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Jun 29, 2023 Exam Strategy

It's that time of the year when a category-5 super-cyclone has made a landfall on us. The catastrophe has caused a lot of commotion, disbelief and uncertainty about the future course. But, there is always scope for the light at the end of the tunnel. There is always something to pick up and get going. It's time to focus on "Building Back Better". It's the moment to move one step ahead and re-strategize for the any eventuality in 2024. Before I speak about what should be done, Let me first untangle the intertwined reasons from the debris and find out the causes for the disaster. If you've watched the show "Seconds from Disaster", You may be familiar with this iconic intro - "Disasters don't just happen, They're triggered by a chain of critical events". And in our case, the Critical events started way back in 2018. There was a significant shift in the pattern of questions from 2018 and every year after that, the pattern was just getting more and more conspicuous. The questions of Prelims 2022 can perhaps be described as "Seconds from Disaster". We had seen a glimpse of what's going to be served on the fateful day of 28th May 2023 and yet, most of us failed to fortify against the storm. One of the strongest reasons why most of us "Failed" to excel against the oncoming storm was our "Rigid Mindset" developed over time due to the "Herd Mentality". We were so occupied by the "Fear Of Missing Out - FOMO" that we barely had any time to anticipate the evolution of the pattern in UPSC CS Prelims. Thanks to the every-year topper stories of "I solved 100 mock tests from various coaching" and the incessant publishing of "various modules" of test series by the coaching. A genuine fear of "Am i doing enough?" creeps up in the minds of the aspirants and as a result of which "mock tests" become such an integral part of the preparation from Jan/Feb. And when that happens, you'll never have to time to prepare anything by yourself. And if you don't prepare anything by yourself, you'll never have an edge over others in the competition. You'll just do what others do and you'll succumb as and when they succumb. Where and when will you find the time for the fundamentals, standard books and the analysis of PYQs? And if you don't have the analysis of the data from the past exams, then how can you be sure of the path on which you are walking? We are time and again, failing to understand that the one of the most important factors to excel in a highly competitive exam is the thorough "analysis" of past data and developing an individual/personal strategy (based on our strengths/weaknesses). That analysis was not just "reading solutions of PYQs" and "Making notes of keywords from the PYQs". It is much more than just that. PYQs give us a plethora of insights to build our strategies, and some of them are: Why are the questions framed the way they are?How can the questions be framed differently?What kind of steps should we systematically follow in different types (structures/skeletons) of questions to solve in less than 72 seconds per question.Is there a link between, How the questions are being framed, the number of such questions and the difficulty level of the question paper?How to identify the "structure/skeleton" of the questions where the questions seemingly come across as difficult but with the right approach, become the low-hanging fruits?Can the language used in the questions give us insights about the "context", "the intent of question-setter" and the kind of "knowledge/skill" that is being tested in the question? (Please note- The language here is not just words like "Only, All, None, Numbers, Names etc". These tricks and tips are just simple and plain quackery being peddled by inexperienced persons for exploiting the feeble/naive and to get commercial gains. These words cannot be generalized like those quacks do, but these words can perhaps give contextual insights into the questions and the minds of the question-paper setter, which hardly any such quack speaks about. Remember, there are no shortcuts to success.)This does not mean that elimination doesn't work. Please paste this statement on your study-table "Elimination & Reasoning are the only scientific ways of solving any MCQ. But, Elimination & Reasoning cannot be applied using superficial or generalized tricks, but by understanding the context of question, by using the pre-existing knowledge and by understanding the intent of the question setter. If you cannot learn elimination and reasoning/if you show rigidity towards this, then Prelims will never be your cup of tea".Can you train your mind with the structure/skeleton of the questions, so that you almost build a super-fast response to what needs to be done for a particular type of question? The PYQs act like a guiding light and PYQs are living proof of the evolution of the exam. These are ignored by the FOMO of mock tests and other irrelevant things. As a result of which, we will never be prepared for the dynamics of the prelims. If you sit down and spend time like days & weeks with PYQs, that you'll understand how complex and beautiful is the process behind this that it creates a level-playing field against those who can afford to take the coaching and those who cannot for some reason. There is a lot that goes into framing that question paper every year, which cannot be replicated by "mock tests set by a single human of a coaching institute". If you practice Elimination & Reasoning in mock tests, you'll just be ruining your mental wiring to deal with the real exam as the skill sets being tested in both type of exams are galaxies apart. Follow a middle path, mocks are needed, but not for building strategies for the real exam but to get going in the study mode and to finish your basic preparation. After that, it's just PYQs. It's a sin to solve mock tests instead of PYQs 2 to 3 months before the Prelims, you