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UPSC wants govt to remove mandatory aptitude test from civil service exam

CSAT or Paper II, introduced in 2011, has led to protests by some aspirants, who say it gives an advantage to those with English, maths & science backgrounds.

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New Delhi: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) wants the government to do away with the mandatory aptitude test in the civil services exam, which tests candidates’ comprehension, communication and decision-making skills, ThePrint has learned.

In its vision document shared with the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in June, the UPSC has proposed removing the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), and bringing in a penalty for widespread absenteeism from the exam, sources in the commission said.

The CSAT or Paper II, which was introduced in 2011, has resulted in widespread protests by some aspirants, who say it gives an advantage to those with English, maths and science backgrounds.

UPSC secretary Rakesh Gupta did not respond to ThePrint’s queries for this report.

Also read: New IAS, IPS, IFS officers to now attend combined workshops at Statue of Unity in Gujarat

Why CSAT is controversial

Paper I of the civil service exam tests candidates on issues such as current affairs, history, economics, environment, etc. Paper II, the CSAT, seeks to evaluate the candidate on their aptitude by testing them in areas of comprehension, decision-making, reasoning, basic math, etc.

However, the CSAT faced massive protests for putting candidates at a disadvantage, because of which the government decided to make this part of the exam only ‘qualifying’ in nature in 2015. Now, only the marks scored in Paper I are used for selecting candidates for the second round; however, it is necessary to score 33 per cent in Paper II to qualify.

Candidates who appeared for the CSAT between 2011 and 2015 are still protesting, believing they were put at a disadvantage.

The UPSC is of the view that students who perform well in Paper I invariably perform well in Paper II as well, an official said. “Candidates end up wasting time in preparing for this exam, and it doesn’t really serve a purpose,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

However, a young IAS officer, who did not wish to be named, said that the CSAT is important to evaluate skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, leadership etc., which are key to being a successful civil servant. “It has its problems, but it also tests you on certain things that the regular exam does not,” the officer said.

Penalty to tackle absenteeism

Additionally, the commission has also proposed that the government ensure that there is some penalty for widespread absenteeism from the civil service exam, the UPSC official quoted above said.

Earlier this year, ThePrint had reported that the UPSC wanted the government to consider any application to the civil service exam as an ‘attempt’, and it is learnt that the proposal has been sent to the government again.

The UPSC believes cracking down on absenteeism would ease the strain on its resources, because about 10 lakh candidates apply every year for the civil service exam on average, but only half of them actually attempt it.

Also read: IAS officers shouldn’t fear us, we’re here only to help, say lateral entrants


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  1. The news on aptitude tests being removed from Civil Service Exam has been prevailing for a while but thanks to you Sanya, we readers got a detailed explanation and clarity on the reasons behind this proposal. Your style of writing and your command over the subject is commendable.

  2. Sanya Madam, Kindly check if UPSc will give an extra compensatory attempt to us aspirants. Please, we who are not living in Delhi are not able to follow up on this.

  3. We, lakhs of aspirants have been protesting for the same cause since 2015 …Atleast now upsc has accepted it’s blunder..

    • Being a medical students I myself have faced the problem ,twice written the mains and faced the interview once I am not able to clear the preliminary exam just because of this fucking CSAT after the change of pattern .
      The problem with this paper is time management as far as the students from science and non mathematics backgrounds are concerned and over the period of time the level of difficulty have tremendously increased .
      It would be a welcome step …

  4. How can you check a school or college if you don’t know basic maths and English. A student from science can prepare history geography polity n all humanities and art subjects but a student from art and humanity can’t prepare English and maths… What a shit

    • I’m with you bro cause how can IAS IPS IRS IFS officers who are highly respectable in the society do not know anything about maths science which is very crucial in our life on Earth.

  5. Mathematics and aptitude is necessary because it gives help to analyst anything.
    Develop ability, if you can’t deal with mathematical portion then it turns into weakness, because all the world build with great mathematics

  6. In my viewpoint,aptituy test becomes very important to become a good leader.nit only civil helps in analytical thinking and sorting out things in a proper,one should be well qualified in this exam.

  7. administration means by what?
    I give the example : one Engineer?Doctor/Scientist get some calculation about their work and documented and pass on to the govt, but govt has some problem with the documented, Here what by a administrative officer can do? i will explain …as a administrator have the knowledge enough to take the FINAL FIGURES the documented, take in to consideration which is not affect to other departments or organisations works. it clearly shows that no need to going the engineering calculations and that much of stuff to administrative officer.

