GS Mains 2011 Paper Analysis – Why GS Will Never Be the Same Again

 

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Even before the new Mains pattern is announced the existing pattern has been undergoing changes for the past few years. In my 2010 GS paper analysis I pointed out that mix and match is the new mantra of UPSC and this trend was noticeable in 2011 as well.

Highlights of the 2011 General Studies Paper:

  • Lesser number of options
  • More number of questions
  • Mix of different sections in one question
  • 5-markers were compulsory
  • No minimum number of questions or marks from any topic
  • Emphasis on ecological issues

Mix and Match

As in 2010 there were questions from different sections under a single major question. For instance, question no. 1 consisted of four sub-questions, two on Polity, one on nutrition, and one on health. Fortunately question no 2 exclusively focussed on modern Indian History.

This implies that IAS aspirants cannot afford to leave out any topic as the questions will be asked from different sections.

Lesser Number of Options

This is another reason why the GS Mains paper is getting harder progressively. Earlier a candidate had to attempt 3 out of 5 questions or had the liberty of at least one option in all questions except the 2-markers.

But now the 5-mark questions are compulsory which is again a slight disadvantage as not attempting even three or four 5-markers can make a big difference to your final GS score.

Emphasis on Ecological Issues

As in the 2011 Prelims paper, the Mains General Studies paper had a high focus on ecological aspects as well. For instance a question was asked about “evolution of Green Benches in the higher judiciary” that combined polity and environment.

Similarly a question on the melting of the Arctic ice was asked in paper 2. It is advisable to cover the environmental aspects in detail when preparing for Geography. This was you can cover two topics simultaneously while preparing for the General Studies paper.

More Number of Questions

This trend is visible in the optionals as well not just the GS paper. Earlier there used to be 30 mark questions but now they have been replaced by 20 mark questions. Also while the 2-markers have been retained there is addition of 5-markers which cannot be neglected without compromising on the final score.

The 10 mark questions seem to have replaced by 12 mark ones with 150 word limit instead of 125 words for the 10-markers.

Get prepared for some heavy writing in the GS papers. But more than writing what consumes increased time with the addition of more questions is the thinking required for each question.

It takes more time to think for three 20 mark questions than it does for two 30 markers even though the total marks are the same in both instances.

Statistics was Easy

I’ve mentioned this in my earlier analysis that statistics follows a see-saw pattern. One year the questions seem very difficult, the next quite easy. Fortunately this year Statistics was quite comfortable to attempt provided you had enough time in hand.

If you didn’t already know it, I always advise to attempt Statistics in the end as you might waste precious time if you get stuck on one question should you attempt it first. Of course, statistics requires constant practice to tackle the questions correctly and quickly. But if you can, these are some sure marks that can make up for low score in the first paper.

Overall Difficulty of the 2011 GS Paper was Moderate

Yes, although it can’t be termed an easy paper, it was not too difficult either. Science and Technology was divided into numerous 5-markers that were pretty straightforward provided you were aware of the current developments in S&T.

The questions on modern History were also of moderate difficulty and were not difficult to understand unlike the History questions in 2009 and 2010.

It seems UPSC was aware that many first timers are attempting this year’s Mains due to the changes in the Prelims pattern and accordingly kept the GS paper to manageable difficulty levels.

How Was Your Experience?

If you’ve attempted the 2011 Mains I would love to know your opinion and experience in the GS paper. So share them in the comments below.

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127 Comments

  1. Well no one can predict what is their in UPSC mind while setting the paper.Analysis after exam doesnt help for next year.It’s just the lucky one survives.

    1. Analysis helps in improving our performance for the next attempt. If everything was left to luck we would just need to seek God’s blessing for luck and toss our books

  2. Can you please suggest (based on your experience) what may be the minimum number a general category candidate needs in the mains this time to get an interview call?

      1. Hi,

        Whats abt the cut off for this year’s mains?
        I belong to the General category.

        You earlier told that you would give an idea once all the examinations finished.