cannot be training your mind to play football when you need to play cricket in the real exam. There were few glaringly obvious things in the past prelims questions papers: The pattern of questions were changing and evolving.Since 2018, It was very clear that you needed skills that went beyond the horizon of your knowledge gained from standard books and reference materials. There were statements in the questions that you must have read for the first time and looked seemingly unsolvable, but those who could give a deeper look were able to link it with various things to arrive at answers. If you had to pass prelims from 2018, you needed more than just knowing answers to questions, it was indispensable to take risks to solve the unseen questions and arrive at the answers. Without this skill, it was almost impossible to clear prelims. And this year, it just got the status of a law. It is mandatory now.You need "Knowledge + Ability to apply that Knowledge + Ability to use Logical Reasoning" to solve MCQs in Prelims. UPSC wants people who work hard and think quick+smart, hard-work alone won't suffice. It must be vividly clear by now that you were lost in "mock tests" and "content terrorism of various compilation", whereas the exam needs "standard knowledge" and the "fine skills to apply that knowledge". Those who never spent time developing those skills, were the ones to bear the maximum brunt of the catastrophe. Therefore, the new strategy is not to add resources and join more courses, but to understand the path on which you need to walk to reach your destination. The cause has been addressed, let's now focus on what needs to be done from now. I'll share the Nine-Jewels or Navaratnas required for UPSC CS Prelims. Use these as your personal tools to carve out your destiny. They are: Building Fundamentals - One needs to be very thorough with concepts and facts. There's no escape from anything. You need to sit down and learn everything that you find difficult until you master them. Without this, there's no path. This is the first step to success.Vast Coverage for Vast Knowledge - This is simple - The more you read, the more you get a comparative advantage in the exam. More reading doesn't mean that you read things which are not relevant. One has to cover all the subjects (this one is for those lazy souls who skip ancient India, medieval India, art & culture etc. - if you keep doing this, you'll encounter darker days, my friend). After this, you also need to broaden your knowledge base through the Themes/Topics that are in the PYQs (There are hundreds of such themes). There are many themes that get repeated every year and are not covered in the standard books. Please don't rely on third-party compilations. Do you own hard-work and make things from scratch because that will help you remember things for a very long time.Once you have an edge in the Knowledge. We can move to the third Jewel, that is, "Application of Knowledge" - You need to practice solving unseen questions on unseen topics where you can apply your pre-existing knowledge. There are thousand of PYQs of UPSC, Practice on these and devise your own understanding of how to apply knowledge.Logical Reasoning - There will be questions where you will need to apply more than just knowledge. You will need to weed out things using Logical Reasoning. Again, practice this in PYQs.Elimination - You have to understand how this works. It's not just something is false and something is true, but deeper observation of the entire question, the language of the question and the way the question/options are framed.Probability - This is indispensable. If you don't understand how to use probability then you will never have a definite answer to "How many questions you need to attempt for different types of question paper". If you don't know how many questions to attempt, then you'll be always taking a blind attempt with Prelims. Your attempt would just be as good as gambling, being reduced to luck.Time Management - By quitting needless "mock tests" and useless "compilations", you can invest time in developing skills (as explained above) to be able to solve MCQs in less than 60 seconds. Because, remember you just have 72 seconds per question and you need time for other things like marking the answer on the question paper for your future reference and bubbling in the OMR sheet. You have to finish the paper 5 minutes before 11:30 am, there's no other way. You have to master doing this. Instant Ability to Adapt - If you have paid careful attention to what's mentioned above, then you'll find instant ways to adapt in the exam. Again, spend time with PYQs and think deeply when you spend time. (Will explain this on a future date with reference to the new types of question skeletons in Prelims 2023).Clarity & Calmness - If you have clarity over how the question paper is set every year and how the difficulty level is spread in different sections, then you'll be able to remain calm and think better. If not, you'll be reduced to ashes by a spell of just 5 unsolvable questions, sending you down the lane of spiraling panic attacks. And this clarity can only and only be obtained through PYQs. It will help you to understand how you need to tackle/approach the paper even if you are not able to solve 30 MCQs in a stretch, in the first instance. It's time to muster courage and find out what you need to do, instead of ending helpless in every attempt due to the FOMO and Herd Mentality. Do things on an individual level and don't pay heed to the distractions. Get clarity and walk the journey towards your success. I can explain more and make things really easy for you to understand, but that won't serve the purpose, because spoon feeding will never enable anyone to develop analytical skills that is required for this exam. You have the guidance in front of you, now it's time for you put in the hard-work and race ahead. It has never been a competition among equals.

