IAS Exam Analysis 2016

IAS Exam Analysis 2016

IAS Exam Analysis 2016 for General Studies Paper 1

IAS Exam Analysis 2016

The Civil Services Preliminary Exam was held on August 7, 2016. More than 5 Lakh aspirants appeared for it.

The preliminary examination consisted of objective type (multiple choice questions). Each paper was of 200 marks, carrying a total of 400 marks. The question papers were set both in Hindi and English. The blind candidates were permitted extra time of 20 minutes for each paper.

IAS Exam Analysis 2016

Difficulty Level

Moderate to Difficult


Highest Weightage

Current Affairs

Lowest Weightage

Basic Science

Biggest Surprise

Increase in the number of technology questions

Biggest Shocker

Extremely low weightage of Geography


High weightage of environment based questions

Subject Wise Weightage

Note: The maximum weightage this year was on current affairs which were very diligently interrelated with various subjects of general studies. Also, many questions were asked in such a way that they encompassed more than one subject. Both these factors have been taken into consideration below for IAS Exam analysis 2016.

Current Affairs


18 questions were based on  international current affairs

15 were based on national current affairs



9 questions were on government schemes

9 questions were on organisations















Key Points 

 Here are some key points to note about IAS Exam Analysis 2016

  • The weightage of Environment questions continues to be on the rise.
  • The weightage of Art & Culture questions continues to be on the decline.
  • The weightage of Technology has increased this year. This comes as a surprise.
  • The weightage of schemes has drastically increased.
  • The weightage of national and global organisations has increased.
  • The weightage of Economy has increased.
  • Laxmikanth suffices for Indian Polity
  • History was bulky in the paper (15 questions). This is good coz’ an aspirant who attempts less questions in environment will compensate here.
  • Economy was a surprise as far as world economy was concerned. An aspirant who religiously followed the hindu with a special emphasis on Paul Krugman’s editorials would have nailed the questions here.
  • GK was a surprise too. As many as 18 questions were set, out of which 9 were on Organisations alone. Most aspirants must have answered them.
  • Skipping the Hindu will cost you immensely
  • Excellent knowledge of Current Affairs (with a special focus on the world and their inter relation with various subjects under general studies) is expected.

Cutoff 2016

IAS Cutoff varies each year.

It depends on the number of vacancies, the number of candidates who appear for the exam and the difficulty level of the paper.

Even though it is early to predict, you should expect it to be more for this year i.e. 2016. The number of aspirants have increased this year.

The cutoff for this year’s prelims should be –

Between 110-115 (general category)

Between 107-110(OBC)

Between 95-107(SC)

Between 90-95(ST)

IAS Cutoff 2015

In Civil Services Exam 2015 the minimum qualifying standards (marks) secured by the last recommended candidate in various categories at various stages are as under :

Exam General OBC SC ST PH-1 PH-2 PH-3 Maximum Marks
CS (Prelim)* 107.34 106.00 94.00 91.34 90.66 76.66 40.00 200
CS (Main)# 676 630 622 617 580 627 504 1750
CS(Final) 877 834 810 801 802 830 697 2025

Subject to 10% marks in each of the seven competitive papers i.e. Essay, GS‐I, GS‐II, GS‐III, GS‐IV, Optional‐I and Optional‐II.

In 2015, about 4.65 lakh aspirants appeared for the preliminary examination which was an increase from 4.51 lakh candidates who took the test in 2014.

IAS Cutoff 2014

The minimum qualifying marks for various communities at various stages are as under:-

Exam General OBC SC ST PH-1 PH-2 PH-3 Maximum Marks
CS (Prelim)* 205 204 182 174 167 113 115 385
CS (Main)# 678 631 631 619 609 575 449 1750
CS(Final) 889 844 830 811 816 778 713 2025

*Subject to minimum of 40 marks in Paper-I and 70 marks in Paper-II

#Subject to 10% marks in each of the seven competitive papers i.e. Essay, GS-I, GS-II, GS-III, GS-IV, Optional-I and Optional-II.

Answer Key

Download (PDF, 65KB)

Now that the prelims is over, take a week off and give your mind some peace. After that get back to studies and start preparing for Mains with all your earnestness.

All the very best 🙂

In case you have any doubts relating to any question of CSE Prelims 2016 or relating to any aspect of the exam, feel free to post it in the comments section below and I’ll solve it for you.

Suggested Reading

— > Complete Syllabus for Civil Services Mains

–> Civil Services Mains Preparation Strategy

–> Most Scoring Optional for Civil Services Mains

–> Most Popular Optionals for Civil Services Mains


  • himu

    nice analysis

    • Thank you.

      • Rohit


        • Rohit

          Mam I am getting 110 and I m under obc category .what r the chances for me

  • Anil Hedge

    Geography was a shocker yes. Such less questions.

    • Yes it was. Considering the amount of time one spends preparing it.

