When I first decided to write the Civil Services exam, I was horrified at:
1. How sub-par the syllabus was.
2. How random the marking was.
3. How unbelievably opaque the system was.
For my optional subjects (Maths & Physics), supposedly at B.Sc Honours level, the question quality was much lower than even our 1st-year courses at IIT.
We were down to reading low-quality books of sub-par authors after having read the likes of Thomas Finney and Kreyszig in the 1st year.
And in subjects like Maths, where many of us got every question right, should you not get 100%?
No – we probably got 50-60%. Why? Maybe they scale it down to make it comparable across subjects or evaluate you for writing steps or look for some mystical quality in your answers — nobody knows.
Despite this, most of my batchmates were brilliant. I guess if you get to pick one out of 1,000 candidates, regardless of the exam, you will get good people. Also, there is no favoritism – even the President’s children will have no advantage.
Personally, I have no complaints – I was lucky enough to do well.
But sadly, many bright youngsters are spending years writing this exam — we owe them better.
This exam needs fixing. It is about time.