Jun 29, 2023 Important

Please Note: The correct answers are highlighted in "Bold".The links to the original articles/resources are shared below each passage.Explanations, if necessary, are shared below the passage. We often hear about conflicts among different States in India over river waters. Of the 20 major river systems, 14 are already water-stressed; 76% of the population lives in water-stressed regions, a third of whom live in water-scarce areas. Climate change, the demands of rising population and the need for agriculture to keep pace, and increased rate of urbanization and industrialization will exacerbate water stress. According to the Constitution of India, water is a State subject and not that of the Union, except for regulation of inter-State rivers. Key to ensuring balance between competing demands of various stakeholders is a basin-based approach to allocate water amongst constituent regions and States. Allocating fair share of water to them requires assessments based on objective criteria, such as specificity of the river basin, size of dependent population, existing water use and demand, efficiency of use, projected future use, etc. while ensuring the environmental needs of the river and aquifers. 1.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most rational, practical and immediate action required to ensure fair and equitable allocation of water to different stakeholders? (A) A national, pragmatic, legal and policy framework for water allocation should be made. (B) All river systems of the country should be linked and huge aquifers created. (C) Water channels between regions of water surplus and regions of water deficit should be created. (D) To mitigate water crisis, water demand of sectors such as agriculture and industry should be reduced. Resource: More than half of Indian women and almost a quarter of Indian men of working age suffer from anaemia. According to studies, they are anywhere from 5 — 15% less productive than they could be, as a result thereof. India also has the largest tuberculosis burden in the world, costing 170 million workdays to the country annually. But what is just as important as lost productivity now is lost potential in the future. It is becoming increasingly clear that on many measures of cognitive ability, malnourished Indian children perform two or three times worse than their adequately nourished peers. For an economy that will be more dependent on highly skilled workers, this poses a significant challenge. And it is one that really should be addressed given India’s demographic outlook. 2.) Which one of the following statements best reflects what is implied by the passage? (A) Education system must be strengthened in rural areas. (B) Large scale and effective implementation of skill development programme is the need of the hour. (C) For economic development, health and nutrition of only skilled workers needs special attention. (D) For rapid economic growth as envisaged by us, attention should be paid to health and nutrition of the people. Resource: In India, a majority of farmers are marginal and small, less educated and possess low adaptive capabilities to climate change, perhaps because of credit and other constraints. So, one cannot expect autonomous adaptation to climate change. Even if it was possible, it would not be sufficient to offset losses from climate change. To deal with this, adaptation to climate change is paramount, alongside a fast mitigation response. Another solution is to have a planned or policy-driven adaptation, which would require the government to come up with policy recommendations. Perception is a necessary pre-requisite for adaptation. Whether farmers are adapting agricultural practices to climate change depends on whether they perceive it or not. However, this is not always enough for adaptation. It is important how a farmer perceives the risks associated with climate change. 3.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical and rational message conveyed by the author of the passage? (A) Adaptation to climate change and mitigation response are basically the responsibilities of the government. (B) Climate change causes a change in government policies regarding land use patterns in the country. (C) Risk perceptions of farmers important for motivating them taking adaptation decisions. (D) Since mitigation is not possible, governments should come up with policies for quick response to climate change. Resource: The emissions humans put into the atmosphere now will affect the climate in the middle of the century and onwards. Technological change, meanwhile, could make a future transition away from fossil fuels cheap or it might not, leaving the world with a terrible choice between sharply reducing emissions at huge cost or suffering through the effects of unabated warning. Businesses that do not hedge against the threat of uncertain outcomes fail. The world cannot afford such recklessness’s on climate change. 11.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the crucial message conveyed by the author of the passage? (A) Businesses that cause emissions may need to close down or pay for pollution in future (B) The only solution is technological development related to the issue of climate change (C) Waiting to deal with carbon emissions until technology improves is not a wise strategy (D) Since future technological change is uncertain, new industries should be based on renewable energy sources Resource: Environmental problems cause health problems. Sustainable changes in lifestyle can reduce environmental or health problems, but this idea appears almost impossible to adapt. With environmental or health problems, individual efforts can be perceived as having a negligible effect and therefore lead to inertia. With health, on the other hand, individual choices can make the difference between life and death, literally. And yet, barring a few, there seems to be the same collective lethargy towards making their choices. 12.) Which one of the following statements best implies the most rational assumptions that can be made from the passage? (A) We are likely to spend more money on cure than prevention (B) It is the job of the government to solve our environmental and public health problems (C) Heath can be protected even if environmental problems go on unattended (D) Loss of traditional lifestyle and the influence of western values led to some unhealthy ways of living. Resource: Most people are not eating the right food. For which, it is simply a decision to stick with food they enjoy but which is not too healthy. This is leading to increase in non-communicable diseases. This is turn leads to major burden on our health-care systems that have the potential to derail the economic progress which is essential for the poor to improve their lives. For others, it is about limited access to nutritious food or a lack of affordability, leading to monotonous diets that do not provide the daily nutrients for them to develop fully. Part of the reason nutrition is under threat worldwide is that our food systems are not properly responding to nutritional needs. Somewhere along that long from farm to fork, there are serious detours taking place. 