Tricks to solve any objective questions in IAS Prelims Exam

Tricks to solve any objective questions in IAS prelims exam
UPSC Prelims is the first exam that embarks the beginning of the journey that you dream of achieving. In the scenario of large competition, it might look scary and at times unachievable, but in this article, we will discuss some tricks to solve UPSC Prelims questions and intelligent guessing in UPSC Prelims that will make answering UPSC Prelims questions a cakewalk. Practice this in your
mock tests.

Three things to remember while solving UPSC Prelims Paper

1. The paper is named “General Studies.” 

It means that every serious aspirant studying sincerely for this examination will be able to crack it, it is just that you need to keep all your senses alive in those two hours. General Studies demands a basic understanding of the syllabus and not a PhD. Do not overthink the answers. It generally leads to confusion as the options are very close by and might lead to negative marking. 

2.   UPSC Prelims is an exam of elimination

Meaning, this stage is a screening stage, i.e. UPSC will try to eliminate maximum aspirants. At this stage, it will judge not only your knowledge but also your common sense, presence of mind, time management, intelligent guessing.

Mere studying and cramming books and reading newspapers will not help you clear this exam; you need to practice all the above in mocks and consciously deal with your unconscious weakness.

3.   It’s just an Exam

Failing this exam is also a part of this journey, do not judge your intellect based on failing or passing this exam. Because of a vast mismatch between aspirants and vacancies, the elimination ratio is huge. 

Yes, it’s disheartening but keep going.

Along with studying basic books, you also need some extra skills and tricks to solve UPSC Prelims and successfully arrive at the correct objective answer, so let us explore the tricks to solve any objective questions in IAS.

Tricks to solve UPSC Prelim Questions

1.   Solve Previous year question papers

We know it sounds redundant, but it is the most important UPSC Prelims trick. Solve previous year question papers of UPSC to get comfortable with the pattern and type of questions asked. Everyone knows this but very few follow. The practice of solving previous year papers is of utmost importance.

Why solve these question papers?

It is the only authentic source of the exam pattern and areas of topics that are important and a full proof UPSC Prelims hack. Though the trend is not linear in any case, the type of question remains the same.

The following cheat codes for UPSC Prelims or tricks to solve UPSC Prelims questions are based on analysis and studying of the options given by UPSC

 2.   Get into the examiner's head.

Every question formed by the examiner has a thought behind it, the statements in the question are kept unchanged or are changed with some logic. Get to that logic

For Example: As per the NSSO 70th Round “Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households”, consider the following statements [UPSC prelims 2018]

  1. Rajasthan has the highest percentage share of agricultural households among its rural households.
  2. Out of the total agricultural households in the country, a little over 60 percent belong to OBCs.
  3. In Kerala, a little over 60 percent of agricultural households reported having received maximum income from sources other than agricultural activities.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Here at first the question seems tough, but after carefully observing: OBC reservation is 27%, the population is around 41% (NSSO data), so 60% belong to OBC is wrong. 

Eliminating options having statement 2 gives us the right answer.

Based on the above learning we come to the next UPSC Prelims trick 

3.   Use and relate all existing knowledge.

Questions some time seem from an unknown territory, relating to its branches can get you to the right answer. (OBC data in the above question). 

4.   Trust the statements given in a technology-related question

If you again use trick 2, it will be tough for an examiner to make technology-related questions factually and scientifically incorrect. So, in most of the cases of questions related to science and technology statements given are correct.

For Example: [UPSC Prelims 2017 question]

With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of `genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future?

  1. Genome sequencing can be used to identify genetic markers for disease resistance and drought tolerance in various crop plants.
  2. This technique helps in reducing the time required to develop new varieties of crop plants.
  3.  It can be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationships in crops.

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

Answer is D

[UPSC Prelims 2018 question]

Consider the following phenomena.

  1. Light is affected by gravity.
  2. The Universe is constantly expanding.
  3. Matter warps its surrounding space-time.

Which of the above is/are the prediction/predictions of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, often discussed in the media?

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

Answer is D

In all the above 2 questions if an examiner wants to make any of these statements wrong, it would need substantial proof, so generally, all statements are correct.

5.   Statements with extreme wordings

It is found that statements with extreme wording like ‘never’, ‘only’, ‘always’, ‘all’, ‘drastically’ and ‘enormously’ are generally wrong

For Example: [UPSC Prelims 2017 question]

What is/are the most likely advantages of implementing ‘Goods and Services Tax (GST)’?

  1. It will replace multiple taxes collected by multiple authorities and will thus create a single market in India.
  2. It will drastically reduce the ‘Current Account Deficit’ of India and will enable it to increase its foreign exchange reserves.
  3. It will enormously increase the growth and size of the economy of India and will enable it to overtake China in the near future.

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

Second and Third statements have extreme words “drastically” and “enormously” so they will be wrong. 

6. Elimination

Many of the questions can be solved just by elimination the wrong options

For Example: [UPSC Prelims 2017 question]

Consider the following pairs of Terms sometimes seen in news vs Context /Topic

  1. Belle II experiment:            Artificial Intelligence
  2. Blockchain technology:     Digital/ Cryptocurrency
  3. CRISPR-Cas9:                   Particle Physics

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

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

Answer is B

Here it is well known that CRISPR-Cas9 is biotechnology-related, so 3 is wrong. Eliminating options with 3 will get the answer. 

7. Do not attempt too objective questions

Some question requires direct known answers and no UPSC Prelims trick or UPSC Prelims hacks will help solve these type questions, so it's better to leave those questions.

For Example: With reference to Indian history, who among the following is a future Buddha, yet to come to save the world?

  1. Avalokiteshvara
  2. Lokesvara
  3. Maitreya
  4. Padmapani

In this question, direct knowledge of the fact is required, attempting on the basis of guess will get you negative marks.

To conclude

There is no substitute to regular books and magazines that will surely help you sail UPSC waters but keeping these cheat codes for UPSC Prelims in mind will help you when nothing seems relevant to your learned knowledge. So your UPSC preparation strategy must include practising the above steps.

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