  • Aditi Rane

    The most sensible analysis I’ve read till now. Can you please put up the answer key as well ?

    • Thank you.
      The key will be put up in a day or two.

  • Nahid

    How can we predict that this que is in the paper or nt ? Plz tell me nd also hw we eliminate the unnecessary topics from our study ….

    • I’m sorry I didn’t quite get the first part of your question.
      As far as eliminating topics is concerned, the thing is that UPSC makes the question papers so unpredictable that selective study is not recommended. But what can be done is prioritising certain topics over others (this will help in Mains as well). Completing eliminating topics will prove disastrous for an aspirant.

  • The Alchemist

    Is it possible to prepare for civil service exam 2017 along with bank exam if starting preparation now? And what should be the strategy. I m giving bank xam frm 2 yr but no job plzz guide should I focus only on bank exam and rbi grade B in future or bank and upsc is possible. I m reading IE instead of Hindu is it ok

    • See preparation for Civil Services Exam is so vast that any aspirant who earnestly prepares for it will have quite a good chance of clearing any other exam, be it Bank PO, RBI Grade B, SSC CGL etc. So yes, UPSC preparation is possible along with other exams.

      Strategy :-
      Begin with general studies with a damn good focus on current affairs. Make notes and connect topics with current affairs. It’ll help you immensely in both the prelims as well as mains examination. To build a good foundation in general studies, start with NCERT books and gradually move on to other reference books.

      Indian express is a good newspaper but for Civil Services, Hindu cannot be left out. Just can’t. Start reading the hindu too. It’s important.

      All the best.

      • The Alchemist

        Thank u mam

  • Kirti

    The paper was difficult than last year . Will UPSC reduce the cutoff ?

    • No Kirti I don’t think so. On the contrary it might increase this year because of the increased number of aspirants who appeared for the exam this year.

      • Sumit Jakhad

        your every sentence is contradictory if aper was hard then how merit will go high

  • Anurag Verma

    at any case cutoff will not be high ths year. The paper was comparatively tough. It will be 100 (+-5).

    • It was surely tough than last year. But UPSC is never known to reduce cutoffs. Also, the number of aspirants who gave the exam was more than last year so I’m putting my stakes between 110-115.

      • Anurag Verma

        lets see.. 🙂

      • Sumit Jakhad

        i m not saying cut off will be low but correct your fact 2012 cut off wa 209 in 2013 cut off was 241 and in 2014 cut off was only 205

        • I get your point but the thing is that the minimum qualifying marks in 2013 were higher than 2014 because the vacancies were higher too. Also the paper was easier. This year UPSC will fill up 1079 vacancies which is less than last year (Last year vacancies were 1129).

          So keeping 3 considerations in mind (more aspirants, less vacancies, level of the paper), I presume the cutoff for general category to be between 110-115.

          Lets see what marks UPSC decides this year.

          • Sumit Jakhad

            aspirants were less than last year you do not any fact

          • I just have one question for you. Your answer will save a lot of aspirants a lot of trouble here.

            Have you ever qualified any stage of the Civil Services Exam ?

            If no, i don’t think i should reply back because I’ll understand that you’re here to just pinpoint mistakes and criticize individuals.
            If yes, i insist invest time in studying and not pointing typos in the replies of others especially when you make them yourself.

            In either case, i wish you my best. Try qualifying the exam. Then your words will mean a lot more.

          • Sumit Jakhad

            you means no one should dare to raise finger on your mistakes, even if you provide wrong information

          • nitin ias

            cut off will be low sumit .i am sure this year i am preparing fr last 5 years and was my 5 attempt and i gave 2 mains .my score in gs 2013 was 118 marks last year 108 marks .this year i am getting 90 marks so just think .how can people predict cut off 110+ ? not possible in any case .those saying paper was easy current based true bt one should not forget that there was a trap those who marked one liner current like a or b or c or d they also might have marked statment based current too .where upsc.kept trap for them . i am.sure so many are goin to die there . so those saying they attempted 90 questions or 80 question there goin to get prize in the form.of negative marking …

          • Sumit Jakhad

            it is not about cut off that i m saying it is about attitude of admin no one can predict 4 lacs students average marks, everyone have logic for their predictions if i say cut off will be lower this year i will say last year 2011 students were given extra chance and paper was too easy comparing this year and if i say merit will go high i will say UPSC never down its merit paper was not tough but untraditional

          • Sumit Jakhad

            how dare yiu to tell your predictions, do you think admin is foolish, ask her what will be cut off, no one can dare to criticise her she is always right

          • Sumit Jakhad

            yes i appeared this year and i m getting 136 because of my brother guidance because he say notice every point otherwise you will lose exam and you can block me i do not care

          • Sumit Jakhad

            when early predicted vacancy were less then 1000, 1129 were selected in last and do you really think paper was easy than last year ?

