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Civil Services Prelims exam replaced by Aptitude Test from 2011


New Delhi: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has decided to overhaul the civil services examination from next year, as the aspirants are likely to face a different pattern of examination.

Replacing the existing preliminary examination which shortlisted candidates for the main exam, it will now be replaced with Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), in which they will have to appear in two objective-type papers having special emphasis on testing their ‘aptitude for civil services’ as well as on ‘ethical and moral dimension of decision-making.’

Both these papers will be given equal weightage and will substitute the one common paper (general awareness) and one optional paper (any particular subject of choice) which emphasized on subject knowledge.

The change, as of now, will be effective only for the first stage of the Civil Services Examination (CSE) from next year onwards while the consequent stages, which are the CS (Main) Examination and interview, are unlikely to change until a committee of experts goes into various aspects of the entire system and submits its report.

“With regard to the CSE, the Prime Minister has approved the proposal for introduction of CSAT in place of the existing Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination,” said the minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Prithviraj Chavan in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

“The CSAT is expected to come into effect from CSE, 2011,” it added.

The UPSC which conducts CSE every year to select candidates for privileged all-India services, including IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS and others Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ central jobs, had sent a proposal to this effect to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last year.

“Various committees including the second Administrative Reforms Commission, in their reports submitted over the years suggested the changes and laid greater emphasis on the ‘aptitude’ of candidates than their knowledge of a subject,” said the officials.

The committees argued that specialists or experts in any particular subject might not necessarily be good civil servants.

Commenting on the introduction of CSAT in the recruitment process, the official said that, “Since all candidates will have to attempt common papers, the new system will be a field leveler unlike the existing format providing only one common paper.”

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