  8. The UPSC keep experimenting with the exams. But there is perhaps no fool-proof mechanism to eradicate bias and prejudice.
    In the first ever examinations to recruit personnel for IAS and Central Services was conducted in 1950 after the new Indian Constitution came into being.
    And the topper was a scheduled caste in written examinations with about 58% marks. In viva voce, however, he was awarded 110 out of 300 and place at 48th position in the meritlist— the last man declared qualified.
    A Bengali, he served in the UP cadre and did not rise above Additional Secretary to Central Government.
    The sad case, carried by Mainstream in 1993 , can be glanced at link below:

  9. But qualifying marks for csat is only 66…I mean I am an average student but I can do math🤣🤣🤣🤣 come on guys u are preparing for civil services and u can’t do simple maths and reasoning…even though I am weak in maths…but I will never be in favour of removal of aptitude…I think this shows ur attitude towards examination .

  10. Simply qualifying CSAT paper can not test candidates ability to take appropriate and quick decision. During training programme such aptitude related aspects could be easily tested once the candidate is selected by the UPSC.
    UPSC should reintroduce optional subject in prelims level by making General Studies paper qualifying with 50% marks.
    This ll give level playing field to candidates from all streams. You may or may not like my opinion but yes it can be one of the solution for ongoing issues of aspirants.

  11. For now the pattern doesn’t need any changes. The only change thats seems appropriate is making the examination online and giving an option to candidates to pursue the exam either in English or any language of 8th schedule. There must be option for non hindi background candidates too.
    The people who are protesting for CSAT will always be pessimist. They will attempt the exam alongwith their son or daughter. These people will continue acquiring space in Mukherjee Nagar and ORN, will voluntarily opt out of any other employment opportunity and still grill the government over unemployment. Their participation in the economy is zero and even if they become IPS at the age of 50, they will tell their subordinates not to register FIR simply because they don’t want to work.

  12. I don’t understand the logic behind discontinuing with CSAT.. actually Paper I should be revised and the questions relating to history, geography, etc. which has nothing to do in the work field of the civil service should be decreased to minimum
    Also, how can they say that students who’ve studied maths and all are at advantage???? What about the arts students who are at far greater advantage when it comes to Paper I ?? plus, CSAT is only of qualifying nature where as Paper I is what seems to matter more.. so I personally feel thats we (who aren’t from humanities background) are at greater disadvantage.

    • how can you say history, geography is unimportant? its very important in the understanding of india

  13. Read the above comments and you’ll know the saying ” Whenever someone rises up in this world for something right there’s gonna be some a-hole that’ll pull them down.” Is indeed true.
    The people who’re advocating this clearly discriminatory and redundant exam are the very people who’re prolly the beneficiaries of this ordeal. In NO way such a paper tests one’s ‘leadership qualities/skills’ rather is only advantageous to the ones with quantitative/logical reasoning aptitude and mathematical background. UPSC is supposed to select ‘CIVIL SERVANTS’ and NOT people simply with engineering/commerce aptitude. And as far as English proficiency is concerned, the candidates anyhow will have to face the English Language paper in MAINS, hence it is already compensated for. How certain people are defending it solely for self-profit is pathetic and appalling.
    In the end you ought to know, the more primitive your mentality is the more you resist change. And this change cum Justice , SHALL HAPPEN!

    • People should think that the cutoff is only 67 for CSAT… So in 80 questions suppose a candidate answers only 38 questions out of which only 30 are correct and 8 are wrong then also he/she will sail through.
      Implies the score is 75-6.66=68.33/200.
      People should work upon themselves while preparing for an exam like UPSC CSE…

  14. Penalty in kind of considering application submit an attempt will not achieve the purpose because it will only threaten the serious aspirants as non-serious oone will submit their applications even though you consider them as attempts …makes no difference…..better to increase fee to discourage the non-serious candidates

  15. CSAT should be removed from CSE. Bcoz its not compulsory those who crack this exam only they have ability of problem solving. There are lot of students with having week background in math and due to this they are not able to perform there skills.

  16. So people can study for GS but cannot do simple math and english? And they want to become IAS ? Wow logic.
    Also CSE is not just about IAS, there are many services like IRS, IA&AS, etc. where knowing basic maths is clearly a necessity.

    The fact that it is only a qualifying paper now is enough. All you need to score is 67 marks out of 200 containing both math and english yet people still complain about it. Also the math level is pretty much upto what a student learns uptil class 10.

    Also Ssc cgl quantitative aptitude in Tier 2 is way more competitive than upsc csat papers. Does that mean cgl is only for those who took science or commerce stream? Get ur brains working out.

