Prelims 2014: Tackling Different Question Types

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First-time candidates in Prelims often tend to make some rookie mistakes like not understanding or reading the entire question before circling the right answer. UPSC tends to combine tricky questions with the straight-forward ones. In this post we will go through both types of question so we are alert during the actual exam and do not commit the same mistake.

Straight-forward Questions

Here we will go through some questions without any twists or turns.

Q) Quit India Movement was launched in response to

(a) Cabinet Mission Plan

(b) Cripps Proposals

(c) Simon Commission Report

(d) Wavell Plan

This question was asked in CSP 2013. It is a very straightforward question with no additional statements or questions. Also the options are to the point; there are no multiple choices. The correct answer is (b) Cripps Proposals. No confusion here.

Let’s consider another question:

Q) What will follow if a Money Bill is substantially amended by the Rajya Sabha?

(a) The Lok Sabha may still proceed with the Bill, accepting or not accepting the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha

(b) The Lok Sabha cannot consider the Bill further

(c) The Lok Sabha may send the Bill to the Rajya Sabha for reconsideration

(d) The President may call a joint sitting for passing the Bill

Again, in this question there is almost no chance of confusion if you are aware of the Parliamentary procedures. The correct answer is (a) since Lok Sabha can accept or reject suggestions of Rajya Sabha in relation to a Money Bill.

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These are the easiest type of question asked in the Prelims and if you have prepared well, you should not make mistakes while attempting such questions.

 Tricky Questions

Next, let us consider straight-forward questions but with multiple options in answers.

Q) Which of the following can be found as pollutants in the drinking water in some parts of India?

1. Arsenic

2. Sorbitol

3. Fluoride

4. Formaldehyde

5. Uranium

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 4 and 5 only

(c) 1, 3 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This question is framed without additional requirements. The only thing is the answers contain more than one possible option. So unless you are sure of the answer, which is (c), attempting it could result in a negative penalty. Only half-baked knowledge will not help here. Many candidates tend to attempt such question on the basis that they are aware of 3 or 4 of the 5 choices given so they should attempt it anyway. But here is where mistakes can occur since the answers are tricky and contain multiple choices.

Now, let’s consider a question from the Members Test Series. A related question was asked in CSP a few years back.

Q) The salaries of which of the following is expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI)?
1) Judges of Supreme Court

2) President and Vice-President of India

3) Judges of High Courts

4) Comptroller and Auditor General of India

(a) 1 & 2 only
(b) 1, 2 & 4 only
(c) 2, 3 & 4 only
(d) All of the Above

One of the members raised the point that answer should be (d) All of the Above and not (b) 1,2 and 4 only. I reminded the member to go through Article 112 which clearly states that ONLY pension of High Court judges is charged as expenditure upon the CFI and NOT their salaries.

This question is quite tricky. If you haven’t gone through the article in detail you might make the same mistake assuming that all choices are correct. But assumption in Prelims can be fatal. You should be sure before attempting the question due to the danger of negative penalty or just skip it. Even if you don’t gain any marks, at least you don’t lose any.

Let’s go through one final question asked in 2006 CSP.

Q) Which one of the following commissions was set up in pursuance of a definite provision under an Article of the Constitution of India?

(a) University Grants Commission

(b) National human Rights Commission

(c) Election Commission

(d) Central Vigilance Commission

Although the answer choices are fairly straightforward (correct answer is c), the question has been framed in such a manner to test the candidates presence of mind. It could have been simply framed as “Which of the following commissions enjoys a constitutional status?” rather the paper setter chose to add the words “in pursuance to a definite provision” so as to make the candidate think twice before attempting the question.

This short guide will help you to prepare better for Prelims knowing which type of question you can expect and the level of sureness required for attempting them.

Attention: We are running a 10 test current affairs special for Prelims 2014 where you not only receive current affairs updates but also 10 tests based on these updates targeted for the upcoming 2014 Preliminary examination. Visit the Membership Page for more details.

Reference Books for IAS

GS Solved Papers
General Studies Manual
Manorama Year Book
Oxford Student Atlas
Science and Technology

Topic-wise Books for IAS

Indian Polity Laxmikanth
Ecology and Environment
India's Struggle for Independence
Brief History of Modern India
Indian Art and Culture
Certificate Course in Geography

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
saurabh - June 30, 2014

sir plz tell me some imporant topics of gs 1 paper.

vijayashanti - July 8, 2014

Sir, I was very much helped out from your tips, but I am in need of ur material pls, can I hve tht material through post, if possible, n I ll pay for that sir pls.because it was first attempt, so gonna be some confusion.


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