UPSC has for the firs time revealed the minimum qualifying marks for the Civil Services exam in a welcome move to bring in greater transparency in the exam process. Although these marks are only for the Civil Services Exam 2013, it is still very important information for IAS aspirants since UPSC has also disclosed the minimum marks mandatory for Prelims and Mains papers.
* Subject to minimum of 30 marks in Paper-I and 70 marks in Paper-II
# Subject to 10% marks in each of the seven competitive papers i.e Essay, GS-I, GS-II, GS-III, GS-IV, Optional-I and Optional-II
What’s interesting is the fact that minimum qualifying marks exist not just for Prelims papers but also Mains papers including optional and Essay paper. Remember that minimum qualifying marks already exist for the language papers in Mains i.e. English and Indian language papers but now we know for the first time that UPSC has kept minimum 10% qualifying marks for the other scoring papers as well.
What Does This Mean?
This simply means you fail to obtain the minimum marks in any paper Prelims or Mains you will not be considered for the next stage even though your total marks may be more than minimum qualifying marks.
So let’s say you score 180 marks in Prelims paper 1 out of total 200 marks but scored just 65 marks in paper 2 out of 200 marks. This makes your total score 245 out of 400. So even though you obtained more marks than the minimum qualifying marks (241) in General category, you still do not qualify for the Mains since you failed to achieve the minimum mandatory score of 70 marks in Paper 2.
The same holds true for Mains papers.
Are These Marks Set in Stone?
No they are not. Nowhere does UPSC mention that qualifying marks for Prelims will remain the same every year. Rather they are dynamic depending upon the vacancies that year, difficulty level of papers and scores obtained by different categories of candidates.
What is fixed, however, is the minimum mandatory marks for Mains. These are as follows:
English (compulsory paper) – 75 marks out of 300
Indian language (compulsory paper) – 90 marks out of 300
All 4 GS papers and 2 Optional papers – 25 marks out of 250 each
Note that minimum qualifying marks for languages has been declared by UPSC in the 2014 notification.
How Can This Help You?
Absolutely. This information is a boon for civil service aspirants. Now the picture becomes much clearer. It is now confirmed that there are separate minimum mandatory marks for Paper 1 and Paper 2 in prelims. Also there are minimum mandatory marks for each paper of Mains.
Also we know that the cut-off for Prelims was pretty high in 2013. This is in line with the fact that paper 2 of 2013 Prelims was quite easy and as expected the cut-off score went quite high.
You can also see that while cut-off in Prelims was pretty high at 60%, it was quite low for Mains at just 32.2%! This implies that candidates are finding the new pattern consisting of 4 GS papers quite difficult since the old pattern focused on optional subjects whereas the new pattern has turned the spotlight on general studies and many candidates tend to neglect GS because it requires constant updation. It follows then that if your GS preparation is even OK and you can write decent answers in Mains, you stand a good chance of making it to the Interview stage.
You can download the cut-off scores here.