I appeared APPSCCE (prelims) 2018 with Geography optional and I have tallied my score with all the possible sources and it is around 247.75/400 (61%) – after deducting negative marks, also I considered negative marks for all the FIVE WRONG QUESTIONS of my optional paper and ONE WRONG QUESTION of GS.
Yes, I did mark my OMR very carefully and cross checked it twice – as I had learned my lesson from my last year UPSC which I missed by 0.66 marks due to my callousness in OMR marking.
I am not quibbling about the “copy pasting” or the “out of syllabus” remarks of the Geography paper. Unless there is a reform of the examination process itself this thing will happen every time.
My only concern is that there are some candidates like me who were expecting to qualify – getting around 55 % to 60 % after tallying their marks – but couldn’t. All I am requesting is for APPSC to declare the cut off marks and our scores at APPSCCE (prelims) 2018 for which we had submitted our applications to APPSC and put our concern at rest. There is a route via RTI Act but I know it will end up in court for which we don’t have time or the energy.
As for the examination process, I think it’s time to remove optional subjects in prelims and introduce aptitude paper instead (every state has amended their PSC examination pattern taking a cue from the UPSC pattern). Optional subjects have too much subjectivity – like allegation of one optional being too easy or tough and also there is a huge chance of some mistakes in one or more optional papers. Also, papers common for all would be economical since it can be delegated to a single agency to set the common papers which in turn will bring in more accountability since the cost of making mistakes in those common papers is very high.