A new trend is visible and the question paper is dynamic in nature.
While facing Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2016 General Studies Paper 1, Current Affairs preparation and awareness pertaining to contemporary developments would have given natural clue and candidates would have found it easier to either eliminate wrong options or would have made educated guess at ease.
The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2016 General Studies Paper 1 focuses on nature and quality of the resource used by the candidates for preparation.
The questions probe the pragmatic paradigm and the focus is on the candidate’s competence is handling current affairs as the question paper is dynamic in nature.
How to analyze it?
If it is current affairs loaded question paper, it is no surprise.
Our country is on its way to become global power and there is no denying from the fact that India is the world’s largest democracy, and one of its fastest-growing economies. With so much action on diverse facade, for screening such a large number of candidates at this stage of examination, there is so much that can be asked to check candidates preparedness.
Moreover, with so much action on policy front, it was expected that some questions would be asked from this area.
Looking at the question paper, I don’t know how coaching institutes’ experts will classify each question with different constituents of General Studies syllabus as most of them advocate preparation based on prioritization of some constituents.
Still, for sake of analyzing, I would say the tilt was towards Economy as well as questions relating to Ecology and Environment. There were good number of questions from History/Art & Culture and if any constituent that have lesser questions, it is Polity.
Was it challenging?
No doubt Preliminary Examination is challenging and has become more demanding after Paper II has been made qualifying.
Talking about Prelims Paper 1 question paper, it is a balanced question paper and there is no major surprise. There are quite a few questions that can be termed easy as these can be answered by just reading the complete question.
As majority of candidates are smart enough to face such questions confidently and their preparation style is such that handling current affairs related questions should not pose any major problem.
While preparing for Civil Services Examination, almost all understand the significance attached to Prelims General Studies Paper 1 as their performance in this paper determines their fate.
As such, it is advice that one should have aim to answer 48-50 questions correct stands true so that candidate feels quite secure and can safely expect to cross the hurdle.
Speed and accuracy would have helped candidates and as even a fraction of mark matters, realistic approach and competitive spirit would have given an edge.
Is it beginning of a new trend?
Yes, may be. And if UPSC adopts such pattern for future, it is quite interesting as well as stimulating.
A glance at the question paper gives a feel that many a questions are such that an avid reader of newspapers and magazines would have found these questions easy to answer.
A good number of the questions presented in real life context can be easily handled by candidates who have gained knowledge in such a way that conceptual clarity helps them to solve such questions with ease.
Current affairs preparation and awareness pertaining to contemporary developments would have given natural clue and candidates would have found it easier to either eliminate wrong options or would have made educated guess at ease.
What could be the cut-off?
What I feel, candidates adopting ‘integrated approach’ for Main Examination oriented preparation with reasonable groundwork and general awareness would have found about 30-35 questions easy to answer and another 20-25 question with difficulty level moderate.
With some guessing and adjusting for negative marking, a score of approx 110-112 should be a safe score that should help candidates to cross the first hurdle.
This is a stage where your scores are not considered in final aggregate and your aim is to find yourself about the cut-off. You need to remain optimistic and hope for a positive outcome as waiting till Prelims result is not a sensible step.
Have a little break, relax for a day or two and once again resume preparation for Main Examination.
All the best!