only competing with the people from yourquotes-who said what, books and authors, timelines etc.

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

optional subject group.

And thus Senior player had distinct advantage over first timers. Because optionals were worth 300 mark, and he had rock solid command over facts because of revision.Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal optional subject group. The victory rule was straight arithmetic: If

The victory rule was straight arithmetic:he had rock solid command over facts because of revision. If Someone revised above cited Public

If Someone revised above cited Public Administration books for 15-20 times (I’m not kidding) then he was riding a Tata Sumo @90 kmph.of revision. The victory rule was straight arithmetic: If a newguy had barely read them 5

If a newguy had barely read them 5 times, so he was riding a desi Atlas bicycle (used by postmen,).(I’m not kidding) then he was riding a Tata Sumo @90 kmph. Now imagine what would

Now imagine what would happen if these two clashed?so he was riding a desi Atlas bicycle (used by postmen,). Same was the situation in

Same was the situation in General studies paper.Now imagine what would happen if these two clashed? And as I told earlier, there was

And as I told earlier, there was no internet or awareness outside Delhi. So most of the “small-town, self-preparation-no coaching and no relative in civil service” type candidates would fail in their first attempt, because

a. they did not have idea on what to prepare, what to skip.

b. They could not memorize as much as a senior player did, because of timelimit.

So they’d fail in first attempt, learn from their mistakes, and clear prelims in second attempt (i.e. when they too become senior players). But then they might fail in mains exam for the same reason (lack of right direction), so they’d again rectify mistakes in third attempt and with God and goodluck willing, they’d get selected. Ofcourse there were exceptional cases, but by and large, this was the situation and hence there exists a perception in the society that

1. You cannot clear IAS exam on first trial.

2. You cannot clear IAS exam without going to Delhi for Coaching.

But that was the 90s. Things have changed now. Many toppers have defied above rules. Cleared the UPSC on first attempt: Shah Faisal, Karthik Iyer, Neeraj Singh, Mohd.Safi to name a few.

Anyways let us continue discussion on 90s era- moving to the Mains

Mains:

90s Era

General studies (mains) of 90s Era

General studies (mains) of 90s Era

Questions often rephrased and repeated, so if a coaching class sir dictated the answers for previous papers / or provided notes, then all you had to do was religiously mug it up and reproduce the same in your answer sheets.

History

a. 3 books of Spectrum: Modern History, Freedom fighters and Culture

b. Bipin Chandra

In those years, UPSC would ask 2 markers on freedom fighters (total 10-12 marks) every year. So you had to mupup 150+freedom fighters from Spectrum’s book + coaching material if any. Again, senior player had distinct advantage because he

would have gone through the same data atleast 5 times. He can easily recall freedom fighters compared to a new guy.

Indian Geography

Indian Geography

Again questions were repeated and rephrased for examplefreedom fighters compared to a new guy. Indian Geography “explain monsoon mechanism in India” and “why

“explain monsoon mechanism in India” and “why xyz part receives less monsoon” etc.Again questions were repeated and rephrased for example So a coaching class sir would just need

So a coaching class sir would just need to consolidate good stuff given in Spectrum book/Majid Hussain /Dr.Khullar’s book and provide question answers for old papers. That’d be his “coaching class readymade material” and you did not even need a book, just mugup those class notes, and you’d get full marks.India” and “why xyz part receives less monsoon” etc. Polity 1. Sometimes directly lifted statements on

Polity

Polity

1. Sometimes directly lifted statements on DD Basu, other times merely rephrasing old question.

2. Again same as above, coaching notes would save the time and effort.

International affairs, Economy

International affairs, Economy

1. You had to just mugup V******’s material and whatever was dictated in the class.

2. Statistics was also pretty easy and conventional.

3. There were clichéd questions on computers every year like write a note on RAM or email.

4. Same for science-tech.

5. And whatever Misc. current affairs was left, you could rely on Wizard’s special book on mains current affairs + Hindu.

