[Analysis] CSAT Paper I (General Studies) 2012

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  1. Overall Breakup
  2. History
  3. Polity
  4. Environment & Biodiversity (enb)
  5. Geography
  6. Economy
  7. Science & Technology (S&T)
  8. Yearbook stuff
  9. Current Affairs vs Static
  10. 4TF type of question
  11. Authentic Answerkeys! (lolz)
  12. Make your own answerkey
  13. Why Cut-offs talk is useless
  14. Start preparing for mains
  15. Was the CSAT-paper Tough?
  16. Conclusion

Overall Breakup

In order to see the big picture, We must compare this data with the GS-papers of last two years. See how the topicwise-breakup has evolved.

Markwise Breakup (From 2010 to 2012)


  • Note1: column will not add to 100, because I’ve not counted the international affairs etc. questions from 2011’s exam. However the total questions were 100.
  • Note2: in 2010, GS paper had 150 questions, including Aptitude. Therefore column will not add to 100. Secondly, in 2010 they did not have separate EnB section.

This Situation calls for % table.

%wise Breakup (From 2010 to 2012)

For 2011 and 2012, the data will remain same (Because total 100 Questions) but for 2010, I’m converting marks into approximate percentages using 150 as ‘total’.

Charts and graphs

Bar last 3 years

Pie Chart last 2 years

Data interpretation

  • History has doubled in its importance from 2010 to 2012. Any sort of ‘predictability’ helps the coaching classes and senior players, and UPSC hates both of them. Most of us would have thought: history will decrease and S&T will remain steady. So, UPSC does the reverse. Besides, it is my personal opinion, this year History + Polity given heavy emphasis to reverse the “Science and Engineer graduates-friendly” trends of last two years.
  • Polity increased by more than double. 8% in 2011 and 18% in 2012. And curiously, as the number of questions increased, the difficulty level of each question decreased!
  • Geography remained “steady” 11% of the paper for last two years.
  • Economy declined.
  • Science and technology declined: almost halved: From 18% in 2011 to 9% in 2012! – To make room for the increased number of History and Polity Questions
  • Just like Geography, the Yearbook stuff also remained: Steady 9% of the paper, for last two years.
  • You can do more data interpretation on your own.

Remaining chart

Now time to take a look at individual subjects under General Studies paper.
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A.Ancient and Medieval

  1. Dhrupad, one of the major traditions of India that has been kept alive for centuries
  2. Distinguish between Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dances
  3. hand gesture called ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It symbolizes
  4. religion of early Vedic Aryans was
  5. Sufi mystics were known to pursue which of the following practices
  6. guilds (Shreni) of ancient India that played a very important role
  7. scientific progress of ancient India
  8. common to both Buddhism and Jainism?
  9. Nagara, the Dravida and the Vesara

Questions Mostly related to religion and culture.
They had asked about Jainism in 2011’s paper as well.
Thankfully, No dates, places or name of kings though.

Modern India (Freedom Struggle)


Es India
  1. Ryotwari settlement
  2. Rowlatt act aimed at
  3. Contribution made by dadabhai naoroji
  4. Principal feature(s) of the government of india act, 1919
  5. National social conference was formed. What was the reason for its formation?
  6. Parties were established by dr. B. R. Ambedkar
  7. Gandhi undertook fast unto death in 1932
  8. Lahore session of the indian national congress (1929) is very important
  9. Regarding brahmo samaj
  10. Things introduced into india by the english
  11. Congress ministries resigned in the seven provinces in 1939

Even with the lousiest half-hearted preparation, one could solve question number 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11 from reading NCERTs, GS Manual and Bipin Chandra.


