Sunday, February 12, 2012

GS - 2011 - CSAT Prelims paper Analysis


CSAT 2011 exam was taken on 12 June 2011. There were 100 questions worth 2 marks each. Majority of them were "4 statements true and false" (4tf) questions, i.e.  4 statements are given for each question and then you're required to identify the correct and incorrect ones. So mere acquaintance with some topic doesn't help, you need to have idea about 'what, why and how' of a topic.
To compare this 2011 paper with 2010 paper, click me

Broad analysis





  1. Indus valley (secular/textile)
  2. Jain philosophy- world is created by
  3. Vedic civilization-meaning of dharma and rita


  1. Reasons for cultural contacts between southeast asia and bay of bengal

Modern post 1857

  1. Nehru report recommendations
  2. Usha mehta-role indian freedom struggle
  3. Home charges in drain of wealth.
  4. Kheda satyagraha, why
  5. Land settlement system of lord cornwallis
  6. Quit india movment- false statement
  7. Weddernburn and caine committee 1893
  8. Gandhi-book unto this last
Again no point in mugging up those 150 places of harappa where painted gray pottery was found or the 1500 kings, 1500 timelines and 1500 places (stupa here and there, castle-mosque-tomb and temple in every city)  from medieval portion.
Dates, places and kings have lost relevence for CSAT.



  1.   metropolitan planning committee
  2.   73rd amendment provides for-statements

Financial polity

  1.   vote on account and interim budget-difference between them
  2.   union budget is not pass it by the lok sabha when
  3.   the functions of finance commission of india.
  4.   consolidated fund of india-withdrawing money
  5.   revenue of union government goes into each account


  1.   fundamental duty-which of the following is not
See majority of questions from budget /money related matters of constitution. And not a single question asking to match the article numbers or timelines. Economy is gaining importance and lime-light like never before and in future prelims, its going to the surpass the current Katrina kaif (geography). It is also time to put D.D.Basu on rest from now onwards for prelims.



  1. Lower Gangetic climate good for which crops
  2. Micro-irrigation
  3. Name of state producing lot cash crops, central part producing cotton.
  4. Salinization in irrigation
  5. State with good climate for orchid cultivation


  1. La nina is different from a el nino
  2. Westerlies in southern hemisphere are stronger. Why
  3. Jetcraft flies easily in lower stratosphere why?

World geography

  1. Brahmaputra makes u turn because
  2. African and eurasian desert belt, why formed?
  3. Malacca strait-reducing travel time to east asia.
Only 11 questions (because lot has gone in to climate change topic). Agro profiles of states have became important. No mapping-questions. No specific place (city, district) based question. Only one, biodiversity area at Odisha.

Climate change-biodiversity

  1. Animal living in sandy and saline area in india
  2. Algal blooms in seawater
  3. Carbon cycle, which adds co2
  4. Biodiversity forms the basis for human existence by
  5. Oil-zapper
  6. Coal combustion at thermal plants, pollutants emitted
  7. Ozone hole in antarctica why
  8. Microbial fuel cells-statements
  9. Bioasphalt important because
  10. Mangroves in tsunami
  11. Red data book for endangered species
  12. Carbon credits-false statement.
  13. Why western ghats and indo-burma regions are hot spots of biodiversity
  14. Why carbon dioxide does not remain in lower atmosphere
  15. Marine upwelling zones are important for ecosystem productivity because
  16. Why tropical rainforest does not regenerate quickly
  17. Himalayan range is rich in species diversity because
  18. Central acts, having relevance with biodiversity conservation
  19. Two rivers of jharkhant and odisha merging and forming biodiversity area at
  20. Site for in-situ method of conservation of flora
  21. Biodiversity between lower and higher latitudes
Almost 1/5th of the paper is from climate change.
Let me quote a passage from civil service times' december issue dedicated to biodiversity
Pteridophytes: india has about 1200 species under 204 genera. While species of marsilea, azolla and salvinia grow in aquatic habitats, those of acrostichum occur in mangrove ecosystems.
^See how deep and minute details are bombarded in various magazines and books, while here we find the question don't require that much depth. As UPSC itself said in syllabus "general issues on environment that donot require subject specialization" however, most questions are "4TF" type so you need to have your concepts clear.

Science and technology



  1.     blu-ray disc is different from dvd
  2.     bluetooth and wi-fi device -difference
  3.     virtual private network


  1.     lake frozen on top but bottom is liquid 
  2.     cfl and led lamps-difference between them
  3.     artificial satellite does not fall down because
  4.     asteroids and comets-difference between them
  5.     geostationary satellite meaning
  6.     ionosphere facilitates radio-communication because


  1.     brent crude oil meaning
  2.     heavy water in nuclear reactor-its function



  1.       antioxidants and fruit
  2.       aspartame artificial sweetener
  3.       blood groups
  4.       trans fats advertisement


  1.       bt-brinjal advantage
  2.       dna sequencing will help us in


  1.     tree dies when bark is removed because
Total 18 questions from science. If you count algae bloom and carbon-cycle like questions from climate change into science portion then it is around 25/100= 1/4th of the paper from science only.
No disease question this time. 3 bio-questions directly related to day-to-day life. We see ads of calorie-free sugar and trans-fat free cooking oil and antioxidants everyday. But in almost every question, they gave 4 statements and asked you to identify the true/false out of them. That's why mere acquaintance with a topic won't help, you need to have some idea on how and why of the topic. Botany makes comeback, carnivore plant last time, tree bark this time.
Bt-brijal, DNA sequencing= current affairs from magazine. (Otherwise the 'current S&T portion of Mags dealing with all those Graphene etc. didnot turn out to be very helpful)


