The UPSC Chairman made it clear on Nov 12, 2009 that the existing optionals in CSE Prelims would be substituted with a Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). Even among the much hyped heated discussions, I had warned the candidates that the decision will be implemented only after approval from the Union Cabinet.
In March, the Prime Minister has declared in Parliament that approval has been accorded by the Union Cabinet for the CSAT and that the changed pattern will be implemented from 2011 onwards. This was stated as a reply to a question by an MP.
The question was prompted by the fact that the UPSC has never shown the courtesy to make it clear whether the declared changes will take effect or not. The UPSC still keeps a mysterious silence as to what will be the nature of the CSAT. Many guess works are going on in the media. Often, the candidates themselves resort to the guessing game. With the available information, I would inform you that CSE Prelims will have two papers in future; (i) General Studies and (ii) Aptitude Test. The questions in the aptitude test will be designed to measure the ability of the candidates to take decisions on the basis of given facts and their psychological traits. I have advised some candidates to see MBA entrance exam papers (CAT, etc). The questions may not be exactly of the same nature. But, an intelligent candidate can understand what it is meant by an aptitude test; that is all. My personal opinion is that there is no need for the panic among the candidates. It is created only by the media hype. Consider the following facts:1. Prelims is only a qualifying exam. 2. Your aim should be getting through the Mains (written/interview).3. Start preparation for the Mains now. Cover the syllabus of Mains by the time the next notification comes out. Even if the nature of CSAT is made clear by the UPSC before that, never divert your attention towards that. 4. Begin preparation for the Prelims only in February. Four months’ preparation is more than enough for the Prelims.