      • Sumit Jakhad

        according to you merit go high every year in this way merit should go to 400 upsc is taking exam too many years, merit does not depend on last year merit or aspirant sit in the exam but questions asked in the exam improve your logic honey

  • Saurabh

    Getting 112 in general, what are the chances?

    • I feel you should be in at 112.

  • Vivek Waghmare

    Hi…guys..can anybody plz suggest me what to do now after prelims…it was shocking ..very less questions on core subjects..most of the questions were current affairs reated…by mistakenly i have marked 3questions wrongly even after knowing the answer ..i m getting only 90 marks ..i m in category (sc)…can i hope something…

    • A lot of students waste time after the prelims in waiting for the result. This is not recommended. Take a week off and then get back to preparation for Mains. If you make it once the results are announced, you’re preparation will be good for Mains. If you don’t make it, even then the preparation will help you immensely for next year’s attempt. Either way it’ll help you.

      As for the paper this time, yes current affairs was a major chunk, not in seclusion though. The questions that were asked from Current Affairs were interrelated with the GS syllabus.

      Lastly about marks. See with 90 it will be a little tough. But don’t lose hope. Maybe the cutoff or SC category gets reduced this time. We’ll have to wait and watch.

      • Vivek Waghmare

        Thank u mam…
        What u think about comparitive anaysis of previous years patterns and cutoffs with this years ..
        What can be predicted.

  • jai

    I am scoring 103-105 (Gen) what are my chances ?? Should go for mains preparation??

  • jai

    I am scoring 103-105 (Gen) what are my chances ?? Should go for mains preparation?? Upsc always throws surprises what if it reduces cut off this time. Exam analysis is great.

    • Thanks man.

      See at 103-105, it might be a close call. But don’t lose hope. let’s see 🙂

      As for preparation, you should get back to preparing Mains anyways. If you make it, your preparation will be half way. If not, your preparation will help you crack it next time. But in any case DO NOT stop preparation.

      All the best 🙂

  • Sudha

    I have got 28.98 in paper 1
    And 88.56 in paper 2
    Total 117.54
    I’m from SC category
    Should I start preparing for mains?

  • parag mahilane

    I am scoring 96-98 (Sc) what are my chances ? Should go for mains preparation?

    • I think you’ll be in. Yes go for Mains preparation.

      • parag mahilane

        Thank you so much mam..

        • No problem. All the best.

  • Chelsea

    scoring 96-98 (OBC) is there any chance ?

    • I don’t think so, the cut off for OBC will go less than 105 . But don’t worry. Keep preparing for other exams as well.

  • Shivam Gupta

    Hi iam getting 113-116 (gen)… What are the chances…should i start preparing for mains?

    • Absolutely you should. There is a very good chance that you will qualify the prelims 🙂

      • Shivam Gupta

        Thanks akriti..

  • Lucky

    Mam i feel that this year exam was easier than the previous, could there be any chances that it might go above 120-125 , coz i found a blog where they were claiming it to be in dis range…

    • No buddy. I really don’t think so. If we assume that UPSC decides to be lenient in the cutoff it still won’t be more than 115.

      • Lucky

        Thanx mam for sparing ur precious time for aspirants like us..
        Ur analysis is damn correct and logical…
        Mam i want ur guidance for the mains too, there are lots of query..

  • Vasu

    My two cents : As far as I can tell cut off may remain more or less the same as last year(General in and around-107, Obc-106, SC- 94–96, ST-90).Reasons for such a prediction are as follows:

    Category-1 Type Questions:These are those questions which any serious aspirant would have done correct despite the fact that they were from current affairs. To take few examples-Mudra yojana, Uday Bonds, Project loon, Sovereign gold bond Scheme, ASEAN question, Digi-locker, Amber -blue-green box, community in the news,mission indradhanush, ease of doing business, trans-pacific etc… So in and around 11–13 questions from current affairs were too direct and simple with no detailed information being asked so. These are those questions which are not going to create any difference as majority would have got them correct.

    Category-2 Type Questions- These are such questions which a lot of students have read in C.A. and if they would have read carefully they would have got them correct.Eg- UNFCCC, UN-REDD+, NDB, NIMZ, Swayam, Gulf cooperation council, Belt and road intiative, Atal Pension Yojana, international Solar alliance, river linking, Air quality Index, Astrosat, magalyan, SDG, Li-fi ,the man who knew infinity etc. So in and around 16–18 such questions would be there. These questions would still not make any difference because still there would remain a lot of candidates who would have got them correct.

    Category-3 Type questions- These are static questions but simple for the serious aspirants to get them wrong. Satya Shodhak Samaj, NDB, Surat Spit, Sir Stafford Crips, minimum age for panchayat , lapse of bill, INDC, Capital Budget, Banjaras , state list , Brahmaputra etc. So in and around 10 such questions. Again they are not going to make any crucial difference.

