Adapting to the changing requirements of UPSC
New Delhi: The UPSC has introduced changes in the exam pattern in recent years that were met with both resistance and appreciation UPSC is no more looking at specialised knowledge or information; rather they are looking at your analytical skills. But apart from these structural changes
UPSC is approaching towards academic changes in which what matters now is not how knowledgeable you are, but how quickly can you process the information in your brain to present the different sides of a relevant issue.
The most recent change was introduced in 2015 in the form of making the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) a qualifying paper after criticism from students as well academicians. Recently, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), in its vision document, has recommended to the government to change the existing format of the preliminary examination and remove Paper-II, popularly known as CSAT, has been welcomed by the aspirants as they would have more time to prepare for Paper-I.
Unfortunately, many coaching institutes haven’t still understood this change. Many of them are still teaching a lot of junk facts to students. Students are overloaded with almost everything under the sun. However, in the exam hall, aspirants are unsure of what to do with this ‘junk’ information on questions which test their analytical skills in a short span of time.
“Aspirants, when they begin preparation for civil services, are generally confused and are unsure about how to start, where to start and what to study. IAS/IPS aspirants have numerous queries in their mind regarding exam eligibility, study material and exam structure, etc. Many are not sure if coaching is essential or not. Their worries are not unfounded. Misguidance can cost any aspirant time, money and resources. Unfortunately, many coaching institutes are unsure about how to properly guide aspirants as per the latest requirements of UPSC examinations. There are coaching institutes which charge hefty fees but provide poor service and low-quality study materials.” Said Manoj K Jha, Faculty at GS Score
Aspirants should learn to analyse questions within a limited time. You won’t get specific questions where you can just repeat and reproduce what you have mugged up – as you may see in other exams. A good coaching institute should guide aspirants on the right path and demonstrate the importance of cultivating analytical skills. Yes, analytical skills are becoming more and more important in UPSC CSE. Not just for Mains, but for Prelims and Interview as well.
Develop Holistic preparation! Don’t segregate prelims syllabus from main exam. Your approach may be different but the subjects are almost same. Focus on authentic sources. For example, budget, economic survey, yojana, year book and annual reports. These books are bulky but no need to read word by word just skim through and read exam relevant. Read India specific sources on internet, there are many good foreign websites, which are good for understanding, but their data and examples are not Indian. That reduces their utility.
“This is not at all easy for beginners. That is why you need to practise with the right kind of model questions. Don’t just focus on memorization of facts and approaches, develop analytical ability to be able to think and interconnect between what you know and what is asked. This will come with practice and multiple revisions only. Most importantly work on your mistakes and wrongs. Appear in test series. If you are able to rectify your mistakes and don’t repeat them in next exam, your skills in tackling UPSC real exam will improve automatically.” He added