Optional papers: 90s era

Optional papers: 90s era

I’ve already talked about that in the Public Administration strategy article. Anyways the success formula was

Re-mugup the same books you used for prelims.strategy article. Anyways the success formula was Get some fodder material from Yojana Kurukshetra. (or

Get some fodder material from Yojana Kurukshetra. (or Readymade notes of H******** S**** etc.) and use it elaborate or spice up the answers with so called ‘case studies’.formula was Re-mugup the same books you used for prelims.

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes

« Mrunal

Questions were static, direct from the SRBs, repeated, rephrased. coaching sir would dictate the answers,

Questions were static, direct from the SRBs, repeated, rephrased. coaching sir would dictate the answers, Class notes would save the day.

Similar things for History, geography, psychology etc.  

Similar things for History, geography, psychology etc.

 
 

Literature optionals: 90s era

In the GS and Public Administration, UPSC atleast showed the decency to rephrase the question

In the GS and Public Administration, UPSC atleast showed the decency to rephrase the question while repeating it next year.

but for literature was so totally clichéd, even Saas Bahu serials look genuine.

but for literature was so totally clichéd, even Saas Bahu serials look genuine.

If you just studied the last 10 years paper, you could set your own guess-paper

If

you just studied the last 10 years paper, you could set your own guess-paper for the fourth year and upsc’s actual paper

would 90% similar to your guess paper!

 
For Pali or Maithali litt. All you had to do was join a coaching class

For Pali or Maithali litt. All you had to do was join a coaching class or get some Arts professor to dictate you the answers of last 10 years’ papers. That’s all, mug it up and you’d get more that 300/600 marks (+ scaling system favored litt.optionals)

In short, first timer/no-coaching type player had almost 0% chance of getting decent marks in mains.

And among the senior players, if Senior Player A and Senior player B. Both had revised notes for 20 times. Who would be successful?

Well, questions like I said rephrased repeated every year. Mains Questions are of two types: analytical or direct.

1. For analytical questions (Critically analyse India’s policy towards Afghanistan), you had ready-made notes dictated by coaching class sir, you just needed to recall and write the points. And Suppose Mr.A solely relied on that note while Mr.B upgraded his note further with fodder material from library book or retired professor or newspapers, then Mr.B would get more marks. Therefore quality of notes =important.

2. For direct questions (like powers of the Pres of India or explain the budget making process)….in that case whoever could write more points (Mr.A or B) would get more marks. Therefore memorization skill=important.

The Back-breaking T M era (2010 onwards)

The Back-breaking TM era (2010 onwards)

So far we saw that in 90s era, A small town candidate without coaching or tips from seniors/toppers/IAS relatives, could rarely succeed.The Back-breaking T M era (2010 onwards) And By small town I mean every place except

And By small town I mean every place except Delhi. (Same way for IIT entrance exam, everyplace except Kota, Rajsthan, isfrom seniors/toppers/IAS relatives, could rarely succeed. a small town.) Anyways, suddenly UPSC wakes up and realizes

a small town.)

Anyways, suddenly UPSC wakes up and realizes the problems faced by first timers and small towners.exam, everyplace except Kota, Rajsthan, is a small town.) So UPSC starts taking certain reformative measures

So UPSC starts taking certain reformative measures in the exam process to prevent coaching classes and senior players for gaining reformative measures in the exam process to prevent coaching classes and senior players for gaining much advantage.

This is phenomenon is referred as Backbreaking T M move of UPSC. TM move of UPSC.

The exams conducted in 2010, 2011, and 2012 are examples of that move. Now let’s try to understand what was changed during this era?is referred as Backbreaking T M move of UPSC. Backbreaking T M era: Prelims 1. UPSC

Backbreaking TM era: Prelims

Backbreaking T M era: Prelims

1. UPSC removed Optional subjects were from preliminary exam (2011 and onwards) it introduced a new thing called Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). It had two papers GS+Aptitude. Both papers have same marks. So there goes the advantages associated with proportional representation, 300 marks of optional subject MCQ paper.