13.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the crux of the passage? (A) The scheme of Universal Basic Income should be implemented worldwide as a way of poverty alleviation (B) We must place food-based nutrition at the center of our policy debate (C) Nutritional status of food should be improved by creating appropriate genetically modified crops (D) Using modern food processing technologies, we must fortify food items with required nutrient elements. Resource: To tackle the problem of pollution in cities, policy makers think that drastic actions like temporary use of odd-even number scheme for vehicles, closing schools, factories, construction activities, and banning the use of certain type of vehicles are a way forward. Even then the air is not clean. Vehicles more than 15 years old comprise one percent of the total; and taking them off the road will not make any difference. Banning certain fuels and car types arbitrarily is not proper. Diesel engines produce more PM 2.5 and less CO2 than petrol or CNG engines. On the other hand, both diesel and CNG engines produce more NO. than petrol engines. No one has measured the amount of NO. that CNG engines are emitting. Arbitrary bans on vehicles that have passed mandated fitness tests and periodic pollution tests are unfair. What is needed is the scientific and reliable information about the source of pollutants on a continuing basis and the technologies that will work to reduce pollution from them. 21.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical and rational implication conveyed by the passage? (A) Arbitrary curbs on vehicles to reduce pollution are difficult to implement. (B) Knee-jerk reactions cannot solve the problem of pollution but an evidence-based approach will be more effective. (C) A heavy penalty should be enforced on / those driving without periodic pollution tests. (D) In the absence of laws to deal with the problems of pollution, the administration tends to make arbitrary decisions. Resource: Good corporate governance structures encourage companies to provide accountability and control. A fundamental reason why corporate governance has moved onto the economic and political agenda worldwide has been the rapid growth in international capital markets. Effective corporate governance enhances access to external financing by firms, leading to greater investment, higher growth and employment. Investors look to place their funds where the standards of disclosure, of timely and accurate financial reporting, and of equal treatment to all stakeholders are met. 22.) Which of the following statements best reflects the logical inference from the passage given above? (A) It is an important agenda of the countries around the world to ensure access to good external financing. (B) Good corporate governance improves the credibility of the firms. (C) international capital markets ensure that the firms maintain good corporate governance. (D) Good corporate governance paves the way for robust supply chains. Resource: Elephants are landscape architects, creating clearings in the forest, preventing overgrowth of certain plant species and allowing space for the regeneration of others, which in turn Provide sustenance to other herbivorous animals. Elephants eat plants, fruits and seeds, propagating the seeds when they defecate in other places as they travel. Elephant dung provides nourishment to plants and animals and acts as a breeding ground for insects. In times of drought, they access water by digging holes which benefits other wildlife. 23.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical and rational inference that can be drawn from the passage? (A) The home range of elephants needs to be a vast area of rich biodiversity. (B) Elephants are the keystone species and they benefit the biodiversity. (C) Rich biodiversity cannot be maintained in the forests without the presence of elephants. (D) Elephants are capable of regenerating forests with species as per their requirement. Resource: In India, the segregation of municipal waste at source is rare. Recycling is mostly with the informal sector. More than three-fourths of the municipal budget goes into collection and transportation, which leaves very little for processing/resource recovery and disposal. Where does waste-to-energy fit into all this? Ideally it fits in the chain after segregation (between wet waste and the rest), collection, recycling, and before getting to the landfill. Which technology is most appropriate in converting waste to energy depends on what is in the waste (that is biodegradable versus non-biodegradable component) and its calorific value. The biodegradable component of India’s municipal solid waste is a little over 50 per cent, and biomethanation offers a major solution for processing this. 31.) Based on the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: Collection, processing and segregation of municipal waste should be with government agencies.Resource recovery and recycling require technological inputs that can be best handled by private sector enterprises. Which of the assumptions given above is/are correct? (A) 1 only (B) 2 only (C), Both 1 and 2 (D) Neither 1 nor 2 32.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the crux of the passage? (A) Generation of energy from municipal solid waste is inexpensive. (B) Biomethanation is the most ideal way of generating energy from municipal solid waste. (C) Segregation of municipal solid waste is the first step in ensuring the success of waste-to-energy plants. (D) The biodegradable component of India’s municipal solid waste is not adequate to provide energy from waste efficiently/effectively. Resource: There is a claim that organic farming is inherently safer and healthier. The reality is that because the organic fanning industry is still young and not well-regulated in India, farmers, and consumers, alike, are not only confused about what products are best for them, but sometimes use products in ways that could harm them as well. For example, since organic fertilizers are difficult to obtain on a large scale in India, farmers often use farmyard manure, which may contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Certain plant sprays, such as Datura flower and leaf spray, have an element called atropine. If it is not applied in the right dose, it can act on the nervous system of the consumer. Unfortunately, how much and when to use it are not well-researched or regulated issues. 33.) Based on the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: Organic farming is inherently unsafe for both farmers and consumers.Farmers and consumers need to be educated about eco-friendly food. Which of the assumptions given above is/are correct? (A) 1 only (B) 2 only (C) Both 1 and 2 (D) Neither 1 nor 2 34.