Preliminary examination - Aptitude special - Topic 1
The aptitude paper in preliminary examination is one that tests our intelligence and suitability for the service, and it was introduced for UPSC civil services examination in 2011. Until 2010, aptitude-related questions were a part of the General Studies paper itself. This is a qualifying paper worth 200 marks, and a score of 66 marks is sufficient (in other words, the passing score!). The marks we score in this paper are not counted towards our final ranking or our UPSC main cut-off, however if we cannot score above 66 marks then we will not be allowed to even appear for the main examination! Therefore, for UPSC preliminary examinations, what we need is a score above cut-off mark for General Studies paper, and a score above 66 for aptitude. If we have both these, we will qualify to write the next stage, that is the main examination. TNPSC does not have a separate aptitude paper. General Studies paper itself will contain aptitude questions.
“So what is this aptitude?” “What kind of questions will be asked in this?” - I can sense that you will have such questions. So, now let us look into each of the topics contained in the aptitude paper. The first such topic is Comprehension. This will be section that contains questions that test our understanding of a given passage or sentences or information. For answering these questions, first we need to know the meaning for the given words, and also exactly what is meant by each word in the given context. Only then will we able to successfully tackle questions related to the given passage or information. That is the essence of “comprehension.” Therefore to manage this section, it is essential to familiarise yourself with new English words daily. Only if you know the meaning of the words, can you understand the logic contained in them. Keep a good dictionary with you, and identify 5 new words daily from your news paper itself and learn them. You will know about 2000 new words before the examination and will be able to handle it with ease.
The next important topic is soft skills. This includes interpersonal skills and communication. This section comprehensively tests our concentration, decision making skills, problem solving ability, assertiveness and ability to deal with pressure. Since communication is also mentioned in the syllabus, you can expect questions on telecommunication as well.
Which of these is the best method to take the new advances in telecommunication to rural areas?
- Village knowledge dissemination centres
- Affordable mobile phone usage
- Rural movies
- English education
Next let us look at logical reasoning and analytical ability. From this topic, multiple questions have been asked several times. Questions will be related to coding and decoding, puzzles based on arrangements, settings and changes, syllogism, all/none/some states, and also taking decisions based on the given facts.
No monkeys are tigers
All tigers are turtles
All turtles are foxes
All turtles can’t be monkeys
All monkeys are surely foxes
Of these, Only result 1 follows from given statements (answer)
Only result 2 follows from given statements
Result 1 or 2 can follow from given statements
Results 1 and 2 follow from given statements
Solution : We know all turtles are foxes, but all turtles cannot be monkeys (result 1 is correct). In result 2 we know monkeys are not tigers but we do not know if all monkeys are foxes. Therefore only result 1 follows from given statements.
Similarly, puzzles made by giving information about relationships, missing words / numbers / pictures / codes can be asked in this topic.
Sample question (UPSC 2016)
# A military code writes SYSTEM as SYSMET and NEARER as AENRER. Using the same code, FRACTION can be written as:
(d) CARFNOIT (answer)
We will meet again in next topic with other such topics and questions.