Sunday, February 26, 2012

FAQ for IAS / Civil Service Exam - CSAT


1) What is this examination ?

IAS stands for Indian Administration Service which is also known as Indian Civil Services. These services are the backbone of the Indian administration system. These officers are recruited by the prestigious Civil Service Exam which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The officers who are selected by this exam, are posted to very key administrative post of the Indian Government like IFS (Indian Foreign Service), IPS (Indian Police Services), IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IRS (Indian Revenue Service) and many more prestigious post in country. They are the key people who are taking policy decision with ruling government. The posts have power and command in Indian system with great respect and responsibility. As these are the key posts, these posts are for those who really want to make the difference. If you want to change in system and serve the community, you need power and policy decision. Without power one can just talk and talk but can not change the system. Because of that best Indian youth wants to join these services.
There are lots of examples in country who have very good offers from private corporate sector in terms of salary and perks, still young Indians have dream to work with civil services. Not only young brains but their parents are also having dream that their children work as IAS and enjoy the respect and responsibility.
For these posts the UPSC is conducting examination which is also know as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). CSAT is also known as prelim exam. The candidates who pass this stage will appear for Civil Services (Mains) Exam. The candidates who will successfully clear the Civil Services (Mains) Exam, they will appear for the Interview. The successful candidate will be prepare from interview and they will be appointed for the prestigious posts of Indian administration system like IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Service), IRS (Indian Revenue Service) and like there total 21 types of administrative services.

2) When is this exam being conducted?

The examination for the prestigious posts is conducted once in a year. Every year in the month of February the official notification of the examination CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test) is announced. This year it was announced on the 11th February 2012. The exam is going to conduct on 20th May 2012. The last date of application is the 5th March 2012. Since 2011 the UPSC has done major changes in the prelim examination. So the candidate can easily appear for the exam.
This year application is only accepted online. So visit for online application

3) What is the selection procedure for this examination ?

The examination of Civil Services is 3 tier system. In stage one, the examination is known as Civil Service Aptitude Test, which consist of two papers. Each paper is carrying marks 200 and 2 hours duration. These papers are objective type. The focus of prelim examination is testing of analytic skills of candidate. Under new exam scheme of CSAT, the UPSC has done major changes. They tried to bring all discipline students under one roof. All students have common paper of in prelim exam. The questions are mainly from current affaire national and international, logical reasoning and decision making, Elementary Mathematics, Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation from Graphic and Chart. Thus the stage one is based on general knowledge and analytic skills.

Paper I - (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
- Recent events of national and international importance
- History of India and Indian National Movement
- Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
- Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization
- General Science.
Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
- Comprehension
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision making and problem solving
- General mental ability
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. -Class X level)
- English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).

Stage two – Those who clear the stage one will enter in stage two. The selection criterion to enter in stage second, is vary year to year. The cut off score depend on the caliber of the candidate appear in the exam, number of vacancies and difficulty level of questions.
This stage is also known as main examination. In the mains exam, one has to select 2 optional subjects as per new system and there are total nine papers, the description is as below-

Paper-I One of the Indian Languages to be selected by from 18 languages (Qualifying ) 300 Marks
Paper-II English (Qualifying) 300 Marks
Paper-III Essay 200 Marks
Papers IV & V General Studies (300 Marks for each paper) 600 Marks
Papers VI, VII, VIII & IX Any two subjects (each having 2 papers) to be selected from the 25 optional subjects (300 marks for each paper) 1200 Marks
Total Marks for Written Examination 2000 Marks
Interview Test 300 Marks
Grand Total 2300 Marks

Almost 1000 to 3000 candidates will be selected for the interview depending on the number of vacancies. The interview stage is the third and last stage of selection.

4) Who is the examination conducting authority ?

The examination is conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), Government of India. It is the top authority of government.

5) How many students apply for this examination, what is the passing percentage , what is the cutoff marks for the examination

It is expected that 0.3 million students will appear in the exam this year. Out of them around 10k to 15k will be selected for main exam and just 1000 to 3000 will reach to interview level.

6) Who is eligible for this exam?
The eligibility of the candidate is that the candidate must be Indian Citizen for the IAS, for other services they have given small relaxation; refer the government notification for more details.
Age – Candidate must complete 21 years and not more than 30 years on 1st August 2012. The upper age limit relaxation is given to schedule tribe people and some other. Please refer notification for details.
Education qualification – Candidate must hold a degree of any recognized university of UGC or posses equivalent degree.
Candidate can give examination four times (attempt) maximum.
Candidate should fit physically to appear for examination, so he/she needs to produce physical fitness certificate.

7) What salary one should expect once you are selected with grade pay in govt job ?

