After the recent introduction of CSAT in the IAS examination pattern, changes were being anticipated in the Mains GS papers. However, there is no significant change in the pattern. In the ensuing paragraphs, we’ve provided you a detailed analysis of the question paper of GS - I.
Types of questions asked
About 45% of the questions were purely based on Current Affairs. Questions have been picked from newspapers and Government websites. It reiterates the importance of being aware of the current happenings and legal and administrative issues which are highlighted due to these affairs. About 40% questions were traditional. The rest of the questions could be called untraditional.
How difficult were the questions?
About 10% of the questions were very difficult. But, it means only 30 marks out of 300. So, it’s not a matter of concern. About 20% questions were easy. It means 60 marks. Thus, if you focus on the easy questions, you may easily offset any adverse effect of very difficult questions. About 40% questions had medium difficulty, which is expected for an exam of this high level. Any candidate preparing for IAS should face such questions with a challenging attitude.
What to study?
About 41% questions could be answered if a candidate had studied The Hindu newspaper diligently. Even if the newspaper is not read meticulously, being aware of the important issues and covering them from other newspapers, magazines and websites such as jagranjosh.com is essential. Another notable pattern is that you can’t answer a question most effectively by reading only a particular newspaper or magazine. Your preparation would be thorough if you read from multiple sources, do answer writing practice and apply your own ideas and thoughts to the answers.
Additionally, a candidate must read NCERT books, especially the old versions, a guide book on Current Affairs for IAS, and magazines and websites which provide news-based articles.
How to study?
Do regular answer writing practice. Make a small group and analyse the previous years’ questions, especially the 2011 GS question papers as they reveal the latest pattern and the thought process currently prevailing in the UPSC and the examiners’ minds.
Either read a newspaper by cutting out the important news items or read a good magazine that covers the important news items every month.
Read NCERT books avidly, because every year conventional questions are asked in a large number. Make notes or underline in the books.
Make a group and regularly hold debates and discussions. You may also write answers and check them for each other. This way, you can create best answers by contributing different approaches. It works this way: incorporate the best ideas to create one answer that has no errors or negativities and all the positive aspects are accumulated at one place.
The approach of a candidate
Don’t worry about those questions which you can’t attempt. Every year such questions are asked and smart candidates avoid answering such questions. If you have time and the calibre, you may answer these questions in the end.
When you do answer writing practice alone or with a group, try writing analytical answers.
The Hindu newspaper is really helpful for the IAS examination, but of course only reading Hindu newspaper is not enough. You must supplement your preparation with facts and analysis from Government websites.