Civil services exam preparation

Civil Services Exam Preparation

(A) Personality Traits

1.) Mental alertness
2.) interest in a variety of subject
3.) Good intellect in order to be able to tackle any subject or situation;
4.) Weigh and apply differing opinions from various people;
5.) leadership qualities;
6.) the ability to inspire others and to channelise available talent;
7.) tact and diplomacy; and, integrity
8.) Keen interest in current affairs
9.) Ability to work hard for long hours
10.) Willingness to be posted in small, sometimes semi-rural districts
11.) Diplomatic and tactful in handling superior and subordinates
12.) Sincere interest in social and government policies and the development of the nation

(B) Salaries

Starting salary is Rs. 13,000 per month (excluding other allowances).
1.) Allowances and facilities like healthcare, housing, conveyance etc. also make it a lucrative profession. Increments come with promotions every five years of so.
2.) Secretary/Cabinet Secretary: Rs. 26,000/30,000 (The above scales only provide an idea of the pay scales. Different branches of the service have different scales of pay).
3.) In addition to the salary civil servants receive various allowances such as Dearness Allowance, City compensatory Allowance, Leave Travel Allowance, Medical and subsidised housing.

(C) Study Routes
The minimum age requirement for appearing for the Civil Services Preliminary Examination is 21 and the upper age limit is 28 years. The minimum academic requirement is graduation in any discipline from a recognised Indian University or an equivalent academic qualification. All candidates are allowed four attempts. There is a relaxation for SC/ST candidates on the number of attempts, if they are otherwise eligible.

Entry into the IAS, IPS and the Central Services, Group A and Group B is through the All India Combined Competitive Examination for the Civil Services conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Entry into the State Civil Services is through a competitive examination conducted by every state public service commission.

The Combined Civil Services Exam
The UPSC conducts the combined Civil Services Exam in three phases: the preliminary exam, mains and interview or the personality test. The entire cycle well over a year to complete.

The preliminary exam

Notified in December, usually held on the second Sunday of the following June. Results are declared by the first week of August.Consist of two objective types multiple choice question papers. The first paper is on general studies and carries 150 marks. Questions include General Science, current events of national and international importance, history of India, world geography, Indian Politics and Economy, Indian national movement and general mental ability. You can study the NCERT related books for subjects where available and other reference material is also available.

The second paper, called ‘optional’ is on the (one) subject chosen by the candidate and carries 300 marks. Subjects to choose from include – Agriculture, Mathematics, Animal Husbandry & Vetinary Science, Mechanical Engineering, Botany, Medical Science, Chemistry, Philosophy, Civil Engineering, Physics, Commerce, Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Electrical Engineering, Public Administration, Geography, Sociology, Geology, Statistics, Indian History, Zoology, Law

Eliminates all those who are not serious or well prepared. The success rate in this exam is less than 10%.
The main exam

Held around November/December every year. Consists of eight papers carrying 300 marks each. Two are qualifying papers, one in English and the other in any recognized Indian language chosen by the candidate (options include – Marks obtained are not added in the total score. Third and fourth papers are on general studies and carry 600 marks.

Rest is on two optional subjects, carrying a total of 1200 marks. The options include – Agriculture, Management, Animal Husbandry & Vetinary Science, Mathematics, Anthropology, Mechanical Engineering, Botany, Medical Science, Chemistry, Philosophy, Civil Engineering, Physics, Commerce & Accountancy, Political Science & International Relations, Economics, Psychology, Electrical Engineering, Public Administration, Geography, Sociology, Geology, Statistics, Indian History, Zoology, and Law. And literature of Arabic, Gujarati, Manipuri, Sanskrit, Assamese, Hindi, Nepali, Sindhi, Bengali, Kannada, Oriya, Tamil, Chinese, Kashmiri, Pali, Telugu, English, Konkani, Persian, Urdu, French, Marathi, Punjabi, German, Malayalam, Russian.

The Results declared by February/March.
The interview or the personality test

Carries 250 marks and is held around April/May. Final results declared by June. Successful candidates are allotted services according to their ranks in the final list. Individual preferences of the candidates are also taken into account while allocation of service. It is helpful to try and choose the same optional subject for the prelim and the main exam. Subjects such as History, Sociology, Psychology and Public Administration etc are more highly scoring while subjects such as Maths, Physics and Engineering are considered to be slightly tougher.

The first fifty or so make it to the IAS, the most popular and preferred choice.
Statutory Warning: Anyone thinking of taking up civil service should have an idea how difficult it is to get in as lakhs of candidates apply for the 400 to 500 vacancies that may arise. So once you decide to appear in civil service exam, one should be prepared to slog endlessly.

(D) Application Procedure
UPSC have developed an application form common for all their examinations, which will be processed on computerized machines. The application form along with an Information Brochure containing general instructions for filling up the form, an acknowledgement card and an envelope for sending the application is obtainable from the designated Head Post Offices/ Post Offices throughout the country against a specified cash payment. Form should be purchased from the designated Post Offices only and not from any other agency. This form can be used only once and for only one examination.

Notification along with application forms for the civil service exam will appear in all the daily newspapers and the Rozgar Samachar/ Employment News by the end of December each year. Candidates must use only the supplied form and they should in no case use photocopy/ reproduction/ unauthorized printed copy of the Form. Since this form is electronically scannable, due care should be taken to fill up the application form, correctly.

The duly filled in application form and the acknowledgement card should then be mailed in the special envelope supplied with the Information Brochure to: Secretary, Union Public Service Commission, Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi-110 011.

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