The selected candidate will be posted directly at the class one gazetted officer. The basic salary at entry point will be at Rs 15600-39100 basic with grade Pay Rs 5400. This is just basicpay, one has to add house rent (HRA), dearness allowance (DA) and other allowances. One can get many more perks over and above salary in IAS post. You are eligible for vehicle with driver, government house and many more. Also time bound promotion policy is there for advancement in career.

8) What is the basic eligibility for this examination?

As mentioned above the minimum graduation is required to appear the civil service examination from recognized university. Candidate who are appearing in final exam, are also eligible for examination, but they have to produce the passing certificate before the final examination which will going to conduct July/August. Candidate of medical science who has clear the final examination and doing internship, such candidate can appear for final examination during internship, provided he will produce the required documents.

9) What position - designation you will get after you are selected ?

The positions with clearing this examination are mainly administrative. The key posts are
1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
2. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
3. Indian Police Service
4. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’
5. Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
6. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’
7. Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
8. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’
9. Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
10. Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
11. Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
12. Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’
13. Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'
14. Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’
15. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’
16. Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
17. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’
18. Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. III)
19. Indian Corporate Law Service, Group "A"
20. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
21. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'
22. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'
23. Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'
24. Pondicherry Police Service, Group 'B'

10) Name of the few successful candidates who have cleared this exam ?

Meet toppers of IAS 2011
1st S. Divyadarshini
The Chennai based law graduate, S. Divyadarshni has topped the 2011 exam in her second attempt. The important words from her are that .... I want to work for society and fight corruption". She is middle-class girl, who completed her law degree from Chennai's School of Excellence in Law, affiliated to Dr Ambedkar Law University.
2nd Swetha Mohanty
She is Hyderabad based and graduate in BTech in Computer Sciences and Information Technology. She did graduation from Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology under Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University atHyderabad. She is the daughter of P.K. Mohanty, a 1979-batch IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre. Swetha got this rank in her third attempt.

3rd R.V. Varun Kumar
He is BDS (Bachelor in Dental Surgery) and from Tiruchirapalli, the son of a doctor. He believed that the strong foundation of school helped him to secure this position.

11) What is the paper patter of this exam?
As mentioned above the three stage of examination. Stage first is based on two paper and common for all candidates. The syllabus and paper style is discussed in question no-3.
The main exam pattern is very important. There are nine papers in main exam. Paper – 1 is Indian language. Candidate has to select one from 18 languages.
Paper-2 is English qualifying. The objective of the paper is to test the ability of candidate to read and understand and able to express various aspects in English language.
Paper -3 is easy. In this paper the candidate has to write detail on one subject. Here the choice of topic is very important.
Paper 4 and 5 General studies. Here the syllabus mainly include the Indian history, Indian constitution, geography, national issue, current topics, india and world, Indian economy, development in science and technology, international affair and statistical analysis.
Paper 6 to 9 – They are any two subjects and two papers of each subject. One has to select from 25 optional subjects. They are Agriculture , Animal husbandry and veterinary studies , Botany , Chemistry , Civil engineering , Commerce , Economics , Electrical engineering, Law , Geography , Geology , Indian History , Mathematics , Management , Mechanical Engineering , Medical science , Philosophy , Physics , Political Science , Psychology , Public Administration , Sociology , Statistics , Zoology and Anthropology.

12) What are the major books one can refer for this exam ?

The selection of books is different in different stage of examination. For the prelim examination or CSAT, the candidate should read reasoning and logical models, current news papers and magazines, keep in touch current affairs etc.
For main exams, students should read according to the subject selection.

13) What type of challenges are hidden in this examination ?

The challenges of the UPSC/ IAS examination are many like its long term affair, candidate should prepare for atlest three to five years. Best preparation should start from school age. Keep in touch with current affairs, Indian constitution and policy are key helpful for preparation. Also get mastery over English language and one local language. Your reasoning and logic is also important. Last important is your two subjects which you are selecting for main. The personality test is the personal interview. You should not forget many brilliant candidates failed to clear interview. So make yourself as all rounder personality.

14) What are the option subject one has to choose or have the option to choose for this examination?

Discussed in detail in question no 11
15) What is the number of attempts and candidate an student can give for this examination?

The students can appear four times for the examination. But for the other backward class and schedule trib can appear for seven attempts. Physically challenged candidate from general category can eligible for seven attempts but from other cast they can appear for as many as they want.

16) How much time is needed for an candidate to prepare for this examination?

It is best to start preparation form school time and continuous effort till get through the examinations. The reading and practice of first stage exam is key. Simultaneous keep preparing the second stage examination as consistent performer. This is simple key to success.

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