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical, rational and practical message conveyed by the author of the passage? (A) In India, organic farming should not be promoted as a substitute for conventional farming. (B) There are no safe organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers. (C) In India, farmers need to be guided and helped to make their organic farming sustainable. (D) The aim of organic fanning should not be to generate huge profits as there is still no global market for its products. Resource: Food consumption patterns have changed substantially in India over the past few decades. This has resulted in the disappearance of many nutritious foods such as millets. While food grain production has increased over five times since independence, it has not sufficiently addressed the issue of malnutrition. For long, the agriculture sector focussed on increasing food production particularly staples, which led to lower production and consumption of indigenous traditional crops/grains, fruits and other vegetables, impacting food and nutrition security in the process. Further, intensive, monoculture agriculture practices can perpetuate the food and nutrition security problem by degrading the quality of land, water and food derived through them. 35.) Based on the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: To implement the Sustainable Development Goals and to achieve zero-hunger goal, monoculture agriculture practices are inevitable even if they do not address malnutrition.Dependence on a few crops has negative consequences for human health and the ecosystem.Government policies regarding food planning need to incorporate nutritional security.For the present monoculture agriculture practices, farmers receive subsidies in various ways and government offers remunerative prices for grains and therefore they do not tend to consider crop diversity. Which of the above assumptions are valid? (A) 1, 2 and 4 only (B) 2 and 3 only (C) 3 and 4 only (D) 1, 2, 3 and 4 Resource: The above link is available for hindu subscribers, sign up for a free trial to view the article. Scientists studied the vernal window —transition period from winter to the growing season. They found that warmer winters with less snow resulted in a longer lag time between spring events and a more protracted vernal window. This change in the spring timetable has ecological, social and economic consequences —for agriculture, fisheries and tourism. As the ice melts earlier, the birds don’t return, causing a delay, or lengthening in springtime ecological events. 41.) With reference to the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: Global warming is causing spring to come early and for longer durations.Early spring and longer period of spring is not good for birds populations. Which of the above assumptions is/are correct? (A) 1 only (B) 2 only (C) Both 1 and 2 (D) Neither 1 nor 2 Resource: Explanation: The content in the above link is speaking about "warmer winter and melting of snow" which is nothing but a consequence of global warming/climate change. Also, this paragraph from the above link almost similarly states what is given in the passage "With the first day of spring around the corner, temperatures are beginning to rise, ice is melting, and the world around us is starting to blossom. Scientists sometimes refer to this transition from winter to the growing season as the “vernal window,” and a new study led by the University of New Hampshire shows this window may be opening earlier and possibly for longer." Hence, statement 1 is correct. Also, have a look at this paragraph from the above link, "This type of changing timetable for spring may have potential ecological, social, and economic consequences that Contosta and her team are currently investigating. Agriculture, fisheries, and even outdoor recreation activities can be highly dependent on the timing of springtime climate conditions. A longer spring could mean a longer mud season requiring more road repairs and truck weight restrictions, a possible shift in the duration of the sugar maple season, or earlier lake thaw which might have implications with migratory birds. The ice melts earlier, but the birds may not have returned yet, causing a delay, or lengthening, in springtime ecological events." This indicates that Early and longer springs are not good for the birds. Also, Early spring season is known to cause disruption in the egg hatching cycles of the bird due to which bird populations are declining (you can find a lot of articles in the google about this). Hence, Statement 2 is also correct. There the correct answer is option C - Both 1 and 2. A global analysis of nitrogen use efficiency — a measure of the amount of nitrogen a plant takes in to grow versus what is left behind as pollution — says that using too much fertilizers will lead to increased pollution of waterways and the air. Currently, the global average for nitrogen use efficiency is approximately 0.4, meaning 40 % of the total nitrogen added to cropland goes into the harvested crop while 60 per cent is lost to the environment, says a study. More than half of the world’s population is nourished by food grown with fertilizers containing synthetic nitrogen, which is needed to produce high crop yields. Plants take the nitrogen they need to grow, and the excess is left in the ground, water and air. This results in significant emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse and ozone depleting gas, and other forms of nitrogen pollution, including eutrophication of lakes and rivers and contamination of river water. 42.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical, rational and crucial message implied by the passage? (A) An enhanced efficiency of use of nitrogen is imperative for both food production and environment. (B) Production of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers cannot be stopped as it will adversely affect global food security. (C) Alternatives to crops that require excess nitrogen should be identified and cultivated. (D) Conventional agriculture using synthetic fertilizers should be replaced with agroforestry, agroecosystems and organic farming. Resource: Along with sustainable lifestyles, climate justice is regarded as a significant principle in environmental parlance. Both the principles have bearings on political and economic choices of the nation. So far, in our climate change summits or compacts, both the principles have eluded consensus among nations. Justice, in the judicial sense, is well defined. However, in the context of climate change, it has scientific as well as socio-political connotations. The crucial question in the next few years will be how resources, technologies and regulations are used to support 3 the victims of climate change. Justice in climate is not confined to actions relating to mitigation, a but includes the wider notion of support for adaptation to climate change and compensation for loss and damage. 