Civil Services Prelims 2017: How to Defeat Negative Marking ?

IAS Prelims Negative Marking

IAS Prelims Negative Marking , if not tackled properly can make you lose precious marks in the exam. The nature of UPSC Civil Services prelims, also popularly known as the IAS Prelims is such that losing even one mark will cost you dearly and your chances to make it to the next stage of Mains examination will be reduced. The structure and marking schemes of GS Paper I & II is different and hence the approach to solve questions should also be different. A proper tact is required when handling IAS Prelims Negative Marking. We will assist you in this context.


IAS Prelims Negative Marking

IAS Prelims Negative Marking applies to both GS Paper I and GS Paper II. The latter is commonly referred to as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test), although not an official term.


IAS Prelims Negative Marking: An Overview

PaperNegative Marks
General Studies Paper I 0.66
General Studies Paper II 0.82


IAS Prelims Negative Marking: Top Five Tips to Defeat it

NO RANDOM GUESSINGA lot of CSE aspirants (especially first timers) indulge in random guess work. This will prove disastrous to your overall score. You either know an answer or you don’t. Random guess work that too for topics completely unknown is not recommended at all.
ELIMINATIONSometimes a situation can occur where you attempt a question whose 2 choices are known to you , while the remaining 2 are not. This actually is the case for most questions in GS Paper I because UPSC expects aspirants to raise the performance bar. Try the elimination method for choice 3. If you are 90% sure, go for it. Else, leave it altogether.
FAMILIARITYA topic that is familiar to an aspirant doesn’t necessarily imply a level of mastery in the same (although expected). Attempt a question only if you have an overall knowledge about the same. Superficial familiarity will prove dangerous and make you lose score to IAS prelims negative marking.
 STRATEGYInvest the first 2-5 minutes of the exam in reading the question paper thoroughly and marking the questions that you absolutely know. These will be the questions where you will not lose a single mark to IAS prelims negative marking. Next mark the questions that you are absolutely unsure that you will not attempt. The remaining questions can be dealt with once you confidentially attempt the questions that you know 100%.
 COMPOSUREThe time in CSE prelims is limited and so a lot of candidates tend to panic a lot. This makes them lose precious marks to IAS prelims negative marking. Take a deep breath and attempt questions well. Panic will not help you in anyway. On the contrary, it will reduce your chances.

IAS Prelims Negative Marking: Qualifying Nature of GS Paper II

 It is important to point out here to take the IAS prelims negative marking seriously in GS Paper II. The fact that this paper is qualifying in nature makes some aspirants take this less seriously. Now this is not a good thing because you will still need to score the minimal marks here. You will be surprised to know that a lot of aspirants each year don’t qualify GS Paper II. So kindly attempt questions wisely here.

IAS Prelims Negative Marking: Defeat it in Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension is an extremely important component of GS Paper II in the preliminary exam. Hence, a special note on it is being included here. Comprehension is about mastering 2 things

  1. Reading content first hand
  2. Understanding it in minimal time

My modest suggestion to all CSE aspirants would be to read the passage twice in one go and not return to it , if at all questions are being left unattended. The blunder that candidates commit here is that they leave questions and keep time for them at the end of the paper. They return to the questions and read the passage all over again. This costs them both time and IAS prelims negative marking. Kindly refrain from such a practice. Always attempt questions based on Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning before RC. This way you will have the confidence to score well.


Suggested Reading for Civil Services Aspirants 



All the very best for CSE 2017. Make your attempt count.