Union Public Service Commission conducts approximately 14 exams in a year. Among these, some exams are conducted once in a year like Civil Services Exam, Indian Forest Service Exam, Indian Economic Services Exam etc., while NDA, CDS exams are conducted twice a year.


Some Stats

From the Annual Reports of UPSC, the number of applicants for Civil Services Exam has crossed one million since 2016-17, however, only about half of them actually appear in the exam. For instance, a total of 11,35,697 candidates applied for Civil Services Exam in 2022, out of which 5,73,735 candidates actually appeared in the examination for 933 posts.


Even in this situation, the number of Applicants to Posts Ratio is 1217, number of Applicants appeared to Posts Ratio is 613. It means for every single post, 613 candidates compete.


When a candidate successfully secures a post, 612 candidates come back to square one due to the exam pattern. It must be noted that the Recommended to Post Ratio is always less than 1.


Moreover, the increasing number of vacancies signifies the increasing requirements in the Governments.


Exam twice a year

In the above context, UPSC must consider conducting Civil Services Exams twice a year because of the following reasons:

1.   Conducting the CSE twice a year provides more opportunities for aspiring candidates to appear for the exam
2.   The inclusion of a second examination in a year can help alleviate the pressure and stress faced by candidates.
3.   Shorter waiting periods allow candidates to try again sooner and continue their preparation with better momentum.
4.   Most importantly, the students would consider their decisions towards early migration to other opportunities available in the market, if they couldn’t qualify in multiple attempts in a year or two. This saves a huge amount of time and energy, finances of the youth in India. 
5.   It can lead to a more efficient selection process. It allows the UPSC to manage a larger pool of candidates over two examination cycles, which can help in the timely completion of the selection process.
6.   It might attract candidates from different educational backgrounds and regions.
7.   It enables a more regular and timely induction of officers into various government departments and services.
8.   It allows the UPSC to adapt to changing circumstances and requirements and make better use of its human resource, infrastructure, and technology.


Is that so easy?

The idea of conducting exams twice a year is not alien to UPSC as mentioned above. However, one should not forget that these are single stage exams unlike the three-stage exam process in case of Civil Services or IFoS Exams.


One of the time consuming stages in these exams is written exam, where the precise evaluation of answer sheets require sufficient time. Further, in the year 2023, some hurdles were faced in conducting interview in the IFoS Exam 2022, which got delayed, indicate that there exists considerable hindrance in conducting exams twice a year. At the same time, with the record breaking declaration of the results for Civil Services Preliminary Exam 2023, in just 15 days after the exam, showcases that there exists greater opportunity for the above path breaking reform.


Therefore, in conclusion, it is observed that scientific and rational rightsizing of the syllabus, building consensus to address the practical implications and logistical challenges in conducting the exams, bringing out reforms in exam pattern and efficient organization of the personality tests with more number of panels, UPSC could conduct these exams twice a year in a structured, time bound and effective manner. If so, there exists a win-win situation for the UPSC, Aspirants and the Government.