  1. Duty of the President of India to cause to be laid
  2. Deadlock between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha calls
  3. Importance of the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)
  4. Prime Minister of India, at the time of his/her appointment
  5. Delimitation Commission, consider the following statements :
  6. Distribution of powers between the Centre and the States
  7. Fundamental Duties of citizens
  8. Autonomy of the Supreme Court of India
  9. Special powers have been conferred on the Rajya Sabha
  10. Recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission
  11. Parliamentary control over public finance in India
  12. Provisions of the Constitution of India have a bearing on Education
  13. Adjournment motion
  14. Directive Principles of State Policy
  15. Union Territories are not represented in the Rajya Sabha.
  16. Office of the Lok Sabha Speaker
  17. Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
  18. Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
  • In my earlier article ” 100 Days 4 CSAT?” I had given the preparation strategy and study plan for Indian Polity and If you had thoroughly it, this Polity section was a walk in the park. Atleast 15 questions could be solved without any doubt.
  • Most of these questions are so easy, seems like they framed them to insult the intelligence of a serious player!

update: Answerkey for Polity questions is given in this link (Click Me)

Environment & Biodiversity (enb)

  1.  National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) help
  2.  National Green Tribunal Act,
  3.  Biopesticides
  4.  Biomass gasification
  5.  Lead, ingested or inhaled, is a health hazard
  6.  Chlorofluorocarbons, known as ozone-depleting substances
  7.  Protected areas in India are local people not
  8.  Pollinating agent/agents
  9.  Carbon dioxide in the air is slowly raising the temperature
  10.  Acidification of oceans is increasing. Why
  11.  Category of endangered species
  12.  Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
  13.  Antelopes Oryx and Chiru
  14.  Threats to the biodiversity of a geographical are
  15.  Black-necked crane
  16.  Carbon sequestration/storage in the soil
  17.  Phytoplankton of an ocean is completely destroyed for some reason
  18. Vultures which used to be very common in Indian countryside
  19.  Government of India encourages the cultivation of sea buckthorn
  20.  Wetlands of India, consider the following statements
  21.  Resistance to the introduction of Bt brinjal in India
  22.  Prospects for which genetically engineered plants have been created
  23.  Which of the above are Tiger


  • Q. 7 on protected area, was directly discussed in my EnB article: In-situ and Ex-situ conservation.
  • Q. 18 on Vulture question had been directly discussed in my EnB article: Types of Species.
  • Q.14 Threats to biodiversity: the “alien species” were also discussed in above article (under title “Non-native species”.)
  • Seems UPSC is making a habit of asking location of some odd wildlife animal every year. (Oryx, Chiru and Crane this year.)
  • Almost 1/4th of the paper (25%) is EnB, because environment must be protected and candidates must be forced to prepare heavily for Environment topic as if they’re going to actually ‘implement’ everything they read in the books, into their real lives!
  • One interesting thing: about the “limits of current affairs”, This Sea buckthorn initiative happened in 2010 (according to MoEF public notification) and UPSC has asked this in 2012.
  • Anyways most of the questions- not really tough, provided that you had been following
  1. The NIOS study-material
  2. Science and Geography NCERTs
  3. The Hindu S&T
  4. Website of Ministry of Environment and Forest (www.moef.nic.in )
  5. General Studies Manual.
  6. My EnB series articles (vultures, Phytoplanktons)


  1. Polestar
  2. Duration of the monsoon
  3. Characteristic climate of the Tropical Savannah Region
  4. Stages of demographic transition associated with economic
  5. Chief characteristic of mixed farming
  6. Crop that is used as pulse, fodder and green manure
  7. Factors influence the ocean currents
  8. Predominantly rainfed crop/crops
  9. Travel in Himalayas, you will see the following
  10. Temperature decreases with the increase in
  11. Particular State in India has the following characteristics

Most of the it from

  • NCERT Geography books Class 7 to 12.
  • +General Studies manual.
  • Curiously I’m not seeing anything from ‘world geography’ except the Tropical Savannah climate. (Ocean Current falls under Physical geography so not really a ‘world geography’ question)



  1. RBI acts as a bankers’ bank
  2. Capital gains’ arise
  3. Increase in the money supply in the economy
  4. Foreign Direct Investment in India
  5. Price of any currency in international market is decided by
  6. Lead bank scheme
  7. Why does India import millions of tonnes of coal
  8. Rare earth metals
  9. Policy initiative(s) of Government of India to promote
  10. Index of Industrial Production, the Indices of Eight Core Industries

  • If you had been following my articles on Economy, this section was also a walk in the park!