        Regards,
        Shubho

  3. I have just written this examination and my General Studies paper were really a nightmare. I am expecting around 80 marks in Paper 1 and around 120-130 marks in Paper 2. Looks like my chances have gone for a toss. My optionals were History and Geography and i am expecting around 600 marks in optionals… chances are very grim..

      1. Thanks a lot Lazylord… when are you publishing the threshold for getting interview call ? What is the usual cutoff based on past experience?

          1. Congrats Neeraj and Thanks Lazy Lord for the useful blog.
            I am a working mother and interested in clearing Civil Services. I hv just picked NCERT books and have no idea where to begin. Would like to get in touch on email wid you since you cleared hte papers recently. Is there an email id you can share.

            Appreciate your help
            Rgds/Sameera

  4. I think paper 2 was much lengthier so it was difficult to complete it . In paper 1 questions were more of general type.. so it looked easy.. though it was not.
    In my view 260-270 above may be called good score.

    1. Agreed Amit, paper 2 was quite lengthy, I was not able to complete it. Nevertheless, I would say that I should have done a better time management.

  5. My experience was that the GS paper was tough and not moderate. Analysis doer must not forget the point that during an exam, even a simple question appears tough. As is said above, there were more questions, it required lot of quick thinking and correlation to write the ans in time. In 2010 there was lot of geography and economics ( round tripping, poverty data etc) but this time economics was very less and geography totally absent. Nearly all the aspirants must have concentrated on these two but all efforts in vain. Too many confusing questions – Part 4 A – many wrote about DPSP, Nutrition transition – many wrote about change in dietary pattern ( including myself), in paper 2 – that arctic question – many wrote that arctic council nations r worried about climate change and rest of the world isnt. Whereas it was the other way round. So, given these , I am of the opinion that GS was quite tough. Again, these r my personal view based on my preparation and capability. Those with excellent preparation may find the paper very easy too.

  6. In my opinion as an examinee both GS Mains paper-1 & paper-2 were above moderate difficulty. Seeing the fact that many students were underprepared GS scores will vary alot. Given the fact that most optionals (till date) were manageable. So GS can become a determining factor and 210-220+ may be a satisfactory score.

  7. Hello guyz,
    I gave UPSC mains this time. This was my first unexpected attempt, so i was grossly under prepared. My assessment is that paper 1 was difficult and Paper 2 was moderately difficult. Overall i could only manage to attempt about 440 numbers. Not sure if this is good enough to get a score of 210 or 220 which i think should be the average. Can someone who had given this exam previously tell me the conversion rate of GS attempts? For a average score of 220 what should be the ideal attempt?

  8. i think paper was little easier than 2010 gs. but still scoring more than 240 250 would be tough. i think overall cutoff would b within 910-930. but if it would be only 900 then i would be lucky. paper was compared to 2010 easier but i cud’nt perform

  9. 2011 GS was easier than 2010. First of all there was no drastic pattern change.. I could not attemp 30 marks in I paper and 50 marks in II paper. This time also I feel the top ranks will be decided by the optional marks.. The unique feature of 2010 was that all top 100 rankers were scoring heavily (340 +) in optionals.. I feel the same trend will follow this year as well.

    1. @Rameshbabu, you have a great chance to get a high score in GS. Does any mains vetern have any idea about conversion ratio in GS mains evaluation?. I’m feeling bad, having attempted around 410-420 marks (P-1+2). However, I refrained from bluffing of any sort. It seems every candidate is satisfied with his/her performance in options, so relative performance is difficult to judge in the options.

      1. @ramesh babu…hats off to your attempt.
        i have left 60-70 marks in both. so my attempt is around 450-470. everyone i talked to,have told me its ok. and your analysis is true. latest trend seems to decrease the value of g.s in mains. optional scores will dominate this year too.

  10. Hey all,

    Can anyone tell me about the checking pattern in Mains?
    Is it strict or lenient? Is there any sort of scaling in the optionals cos i have english literature and i think that its a hard nut to crack as compared to other subjects.

  11. hi lazylord.
    this was my third attemp in mains. everything went well but i think i have messed up my essay really bad. i wrode credit based system of higher education. my guide had told me once that in upsc if u r confused,read the question in hindi,it can clarify your doubt.
    going by this tip,i read the essay name in hindi, it was ?? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????….. so i wrotw whole essay on loan based higher education. now it turns out that i was absolutely wrong.
    so i am expecting 230-250 in g.g,which is fair i guess.
    300 in both optionals(m.s and socio)
    but essay is killing me.
    it has destroyed my chances. please guide me in this regard. i am unable to concentrate at all.

    1. Hi Ankush,

      You’ve highlighted a very genuine goof up on the part of UPSC paper setters. The meaning changes in the two instances. As pointed out by someone you can approach the appellate authority to seek a clarification. As the damage has already been done, UPSC may well examine the essay from the view point taken by the candidate so you can breathe easy.

      1. thanks for the reply lazylord…. i have waited for it. as today is saturday,so i am going to approach appelate authority on monday itself without furter delay.
        thankyou for the advice….i am much better now
        regards
        ankush

  12. hey ankush, since you’ve undergone the rigourous xm process thrice, plz give me an idea as to how scoring is done in the hindi compulsory lang paper (in case you appeared in hindi). it seems that i did pretty well in translations and comprehension. any one reading my essay would judge easily that i am writing kiddish hindi and my grammar portion went just average. but having studied jus 2 days b4 the xm gives me the shivers whenever i think about the hindi xm..

    1. hey first timer.
      dont worry about language papers. you just have to qualify. no one in my knowledge has ever been disqualified due to failing in language(unless you have left a blank paper.) comprehension was pretty easy this year. so was essay. both these form 50%. and you need only 33% to pass it.
      so just relax. hindi is not something you should worry about.

      1. Dear Ankush i will give an example of one of my friend, in the essay paper he wrote on IS INDIA A SOFT STATE , his major concern was on security and defence matters he got 10/200 .

        1. dear first timer…
          you have scared the hell out of me now…
          i wont be able to sleep at all….
          anyways …. about soft state is not regarding security or defence…
          soft state is term used by gunnar myrdal in “asian drama” for india because it can not take strong and unpopular decisions…eg exclusion of creamy layer in reservation….
          so india is not soft state due to weak defence or external security…it is due to inability to make effective and strong unpopular laws… anyways…i think i also will get 10-20 in my essay now…
          but anyways… thanks for the reply…

  13. well, ankush …..i made the same mistake as you…..i have written to the upsc about it……i guess you ought to write about it to them too……they clearly made a mistake with the hindi translation……they told me they’ll get back to me after 26th december …….but by then the papers will all be chacked…… 🙁

    1. dear anirudh,
      how did you write to upsc? please guide me as i will write too.
      i was so frustrated that i was thinking of going to court!!!
      but my guide said you can never point a finger at upsc coz they will never ever select you then.
      and dear i am told papers are not checked before jan end and then rechecked in feb. final result is compiled in march. so if upsc acknowledges the error… it can be a relief for a lot of people. i am told that the essay was 2nd most commonly attempted essay and everyone has written it wrong!!!!
      anyways…god help us now..coz one mistake and whole year wasted….it scares me!!!
      thanks for the reply!

  14. Hello

    Ankush and Anirudh.. Credit based higher education refereed to different weightage given to different subjects. But as far as the essay is concerned it was mentioned in hindi as “rina” which indicates towards loan based higher education… Hindi word for such a system is different and people who have mistakenly written on it should not be penalized because its UPSC’s fault. So wait for UPSC’s reply. I hope that they consider this and award marks accordingly. Do let me know abot their reply by posting on this website.
    Gd Luck

  15. hey ankush, i also attempted the question and have managed to use more of common sense than literature. But one thing makes me curious as to what have you described in ~1200 words about loan based higher education?? however, hope for the best. maybe upsc might be on the look out for creative thinkers like you..

    1. well ankush…..here is the link where you will find the proper appellate authority…. go to UPSC website….then go to citizen’s charter.then go to the following list LIST OF APPELLATE AUTHORITY & CPIOs IN UPSC. here you will find the number of the relevant authority Dr. Kulbir Singh and Mr. RK Sinha.. You can voice your concerns over the phone and can even write to them……i have done both…..they told me they’ll decide by this friday..

