THE CHANGING TRENDS
In the year 2008, I met an aspirant who stayed in a rented accommodation in South Delhi and had been preparing for civil services for the past two years. In his third attempt he secured an all India rank of under 10. In his success party he confided candidly that the high scores he secured in the two optional subjects changed his life. He advised me that whenever I take to studying for civil services I must divert my energy from the general studies to the optional subjects. Four years later when I started studying for civil services the scenario had changed drastically and it has been in a constant evolutionary trend since then.
Gone are those days of two optional subjects and with it the requirement to study for 12 hours a day. No need to burn the midnight oil each day throughout the entire study period of around one year. UPSC now demands not hard working people but the smart working people. Students who work with a well-defined strategy, chalked out after observing the trend of examination have a higher chances to crack civil services. Those who blindly take to preparations without any previous thought to it may find clearing the civil services a Herculean task and may end up with negative results attempt after attempt, unless or until they realize their mistakes and take time bound corrective measure.
Dear friends, let me assure you that IQ won’t have a highly determining role in this preparation. UPSC doesn’t care whether your IQ score is greater than 150 or less than 100. In fact, contrary to the general belief, I must admit that civil service examination is an open game for mediocrities and average students, who also stands with considerable chances of winning. You don’t need to be a prodigy to crack civil services. Generally the ‘academically perfect people’ are found in various places except the civil services. So an aspirant must not, at the first instance, believe that he/she can’t crack the exam for the solemn reason of being academically not perfect at some point of time in their career or as a matter of fact, for most of the part of their career. Even the academically modest students can perform miracles if their energies are channelized into the right direction required for cracking this exam.
Another issue worth mentioning here is that while the total vacancies filled in through civil services exam is on a rise, the competitive toughness of the examination has also increased in the recent past. A deep recession during 2008-2009 has increased the number of students aspiring for government services for the associated security and stability it provides. Further, with the coming of CSAT examination in 2011, especially the paper 2, a bulk of aspirants was pulled towards the civil services preparations. What is more surprising and also a point of concern is that in the year 2013 there are around 700 exemptions from the foundation course – aspirants are far from being satisfied with what they have achieved in CSE 2013. The result – majority of successful candidates of 2013 had again appeared for civil services (preliminary) 2014 to improve their rank. This not only makes the competition more intense but also raises the question as to why IAS is undisputedly the most coveted service among all.
Another very recent phenomenon is the astonishingly high cut offs in the year 2015 for the common graduate level examination conducted for recruitment to group B services by SSC and this has huge effect on the morale of students preparing for both SSC and CSE. Dear friends just give it a thought for a moment. How can one excel and emerge victorious in this competitive scenario without a profound planning? An aspirant is like a boat in the vast ocean who has to battle the waves, find the direction scientifically and reach to the shore! And here comes the coaching institutes offering their ships to sail you through this pandemonium. On contrary, their ‘efforts’ create more chaos in the lives of aspirants. And therefore, it is not accidental that the current trend of preliminary as well as the mains examination is getting highly unpredictable. The UPSC just don’t want the aspirants to be ‘coached’ any longer! And the proof of this is in front of your eyes – look at the CSE 2014 preliminary paper and you will realize that no one can ‘teach’ you the subject for civil services in the contemporary times. How to ‘self-teach’ yourself is what this book teaches the aspirant. It is indeed better to learn the process of self-tutoring once rather than running from pillar to post for each and every subject.
The government, in its efforts to find a delicate balance between the conflicting interests and the aspirations of the Hindi and English medium students, between engineering and arts students and more or less between the urban and the rural India, has brought about continuous changes in the patter of examination, especially in CSAT. The present day pattern of preliminary examination is discussed in detail. This preliminary has created nuisance in the lives of many aspirants! The attached controversy and the views of various stakeholders have been taken into account to evolve the best suited strategy for the paper. The present day GS, asked in the preliminary as well as mains do not require pin-point knowledge of subject matter, but, in fact, a general broad understanding will serve the purpose. My dear aspirants, we have to keep up the pace with the changing trends in CSE. And that is exactly what this book makes you aware of and how to incorporate these changing demands of CSE into your preparations right from inception. With this note let us begin our journey of revelations into the fascinating world of civil services!