    Category-4 Type Questions- These are determinant factors. Many people would have gone through them in the newspaper and many would not. Ex- Gadgil committee report,Bit-coins, river basin, Experimental reactor,Stability mech, drip irrigation, State- Butterfly, Global hunger Index, masala bonds, fasal beema yojana etc. Again in and around 10–14 questions.

    Category-5 Type Questions- Apart from the 55 or so questions enumerated in the above categories , Every candidate has got a field of interest and based on which she gets 3–5 questions correct. Now you may find these interest based question in exam or you may not. Now that would of-course play the role whether you have crossed the line or not.

    Category-6 Type Questions- Applying intelligent guessing, flukes based on elimination . Believe me these are the most dangerous questions because they contribute heavily to negative marking and those who become a victim of it are the border-line cases. Many get them correct as well, it all depends on your luck.

    Apart from the above analysis , I would say ease of material access to a number of aspirants, a marginal increase in the number of serious aspirants every year, rising unemployment in the core sector( leading to the rush of IITians and NITians towards upsc-civil services…just kidding) in general outweigh the increase in the difficulty level of the examination. Last but not the least every year there erupts a gamble market of speculation for the cut-off , every year each aspirant tries to adjust the cut-off to his/her expected marks ( I do not blame them for this), after all hope is the only constant that aspirants have every year. I wish all the best to those who are sure who will make through and to those who would not – do not lose your heart, keep the spirit high.

    P.S.- This is my personal analysis. Each aspirant has got his or her own analysis . You may or may not agree with the above analysis.

    • I appreciate you investing time in writing this logically compiled explanation and putting questions in separate categories. Also for advising aspirants to not lose hope. Personally, I wish you my best too 🙂

      • Vasu

        Thank you.

    • Sumit Jakhad

      but u did not tell conclusion of your analysis what you want to say

      • Vasu

        My friend, the conclusion is that there would exist many candidates who would ( or would be near) get 60 or so questions correct. If you leave the margin of 3-4 questions , they might hover around 110 or so. All I am saying is that there is a lot of hype that the paper was unconventional but there were lot of unconventional questions which were quite easy viz a viz the conventional paper which the students were anticipating. Do you think it is more difficult to answer questions like uday bond, project loonC, UNFCC etc. as compared to arranging some random hills in a particular order or matching a grassland with some location. Yes, the paper deviates from conventional trend but I do not think so it would count much. Again-only my personal opinion.

  • prithvi1029

    Iam getting 106 nd I blong to obc.what r d chances

    • Ayesha

      Could you Please tell me how the marks is going to calculate… Is it only paper 1 or Paper 1 + Paper 2 marks

      • Sumit Jakhad

        only paper 1

  • Ayesha

    Could you Please tell me how the marks is going to calculate… Is it Paper 1 + Paper 2 marks

    • The marks of Paper 1 will be counted for merit i.e to proceed to the next level. The marks of Paper 2 are not counted but you have to score a minimum of 70 marks to qualify.

      • Sumit Jakhad

        66 not 70 do u know anything about exam ?

        • I qualified the paper in 2014 (which also happens to be my maiden attempt) so sure I do know about the exam. Hence the analysis above. I’m one of those people who left the UPSC interview to take up way better opportunities so next time you pass a judgement, think ten times.

          Also, comment here only if you actually want to solve queries of aspirants. Mere passing time and flaunting a ‘know it all’ attitude will not be tolerated here. If I see any misinformation from your side now, I’ll have to block you because I will not allow any individual to create an atmosphere of negativity here. After all, its the dedicated and sincere aspirants I care about here and not people who have a lot of free time to spare. Period.

          • Sumit Jakhad

            you are behaving just like a god, you are telling everyone who will get qualified or not. My attitude is never like know all that is yours. you can block me i do not care

          • Actually it isn’t but sure you won’t agree.
            Not replying to you after this.
            Have a productive day.

          • Anil Vats

            She’s qualified the exam so she can tell anybody. What about you ? Which exam have you qualified ? Bevkufi ka exam

          • Sumit Jakhad

            Tere jaise chutiye har jagah ladki impress krne ki sochte hain chahe unhe uski kitni sahi ko galat bolna aaye or tu to galat thik ke baare me kuchh janta hi nhi negative me aayenge

    • Anil Vats

      Paper two will not be added to the final merit.

  • Sanchita

    Hi..I am getting 118 marks (both the papers combined- general category) ? Are there any chances of clearing the prelims paper?

    • Sanchita the marks of paper 2 are not counted. You just need 66 marks in that paper. You’ll have to tell me your marks in paper 1.

