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July 28, 2012

CSAT is changing, O , Indain Aspiring Souls !!!

Filed under: Inspira — Tags: , — Vivek R @ 2:04 AM


In case pattern changes in 2013

(There is a speculation that optional subjects might be removed and replaced by compulsory papers)


You must read our article on ‘Expected Changes in IAS Mains Exam‘ analytically and try to figure such subjects (or subject knowledge) which will retain their importance and prominence even in the revised pattern. For example your knowledge in General Studies, Public Ad, Pol Sc, Geography, Sociology, Economics, etc would not go waste even in the revised pattern. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time on acquiring knowledge (by learning such optional subjects) which you feel UPSC might not be interested to check/test you on in the revised pattern and the pattern changes, then you will end up wasting that much time.


How to prepare for Civil Services 2013 exam?
What and exactly how the Mains pattern will change in 2013 is unclear. UPSC is expected to announce the changes by or after September 2012. Till then, I suggest, you keep your focus on (start your preparation in) Prelims (GS and Aptitude) and Mains (General Studies and Essay writing) but do not focus on irrelevant optional subjects.


Level 1: Self study (laying foundation)
The basic guideline at the start of the preparations for both Preliminary and Main Examination is to read NCERT books on related subjects. There is no substitute for them. One should refrain in the beginning from reading guidebooks, as they load you with information, but with very little concept.


Reference material at Level 1
NCERT Books: Social Studies
• Civics: 6th – 10th standard
• Political Science: 11th and 12th standard
• Geography: 6th – 12th standard
• Sociology: 11th and 12th standard
• History: 6th – 12th standard
• Economics: 9th – 12th standard (latest edition)

NCERT Books: General Science
• Physics, Chemistry, Biology: 9th and 10th Standards


For Current Affairs and General Knowledge (make a habit of reading newspapers and magazines regularly and analytically. The events of National and International which effect human lives at large are important from General Studies point of view)

• The Hindu, Times of India, Frontline, The Economist, Pratiyogita Darpan


Level 2: Targeted Study (structured approach)
Once you get familiar with the basic concepts of General Studies, have refreshed your memory with basic knowledge acquired in various disciplines of Social Studies and General Science (in school), it is time for you to adopt a targeted and structured approach towards the Civil Services Exam. When you enter this level, you must start your preparation in at least General Studies (Mains and Prelims) + CSAT (or Aptitude test). The syllabus of General Studies of Preliminary and Mains stage is not different. Instead, the list of contents is more or less the same, only the pattern of questions asked is different. The Preliminary exam, which is objective type, requires careful scanning of option choices and arriving at the right answer choice (using the elimination technique) in the least possible time, whereas Mains exam requires you to write an analysis or a descriptive-essay type answer (based on the facts) for a question.


Therefore, you must start preparing for General Studies of both Preliminary and Mains together and in an integrated manner. Also, you must start preparing for Aptitude Test/CSAT alongside. This is because Aptitude test is a practice based paper and therefore you should spread the contents of this paper across the entire duration of General Studies preparation and practice them regularly.


Reference material at Level – II
At this level, you must follow:
For General Studies
• Rau’s IAS study material + focus on notes and lectures delivered in class + Substantiate this by going through the special editions of Pratiyogita Darpan in Geography, History, Indian Economics and Indian Polity.
• For Aptitude (CSAT)
Rau’s IAS study material+ Wren and Martin Grammar book

Be careful to what you might pick and study in the area of Aptitude testing from the market. The CSAT is an Aptitude Test modified to test the competency of a prospective IAS officer who ensures social justice and takes decisions under the shadow of ethics. All Aptitude Tests are modified Intelligence Tests (IQ Tests). Under the axiom that human intelligence is a function of two skills – Ability to express thoughts better and understand what others have to convey, and Cognitive Ability, all aptitude tests check for Verbal and Numerical Ability, with a smattering of Reasoning questions.
Apart from this CSAT, being a test of recruitment to Civil Services, will test whether a candidate can handle the kind of Decision Making under the shadow of Ethics that an ideal IAS is capable of.


For Current Affairs and General Knowledge
• You must make a regular habit of writing at least one page on current affairs and contemporary events, issues and affairs every day, of what you observe from newspapers/news, magazine, etc. Besides regularly reading Frontline and Pratiyogita Darpan you must refer to Manorama Year Book + India Year Book (GoI).


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  1. thanks for the detail account of ias exams. I am aspirant and being preparing for ias general studies and csat prelims exams @ http://www.wiziq.com/course/119-ias-general-studies-prelimnary-course was looking for such valuable information. Thanks again

    Comment by rizzi — October 22, 2012 @ 1:38 PM

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