IAS Mains 2014 GS-1 Paper Review and Analysis

GS Paper 1 Analysis


The General Studies Paper 1 of the UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination 2014 marked a few changes as compared to the Mains 2013 paper.

In a major change, UPSC discarded the short questions (5 marks), carrying only the 10 mark questions. There has been a mixed response to this step as many of the aspirants have hailed this change as beneficial for the candidates.

Nevertheless, let’s move on to the analysis of the paper:

Composition of the GS Paper-1

The total number of questions in the GS Paper 1 was 25, with each question carrying 10 marks, and a word limit of 150 words.

As for the areas from which the questions were asked:

Areas Number of Questions Total Marks
Art and Culture 5 50
Indian History 3 30
World History 2 20
Social Issues 5 50
Geography: Theoretical 4 40
Geography: India 4 40
Geography: World 2 20
Total 25 250



GS 1 2014

If we look carefully at the paper, we find that the weightage of the questions on Indian society and social issues has been kept proportionally higher. Aspirants find it difficult to answer such questions directly, as answers to these questions are difficult to be found in books. You need a sharp intellect and an analytical mind to attempt such questions.

Indian Art and Culture

The questions from Art and culture were overlapping with different topics.

For Instance,

Question 1, on Indus Valley Civilization was asked in the context of it’s influence on the present day urbanisation!

Question 2 asked the influence of Romans as well as Greeks on the Gandhara art and culture!

Question 3 was framed in a comparative structure, asking the candidates to write why Taxila university could not become as popular as Nalanda university!

Question 4 was innovatively framed to ask why Panipat was the battle-ground of so many battles!

Question 5, moved away from the mainstream studies of Sufis and Medieval saints and asked the candidates to throw light upon the limitations of those saints in terms of their influence on the society!

It is important that the candidates write these answers, as per the requirement of the question. You are not supposed to write down everything that you must have read in the books. These questions required the candidate to think over the topic and reflect in an intelligent manner.

Indian History

The questions in this section were much different from the ones that were asked in the last year. But the difficulty level of the question was on the lighter side.

However, the Question 6, on ‘various facets of economic policies of the British in India’ was a relief, if answered well. There are a great amount of resources on the topic, and could be written well.

Similarly, Question 7, on ‘Naval Mutiny as last nail’ was also a welcome question as it is available in most of the books on Indian history.

Question 8 could be answered easily if one has read the developments in the world, while reading the Indian National movement. Reading a good book would provide you with sufficient points to write this answer.

World History

Question 9 on ‘Suez Canal Crisis’ is a famous example, used while reading the history of the post-world war period and the evolution of the cod war. If you’ve read the cold war history properly, you’ll know that this question was a piece of cake.

Question 10 directly asked about the New Economic Policy (1921) of Manmohan Lenin. Reading about the history of the communist parties in India and Russia would have given sufficient points for this answer.

Social Issues

Question 11, had something in common with the last year’s paper. The issue of Women empowerment has been re-used in this year’s paper. However, the nature of the question has changed. But, this question required a reflective mind and thoughtful attitude. Don’t expect to find such answers in the textbooks.

Question 12 was, again, related to the women issues, and the declining sex ratio. However, this question incorporates a number of themes and topics. Thus, requires some brain-storming, before writing.

Question 13 was a different one. It was more close to sociology. You were supposed to write how the economic factors influence the values and life style of the joint families. Again, this type of question is hard to be found in the textbooks.

Question 14, to our surprise, was again on women issues and feminism. However, it asked the growth of feminism in the context of agriculture in India. Thus, tricky to write.

Question 15 was on secularism. If you have read some books on secularism, you would know that it was an easy question. You were supposed to write how the Indian model of secularism is different from the concept of secularism in the West.

Geography- Theory

Question 16 was on El Nino. It was not much of a surprise, since the newspapers were brimming with the news on El Nino. This one could be answered easily.

Question 17 was a question on basics of geography. Most of the candidates must have read about the fold mountains and earthquakes and volcanoes. So, this must be an easier answer to write.

Question 18 was also theoretical, and asked about the formation of islands of Indonesia and Philippines. The answer could be easily found in the traditional textbooks.

Question 19, again, discussed the tropical cyclones in South China, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. If you have read the geographical concepts properly, you’ll know that it is also on an easier side.

Geography- India

Question 20 could be predicted in the context of recent debates and initiatives on climate change and concerns regarding the shrinking of Himalayan glaciers. The Hindu and other newspapers and magazines would be an added advantage for this answer.

Question number 21 to 25 were based on resources and their distribution. These questions could be written if you have a good understanding of the topics. Mrunal has provided great resources for such topics.

So, What’s the Deal

According to Aspirant Forum

  • Indian Art and Culture- Moderate to slightly difficult
  • Indian History- Very Easy to Easy
  • World History- Easy
  • Social Issues- Moderate
  • Geography: Theory- Easy
  • Geography: India- Easy to Moderate
  • Geography: World- Easy to Moderate

The Paper was not much difficult, given you have read and written well.

Easy Paper

Understanding the question and writing appropriately is the key to success for Mains exam

Answer key for the GS Paper 1 will be uploaded soon…

All the Best

Team Aspirant Forum

© Aspirantforum.com

Tags: , , ,

About aspirantforum

a curious mind, eager to share and spread what is known.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: