Will UPSC Prelims 2020 be postponed as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 threat?
UPSC has postponed the Civil Services Examination 2019-20 interviews until further orders. This prompted many aspirants to speculate that UPSC CSE Prelims 2020, scheduled to be conducted on May 31, 2020, will also be postponed.
However, even as per the latest press release from UPSC (April 15, 2020), no change has been announced with respect to the date of UPSC CSE Prelims 2020. UPSC is still hopeful of conducting Prelims 2020 on May 31, if COVID19 situation improves in India.
Will UPSC Prelims 2020 be postponed?
When we initially created this post (on March 21, 2020), there were 71 days until May 31, 2020 (Date of UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam 2020). At that time, we mentioned that if India succeeds in preventing the community/epidemic spread of Covid-19, things should be back to normal by May 31.
However, like most other nations, the number of confirmed COVID19 cases has only increased in India. Now it has crossed 10,000+.
UPSC will review this situation from time to time and will take a decision. As of April 15, the decision of the Commission is to stick with the already announced date – May 31, 2020 – for Civil Service Prelims 2020.
Nation-wide lock-down: How will this affect UPSC CSE Prelims 2020?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi initially ordered a 21-day nation-wide lock-down from March 25th, 2020. This was followed by a 19-day lockout until May 03, 2020.
This means that the whole of India will be in lockdown at-least until May 03, 2020.
Even when lockdown ends, it will take more time for India and the rest of the world to be back to normal.
The priority action item for UPSC when things become normal would be to complete the postponed UPSC CSE Interviews of 2019. That process itself may take at least an additional 10 days of time (if the board-strength remains the same as before).
Once the CSE Interviews of 2019 is over, it would take 1 week for UPSC to come up with the final results of UPSC CSE 2019. The cut-off mark declaration and the release of marks of all candidates who attempted Prelims, Mains, and Interview are processes which usually happens within 2 weeks since the declaration of the final result.
By doing an analysis of the time required for each of these processes, one can assume that it would be at least May end, 2020, when the Commission finish all the processes of UPSC CSE 2019.
Will UPSC stick to its timetable and conduct Prelims 2020 on May 31 2020, then?
In our opinion, analysing the current situation, it is highly unlikely.
Though no announcement has come from the side of UPSC, there is a reasonable probability that Prelims 2020 will be rescheduled to be conducted in June 2020 or later (remember, Preliminary exam was conducted in the month of August in 2015 and 2016).
Covid-19 has affected the preparation of UPSC aspirants. Because of lockdown, aspirants are not even able to purchase books (even Amazon is facing constraints in delivering hard-copies of books now). Also, because of the closure of educational institutes, and displacement from hostels, the routine preparation of many aspirants is affected.
We can hope that UPSC will analyse all the factors and make a suitable decision soon.
Right strategy: Prepare as if the exam will not be postponed
Having mentioned the possibility of deferment, aspirants should not relax now. Don’t take anything for granted. As per the official UPSC notification, the date of Civil Services Preliminary Exam 2020 is May 31, 2020.
UPSC has not yet announced any plans of deferment of UPSC Prelims 2020. That means May 31, 2020, is still the date of the exam.
So, all aspirants should prepare as if the exams will be conducted as per the previously announced schedule.
Incase UPSC postpones Prelims later, this strategy will ensure that you will get additional time for revision.
PS: If you are facing difficulties to get books, there is nothing to worry about. You can learn for free from ClearIAS online study-materials – which are simple and easy-to-learn.
Don’t waste the additional time you get now
In every crisis, there is an opportunity!
This is a rare opportunity for those seriously who dream to be a civil service officer.
All aspirants are now on an equal footing now.
Coaching institutes don’t have an advantage or any major role to play now.
Almost all of the IAS aspirants are now confined to home, learning from websites like ClearIAS.com. As all other activities like travel, work etc are locked up, aspirants have extra time on their hands.
Those who make the best out of this situation will emerge as winners and leaders.
Don’t lose focus
Stay out of confusions and speculations.
Remember that your only focus should be to get at least 70 questions correct in the UPSC Prelims 2020 – ie. 120 marks out 200 – to clear the cut-off marks comfortably.
Stick to your timetable as per the 100 days Action Plan to Clear IAS Prelims.
Use your time wisely, and prepare with an extra focus for Prelims 2020.
Stay safe, and remember that your efforts now will determine your destiny.
Top 5 priority items for you to finish before UPSC Prelims 2020
We have already written about the top priority items for smart aspirants who love to do smart work – and get the highest Return on Investment (RoI) in minimum time.
For those who missed out, the 5 priority items are:
- ClearIAS Prelims Online Mock Test Series (40 exams = 4000 questions)
- ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsules – Monthly MCQs (1500+ questions)
- ClearIAS Most Probable Prelims Questions – Daily MCQs (1500+ questions)
- ClearIAS UPSC Previous Year Re-Take Exams (9 exams = 900 questions)
- ClearIAS Online Study Materials
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Note: The original article has been updated after taking into consideration of the extended lock-down and the latest UPSC Press Release (April 15 2020). The last update is made on April 16-04-2020.