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General Studies Paper 1 Analysis Preliminary Examination 2019

Preliminary Examination 2019 General Studies Paper 1 was held on June 2, 2019 in first shift.

As usual, it had 100 questions with difficulty level going little up and majority of questions were more interesting and stimulating as these have taken Prelims 2019 to a new level. 



Though, like many others, I was expecting Prelims 2019 to be easier; still, my message to aspirant’s on eve of Prelims was clear.

Prelims 2019My supposition was based on my experience as I am tracking this examination for such a long period and I was sure that this too, will have some surprise in store.

First Look

I admit, a glance at the initial 2-3 pages of Prelims 2019 General Studies Paper 1 question paper gave me a feel that it is easier than last year.

Presence of questions relating to conventional constituents like History, Geography, Economy and Polity gave a sense that it is going to be moderately high scoring paper.

But, as I read first 14-15 questions, I could make out my apprehensions shared with aspirants’ day before the Prelims were right and once again UPSC has not hesitated to give twist in lot many questions.

Majority of questions laid bare amalgamation of dynamic portion with conventional and the way current affair is sequenced and differentiated, it gave a sense that lot of people would have gone wrong if they didn’t get the message clear, lacked analytical touch or took any question lightly.

The Reality

The questions that looked simple or straightforward in first look are real beauty as lexical and structural complexities made these questions challenging for candidates while working out the correct answer.

Barring 5-6 questions that look like cake-walk, rest all questions needed conceptual clarity with clear understanding of themes and topics to pick the correct option.

Many questions required candidates to dig deep in to memory for recall or required them to make out answers by eliminating wrong options and finally making an educated guess to lock the one.

UPSC in not unpredictable; just change your perception

The fact is what you are reading from the stuff published by the coaching or you are recommended to read by leading coaching institutes, following the trends visible in previous years’ question papers; UPSC invariably ignores that and keeps a check on efforts to make Prelims predictable.

As observed, invariably, UPSC put some questions from those topics that are being overlooked and virtually, majority of candidates take no notice of such topics and UPSC’s such efforts are seen as ‘Surprise Element’.

That is what precisely picked up by UPSC in Prelims 2019 as well and surprisingly there were many questions from some topics/areas from otherwise important constituents that are being overlooked as candidates sometimes becomes selective while preparing for General studies.

Then, there were some questions that were presented in a real life context.

UPSC is in search of such candidates who have ability to integrate academics and new knowledge in such a way that helps them get to the bottom of the questions asked.

Once again, unpredictable tag doled out to UPSC resurfaces; but, as a matter of fact candidates don’t prepare themselves for hidden surprises as their approach towards Civil Services Examination is as per their interests and the way they look at it. Whatever they read or understand, with that they wish to be in control. If it would have been so easy and predictable, this exam would have no limitation and all candidates would have lacked positive shift when it comes to preparation.

The reality is you have to prepare as UPSC desire. Their job is tough to pick and recommend the most suitable candidates for top posts.

Some constituent’s gambit that gave Prelims 2019 a new flavour

Change in shape of a lot of questions from History and that too moderate to difficult brewed the uncertainties. Questions from Polity, Economy, Geography and Environment were in plenty and wide coverage of syllabus is clearly reflected. 

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.

Current Affairs heavy paper in my view is less factual and more interpretive thus would have truly evaluated the preparedness of candidates and mind it –guess work would have proved to be suicidal.

Any guess about cut-off?

Why there is so much of interest and so many experts and coaching institutes are analyzing Preliminary Examination question papers and race is on for quickly put out Answer Keys?

It is a big examination and something significant that attracts the educated and aspiring youth’s attention. It is not only candidates who appeared in the exam; their focus is on future aspirants as this is the easiest way to grab their attention.

Looking at some of the answer-keys, it is difficult to say about accuracy as they all do it with speed to have the first mover advantage. So, to say you stand to qualify or not based on such answer-keys is not prudent.

All you need is to continue preparation without waiting for Prelims results and remain optimistic about result. Even if it isn’t favourable, your preparation during this period would give you a head start to your next attempt.

My Final Take:

I will not call Preliminary Examination 2019 General Studies Paper 1 difficult or weird; for me, being only more interesting and stimulating as it has taken Prelims to a new level.

Last Update Sunday 23rd June 2019     

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