Aptitude over memory in the new Civil Services qualifying exams!
By Staff Reporter | Published: October 19 2010
The UPSC will now test aspirants on their aptitude and general knowledge rather than their capacity to just commit volumes to memory. This new system hopes to attract an intelligent and aware calibre of future officers.
The exam for India premier services the IAS, IFS, IPS
which has been the same since 1979 – which come under the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
has come out with a new syllabus for the 2011 preliminary examination, which, besides aptitude and other skills, will also test candidates on their knowledge of "environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change".
The government on Monday, decided that the aspirants would be gauged and tested on their aptitude, rather than their memory and this will be seen in the Civil Services Aptitude Test –CSAT and the General Studies paper
Almost give lakh Indians apply for the Civil Services Examination (Preliminary) every year. Which is why, the new format has been made public early by the Union Public Service Commission. "The government has also accepted UPSC's proposal to put out sample papers of the new format," a Department of Personnel and Training official said.
Here, the preliminary exam will have a slightly changed General Studies paper and with the implemtation of the CSAT, it will do away with the Optional Paper that was selected by candidates from a list of two dozen-odd subjects .
In addition, the aspirants will also be tested on their English language comprehension skills. So far, the English language test has been a part of qualifying papers without having any weight on the civil services (Main) examination. But its introduction in the preliminary level could mean a brighter chance people with English language skills putting them in good stead to qualify for the Mains.
These two papers will be the screening required to shortlist candidates for the Mains exam and interview. Government officials insist the new aptitude test won't have the urban bias that the common admission test for top management schools are sometimes accused to favouring. Instead this would test candidates on their knowledge on even subjects like environmental ecology, bio-diversity and climate change.
The first paper, will test aspirants on current events of national and international importance, Indian history, Indian and world geography, Indian polity and governance, economic and social development and general science, besides environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change that do not require subject specialization.
The second paper comprises general comprehension; inter-personal skills, including communication skills; logical reasoning and analytical ability; decision making and problem solving; general mental ability; basic numbers and their relations (secondary level) and data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables and data sufficiency). The English language comprehension skills will also be of secondary level.
The new syllabus will have two common papers with equal marks - 200 marks each, unlike the current system which gives more weight to subject paper of 300 marks than the common general awareness paper of 150 marks.
The proposal to change the system had been pending for long as most of the government panels had advocated greater emphasis on "aptitude" of candidates than knowledge of their subjects. Here they believed that the specialists or experts of any particular subject may not necessarily be good civil servants unless they have actual inclination towards it.
"The new syllabus will provide a level-playing field and equity, since all candidates will have to attempt common papers unlike the current format which provides for only one common paper," an official said.