43.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical, rational and crucial message conveyed by the passage? (A) Climate justice should be ingrained in detail in the rules of all the new climate compacts/agreements. (B) Environmental resources are unevenly distributed and exploited across the globe. (C) There is an impending issue of dealing with a huge number of climate change victims/climate refugees. (D) Climate change in all its connotations is mostly due to developed countries and therefore their share of burden should be more. Resource: Sourcing food from non-agricultural lands (uncultivated systems such as forests, wetlands, pastures, etc.) in addition to agricultural lands enables a systemic approach to food consumption. It allows rural and tribal communities to sustain themselves for the whole year and steer clear of natural disasters and season-induced shortfalls of agricultural food. Since the productivity of trees is often more resilient to adverse weather conditions than annual crops, forest foods often provide a safety net during periods of food shortages caused by crop failure; forest foods also make important contributions during seasonal crop production gaps. 51.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical and rational message conveyed by the author of the passage? (A) Food yielding trees should replace other trees in rural and tribal areas and community owned lands. (B) Food security cannot be ensured in India with the present practice of conventional agriculture. (C) Wastelands and degraded areas in India should be converted into agroforestry systems to help the poor. (D) Agroecosystems should be developed in addition-tom along with conventional agriculture. Resource: While awareness on use/misuse and abuse of antibiotics is common knowledge, as is the impact of dosing poultry with antibiotics, the environmental impact of antibiotics-manufacturing companies not treating their waste has scarcely been discussed at any length or seriousness thus far. Pollution from antibiotics factories is fueling the rise of drug-resistant infections. The occurrence of drug-resistant bacteria surrounding the pharma manufacturing plants is well known. 52.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical and practical message conveyed by the passage? (A) It is necessary to put proper effluent treatment protocols in place. (B) It is necessary to promote environmental awareness among people. (C) Spread of drug-resistant bacteria cannot be done away with, as it is inherent in modern medical care. (D) Pharma-manufacturing companies should be set up in remote rural areas, away from crowded towns and cities. Resource: Benefits of good quality school education accrue only when students complete and leave school after having acquired the gateway skills. Like one learns to walk before running, similarly one picks up advanced skills only after picking the basic foundational skills. The advent of the knowledge economy poses new challenges, and one of the severe consequences of having an uneducated workforce will be our inability to keep pace with the global economy. Without a strong learning foundation at the primary level, there can be no improvement in higher education or skill development. 53.) Which one of the fallowing statements best reflects the crux of the passage? (A) To become a global power, India needs to invest in universal quality education. (B) India is unable to become a global power because it is not focussing or promoting knowledge economy. (C) Our education system should focus more on imparting skills during higher education. (D) Parents of many school children are illiterate and are unaware of the benefits of quality education. Resource: The paradox of choice is illustrated by the story of Buridan’s ass. Jean Buridan, the 14th century philosopher wrote about free will and the inability to choose due to numerous choices and uncertainties. In the story, a donkey stands between two equally appealing stacks of hay. Unable to decide which to eat, it starves to death. Changes in technology and innovations such as smart phones and tablets only exacerbate our glut of choices. Constant connectivity and overconsumption of real-time data and social media can leave little room for self-reflection and rest, making decisions more difficult. Life is about choices. Many people are overwhelmed with attractive life choices, yet find themselves unhappy and anxious. 61.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most logical message implied by the above passage? (A) Modern technology enfeebles societal structure and makes life difficult. (B) Modern life is full of uncertainties and endless difficult choices. (C) We are influenced by the opinion of others and have no courage to follow our own convictions. (D) In our lives, having too few choices may not be a good thing, but having too many can be equally as difficult. Resource: Household finance in India Is unique. We have a tendency to invest heavily in physical assets such as gold and property. Steps to encourage the financialization of savings are critical. A populace accustomed to traditional processes will not simply jump into financialization. Hurdles to change include onerous bureaucracy, a scepticism of organized financial institutions, a lack of basic information about which of the myriad services and providers is best for each family, and how (and even if) one can make the transition between them if necessary. 62.) Regarding the financialization of household savings, which of the following statements best reflect the solutions that are implied by the passage? A flexible environment is needed to develop solutions.Households need customized solutions.Innovations in financial technology are required. Select the correct answer using the codes given below. (A) 1 and 2 only (B) 2 and 3 only (C) 1 and 3 only (D) 1, 2 and 3 Resource: Pharmaceutical patents grant protection to the patentee for the duration of the patent term. The patentees enjoy the liberty to determine the prices of medicines, which is time-limited to the period of monopoly, but could be unaffordable to the public. Such patent protection offered to the patentees is believed to benefit the public over the longer term through innovations and research and development (R&D;), although it comes at a cost, in the nature of higher prices for the patented medicine. The patent regime and price protection — through a legally validated high price for the medicine during the currency of the patent — provide the patentee with a legitimate mechanism to get returns on the costs incurred in innovation and research. 