A level playing field for the Civil Service aspirants with CSAT


The Civil Service Examination is carried out every year by the UPSC as to select the brightest candidates to the top most position in the government service. The Civil Services Examination is therefore one of the toughest exam of all the competitive examinations. In the year 2009 almost 2 lakh students appeared for the Civil Services Examination and only a minuscule of 875 students cracked and got selected for the job. The numbers speak for itself. Even though the private sector jobs offer excellent careers and lucrative pay packages the best and the brightest of the students still go for the Civil Services Examination. Nothing can beat the status and reputation these jobs offer.

CSAT will definitely demand candidates a mastery over the English language

CSAT will definitely demand candidates a mastery over the English language

Recently the Union Public Service Commission has bought in certain changes in the Civil Services Examination by introducing the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in the place of the preliminary exam. This has further strengthened the interest of the candidates to appear in the exam. With the implementation of the CSAT all the students will have to appear in two different common qualifying papers which are similar to all, instead of the optional subject from the predetermined list of 23 subjects.

The CSAT was implemented with support from the IInd Administrative Reforms Committee, that put forwarded the idea that sampling evaluating a candidate’s knowledge in a specific subject would merely generate specialists but it will not help to identify the candidates with the needed aptitude for public service. The CSAT was thus introduced for addressing this particular issue. This aptitude Test will also eliminate the scaling system currently be implemented in order to eliminate a single subject advantage owing to the variation of levels on difficulty in a particular year.

What are the modifications?

The UPSC - CSAT exam will be carried out within 2 hour duration for both the papers. The question will be objective type questions with 4 answer choices to choose from. There will be around 200 questions. The CSAT question paper will have two compulsory papers instead of the Preliminary exam under the new pattern.

The Paper I, which is the General studies paper, will remain the same with small additions with weight age to the environmental ecology, climate change and the bio diversity. Paper II is completely altered and will test the comprehensive aptitude communication skills, reasoning ability and also analytical ability etc of the candidates. The CSAT exam is designed in such a way that it will evaluate the candidate’s decision making ability, problem solving skills and over all general mental ability. The CSAT will also test the candidates numerical, DI and authority over the English language.

The old Preliminary exam had some minor issues like candidates will choose easy optional subjects according to their domain knowledge and will score high on the specific subject. There is opacity concerning to the normalizing of the scores of various subjects and the importance on rote education.

What does CSAT exam signify?

From the sample question paper provided by the commission, the CSAT exam will evaluate the candidates over all ability to comprehend and make a judgment of real life situations concerning the relevant issues. The CSAT exam will also test the interpersonal skills the candidate’s posses while carrying out oneself in a social interaction.

The Logical reasoning paper in the CSAT exam is to draw a conclusion and find out the logical rules in a set of statements. The question in this section is basically on the decision making and crisis solving ability of the candidate. It tests the common sense and judgment in solving various problems that might come up in the administration.

The General Mental Ability questions from the General Studies paper in the previous preliminary exam has reallocate to the second paper in the CSAT exam. The Basic math will included with the syllabus of metric level. The Date Interpretation will also test the basic knowledge of the students in the area of statistics.

Data sufficiency is another area which forces the candidates to think about the data provided in the statement are sufficient enough to answer the given question or not. The CSAT also have a reading passage in the English section which will test the candidate’s knowledge in the language.

Will the modification benefit the candidates for Civil Services?

With the implementation of the CSAT the UPSC has washed-out the burden of the Civil Service examination. The preliminary examination had optional papers which was really hard for most of the candidates to crack. Most often it is seen that the candidates will take up unfamiliar subject choices which has lead to a mechanical way of learning with the sole aim to answer the objective type questions.

Right formula= Mock tests + fixed time limit for each sections

Right formula= Mock tests + fixed time limit for each sections

The modified syllabus seems to be designed to eliminate this type of mechanical learning process and provide a well-formed understanding and general awareness of the given topics. The CSAT also puts priority in quality written communication skills. This was one of the most ignored section in the Civil Service exam so far.

Another considerable transformation is the stress on English language comprehension skills at the initial stage. Formerly, English was a qualifying paper only in the Main examination of the Civil Service Exam and there was no evaluation of English at the initial stage.

The candidate was only obligated to achieve 40 % in the qualifying paper in English. Thus the marks scored in the qualifying papers were not summed up with the total marks. In the CSAT, one of the major changes is the addition of English language comprehension skills in Paper II. This will endow the students a definite edge and mastery over the English language.

Hesitation over the CSAT

Some of the candidates who are preparing for the Civil Service exam feel apprehensive about the fact that the new system will encourage more candidates from the professional courses to apply as the 2nd paper in the CSAT is more or less similar to the CAT exam.

Many students from the Arts subject stream feels that the new syllabus and pattern might turn out to be a hurdle for them to qualify for the main exam. The added weight age given to the analytical ability and numeracy is indeed a fright to most of the math phobias even though it is on basic numeracy of class X level.

Despite such fears, the CSAT exam is a thought out exam which will offer a proper level playing field to every single one of the candidates from all the education background. If the candidates have a proper understanding of the syllabus and knows precisely what the examiners require, then there is a positive chance for success.



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One Response to “A level playing field for the Civil Service aspirants with CSAT”

  1. 1

    I am a student doing Bsc 2nd year in Biochemistry. How do i go about the preparations for civils?? Is it advisable to go for it immediately after graduation or after post graduation??