Science & Technology (S&T)

  1. Graphene
  2. UV radiation in the water purification systems
  3. Stem cells
  4. Anti-matter (anti-helium nucleus)
  5. Evidences for the continued expansion of universe?
  6. Electrically charged particles from space
  7. Capillarity
  8. Advantage does thorium hold over uranium
  9. Elements was primarily responsible for the origin of life on the Earth

  • Graphene directly discussed in my Revision Note of Hindu S&T Part II.
  • I forgot to write about water purifiers in the Odomos article
  • S&T reduced by half: in 2011, they asked 18 questions, this time only 9 but if you look it from a hilltop (combined with heavy doze of Reading comprehension in Paper II) may be UPSC thought “since last two years, the Science and Engineering grads had been getting more advantage, so let us for a change, make a room for the Arts and commerce graduates – therefore increased importance to Polity +History this time and decreased importance of Science & tech.
  • Besides, when you want to force everyone learn EnB and (assuming) that they’ll implement climate saving habits in their real life, so how do you make a room? take the space out of Science and Tech – distribute it among EnB, Polity and History.

Yearbook stuff

I’m combining the “rights issue”, “Empowerment” and “Government scheme” in one category:

  1. Jobs of ‘ASHA’, a trained community health worker?
  2. National Rural Livelihood Mission seek to improve livelihood options of rural poor
  3. Multi-dimensional Poverty Index developed by Oxford
  4. Social Security’ coverage under Employees’ State Insurance Scheme?
  5. Inclusive Governance
  6. Janani Suraksha Yojana’ Programme is
  7. DRDAs help in the reduction of rural poverty in India?
  8. National Water Mission
  9. Consumers’ rights/ privileges
  • ASHA worker was discussed in my Yearbook article
  • Seems UPSC is obsessed with National Rural Livelihood mission because in 2011 Mains GS Paper, they had asked about it.
  • If you had been following India Yearbook and Economic Survey 2012, again most of the question could be solved with ease.

Current Affairs vs Static

Static = from routine books, theory stuff. Majority of the questions this time, are from the static portion.

  • Over last three years, UPSC has constantly reduced the importance of current affairs: my take, they’re doing it to give level playing field to small town & rural candidates, who’re unable to purchase lots of newspapers, current-affairs magazines, internet for following the current affairs.
  • Indian Juntaa doesn’t care for sportsmen (Except cricketers), Authors (except those Indian authors who can only write novels about adultery and sex), Dancers (Except those who can do ‘item-song) or social activists (except those who get extensive media coverage).
  • So over the years, UPSC was feeling sorry for the unknown celebrities and had been asking questions related to “persons in news” in preliminary exam to give them their due recognition.
  • But finally UPSC has learned the lesson: There is no point in forcing candidates to mugup names of people in news, you can’t make someone love you by holding a gun on his face.

4TF type of question

  • 4TF= four (or two) statements are given, and you’re asked to identify the correct or incorrect statement.
  • UPSC has increased the number of 4TF question in last two years.
  • This time, There are approximately 20 normal question (i.e. pick up one from a/b/c/d, and remaining 80 questions are 4TF.
  • 4TF have their own advantages and disadvantages
  • Good:  you can eliminate wrong answer choices and certain ‘combinations’.
  • Bad: requires thorough grip over the topic.
  • Bad: Time consuming because you have to re-read entire question multiple times to eliminate the wrong choices.
  • Seems they’re trying to frame difficult questions from easy topics. using the 4TF technique.

Authentic Answerkeys! (lolz)

  • “Authentic answerkey” is an oxymoron just like “Honest Politician”.
  • After prelims are over, everybody starts googling for “answerkeys and cut-offs”. So, in a haste to capture the audience (and to advertise their mains classes and study packages), the coaching classes and certain websites release faulty answerkeys without doing proper research and homework.
  • UPSC gives you 2 hours to solve 100 questions in the exam hall, so If you manually check the reference book for each and every question, it ought to take you no less than 4-5 hours at home. Besides for certain questions there is no reliable source / book / website to confirm the answer!
  • Many candidates check their paper using multiple answerkeys and from whichever answerkey they get maximum score, they take it as their ‘official score’ and start worrying about the cut-offs!