2. Even in Aptitude, from 2012 It reduced questions from conventional Maths: to prevent Engineers/IIT/MBA types from gaining advantage.

3. UPSC introduced new topics in the syllabus such as environment and biodiversity, rights issue.

4. In GS prelims, it stopped asking trivial current affairs stuff (person/places in news, awards etc.) for example I’m copy pasting certain questions from 90s era

Which of the following organization won the CSIR award for S&T innovation for rural Development, 2006?

a. CLRI

b. NDDB

c. IARI

d. NDRI

Which city has been the venue of Asian Games for maximum number of times from 1951 to 2006?

a. Delhi

b. Tokyo

c. Bangkok

d. Beijing

Match the following

1. Bhanu Bharti

1. Music composer

2. Mike Pandey

2. Poet

3. Mohd.Zahur Khyyam

3. Theatre director

4. Vinda Karandikar

4. Wildlife film maker

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes

« Mrunal

To solve such questions you had to constantly follow current affairs magazines (or the readymade current affairs notes of coaching class). But Nowadays such questions don’t appear much in prelims exam.

5. UPSC changed the nature of questions from History and Science. For example here are few from 1999’s paper

Q1. Match Following

1. 1775

a. 1 st Anglo-Burmese war

2. 1780

b. 1 st

Anglo-Afghan war

3. 1824

4. 1838

c.

1 st Anglo-Maratha war

d.

2 nd Anglo-Mysore

Q2. Volcanic eruptions donot occur in

a. Baltic Sea

b. Black Sea

c. Caspian Sea

d. Caribbean Sea

Thankfully UPSC stopped asking such questions nowadays. So you don’t have to mugup a lot of data like in the 90s.

For Prelims, Nowadays most of the questions are 4 Statement True or False (4TF) type. So you’re given one term/phenomenon and 2 or 3 or 4 statements. Your task is to identify the correct statements. Ofcourse it does require memorization, but they more aimed at checking your basic understanding of a topic rather than your mugup skills (like in above questions from the 90s) for example here are some questions from 2012’s paper

Q1. Mahatma Gandhi undertook fast unto death in 1932, mainly because :

a. Round table conference failed to satisfy Indian political aspirations

b. Congress and muslims league had differences of opinion

c. Ramsay macdonald announced the communal award

d. None of the statements (a), (b) and (c) given above is correct in this context.

Q2. Consider these factors

1. Rotation of the earth

2. Air pressure of wind

3. Density of ocean water

4. Revolution of the earth

Which of the above factors influence the ocean currents?

1. 1 & 2 only

2. 1, 2 & 3

3. 1 & 4

4. 2, 3 & 4

To get more idea on this, read following analysis of 2012’s CSAT (preliminary) paper CLICK ME

Backbreaking T M era: Mains (General Studies)

Backbreaking TM era: Mains (General Studies)

For mains exan, UPSC stopped asking conventional direct stuff from History, Geography health, environment, sci-tech, yearbook and current affairs from newspapers.

Instead emphasis was given to public

To get more idea on this, read following analysis of 2012’s General Studies (Mains) paper click ME

Adaptation

Adaptation

And while writing all ^this, I donot mean even an ounce of disrespect to any senior player or his success. No one becomes senior player by his conscious choice, everyone wants to clear UPSC in first attempt- But things don’t turn out that way for many, So, he is a victim of circumstances created by the (supervillain) UPSC. And life and society is very cruel to him, as you’ll see in Act IV and V.

Initially UPSC had the upper hand in this war. When UPSC significantly changed the question style in 2010′s preliminary paper, most senior players were shocked and caught unguarded. But UPSC can’t trick them everytime. They’re fighting for their life and career. In 2011, 2012 they changed their preparation strategy accordingly and adapted to this uncertain environment. So question papers are not as ‘shocker’ for them as UPSC expects.

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

Similarly coaching classes have been trying to adapt. UPSC keeps an eye on all the study material released by prominent coaching classes of delhi, to make sure no questions are asked from such material. So coaching classes too have came up with new ideas, for example

1. Nowadays ‘good stuff/ ultra-important topics ’ are not given in their printed study material but mostly dictated during the lecture. (Because printed material usually get pirated by Xerox centres of Delhi hahaha)

2. They intentionally released their current affairs material very late (just 15-20 days before the exam) to prevent UPSC from changing the papers.

This is like a game of chess, you have to constantly keep moving your pawns and adapt to the moves made by the enemy, same way UPSC too keeps coming up with new ideas and new back breaking TM moves every year.

In the end, competition is tough and exam is not friendly to anyside, anymore, whether you’re a coaching/no-coaching/first timer/senior player…you too should adapt and study hard else you’ll get massacred like an innocent bystander in the actionnew ideas and new back breaking T M moves every year. movies. This concludes Act I

movies.

This concludes Act I (Part 1 of 5). Here are the links to the Remaining articles of UPSC strategy:

Remaining Parts of the UPSC Strategy

Remaining Parts of the UPSC Strategy

Previous Posts

Previous Posts

267 comments to [Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes

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vikram

hey friends till now there is no chance of changing mains pattern, if you review parliamentry proceedings of winter session(december- 2012), the bill was introduced by V.Narayanasamy(mos for personnel,public grievances and pensions),to change the pattern of mains exam. However the sc/st promotion quota bill consumed all the session.

Next session(budget 2013) will commensurate on feb 21/2013. if upsc doesn’t publishes the recruitement notification till 15th feb,then there are chances that upsc is waiting for the bill to get passed. But last year the notification was out in feb 1st week, so guys cross your finger and wait for either the notification or 21st feb.

Abhishek K. Mall

you are wrong, it will done through executive order

vikram

and who is

oin

to

ive the executive order

m or

resident it is not contentious issue that

m has to use his discretionar

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil

Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

g power, neither president is going to take initiative.

one way with them is that the cabinet can allow upsc to make such changes but then also they have to get the bill passed within 6 months of issuing such order. refer d.d. basu/laxmikant etc… for better clarity.

since recent upsc declaration that csat 2013 notification will be delayed. it is obvious that upsc is waiting for cabinet/parliamentry nod.

you may view/read parliamentary proceedings of winter session, i think that will content you.

g

g

, p

p

.

p

y

The Reluctant Democrat

I hope sanity prevails atleast after this.If we take a recap to dec 2010 when DOPT issued a notice that year regarding change in prelims pattern it was after the approval of the cabinet not through a change in law or through a executive order,executive order is the nearest to describe the turn of events thought it can aptly termed as sub-ordinate legisation/bye-law etc.,

vikram

refer 7th december newspapers

Abhishek K. Mall

DOPT will do it, it is purely an administrative issue, no law is required to be passed, only an executive notification.(like the earlier prelims change)

vikram

‘executive’, who is head of executive wing of gov. d.d. basu- ‘all india services’.

why upsc delayed the notification if dopt could grant them permission. and why the matter was laid before the cabinet, if dopt had juridiction over it. Dopt is a department under ministry of personnel,public grievances and pensions. its not a constitutional body like cag or ec. only CAG and EC have the power to frame rules and guidelines(must confront to constitution).

A committee was constituted under Prof Arun S Nigavekar, former chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC).

and now simple polity question, whom did the committee’s submit their report– any specific department or parliament.

as per preliminary changes refer 17 nov. 2009 newspaper, upsc csn only recommend/suggest changes.

the boss of upsc is arc-administrative reforms commission. which could be refered to as planning commission for upsc…

Anurag

@vikram:

to say simply

ARC too is not any one’s boss

I think u r doubt may have been cleared after reading others comments too

Please read polity book 1s again

Bill–>Law–>Act

upsc

recommends to govt…govt approves or rejects

its

only between govt and commission

they

just suggest reforms…their suggestion not even binding on govt.

but

this time carefully

no

one proposes act bhai.

so

to change patterns

Abhishek K. Mall

@vikram- change that horrible book, will you.

