HIGHLIGHT OF ARTICLE
1) Overall Breakup
4) Environment & Biodiversity (enb)
7) Science & Technology (S&T)
8) Yearbook stuff
9) Current Affairs vs Static
10) 4TF type of question
11) Authentic Answerkeys! (lolz)
12) Make your own answerkey
13) Why Cut-offs talk is useless
14) Start preparing for mains
15) Was the CSAT-paper Tough?
In order to see the big picture, We must compare this data with the GS-papers of last two years. See how the topicwise-breakup has evolved.
Markwise Breakup (From 2010 to 2012)
- Note1: column will not add to 100, because I’ve not counted the international affairs etc. questions from 2011’s exam. However the total questions were 100.
- Note2: in 2010, GS paper had 150 questions, including Aptitude. Therefore column will not add to 100. Secondly, in 2010 they did not have separate EnB section.
This Situation calls for % table.
%wise Breakup (From 2010 to 2012)
For 2011 and 2012, the data will remain same (Because total 100 Questions) but for 2010, I’m converting marks into approximate percentages using 150 as ‘total’.
Charts and graphs
- History has doubled in its importance from 2010 to 2012. Any sort of ‘predictability’ helps the coaching classes and senior players, and UPSC hates both of them. Most of us would have thought: history will decrease and S&T will remain steady. So, UPSC does the reverse. Besides, it is my personal opinion, this year History + Polity given heavy emphasis to reverse the “Science and Engineer graduates-friendly” trends of last two years.
- Polity increased by than double. 8% in 2011 and 18% in 2012. And curiously, as the number of questions increased, the difficulty level of each question decreased!
- Geography remained “steady” 11% of the paper for last two years.
- Economy declined.
- Science and technology declined: almost halved: From 18% in 2011 to 9% in 2012! – To make room for the increased number of History and Polity Questions
- Just like Geography, the Yearbook stuff also remained: Steady 9% of the paper, for last two years.
- You can do data interpretation on your own.
Now time to take a look at individual subjects under General Studies paper.
A.Ancient and Medieval
- Dhrupad, one of the major traditions of India that has been kept alive for centuries
- Distinguish between Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dances
- hand gesture called ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It symbolizes
- religion of early Vedic Aryans was
- Sufi mystics were known to pursue which of the following practices
- guilds (Shreni) of ancient India that played a very important role
- scientific progress of ancient India
- common to both Buddhism and Jainism?
- Nagara, the Dravida and the Vesara
Questions Mostly related to religion and culture.
They had asked about Jainism in 2011’s paper as well.
Thankfully, No dates, places or name of kings though.
Modern India (Freedom Struggle)
Even with the lousiest half-hearted preparation, one could solve question number 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11 from reading NCERTs, GS Manual and Bipin Chandra.
Environment & Biodiversity (enb)
- Q. 7 on protected area, was directly discussed in my EnB article: In-situ and Ex-situ conservation.
- Q. 18 on Vulture question had been directly discussed in my EnB article: Types of Species.
- Q.14 Threats to biodiversity: the “alien species” were also discussed in above article (under title “Non-native species”.)
- Seems UPSC is making a habit of asking location of some odd wildlife animal every year. (Oryx, Chiru and Crane this year.)
- Almost 1/4th of the paper (25%) is EnB, because environment must be protected and candidates must be forced to prepare heavily for Environment topic as if they’re going to actually ‘implement’ everything they read in the books, into their real lives!
- One interesting thing: about the “limits of current affairs”, This Sea buckthorn initiative happened in 2010 (according to MoEF public notification) and UPSC has asked this in 2012.
- Anyways most of the questions- not really tough, provided that you had been following
Most of the it from
- NCERT Geography books Class 7 to 12.
- +General Studies manual.
- Curiously I’m not seeing anything from ‘world geography’ except the Tropical Savannah climate. (Ocean Current falls under Physical geography so not really a ‘world geography’ question)
Science & Technology (S&T)
|I’m combining the “rights issue”, “Empowerment” and “Government scheme” in one category:
Current Affairs vs Static
Static = from routine books, theory stuff. Majority of the questions this time, are from the static portion.
- Over last three years, UPSC has constantly reduced the importance of current affairs: my take, they’re doing it to give level playing field to small town & rural candidates, who’re unable to purchase lots of newspapers, current-affairs magazines, internet for following the current affairs.
- Indian Juntaa doesn’t care for sportsmen (Except cricketers), Authors (except those Indian authors who can only write novels about adultery and sex), Dancers (Except those who can do ‘item-song) or social activists (except those who get extensive media coverage).
- So over the years, UPSC was feeling sorry for the unknown celebrities and had been asking questions related to “persons in news” in preliminary exam to give them their due recognition.
- But finally UPSC has learned the lesson: There is no point in forcing candidates to mugup names of people in news, you can’t make someone love you by holding a gun on his face.
4TF type of question
- 4TF= four (or two) statements are given, and you’re asked to identify the correct or incorrect statement.
- UPSC has increased the number of 4TF question in last two years.
- This time, There are approximately 20 normal question (i.e. pick up one from a/b/c/d, and remaining 80 questions are 4TF.
- 4TF have their own advantages and disadvantages
- Good: you can eliminate wrong answer choices and certain ‘combinations’.
- Bad: requires thorough grip over the topic.
- Bad: Time consuming because you have to re-read entire question multiple times to eliminate the wrong choices.
