IAS Prelims 2014: How to prepare Comprehension

Time management is a very important factor in GS Paper II. So try to practice as many Comprehension passages as possible so as to increase your speed for reading the passage.

Created On: Mar 5, 2014 15:30 IST

IAS Prelims 2014 exam is scheduled to be conducted on 24 August 2014 by the Union Public Service Commission. This will be preceded by the notification for the IAS Prelims Exam that will be released on 17 May 2014. The IAS Prelims Exam consists of two papers: General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II and the Syllabus for the exam clearly mention Comprehension as one of its constituents.

Many candidates find this section very challenging and find great difficulty in solving the questions related to Comprehension. The Comprehension passages asked in the IAS Prelims exam are of moderate difficulty level and some times, very confusing. Some of Comprehension passages that are asked in IAS Prelims exam are followed by questions where 3 or 4 statements are given, and it is asked which of the statements is/are true/false according to the passage. These combinations of statements make it a more complicated task.

 In order to tackle the questions related to Comprehension, the candidates should

•    First, go through all the questions from past years question papers from this section. This will help you understand the kind of questions that are asked in the exam.
•    Also see the solution of the questions in order to have an idea of the line of thinking that you have to follow while solving the questions.
•    Then try to solve comprehension passages from sample papers from some good books like Arun Sharma or Tata Mc Graw Hill. You can also find sample papers for practice on Jagranjosh.com
•    Time management is a very important factor in GS Paper II. So try to practice as many Comprehension passages as possible so as to increase your speed for reading the passage.
•    Reading newspapers helps to increase speed of reading the Comprehension passage.

The correct approach to tackle the Comprehension passage is as follows:

•    Read the comprehension passage properly word by word and mark the important and significant points simultaneously.
•    Try to avoid all kind of biases and solve the questions very objectively, strictly on the basis of information provided in the comprehension passage.
•    The questions are very tricky sometimes. So, confirm again from the passage before marking the option.

The Comprehension section alone accounts for around 40-50 per cent of the IAS Prelims Paper II. About 30-40 questions are asked each year from this paper since the time it has been introduced, which makes it one of the most essential part of IAS Prelims preparation.

Candidates can refer to IAS/PCS group of Myjosh for all kinds of doubts and queries related to exam preparation.

Some of the questions from 2013 have been given below:


A number of empirical studies find that farmers are risk-averse, though only moderately in many cases. There is also evidence to show that farmers' risk aversion results in cropping patterns and input use designed to reduce risk rather than to maximize income. Farmers adopt a number of strategies to manage and cope with agricultural risks. These include practices like crop and field diversification, non-farm employment, storage of stocks and strategic migration of family members. There are also institutions ranging from share tenancy to kinship, extended family and informal credit agencies. One major obstacle to risk sharing by farmers is that the same type of risks can affect a large number of farmers in the region. Empirical studies show that the traditional methods are not adequate. Hence there is a need for policy interventions, especially measures that cut across geographical regions.
Policies may aim at tackling agricultural risks directly or indirectly. Examples of risk-specific policies are crop insurance, price stabilization and the development of varieties resistant to pests and diseases. Policies which affect risk indirectly are irrigation, subsidized credit and access to information. No single risk-specific policy is sufficient to reduce risk and is without side-effects, whereas policies not specific to risk influence the general situation and affect risks only indirectly. Crop insurance, as a policy measure to tackle agricultural risk directly, deserves careful consideration in the Indian context and in many other developing countries because the majority of farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture and in many areas yield variability is the predominant cause of their income instability.

37. The need for policy intervention to mitigate risks in agriculture is because
a) farmers are extremely risk-averse.
b) farmers do not know how to mitigate risks.
c) the methods adopted by farmers and existing risk sharing institutions are not adequate.
d) majority of farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture.
Answer: c

38. Which of the following observations emerges from the above passage?
a) One can identify a single policy that can reduce risk without any side-effect.
b) No single risk-specific policy is sufficient to reduce agricultural risk.
c) Policies which affect risk indirectly can eliminate it.
d) Government's policy intervention can mitigate agricultural risk completely.
Answer: b

English Passage

It was already late when we set out for the next town, which according to the map was about fifteen kilometres away on the other side of the hills. There we felt that we would find a bed for the night. Darkness fell soon after we left the village, but luckily we met no one as we drove swiftly along the narrow winding road that led to the hills. As we climbed higher, it became colder and rain began to fall, making it difficult at times to see the road. I asked John, my companion, to drive more slowly. After we had travelled for about twenty kilometres, there was still no sign of the town which was marked on the map. We were beginning to get worried. Then without warning, the car stopped and we found we had run out of petrol.

69. The author asked John to drive more slowly because
a) the road led to the hills.
b) John was an inexperienced driver.
c) the road was not clearly visible.
d) they were in wilderness.
Answer: c

70. The travellers set out for the town although it was getting dark because
a) they were in a hurry.
b) the next town was a short distance away and was a hill-resort.
c) they were in wilderness.
d) the next town was a short distance away and promised a good rest for the night.
Answer: d

71. The travellers were worried after twenty kilometres because
a) it was a lonely countryside.
b) they probably feared of having lost their way.
c) the rain began to fall
d) it was getting colder as they drove.
Answer: b

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