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April 08, 2014

APSC Prelims Exam 2014 Pattern, Syllabus, Papers & Books

Prep materials for APSC CCE (Prelims) Exam is elusive - not much materials is available on the net for this exam also called as Assam Civil Services Exam. Therefore this blog article is being posted to help you find the materials - Syllabus, Sample Papers & Prep Books of APSC Combined Competitive Exam (CCE) Prelims 2014.  If you have been following this blog closely, you might have found that APSC has recently brought out the exam notification for CCE ( Prelims) 2014 details of which can be found in my previous article titled: APSC-Preliminary-Exam-2014-Notification-Form-Eligibility.

Let us start with our discussion, by first knowing the APSC selection process starting from Prelims to Interview and than go for knowing the APSC CCE Exam Pattern, both Prelims as  well as that of Mains.

APSC CCE selection process

APSC is conducting the Combined Competitive Exam (CCE) for selection to elite Civil Services of Assam for various departments - from ACS, APS to DTO and the vacancy this year is for 180 positions.

The selections for these positions would consist of 3 stages - Prelims, Mains and Interview. As given in the notification, 11-12 times of the vacancy (i.e. close to 2300) would be selected in the Prelims.

Only twice the vacancy (i.e. approx:: 360)  would be selected in CCE (Mains). Thus, if you reach the Interview stage, it is every likelihood that  you would be among the chosen few of 180 Assam Civil Servant!

How many candidates appears in APSC Combined Competitive Exam and what is the success rate? Following figures would give you the stage-wise screening process, based on APSC CCE 2009 exam.
In that exam 13,747 candidates had appeared Prelims and 2502 was selected (success rate: 18.2%). From this stage, the success rate increases - 23.3% in Mains and almost 50% in the Interview..

This gives you a good idea about how much competitive APSC Combined Competitive Exam is.

APSC CCE Prelims Exam Pattern

APSC CCE Prelims is screening test only: marks scored in the Prelims is not counted for the merit list. The APSC CCE Prelims consists of two papers - both Objective type, consisting of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) . Each paper is of Two hour duration.

You can find the Exam Pattern of APSC CCE Prelims in the table at left - which shows you subject-wise number of questions and marks. As you can see, you have to answer 200 questions in 2 hours - hence time for answering each question is 36 seconds. As this time is not much, you can expect the questions to be relatively easy.

There were reports in media about changes in APSC CCE 2013 Prelims - to conform you to the pattern of UPSC Prelims exam, also called as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). As you might be knowing already, CSAT does not have any optional subject. But however, pattern of APSC CCE 2013 Prelims remains un-changed: you have the Paper-II (Optional Subject Paper).

I suppose there would not be that much problem for you in selecting the Optional subject, as most liely it will be you subject of specialization in graduation. There are 28 Optional subject in APSC CCE Prelims, and you can find the list of subjects in page-4 of the notification. You can also find the same below:
List of Optional subject in APSC CCE Prelims
In the APSC CCE Mains Exam, besides the above 28 subject, you have one more subject that you can choose: Modern languages and literature & Classical languages.

APSC CCE Mains Exam Pattern

APSC CCE Mains Exam Pattern

There are 6 papers in the Mains exam of APSC Combined Competitive Exam - four papers of the two optional subjects, each of 200 marks and two compulsory papers - General English & General Studies, each of 300 marks. Duration of each paper is 3 hours.

Hence total marks in APSC Mains Exam is 1400 and this together with 200 marks in the Interview is used for preparation of the final merit list. 

If you compare this with the exam pattern of UPSC Civil Services (Mains) exam, you would find that in UPSC, you will find that UPSC Mains exam consists of English: 300 marks, General Studies: 1000 marks, Optional subjects: 500 marks and Interview: 275 marks.

Preparation Plan for APSC Prelims Exam 
How do you prepare for the APSC Prelims Exam, considering that study materials for APSC Prelims Exam is scarce? I suggest using the prep materials available for UPSC Prelims Exam, as both are of same nature. An immediate benefit is that with this sort of preparation, you can not only appear in the APSC Civil Services exam but also UPSC Civil Services exam.

But while taking this plan of study, you should remember that APSC Civil Services exam  is biased with respect to topics on Assam. For example, in the General Studies paper of APSC CCE Prelims, you can find the following topics in the syllabus:
Culture & Literature of Assam
History of Assam
Geography of Assam
Indian National Movement with special reference to Assam

While the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam material helps you to prepare for the 1st paper of APSC exam (i.e. General Studies), for the 2nd paper (i.e. Optional Subject), you have to dig more resources.

APSC Prelims Exam Syllabus 

You can find the syllabus of APSC Prelims in the official website of APSC. Click here to find the APSC CCE Prelims Exam Syllabus. You can also find the syllabus of APSC Mains Exam in the same webpage.

APSC Prelims Exam Sample Papers: 

I could find only one previous years exam paper of APSC Prelims Exam by Jagran Josh.
Click here to find the General Studies paper of APSC Prelims 2009 Exam.
Other than above, you can use these actual previous years exam papers of UPSC.

APSC Prelims Exam Prep Books: 

I could find only the following prep book titled exclusively for ACS:
General Studies (ACS) by B.B. Devchoudhury; Publisher: Assam Book Hive
Price Rs. 200/=

You can also buy the following books of UPSC Prelims exam to prepare for APSC ACS exam. These books are available in most of the good bookstores as well as from Flipkart which offers huge discount (upto 34%) as well as free home delivery (if the order exceeds Rs. 500/=) apart from COD (Cash-On-Delivery):
APSC Prelims Exam Prep Books
General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2013 (Paper - 1) by TMH (Tata McGraw Hill)
List Price: Rs. 1250; Offer Price: Rs. 1063; Discount: Rs. 187 (14% OFF).

Also, as I have told you before, APSC ACS exam is little biased towards knowledge of Assam. Hence following should be able to take care of this to some extent:
The History of Assam from Yandabo to Partition by Priyam Goswami; Publisher: Orient black Swan
List Price: Rs. 195; Offer Price: Rs. 176; Discount: Rs. 19 (9% OFF).

Thats all for now. Hope above info on APSC Prelims Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Papers & Books helps you in your preparation for the exam. I would be on the lookout for more exam prep materials for this APSC ACS exam and post them here as and when I find them. So please keep visiting. Best Wishes!