Cracking civil service: Know these 5 basics from IAS Muhammed Ali Shihab

Muhammed Ali Shihab
You should have clear idea about the scoring paper and the qualifying paper in each stage of exams, says IAS Muhammed Ali Shihab

Most civil service aspirants often worry about the interview of the selection process. However, they don’t realize that the interview is only the final stage of it. It is important to understand some of the basic ideas about one of the biggest exams in the country before worrying about its final stage.

Those who are preparing for the UPSC civil service examinations and also the recently announced KAS exam should have a clear idea about the structure of these exams. They must know the detailed syllabus as well. It would be easier to find out the study materials or focus on particular subjects if the candidates have knowledge about the structure and the syllabus of the examination.

The candidates should have clarity about the dates of the preliminary and the main exams, the number of papers, the distribution of marks and the minimum time available to attempt each question. They should also be aware about the general standard of the questions.


Understand how the objective questions in the preliminary exams differ from the descriptive questions in the main exams. The candidates should have an idea about the type of questions that would be asked from each subject.

Go through the questions from the previous years and try and evaluate how they are structured differently. This would help you alter the ways in which you approach a particular subject.

You should have clear idea about the scoring paper and the qualifying paper in each stage of exams. Be aware about the minimum marks required to be qualified to attend the main exams, the marks required in the main exams to be selected for the interview stage, the number of candidates qualifying the preliminary exams each year and also about the number of candidates qualified to attend the interviews.


Talk to civil service trainers or those who have passed these exams to know more about it. 

(The author Muhammed Ali Shihab is the district collector of Tuensang, Nagaland)