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Amidst all the hullabaloo over the change in pattern of Civil Services Aptitude Test (C-SAT) paper, the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) preliminary examination was conducted peacefully across 40 centres here on Sunday.
Candidates from the region were relatively unperturbed by the recent change involving the exclusion of the English comprehension passage, which included six questions, and no incident of protest was reported from any of the centres.
“We were well versed with the change, and the exam invigilators also announced in class that we are not supposed to attempt the six questions in Paper-II,” said one of the candidates, Soni Yadav.
Various organisations and pressure groups, including the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and National Students Union of India (NSUI), had earlier led protests to demand scrapping of the C-SAT paper (Paper-II), terming it ‘discriminatory’ towards candidates from Hindi background.
As a result of which, it was announced on August 4 that marks of the English section questions in Paper II would not be included preparing merit, much to the satisfaction of protesting organisations.
“The paper was okay, not so tough,” said Kiranpreet Kaur, a commerce student and a candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib, adding that the exclusion of the English comprehension passage did not affect the overall paper much. “But I think I would have scored a little more had those six questions been included,” she smiled.
Dr Shiv, a dentist from Panipat who also appeared for the paper, said, “Though we thought that we will get some time advantage, since we did not have to attempt the English comprehension passage, the other comprehensions were too lengthy that exclusion of that section did not matter much.”
Another candidate, Deputy Superintendent of Police Pawan Kumar, also added that the paper was relatively easier than last year.
“Our students were quite neutral in the debate about the C-SAT paper, as students from Chandigarh do not find English to be too challenging a subject,” said Raj Malhotra, from a leading coaching centre in Chandigarh for civil services aspirants.
Talking about the paper, Dr Ravi K Mahajan, coordinator, Centre for IAS and Other Competitive Examinations, PU, said, “It is not a healthy practice to change the rules of the game (selection and examination scheme in this case) after the game had started. I am sure a new thoughtful exercise will be undertaken by experts for next CSE.”
The preliminary examination consisted of two papers, Paper I and Paper II, of two-hour duration each. The first paper began at 9.30 am and the second started at 2.30 pm.