      1. hi anirudh,
        thanks for guiding me.
        i will positively approach the concerned authorities.
        but please post on this website as soon as you get a reply from upsc as it will be a breather to me too.
        thanks buddy… i am greatfull to you
        regards
        ankush

  16. s.singh
    thanks for the reply……
    i know the word in hindi now is ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????. and not
    ?? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????. only two things are possible now… either the paper setter did not know the term in hindi. in that case,if upsc decides to penalise us for wrong essay,then the poor fellows writing in hindi have been punished for no fault.
    other possibility is that upsc meant loan based education(but that is unlikely)
    now upsc cant have separate essays for english and hindi,so i dont know what they decide. but one thing for sure that if they decide to slaughter us,who have written loan based education(which is around 1/3rd of total essays attempted), cut off will decrease for sure.
    and if cut off decreases around 850,i am sure of getting a call then…
    and credit based system is actually a wrong term…. the term in english is “choice based credit system of education”. so i hope good sense prevails over upsc,and it accepts the mistake.
    as for ptk,the arrogant reply deserves no comment
    regards for s. singh
    ankush

  17. well ankush…..here is the link where you will find the proper appellate authority…. go to UPSC website….then go to citizen’s charter.then go to the following list LIST OF APPELLATE AUTHORITY & CPIOs IN UPSC. here you will find the number of the relevant authority Dr. Kulbir Singh and Mr. RK Sinha.. You can voice your concerns over the phone and can even write to them……i have done both…..they told me they’ll decide by this friday…..

    1. hi anirudh…
      thanks for the reply
      thanks for guiding me regarding upsc.
      i am going to write to them definitely,but you please post the answer you get from upsc as it is very important for me too.
      thanks and regards
      ankush

  18. Hey Guys,

    regarding the essay on credit based education system…i believe one thing is for sure that both the hindi and english terms match and there isnt anything mentioned about “choice based”…so…what i think is that we are getting worried over nothing…UPSC guys are sensible and wouldnt do anything that calls for a dispute…and the topic’s hindi and english translation clearly talks about education based on loan…so there isnt any confusion left…relax

    1. thanks a ton deepu…
      everyone is saying this that they have written loan based…..
      but internet talks of this “credit based system” which is very different.
      but i just needed to hear it from someone…. so thanks a million deepu…. 🙂
      i can breath easy now…
      regards and good luck…
      bye

  19. well, ankush…u can go to the link citizen’s charter in upsc website…..Dr.Kulbir singh is the appellate authority ….u cn write to him….i have done so….

  20. @ Ankush…I know buddy…it gives a pshychological satisfaction. U can leave worrying as even if its not correct then there wud be a huge number of candidates who must have written on the same…so the overall marks for essay wudnt vary much for Essay and finally there wudnt be much difference…u can write to the appellate authority if u want so as suggested by Anirudh.

  21. finally i got a reply from the upsc……they said….its self evident that tHEre was a mistake….they said necessary steps are being taken….altough they dint clarify wht these “necessary steps” are…. i request all people who hav written essay based on educational loan to file an RTI….and ask what will the upsc do to rectify this mistake…..ankush…i say, lets file an rti…..the authorities will be bound to tell us how will they rectify this mistake…..

  22. hi anirudh,
    yeah i am going to file rti but please tell first has upsc given this reply regarding mistake in written or just orally.
    i am going to delhi on 15th to do this job. if u want to collaborate with me then please give me your e-mail id,i’ll send you my contact no. in mail
    thanks and regards….ankush

    hi deepu
    i do not think cutoff will go very high this year. two reasons for that…
    1. due to csat in prelim,large no. of first timers in this batch.
    2. very less holidays in most of exams. most of students opt for socio,geography,pub ad… all three subjects had very less holidays. so i am expecting cut off between 900-330.
    last year,it was around 910…in 2009 it was 890…
    also they say cutoff varies with optional as some optionals like pali litrature are high scoring… very easy to get between 350-400.
    but not so in history…its topper would hardly get around 360…
    but as upsc has never clarified its selection basis…nothing can be said with certainity…..
    all the best….
    ankush

  23. ankush ….my email id is [email protected] ……listen….u cn file rti online, i believe…….and yes …..the authority gave me a reply orally….nothing in writing…. 🙁 …….but if u file rti….they are bound to reply in written…..

