Civil Services General Studies Paper-1 Analysis

Civil Services Main Examination 2019 is over and has left most of the candidates in speculation. At this juncture it is pertinent to know and analyze the paper by examining one’s own performance. The beauty of this exam is it is subjective as well as relative. Excessive thinking about the results is sheer wastage of time. If you clear Main Exam, Personality Test will be the last leap but in case you fall out, next year is waiting. It can be a blessing in disguise as there will be more time to hone your skills and strengthen the weaker areas.

 Let us first try analyzing this year’s General Studies Paper-1;

  1.  Overall, the questions were thought provoking and demanded clarity of thought, concepts and good deal of understanding in each of the subjects prescribed in the syllabus.
  2. The questions such as ‘impact of global warming on coral life’ and ‘causes of depletion of mangroves and their importance in maintaining coastal life’ were direct questions from Environment. But the catch is how one attempts such questions. If the approach of writing was only limited to the environmental aspect of the question, then the marks will not be optimal. But if the answer carries geographical, environmental aspects supplemented with current affairs examples then no body can resist giving marks.
    This demands long writing practice before the final examination. Also, reading newspaper should be considered as an inevitable part of the preparation not as mere wastage of time.
  3. The questions tried to check the analytical ability of the candidate that whether he or she can give concrete answers to a given situation as in this question, “Can the strategy of regional-resource based manufacturing help in promoting employment in India?”
    This is YES or NO type of question. Candidates with great knowledge but limited writing skill will not be able to critically answer this question. The answer should carry a clear opinion based on current case studies, illustrations and examples associated with the dynamic aspect of the regional-resource based manufacturing. Simply, knowing about the regional-resource based manufacturing won’t help much.
  4. The questions on Art and Culture, Indian Society were also dynamic. For example: “What makes Indian Society unique in sustaining its culture?” It is again simple, easy and straight question. But the response in the answer must be crisp, exact and to the point. Beating around the bush will not help much. Such sort of writing insight comes from consistent reading and persistent writing.
  5. In Civil Services Main 2017, there was one question regarding mob violence, this year the question appeared in different manner as, “What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism?”
    This question is asked in the wake of recent anti-social activities happening in the name of religion. The art of writing here comes to picture, stating every recent illegitimate and narrow nationalist activity taking place in the name of religion without blaming any individual or any section of society. Language of euphemism is required in order to handle such subtle and sensitive topics.
  6. There were few questions which were static as well as quite simple to answer but did not inspire reflection on the issue concerned.  Whereas most of the questions compelled the aspirant to express his/her views regarding the asked concept, as in question of identity crisis as ‘Local Identity’ and ‘Global Identity’ is another in the thought-provoking question list.

To conclude, dynamism is the key point of the UPSC Civil Services Examination in recent years. This aspect is reflected in majority of the questions being asked. Confinement of study to only static topics, rot learning without adequate writing practice can never bear desired outcome. In order to become top scorer, the approach of learning through dynamic books becomes pertinent and significant, which not only enriches the resource content but also helps in knowing how to write the answers. 

One such book ‘A History of Ancient India’ by Ajeet Jha provides a deep insight into the topics of Ancient India and Art and Culture with a special feature stating the right approach to attempt the questions.  Reading right books enriches mind, enhances knowledge and enables scoring great marks.

All the best!

Sherry A Singh
Senior Editor- Acquisition Test Prep