This Independence Day, break FREE from the Hoax of IAS Prelims’ Prediction

IMP: Civilsdaily IAS Prelims 2017 Test Series Module Launched – Click here

If traditional wisdom is anything to go by, we should be writing a post on:

  • “How Civilsdaily cracked 70+ hits on this IAS Prelims”,
  • “How our detailed and unwavering focus on current affairs via newscards got was bang on the bucks this year” OR
  • “How some 100+ Test series users mailed us with gratitude on scoring a 120+ in this year’s Prelims” (+ their email snapshots)

Such a declaration is usually followed by a compilation of the said questions and irrelevant links to support the claim.

In fact, truth be told, since this year was bullish on current affairs (which has been the raisond’etre of Civilsdaily Newscards) we were inevitably drawn to do so here, here, here and here before we stopped and realised that it’s time to end this madness of hits and misses and call a spade a spade.

No coaching can predict 70-80 questions in any IAS Prelims Exam. That’s a marketing gimmick and it’s time that senior players come out transparent.

Here’s how you should actually divide and analyse the IAS Prelims questions:

  1. The Good questions which are so easy even RG can attempt them
  2. The Bad(ass) questions but very much doable via tikdams!
  3. The Ugly questions and hug your TS makers if they helped you retain them!

#1. The Good (Pappu Sawal):

Senior players of the UPSC game would concur with us that every year, there are about 30-35 questions which are easily doable for a sincere student. Anyone who has done his/ her static syllabus even once will be able to solve these questions easily (with or without a Test Series)

Also, if you haven’t completed the course and are not up to date with the current affairs, joining any number of test series with tall claims to producing 60-80 questions is fruitless. It is not going to pan out for you.

Don’t believe us? Look at these set of questions from the IAS Prelims 2016:

Very straight forward questions from history. Available in all the sources. 

[History] What was the main reason for the split in the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907?

  1. Introduction of communalism into Indian politics by Lord Minto.
  2. Extremists’ lack of faith in the capacity of the moderates to negotiate with the British Government.
  3. Foundation of Muslim League.
  4. Aurobindo Ghosh’s inability to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress.

 [History] The plan of Sir Stafford Cripps envisaged that after the Second World War

  1. India should be granted complete independence.
  2. India should be partitioned into two before granting independence.
  3. India should be made a republic with the condition that she will join the Commonwealth.
  4. India should be given Dominion status.

[History] The ‘Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ were adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the

  1. Agitation against the Partition of Bengal
  2. Home-Rule Movement
  3. Non-Cooperation Movement
  4. Visit of the Simon Commission to India

Easy questions from Polity. The other questions are also straight from the book but were hidden. Some of them may qualify in the ‘bad category’ but that’s where tikdams come to rescue!

[Polity] The Parliament of India acquires the power to legislate on any item in the State List in the national interest if a resolution to that effect is passed by the

  1. Lok Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership.
  2. Lok Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership.
  3. Rajya Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership.
  4. Rajya Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting.

[Polity] Consider the following statements:

  1. The minimum age prescribed for any person to be a member of Panchayat is 25 years.
  2. A Panchayat reconstituted after premature dissolution continues only for the remainder period.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Easy questions on simple economics concepts. Even the options were not confusing. Only 4 really conceptual, rest on current happenings.

[Economics] There has been a persistent deficit budget year after year. Which action/ actions of the following can be taken by the Government to reduce the deficit?

  1. Reducing revenue expenditure
  2. Introducing new welfare schemes
  3. Rationalizing subsidies
  4. Reducing import duty

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

[Economics] Which of the following is/are included in the capital budget of the Government of India?

  1. Expenditure on acquisition of assets like roads, buildings, machinery, etc.
  2. Loans received from foreign governments.
  3. Loans and advances granted to the States and Union Territories.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Geography had a drastic reduction this year but still – who wouldn’t know the tributaries of a major river!

[Geography] Which of the following is/are tributary/tributaries of Brahmaputra?