  24. @ Anirudh…i think 980 is too high asit usually hovers around 900. Anyone getting 900 is selected for the interview as it makes 45%.

    @Ankush…u r correct that may be it should be around 900 or less than that cos of the factors u mentioned.
    Also, Vaji guys saying that 250 in GS is decent. Besides, an IRS friend of mine as also said that if u get around 220-230 in GS then its ok…provided u score decent in Optionals…!!!

    1. hi anirudh

      sgsy/nrlm was very nicely covered ion one of the issue of Kurukshetra ………….actually it was covered in the same way as the question was about structural change in nrlm from sgsy ……………..
      basically in NRLM there would be shg federation from village panchayat to district level in addition other grassroot organisation such as livelihood groups producer companies etc …………..there is provision of two structure ie internal and external structure(bank, private companies, ngo etc)…………

    2. yes i attempted the ques
      i cannot write the whole thing here but the difference bw sgsy and nrlm is less or very less it seems that they have only changed the name of scheme. but one thing they have emphasised is making enterpreanuer from villages .. which seems a difficult tasks … now as i foegotten the scheme.. u can visit wikipedia
      cutt may be 900 -1000

    1. i atempted around 560 in gs..missed 15 marks n stats..geography went good..physics1 atempted around 230 nd same in phy2..i hope il get around 270-280..hw ws urs??

  25. Hey all, did I feel dat paper-1 of psychology wasn’t dat straight forward or am i wrong. i felt paper 2 was approachable but paper-1 was more demanding maybe 320+ might be a good score. Any views/feedback from psycho optioners..??

  26. well anirudh…..i also left around the same or more. Were u able to normalize the wave function given in compulsory question of section A. What abt paper-1?

  27. deepu…..i tried to normalize it…..i got
    “1/((alpha)sqr +1) …..”something…..i dont remember…. 🙁
    but….no i did not get 255 marks all right…. 🙁 but i am expecting around 150….what about you, deepu????

  28. anirudh…how much scaling have u assumed….I think if one assumes 90% marks from all the correct questions then 150 will be a good score…I am also expecting around the same….The normalization function was very complex ….integration by parts and using standard integrals was required…I have maths but i found the integrals tough….What abt paper 1?

  29. i believe if u got all parts of a question right….they should not cut even 10% of marks as “scaling”….that would be doing an injustice to candidates….. if at all scaling is to be done….then we should get liberal marking as physics is much tougher than other subjects like psychology, geography, pali literature….or other subjects…..if at all scaling or some sort of normalization is to be done…..science candidates must stand to gain…..otherwise its unfair….. 🙁

    1. in geog u cant say nythn about d attempt..but full atempt lays a good impression n checker..i attempted full in first nd d same in second with two markings wrong

  30. @Prats,

    Hey buddy, I guess paper 1 of Psycho was manageable. Infact, I guess both of them were easier than last year’s papers…though, i found them too lengthy…UPSC cant beat us in terms of knowledge (at least most of us), so it is trying to make it a Power Test wherein the questions are manageable; however, the length of the paper is too much to be completed. It puts a psychological burden on the candidate and they hardly get time to think too much about the question and thus come out with their real attitude and competence.

  31. hey deepu.. i guess your right dat upsc’s attitude is very much strategist when they are giving straight forward questions. what they might be looking for this time may be accuracy, originality and well as conciseness since most candidates will end up writing the same language for these straight questions. I did try to provide as much examples as i could in each questions but some may not really fit into the context. so the it sums upto this that mains is turning out to be a aptitude and EQ test. :))

    @Rahul, i attempted around 270+ in paper-1 and 240+ but i felt i could substantiate my answers with more examples and diagrams in paper-2. overall i feel upsc is also trying to look at things as i have said for psycho..