Make your own answerkey

  • I suggest you look at each and every question individually and find its source.
  • For example, in this prelims, UPSC asked questions on green tribunal and 13th Finance Commission. If you solve these from readymade answerkeys, you will only know the four statements given in the question itself. But if you manually solve every question, you’ll come across 10 more points related to the topic, which you can use as fodder material for mains exam and interview. Who knows you might find some direct questions!
  • Caution : donot merely type question phrases in Wikipedia, UPSC did not frame question after reading Wikipedia and Wikipedia is not the ‘authentic’ source. You should first refer the standard reference books to solve these questions and use Wikipedia only as last source.

Why Cut-offs talk is useless

  • As usual, I don’t involve myself in cut-off prediction or speculation.
  • If India won 2011’s world cup by making 250 runs, does it mean India will win 2015’s world cup by making 250 runs? Then why are you trying “extrapolate” the RTI replies of previous cut-offs to speculate 2012’s cut-offs! Each year’s exam is a separate thing with separate difficulty and separate crowd.
  • Second, in the online forums and facebook communities, people post their score based on the answerkey which gives them maximum marks! So you don’t get a standard data in the first place.
  • Third, Mostly three types of people post their scores online:

A. those who performed exceptionally well.
B. those who performed terribly bad. They just post unbelievable scores for sadistic pleasure. (particularly in orkut.)
C. those who feel they are on ‘border line’ based on their own cut-off speculation.

  • But even the combined number of above A+B+C category of people in all internet communities = no more than 2000. While there are no less than 20,000 serious contenders. (Rest 1-2 lakhs are just JBPS, we are not bothered with their future.) You need a huge sample data to statistically predict the cut-offs.
  • So let UPSC come out with cut-off data, there is no point in you increasing your blood pressure over cut-off speculation.
  • The exam finished in the Evening of Sunday, right now it is tuesday morning, so not even three days have passed, UPSC cannot even collect back all the answersheets from every exam centre across India India to Delhi in such short time, and yet some people are saying “they’ve confirmed it with reliable sources inside UPSC office that cut off will be *** for 2012.”
  • ^How is it possible? The OMR bundles are not even opened yet, the answersheets are not even checked yet and you’ve came out with the cutoff data confirmed from UPSC itself!

Start preparing for mains

  • Those of you have the mindset I’ll prepare for mains based on cut-offs. If my chances look good, only then I prepare for mains.
  • ^ wrong mentality. You’re thinking like a stockbroker but Success in UPSC requires the dedication of a world class athlete and patience of a gardener. Prelims is over means you have to start preparing for mains. You don’t wait for the results until August 2012 or waste time in cut-offs speculation. If you wait until August, it will be impossible to cover the syllabus of GS + Two optional subjects.
  • Your CSAT paper did not go “good” or “Bad”. You paper is only “over”.
  • In school or board exams, you’ve a pre-set target: 90% or First class therefore you can predict your own chances “meraa paper acchaa gaya. / Mera paper kharaab gaya
  • But in UPSC CSAT or CAT or similar competitive exams, there is no pre-set target, you just have to tick as many questions as you can – accurately without doing guesswork.
  • So don’t say  “meraa paper kharaab gaya.” Because 10 of your friends are claiming to have ticked more answers than you did, or just because x member of orkut, or y coaching sir came up with a magical cut-off figure.
  • And don’t waste your time or bandwidth asking people online “My score is *** so What’re my chances?” = only God or UPSC can answer that question.

Was the CSAT-paper Tough?

  • Paper is never ‘tough’ or ‘easy’. Paper is just a paper.
  • You’re not expected to know answer of each and every question.
  • You don’t have to tick 90 or 100 answers to crack the exam.
  • All you had to do was study hard, tick answers accurately and leave the rest in the hands of God.
  • IF you believe you had studied hard and you’ve ticked the answers accurately without doing guesswork, then there is no need to worry. Let the result come in August 2012.
  • And, Don’t become a Devdas or Superman after the results. In either case it’ll be a minor setback or victory, life is long and there are so many battles yet to be fought.


  • This CSAT-2012 paper is mere continuation of the trend started by UPSC since 2010 to break the backs of Coaching Factories in Delhi and to provide level playing field to the small towners and first timers.
  • Less emphasis on ‘mug-up’ type of current affairs
  • More emphasis on theory and standard reference books.
  • Apart from that, there is nothing much to say, same old stuff like in 2010 and 2011.