  1. Dibang
  2. Kameng
  3. Lohit

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Even if you were not thorough with current affairs but would have just skimmed through daily newscards, you should be able to solve the ones listed below.

[CA] A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of (a) S. Ramanujan (b) S. Chandrasekhar (c) S.N. Bose (d) C.V. Raman 

[CA] ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is sometimes mentioned in the news in the context of the affairs of (a) African Union (b) Brazil (c) European Union (d) China 

[CA] The term ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of:

  1. Pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the war-affected Middle East.
  2. Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change.
  3. Capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
  4. Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable Development Goals.

[CA] In the context of which of the following do you sometimes find the terms ‘amber box, blue box and green box’ in the news? (a) WTO affairs (b) SAARC affairs (c) UNFCCC affairs (d) India-EU negotiations on FTA 

Then there would be a selection of current affairs questions that you’ll find in every test series because they were the most contested and discussed topics of the year!

For example:

  • The question on Stand Up India Scheme
  • NGBRA has always been a favorite topic hence a question picked by every respected TS
  • Mission Indradhanush, Project Loon, Agenda 21, Gadgil Committee report, Bitcoins and so on and many more!

Bottom line? The list above goes on and on and covers some ~35 odd questions. To claim that our platform got these ones correct and cross reference some links (with tangential content) to back the claims is an insult to a serious aspirants’ study habits. If you are a newbie – be very cautious of such tall claims.

And this brings us to the next set of questions:

#2. The Bad(ass) questions:

What differentiates UPSC from other exams are these questions which are not tough but tricky. Dr. V has demonstrated so many times that questions can be solved by tikdams and in fact this is one of the most important series which can be developed over time.

Read here, for getting a taste of it and then read the comments of the users who benefitted after cultivating this hack for themselves.

We have made sure that questions in our FLTs and Mock tests do make you think twice and take educated guesses. Not sure what we mean? Read on: 

[Economics/ CA] With reference to the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’, consider the following statements:

  1. It is an agreement among all the Pacific Rim countries except China and Russia.
  2. It is a strategic alliance for the purpose of maritime security only.

Tikdam: Notice the red flags? Would you not automatically cross 1 and 2. It’s a trade partnership and “all” countries really? Where is colombia? Where is papua new guinea?

We can provide you the links of TPP when we covered it but think again. What would really help you become a PRELIMS KILLER? The fact that we overdosed you with tonnes of questions and content OR the fact that we requested and made sure you develop this knack of thinking?

Still not convinced?

[Environment/ CA] With reference to an initiative called ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is initiative hosted by UNEP, IMF and World Economic Forum.
  2. It is a global initiative that focuses on drawing attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity.
  3. It presents an approach that can help decision-makers recognize, demonstrate and capture the value of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Tikdam: It’s a difficult question but think over this fact – Organizations with different mandates won’t work together. What has IMF got to do with E&B stuff? Do you see the red flag? IMF mostly concerns itself with Banking institutions.

Take one more, shall we?

[World/ CA] With reference to ‘Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’ consider the following statements:

  1. It is an organization of European Union in working relation with NATO and WHO
  2. It monitors chemical industry to prevent new weapons free emerging
  3. It provides assistance and protection to Stated Parties against chemical weapons threats.

Tikdam: NATO a defence alliance working with WHO. Highly unlikely! See the red flag there? Also – an international organisation of EU? That’s an oxymoron!

There are more such examples – Read here to get a taste of it.

Bottom line? There is no dearth of content. If it were up to us, we would have given you every damn CA on earth and made you guilty of not going through all of them by pitching with a 100% strike rate on this year’s PRELIMS. But that’s not going to help you, right?

Prepare Smart: If you are paying online for a TS, we take it that you are sincere with your money and efforts. Pick the platform which has the ability to uplift your game to the next level by reinforcing all the titbits and tikdams. Pick a platform which makes learning easy and rewarding to your senses. 

Believe us, there is just no other effective way to prepare for daily current affairs THAN our daily newscards on Civilsdaily App. It’s short, crisp, clutter free and narrows your focus to the very relevant news.

