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FAQ's for UPSC Civil Service Exam

Students often have many doubts about the preparation for the UPSC exams. N number of questions crop in their mind before they think about the preparations of the Civil Service exam conducted by UPSC. We are trying answer here some of the frequently asked questions [FAQ's] on how to prepare for the UPSC exam.

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Q1. How many times one can take this exam?

Ans. Number of attempts: General Category- FOUR (4) OBC- SEVEN (7) SC/ST- No restriction

Q2. Is there any relaxation in number of attempts for physically handicapped?

Ans. Only physically handicapped candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories are eligible for relaxation in number of attempts provided to such categories.

Q3. Can a candidate who has completed his education from an open school/ University apply for Commission's Examination?

Ans. Yes. Candidates having pass bachelor degree from the UGC recognized University are eligible to write the exam. The minimum educational qualifications prescribed for the exam is a bachelor's degree.

Q4. Candidate belonging to a community included in the OBC list of states but not in the Central list of OBCs is eligible for age relaxation, reservation etc. for IAS exam?

Ans. No. Only candidates belonging to communities which are included in the Central list of OBC's are eligible.

Q5. Can a candidate choose an optional subject, which he has not studied at graduate/PG level?

Ans. Yes.

Q6. Is it, compulsory for a candidate to take the same optional subject in the Main Exam, which he had in the UG/PG level?

Ans. No.

Q7. If a candidate has applied for the Prelims Exam but has not appeared in the exam, will it be counted as an attempt?

Ans. No. An attempt is counted only if a candidate has appeared in at least one paper of the Prelim exam.

Q8. Is a candidate who has done his graduation without passing class X and class X11 is eligible for the Civil Service Examination?

Ans. Yes.

Q9. A candidate can write different papers of Mains Exam in different languages?

Ans. No, Candidates have the option to write their answers either in English or in any one of the languages mentioned in the Eighth schedule.

Q10. Can a candidate write the Mains Exam in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language?

Ans. Yes. The candidate can take the interview in any language mentioned in the Eighth schedule, the UPSC will arrange a translator of that language in the interview boad.

Q11. On what criterion the answer books of the written examination is sent for evaluation?

Ans. After the Mains exams, the answer books that are collected from different centers is brought to the UPSC office in New Delhi. The answers books are then first mixed and then reshuffled. After that computerized randomized fictitious code number is given to each answer-book. It is only when this process is over the answer books are being sent for evaluation.

Q12. Are answer books segregated/sorted based on community of the candidate?

Ans. NO. This is not done at any stage of the evaluation process.

Q13. It's likely that evaluation in mains exam may suffer due to 'strict' evaluation by a particular examiner, while those evaluated by a 'liberal' examiner may get benefited?

Ans. To achieve uniformity in evaluation, where more than one Examiner is involved, the UPSC arranges a meeting of the Head Examiner and the Additional Examiners. In the meeting the question paper and the appropriate answers is thoroughly discussed and the standard of evaluation is agreed upon. After the evaluation, the Head Examiner conducts a sample survey of the answer books of each Additional Examiner to verify whether the uniform standards of evaluation is actually have been followed. If the Examiner has correctly followed the standard decided upon in the meeting the Head Examiner then confirms the awards without any change. Else he may carry out upward / downward moderation as considered necessary to ensure maximum possible degree of uniformity in the evaluation process. In such way, inter-examiner variation in the standards of evaluation is taken care of adequately.

Q14. Wherever evaluation standards are set or moderation is applied, are these different for different mediums (languages) in which a particular subject/paper Examination is written?

Ans. No. The evaluation standards/moderation for a Paper are not medium-specific. In other words, if the Rules of the Exam provide that a Paper can be written in any recognized Indian language; then the medium in which a candidate writes the Paper will not be a factor in determining the evaluation standards or the moderation to be applied.

Q.15. Is it possible that evaluation/assessment could be affected by the knowledge of a candidate's identity?

Ans. No. Before evaluation, the Roll number written on every answer book is detached and computer-based randomized fictitious code number is given. At no stage of the evaluation process (including the moderation stage) is the actual Roll number or identity of the candidate is known to any of the Examiners or officials associated in the process.

Q.16. Can I know the 'question-wise' marks awarded to me for a paper?

Ans. No. The evaluation process does not end after initial evaluation by an Examiner. Moderation wherever applied is done on the total award initially given and not on each answers. Therefore, once the evaluation process is complete, neither 'raw marks' nor 'answer-wise' marks subsist. What matters at the end of the evaluation process is the candidate's total score in a paper. The final score is normally made available to the candidate on the Commission's website.

Q.17. In which Civil Services examinations, subject-wise/paper wise marks of each candidate are not made accessible or available?

Ans. Prelim Examination. This is because the Prelim exam is an elimination exercise to select candidates for the Main Examination. As such the scores obtained in this examination is not communicated to candidates.

Q.18. Can I know the marks of other candidates who took the Examination from the UPSC?

Ans. NO. The UPSC cannot reveal such information of those candidates who have qualified the Civil Services. This is because the commission sends the detailed results qualified candidates to the concerned Ministry/Department for further processing. So any queries pertaining to the results of the qualified candidates have to be addressed to the concerned Ministry/Department and not to the UPSC.

Q.19. If the overall marks of two or more candidates are equal, how is relative merit between such candidates decided?

Ans. 'Tie-breaking' principles are applied to decide inter se merit among candidates having the same overall marks. Candidate securing more marks in the Compulsory Papers and the Personality Test put together is to be ranked higher; In case where the marks mentioned at (i) above are equal, the candidate senior in age is to be ranked higher; and in case where the (i) and (ii) above are same, then the candidate getting more marks in the compulsory papers is to be ranked higher.

Q.20. It is often claimed that UPSC Civil Service Exams is too tough to crack by average students. Is it?

Ans. The Civil Services is the toughest exams not because of complex study material or syllabus but because the questions are based on the practical and dynamic current events. There are many tough exams in India but the syllabus of those exams is static. As a result it’s not necessary that toppers will get through this one. This means there is a good chance for non-toppers to crack it if they follow current affairs keenly.

Q.21. Many experts say IAS is for the strong hearted. Is it true?

Ans. If you think you are not strong and faint-hearted. Then don't worry, start preparing for the UPSC Prelims with willpower and confidence. Either join a civil aspirant group or an institute for support.

Q.22. To prepare for the IAS exam it is mandatory to stay in Delhi. Is it true?

Ans. Wrong. Most of those who qualify the civil service exams are no longer from Delhi. They come from even the remotest corners of India. It all depends upon how disciplined and focused you are.

Q.23. Is it necessary to have a strong command over English to clear the UPSC Exam?

Ans. Definitely No! But you must have decent communication skills in English. You are allowed to write UPSC exams in your mother tongue. But the essay paper is in English only.

Q.24. The IAS exam requires preparation for 20 hours every day for 365 days. Is this true?

Ans. No. Its more about what you read and how than the amount of time. If you have not cleared prelims before, Civilserviceindia.com strongly recommends you to devote at least 75 - 80 % of your preparation time in the last 6 months before Prelims (December – May) entirely on Prelims topics.

Q.25. What will happen if FIR is filed against a candidate ?

Ans. FIR is not hindrance for any candidate to write UPSC Exam. After the final selection, UPSC makes police verification about the candidate. Those clearing the verification alone will be selected. So the candidate must ensure the police case against him closed/ acquitted.

Q.26. A foreign graduation degree eligible for UPSC Exam ?

Ans. Degree (graduation) from any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature or University approved by University Grants Commission are alone considered valid and eligible for UPSC Exam.

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