  32. Geography paper 1 was very gud but 5(a) Welfare Approach in Human Geography sucked me up so paper 1 could fetch me gud marks and also for other candidate.
    Geography Paper 2 was a blunder for me first- in the map section i was able to attempt only 5 of them which might be the average for all but i wrote on all the location so when i returned home and checked ,Singrauli CF very easy location i wrote it is located in Orissa and and supply coal to HSL Rourkela.
    Second Blunder Kareva deposit very easy but i wrote it is located in Madhya Pradesh so i think examaminer will easily screw me up.
    And third the Desertification map ,i have practiced map hundred of time but in the last 10 min i drew it like class 2 student .

  33. GS
    Paper 1 was gud i have attempted for 245 marks but Paper 2 was a Harrasment done by UPSC i was able to attempt only for 195 marks.
    And the Jasmine Revolution i made it lotus Revolution ,Hosni Mubarak bla bla bla ,i wrote it so much gud but it can only fetch me 2 marks or even less then that.

  34. UPSC is trying, or rather has done, the rejigging for the Mains in its own way. What matters now is the originality of thinking and the zeal to know about the surrounding one exists in rather than joining some classes in a shanty locality two months before the exams, mug up the facts and data, and steer through it just to find themselves in the Nagaland cadre, cos they flunk the final assessments at LBSNAA and discovre that they r supposed to run a country and not some funny business…

  35. and yessss…this whole scenario will soon be followed by amendments in the Mains too wherein Public Administration will be made compuslory and NO OPTIONALS…GOSH…I am just thinking of all the coaching centers who have been building castles of all the money they’ve been earning fleecing poor students…!!!

  36. hey anirudh..I have a query from you..you wrote in one of your comments that the mains papers will be checked by 26 december!..is it true…

    Also Deepu..i totally agree with you..there should be change in the civil services exams…more analytical questions are needed..

  37. hey guys am planning to appear for civil services in 2012 .. I am in a delima regarding my optionals as I am from engg background many have advices me for pub ad n sociology … Sociology syllabus n papers I found mangable n comfortable but pub ad for some reason I am not comfortable with nor I feel I can give my best with it on the the other hand am very interested with history … History I have love for the subject even though a vast syllabus but I still feel I can do my best with it but many are discouraging me for opting history … Lazy lord pls mail me n clear my dilemma I don’t have time on hand so old any 1 help me to sort out my dilemma .. [email protected] is email

    1. Don’t get discouraged Nikhil. If you find it interesting go for it, many engineers have taken History and scored good marks. Only thing is it requires more time than other optionals to prepare.

  38. @Nikhil

    U stand a good chance at scoring in the areas of ur interest rather than treading into areas unknown or disinteresting to u…!

  39. @Nikhil..
    I think its better to take those subjects as your optionals in which you have some grasp. Given the kind of questions being asked in civil services examination, one needs to have a good understanding of the subject to answer it. and i really doubt people studying sociology or public administration in two months can actually bring out that kind of understanding in their answers. the coaching centre people are doing good job in making you mug up the course meant to be read in 3 years of graduation. so u can understand yourself how much of the analytical you will grasp. Sociology on the face looks easy to everyone, but its really not that easy when it come to writing the answers..Because one has to write answers sociologically and not generally…so this brings in the difference..thus always take the subject which you know and not something which you mug up in 2 months..upsc people are not fools..from the answers, they can easily guess who has taken coaching and who is reproducing their notes..thats why, people who write answers with some understanding and perspective get better scores..
    Rest is ur choice!!!

  40. BROTHER FLAMINGO!!!!!!!! 🙂 HAHAHAHA…….that sounds really …..i mean BROTHER FLAMINGO…..HAHAHAHA……good one , Deepu…. 🙂

  41. lol…Yeah man…I mean we all are sailing in the same boats isnt it…brothers of the same destiny…chasing the same goose…!!!

  42. I need to ask…..other than ankush and myself……is there anyone else who wrote on loan based higher education syte???? what approach have you taken????

