UPSC proposes to drop aptitude test from the civil services exams


  • The Union Public Services Commission wants to drop Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) from the preliminary examination.
  • UPSC is also seeking penalty on applicants for not appearing in the examination.
  • UPSC conducts civil services exam to select IAS, IPS, IFS officers among others.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts the Civil Services Examination every year, has proposed to remove the aptitude test. In its proposal to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), UPSC wants to charge a penalty on applicants for not appearing for the examination, The Print reported citing sources.

Aspirants who take the mandatory Civil Services Aptitude Exam (CSAT) have been complaining that it gives edge to applicants from English, Maths and Science streams over other candidates. CSAT assesses comprehension, communication skills, reasoning and analytical ability and problem solving skills.

‘Waste of Time’

The aptitude test or Paper II was rolled out in 2011 as a part of the selection process. However, in 2015, the Indian government changed the test to ‘qualifying’ test due to massive protests. Now, the candidates are only required to score a minimum passing percentage of 33% to qualify for the examination.

However, the selection in further rounds is based on the score of Paper I, which tests current affairs and general knowledge of the candidate.

According to an official from UPSC, the aptitude test is merely an add-on in the syllabus of the preliminary examination, and a “waste of time”.

Missing Candidates

The UPSC is also seeking penalty on absentees, to trim the gap between the candidates who apply for the test and those who actually appear for it. On an average, nearly a million candidates apply for the examination every year. However, merely half of them turn up to take the exam.

The UPSC CSE is conducted to select officers of the elite public services like Indian Administration Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS) and others. The examination includes three stages — prelims, mains and a personality test.

An IAS officer’s monthly compensation ranges from ₹47,250 for entry-level positions going up to ₹2,02,500 for high-profile roles like Cabinet Secretary, according to media reports.

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