      • Sumit Jakhad

        66 not 70 correct your fact are your there to guide or misguide

        • Anil Vats

          Abbe kya likha jara hai Foolish admi

  • Sumit Jakhad

    many guy are misguiding, many who predict about cut off even do not know about exam level, in 2014 expected cut off was 230 but official cut off was only 206 last year expected cut off was 120 but official cut off was only 107 so guys do not care about that idle guys just focus on your study every year new predictor come to predict student future you will notice no old predictor will be there, also coaching institute escape such prediction because everyone know it is not easy they do not want to be wrong again again and again

    • Predictions may be wrong but analysis isn’t. Also, the top coaching institutes, ex bureaucrats and successful ex aspirants like me try our best to not misguide students. So to say that all predictions are far from real is an understatement. As for the final cutoff ,nobody except UPSC can tell the exact qualifying marks till the very end.

      I want to appeal to aspirants reading this post to continue preparing for Mains. Don’t waste time thinking about the cutoff. Just study. It’ll be the only thing that will prove beneficial.

      • Sumit Jakhad

        you predict by your foolish analysis

        • Anil Vats

          Foolish tu hai. Raat se yahi chipka hua hai. Chal jaa ab padhai kar

      • Lucky

        Mam ignore such elements, these people have enough time to criticize u, infact replying them is also a waist of time…

    • Anil Vats

      Even if some people are misguiding, we should be smart enough to see who is guiding and who is not. So there is no need to panic.

      • Sumit Jakhad

        if you were so smart you need not to ask to an unkown will i be quality or not

        • Anil Vats

          Abbey angrezi sudhar pehle bc

          • Sumit Jakhad

            ye banega IAS low temper guys

          • Anil Vats

            Haan banuga aur low ni bhosde ke high temper

          • Sumit Jakhad

            likh ke le le tumhari family me bhi nhi bnega gaali sabko aati h lekin usko dene waala aadmi btata h use or uski family ke sanskaar kya h DNA test kra mere bhai

          • Anil Vats

            My father is already an IPS so es ke baad chup baith. Likhwale tu nahi banta. Tere jaisa bnda ban hi nahi sakta. Aur gaali tere jaiso ke liye hi nikalta hu. Sara discussion khrab karaha hai yaha. Etna shauk hai famous hone ka toh kuch kar life mein.

          • Sumit Jakhad

            Kisko apna baap bna rha h

  • Anil Vats

    Mam I saw your answer on quora about selecting the correct optional and really liked it. I checked the answer key for prelims and am scoring good so feeling happy. Can you please tell me whether psychology will prove a good optional for me ?

    • I’m glad my answer proved useful to you Anil. Good to know that you’re scoring well.

      Psychology as per me is a damn good optional. When i wrote the Mains, English Literature was my optional but in the state services exam (where I was supposed to choose 2 optionals) , I had Literature along with Psychology. So i know how scoring, the subject will prove to you.

      I insist you refer to Mukul Pathak Notes in addition to your books. They’re quite good. Practise lots of Mock tests.

      • Anil Vats

        Yes I’ve heard they’re good. Will start consulting them now. Thanks for your valuable time mam.

  • Anil Vats

    Will you also tell me should I take coaching for Mains or not like a crash course ?

    • The thing is that I never took coaching so can’t advice you otherwise. But every aspirant has a different way of pursuing preparation so you should decide it for yourself. But there’s one thing I’ll really suggest you –

      Take lots of mock tests from any coaching institute. You should practice answer writing before the exam. It will prove useful.

      Best wishes.

      • Anil Vats

        Thank u mam.

      • himu

        Seeing the type of questions in prelims this time, what is the right way to approach gs now? I think giving mocks and doing current affiars have become very important..I am an aspirant for cse 2017..

  • Yash Aggarwal

    I found the Environment questions tough. Plz tell from where to prepare such topics ?

    • There is no one source for Environment. You’ll have to consult various resources which includes newspapers and magazines.

      Here are the sources I’ll suggest –

      NCERT Biology Book Class 12th
      ICSE Books on Environment Class 9th and 10th
      Hindu’s Survey of the Environment
      Down to Earth Magazine
      The Hindu’s coverage of Environment Issues/conventions/species (you’ll have to read the hindu throughout the year)
      Civil Services Times

      Best wishes.

  • Guneet Singh

    Very well written analysis. I am scoring 109 .Will I make it ?

    • Thank you Guneet.
      At 109 it should be a close call. Let’s hope for the best.

  • Keerti Vasan

    Mam i am getting 120.. is there any chance of clearing forestry cutoff? i belong to obc catogory. btw ur analysis is gr8:-)

    • Thank you so much Keerti.
      With a score of 120, you’re surely in 🙂

  • himu

    Seeing the type of questions in prelims this time, what is the right way to approach gs now? I think giving mocks and doing current affiars have become very important..I am an aspirant for cse 2017..pls guide

    • Yes UPSC integrates Current Affairs with different sections of GS and then formulates questions. Personally, I feel it’s an excellent way to test candidates.