    So you consider yourself to be a person with high intellectual by competing in CSE but cannot do simple math and english? Pretty much sums up your calibre.

    Also science or commerce students need to study things which they didn’t since class 11 and they end up learning and clearing the exam. If they can do that then why can’t the student from Arts do the opposite? That dumb?

  17. Its not necessary to avail this paper in this tough examination bcoz preparation for this paper is just waste of time, ND secondly how this officer said that its make a candidate a key to being a successful civil servant? Holy shit….

  18. I think UPSC conducting Regional language exam in mains is as useless as CSAT. Do you agree ?

  19. PAPER 2 Must be there.. Any officer should know to tackle problems and to take decision on his own.. Probably decision making and problem solving problems help to tackle that. One should not only prepare on exam perspective. But also , should do it as a daily habit. As a aspirant I am practicing it daily makes it easy to take decisions in real life.

  20. मुसलमानो को इस परीक्षा में नहीं बैठने देना चाहिए । पाकिस्तान मांगा था सो वहाँ जाकर परीक्षा दे । ये देश हिंदूओ का है

    • Are you a Sanghi Moron? or an unemployed uneducated youth who was decieved by his Prime Moron in last 5 years? or you want Muslims to stop breathing oxygen which is i think is non-hindu thing.

  21. Csat discontinue करना, मतलब अपने 🍴🍴🍴🍴को फ़ायदा पहुँचाना

  22. Wow, no wonder UPSC is so ineffective. They don’t have the paper of what a person is actually going to do, they have numerous and irrelevant subjects that one will never use in their work life and now they don’t want candidates who possess a decent IQ.
    IAS has become a *all eat, do nothing* job in which art students to get a shot want to even take away basic intelligence test that is used everywhere in the world.

  23. The officers who have tried to bring csat are those who themselves didnt give it..ots was easy for them to clear without csat but now being seniors or influential people they qant csat for better i think that if they didnt it then the whole bunch coming before 2011 are not capable am i right?

  24. Why is it so that we just want to settle with something that is not challenging? And we can call this reform? Like really? Someone who is an IaS aspirant cant afford to clear a basic reasoning aptitude test with minimum passing marks, and selecting such candidate is fine with us? Joke?
    CSAT is a general exam, basic, even an non science or math background person with one year of daily practise can clear it, there is no rocket science involve in it. As much as 35 questions are straight from comprehension, someone who is regular with newspapers can get 90% of them correct, rest maths is quite average, and reasoning is your presence of mind. How can an officer deal with situations, documents if his fir thing is the denial of this exam. Extremely disappointing, then welcome rote learners.

  25. Arts students study subjects that are important for GS-1.But not only arts students but students of science,engineering and other streams too appear for the exam.They find the subjects tough a bit than arts students but we have to study them to crack the exam.So instead of making excuses we should stick to the pattern and prepare in that manner.

  26. Csat should be remain mandatory. I don’t think it’s good to remove the paper 2 since it’s only qualifying in nature as we need to have some basic ideas of aptitude and English as well. If students from medical n engineering background can study history, civics, geography, political science n economics then why students from arts background could not have the basics of maths, science n english.?

  27. I do not understand the requirement to be fair!! It is an euphemism for dumbing down the examination. I think the hiring organisation has to lay down the job requirements and then test whether the candidates meet those requirements. Should the applicants agitate to get an easy set of examinations.

  28. upsc aspirant should be aquinted with the paper csat ll otherwise problem will arise for deciphering various government documents.

  29. I don’t understand why people preparing for the UPSC(India’s top level) exam have any problem with the CSAT exam.
    It may be more easy for the science and mathematics background students but a person who wants to be an IAS/IPS/IFS officer should be a multi talented one. He should have basic knowledge of anything around him. If he can’t solve the basic CSAT exam then how he will handle the problems that will arise during his/her tenure as an official.
    Some people say it is just a waste of time but then everyone in this world has his/her own perspective. If CSAT exam is easy for Science stream students, then I will say the paper 1 or general studies paper is more easy for the Arts stream students because they had studied the subjects before in their school time and during graduation/college as compared to Science stream students.

  30. Reading the above comments I was forced to write in short that CSAT was nothing but Colonial Servant’s Aptitude Test.

    The reason why CSAT must go-
    1) It ruined the life of almost 5 lakh rural, regional medium humanities hard working aspirants.

    2) It gave undue advantage to IIT, IIM guys during 2011-15 as they were able to score nearly 198/200 in CSAT paper because of hell lot spending by govt on their institutions.

    3) Hindi/vernacular medium/ Rural aspirants were given google translated version of comprehensions which was a total nonsense and foulplay to demean them. Remind you that comprehension weighs half of the marks.

    4) Hindi/vernacular medium/ Rural aspirants never complained about the toughness of reasoning/mathematics section in paper, actually it was the poor and faulty comprehension and translated questions which had taken more time to comprehend as compared to english medium guys.

    5) Since the introduction of CSAT the percentage of Hindi medium dipped to 2% from 60% and English medium selection surged to 85% (UPSC 64, 65 annual report).

    6) UPSC is to recruit IAS/IPS to serve the society and not Managers ( as some guys are claiming CSAT should be there for checking aptitude like bank, iim others) to manage society like a company or bank. Sentiments connect people to people on ground and not your reasoning, mathematics & colonial english knowledge.

    7) Nigvekar Committee report(appointed by govt) accepted that CSAT was discriminatory in nature and IIM/IIT guys are in advantage.

    8) DoPT min in a PIB release accepted it’s discriminatory nature and made it qualifying by 2015.

    9) Aspirants who were subjected to face experiment of this biased, colonial, Macaulay followers given CSAT system are still moving pillar to post to get compensated by providing atleast 3 attempts. They were treated like Guinea Pig.

    Will anyone return back their valuable lost years?

  31. I really don’t understand if CSAT is the only qualifying nature of exam then why UPSC is giving 27 paragraph for 28 comprehension questions. it is actually time vesting for students. They can focus on other subjects in that previous time which they are loosing in reading those paragraphs at exam centre.

  32. One civil servants should know India’s and world’s culture history geography and polity no matter whether he or she is a science background or a arts one. I believe IAS IPS or any other have nothing to do with calculation and they are policy makers and implications look afters.csat is a paper which doesn’t actually proves a human decision making power its just ratio proportion which have nothing to do with humans aptitute or does a csat paper says that one who achieve higher marks in it being a science student have a greater quality decisions than a arts student with minimal marks .guys i hope you should think on this inspite of saying we want quality officers.officers are someone who give there enough time and hardship to achieve it and wasting preparing csat paper doesn’t prove them great officers

    • Is it really that much of a stretch to expect an IAS officer to have the ability to read Understand and basic maths.

      Also aptitude based questions have a direct co relation with decision making skills in numerous this happens to be a well researched reviewed and accepted method all over the world

  33. 1) This is just qualifying nature. This should not be a problem considering the aspirants are aspiring to work in the highest sector of public service including foreign services.
    2) If level playing field is in question then it is not due appropriate to only provide questions in English and Hindi. It should be provided in other 21 languages mentioned in the constitution as some of the aspirants neither belong to Hindi speaking states nor they studied in English medium schools.
    3) Every board be it state board or CBSE or ICSE etc has atleast one subject in English. Other questions in csat are printed in Hindi and English.
    These things should be kept in mind.

  34. If you want to create a level playing field then take out the optional paper. As some optionals are yielding more marks then others.

  35. As one of the IAS officer himself has rightly responded, CSAT is equally important as the administrators have to solve myriad of day to day problems. This is possible only if he/she has the requisite aptitude. Many other competitive exams like Bank POs, IIM entrance tests, etc conducts these tests to select the right persons for the job. For our civil servants being considered as heavenly born, these tests will not pose any problem at all. UPSC should not yield for the tactics of few lethargic aspirants.

  36. I don’t understand why some group of students are so scared of csat knowing that upsc conducts one of the toughest exam in India for selecting one of the finest officers to serve the country. If Engineering student don’t have problem preparing for history, geography, polity than why rest of the group have problem to prepare for csat. Csat shouldn’t be removed.

  37. The top most requirement for the aspirants of serving the country should be the incorruptibility index. Does CSAT test the incorruptibility index? I am not sure. It’s unlikely that Congress wanted incorruptible civil servants. Unless incorruptibility is not tested, testing rational behavior is meaningless. Look into the real life situations. For whom it’s easy to take decisions. It’s the corrupt ones as for them the purpose and objective are crystal clear i.e. to take decision that gives them monetary benefits. For incorruptible officers decision making is a tough task because arguments from all sides may have compelling reasons. Only good people have the dilemma. the bad ones done have. Therefore testing decision making capability is without a context is a futile exercise. The context should not be polluted from the imported western concepts. Indian value system should shape the context.

