Analysis of 2014 Mains GS Paper 1

Now that 2014 Civil Services Mains exam is over, it is time to analyse the general studies papers to give you an idea of the current trends and how to prepare for Mains 2015 accordingly.

2014 IAS Mains GS Paper 1

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GENERALSTUDIES                                                    Paper-I
Time allowed: Three Hours                       Maximum Marks: 250

Question Paper Specific Instructions

Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions:

There are TWENTY-FIVE questions printed both in HINDI and in ENGLISH.

All the questions are compulsory.

The number of marks carried by a question / part is indicated against it.

Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.

Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.

Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Question-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly struck off.

Answer all the questions in NOT MORE THAN 150 words each. Contents of the answer are more important than its length. All questions carry equal marks. 10×25=250

Q1. To what extent has the urban planning and culture of the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present day urbanization? Discuss. 10

Q2. Gandhara sculpture owed as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain. 10

Q3. Taxila university was one of the oldest universities of the world with which were associated a number of renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not “considered as a university in the modern sense. Discuss. 10

Q4. The third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought at Panipat? 10

Q5. Sufis and medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu / Muslim societies to any appreciable extent. Comment. 10

Q6. Examine critically the various facets of economic policies of the British in India from mid-eighteenth century till independence. 10

Q7. In what ways did the naval mutiny prove to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India? 10

Q8. What were the major political, economic and social developments in the world which motivated the anti-colonial struggle in India? 10

Q9. What were the events that led to the Suez Crisis in 1956? How did it deal a final blow to Britain’s self-image as a world power?  10

Q10. The New Economic Policy-1921 of Lenin had influenced the policies adopted by India soon after independence. Evaluate. 10

Q11. How does patriarchy impact the position of a middle class working woman in India? 10

Q12. Why do some of the most prosperous regions of India have an adverse sex ratio for women? Give your arguments. 10

Q13. The life cycle of a joint family depends on economic factors rather than social values. Discuss. 10

Q14. Discuss the various economic and socio-cultural forces that are driving increasing feminization of agriculture in India. 10

Q15. How do the Indian debates on secularism differ from the debates in the West? 10

Q16. Most of the unusual climatic happenings are explained as an outcome of the EI-Nino effect. Do you agree? 10

Q17. Why are the world’s fold mountain systems located along the margins of continents? Bring out the association between the global distribution of fold mountains and the earthquakes and volcanoes. 10

Q18. Explain the formation of thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos. 10

Q19. Tropical cyclones are largely confined to South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Why?  10

Q20. Bring out the relationship between the shrinking Himalayan glaciers and the symptoms of climate change in the Indian sub-continent. 10

Q21. Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area. Explain. 10

Q22. Why did the Green Revolution in India virtually by-pass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water? 10

Q23. Account for the change in the spatial pattern of the Iron and Steel industry in the world. 10

Q24. Critically evaluate the various resources of the oceans which can be harnessed to meet the resource crisis in the world. 10

Q25. How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource rich Africa? 10


As you can see from the above, GS Paper 1 consisted of 25 questions each carrying 10 marks. All questions were compulsory and answers were expected in not more than 150 words each. Let us now categorize the questions into their different topics so we know questions were asked from which topic.

[one_half_first][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”7″ before=”” after=”Questions” label=”History”][/one_half_first][one_half_last][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”7″ before=”” after=”Questions” label=”Geography”][/one_half_last]

[one_half_first][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”2″ before=”” after=”Questions” label=”Art&Culture”][/one_half_first][one_half_last][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”4″ before=”” after=”Questions” label=”Society&Religion”][/one_half_last]

[one_half_first][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”1″ before=”” after=”Question” label=”Economy”][/one_half_first][one_half_last][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”1″ before=”” after=”Question” label=”Women Issues”][/one_half_last]

[one_half_first][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”2″ before=”” after=”Questions” label=”Ecology&Climate Change”][/one_half_first][one_half_last][thrive_number_counter color=”blue” value=”1″ before=”” after=”Question” label=”Agriculture”][/one_half_last]

As you can maximum questions were asked from History and Geography topic. Within History, 2 questions were related to Ancient History, 1 question to Medieval History and 4 questions related to Modern History.