      For GS preparation, here’s what I’ll suggest you to do:

      Read the Hindu religiously and make notes every day. Your notes will come handy once the exam comes near.
      Refer to websites like Mrunal, Insights. They’re good.
      Know all the basics books inside out. For example Polity by Laxmikanth, Economy by Ramesh Singh, history by Bipin Chandra so on and so forth. This will help build a strong foundation and you’ll be able to understand Current Affairs faster.
      Read magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, Down to Earth etc.
      Read the India Year Book very well.
      Lastly, know the latest updates for all important ministries under Government of India.

      For any additional guidance, you can also contact me on my blog.

      • himu

        thank u mam..it would be really helpful if u provide the link to ur blog..I am preparing now for cse 2017 so i will be troubling u with more questions as i prepare 😉 as it is very difficult to find the right guidance nowadays..

  • nitin ias

    do not miss guide people saying cut off would be higher and do not say u r not goin to fail to those who scored less marks ur not upsc plz keep in mind i gave 2 mains .plz

    • Neither did I say I’m UPSC nor did I misguide. Also, nobody has said anywhere that this is the official cutoff. It’s my article, my analysis and my prediction. So I’ve penned down what I feel. You’re most welcome to disagree. But don’t expect me to be unrealistic here and raise false hopes for aspirants just because ‘some’ people are apparently falling short of the cutoff!!

      • Ritubhanj Chatterjee

        I agree Akriti mam

    • Ritubhanj Chatterjee

      I think you are the one misguiding here by saying the cutoff will not be higher. The cutoff will surely be more than 110. As an aspirant you should be practical.

  • Sunitha Gurusamy

    I have a query. The cut off you predicted here is out of 400?

    • No out of 200 because 200 are the maximum marks that will be counted for merit.

      • Sunitha Gurusamy

        So the predicted cut off here is for GS paper-1 right?

        • Yes that is right. Only GS 1 will be counted for merit. In paper 2 you have to score a minimum of 66 marks and it’s marks will not be added.

  • Ritubhanj Chatterjee

    I don’t understand what the fuss is about the cutoff here. How can people expect that cutoff will be reduced. I feel the cutoff given above as well as on most websites 110-115 +/- 3 is correct.

    I gave the paper last year and people were sure that cutoff will be less but it wasn’t. It is better if we concentrate on mains now.

    Great analysis by the way 🙂

    Can you please write articles about GS preparation for Mains and the books we need to follow? Pls

    • I feel the same.

      Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.

      I’ll be writing articles for GS preparation starting today. Keep following the blog here.

  • Aarti Kaushik

    plz can anybody guide me about my optional for mains ???? It is English Literature.

    • Hi Aarti

      English Literature was my optional too. Also a Majors in English so here’s what I’ll suggest you to do –

      Go through the official syllabus prescribed by UPSC and find out your level of familiarity with it.

      Next go through the question papers to see what kind of questions are expected from an aspirant with English Literature.

      Assuming that you’ve done the things mentioned above, here’s what I need you to do:-

      Make sure that you read each and every book prescribed in the syllabus cover to cover. No selective study recommended.

      Be sure of the fact that reading original texts is just the initial stage of preparation. You are expected to know the entire History of Literature right from the origin of literature up till the contemporary times i.e from the time of Geoffrey Chaucer to Post Modernism.

      Once you have a strong foundation, you will have to study Literary Theory as mentioned in the syllabus. For example – Cultural Studies, Feminism, Deconstruction etc.

      Once you’re done with Literary Theory, learn to apply various theories to the texts that have been prescribed.

      Do not follow any cheap guides available in the market. Follow standard explanations only (you’ll need them to understand concepts).

      Be a member of any nearest library (preferably a college or a university library) because you will be needing the help of something called as the ‘Case Book Series’.’ You are expected to use them as references. Buying them is not possible . They’re hugely expensive and not available largely in India.

      Understand the fact that english literature and english grammar are not the same things. A literature student is expected to have strong grammar, sure. But literature is way expansive.

      Lastly, have a good command on different elements of literature – symbolism, figures of speech, imagery etc because you’ll need this knowledge in the compulsory question on ‘Unseen Passage’ where you’re expected to critically analyse it completely. You’ll do it well once you have practice.

      I insist buy a good glossary. I’ll suggest you to buy – A Glossary of English Literature by M.H.Abrahams.

      All the very best

      • Aarti Kaushik


        This will help me so much. Plz write articles on optionals

  • Bishnu Barman

    Here I am aging 🙂
    Thank you mockbank team, and especially Akriti Mam for publishing analysis on CSE prelim 2016.
    I have some questions.
    Why here 4 Answer key? is that means exam held in 4 shifts? Or all 4 paper is to be clear one time ?
    At prelim time how much paper has to be cleared? 2 Or 1?
    Can you please provide me this years prelim questions.

    Well if one person cleared prelim in 2015 can he opted for mains without giving prelim of 2016 ?

