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In-Depth Jobs

In Depth Job Focus



 S. B. Singh

If you are a young, enthusiastic, energetic male/ female looking for a charming, challenging and self- fulfilling career,  Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) is   a great career option for you. It has the thrill of the army, the charm of social prestige and the comfort of a  well paid job with perks and privileges almost at par with the army. Under the control of the Central Government, the conditions of job in CAPF are far better than any State Government job of a similar grade in the police. In other words, those who did not get into army or IPS due to some reasons, CAPF offers a second chance to a bright career. Apart from meeting day to day challenges of the job, the officers appointed under CAPF examination have  the prospect of scaling up the career graph to the level of DIG ,IG and  ADG  before they retire. Thus,   for a person with a flair for a disciplined job profile, and love for an adventurous career, CAPF offers a golden opportunity to do things that one wants to do as a uniformed officer.

Basic fact file: CAPF examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year for appointment to the post of Assistant Commandant (Group A)  in the para military forces viz; Border Security Force (BSF), Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and  Sashashtra  Seema Bal (SSB). Leaving aside CISF, which has a peace time  job profile providing security  having a civilian interface, and the CRPF which is deployed to maintain peace in violence - torn areas, the rest i.e. BSF, ITBP and the SSB are all border security forces. ITBP is deployed along India- Tibet border, SSB along borders with  Nepal and Bhutan and BSF is deployed along Pakistan, Bangladesh borders. Every year there are approximately 150 vacancies of assistant commandants in these para military forces.

CAPF-2016 Examination: For the calendar year 2016, the following dates about CAPF exam need to be remembered.

1. UPSC notification: 12th March,2016

2.Last Date for applying: 8th April,2016

3.Examination:26th June,2016

4.Publication of result: September,2016

5. Interview: September ,2016

Eligibility: Graduate in any discipline. Age: 20-25 years. Females are not eligible for BSF and ITBP .

Pattern of examination: The CAPF examination consists of two papers.

Paper I: General Ability and Mental Ability. This paper is completely objective and accounts for 250 marks. Total  number of objective type questions asked in this paper are 125 and the examination duration is for two hours. It carries negative marking also.

Paper II : This is a conventional, written type  paper in which one has to write subjective answers. It carries a total of 200 marks and has duration of three hours. The areas covered in this paper are: Essay (on current affairs) and comprehension, précis writing and sentence correction and re-writing.

Interview: The candidates who qualify the written examination will  have to appear for an interview before a UPSC board. The interview carries 200 marks.

Decoding the CAPF syllabus: As far as Paper I is concerned, it carries more marks than Paper II.  But the provision of negative marking makes it a bit risky. An aspirant has to guard against the temptation to attempt the multiple type questions without being reasonably sure about the right choice. So, the best strategy should be to do those questions first about which the answers are known for sure. Then, one can take a calculated risk to attempt those questions where you can guess the right answer by eliminating some of the choices and then making an intelligent guess. You cannot leave all such questions as not attempting them will lower down your marks. A calculated risk has to be taken. However, in case you are completely blind about the question, then  you should not attempt it.

As regards the areas which comprise Paper I syllabus, these are: logical reasoning, quantitative aptitude, numerical ability, and data interpretation. The other part is covered by what is known as General Studies. Under this section, there will be questions from General Science, Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Polity, History, Economy and Geography and Current events of national and international importance.

Preparation strategy for Paper I: To a large extent, the syllabus of CAPF Paper I is akin to the IAS prelims syllabus. The only difference is in the level of questions.  In IAS prelim examination the  questions  require a higher level of information and awareness while in CAPF, the questions are relatively simple and straight. Therefore, I suggest   sourcing the same basic books for preparation of CAPF which are consulted for IAS preparations. For general ability section,   the book by some reputed authors  should be consulted sufficient. In addition, one should practice a lot of MCQ questions from the last year’s papers of CAPF examination as well as some questions from IAS prelims examination as well. You can pick out the simpler  questions asked in the IAS prelims. Some of them are asked in CAPF exam also.

The NCERT books on History, Geography, Economy must be thoroughly read several times. For current affairs, the national and international issues between January and May 2016 must be covered. In CAPF examination they also ask about some military exercises which may have taken place in India or abroad recently. Security related issues should also be given importance. Reading up reference books like INDIA-2016 is quite helpful in knowing about government programs and policies. For Indian constitution, some good book on Indian constitution is a must. You must know about the main provisions of the constitution with brief elaborations on  articles which is given very succinctly  in this book. To cover issues related to art and culture, freedom struggle and national  movement, Modern India  some  good books by established authors may be referred.

However, it must be noted here that mere reading of these sources in an isolated manner will not be effective and adequate. What one should do is  to first look at the questions being asked in previous years and then follow the topics accordingly. This will make your studies relevant and close to the demands of  CAPF preparations.

Strategy for Paper II:   This paper, which is of subjective type, carries 200 marks of which 80 marks are allotted to four essays to be written in 300 words each. Another 120 marks are allotted to the comprehension and précis writing parts of the syllabus which also includes rewriting some given sentences as per direction given in the question itself. Interestingly, the topics set for the essay paper are largely from current affairs only. Therefore, ultimately, the essays are in the nature of current affairs only. There is no need to get too technical about essay writing as there is no scope to follow a technical format of essay writing in 300 words. Instead, one should try to write the given essays by arguing and counter arguing about the topic so that it appears to have been given a holistic treatment. The topics for essays are chosen from social, economic, political and current themes. Therefore, one should prepare on topics which have been in news recently. For example, smart cities , yoga and meditation as alternative medicine, freedom of speech and restrictions on these freedoms, role of governor in the context of Arunachal Pradesh crisis ,odd-even formula, problem of air pollution  in Delhi, which have been in news recently  are likely topics of essay writing in CAPF 2016 exam.  One should practice essay writing by choosing at least 40- 50 such topics and get them evaluated by an available expert for improvement.

As for the comprehension and précis writing parts of the syllabus, the most practical approach is to solve last years’ comprehension and précis questions. I suggest that similar précis asked in other examinations conducted  by UPSC should also be practiced because,  sometimes, UPSC  shuffles same questions in its various exams. e.g. IAS, IFS  , PF commissioners’ examination. etc. In fact, if a candidate has mastered over last 10 years’ question papers of these examinations, it will cover the upcoming CAPF exam to a great extent. Apart from such exercises, one should pick up paragraphs from well known books, autobiographies etc. for practicing the comprehension and precis questions.

Balanced preparation: In a competitive exam. what matters most is a sense of balance. By this I imply balancing all parts of the syllabus. Many candidates just keep reading parts of the syllabus, say for example, history and polity, and ignoring the reasoning part, or economy, geography etc. This amounts to giving an unfair treatment to the examination. Instead of concentrating too much on just some parts of the syllabus, a balanced preparation must be done of all areas as defined in the syllabus. Secondly, one should strike a balance within a subject also. For example, if one is studying history, one must have balance between ancient, medieval and modern India. Since larger number of questions asked from modern India, it makes sense to put more emphasis on this part instead of ancient or medieval India. In other words, only a wide coverage of the syllabus will create the required capacity to answer maximum number of questions in the exam.

(The author is a well known academician and an expert on UPSC conducted examinations like Civil Services, CAPF, IFS exams.etc.  He can be reached on his email: sb_singh2003@yahoo.com)