  43. hi, all ,i have been reading all the comments ,i found it quite useful ,as right now i m only plannin to strt preparin for ias ,but cn u suggest ,shud i strt with gs first or with optionals

  44. @anirudh.. I attempted that essay. well taking into consideration educational reforms and recent challenges against semester system in indian univ, i felt it was natural to interpret the essay as that on credit based/ choice based higher edu system. being from an engg background, in my alma mater IITD, credit based system was effectively being run. i could site my personal experiences (pros and cons) towards this kind of system as well as what the faculty faced.

    However, it is still possible to substantiate on higher education being financed by means of loans, in the scenario of privatisation of higher education. one can site the difficulties faced by students in meeting financial requirements for professional edu.

    I believe the hindi medium students might have been misguided by the topic written as (“rhindh”).

    My personal opinion is that UPSC should be looking at the substance of the essay and not the angle at which it was written…so i support those who wrote on loan based edu.

    I would like feedback from those who attempted the essay from Credit based approach like any specific case studies or recent developments in CB sys.

  45. @Gdhillon.. although im a novice as it was my first experience at mains this year, but i feel my suggestions might be of help to you.

    when i started preparation, i gave more attention to my first optional, not keeping in sync with GS. I later regretted this, as i performed badly in last years prelims.

    I would suggest that you start with your optionals, but at the same time be regular (regular meaning regular on a daily basis) towards current developments. (in all fields). Dont forget to jot down every single piece of info you get from newspapers which you feel important. keep in touch with news blogs on the internet. this way you would have had a kickstart in current affairs, economics, polity etc in you gs portion. try keeping a list of events on a pc and copying relevant info form the internet.

    dont end up with optionals which would eat up your time and leave none for gs. rather go in for at least one optional which would augment ur prep for gs

    cheers and happy preparation!!!

  46. thank you prats for such valuable suggestions, but can u let me know of some good news blogs,i think i will have sociology and pub ad for optionals ,any insights?

  47. @Rajat,

    See buddy, M gonna answer your question from different point of views:

    View 1) As far as coverage is concerned, its ok to leave abt 100 or 120 marks cos very few brilliant chaps in this good old India would have covered the whole 600 shots. So dont worry about the number of marks you have gone for in the paper.
    View 2) To get the interview call from the Big Daddy (UPSC) you need atleast 50% overall in Mains if you belong to the poor General lot. If you aint, then it MAY be 47% or something. So it depends on the quality of your answers in GS which would decide if they are good enough to get you 50% outta 600. Quality becomes more important now when you havent attempeted the whole paper. The answers written by you must have the quality to get you 300 outta 470 which would be 50% overall but 63.82% in your case.

    I hope the funda is clear to you.

  48. Big Daddy….. 😀 ….this forum is getting livelier by the minute…..from now on…..lets refer to UPSC as big daddy…… 🙂 …….so when do you reckon ol’ big daddy gonna release the results????

  49. Yeap buddy…UPSC is the Big Daddy for a number of reasons:

    Reason 1 – Almost all the examiners and the staff are decrepit old fellas with +5 specs and half of their kids have kids of their own working with some bullish central govt department.

    Reason 2 – MOST IMPORTANT…they have our future in their jolly good hands…!!! DO U WANT ANOTHER REASON TO CALL IT THE BIG DADDY??? 🙂

    The results would be out in the first two weeks of March 2012

  50. guys and girls..I attempted around 530 in GS..some answers i’m very satisfied with..a few i just blabbered something for d sake of it..stats went good(left just 6 marks)..could i mayb expect 250? (i know it’s hard to tell but..)
    my optionals law and pol sci…went good..
    someboy mentioned above that one might need to score 50% in GEN category…which means 1000 marks…is it true?..it sure is scary!!

  51. Nitika, with 250 marks you would rock in GS cos most of ’em are expecting around 220. 50% for sure is something to make u an IAS.
    Reason being, in the final selection list, the ranking varies by even minute percentage. Rank 1 and Rank 50 may just have a few percentage difference. Competetion is tough. And looking at the trend, I can assure u that u need 50% overall to be on the safer side, though it may again vary by a few pointers.
    Nothing to be scared of, its just that u have to take a higher aim.