- Seems they’re trying to frame difficult questions from easy topics. using the 4TF technique.
Authentic Answerkeys! (lolz)
- “Authentic answerkey” is an oxymoron just like “Honest Politician”.
- After prelims are over, everybody starts googling for “answerkeys and cut-offs”. So, in a haste to capture the audience (and to advertise their mains classes and study packages), the coaching classes and certain websites release faulty answerkeys without doing proper research and homework.
- UPSC gives you 2 hours to solve 100 questions in the exam hall, so If you manually check the reference book for each and every question, it ought to take you no less than 4-5 hours at home. Besides for certain questions there is no reliable source / book / website to confirm the answer!
- Many candidates check their paper using multiple answerkeys and from whichever answerkey they get maximum score, they take it as their ‘official score’ and start worrying about the cut-offs!
Make your own answerkey
- I suggest you look at each and every question individually and find its source.
- For example, in this prelims, UPSC asked questions on green tribunal and 13th Finance Commission. If you solve these from readymade answerkeys, you will only know the four statements given in the question itself. But if you manually solve every question, you’ll come across 10 points related to the topic, which you can use as fodder material for mains exam and interview. Who knows you might find some direct questions!
- Caution : donot merely type question phrases in Wikipedia, UPSC did not frame question after reading Wikipedia and Wikipedia is not the ‘authentic’ source. You should first refer the standard reference books to solve these questions and use Wikipedia only as last source.
Why Cut-offs talk is useless
- As usual, I don’t involve myself in cut-off prediction or speculation.
- If India won 2011’s world cup by making 250 runs, does it mean India will win 2015’s world cup by making 250 runs? Then why are you trying “extrapolate” the RTI replies of previous cut-offs to speculate 2012’s cut-offs! Each year’s exam is a separate thing with separate difficulty and separate crowd.
- Second, in the online forums and facebook communities, people post their score based on the answerkey which gives them maximum marks! So you don’t get a standard data in the first place.
- Third, Mostly three types of people post their scores online:
A. those who performed exceptionally well.
B. those who performed terribly bad.
C. those who feel they are on ‘border line’ based on their own cut-off speculation.
- But even the combined number of above A+B+C category of people in all internet communities = no than 2000. While there are no less than 20,000 serious contenders. (Rest 1-2 lakhs are just JBPS, we are not bothered with their future.) You need a huge sample data to statistically predict the cut-offs.
- Fourth, In an RTI reply, they had said: cut-offs for 2011’s CSAT exam will be released only after the entire mains-interview process is over. Using the same logic, UPSC is not going to reveal the official cut-offs for CSAT-2012, before May 2013.
- So let UPSC come out with cut-off data, there is no point in you increasing your blood pressure over cut-off speculation.
- The exam finished in the Evening of Sunday, right now it is tuesday morning, so not even three days have passed, UPSC cannot even collect back all the answersheets from every exam centre across India India to Delhi in such short time, and yet some people are saying “they’ve confirmed it with reliable sources inside UPSC office that cut off will be *** for 2012.”
- ^How is it possible? The OMR bundles are not even opened yet, the answersheets are not even checked yet and you’ve came out with the cutoff data confirmed from UPSC itself! <— This is absolutely ridiculous. Don’t panic over such bogus rumors and claims made online.
Start preparing for mains
- Those of you have the mindset I’ll prepare for mains based on cut-offs. If my chances look good, only then I prepare for mains.
- ^ wrong mentality. You’re thinking like a stockbroker but Success in UPSC requires the dedication of a world class athlete and patience of a gardener. Prelims is over means you have to start preparing for mains. You don’t wait for the results until August 2012 or waste time in cut-offs speculation. If you wait until August, it will be impossible to cover the syllabus of GS + Two optional subjects.
- Your CSAT paper did not go “good” or “Bad”. You paper is only “over”.
- In school or board exams, you’ve a pre-set target: 90% or First class therefore you can predict your own chances “meraa paper acchaa gaya. / Mera paper kharaab gaya”
- But in UPSC CSAT or CAT or similar competitive exams, there is no pre-set target, you just have to tick as many questions as you can – accurately without doing guesswork.
- So don’t say “meraa paper kharaab gaya.” Because 10 of your friends are claiming to have ticked answers than you did, or just because x member of orkut, or y coaching sir came up with a magical cut-off figure.
- And don’t waste your time or bandwidth asking people online “My score is *** so What’re my chances?” = only God or UPSC can answer that question.
Was the CSAT-paper Tough?
- Paper is never ‘tough’ or ‘easy’. Paper is just a paper.
- You’re not expected to know answer of each and every question.
- You don’t have to tick 90 or 100 answers to crack the exam.
- All you had to do was study hard, tick answers accurately and leave the rest in the hands of God.
- IF you believe you had studied hard and you’ve ticked the answers accurately without doing guesswork, then there is no need to worry. Let the result come in August 2012.
- And, Don’t become a Devdas or Superman after the results. In either case it’ll be a minor setback or victory, life is long and there are so many battles yet to be fought.
- This CSAT-2012 paper is mere continuation of the trend started by UPSC since 2010 to break the backs of Coaching Factories in Delhi and to provide level playing field to the small towners and first timers.
- Less emphasis on ‘mug-up’ type of current affairs
- More emphasis on theory and standard reference books.
- Apart from that, there is nothing much to say, same old stuff like in 2010 and 2011.