(TIPS) Cracking the IAS Examination

TIPS : Cracking the IAS Examination

Cracking the Competitive Examination

Entry to the IAS, IPS and the Central Services is through the combinedCompetitive Examination for the Civil Services. Recruitment to the IndianForest Service is through a separate examination. The CompetitiveExamination takes place in three stages:

Stage I: Preliminary ExaminationThe Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), an autonomous body thatensures unbiased recruitment to the Civil Services, conducts the examination.The notification for obtaining the application forms for the examination willappear in the Employment News and also in other leading dailies.The preliminary (prelims), a written examination is held in the month of Juneevery year. It consists of two papers, both in the objective type format.

Paper I: This paper is called the General Studies and carries a maximumscore of 150 points on 150 questions. It is of two hours duration. It coversthese six topics - Indian History, the Constitution of India, Geography,Economics, Science and Current Affairs.Paper II: This is an optional paper on a subject of your choice, for instance, Political Science, History, Economics, Psychology etc. A list ofthe optional subjects that can be taken, can be obtained from the UPSCwebsite - www.upsc.gov.in. 

Paper II carries a score of 300 points on 120questions and is also of two hours duration.Since, it is an extremely competitive exam, the candidates taking theprelims must be extremely diligent and hard working. Only the highestscorers qualify for the second examination, that is, the Main Examination.The success rate of preliminary exam is less than 10%.

Stage II: Main ExaminationThe Main Examination is a written examination in the subjective or essay typeformat. It is generally held in the month of November/December. It includesnine papers:

Papers I & II: These are the language papers, of 300 marks each. One isthe English language paper, which is compulsory; and the other is in anyIndian language mentioned in the eighth schedule of the IndianConstitution. Marks obtained in these papers are not added in the totalscore, however qualifying or passing in them with the specified minimumpercentage is necessary.Paper III: The third is an Essay paper of 200 marks. The candidate canchoose to write the essay in either English or in any Indian languagementioned in the eight schedule of the Constitution.Paper IV and V: These are the General Studies (G.K. and CurrentAffairs) papers of 300 marks each.Paper VI, VII, VIII & IX: Here, the candidate will have to take two optionalsubjects, which would contain two papers each. Thus, a total of fourpapers, where each paper would be of 300 marks, with a total score of1200.The number of candidates, who pass through this stage successfully, is
further reduced in percentage when compared to the numbers whosucceed in the prelims. An indication of the tough competition is the factthat, (on a 1:10 basis), if for instance, a thousand candidates pass theMain exam, there is in reality, only 100 vacancies or civil service postsavailable.Stage III: Personality TestIn this final round of elimination, the competition gets the toughest.Candidates are selected on a 1:2 ratio. So, if there are ten vacancies, thentwenty candidates will be interviewed.The personality test follows the pattern of an oral interview or a viva voce. Anexpert panel judges the candidate's over all personality, his/her social traits,presence of mind, and leadership qualities, apart from their intellectualcapabilities and aptitude for the work involved.When all the hard work of the candidate finally pays off and he finds himselfsmoothly cruising out of, even the interview stage, he undergoes compulsorytraining at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration inMussoorie as a probationary officer. Training will be imparted in academicareas, which comprise subject studies like economics, history, politicalscience, etc. After this foundation course, specific job-oriented training isconducted separately by each service.