41 Questions from Guidance and Study material of www.mrunal.org in CSAT-2012

Months before the actual exam, I had posted articles on preparation strategy, booklist and studyplan. If you had followed the advice given in them, then
even on a really conservative estimate, even with not-so-really-hard preparation: 6 In History, 15 in Polity, 3 in EnB, 4 in Geography, 7 in Economy, 2 in S&T and 4 in Yearbook stuff, that is total
6+15+3+4+7+2+4=41 questions could have been solved easily using the study plan and articles provided by me.
That is 41 x 2 =82 marks from GS paper alone.
<Now I really hate to make such claims, but since plenty of coaching classes come up with their “claims” about how much was asked from their “study-material”, I ought to create and protect my reputation with solid proofs.

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

111 Comments on “[Analysis] CSAT Paper I (General Studies) 2012”

  1. Thank you mrunal sir
    when i started preparing for prelims 6 months b4 i used all the info on ur blog
    i feel i`m a level 2 candidate as per ur article
    i cant write my exam next year
    i gave my best for the exam but i ended up with a total of 164 marks out of 400 in prelims
    should i continue preparing?
    i`m very doubtful as everyone are saying the cutoff is 180
    I have just finished my bpharm wrote my last exam on may11 thats why i was unable to revise all topics
    please advise me
    please reply……

  2. Very useful article to calm the nerves and also for the analysis part.While visiting forums ,it seems the whole world is becoming
    obessed with scores and cutoffs with the help of half reliable answer keys.Thank you Mrunal for such articles,as always.

  3. Mrunal, I can say ur article on Prelims paper analysis is the most honest, sincere and well thought, i have ever read in internet so far. Over internet, many people, websites do cut-offs analysis. But, u have wonderfully told, it is time to start preparing for the mains exam, irrespective of what would be the results. Could u please write an article on how to prepare and solid strategy for mains GS paper. Thank You.

  4. well i Was feeling rather worried as i've done the mistake of tallying many so called answer keys. but after going through This through analysis here I must say i was just wasting my time in those answer keys. Thanks Mrunal.

  5. Hi Mrunal,
    If u could identify the sources of ancient and medieval history questions asked in this paper I request you to please include those sources also.
    Because those are the questions I'm unable to find anywhere in known books to me.
    I request you if u can suggest any other books apart from NCERTs for ancient and medieval history, b'coz trend is always unpredictable.

  6. Raj who ever says the cutoff dnt trust.
    Just start preparing for mains from today onwards. If u will not get a place in the final list after result in August dont worry u can give ur best attempt by next year with this preparation and also u don't need to bother about mains subjects and syllabus by next year. so it is always helpful to continue preparation for mains.
    Hope u understand.I'm doing the same. God bless you Raj.

  7. Thank you for an excellent article. I had one questions regarding mains preparation:

    I wish to take Public Admin for mains optional. But in my application form for CSAT,I had mentioned 2 other subjects. Is it allowed to change it now?

    Thank you.

  8. Thank you very much mrunal, i've been worrying a lot regarding cut off. i now feel hopeful and started preparing for mains after reading ur article. thank you so much..!

  9. Thank you very much mrunal, i've been worrying a lot regarding my cut off and ur article made me realise the situtation. im very hopeful regarding prlims and would start the preparation for mains right now. thank you once again.

  10. Hi Mrunal, I have started preparing for mains 2012. My optionals are political science and philosophy. I don't have any idea about philosophy, though I have some books like masih and op gauba,etc. Could you please tell me the detailed strategy for phiolosophy mains, and if possible the possible course of action during the next 3-4 months.

  11. Please teel the strategy for philosophy mains and the possible course of action for the nect 3-4 months for mains preparations like writting practice, etc.

  12. hello mrunal.
    thanks for this post. But now plz write something as to how should we start preparing for the mains.

