Prelims 2022: Analysis Of GS Paper I; Being Abreast with the Latest, UPSC Evaluates your Conceptual Knowledge as well

Admin Last Update on: 08 Jun 2022

As usual, the Paper I (General Studies) of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2022 has the similar number of questions 100 that it had on earlier occasions. This time the General Studies Paper gives a broad progressive feel and a lot of candidates found it relatively difficult than previous papers in last 2-3 years.

Every year, hundred thousand of highly energized candidates prepare themselves to undertake an intense grind just to face Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination confidently; but, to their surprise, each time they faced a question paper that has some surprise element.
Yes, Preliminary Examination Paper I (General Studies) is donning a look that gives a jolt to those who come with perception that UPSC follow a trend and they are equipped to crack it with smart work.
No doubt, smart work can do wonders and some of the well prepared candidates would have tackled this paper effectively. But, in general when majority of candidates have impression of reading UPSC examiner’s mind, invariably they are caught on the wrong foot.
When UPSC expects you to be well-informed with a sound understanding of traditional part, understanding and interpreting the information is the key. 
For majority of candidates, perception influences how they prepare for Prelims, how they process information that they gather so that they can remember it for long and recall it when needed. 
On one side coaching institutes perceive to decode UPSC accurately; on the other side UPSC examiners create something new to counter the shrewd work done by them.
The amount of content being churned out by so called experts, current affairs PDFs and AI-based approach fail to match the examiners’ mind; the end result is disappointments.
GS Paper 1
Feeling upbeat about Prelims and hoping to secure a seat in Main Examination is what a confident candidates think. But, only those cross the first stage who prepares diligently, understand the intricacies involved and controls his/her nerves while attempting the question paper in the examination hall.
Surely, not so simple that one can rejoice as a factual paper. Yes, facts have been put in such a way that working out the correct answer needs intelligence as well as composed mind.
First impression it gives is of moderate to tough paper and lengthy too. This is amalgamation of dynamic as well as a conventional piece of work that truly evaluates the conceptual knowledge of the candidates.
It is not as straightforward as some candidates perceived, but if you expect stereotyping, at least UPSC is here to disappoint you.
UPSC is known for making simple questions tricky. This intention was clearly visible in last 2-3 years’ paper as well when at first look candidates termed it ‘easy’. This time it is a notch above.
Constituent wise comparing last year, while Indian Polity and Indian History had lesser number of questions; Indian Economy, Geography and General Science witnessed some uptick. 
If looking at the toughness, some questions in economy and polity would have been easy for well-prepared candidates. If one is clear about fundamentals and relates familiarity with the current affairs, spotting the suitable answer would have been quite comfortable.
Undoubtedly, sensible approach and rational thinking is needed in attempting majority of questions. At the same time a sharp eye would have helped in some question with a blink. 
But, it has been such a paper where GYAN shared by some experts would have fallen flat and the tricks would h6ave deceived many.
I have been tracking this examination for more than 3 decades and can say it with conviction that follow the basics, understand the syllabus, prepare with standard textbooks, limit your resources and daily read newspapers - at least two. You will never face problem in crossing the first hurdle - Prelims.  
This Prelims 2022 question paper establishes this fact again that breadth of knowledge and information is quite essential in handling General Studies paper effectively in Preliminary Examination. All the clever strategies are nowhere near without an effective preparation as your awareness level is measured in such a smart way that one feels that it is quite easy to crack Prelims; yet, it is not that effortless to decode this examination.
Techniques for solving Multiple Choice Questions
When we talk about techniques to solve multiple choice questions, I am presenting some examples here to understand it.
Once again, in many questions process of eliminating wrong answers would have helped candidates to work out the correct alternative.
Q. The Prime Minister recently inaugurated the new Circuit House near Somnath Temple at Verval. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Somnath Temple?
  1. Somnath Temple is one of the Jyotirlinga shrines
  2. A description of Somnath Temple was given by Al-Biruni
  3. Pran Pratishtha of Somnath Temple (Installation of the present day temple) was done by President S. Radhakrishnan.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Here, if you spot the 3rd statement President Dr. Rajendra Prasad did the Pran Pratishtha and if you look at options given, only option (a) is obvious answer as rest of all have 3 