    • Thank you Bishnu.
      I will be writing articles for Mains preparation. Do read and give me your feedback 🙂

      Now to answer your questions –
      4 Answer keys are for 4 series. In the preliminary exam, the aspirants are given question papers pertaining to 4 series – A, B, C , D . So I’ve uploaded the answer key for all the 4 series.

      The exam isn’t held in shifts. An aspirant has to give 2 exams – Paper I and 2. But all the aspirants attempting the exam give it together on the same day in the same shift.

      Paper 1 is counted for merit only while Paper 2 is of qualifying nature. This means that the marks scored in Paper 1 will be counted in order to reach the next stage of the exam – Mains. The marks of Paper 2 will not be counted but you have to score at least 66 marks in order to be called ‘qualified.’

      An aspirant has to clear prelims and mains of the same year. So if somebody gave prelims in 2015 and qualified it, he will have to appear the Mains for 2015 only. For 2016, one has to appear for the entire exam (all stages) again. You can view the question paper on the InsightsOnIndia website.

      I hope, I could clear all your doubts.

      • Bishnu Barman

        Thank you for your generous reply. I have cleared all my graduation level exam (even project viva too), now I made all my mind towards CSE 2017. I would like to start study for prelim, where should I start ? start from NCERT/ICSE/NIOS books at first for GS-1 and basics? or jump in to topic wise.
        Also “The Hindu” feels messy to me regarding getting information from there, not able to decide what type information should i need to grab from there.!!!
        Do I follow your blog also for articles on UPSC.
        Thank you again.

        • Start from ICSE books – Classes 8th, 9th and 10th. Then move on to NCERTs. Finally start reading the standard reference books (subject wise) for Civil Services exam. Also, begin with the optional preparation simultaneously (Don’t make it high priority at outset of preparation, but don’t leave it altogether thinking that you;ll do it at end).

          As far as Hindu is concerned, you will have to make peace with it. You have got to follow the Hindu throughout the year. There’s just no skipping it. Let it take a little time at first. You will have a grip over it in a few days.

          Makes sure to read the Hindu well and then make notes.

          Finally, thank you for following my blog. I appreciate it.

          All the very best 🙂

          • Bishnu Barman

            Do you started your articles on mains ? if so please provide me link. I visited your blog, but not find any.
            Thank you. 🙂

  • Radhika Makkkar

    Great analysis.

    Can you tell me whether I should go for coaching or not for Mains ?

    • Thank you.

      To take coaching or not is a personal choice. If you feel the need that you should take it, then go for it. Having said that, I always tell aspirants that CSE can very well be cracked without coaching too. This means that coaching is not a prerequisite for the exam.But sure one can take it as per choice.

      But I will suggest you to go for Test Series (either online or offline)for Mains from at least 2 coaching institutes. It’ll help you get a grip over your answers and you can assess your performance.

  • Akshat

    Akriti mam apne ne to fan hi kardiya hai hum sabko. Etne ache se explain karte ho sab yaha bhi, quora bhi aur apne blog pe bhi. Thank you so much. We need more people like you.

    • Sumit Jakhad

      kitna to jhuth bolti h, vacancies fill up by upsc in 2015 are 1078 and vacancies tbis year are 1079 in 2015 recorded students gave exam and she says this year more students than last year were in exam

      • Akshat

        Itni problem hai toh parh kyu raha hai ? Tujhe bhaut knowledge hai toh exam kyu ni nikla ab tak nikama

        • Anil Vats

          haha ekdum sahi bola nikama hi hai ye are batameez bhi. No respect for anyone. Bc ye banega IAS. Yaha baithke misguide kraha hai.

        • Sumit Jakhad

          first time diya h 136 se jyada ban rhe hain i m going to written mains no doubt take care for yourself chamche

          • Anil Vats

            Angrezi toh aati ni aur bolta hai 136 arahe hai JHOOTHA Tu hai. Check karuga tera result aur yahi public karuga. Chal bhaag ab. Apni publicity karaha hai edhar. Publicity toh ho nahi rahi bevkuf lagra. Har comment ke sath aur bevkuf lagra hai.

        • Anil Vats

          haha ekdum sahi bola nikama hi hai ye are batameez bhi. No respect for anyone. Bc ye banega IAS. Yaha baithke misguide kraha hai.

      • Anil Vats

        Abe statistical expert. Nahi pasand analysis toh hath na edhar se. Terko bola kisne parhne ke liye aur zara respect se baat kar larkiyo ke liye.

        • Sumit Jakhad

          Me impress krne ke liye kisi galat ko sahi nhi bta sakta be bihari, sabse jyada bihaari aate hain ias ki taiyari krne or niklta kisi kaa nhi bhaag pe bihaari

      • Ritubhanj Chatterjee

        It might be a slight error of numbers. I guess its ok. I request you with all humility to please post decent and exam related comments only. If you don’t like the cutoff predictions, just leave. Its my humble request.

