Three Stages of UPSC Civil Services Exam - All You Need To Know
We, KSG, are here to guide you through your transformation phase from being a student to an examinee.
We provide coaching for General Studies as a foundation course for cracking prelims and mains exam. We also provide coaching for CSAT (Paper II in Prelims) and History & Public Administration as optional.
LEVEL 1 PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION
The Civil Services Preliminary examination to be conducted by the Union Public Services Examination is believed to be the toughest stage in the whole process of an IAS selection. Out of 100 candidates, who write the Prelims, 97 may not clear prelims owing to two main reasons:
1. Only a few vacancies
2. Lack of right approach
The exam is scheduled to be held on 3rd June . A million applicants fight to find a place in the top positions which makes prelims stage certainly not a cake-walk. But, if you are a serious candidate, embrace right strategies, guidance and study material, self-study is enough.
Out of the massive applicants, only half sit for Prelims!
Out of the large number of candidates, who register for Civil Services Prelims Exam, only half of them take the Preliminary exam on D-day. Approximate 15,000-16,000 candidates (12-13 times the number of vacancies) will be selected for next round, i.e. Civil services Mains exam.
How to Prepare for Preliminary Examination?
So, it's important to map out a potent strategy so that you clear the IAS prelims and be in top 15000. Clearing prelims will turn out to be a cakewalk if the aspirant gets proper guidance and orientation.
1. GS Paper 1 is the key now: Revise every subject!
Till 2014, scoring high in GS Paper 2 (popularly known as CSAT) was the easiest and fastest way to crack Civil Services Prelims. Putting less effort as compared to GS Paper 1, aspirants used to score high in this paper and cleared prelims. But, with changes in the UPSC pattern in 2015 this strategy won't work now.
On the basic level, covering every subject of civil services preliminary exam is the best approach to clear prelims now. It's not recommended to give priority to any particular book or area thinking that questions will come from that source. Likewise, it's equally important not to miss easy questions from traditional subjects like Economics, Geography, History and Polity. At least, brushing up NCERT books and previous years' question papers would be a good idea if you are time-crunched. Keeping an eye on tight competition, areas like culture and environment should also be mugged up. Current affairs preparation should be done considering the latest schemes and bills launched by the government.
2. Practicing IAS prelims mock exams:
This is one area which tells apart successful candidates from those who fail to crack prelims. Mock tests are integral part of regular preparations of successful candidates. By revising the attempted tests you get a chance to identify your mistakes. Writing mock tests arm you with confidence which is the key to success in any examination.
3. Choosing the right books for UPSC Civil Service Preliminary Exam:
Picking up recommended books and right study material is of utmost importance. The NCERT books are thought to be must-read by experts as well as successful candidates, as they clear up doubts at fundamental level and help candidates in scoring higher marks at both stages of Civil Services Examination - Prelims and Mains.
4. Follow our Prelims cum Mains Approach:
For GS Paper 1, an ideal strategy would be to cover GS Mains and Prelims syllabus in detail first that would give the concept clarity about all major topics. The type of questions asked in Prelims and Mains are different, but there are many areas where there is overlap too. An integrated prelims-cum-mains approach is catching on among civil services aspirants which rely on clearing prelims and mains in a single attempt. Good knowledge of overlapping and non-overlapping areas in the UPSC GS syllabus for Prelims and Mains certainly gets you competitive mileage over your peers.
5. Go with a relaxed mind on the exam day:
All your efforts will go in vain if you lose your cool on the exam day. It's pertinent to read questions carefully and make sure that you do not make silly mistakes. In a relaxed state of mind, you will be able to answer questions accurately and in less time. Count on your abilities and be confident that you can clear civil services preliminary exam, and you will.
LEVEL 2 MAINS EXAMINATION
Mains exam calls for speed, consistency and clarity of thought and these can be acquired easily through writing practice. Your UPSC CSE Main consists of 1750 marks
Good writing skills miraculously step up your chances to get through Civil Services Examination. It has been observed that besides having exceptional knowledge and command over the subject, candidates could not crack the examination owing to poor writing skills. Good writing skills not only help in Mains, but will enable candidate form opinions on various issues which would help him during the personality test.
All the same, UPSC does not expect candidates to acquire exceptional writing skills in English. It just wants candidates who are able to put across their ideas and knowledge in a simple way so that everybody understands the message explicitly. It is also prudent to understand that a candidate should not have an ornamental style to write answers or vast vocabulary-- marks are allotted to answers which are clear, straightforward and simple.
Most of the aspirants think that reading a good newspaper is sufficient. After going through an editorial or an opinion piece, form an opinion of your own. Write it in 100 words and send it to the editor without hesitation. The next day when you do not see your letter published, don't lose heart. Shoot another mail and one day it will appear neatly edited with your proud name below. This is how you learn to form a strong opinion on an issue and also improve your English.
