New format will not only test knowledge but also skills to adapt to the situation, finds R. Ravikanth Reddy.
Those expected to change the society will face the real test of adapting to changes in a few days. The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) will be held on June 12 and lakhs of aspirants are getting ready to take the test that comes in a new format from this year. Given the intense competition and high stakes of candidates, who put in their precious time for preparation, they are concerned over the performance. Trainers, however, ask the candidates to see it as a challenge and gain confidence rather than worrying over the performance. They remind that the new format is same for everyone so that should not be a concern at all. “The new format will not only test knowledge but also skills to adapt to the situation,” says V. Gopala Krishna, Director of Brain Tree that trains IAS aspirants.
Since the number of questions has not been revealed by the UPSC, it is expected that Paper-I will have 150 questions. Paper-II, which is the latest introduction, could have 120 questions. Mr. Gopala Krishna says there could be sectional cut-offs in Paper-II. “Keeping this in view, they should answer all the sections. Certain sections like interpersonal relations and decision making could have differential marking.”
In the revised pattern, there are seven test areas in Paper -II. “The areas in Paper-I require a solid knowledge base. However, in Paper-II, the questions related to any of the seven test areas will test analytical, logical reasoning and conceptual abilities,” says Rajesh Saraf of TIME. The seven test areas are: Comprehension, Decision Making & Problem Solving, General Mental Ability, Basic Numeracy, Analytical Ability & Logical Reasoning, Interpersonal Skills including Communication Skills, English Language Comprehension Skills. The “Comprehension” passages may be of any length and based on any theme. According to Mr. Saraf, the “English Language Comprehension” passages and questions are expected to be simple as they would be attempted by all candidates, including those who are not familiar with English and may be answering the exam in Hindi. “Besides these, some other types of questions will include a short description of the situation where they will be asked to choose how they react in that situation.”
Paper-II will also have questions from various other topics like Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency. In Data Interpretation, one needs to read, understand and draw necessary inferences from the data as given in various charts like Tables, Pie charts and Line graphs. In Data Sufficiency, a statement would be given followed by two statements or three statements. Candidates have to identify which statement on its own is sufficient to answer the given question.
Mr. Gopala Krishna feels that those who have appeared for management tests like CAT are expected to fare well in Paper-II. So candidates should focus on Paper-1. He expects significant number of questions from environmental sciences. He reminds the aspirants that speed is not a factor in CSAT and questions will be information-oriented. Since there are no models to predict the pattern candidates can tackle it by staying fresh on the exam day. “No late nights before the exam and don't be stressed out.”
However, Mr. Saraf advises candidates to take more mock tests in the left over 12 days as they help candidates gauge their performance with other aspirants.