  52. Hi Guys!
    UPSC Notification again. Though i wrote Mains 2011 with fair satisfaction from this attempt, heat is again developing…
    I believe people will score a bit higher than their performance in 2010. Paper was not easy but manageable provided one has put in sincere efforts. Last year’s cut off for the mains was around 905-909. So, people in between 900-915 should get a call if all goes well.
    Pub Ad and Psycho looked manageable but again it depends how one has actually performed in the exam hours.
    My best wishes to all!

  53. Rite now m feeling like singing this song…THE HEAT IS ON…THE HEAT IS ON YEAH YEAH…!!!

    This online stuff is easy…I submitted it as soon as it was there…no matter how tough UPSC exam is…the preperation has a charm and zeal of its own…let me be honest…when I was writing the mains exam, i used to feel so worked-up and would say damn man, when is it going to get over and when will i have my old sweet sleep again when i used to watch movies late night and then slumber till 9 am.
    Now when its over and I am back to my same routine with everything flowing easily, I feel that the same zeal is missing and I miss that time when i wud finish off Frontline in two days…they say is correct…when the bum is on fire, the rocket goes higher…!!!

    Cheers to UPSC for having made us realize our potential…Just a month away for the Mains result…!!!

  54. for people who are getting worked up and worried about their results like myself……try listening to simon and garfunkel….the boxer, sound of silence, scrborough fair…..its helping my mind find peace….. 🙂

  55. as per the adv. no of vacancies in cs xm 2012 is supposed to be around 1037.
    in cs 2011 it was advertised as 880. can we expect more vacancies than 880 so that more candidates are shortlisted for the personality test??

  56. if the number is 1037 then expect more hiring/lower cutoff/ease in scoring this year. but dont expect any hig flown changes as lakhs are applying. and now, when there are these many vacancies, every Tom, Dick and Harry wud apply. but serious candidates shud not be scared. the fight wud be among the tough, persistant and the rain-fed frogs wud be out in the Prelims itself.
    My apologies to all the rain-fed frogs if i just hurted their rain-fed sentiments but they shud tell their rain-fed logic that I am true.

  57. hi .

    what’s my chances?..it was my first and last chance for UPSC..i expect around 370 in GS…optional I—340..optional II–230(screwed up to infinite extent)..and eassy..i expect amazing…

  58. I am planning to give UPSC 2013 and want 2 give my best i 1st attempt.I am from engg background. However, decided on pub ad as my 1 st optional. In 2 nd optional i am confused between geography and psychology. I have an interest towards geography as it is scinetific in nature and ans are need not be very creative ( as i feel) as other optionals. But I am getting scared by huge syllabus and on hearing thats a lot has to be memorized.Psychology i arrived after eliminating all other optionals.I have been going through the discussions of the blog since few days and congratulations to all guys who have cleared mains…
    Can any one with geography optional can say abt some pros n cons of it vis a vis psychology.

    Till now my preparation is reading basic NCERTs and regular coverage of Hindu with regular clipping and note making since 6 months. Could nt do anything more as i am already with a job.Planning to leave the job within 1 month and go full time. Moreover, pls tell me as i am new to both the subjects as pointed by flamingo.. does it really matter to take back ground subjects? What are the chances of clicking with non graduation subjects with o knowledge abt them ( geography till 10 in school)
    I am scared…

  59. Well well well…madam…The UPSC Mains pattern is changing from 2013…so don’t bother about choosing any option!

    And if you are saying that you are scared…THEN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ENOUGH OF UPSC YET…LOL

    1. thanks for replying..
      yes i am new to this field… and have not seen enuf of upsc..

      But is it certain that mains pattern changing? Whats the probability…

      So is it advisable to go ahead with my plannings and take coaching for the optionals that i have chosen..

  60. UPSC has already constituted a committee to revamp the Mains pattern and the report would be submitted this year end. As per the UPSC 3rd Governance Lecture, Shri D.P.Agrawal has indicated that the pattern would most probably be changed. So…………..BUCKLE UP MATE…!!!

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