UPPSC PCS Main exam to test aspirants’ awareness about Uttar Pradesh

Prayagraj: Aspirants and experts have welcomed the recent state cabinet decision to do away with two papers on an optional subject in the provincial civil service (mains) examination and replace it with two new papers on ‘awareness about Uttar Pradesh’.
At a recent cabinet meeting chaired by CM Yogi Adityanath, it was decided that in the Combined State/Upper Subordinate Services (Main) Examination, popularly known as PCS (Mains), instead of optional subject papers, two general knowledge papers would be introduced to test the aspirants’ knowledge about the state as they would be working here.
A senior official of the commission said, “The decision has been taken by the cabinet and is likely to be implemented in the next PCS (Mains) exams as we hope that the notification of the same would be issued in the coming days itself.”
As per the existing system, the PCS (Prelims) has two papers — the first one on general studies and the second one on aptitude. The aptitude test is of a qualifying nature but the GS paper decides the merit to qualify for the mains examination.
The PCS (mains) has 8 papers — first on language (which is qualifying in nature), second on the essay, and then comes four papers of general studies, which test the aspirants’ knowledge of history, geography, economics, political science, ethics, etc. Thereafter, the candidates have to appear in two papers based on their optional subjects. Now, these two papers will be replaced.
According to experts, the move would make things difficult for candidates who are preparing for both UP PCS and UPSC civil services examination as most use the PCS as a stepping stone for the civil services since both have the same format.
Now, the aspirants will have to prepare exclusively for the UP PCS, and those who were using this examination as a safeguard or merely as a preparatory step for the civil services, would drop out, they say, adding “it would increase the chances of the success of candidates having PCS as their first choice.”
“Now, aspirants will have to prepare separately for the UP special papers and many non-serious candidates, especially those from other states, may give it a skip,” said Naveen Pankaj, a well-known civil services coaching expert.
Avnish Pandey, the president of the Pratiyogi Chatra Sangharsh Samiti, a body representing the students preparing for competitive exams, said: “The biggest advantage of this change will be that it will get rid of the scaling/moderation aspect of PCS. This new decision is a welcome step and we believe now the result will be fairer than before.”
Over the past few years, the issues of scaling and moderation in the UPPSC mains examinations has remained a bone of contention. Scaling was introduced by the commission in 1996 to introduce parity between different subjects.
Scaling is the exercise of putting the marks which are the results of different scales adopted in various subjects by separate examiners into a common scale so as to permit comparison of ‘inter-se-merit (the order of merit). Through this exercise, the raw marks awarded by the examiner in different subjects are converted to a ‘score’ on a common scale by applying a statistical formula. The ‘raw marks’ when converted to a common scale are known as the ‘scaled marks’.
The scaling process, whereby raw marks in different subjects are adjusted to a common scale, is a method that officials claimed ensured uniformity among the candidates who have taken examinations in subjects as different as mathematics and history.

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