As mentioned in the earlier article, Paper-I is expected to have 100 questions like the previous year(s) papers, spanning across diverse areas from ‘History’ to Environmental Ecology’. Each correct answer will account for ‘1’ mark and every incorrect answer will attract a penalty of 0.33 marks. The questions are not evenly spread and the form is highly unpredictable.
The appropriate strategy for this paper would be to analyze the previous papers and extrapolate the trends. Such an exercise would not only help in narrowing down the otherwise unwieldy syllabus into manageable parts, but it would also give the much needed ‘confidence’ before the examination. ( However we have to note that the U.P.S.C is setting the questions which are most unpredictable and hence we have been referring to paper-1 as the Black Swan i.e., something which is completely unexpected )
When the paper had 150 questions (upto the year 2010 ) there was an uneven distribution of questions from different areas. However, since last year when the number of questions were reduced to 100, the distribution has been more or less even. A subject wise analysis of the previous year(s) question papers reveals the following trends:
i) Indian Polity: The emphasis on Indian Polity has less in the previous years. This year the number of questions could be more. Questions would also be asked from the areas of Governance its problems etc. The appropriate strategy would be to complete the conventional areas and focus on the Current Affairs related areas and their background. For example: Corruption continues to be a debated topic almost every day. There could be questions on agencies created by the government to tackle corruption and there inadequacies for example when was the C.B.I created ? What are its functions etc. . Questions could be focus on Lokpal, Lokayukta, Anti-Corruption Mechanism in other countries.
ii) General Science: The number of questions in General Science which includes Science and Technology, Biology, Chemistry and Physics has been on the increase in the last two years. This year, the number of questions could witness a decline. Among the General Science subjects, Biology continues to be in the most important and more questions are expected from Bio-Technology and Health Care. The issues regarding Health Care , like access , leading causes of mortality in India,Health Infrasructure, Nutrition etc.
iii) Social and Economic Development: Social and Economic development has become an area of focus in the last few years. This focus is bound to continue. The focus would be on the Social Sector initiatives like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Indira Awas Yojana, National Social Assistance Programme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Rural Health Mission, Mid-day Meal, Sarvasiksha Abhiyan, Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, Social Audit, Swarna Jayanthi Gram Swarojzar Yojana, Self-Help Groups, etc. The Socio Economic Census and its implications would be a major area of concern. Again, since ‘blackmoney’ is in the news there could be questions on the committees set up to estimate the extent of blackmoney, tax havens etc .
Strategy : Focus on all the focus on issues like, Poverty, Urban Development, etc. Read all the relevant areas from India Year Book and the Economic Survey Report.
iv) Geography: In Geography, the number of questions is expected to be the same like the previous years. The thrust will be on the Current Affairs related to Geography. Like Tsunami, and Earthquakes, etc. The location(s) of the places in the news both national and international will figure in a significant manner. The accent would be on Indian Geography with a sharp focus on the Economy and the Demography of different States. Strategy : Focus on the basics. For Indian Geography apart from the basic books read the India Year Book. Note that sustainable development has been added as a chapter for the first time in the Economic Survey report 2012. This proves the importance of the topic.
v): Environmental Ecology: This is a new area that has been introduced. Last year there were many questions from this area and the trend is expected to continue. This could cover areas like natural resources, impact of man on resources, coastal zone management, wetlands, soil salinity, environmental audit, food chain, Man’s impact on eco-systems, eco-system biodiversity, flora and fauna of India, medicinal plants, natural animals, national parks, environmental pollution, (Pesticides pollution, natural pollution), Solid waste management, Environmental legislations, (Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act) (Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act)(Environmental Ethics), (Population and Environment ) (Major Environmental Issues & Controversies). For example : Silent Valley, Chipko Movement, Sethusamudram Project, etc.
vi) Current Affairs and General Knowledge: These have been the thrust areas in the recent past. Almost, every question has a current affairs dimension. Current affairs would include all events that have been taking place for the last one and half years. However, it is expected that questions would not be asked after the 1st of April, 2012.
Tactics for Paper 1:
1. Read the sentence carefully to get a feel for its meaning.
2. Before you look at the choices, think of a word that make sense.
3. Look at all possible answers before you make your final choice.
4. Watch out for negative words and prefixes.
5. Use your knowledge of context clues to get at the meaning of unfamiliar words.
6. Break-down unfamiliar words into recognizable parts.
7. Watch out for signal words that link one part of the question to another.
8. Go through the answers testing the first word in each choices.
9. Do not make wild guesses because there is negative marking.