SIDHARTHA

“”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"F.No.1/2/2012E.I (B)(Pt. file)

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

ExaminationI (B) Section * * * Dated: 01.02.2013 Subject: Notification of Civil Services Examination, 2013. The Civil Services Examination, 2013 was scheduled to be notified on 02.02.2013.

However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, this examination will not be notified on

02.02.2013. The revised date of notification will be intimated in due course.

Sd/(P.K. Arora) Under Secretary, E.I(B)”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

plz check upsc site that means syllabus most likely to change

vizag

its changed boss and not just likely but lovely…

again

upsc clerk….

balamurli krishna

The Civil Services Examination, 2013 was scheduled to be notified on 02.02.2013. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, this examination will not be notified on

02.02.2013. The revised date of notification will be intimated in due course

What the hell is this sir ??

RAKESH JAINAPUR

most imp WHAT DO THINK TANK of MURNAL say on this ,plz reply

vizag

its official…optionals gone….confirmed from a talented clerk of upsc office….

Goud

really?? thnx dude for info.

Sagar Pattnaik

Son , stop rumor-mongering

Aaj hi kaise confirm kiya,notifiction ane se phle kha tha bhai

2

feb ko raat k 2 bje hi kaise yad aya tjhe post comment krne ka

Ra'z Al - Ghul

Mrunal Sir if optionals are removed what affect will it have on GS???n how will it affect new aspirants(First timers)???

decoster

good job,,,,,,,relevant for new buddies,,,,,,.but its quite a change in scenario afterwards.

The Reluctant Democrat

Hello Guys As the Debate Rages over the CSE-2013 optionals to be or not to be i would like to offer some of the Excerpts of 2 ARC 10th report on refurbishing personnel administration:scaling new heights which in fact is a comprehensive review of every committee before it and also encapsulates various international experiences thus i felt it would be good to keep feed our inquisitive minds with those excerpts.It is as follows

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

The Issue of Optional Subject Papers

In the case of the Preliminary Examination, the Kothari Committee hadrecommended five objective type papers of equal weightage to test candidates in

(a)

any Indian language listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution,

(b)

English language,

(c)

General Studies,

(d)

& (e) one Optional Subject in two papers from a list of subjects.

The Government did not accept this scheme and presently the candidates are tested in twoobjective type papers consisting of General Studies (150 marks) and Optional Subject (300marks). Th e optional subject can be chosen from a list 23 subjects from Humanities/Social Sciences, Science and Technology/Medical and Commerce streams. Th ere is no weight to the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination.

The Alagh Committee had also deliberated on the nature of the Preliminary Examination. With regard to the general studies paper, it was of the view that it should be recast into a ‘Civil Services Aptitude Test’ paper with emphasis on comprehension,logical reasoning, problem solving and data analysis. However, in case of the optional subject paper, it did not fully agree with the view that optional subjects do not provide a level playing field as also to the fact that the success ratio of various subjects varies widely. The Committee felt that ‘there is a need for testing academic knowledge in some depth’. Hence it recommended the upgradation of the level of the optional subject paper to the honours level of a good university. It also proposed a weight of 25% to the Preliminary Examination in the overall scheme.\\

In the Main Examination, the weightage of compulsory subjects is 26.08% while that of Optional Subjects is 52.16%. On the recommendation of the Kothari Committee, subjects were included in the list of optional subjects including language and literature of one of 23 languages. Th e Satish Chandra Committee recommended the removal of French, German, Russian and Spanish from the language and literature group and inclusion of Education, Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and Medical Science as new optional subjects. At the time of review by the Alagh Committee, there were optional subjects in the list and suggestions had been received for inclusion of nearly more subjects