  1. Gdp and per capita income increased during last 5 years or not
  2. Credit to agriculture and allied activities by various institutes
  3. Economic growth is coupled with
  4. Lowering of bank rate leads to
  5. Value added tax. False statement
  6. Closed economy, meaning
  7. Class struggle process in karl marx's theory
  8. Fdi and fii difference between
  9. High food inflation because
  10. Fiscal stimulus.
  11. Current account deficit, how to reduce
  12. Economically-foreign visitors in common wealth games amounts to
  13. Teaser loans by commercial banks
  14. Base effect's role in inflation
  15. Why disinvestment in public sector enterprises
  16. Mega food parks- why
  17. Imf gives loans to which nations.
Like 2010, this new economy is not about numbers but understanding. Prime reason for giving economy such an important, imo is to put coaching classes at disadvantage, because their GS strategy heavily relies upon current affairs and geography.
Some coaching classes used to show off like by merely doing geography one can crack prelims. Economy has been their weakest link.
In 2010 there were 26/150 questions from economy (17%). This time it 17/100= 17%. So economy is given equal importance like last time. If you count financial polity's 5 questions in economy then it is 22/100 marks = even more than climate change.

Social economical development, rights issue, empowerment etc

  1. Human rights given under universal declaration of human rights
  2. Tribal insurrection in 19th-century
  3. National minority-advantages given
  4. Physically disabled people-benefits available under the law
  5. Inclusive growth can be furthered by
  6. Aam admi bima yojana
  7. Micro-finance includes which facilities
  8. Who is eligible for mnrega
  9. Demographic dividend meaning
Again for empowerment and socio-economic topics were covered from theoretical angles by books and mags. (lifted from M.A. Sociology) child-women rights from un declarations, 500+government schemes named after rajiv and indira since the independence: big list of chronology, names-dates. Nothing asked. These questions could be solved by self study of routine books without having any special material.

Current international affairs

  1. Look east policy means
  2. New start
  3. Australia group, and wassenaar arrangement
  4. South-east Asia has got attention of global community  because
Manmohan singh and Patil's visits to southeast asia were making lot news in magazines and recently concluded trade pacts with asian nations, hence I'm putting look east in current-international. You may have prepared lot from current based national and international affairs, and here it is barely 4 marks of international! But don't get disappointed, it'll help in mains.

Public policy or yearbook stuff

Public policy study-material in market, was designed according to college-syllabus and was leading nowhere. Example, public policy topic in magazines and books was going towards all the theoretical and philosophical stuff, minister-bureaucrat relations etc. (lifted from m.a. Socio/ while here we see the public policy questions are not philosophical but to the point e.g. Disinvestment in PSE, food parks etc. So I'm putting them in to relevant sections (economy) rather than classifying them strictly according to syllabus.

Person in news, sports and awards

Just like 2010, it is a very sad day for all those Shantiswaroop Bhatnagars, Magsaysay, Nobles and national film awards, CWG and Asian games winners. Not a single question! What a shame. Now they're doomed to be remembered only by their wives, kids, friends and neighbors…not by 
competitive exam candidates anymore. I call upon all the civil service aspirants to stop paying attention to them. Pratiyogita darpan should totally scrap down their monthly sections dedicated to these (and give us discount for less number of pages)…lol wait a minute! You may get some 2 markers related to bigwig NRI and sportsmen in mains so don't totally neglect, just because they did not ask it in prelims. Think of them as cash-crops, if you get good market price, then nothing better than that.


Basically the brief of whatever I've already mentioned above +not looking for any debates.
  1. Dates, places and people = not important. (be it history, geography or current affairs)
  2. Economy = new katrina kaif.
  3. Geography= fast losing its popularity like Akshay kumar. Specific names of city, village, mountain or waterfalls not important because of the new climate change-biodiversity topic. May be this was done to crush the coaching factories.In short, Wizard's Geography special book (and any other 'special Geography book') blasting your head off with 50000 x 10^20 place names in India and World, are not important anymore. Same is true for all those 'prelim special issues' of various magazines dealing with Geography, Economy etc. because all they do is throw date-place-name-height and length details at you without clearing your concepts.
  4. Self-study is sufficient for biodiversity –climate change topic, you don't need some magic-material by coaching class/magazines copied from (botany) or IPCC journals and bombarding you with tones of minute details. Climate change is taken over geography as the new 'hot topic'. 
  5. Aint no point in studying in depth for medieval/ancient anymore. (hardly 4 marks) if you're feeling lucky, you may even sell your books related to that, it'd not hurt much.(unless history is your optional subject) because GS (History) mains syllabus is only post- 1857 mutiny onwards. *GS (Mains) also has Art-culture portion from Ancient-medieval, but it requires different books and different approach. Not the conventional kings and battles stuff.
  6. The glorious era of India yearbook is finally over. Don't throw it away though, you can use it as dumbbells or to kill cockroaches.
  7. Polity very easy, financial polity given emphasis, you could solve most by merely going through the legendary Laxmikanth. DD basu is as irrelevant for prelims as Mimoh Chakhrabarti is for bollywood. 
  8. Say Goodbye to PSLV chronology and Planet :size and number of moons tables. The new 'Space/Astronomy GS' is about basic understanding only.
  9. Sayonara to All the sports-related terms,famous players of each sports, measurements of playgrounds, countries participating in FIFA, CWG or Asian Games, All the Hindustani and Carnatic musicians, dancers and painters.
  10. Government  has setup 5000+ National institutes on each subject (dairy,fisheries,pulses,...) in each town. But no need to remember it anymore.

1 comment:

  1. informative post indeed... aiming for civil service exam I was looking for such post... I'm all new to this world and being enrolled in a ias general studies course at was looking for such valuable insights.. thanks :)