  38. Thanks Divyanshu for considering the real concern .It is unnecessary burden on poor guys from rural background and humble education . Aptitude doesn’t mean maths and reasoning . Real civil service aptitude questions have not been asked so far. It is a privilege to those convent educated or from best institutions like iits and iims. Those who commented above in English language mocking poor guys from humble background are such people considering themselves the best on the ground of English language. It is really unfortunate in country like India where diversity and plurality exists but civil servants are being chosen from a single vase.

  39. I believe CSAT has nothing to do with a person’s attitude and which is more required than aptitude.
    The level of mathematics asked is really frustrating. It’s argued by some that, CSAT has basic maths, but it may seem basic only to those who are very good in mathematics. There are other lots of examination like SSC which favours mathematics. Arts students find it extremely hard. It’s in fact unfair also. CSAT should be scrapped to make CSE a fair and quality examination. Please Give some mercy for he Humanities also.

      • So people can study for GS but cannot do simple math and english? And they want to become IAS ? Wow logic.
        Also CSE is not just about IAS, there are many services like IRS, IA&AS, etc. where knowing basic maths is clearly a necessity.

        The fact that it is only a qualifying paper now is enough. All you need to score is 67 marks out of 200 containing both math and english yet people still complain about it. Also the math level is pretty much upto what a student learns uptil class 10.

        Also Ssc cgl quantitative aptitude in Tier 2 is way more competitive than upsc csat papers. Does that mean cgl is only for those who took science or commerce stream? Get ur brains working out.

    • Instead of begging…… even if aspirants practice for 45 mins every day for CSAT, the worst of a math student can clear the cutoff of 67/200. What people lack is determination to work upon themselves and taking to roads for elimination of CSAT. So pathetic!

  40. Civil services is respectful job.Its dignity should not be brought down by making the paper easy.Those who want to do service for the nation they should not be scared of such paper.

    • Job of civil servant is not of calculation .It is a job of understanding and empathy . Definition of administration has changed . It is time for new administration .complete dedication towards the welfare of the people is the need of hour.

  41. Those who are opposing it by saying that science students get advantage then what about arts students who take history geography civics..
    And anyway these tests are 10th class based test and also test your decision making ability.. if you’re not able to do so then you don’t deserve to get those positions..
    ONLY quality students should be there..
    Who are good at everything..

    • A civil servant needs to understand the history polity and geography of the nation to understand the real concern of the people. Mathematics and reasoning is not the real aptitude test . Anybody can be good on anything but requires time and money to invest. Poor guys from country side didn’t receive such education as you people or privileged persons like you and others commented abo
      ve. Upsc must do away with test like csat to do a natural justice.figures of success in upsc have shown fairly the reality…..I am also one of them. I qualified the exam every time with good margin in G S but failed in cast.

  42. I think Reasoning and aptitude level should rise to more difficult level. Because we want our officer to be as talented as to run the country, not to be a politician. Because some people can’t clear it they are protesting. I can name many people who are from poor and regional language backgrounds, still cleared the exam.

  43. If A person doesn’t know about simple english, math, reasoning.He can’t claim that he should be appointed as IAS and IPS officer because many documents, now days, written in English, as honorable supreme Court’s and other high courts decision as well as parliamentary bills also are in English. At least if anyone wants be an IAS and IPS officer they will have to know a little about in English and hindi as UPSC demands in its paper.

  44. I don’t think it’s good to remove the paper 2 since it’s only qualifying in nature as we need to have some basic ideas of aptitude and English as well. I could suggest to lessen the difficulty level of the paper considering the interest of those who are protesting.

  45. CSAT should be mandatory. When the ‘english science maths’ students can study subjects like history polity ethics geography, then why can’t others qualify a simple aptitude test paper? They also want to do away with the Essay paper. Seriously? it’s better they try state civil services examinations and not ruin the UPSC CSE

  46. No, CSAT should remain mandatory to qualify. We can’t afford administrators who are so poor in their aptitude.

    • It is unnecessary and a waste of time & resources, & now its toughness has been increased considerably from previous years. Being from a science/math background, I can attest to that & genuinely feel for the guys who don’t come from the science/math background. It’s an added burden on them which helps them in no way possible.

        • Are you the same Satyapal Singh who, after clearing the Civil Service Exam joined the IPS and continued to get promotions till retirement and then became a minister but who didn’t know how human beings evolved from apes? Then your comments are very valuable.

          • No dear I am not same person as you referred .But for your kind knowledge let me tell you that humans really did not evolve from apes.The theory of Homo erectus and homosapiens has proved wrong …..Please refer to srijan talks ….

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