What reforms would you suggest in the Civil Services Examination if you had a choice? - ForumIAS

What reforms would you suggest in the Civil Services Examination if you had a choice?

So now that the Mains is over, we can have this discussion. What reforms would you suggest in the CS Examination. Anyone who is writing this exam / preparing for this exam can pitch in?

I would specifically like your inputs on the kind of questions that are being asked recently/ 

ssver2,Darvey78and7 otherslike this
11.6k views

45 comments

Scrap it?

sonder,GaneshGaitondeand8 otherslike this
4.7k views
release the answer keys for prelims with the prelims result itself n not after one year..
OctagonalArcher,EiChanand12 otherslike this
4.6k views
1) To finish number of attempts and introduce only age limit criteria.

2) It becomes a test of speed and presentation rather than creativity... So 10, Twenty markers questions and 1 Fifty marker question in GS paper will be a good option.

3) Essay questions asked are good (welcome reform) though it has it's advantages and disadvantages.

4) Ethics paper should only contain case studies( 9 case studies, 5 of 30 marks, 4 of 25 marks.

5) If optional is so important then why compulsory language papers are not. So, both language papers should also be included in merit list.

6) Each question to contain contemporary as well as static section, to check wholesome knowledge.(Not to give edge to one's who focuses only on current or to one's who focuses more on static)

Darvey78,Hawk eyeand5 otherslike this
4.6k views

Scrap it?


GaryVee,chamomileand4 otherslike this
4.4k views

Hello sir. We are asking the right questions. 

Before I began listing them, I would like to clarify at the outset thatmy suggestions have their origin in my own experience.

  • With respect to the conduct of the exam itself- There is no level playing field here. The infrastructure provided varies drastically. I understand Prelims is for lakhs of people and it poses constraints. However, Mains is just for 10000 candidates approx. The commission could provide better infrastructure. My Mains'20 was in a school with dilapidated benches. This year it was in UPSC Bhavan. The best centre one could get for writing Mains. It doesn't matter in Prelims but Mains is a 5 day affair. It does affect performance. This kind of non-uniformity is seen in other aspects too likr the timeliness in paper distribution and collection. At some centres, students get papers 5-10 minutes earlier too due to poorly-informed invigilators. I guess it's difficult to achieve uniformity here unless the Commission decides to maintain their independent workforce to conduct the examination.

My ranting is over. 

Coming to the kind of questions that are being asked in Prelims. 

'Anything under the Sun' couldn't be more truer after seeing Prelims 2021 paper.

We are talking about the degree of randomness increasing every year. That's because UPSC fraternity trains in a specific manner on analytical aspects and not for factual, trivial GK questions that are being asked in PSCs and Banking exams.

However, this is a flawed strategy in my opinion. The exclusionary approach in our prelims strategy to focus only on analytical questions and not trivial GK is rendering us non-competitive in state PCS, RBI, NABARD etc. If UPSC doesn't work out, much of the time is wasted to start from the scratch for other exams. Many do not opt for such other exams due to this inertia of reading new and different things altogether that wouldn't help in UPSC.

But, only until now.

This year's prelims had many such out-of-the-box questions for those who are only preparing for UPSC until now. 3-4 of my friends who are preparing for state PCS (have earlier prepared for UPSC and are skipping or wasted their all attempts) found the paper moderate and scored 105-115 in this year's paper. Obviously, the sample size is very small but almost all of them said, it was the PCS preparation and doing topics like General Science, PYQs of State PCS helped them in Prelims 2021.

On the contrary, I found this year's prelims tougher than the ones I cleared in 2019 and 2020 because until now I've been invested in CSE preparation only.

If the Commission wants to carry on such a trend then, it is welcome. Atleast integrationist approach towards competitive exams will make it easier to pursue other exams if things don't work out in CSE.

I am not rooting for more randomness in paper but a tweak in our strategy so that it is in sync with other exams as well. Even with randomness, we will be ready. Traditional CSE questions will remain and trivial GK will be blended. It would still be difficult for 'only PCS/Banking' candidate who has not done CSE preparation to clear the paper. That's fair. 

In my opinion, coaching institutes should think about integrating UPSC CSE and State PCS exams in their approach.





EiChan,Villanelleand13 otherslike this
4.3k views
People of ranks till 300 should not be allowed to write the exam again. 
Darvey78,AzadHindFauzand3 otherslike this
4.4k views

For pre - Bring back CSAT. Release 1st pre answer keys right after 3-4 days of pre. Invite objection to 1st answer keys within 8 days and just before results of pre release final answer keys

For mains - Scrap optional papers 

For interview - Reduce the importance of interview.

OctagonalArcher,nerdslayer
4.1k views
@Sevpuri Not only till 300 Rank. If anyone has joined service through civil services exam, should not be allowed to sit again.

If anyone wants to sit, she/he should not join the service.


Titanium,manojreddy21041096and1 otherslike this
4.3k views
Separate exams for technical services...would not only weed out unnecessary competition but also bring specialization required in technical services..
OctagonalArcher,
4k views

End this exam. Recruit everyone at a much lower level. Clerical group C cadre and promote based on performance.