The Kothari Committee had felt that an examination consisting of only compulsory subjects without any optional papers would drastically reduce the base of recruitment,as the compulsory subjects would generally be related to ‘national development, modern administration and management’, facilities for the study of which ‘are at present strictly limited’. However, as the Committee was of the view that the written examination was intended to assess the intellectual qualities and depth of understanding of a candidate, it was assumed by the Committee that ‘a candidate would off er as one of the optional subjects, the subject which he may have studied for the honours or masters degree’. The importance of this in the context of the present structure of the examination and actual experience cannot be underestimated. Th is issue was considered by the Alagh Committee in great detail. The Alagh Committee doubted the very utility of re-examining the candidates in their own subjects. It emphasized that ‘what is important is the relevance of a subject to the job requirements of a civil servant, especially in the changing scenario’. It pointed out the following issues in relation to the testing of candidates in optional subjects:

i. Large number of optional subjects presents problems of question setting and evaluation of answer scripts. Th e fact that these could be answered in any of the 18 languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution clogs the system.

ii. The threshold of difficulty could not be maintained at the same level among the optional subjects.

iii. It is difficult to balance streams like Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering and Medical Science.

The Alagh Committee observed that candidates were opting for optional subjects on the basis of ‘scorability’ and not on the basis of their own specialization. Thus, in the CSE 1999, as many as 41% of candidates preferred to take the examination with both optional subjects diff erent from those which they had studied in college/university. Th e fi gures for such candidates for the years 2000 to 2005 are 40%, 36%, 44%, 46%, 41% and 48% respectively.61 Such high percentages vitiate the basic assumption made by the Kothari Committee as mentioned above. Given the inadequacies of the present system, the Alagh Committee recommended the replacement of optional subjects with a set of three compulsory papers on:

(a)

Sustainable Development and Social Justice,

(b)

Science and Technology in Society, and

(c)

Democratic Governance, Public Systems and Human Rights

The curriculum and the general objectives of each compulsory subject would be designed to bring out the issues or the problems which the civil services would need to address. Th e Committee also noted that in countries like France and the UK, the Civil Services Examinations have a focus on human rights, economic and social development,administrative and environmental law, public systems management, science and technology and economics and accountancy. Thus, in order to moor the examinations to the demands of a civil service of the 21st century, the papers on the compulsory subjects would need to cover issues related to our society, social structure, political and administrative governance, emerging areas of change and modern developments in science and technology as they affect society at large. This, in the view of the Committee, would give a specific focus to the civil services recruitment process, rather than keeping it as a general ‘fishing’ process with a degree of randomness to it.The Committee also felt that this would reduce the total time taken to conduct the examination by three to six months. The Commission agrees with the conclusions reached by the Alagh Committee.

However, it is of the view that this should also apply to the Preliminary Examination. In other words, the Preliminary Examination should consist of an objective type test having one or two papers on general studies. Th e Main Examination should consist of conventional type compulsory papers dealing with the Constitution of India, the Indian legal system,Indian economy, polity, history and culture etc. A Committee may be constituted by the Government in consultation with the UPSC, to decide on the structure and syllabi of the compulsory papers for both, the Preliminary and Main Examinations. Further, the Commission is of the view that suffi cient lead time may be provided to the prospective candidates for the civil services from the date of acceptance of these recommendations.

Essay Paper

The Alagh Committee had recommended the merger of the Essay paper with the compulsory language papers and allowing for a weight of 5% to the marks obtained in them. Th e Commission is of the view that the essay paper should not be merged with the language papers which only test the language profi ciency of the candidates. There should be a separate Essay paper in the Main Examination

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[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

for testing the candidates’ ability and skills in comprehension, analysis and presentation as also their knowledge and language skills. As mentioned earlier, the evaluation of the essay paper should only be done in case of candidates who have scored a threshold level of marks in the Preliminary Examination.