Q. with reference to the ‘Banks Board Bureau (BBB)’, which of the following statements are correct?
  1. The Governor of RBI is the Chairman of BBB
  2. BBB recommends for the selection of heads for Public Sector Banks
  3. BBB helps the Public Sector Banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans 
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

1st statement is not correct as the Governor of RBI is not the Chairman of BBB and there is only option (b) that is th6e correct answer.
Then, there are some questions where intelligent guess can h6elp you in working out the correct answer:
Q. “Yogavāsiṣṭha” was translated into Persian by Nizamuddir Panipati during the reign of:
(a) Akbar
(b) Humayun
(c) Shahjahan
(d) Aurangzeb
During the Mughal Dynasty the text was translated into Persian several times, as ordered by Akbar, Jahangir and Darah Shikuh
If some options confused you, an intelligent guess would have helped you if you knew a little about this topic
As one of these translations was undertaken by Nizam al-Din Panipati in the late sixteenth century AD and that era clearly indicate (a) Akbar as the correct answer.

Q. With reference to the “Tea Board” in India, consider the following statements:
  1. The Tea Board is statuary body
  2. It is regulatory body attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
  3. The Tea Board’s Head Office is situated in Bengaluru
  4. The Board has overseas offices at Dubai and Moscow
Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 and 4 only
(c) 3 and 4 only
(d) 1 and 4 only

This was one of the expected questions as India is the second largest producer of tea in the world, next to China.
If you were stuck somewhere, then intelligent guess would have helped you:
Statement 1 is correct
Statement 2 is seemingly wrong as being an industry body, Ministry of Commerce and Industries would have been the accurate answer
Statement 3 also incorrect as the Tea Board’s Head Office is situated in Kolkata.
Even if you don’t know Statement 4 is correct or not, if you look at the answer option (d) clearly appears as the correct option.
But, here comes the twist where UPSC h6as come up with a new pattern in questions where neither elimination nor intelligent guess will work. 
Have a look at the following question:
Q. With reference to the Indian History, consider the following pairs:
  Historical person Known as
1. Aryadeva Jaina scholar
2. Dignaga Buddhist scholar
3. Nathamuni Vaishnava scholar

 How many pairs given above are correctly matched?
(a) None of the pairs
(b) Only one pair
(c) Only two pairs
(d) All three pairs

Q. Consider the following pairs:
  Site of Ashoks's major rock edicts Location in the State of
1. Dhauli Odisha
2. Erragudi Andhra Pradesh
3. Jaugada Madhya Pradesh
4. Kalsi Karnataka
How many pairs given below are correctly matched?
(a) Only one pair
(b) Only two pairs
(c) Only Three pairs
(d) All four pairs
In such questions there is no right or wrong choices; you cannot work out the correct answer till the time you don’t have knowledge of all the information in each pair, you cannot give the correct answer. 
A Balanced Blend
If you ask this paper is going to benefit particular stream; my answer would be it is a balanced paper and I don’t think any candidate from a particular background stands to gain more
Again, UPSC has maintained it impartial approach and this would have helped many to solve this question paper without any prejudice. 
To sum up, I would say that this paper assesses the depth of understanding of a candidate and sets the stage for talented and deserving candidates to get berth in Main Examination.
GS Paper 2 (CSAT)
If you notice, in last few years, Paper 2 has become more demanding and despite being a qualifying paper, many otherwise deserving candidates find it difficult to score even 33% marks in this paper.
It has been again continuation of the trend and the GS Paper 2 has been lengthy as well as tough.
Approx. 30-odd questions relating to English Comprehension were modest but, the Reasoning part and Quantitative Aptitude related questions were moderate to tough 
What should be the cut-off ?
Well, I don’t believe in such activities immediately after attempting such an intense competition; th6ere is no scope for guess work.
I maintain, it is not an easy paper and expecting almost similar set-up that we have seen in last year.
I strongly suggest you to be serious about the next step - Main Examination as you have only 3 months’ time in between. 
As such, by the end of June 2022, Prelims result would be known - if you succeed, you will have to accelerate the pace of your preparation for Main Examination
By chance, if you fail to qualify, you will gain the momentum for next year’s preparation and will ensure to plug the loopholes and give your best for the next attempt.
You have got a glimpse of the things to come so be ready with your study-plan for Mains.
Once again wishing you success!

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