63.) Based on the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: Patent protection given to patentees puts a huge burden on public’s purchasing power in accessing patented medicines.Dependence on other countries for pharmaceutical products is a huge burden for developing and poor countries.Providing medicines to the public at affordable prices is a key goal during the public health policy design in many countries.Governments need to find an appropriate balance between the rights of patentees and the requirements of the patients. Which of the above assumptions are valid? (A) 1 and 2 (B) 1 and 4 (C) 3 and 4 (D) 2 and 3 Resource: India should ensure the growth of the digital economy while keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected. No one will innovate in a surveillance-oriented environment or in a place where an individual’s personal information is compromised. The ultimate control of data must aside with the individuals who generate it; they should be enabled to use, restrict or monetise it as they wish. Therefore, data protection laws Mould enable the right kind of innovation — one that is user-centric and privacy protecting. 64.) Based on the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: Protection of privacy is not just a right, but it has value to the economy.There is a fundamental link between privacy and innovation. Which of the above assumptions is/are valid? (A) 1 only (B) 2 only (C) Both 1 and 2 (D) Neither 1 nor 2 Resource: In India, while the unemployment rate is a frequently used measure of poor performance of the economy, under conditions of rising school and college enrolment, it paints an inaccurate picture. The reported unemployment rate is dominated by the experience of younger Indians who face higher employment challenges and exhibit greater willingness to wait for the right job than their older peers. The unemployment challenge is greater for people with secondary or higher education, and rising education levels inflate unemployment challenges. 71.) Which one of the following statements most likely reflects as to what the author of the passage intends to say? (A) Enrollment in schools and colleges is high but there is no quality education. (B) Unemployment must be seen as a function of rising education and aspirations of young Indians. (C) There are no labor-intensive industries to accommodate the huge number of unemployed people. (D) The education system should be properly designed so as to enable the educated people to be self-employed. Resource: “Science by itself is not enough, there must be a force and discipline outside the sciences to coordinate them and point to a goal. It is not possible to run a course aright when the goal itself has not been rightly placed. What science needs is philosophy – the analysis of scientific method and the coordination of scientific purposes and results; without this, any science must be superficial. Government suffers, precisely like science, for lack of philosophy. Philosophy bears to science the same relationship which statesmanship bears to politics: movement guided by total knowledge and perspective, as against aimless and individual seeking. Just as the pursuit of knowledge becomes scholasticism when divorced from the actual needs of men and life, so the pursuit of politics becomes a destructive bedlam when divorced from science and philosophy.” 72.) Which one of the following statements best reflects the most rational, logical and practical message conveyed by the passage? (A) Modern statesmen need to be well trained in scientific methods and philosophical thinking to enable them to have a better perspective of their roles, responsibilities and goals. (B) It is not desirable to have Governments managed by empirical statesmen unless well mixed with others who are grounded in learning and reflect wisdom. (C) As the statesmen/bureaucrats are the products of a society, it is desirable to have a system of education in a society that focuses on training its citizens in scientific method and philosophical thinking from a very early age. (D) It is desirable that all scientists need to be philosophers as well to make their work goal-oriented and thus purposeful and useful to the society. Resource (Search "empiric statesmen" in this link) : “The last end of the state is not to dominate men, nor to restrain them by fear; rather it is so to free each man from fear that he may live and act with full security and without injury to himself or his neighbour. The end of the state, I repeat, is not to make rational beings into brute beasts and machines. It is to enable their bodies and their minds to function safely. It is to lead men to live by, and to exercise, a free reason; that they may not waste their strength in hatred, anger and guile, nor act unfairly toward one another.” 73.) Based on the above passage, which one of the following terms best expresses the ultimate goal of the state? (A) Personal safety (B) Health of body and mind (C) Communal harmony (D) LibertyResource:

Jun 29, 2023 Exam Strategy

I tend to write something every-time someone brings up a question to me. I was having a discussion with one of our co-aspirants and he was naturally facing the standard question which we all have at one point of time in our preparation. "Will i make it?" And fortunately, I had one more similar conversation just an hour after, with another co-aspirant. The problem was similar and that's when it occurred to me that this thing needs to be addressed to a wider audience. I have started to believe that most of us do not have clear answers and a clear plan for this exam. Some of us take multiple attempts just to find answers to these questions. I feel that if people start to get clarity about the needs of this exam, they will be equipped in a much better way to handle all the stress associated with this process, especially the newcomers/freshers. I humbly apologize in advance because the write-up is going to be a bit longer. Now, the most important question. What exactly is a plan? Is It just following a certain schedule and chasing some targets? That's what most of us think. No, it's much more than that. A plan is something which has definite answers to all the questions that may arise during the execution of your objectives. By now, alarm bells must have started to ring in your minds. Do you have answers to all the questions that is related to the preparation for this exam? Be honest, do you have answers to all of them and can you clearly justify your answers? Before i begin to address the above question, I would like to say that I am going to post a standard set of questions with no answers. It's because everyone has different answers to these questions. I would want people to read these questions, introspect deeply and then arrive at solutions. Read the following questions, think about them, think logically and see if you can justify your line of thinking with facts. Once you arrive at an answer, note it down in your book. This note book will help