Language Papers

The Kothari Committee had found it imperative that candidates be tested in their knowledge of English and at least one Eighth Schedule language. The Alagh Committee had also endorsed this view. However, it felt that the standard of testing should be upgraded to a slightly higher level from the present matriculation level and a 5% weightage should be given to the marks obtained in these papers. It also recommended the merger of the separate Essay paper into the language papers.

While endorsing the view of the Alagh Committee regarding continuance of testing of proficiency in English and one Eighth Schedule language, the Commission feels that modern methods of standardization and grading of testing in language skills should be adopted and accordingly, appropriate tests should be designed. Grading systems and standardization as adopted in the United Kingdom may be examined for this purpose. Further, the Commission feels that no weight need to be attributed to testing of language skills.

I guess that is lot more that just food for thought but nevertheless the time not least apt for us to intiate discussions based on hard and established facts and issues rather than on thin air and on some frivolous rumors.

Cheers and Warm Regards

B.parameshwari

I am studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering in second year how did prepare the IES exam? What syllabus?

Anup

UPSC

combine defense services information IMA

sir

plz help me with the information about CDS SSB INTERVIEW

Mudasir

Mrunal sir,plz reply me. Recently i wrote upsc capf ac exam in which i used black gel pen instead of ball pen on OMR sheet .what will b d outcome.plz

Vishva

Hi Mrunal,

I am a working professional and read your post on working professionals

I have decided to appear for exam in 2014 and started studying from last two weeks, I can spend daily 3 to 4 hours, I have started reading NCERT books of science and social science from 7 to 12 class and making note out of daily reading of HINDU.

I am commerce graduate

I WANT YOUR HELP IN SELECTING OPTIONAL SUBJECTS AND BOOKS TO REFER SYLLABUS WISE FOR MAINS, HERE IN

PUNE I AM UNABLE TO FIND GENUINE HELP, COACHING CLASS PEOPLE HAVE PLANNED THEIR 2014 SCHEDULE STARTING FROM JUNE WITH FEES AROUND A LAC BUT I AM ONLY EARNING SOURCE OF MY FAMILY CAN NOT SPEND THAT MUCH MONEY AND MAY NOT OPT FOR COACHING.

Ritesh

Hello Sir, Could u plz let me know that where to download the notes for geography for pre?? Since am appearing this year so it’s urgent Do reply.

Thanks,

Riteh

NCERTs + NIOS links given in second and third article.

5/6/13

[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

R BALJI

respectes sir, why civil service not notified and is optional is removed?

sir,

i just want to know how to prepare daily for bank po, can you kindly guide me in this matter.

Girish

Friends please seen yesterday’s Hindustan Times. There is something for your confirmation.

Girish

That means there is reporting by Hindustan Times that changes may be announced by this weekend and notification may also be issued in this week or next one. So pleas check 26th February paper.

R BALAJI

respected sir,i have one doubt sir,you already told that when we use figures in mains exam we can get more mark.in your article,kisanganga details involved,so if they ask kisanganga question,may we use this diagram? it is correct format to draw or this is a sample diagram sir? and we use this drawing format to other questions?

viki

is it true that age eligiblty cut off date is changed from 1st of august to 1st of jan

viki

Is it true that age eligiblity criteria is changed from 1st of aug to 1st of january from this year for IES

MADHU

sir,how far will the programmes and other info given in pib site would help for premlims as well as mains exam? i am going through features section on that site and collecting some information. please let me know will it really help me in upsc exam preparation.

