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Data: More than 50% of the final merit list of the Civil Service Examination are in the 24-28 age group


This is the second part of the analysis of the data from the UPSC annual reports. Data indicates females comprise only about 25% of the final merit list. However, their conversion rate is significantly better than males both at the Mains & Interview stage. As far as age groups is concerned, more than 50% of the final merit list are in the 24-28 age group. 

In the first part of the story about the trends and patterns in the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE), we looked at different aspects of the candidates’ profiles like their educational background, gender, degree of study, and optional subjects. In this second part, we look at some additional indicators to analyse the trends and similarities in the examination results. As mentioned in the previous story, caution must be exercised in interpreting these trends as a standard norm as it is possible that these trends are merely coincidental. 

Females comprise of only 1/4th of the final selections

The gender-wise analysis of candidates in the final merit list indicates that the share of female candidates in the final merit list is less than 25%. This percentage is almost constant from 2009 barring 2014 when it fell to 19.7% from the general average of 23%. 

Females dominate in the later stages of examination, while males dominate in prelims

When we look at the gender-wise comparison between the success rates of males and females at all three stages of the examination, it is observed that the percentage of male candidates who clear prelims is more than the percentage of female candidates. However, in the later stages of examination, i.e., Mains and Interview, it is the female candidates whose conversion rate is better than the male candidates. The gap between the conversion rates between male and female candidates also increases from Mains to the interview stage. One of the reasons behind such a high difference could be the lower volume of female candidates at the later stages of examination, particularly the Mains. 

Nearly half of the total selected candidates aged between 24-28 years

If we look at the data of the age profiles of the selected candidates from 2014, more than half of the total selected candidates fall under the age bracket of 24-28 years. If we further break down this in a gender lens, the majority of male candidates get selected around the same age bracket, whereas for female candidates, the age bracket of 24-26 years has the highest share of the female selections out of the total female selections. 

The percentage of final selections increases from the age bracket of 21-24 years till 24-28 years, concentrates in the 24-28 years bracket, and declines further from 28-30 & 30+ and above age brackets. 

Conversion rate among major caste groups

The caste-wise conversion rates of candidates over the years follow a peculiar pattern. The conversion percentage of candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SCs) and Scheduled Tribe (STs) in prelims as well as in Mains is lower than the total conversion rate. However, in the conversion rate from the interview to the final selection list, the conversion rate of SCs and STs is better than the overall rate. Similar is the case with the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) group. OBCs conversion rate is higher than that of SCs and STs in both prelims and mains but lags significantly behind SCs and STs in the conversion rate from interview to final selection. Even between the STs and SCs, the conversion rate of STs is higher than that of SCs for all levels of CSE examination, except for a few instances. This could be due to the number of vacancies available for a particular group and the size of the pool to choose from. 

If we consider the conversion rate directly from prelims to the final selection, candidates from the general category perform better than the OBCs, followed by STs and SCs. 

Females from SCs and STs have a high conversion rate than males

In our earlier story, we looked at the gender-wise conversion rates in the final stage of the civil services examination. It was found that females outperform males in the conversion rate, i.e., from appearance in interviews to final selection. If we look at the same conversion rates, but across different caste groups, it is clear that female candidates belonging to SCs and STs have significantly better conversion rates than their male counterparts. In addition to this, among all the caste groups, females from SCs and STs have a better conversion rate than other caste groups. 

It is also evident that the difference in the conversion rates between males and females is almost constant for the general category, whereas for the STs, this difference is increasing for the past three years. For SCs, this difference is falling for the past three years. 

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