you deal with most of the problems that you may face during the preparation for this exam. Do you have a definite plan to clear UPSC CS Prelims? Answer these and you shall know. What is your book-list?Is your book-list finite?What are the reasons behind choosing those books? Can you justify your decision with any data?How do you plan to study these books? In how many days? Do you have any tools to track your progress?How are you going to revise these books? Do you plan to make notes or highlight them?What will you highlight? What are the things that need to be in the notes and what are the things that need to be omitted from the notes?How many revisions do you require and How many revisions can you do?Do you plan to join any test series? If yes, what is the reason? How is it going to benefit you? Do you have a definite answer to this? What are the parameters that you look to improve through the test series? | If No, what is the reason to not join any test series? How is it going to benefit you? Do you have a definite answer to this?Do you plan to solve previous year papers of UPSC Prelims? If yes, what is the reason? How will it benefit you? What are your objectives when you do this? What are the parameters through which you will measure your improvement?Do you have a definite plan for current affairs?Do you need to read newspapers everyday? Should you just read the editorials or the entire newspaper? Should you read one or multiple newspapers?Which current affairs magazine should you read? Just one or multiple?When you see the previous year prelims papers, do you seen any trends in them?Do you know how MCQs are solved?What is this "Elimination technique/Intelligent guessing/Calculated risk" that everyone talks about? Do you have your own clear idea about this or is it just accumulated from different YouTube videos or popular blogs? Are there any pre-requisites to use these techniques?How many questions do you need to attempt in exam? How many do you need to attempt if the paper is of 2016 difficulty level and how many if the paper is of 2018 difficulty level?Can you apply the elimination technique in selected questions and leave out the rest? Any definite answer to this?How do i know that my preparation for prelims is up to the mark? How is measure it in tangible parameters? Is test series score a good enough parameter or are there more parameters?Irrespective of the difficulty level of the exam, How do I make sure that I pass the exam? Do you have a definite plan to pass UPSC CS Mains? When should I start preparing for mains?Should the preparation for prelims and mains be done in an integrated manner? How do I make sure I complete the preparation in time? Do i have a specific list of resources? Do i need to make notes? Should i read Yojana and Kurukshetra?Which optional should i choose?Should i change my optional if i am not scoring good?Is there any truth about some optionals being highly scoring?When should I begin answer writing?Should I write answers everyday?Why should i do answer writing? What are the parameters through which I am going to measure my improvement?Should I join a test series? How will it benefit? What are the parameters which will improve upon joining a test series?Do you need a mentor or peer to periodically give you inputs about your answer writing? What are your reasons for Yes or No?How do you make sure you score high in Essay? What is your approach? What is your strategy? What are the kind of essays that suit your style of writing? what are the different ways in which essays can be written?How do you make sure you score above average marks in GS 1,2 and 3 papers? Do you need to attempt all 20 questions? What matters the most? Content or quantity or both?Should i structure the answers differently for different type of questions or should i just have a standard structure for all the questions? Flowcharts, diagrams, point-wise answers, should i incorporate them? If yes, How do you justify it?How do i solve case studies in Ethics paper? Should I be Practical or Ideal? Should i have a standard way of solving or be creative in every case study? How do you plan to increase your score if you have scored low in your previous attempt?Which pen should i use for mains? What should i do if my handwriting is bad? What should i do if my writing speed is bad? Do you have a definite plan to pass the personality test? When should I start preparing for it? Should I wait till the mains result is published?How do i begin my preparation? What should i do first? Civil Services Syllabus or DAF? Should i make notes?Do i need to study the whole syllabus of civil services?Do i need to study my graduation or post graduation subjects?How i prepare for DAF? Are there any specific things to do?When should i start attending mock interviews? How many of them should i attend? Should I take the feedback seriously?What should I wear for the interview?Should i choose English or my mother tongue as the medium of communication?Should i give practical or ideal answers?How do i answer questions like "If you are the DM".Do i need to have a clear opinion on all current issues or can i be neutral?Is it okay if I don't answer questions? Should i guess answers even if i don't know anything about them?Should i smile or have a serious expression during the interview?How should i calm myself down if i start to panic during the interview? Do you have a definite plan to manage your preparation? How will i manage my routine if i am a full time aspirant? How will i avoid procrastination?How will i manage my routine if i am a working aspirant? How will i avoid fatigue?Do i need to join classroom coaching? How will it benefit me? Will i have time to study after classroom sessions?How do i manage my health and fitness?How do i make sure i stay motivated everyday? How do i get my best everyday? How do make sure i am working at my optimum efficiency?(Most important question)Can i take a break on weekends and hangout with friends?Should i just stay at home and not attend any social gatherings?Do i need to be in Delhi?How do i manage my finances during the preparation?How do i plan to overcome hurdles or failures?How do i not get affected by personal issues?Do i need to follow the strategies of toppers or make my own strategy?How do i make sure i don't get distracted or frustrated? is there a plan?Should i continue to prepare after a few attempts or take up a job and then continue to prepare along with the job? It may take a few days or even weeks to find proper answers to these questions but make sure you find the answer to each one of them. If possible, do share your answers in this thread so that others can get benefited from your thoughts. Also, you can always come back and look at this thread and compare your answers with other answers, so that you will know what works for the most and what does not. Thank you for reading. Wish you all a super productive day ahead!