In Geography, 4 questions related to Physical Geography and 3 questions to Economic Geography. Apart from these, 4 questions relating to society and religion were also asked.

General Trend of Questions

 Questions can be asked from any topic

Earlier questions related to Ancient and Medieval history were not asked in Mains. But 2014 GS Paper 1 proves that you can expect the unexpected now. You will need to prepare some topics related to this period as well.

Before the new Mains pattern, questions on Art and Culture topic were short questions carrying 2 or 5 marks. But now, full length questions of 10 marks are being asked by UPSC. This requires deeper and thorough preparation to be able to answer questions related to Art and Culture.

Climate Change and Ecology is an important topic for Prelims as well as Mains and many questions from this topic are being asked for the past 5-6 years. This topic requires constant updates from newspapers, magazines and online sources.

Society questions related to family and demography. To answer such questions you will require facts and figures ready to back your answers. Reports of Census, National Sample Surveys should help.

GS Scores are Bound to Fall Further

Given the nature of questions, it is very difficult to anticipate or answer such questions. Gone are the days when you could expect 50 or 60 percent scores from GS paper. Average marks in 2013 Mains GS papers were in the range of 35-40 percent. This year it could even be around 30% marks in GS unless the evaluators become soft hearted and give marks generously.

As far as coaching is concerned, it is very difficult for coaching classes to anticipate such questions. Almost impossible. Their role would be more of providing materials for conventional study as well as provide facts and figures. Using these materials and data to answer the questions is entirely dependent on you.

What is your view on GS Paper 1 of IAS Mains 2014?

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  1. Hello Sir,

    I am 31 and I am PH. I am interested in civils. Given the reservation w.r.t age, i would like to try at least 2 times. But I am wondering, will it help my career if I enter civils at this age. Currently I am a Software Architect at Pune working in a big MNC and earning a pretty good salary.
    Please advise.


    1. Hello Dhanush,

      Can you take a leave without pay for at least 10 months to prepare full time? If not I will suggest you prepare along with your day job since you have some relaxation w.r.t age.

  2. Success in civil service is depend on deep knowledge in every subject…and how’s ur preparation…
    ICS not want that a person become Master in each subject but has
    Good command to clear his better way..

  3. Sir,

    Considering the present GS syllabus, I think self-study has taken the front seat and coaching is only for namesake. However, the Mains answer writing practice has to be monitored by someone and necessary corrections done timely. How it could be done?

    I would like to have your views on it.

    1. Hello Abhishek,

      You are spot on. I suggest you either enroll for a good test series for Mains or write free practice tests on sites like or

      Even I will come up with a Test Series for Mains this time, which will be free. But this will be after Prelims 2015.

  4. hello sir,

    could you please tell whether it is wise to enter civils after 30 age as other aspirant also asked? will we be able to get promotions in job if we enter at say 32/33 age in this job?


    1. Even if you enter civils after 35, it is still a very good career choice. Since there is cadre-based promotion in civils, you will not stagnate.

  5. HI I’m a doctorate and a working professional in biotech industry, age 30. OBC. Can I still appear for this exam? age limit? I would like to prepare for this year, no coaching here, so on my own. Online resources will be helpful. Please advise.

  6. Real testing for civils services.candidates who hve clrd prelims just on the basis of csat..good luck to them..anyway upsc one more back breaking move-anti coaching and non conventional..asking qs from neglected and minor issues also interlinking these issues..any predictability for next mains will be grave digging..just need a wholistic preparation..covering static part from books and then covering broader aspects of those topics may b cld advance stage from -internet..and word of caution-last 3 mnths preparation wont help as upsc is already fed up..with rattu tottas

  7. Sir, could u pls tell me that in which i would be able to find the content of question no.18 : Explain the formation of thousands of islands……….archipelago. ????PLS REPLY ASAP

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