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On NPSC and its new syllabus

•- NPSC has seen its share of controversies over the years, controversies regarding results, syllabus, exam patterns etc. But it isn't all doom and gloom. In recent times the commission has endeavored to create a level playing field for all aspirants. The latest change in the syllabus for NCS/NPS/NSS/allied services mains examination is a positive step in this direction.         
Sadly, not much thinking has gone into making the new syllabus and there are some serious flaws which in my opinion is defeating the very purpose it is trying to fulfill. Having history in the MCQ paper with negative marking gives a definite edge to those aspirants who have already prepared history as their optional paper for previous exams/UPSC etc. Also, having questions ranging from 2 to 20 marks will not be able to assess the analytical skills or conceptual understanding of the aspirant for which questions with higher mark weightage are needed.
The purpose of such an exam should be to promote, foster and assess critical thinking with regards to every topic. It's sad to say that it is a painful experience to prepare for an exam which only encourages rote learning. The preparation process gives little opportunity to expand your knowledge base and kills your critical mind.
Bottom line is "if you can't rote learn then you can't achieve success".

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