Continuing from where we left in the previous article where we analysed the split among different sections over the last five years and then the sub-topic wise classification in UPSC CSE Prelims 2017, we now move on to compare the same across the years.
We try to dig deep to understand why the question paper looked different from the previous years and why it was assumed to be difficult by many aspirants. The paper obviously included a few surprises which is the only constant thing with UPSC. We also go on to analyse the nature of questions this year and get some reasoning for why cut-offs are predicted to decrease this year.
(The sub-topics used for different subjects are only broad classifications which can help you in planning your preparation for the next year)
At the outset, it must be happy news to look at this chart as the number of questions in Modern India has remained constant while questions from Ancient/Medieval India have witnessed a decrease. But the unconventional nature of questions from Modern India suggest otherwise.
The number of long hours you might have to put into Physical Geography might appear without utility but you will never know what use it might be of when you open your GS1 paper in the Mains examination, 2017.
Well, this tells about a trend. The number of questions in core economics has been on the decrease with a big shoot-up in schemes and current affairs. This is a carry-over of the previous year, but next year, we cannot be surprised if we witness a Polity-like U-turn.
Whoa, there is no pattern here. One thing was clear – the idea where one can learn a standard book thoroughly and can run through Polity has been broken. The questions become a little more analytical but they stood within the limits of basic features, thus testing one’s grasp over the basics.
It would have been a bit tough on those who are preparing with IFoS (Forest Services) examinations with full steam but the decrease in number of questions related to Environmental Organisations would be welcomed. Here too, there were a very few questions from conventional areas.
With most of the questions being entirely related to the affairs in news, this was nearly the most predictable section this year.
The questions asked in Science and Technology have been quite diverse. Although there were a few traditional Science questions in 2013 and 2014, the questions have moved to the Technology dimension over the last three years and have been related to Current Affairs.
(The difficulty level is denoted using five stars, with one star corresponding to ‘very easy’ and five to ‘very difficult’. (Obviously, this has some subjectivity))
This explains the story of the Prelims Paper quite clearly. Less than 50% of the questions fall under the first two levels which makes the paper difficult compared to the last two years which saw simple and direct questions like ‘Jan Dhan Yojana is related to’ and ‘Reason for Surat Split’. The questions relating to Government schemes this had tricky options and easier sections like Modern India had questions from unconventional areas.
Only one thing is for sure: if you are going to appear for UPSC Prelims next time, make sure you cover all areas equally well and go in with an open mind without any expectations from the question paper.
This analysis has been contributed by Mr. Akshy Sridhar IAS (UPSC CSE 2016 AIR 45)
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