MADHU

sir please reply….waiting for your reply since long time.

bala

mr.mrunal, in your article indian geography related portion only involved,i need world geography related books and information can you

help?

bala

mr.mrunal, i need civil services old question papers links, can u help?

bala

i need civil services question banks sir by either website or book name name sir, can you help?

rajesh

5/6/13

[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

H

raja

sir i need a way to read world geography and some useful tips about world geography,it will help to my my upsc preparation.

manash

DEAR MRUNAL,I am aware of the new changes brought by Upsc just three four days back.but iam not sure WHETHER THE NOTIFICATION IS STILL IN ABEYANCE OR NOT…PLZ let me know about the current status

balaji

sir due to poor commnication i cannot know about civil services current changes,sir i need how many optional subject may we choose either one or two? if you tell,it may use to preparation sir.

balaji

sir due to poor commnication in my village,i cannot know about civil services current changes,sir i need how many optional subject may we choose either one or two? if you tell,it may use to preparation sir.

raunak dubey

SIR HOW CAN I PREPARE IPS WHICH BOOK IS BETTER FOR PRLIEM

ravi

hi mrunal i need ur advice regarding current affairs… i actually started preparing very late…in feb this year

till now i have covered all the static GS part ( i have no problem in apti that is already covered ) i have gone through all the books

prescribed by Mr. Mrunal i e Laxmikant , Ncert for geo, history , eco, and science, and Ramesh singh twice …

due to the delay in starting the preparation i have missed on to the 2012 jan -2013 jan current affairs …. and now as u can see theres not much time left so how should i prepare current affairs ? should i buy 1 year hindu newspaper? or some magazine like chronicle etc

my only problem is that

?

please advise me …

i

will devote 3 hours per day and 6 hours on weekend to cover the current affair ( rest of the time i have kept to

keep revising the static gs books which i have read)

maverick1234

MRUNAL SIR, KINDY START A NEW THREAD FOR INDIAN FOREST SERVICES GUIDANCE. THANKS AND REGARDS MAVERICK

vimal

Sir google reader is going to close this july then how can we read the hindu…………

raja

sir i like to know about a sample essay to develop essay writing skills.if you tell tips it will use to my this year main exam.

h c tripathi

Dear ,Will you suggest any standard book for communication .

madhu

sir, what should be the ideal score in paper 2?

this comment sir, what should be the ideal score in paper 2?

5/6/13

[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes « Mrunal

nishat Reply to this comment 135-150 is gud enough in paper 2 to make it
nishat
Reply to this comment
135-150 is gud enough in paper 2 to make it through…
love shandilya
Reply to this comment
135 n above tht bonus for paper 1
Lelen
Reply to this comment
hi, murnal plz suggest the reqired books and magazine etc.required for UPSC
AppleXsoft review
Reply to this comment
I do not even know how I stopped up here, however I assumed this put up used to be great. I don’t know who you might be but certainly
you are going to a famous blogger in case you aren’t already. Cheers!
pravin
Reply to this comment
dear sir
mai Civil Services Examination 2010/11/12 cut off kaha melga
batwo plz… last year
Civil Services Examination ka cut off
aapke pas ho to plz batwo na sir
Nidhi Bhatt
Reply to this comment
Respected Sir,My graduation will be complete in 2014.After complete graduation I want to join SPIPA.How can i prepare my self for
that?Plz give me idea for starting preparation from now…………
ajit
Reply to this comment
hello admin,
I need some help. Please tell me:
from where to prepare General Science Part?
from where to prepare for Mahatma Buddha part?
for culture, I am doing selective study from Spectrum’s Indian Culture
for eco/soc devt I am relying on Budget/ESI/Ministry Websites for schemes rolled out.
Please Reply soon.
Thanks
Ajit.
Nik
Reply to this comment
I agree with you “Shame on you Carlos”. This is absolute nonesense. No body knows what circumstances has the other person gone
through and making fun of a fellow aspirants shows the worst attitude.
If you can’t help others then it is better not to make fun either.
My suggestion Carlos, don’t be much proud of your intelligence (I hope you have some), because if you have read Ramayana, nobody
can forget what happened with Ravana.
All the best for your future endeavours.
Amit Chaudhary
Reply to this comment
Agree with Nik!
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