  13. hello mrunal. thanks for this article. but now plz tell us how should we start for the mains compulsory papers

  14. One of the question reads about "Mahatma Gandhi fast unto death in 1932 mainly because…"

    now all on web given answer as- (C) Ramsay Macdonald announced the Communal Award.

    please refer IGNOU
    EHI-01 Modern India 1857-1964
    Block-6: Nationalism: Inter- War Year-III Constitutional Reforms 1921-1935 Unit-29.pdf )
    29.7 Communal Award and Poona Pact

    Where it has been written in clear words that

    " Gandhji reacted strongly to the perposal of of granting the right of separate electorate to the dpressed classes. He regarded the depressed Classes as an integral part of Hindu society. he pinned his hope to the welfare in the firm belief that the Hindus would do full social justice to that section of society whom they had exploited for centuries and would fully integrate them within their society. "To persuade recalcitrant Ambedkar to accept his view point on this question Gandhiji then in the Yarvada Jail, resorted to a fast unto death."(plz mark this line in inverted commas) .In an anxiety to save his life Poona Pact was concluded between Gandhiji and Ambedkar.." (More directly and clearly written in HINDI book of the same)'

    I am bit confused in that question..why UPSC gave none of these option?
    So please give your valuable interpretation regarding the same, as the answer seems to be -(D)None of the statement (a), (b) and(c) given above is correct in this context.

    put on some light plz

  15. i think any paper looks lallu once everyone knows the answers as everything is given in books ,but anyone who has really given the exam will agree thats its a different ball game when you have to complete paper in 2 hours rather than sitting in bedroom and boasting that paper is very easy and everything in it was walk in the park.atleast 15 questions are marked wrongly in confusion beside those where one is not sure so there is no point misleading people this was from here , that was from there , noone remembers anything substantial and its the knowledge of your 25 years which is really helpful in upsc rather than cramming few things before paper.

  16. i think any paper looks lallu once everyone knows the answers as everything is given in books ,but anyone who has really given the exam will agree thats its a different ball game when you have to complete paper in 2 hours rather than sitting in bedroom and boasting that paper is very easy and everything in it was walk in the park.atleast 15 questions are marked wrongly in confusion beside those where one is not sure so there is no point misleading people this was from here , that was from there , noone remembers anything substantial and its the knowledge of your 25 years which is really helpful in upsc rather than cramming few things before paper.

  17. Mrunal, u beautyyyyyyyyyyyyyy as always :)
    excellent work…
    from the last june m following ur tips…
    feeling very confident…ftr prelims,

    whatever b result +ve or -ve, already starts preparing for mains as in both cases of result, we'll have to study mains in this period of 4.5 months…
    So now plz prepare some article as how to prepare for mains 2012 in remaining 4.5 months etc.
    Lord Krishna bless u :)

  18. Before accusing me of "boasting from my bedroom", do read the articles I had posted months before the actual exam:
    30 Days Revision 4 CSAT: plausible booklist
    CSAT GS preparation
    100 Days 4 CSAT?

    On a really conservative estimate, even with not-so-really-hard preparation: 6 In History, 15 in Polity, 3 in EnB, 4 in Geography, 7 in Economy, 2 in S&T and 4 in Yearbook stuff, that is total
    6+15+3+4+7+2+4=41 questions could have been solved easily using the study plan and articles provided by me.
    That is 41 x 2 =82 marks from GS paper alone.

    Regarding the other charges you've made against me.
    #1: atleast 15 questions are marked wrongly in confusion:

    And why did that happen? May be because that person went inside the exam hall with a pre-set "cut-off" mindset. I ought to tick 70 question or I'll fail and that created panic when he saw the question paper.

    #2: where one is not sure so there is no point misleading people this was from here , that was from there , noone remembers anything substantial

    There were plenty of questions from routine stuff and anyone who has read and revised for sufficient number of times, could tick good amount of question accurately. "Nobody remembers anything substantial"- is true for only those who have not done enough revision and or panic in the exam hall because of their pre-set 'cut-off' mindset.

  19. Well I was expecting that you'd send me email via Contact Page sooner or later regarding the question, because it is the best way to discuss answers.

  20. Hi Mrunal.. I have made a mistake in entering the subject code in my paper-2. I had shaded 01 initially, and when i realized i shaded 2 as well.. could you pls tell me if my answer sheet is valid or invalid?

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