UPSC CSE Prelims Trend analysis


UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) exam is very unpredictable and the nature of questions asked every year keeps on changing every year.
However over this seemingly uncertain nature of exam or what we may call as irrationality there is logic to this irrationality.It is that underneath this dynamism of the exam there are certain elements that form the core of the question paper and the ability to attempt these questions successfully will determine your potential.

The Core Syllabus

No matter how the nature of exam pattern changes every year there is a core syllabus from where around 55-70 questions are asked every year with varying level of difficulty and pur ability to navigate these questions with very high level of efficiency goes a long way in determining our success in the exam. The core part of the syllabus includes:

o History which includes Art and Culture
o Geography esp. Physical Geography and Atlas
o Economy basics
o Polity and Governance
o Environment basic concepts

The Dynamic Part:

Rest is the dynamic part of the syllabus from where the nature of questions and weightage keeps on varying wildly every year.This unpredictability means that to master this section is difficult and return on investment in terms of time inverted in studying these sections and hitting correct answers is low. The dynamic parts includes current affairs of:

o Geography events
o Environment news and updates
o New developments in sci & Tech
o Economic developments : Budget and Economic survey
o International relations updates

Some of the common areas from where questions are generally kept on asked are:

 Planning in India–Like NITI Aayog,Finance Commission, etc
 Nano-technology and developments.
 Polar regions – Issues, bodies and treaties related to Arctic and Antarctica,effects of climate change on these regions
 Diseases in India – Outbreaks, pandemics, eradicated diseases, WHO or MoHFW guidelines
 Alternative energy sources and materialslike bio-fuels, shale gas, photovoltaics, etc
 Issues related to Patentslike Evergreening, Patents Act, WTO, TRIPS, etc
 Emerging technologies (especially IT)– Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Automation, Wearable technologies, Internet of Things, etc.
 New Financial sector related developments – Like Banks and RBI related issues.
 Astrophysics: Basics as well as current events and new discoveries made by NASA, ISRO missions as well as news related to topics like neutron stars, gravitational waves, blackholes, general theory of relativity,space-missions, etc
 Agricultural policy in India – level of production, cropping patterns, irrigation, Pricing, marketing, storage, forward and backward linkages, various government schemes, etc
 Environment –Various Conventions,Biodiversity,Flora and fauna,National parks,physical features of India and the world, Wetlands in India, Climate Change, etc
 Bio-technology – Hybridization, new developments such asgenetic engineering techniques, use of important microorganisms, etc

These are some of the common areas from where almost every year many questions are asked. Therefore,they form a crucial part of your prelims preparation and due care should be taken that you read at least all the major news articles associated with these topics that have appeared in the last 1-2 years.
Regular reading of newspapers, like the Hindu and Indian Express, is also very helpful.

UPSC Prelims 2019 Trend Analysis:

UPSC Prelims 2019 – Detailed Analysis:

In this section, we shall discuss the nature of questions asked, toughness levels and trends seen in the 2019 Prelims GS Paper I.

History Questions
• Total of 17 questions asked.
• Topics: modern history (5 questions), followed by art & culture and medieval (4 questions each),ancient history (3 questions), post-independence section (1 question).

• Shifting Trend :The number of questions asked from modern has come down and weightage of art & culture, ancient and medieval portion has increased.

Polity Questions

15 questions were asked from polity this year. The areas that were touched are
• Fundamental Rights
• Historical background of the Constitution
• Rights issues (tribes related)
• Basic structure, amendments
• Judicial review
• Judiciary
• Executive
• Legislature
• Terms in political science

International Relations Questions:

• Five questions were asked. Last year 10 questions were asked
• The questions have been generally easy.

Economy Questions:

• Fourteen questions were asked from economy.
• Areas Touched:Banking and Finance, Schemes, Fiscal Policy, Balance of payments and International trade, Agriculture, Labour rights,etc.

Science & Technology Questions

• Seven questions from this section this year.
• Difficulty Level was high
• Science and Tech. questions are generally direct and one need not have had to go beyond the basic facts.

Geography & Environment Questions.

• Fourteen questions from geography and 11 from environment were asked.
• Most questions from geography were static, while the environment questions were a mix of current affairs and static.
• In geography section, most of the questions were from the Indian geography section, followed by physical geography and world geography.
• Some of the questions were tough in the geography section,eg.there were two questions on rivers that are not very well known.
• The Mediterranean Sea continues to be important. From 2015 onwards, there has been one question from this topic throughout the years until this year.

UPSC Prelims Subject-wise Analysis(2015-19)

History and Culture:


Polity and Governance:

Economic and Social Development:

Environment & Ecology:

Science and Technology: