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UPSC Prelims 2012 Complete Analysis and Cut-Off Marks

Now that CSAT 2012 is finally over its time for its analysis and predicting the Prelims 2012 cut off marks. Like last year, Paper 1 was relatively difficult compared to Paper 2 which had lesser number of questions but took much longer to finish. If you’re a IAS exam aspirant, this analysis of 2012 CSAT will surely be useful to you to predict trends and orient your preparation accordingly. Of course, I also mention the probable cut off for Prelims 2012 so make sure you read this post completely.

Paper 1 Analysis of Prelims 2012

If last year Paper 1 focussed more on Environment and Ecological questions this year UPSC adopted a more balanced approach and questions from conventional topics were asked in plenty; something which wasn’t seen in the last three Prelims. In fact, I’ve broken down the number of questions topic-wise so you get an idea of the overall trend of 2012 Prelims. Although please note that not all questions can be neatly categorized as many are combination of 2 or more topics like Current Affairs + Science, Economy + GK and so on. But for purpose of this analysis I’ve categorized them in the topic which I felt was primary in the concerned question.

Planning and Development--234-
National Income21-11-
Prices and Inflation---21-
Public Finance--151-
Money and Banking212122-
Foreign Trade2-222-
External Assistance-2-31-
Sustainable Development-----1
Social Security-----1

As you can see from the table above, while 22 GK and Current Affairs based questions were asked, 66 questions were asked from the conventional topics like History, Polity, Geography etc. Candidates who prepared Polity and History well should score good marks in these topics. In addition, the questions from Polity and History were from easy to moderate difficulty level which means easy marks if you had prepared these topics well.

The Economy questions were also not very difficult except a few based on the latest economic developments. Continuing the previous year’s trend UPSC asked as many as 11 questions related to Environment, Ecology and Sustainable Development. This will become a routine since these are pressing issues of our times so you cannot neglect this all important topic either in the Prelims or IAS Mains.

Paper 1 was more Tricky than Difficult

Yes, what made paper 1 tricky to attempt were the 1,2,3 and 4 (all of the above) are right type questions. These questions end up confusing the candidates since you cannot use elimination method with confidence in these questions. The doubt that maybe all the options are correct always lingers in the mind if one is not sure about the combinations listed in the answer. And UPSC asked as many as 64 questions having “all are correct” type option.

This is what made Paper 1 tricky and will ultimately decide the cut off in this year’s Prelims. Many candidates who selected an option based on hunches or selected the “all are correct” option simply because it seemed most “common sensical” will be in for a few surprises since there’s a negative a penalty of 0.66 marks for every wrong answer.

Prelims 2012Paper 2 Analysis

Paper 2 was quite easy, although lengthy. In fact I feel paper 2 will pull the cut-off upwards while Paper 1 will moderate it. Since there were only 80 questions like last year, I assume each question carries 2.5 marks. Also as in previous year, this year too UPSC showered passages upon passages in Paper two; 11 to be precise. And they were quite simple to attempt provided you went through them once or twice completely before attempting the  questions that followed.

Also like last year the 7 questions on decision making carried no negative penalty so I hope you must have attempted them all. Coming to the logical reasoning and mental ability part these questions were quite easy as well. In fact if you went through the questions and options with a calm mind you should have got most of the logical reasoning questions correct.

But since paper 2 was comparatively time consuming I assume most of the candidates couldn’t have attempted all the questions even if they wanted to.

Expected Prelims 2012 Cut Off

So finally after all the analysis we come to the cut off part, for some the most interesting and exciting as well. Before I get to the  CSAT 2012 cut-off please take a moment to read the disclaimer below.

Disclaimer: This cut-off is for reference purpose only. I don’t have any links with any ‘uncle’ in UPSC who has ‘secretly revealed’ the cut-off to me. So take it with a pinch of salt and don’t fuss if the predicted cut-off falls below or above your expectation 🙂 Also I strongly believe there’s No Individual Cut-off in Prelims, so read it before moving forward. Also while I speak of a minimum score in individual papers I don’t mean it as minimum qualifying score in each paper. The minimum score is only valid for paper 1 and 2 marks combined.

Ok, lets get to the point.

Based on the difficulty level of paper 1 and assuming an average attempt of 80 questions out of 100, a minimum score of 90 marks out of 200 in paper 1 after deducting 1/3rd negative penalty.  In paper 2 assuming an average attempt of 70 questions out of 80, a minimum score of 130 marks out of 200.

Combining the 2 papers the Cut-off score for Prelims 2012 comes to 90+130=220 marks out of 400. In fact, I predict the cut-off marks will be in the range of 215-230 marks simply because of the easy nature of paper 2 and not-very difficult level of paper 1.

Again, before expressing your valued views on the expected cut-off for Prelims 2012 please re-read the Disclaimer above. You can choose to disagree but just be nice. Comments using foul language end up in the trash bin. See you in the comments below!

P.S. You might want to go through this must-have Books for Prelims to get a head-start in your Prelims preparation.

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I am your friend, mentor and guide to help crack the IAS exam. I've cleared the Prelims everytime including the first and also reached the Interview stage. Know more about me

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