IAS Gyan



1st September, 2021 Miscellaneous

Candidates study with all heart and everything they possibly can but still are not able to fulfill their dream. Why does this happen? If one is aware what the exam expects from them, then they can attune accordingly and achieve success. It is very important for one to know that how UPSC will assess aspirants, from diverse backgrounds, for everything that is required in a civil servant, through this exam. Just like one checks a pot by moving it around the fingers similarly UPSC assesses an aspirant’s mind, thought and character by its three-tiered exam pattern.


Let us learn ‘what’ and ‘why’ UPSC expects from a candidate at each stage of the examination….


PRELIMS: Through this stage the following qualities are assessed.

  • CLARITY OF MIND: A civil servant entrusted with the responsibility of the society should have a mind which is very clear on its thoughts to take a just and lucid decision. Similarly, mind should be strong and solid enough to be able to withstand stress and answer the questions in a balanced manner.
  • SPEED: An administrator has to take big decisions and that too immediately.
  • DECISION MAKING: An administrator’s success depends on how many correct decisions he could take in his life as they affect the country and its people.
  • MEMORY: should be able to sort out what it requires even in the foggiest situations.
  • FOCUS: Concentration is a forte of an administrator’s mind.
  • AWARENESS: civil servant should be aware of the times, its requirements and the technology and means available, to make a good decision. Civil servant is expected to observe things that happen around you and retain them. Undoubtedly, such a mind would have a store of information and knowledge that he could use as raw material while taking a decision. Such a mind would be rational, continuously working and progressive.


Similarly, one should be aware of the differences between each tier of the exam. This will help them help approach preparation in a scientific manner and mould their brain and personality accordingly.


MAINS:  Notification says that, ‘The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. ‘Mains’ assesses the quality of thoughts and content of one’s mind. These will enter subconsciously into one’s answer sheets. Through this stage the following qualities are assessed.

  • ANALYTICAL ABILITY: The assay mark of a good mind is that it can better analyse things, such a mind is more productive. Administrators need to have such minds.
  • NOVELTY: Societal change is brought about when someone decides to do something new. Doing something new is the contribution of an administrator to the society and the country. If he is unable to do so, he is simply confined to the role of the manager of organising things.
  • PROFICIENCY IN EXPRESSION/LANGUAGE AND PRESENTATION: Just like a bee has to suck nectar from many flowers to create honey, similarly, aspirant while writing answers for mains collects his wisdom from many sources. An administrator has to deal with all kinds of people. If one lacks proficiency in language they will not be able to govern people effectively.
  • SUCCINCTNESS: Civil servant has to orally inform superiors about many things every day. They will also have to submit files with comments. Too much talk and long comments are signs of a weak mind. A man with brevity is considered to be an able administrator.
  • ETHICS, APTITUDE AND INTEGRITY: it is no rocket science that why a civil servant should be ethical, should have strong aptitude and should be a person of high integrity.



Notification says that, ‘The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity. It is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth’.


The above mentioned facts can be summarized as below:


Similarly some traits of a civil servant are:

UPSC CSE preparation is not just about rot learning. It is a psychological journey- one needs to be mentally prepared. If one understands these facts, one’s strategy and approach to this examination will change for the better.