Since we have a zen like focus on CA, we even got the UGLY questions bang on the target for this year’s PRELIMS (except a few) but to be very honest:

  1. They were quite difficult to be retained and revised by an aspirant
  2. You only have to make sure you clear the Prelims by a comfortable margin as the numbers are not carried forward

You want to know the ugly ones?

#3. The Ugly:

  • Most of the coaching/ test series did not have any passing reference to these factual questions
  • Even if they do, it’s difficult for a student to pick it up unless the content is explained in a lucid and interesting way
  • Imagine giving 3000+ questions to an aspirants – you are bound to land a few in your kitty but trust us, you are far better off with developing a knack of titbits + tikdams

Some of the ugly ones are – 

[Environment/ CA] Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orange-coloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered? (a) Andaman Islands (b) Anaimalai Forests (c) Maikala Hills (d) Tropical rain forests of northeast 

Most of you would have seen that banana’s pic but cuhhmoon, how are we supposed to remember every state’s discovery!

[CA] With reference to pre-packaged items in India, it is mandatory to the manufacturer to put which of the following information on the main label, as per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011?

  1. List of ingredients including additives
  2. Nutrition information
  3. Recommendations, if any, made by the medical profession about the possibility of any allergic reactions
  4. Vegetarian/non-vegetarian

Select the correct answer using the code given below: (a) 1, 2 and 3 (b) 2, 3 and 4 (c) 1, 2 and 4 (d) 1 and 4 only 

This issue came up in the Maggie controversy. We had run a whole story + CD explains (click here) but we never thought that UPSC would go this detailed and neither did we impress upon you.

[CA] SWAYAM’, an initiative of the Government of India, aims at
(a) promoting the Self Help Groups in rural areas
(b) providing financial and technical assistance to young start-up entrepreneurs
(c) promoting the education and health of adolescent girls
(d) providing affordable and quality education to the citizens for free

This was a one off event and we had covered it in our newscards but again, not much mention in the year that followed. Those of you who would have read this, would have retained it –

[CA] Some question on a specie of butterfly discovered in Maharashtra. We missed this one for you 🙁

[CA]  With reference to the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), consider the following statements :
1. IMFC discusses matters of concern affecting the global economy, and advises the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the direction of its work.
2. The World Bank participates as observer in IMFC’s meetings.

Really! How is someone supposed to go this detailed! As if other organisations are not enough, we go and fetch IMFC as well!

So, what’s to be expected of Civilsdaily for IAS 2017 aspirants?

  1. We are slowly going to intensify our newscards – Make sure that atleast you have enough material to bookmark and revise while you take those metro rides and chai sutta breaks
  2. We are going to launch 3 different test series. It will start sometime in second week of september 2016. We believe that different segments of users need different level or preparation and peer group – 
  3. Complete revamp of the CivilsDigest magazine [details soon]
  4. Weekend Webinars to reinforce the weekly current affairs in case you missed them. This will help us reinforce the probably UGLY questions and also take up the most discussed topics on Forum OR the stories! [details soon]
  5. More of Titbits and Tikdams in explanations and static content so that you are rest assured of being taken care of in Prelims
  6. AQAD (A question a day): Starting mains level discussions with model answers at the end of the day – This is specially targeted for the IAS 2016 Mains junta.

We will release detailed timetable and fee structure in a day or two. 

PS: We hope you were able to appreciate our analysis on Prelims. This is true for every year. The only way we can hope to train you is by reinforcing the joy of learning the boring parts of a subject and making you expert in tikdams and titbits! Rest is all mithya.

PPS: If you feel that this helped, that this actually makes sense, please do share and circulate it among your peer group. We did actually covered most of the current affairs in our newscards but since we did not have a Test Series or weekend webinars to reinforce them to you, we could not help you retain them.

This year, we will with you right from start. We are opening a dedicated wing in CD which will take care of all the academic needs. 

Read Next: CD launches 3 Prelims Modules + FAQs

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By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily

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