Prelims - Paper 1 (General Studies)

In the general studies paper 1 of the prelims exam, questions are asked on varied subjects like history, geography, polity, economy, current affairs, science and technology, environment, etc. In this article, we bring you details of the subject-wise weightage of the GS I paper for the past few years.

The following table gives you the UPSC Prelims subject-wise weightage/question count from 2011 to 2017:

Subject

  2011  

  2012  

  2013  

  2014  

  2015  

  2016  

  2017  

History

11

19

16

20

17

15

14

Geography

11

17

18

14

16

7

9

Polity

12

20

16

14

13

7

22

Economy

19

17

19

10

13

18

16

Science & Tech

19

9

14

16

8

8

9

Environment

15

17

17

18

11

18

15

Current affairs & Misc.

13

1

8

22

27

15

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

As you can observe, the number of questions asked from each subject doesn’t show a definite trend every year. The UPSC mixes it up nicely so that you cannot predict the dominating subject in the UPSC prelims for the coming exam.

  • The share of polity shows the minimum 7 questions in 2016, its share rose to 22 in 2017.

  • The share of current affairs shows the maximum variation with nil in 2013 to a high of 27 in 2016.

  • Environment is the subject that shows least variation and the number of questions hovers between 15 and 18

 

Prelims - Paper 2 (CSAT)

This paper is only a qualifying one and the marks obtained in this paper do not count for the ranking. But you need to score at least 33% here in order to qualify. In this article, we bring you a trend analysis of the CSAT papers from 2011 to 2017.

We have classified questions asked in CSAT into some broad categories like math and basic numeracy, logical and analytical reasoning, visual reasoning, reading comprehension, decision making and data interpretation. In the following table, you can see the number of questions that were asked from these sections from 2011 through 2017.

 

Headings

  2011  

  2012  

  2013  

  2014  

  2015  

  2016  

  2017  

Math & basic numeracy

11

3

11

20

30

31

28

Logical & analytical reasoning

17

28

21

23

18

21

22

Reading comprehension

39

40

33

31

30

28

30

Decision making

8

9

6

 

 

 

 

Data interpretation

5

 

9

6

2

 

 

Total

80

80

80

80

80

80

80

 

As you can see from the above table, the number of questions asked under the reading comprehension section has decreased. From around 40 in the first two years, it hovers around the 30 mark now. Mathematics and basic numeracy comes next in line in the number of questions. It is followed by the reasoning questions. The last two years have not seen any questions from the decision making and data interpretation sections.

 

Mains General Studies(GS) Papers Trend Analysis

1) General Studies(GS) Paper 1

  • The number of questions were 20, similar to the last 3 years. However all questions didn’t carry equal marks. The first 10 questions of 150 words were for 10 marks each and the next set of 10 questions of 250 words were for 15 marks each.

  • In 2016, 2 ½ pages were given for each question but this year 2 pages were given for the 10 markers and 3 pages for the 15 markers.

  • The order of the subjects in which the questions have been asked has changed in 2017.

  • In 2014, 2015, 2016 the order was History, Society and then Geography. However this year it is History, Geography and Society and the questions appeared in two cycles. This was undoubtedly quite a great test on a candidate psyche.

  • Overall GS 1 is moving out from being a static paper to reflecting contemporary issues.

 

2) General Studies(GS) Paper 2

  • The number of questions were 20, similar to the last 3 years. However all questions didn’t carry equal marks. The first 10 questions of 150 words were for 10 marks each and the next set of 10 questions of 250 words were for 15 marks each.

  • In 2016, 2 pages were given for each question but this year 2 pages were given for the 10 markers and 3 pages for the 15 markers.

  • The order of the subjects in which the questions have been asked has changed in 2017.

  • In 2017 the order was Polity, Governance and then International Relations and the questions appeared in two cycles.

  • Polity and Governance continue to comprise 80 % of the paper

  • There are atleast 2 questions which connect a part of Polity syllabus to a part of the governance syllabus

  • The questions were on based on current affairs and can be easily answered if one reads the newspapers regularly

 

3) General Studies(GS) Paper 3

  • The trend brought in this year’s GS 1 papers of 10 marks and 15 marks questions continues in this paper too.

  • Again as in the case of GS 1, here too the questions appeared in 2 cycles. The 1st cycle had Economics, Agriculture, Science and Tech, Environment and Internal security and the 2nd cycle had the same order.

  • Predominantly questions were based on current affairs. Newspaper reading, PIB and Economic Survey were the main sources for the questions.

 

4) General Studies(GS) Paper 4

This paper has two sections, section A comprises of theory and section B comprises of case studies. The weightage of section B has reduced and that of section A has increased by 10 marks in comparison to last year.

Trends in Section A

  • The questions in section A have dealt with all aspects of the syllabus.

  • Questions directly asking the philosophies of various thinkers and leaders (Like John Rawl’s Justice and Gandhi’s seven sins) have not been asked but interpretative questions based on their views have been asked.

  • Like always there has been focus on the human values section of the ethics syllabus for at least 20 marks.

Trends in Section B

  • The case studies have become shorter in terms of length when compared to the previous years.

  • The pattern of having at least one case study dealing with empowerment of the vulnerable sections has been maintained.

  • The practice of asking several sub questions based on a single case study has been changed. A maximum of only two questions were asked for each case study.

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