The reasons behind this move

It is now clear that the negative marking would be applicable in the Preliminary Examination 2011. There will be Penalty (Negative Marking) for wrong answers marked by candidates except some of the questions where the Negative Marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.

Acting on these recommendations by realizing the need of sort of cleansing act to clear the froth, with 2006 examination, ‘Negative Marking’ was implemented; i.e., 1/3rd of the marks (0.33) assigned to a question is deducted in case of wrong answer as a penalty.

Even during that period, when, on the recommendations of ‘Kothari Committee’ in 1979, the Preliminary Examination was introduced, some voices were raised and it was presumed that many non-serious candidates and those with repetitive attitude may play around with wild guesses, smart moves and some dependence on ‘Luck’ to crack Multiple Choice Questions in Preliminary Examination. It was apprehended that such candidates can always put serious and committed candidates to a disadvantage. However, such fears related to guessing etc were unfounded.

Recommendations to meet such demands: In 1988, the Satish Chandra Committee reviewed the entire scheme of Civil Services Examination and made significant recommendations to improve the recruitment process. Among many, one such recommendation was of “Negative Marking’ (a 50% penalty for wrong answers) at the Preliminary Examination. The rationale - since the purpose of the Preliminary Examination is to pick up competent and serious-minded candidates, it was considered expedient to introduce negative marking for wrong answers. However, the UPSC deferred it then.

For so many years, a kind of situation was prevailing at Prelims level where sometimes, non-serious, average-prepared candidate simply applying random guesses were scoring marks unfairly which they never deserved.

Accepted & Implemented: This is a concrete step taken by UPSC in the right direction to select competent and serious minded candidates. Acting on these recommendations by realizing the need of sort of cleansing act to clear the froth, with 2006 examination, ‘Negative Marking’ was implemented but, with a reduced penalty i.e., 1/3rd of the marks (0.33) assigned to a question is deducted in case of wrong answer as a penalty.

From CSE 2011, there will be penalty (Negative Marking) for wrong answers marked by a candidate in the objective type question papers except some of the questions where the negative marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.

(i) There will be four alternatives to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.

(ii) If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answer happens to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.

(iii) If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.

More such steps should be taken in near future which will inspire committed candidates to think more seriously about their dream career ‘Civil Services’.

Negative marking, nothing negative about it: One need to learn and practice a lot where they can take educated guess or say calculated risk. If one feels that good number of questions have been answered correctly and the score may be much higher that perceived cut-off for that particular subject, one may think doing so.

If performance is average, one should refrain oneself from taking such steps which add risk of negative marking which can harm them heavily.

In some sections of Paper II occasionally educated guesses can be worthwhile where one may be able to estimate the answer rather than working it out precisely, to save time.
 

Last Update Sunday 17th February 2019     

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