The entry level exam should have same difficulty level as ssc cgl with age limit of 23 years. Millions of students waste their energy preparing for this exam. Their most productive years are wasted. This can definitely be used in a more productive way.

Right now Class 1 officers get all the promotions and increments group B C & D get none of it. So basically nobody has any incentive to work and nobody actually works.

Don't say socioeconomic and India is not ready for it. If Chengez khan can make this system work, then so can we.

EiChan,
3.9k views

1) Focus more on the quality of main centres.

2) Integrate more services so that mains scores are more like JEE scores. Kuch na kuch to mile. My heart breaks when I see people with multiple interviews and no jobs.

3) Increase entry age to around 25.

GaneshGaitonde,Darvey78and14 otherslike this
4k views

1) Focus more on the quality of main centres.

2)Integrate more services so that mains scores are more like JEE scores. Kuch na kuch to mile. My heart breaks when I see people with multiple interviews and no jobs.

I think we had the same mains Centre so I agree on the first bit specifically. 😂

Anduin,Ghostwalker
3.8k views

End this exam. Recruit everyone at a much lower level. Clerical group C cadre and promote based on performance.

The entry level exam should have same difficulty level as ssc cgl with age limit of 23 years. Millions of students waste their energy preparing for this exam. Their most productive years are wasted. This can definitely be used in a more productive way.

Right now Class 1 officers get all the promotions and increments group B C & D get none of it. So basically nobody has any incentive to work and nobody actually works.

Don't say socioeconomic and India is not ready for it. If Chengez khan can make this system work, then so can we.

India is functional anarchy, the system Inherently chaotic and flawed though is apt for her people.. We do not realise the utility of this chaos until we enter the system ourselves. 

Waise bhi kaafi log willingly aate hai after spending some time in other field.. 

That is why imo 1-2 yr of workex must be mandatory prior to attempting civils exam

Denisovan2019,
3.7k views

Remove job Security from government exams . 

After that all problem are solved automatically. 

Tetsuko,EiChanand6 otherslike this
4k views

End this exam. Recruit everyone at a much lower level. Clerical group C cadre and promote based on performance.

The entry level exam should have same difficulty level as ssc cgl with age limit of 23 years. Millions of students waste their energy preparing for this exam. Their most productive years are wasted. This can definitely be used in a more productive way.

Right now Class 1 officers get all the promotions and increments group B C & D get none of it. So basically nobody has any incentive to work and nobody actually works.

Don't say socioeconomic and India is not ready for it. If Chengez khan can make this system work, then so can we.

India is functional anarchy, the system Inherently chaotic and flawed though is apt for her people.. We do not realise the utility of this chaos until we enter the system ourselves. 

Waise bhi kaafi log willingly aate hai after spending some time in other field.. 

That is why imo 1-2 yr of workex must be mandatory prior to attempting civils exam

Worked in every single country across space and time. Worked in every single private company. Whereas promoting people just for sticking around has failed every single time and at every place including in India. 

More money and promotions for hard work and less money for sloppy work works everywhere. It also creates an animal spirit among the employees to work hard and actually learn the work.

Speaking from within the system, currently 9 out of 10 people don't even learn about their jobs let alone doing their jobs.

3.7k views
Separate exam for Indian Foreign Service.
desertedfox,Villanelleand8 otherslike this
3.9k views

My Honest suggestions:-

1) Do away with CSAT ( bcz upsc is doing manmaani in answers of english and it is affecting both hindi and english medium aspirants.)

2) give prelims answer keys in a week ( aspirants k life ki keemat hoti hai, usko majaak mein 1 saal wait nhi karwaana chahiye in the name of impartiality and whatever reasons upsc has in the back of mind.)

3) do away with the optional paper 

( aspirants, teachers who have spent more than 3-4 yrs do understand ki kai baar kisi kisi subjects ki butchering hoti hai and it spans for 3-4 yrs)

4. If upsc insists, introduce 2 papers of adminstration covering syllabus of pol science, pub administration, sociology, philosophy,management or whatever is useful in day to day administration just like it introduced Ethics.

5. Interview marks should be reduced to 200.( else at times the leveraging power of a 20 minute test increases exponentially)

6. UPSC should not do dadagiri in prelims answers( should provide cogent reasons for a particular answer in case of doubts) and it must try to have questions which has a specific answer from its options.

chamomile,Nucleusand8 otherslike this
3.9k views
@ToyotaQualisYes please


ToyotaQualis,
3.6k views
1) To finish number of attempts and introduce only age limit criteria.

2) It becomes a test of speed and presentation rather than creativity... So 10, Twenty markers questions and 1 Fifty marker question in GS paper will be a good option.

3) Essay questions asked are good (welcome reform) though it has it's advantages and disadvantages.

4) Ethics paper should only contain case studies( 9 case studies, 5 of 30 marks, 4 of 25 marks.

5) If optional is so important then why compulsory language papers are not. So, both language papers should also be included in merit list.

6) Each question to contain contemporary as well as static section, to check wholesome knowledge.(Not to give edge to one's who focuses only on current or to one's who focuses more on static)

Amazing Recommendations!

Hawk eye,
3.5k views
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