Type of Questions Asked in IAS Prelims - Best Online Test Series for IAS Prelims

Type of Questions Asked in IAS Prelims

By Vimlaksh | Prelims Analysis

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Different types of questions are asked in the Prelims GS question paper. As an aspirant who is going to attempt the IAS prelims exam you should be well prepared to tackle the different types of questions to clear the Prelims with ease. This post describes the different question types in detail with examples from previous years Prelims papers.

The questions in the Prelims papers are not homogenous rather some questions are factual, some are analytical, while some are a combination of factual and analytical. Let us look at each type of question.

Factual Questions

Factual questions test your factual knowledge of the topic. These are easier to tackle as compared to analyitical or logic based questions provided you have knowledge of the topic. Questions based on figures are factual questions.

Let us look at some examples of factual questions asked in the Prelims.

Which one of the following was a very important seaport in the Kakatiya kingdom?

(a) Kakinada

(b) Motupalli

(c) Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam)

(d) Nelluru

This is a factual question from Ancient Indian History topic. The correct answer is (b) Motupalli. It is fact based question. There is nothing to anlyse in this question. Either you are aware of the seaports in the Kakatiya kingdom or not. If you don’t have any knowledge of the seaports in ancient India you should skip the question to avoid negative penalty.

Mediterranean Sea is a border of which of the following countries?

  1. Jordan
  2. Iraq
  3. Lebanon
  4. Syria

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 3 and 4 only

This is Map based question. You need to regularly go through the Atlas to answer Map-based factual questions. Here UPSC is asking which countries border the Mediterranean Sea. Again if you have knowledge of the Mediterranean Sea and the countries bordering it, you can answer the question with ease. But if you are not aware then attempting this question will be like shooting an arrow in the dark. Either your answer could be correct or it could be incorrect in which case it will cost you -0.66 marks.

Let us look at one more example.

With reference to ‘National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is an organ of NITI Aayog.
  2. It has a corpus of Rs. 4, 00,000 crore at present.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

The correct answer is (d) as both the statements are incorrect. NIIF has been structured as a fund of funds and set up as Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations. Total corpus of the fund is Rs. 40,000 Crore.

So it was a fact based question that did not test your understanding much. you either knew the details about NIIF or not. Attempting it without knowledge of the facts could cost 0.66 marks as negative penalty.

Analytical Questions

These questions are based on your understanding of the topic and usually more difficult to tackle than fact based questions. Let us look at some examples of these questions.

Which of the following practices can help in water conservation in agriculture? ‎

‎1. Reduced or zero tillage of the land

‎2. Applying gypsum before irrigating the field

‎3. Allowing crop residue to remain in the field

Select the correct answer using the code given below : ‎

‎(a) 1 and 2 only‎

‎(b) 3 only

‎(c)  1 and 3 only

‎(d) 1, 2 and 3

This question is based on Agriculture topic from Geography. Here you should possess knowledge about practices that will help in water conservation. The correct answer is (d). What is the reasoning behind this?

The FAO manual confirms

  • Crop residues or other organic matter left in or added to the field improve water penetration and moisture retention. So #3 is correct
  • Gypsum application can solve the water percolation process. #2 is correct
  • Hence we are left with answer “D”.
  • Counter argument: same FAO manual also says that tillage helps in better water penetration by increasing the surface area and porosity of the soil. So statement#1 is wrong? But then there is no option saying “only 2 and 3”. So 1, 2 and 3 are correct.

Source: Mrunal.org

The important point to note is the reasoning involved in tackling such type of questions. These are not simple right or wrong questions.

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:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Again this question tests your understanding of genome sequencing. Not only should you know what is genome sequencing but also its applications.

Now let us look at an analytical question based on Indian economy.

Which of the following has/have occurred in India after its liberalization of economic policies in 1991?

  1. Share of agriculture in GDP increased enormously.
  2. Share of India’s exports in world trade increased.
  3. FDI inflows increased.
  4. India’s foreign exchange reserves increased enormously.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below :

(a) 1 and 4 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

The correct answer is (b). Statement 1 is incorrect since share of Agriculture in the total GDP of the country has been falling steadily since independence. While it was more than 50% during the 1950’s today it is less than 20%.

India’s share in world exports more than doubled from less than 1% in 1991 to 2% in 2016. So statement 2 is correct. Since 1991 FDI inflows in India has increased approximately by more than 165 times so statement 3 is correct. India’s foreign exchange reserves were at an all time low of $1.2 billion in 1991 and have crossed $400 billion in 2017. So statement 4 is correct.

Understanding based questions have to be tackled in this manner.

Fortunately IAS Kracker’s Test Series contains questions based on fact as well as understanding of the topic so you develop adequate confidence while attempting the tests. You can check out the details here.

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