    • I appreciate your kind feedback Akshat but It’s a humble request to not indulge in any spat with anyone here. If you have any questions relating to any aspect of the exam, I’ll answer it for you but let’s not use expletive language for anyone. There will always be people who criticize others no matter what but it shouldn’t matter. If we give in to every impulse , we won’t be better than animals.

      Best wishes with your preparation.

  • Dipika

    Great article and analysis. You are right about environment that it was expected. My paper hasn’t gone very well. Please tell me where to prepare environment questions for next time. Thank you in advance.

    • Thank you Dipika.

      Don’t worry about the prelims now. Continue your preparation.

      For Environment , just one book will not suffice. You will have to refer to a whole range of resources (which includes the internet as well).

      I’m suggesting some here –

      Down to Earth Magazine
      Environmental Section of Civil Services Times
      Articles from the Hindu
      NCERT Book of Biology Class 12th (Both old and new editions)
      ICSE Books Classes 8th, 9th, 10th
      Insights on India
      Website of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
      The India Year Book
      Environmental Survey published by the Hindu..

  • Raghu

    Hello Mam, I’m getting 110.8(General), any chance of clearing prelims ??

    • According to me, yes you should be in.

      • Raghu

        Thanks a lot Mam, Not able to concentrate completely because of speculation 🙁

        • Speculation should be the last thing on your mind. Don’t worry 🙂

          You keep preparing. That is what will finally matter. Speculations don’t matter. All the websites and individuals who have made predictions for the cutoff (including me) have done so based on our previous experience and some trends. But none of us represent UPSC. So there is absolutely no need to worry. Focus on further preparations only.

          Best wishes.

          • Raghu

            Thanks for your kind words..will start from today 🙂

  • gaurav singh

    hello mam …im scoring 114.67 marks..im tensed i have been appeared 2 mains this time im nervous..a lot of coaching institute is saying that cutoff will be around 111 to 114…plus question number 98 booklet A sdg i marked C bt most of coaching saying its A.. what are my chance ?? is my answer is correct??

    • Hi gaurav. Don’t worry. 114.67 is a pretty decent score. You concentrate on preparing for the Mains. Wasting time right now due to perplexity and confusion will just make you lose your confidence.

      As for Question, 98 , let me check and get back to you.

      • gaurav singh

        mam before prelims i was scoring good in mains test series..last year also missed due to subject paper 1 this time im really very tensed bcz such inflated cutoff….
        mam can you guide me for essay??

        • Sure.

          For essay , the first thing you need to work is on writing well. You’l have to master the art of expressing your thought process in the best manner in the allotted time.

          Try to express the latest happening or things that you have a strong view point on, in your own words. The more you’ll practice writing, the better it’ll prove.

          Start by writing 500 words daily on anything that you find convenient. Later move on to topics outside your comfort zone.

  • gaurav singh

    mam i want to know how option C is correct in question number 98 booklet A..

    • Gaurav, If you could just post the question here, I’ll let you know. We don’t have series A as of now. If not, then let me know the same question in Series C.

      • gaurav singh

        sustainabale development goal club of rome wala…

  • Akshat

    Wow what an attitude of positivity. You are an excellent mentor.
    Ok Mam will not indulge in any fights. You are right it is not worth it.

  • Rakesh Yadav

    Hi ma’am. I’m scoring 115.44 (OBC Non-creamy layer). Am I in safe zone?

    • As per me absolutely.

      • Rakesh Yadav


  • Sumit Jakhad

    thanks yaar logo ka bhla krne ke liye aap nhi hoti to bacho ko kaise pta chalta hmara clear hpga ya nhi

    • Neha Pandey

      You seem to be distracted. Stop posting comments here. It’s annoying. You are making an open fool of yourself. Gives me a feeling that you are one of those students who just wants to distract everybody else just because you will not make it. Go get a life !!

  • Neha Pandey

    Can anybody tell me the best resources and study material for mathematics as an optional ?

    • gaurav singh

      go to rajinder nagar delhi IMS notes …ya koi aur shop pe puchogi de dega best..waise IMS chalti hai kafi..

  • A K VAD

    Ma’am 104 (OBC) !! what are the chances?

  • Rustic simplicity

    Well said mam, but i have another opinion…

    Last year so called elite groups from reputated coachings were discussing about cutoff and their attempts.they were almost right as they predicted around 110.
    This year their prediction and attempt is somewhere between 95-100 and they found prelims tougher than previous year.
    I am not one of them.
    but i can say this time UPSC made prelims level playing field and there is no much advantages for coaching students.
    As elite groups had have well command in core subjects they used to get high marks than others but 2016 prelims would be an exception.
    When a large number of serious aspirants are struggling to get century it seems this time they will not act as catalyst to boost cutoff score.
    So my prediction is 95-105 for general.
    * condition applied

  • Ali

    Hello Maam, My score is 106.66 (OBC- Non creamy lyre). What is my prospect for main exam ????