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UPSC Prelims

An analysis of UPSC CSE Prelims 2022

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The "D-day" has come to a close, as the UPSC Preliminary Exam 2022, i.e. PRELIMS-2022 was conducted on 5th June 2022. Just like every year, this time too, as the examination went to twilight, the anxiety among the candidates rose about various facets of the examination, i.e. the level of questions, answer keys and the probable cut-off. Therefore, to allay fears and provide predictability in the chaos of the grapevine we have analysed this year's question paper and are very happy to share the analysis with you.- The most relevant, crisp and to the point glossary.

As expected, "U" for "unpredictable" in UPSC, the question paper was yet again a trend-redefining exam, though if dug deeper, the level of questions ranged from "moderate" to "tough". Just like every year, the "S" in the UPSC denoted the "Surprise" element in the form of "Pair-type" questions, where knowing all the information related to the problem statement at hand was a crucial prerequisite, as the usual shenanigans of the more popular less utilitarian "Elimination" were of no use. 
 The questions of "pair-type" (8 this year), were distinctly marked by the interesting options they presented. Dodging the usual manner of a correct/incorrect, the options were: only one pair is correctly matched, only 2 pairs are correctly matched, etc. Though little in terms of the number of questions, this new format would have a perceptible bearing on the cut-off.

The question paper was balanced, in terms of attention to all the subjects, though intra-subject variations were a striking feature of the paper. Moreover, questions were a mix of both factual and conceptual ideas with little room for elimination viz-a-viz the previous couple of years.

This year's prelims also marked the return of huge emphasis on current affairs, i.e. quite a few questions could be solved by current affairs in comparison to last year's paper. Even in the popularly considered static areas such as History and Culture, knowledge of current affairs could have been used to solve the questions. This trend cements the fact that current affairs are, and will, be the core of this examination.

This year, questions were straightforward and UPSC has tried its best to not ask vague and multi interpretative statements. One of the biggest surprises of last year's paper i.e., questions from sports, which took many aspirants by surprise, were missing.

Questions on Science, History and Art & culture were difficult whereas; those on other subjects were moderate. UPSC has somehow managed to return to classical questions, esp. in Geography, where the location in news, map-based questions, and questions on Indian Physiography were asked. Moreover, polity questions were straightforward, reinforcing a trend in the last few years. Questions from economics were analytical this year and only a few were factual. The questions on Environment were current affairs linked and of moderate level.

Further, Paper-II was again difficult, especially reading comprehension and this may play a role in lowering the cut-off this year.

The detailed analysis of each subject is as follows:

S. No.


No. of Questions


Polity, IR, Governance   






History & Culture









Science Tech


Polity IR, Governance: A total of 21 questions were asked from the combined syllabus of Polity, Governance, and International Relations. The questions were straightforward, devoid of any vagueness, unlike in last year's paper. Most of the topics such as Deputy Speaker, Attorney General, Bar Council, UNGA, etc. were related to Current Affairs.  Overall nature of the questions was moderate and the elimination skill could have been used by the examinees.

Geography: Questions were mostly factual and current affairs related. Location-related and Map-based questions were asked liberally by the UPSC. Geography’s questions were easy to moderate and there were no unconventional questions.

History, Art & Culture: There were 16 questions from History & culture. While modern Indian questions were moderate, Ancient and Medieval History questions were very difficult, esp. the question on Arthashastra. The questions on Culture were current Affairs related and were easy if the students had been following them. Questions from Modern India vis-à-vis previous years were less and on expected lines.

Economy: Economy questions were mostly conceptual, analytical and of moderate to tough level. Anyone clear with the basic concepts of economics and following current affairs would have found it relatively easier to solve the paper.  

Environment: Environment questions were of moderate to tough level. Almost all of the questions were linked to current affairs and developments. However, there were a few questions where elimination skills could be used. The question on wetland, analogous to the kidney of the Earth, was a surprise and a little controversial.

Science & Technology: This section was difficult like last year and was not straightforward. It has been a kind of trend on this subject. Almost all the questions barring a few were analytical. There was a question on vaccines too, like in the last two years. Unlike last year's paper where some questions could have been solved through common sense, this year no such leverage was provided by the UPSC. The examinees must have an understanding of the asked concepts and have an analytical sense.


Most of the questions were directly or indirectly on current events. So the relevance of the current affair and its linkage with the syllabus remains relevant. Statements of questions were from a broad range of sources which required in-depth study and brushing up on the syllabus just before the exam will not work. Overall paper was in between conventional and non-conventional. As the level of the toughness was found moderate to high like last year, the cut-off will be in the same range of 90 +/- 5. You can approach the Answer Key and Analysis on the GS Score website and if you have scored around this probable cut-off then you must go for the preparation of Mains.  



Verifying, please be patient.

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