Paper-A : One Indian Language from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. Total Marks 300
Paper-B : English language: Total Marks 300.
Paper-I Essay ( It Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice) 250
Paper-II General Studies-I (Culture and Indian Heritage|History and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper- III General Studies –II (Constitution| Governance| Social Justice| Polity| and International relations) 250
Paper-IV General Studies –III (Economic Development| Technology| Environment| Biodiversity| Disaster Management and Security) 250
Paper-V General Studies –IV (Aptitude| Integrity| and Ethics) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
PRACTICING PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS:
Writing answers to previous year questions is a potent tool not only to better writing skills, but also to discern pattern of questions asked in previous years' examinations. You can take up a question bank and start answering every question. It is recommended to solve at-least the last 10 years' questions as it will improve your answer writing ability and help in time management.
Also writing a blog can help you express your opinions explicitly without any restrictions. Being an IAS aspirant, you should cling to the topics that will help you in the examination. Later, when you crack the examination, you can diversify your posts.
BUILDING THE VOCABULARY:
It is a long established fact that you cannot write well if you don't read well. Reading several leading newspapers will broaden your outlook towards various issues and augment your awareness.
Although good vocabulary does not guarantee your success in mains, it does help in thinking fast. Thinking process banks upon words, i.e., we think by connecting words. If we know more words, we will be able to connect our thoughts and think faster and better. Having a good dictionary is indispensable for a serious and avid reader. This will add to your knowledge base and endow you with critical thinking abilities.
LEVEL 3 INTERVIEW
Better known as the 'personality assessment round', most of the questions are framed in a manner, which would make a candidate's answers reflect his personality and speak volumes about it.
Appearing for the interview round after clearing the preliminary and mains of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) IAS exam is a nightmare for many. It is the round after which the final decision regarding your recruitment is taken by the commission. The panel will be judging you on the basis of your promptness in answering the questions and the way you deal or react to a particular given situation or crisis. Just keep in mind that this is no ordinary interview and every sentence, every word you say will be a reflection of your outlook and your mindset. Be careful with what you say because questions may be created even from the answers you give.
The Interview or the Personality test of the Civil Services exam is conducted in Delhi at the UPSC office. The length of interview is not fixed but the longer the interview lasts, higher is the chances for a good score. Even though you cannot get less than 55 marks in the interview but you must know it's not enough to get into the final merit list. However to be assured of a Class I service, one has to generally obtain about 58 per cent marks. It is observed that only those, securing 60 per cent and above is sure of getting a service of their own choice.
Type of Questions Asked At The Interview :
The candidate appearing for the interview will be given questioners to be filled up and submitted at the time of your interview. The candidates are advised to formulate their answers carefully because questions can be asked from your form that you have filled and submitted to the UPSC before your interview.
1. Relating to your name, any famous personality who has a similar or same name or surname
2. Your career choice, why do you want to be a civil servant?
3. Choice of services, the order of your choice of services can raise questions too.
4. What are your Hobbies, why you pursue such a hobby or questions related to your hobby etc.
5. Questions about your academic institution and related to them.
6. Question from your educational qualification. Question can be asked how you are going to use your specific knowledge in the civil services.
7. General Studies that forms the four papers of the Mains examination is the prime area from where questions can be asked. It includes Current Affair topics recent days and policy analysis.
8. You should be prepared to answer question on your optional subjects, especially if that is not the discipline in which you have graduated.
9. There could be situational questions.
Your Qualities will be Tested :
The Personality Test is aimed at assessing the candidate's personality suitable to be a competent administrator. The candidate is tested for intelligence, attentiveness, balance of judgement and human qualities like honesty, integrity and leadership.
The qualities that should be rated in the personality test :
Clarity of expression
Grasp of narrative and argument
Appreciation of different points of views
Awareness and concern for socio-economic problems
Range and depth of interests and personal attributes relevant to interaction with people
KEY FACTORS :
Even though overall personality development is a continuous process, a proper planning after qualifying the Mains exam can help you prepare for the Interview or the personality test. This preparation has to be done in THREE parts :
1. ONE summing up the knowledge and storing them in your virtual memory, SECOND to develop conversational skills and THIRD to develop personality traits.
2. The candidate should make a self-analysis of his/ her strengths and weaknesses on these three points and make a conscious effort to work on them.
3. Since interview is all about how you speak before the interview board, you to improve your conversational skills with the right pronunciation.
4. Try to talk softly and intelligently.
5. Stick to the points and keep your answers short.
6. You should avoid subordinate type approach and at the same, you should not sound over friendly.
7. Your answers should crisp clear and to the point and for this you must develop professional like approach in your conversation.
8. You must carry a positive body language and a good personal appearance and the right body posture in the interview room.
9. While answering do not glance at other members and keep your eyes at the center, sometimes you can move your face to the right and left but it should remain focused at the center.