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Trend Analysis of GS Mains Examination 2014

Civil Services Mains, 2014 was a watershed moment in the nature of questions being asked in the Main examination. There was a shift in the direction of more analytical and interlinked questions from straight fact based questions. Candidates were supposed to know the application and analytical part of various concepts and issues for writing an answer. The questions were more complex with lesser word limit making it hard for aspirants to answer with required clarity within defined word limit. The question paper analysis of all the four GS Papers will give you a clear picture of the trend.

General Studies Paper 1

The General Studies Paper 1 of the UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination 2014 marked a few changes as compared to the Mains 2013 paper. There were no sub-questions limiting the total number of questions to 25 carrying 10 marks each with a word limit of 150 words.

Number of questions asked from different areas were-

      Areas                      Number of               Total Marks
Art and Culture                5                         50
Indian History                  3                         30
World History                   2                         20
Social Issues                   5                         50
Geography: Theoretical     4                         40
Geography: India             4                         40
Geography: World            2                         20
Total                            25                        250

Questions were more interlinked and intertwined covering different areas, demanding proper reasoning and analysis from the aspirants. It seems, 2014 GS-I paper is well balanced than 2013 GS-I paper but surprisingly questions on India since independence were absent except a single question connecting world history and Indian history (The New Economic Policy – 1921 of Lenin). Post-independence section fetched 5 questions (50 marks) in 2013. The weightage of culture increased from last year and the level of questions was on the higher side with more questions relating past and present such as influence of Indus Valley Civilisation on modern day urbanization etc. The questions from Freedom struggle were relatively easier and direct but were also analytical and not just about facts. Patriarchy and women issues dominated the social issues part and there was question on secularism too. All these questions were related to current scenario and required proper analysis from students. The questions from geography increased, were given more weightage and were mixed from relatively direct and easy to difficult and complex requiring in-depth study and analysis.

General Studies Paper 2

This year in GS-II number of questions were reduced to 20 from 25 last year with the allotted marks increasing to 12.5 per question. Similar to Paper-1, there were no sub-questions here too. The questions were designed to test a candidate’s understanding of basics of Indian Constitution and their current relevance, along with related issues. The nature of questions were more complex with many questions demanding opinion of the candidates. Number of questions asked from different areas were-

Constitution – 5 questions = 62.5 marks.
Governance and Economic Policies – 5 questions = 62.5
Welfare and Developmental Issues – 5 questions = 62.5
International Relations – 5 questions = 62.5 marks.

The range of questions asked this year increased from last year and the nature of questions varied from direct knowledge based questions to strictly analytical and view based questions. Surprisingly, no question was asked from Representation of People’s Act this year too like last year despite 2014 being an election year. The focus on International Relation questions shifted from bilateral issues to International bodies. There was only one question related to bilateral issues of India and China, others were generally related to bodies like WTO, NDB, AIIB, International Funding Agencies and ITA’s. Most of the questions demanded not only good knowledge of current affairs, but good analytical abilities too, for example the socio-cultural hurdles faced by SHGs in promoting participation in developmental programmes. With questions like Olympics-state sponsored talent hunt, UPSC has broadened the scope of the syllabus.

General Studies Paper 3

Like Paper-II, this paper also consisted of 20 questions with 12.5 marks each carrying a word limit of 200 words. The questions were more conceptual in nature and related to current issues. The questions required through analysis of the issues. There was a significant shift from static fact based questions. This paper demanded a good hold on current updates and the relevance of information in the contemporary times. It demanded wide reading textbooks supplementing it with newspapers and magazines including peripheral areas.

Number of questions asked from different areas were-

Indian Economy – 9 questions = 112.5 marks.
Science and Technology – 3 questions = 75 marks
Disaster Management – 1 question = 12.5 marks
Environment – 2 questions = 25 marks
Internal Security – 5 questions = 62.5 marks

Indian economy, covering the major portion of the paper, included questions related to agriculture, industries, transport, infrastructure etc. Aspirants should understand that there is a clear difference between the requirements of UPSC for Prelims and Mains. There were no questions related to any committees as expected by the candidates. This highlights the shift that UPSC is taking towards covering more peripheral areas. Most of the questions asked have been in news during the recent times such as Civil Aviation Laws, Carbon Credits, FDI in defence, APMC Act etc. Internal Security questions have seen an increase in their weightage along with increased complexity. The questions were more dynamic and mostly related to current affairs such as increase in radicalism, Piracy issues, China-Pakistan economic corridor and its security implications on India. Disaster Management had question related to draught which was on expected lines.

General Studies Paper 4

Like the previous year, General Studies Paper – IV was divided into two sections namely, Section A and Section B. There were a total of 14 questions, out of which 8 belonged to Section A and 6 Case studies in Section B.UPSC didn’t focus on the theory part like it did in the previous year, and the framing was very similar. This move might be to know the psychology of the candidate and his/her consistency of thoughts. Most of the questions demanded opinion from the candidate/ real life experience/ideologies to prove their point.

Area wise break-up of questions-

Theory Based – 13 Questions =130 marks.
Case studies – 6 questions = 120 marks.

There were 6 case studies in 2013 too, but the 2014 case-studies touched new areas like migration and environment-development debate apart from the real-life situational case studies.

Understanding the question and writing appropriately is the key to success for Mains examination.

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