The Civil Services Exam (Mains) General Studies 1 Paper was held on 30th October. For those aspiring to write this prestigious exam in future, it is important to take note of the paper pattern this year.

Brief Review:

This year, GS I paper is considered to be tough paper by majority of aspirants. The change in marking scheme caught many by surprise. Moving on from previous uniform 12.5 marks/question scheme, now there are two different sets of questions carring 10 and 15 marks. Even though a significant number of questions can be written based on revisions of NCERT books and standard go-to reference books ; there were certain questions like malay, Juno, etc. which managed to startle exam takers in the hall. The perception of easy and hard depends on your preparation level. UPSC paper setters always manage to give some easy questions straight out of textbooks and current running topics while giving some bouncer-type questions. This year too this routine was followed.


Let’s take a look at UPSC CSE Mains 2017 General Studies (GS 1) Question Paper:

  1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times? (150 Words, 10 Marks)
  2. Clarify how mid-eighteenth century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented polity (150 Words, 10 marks)
  3. Why did the ‘Moderates’ fall to carry conviction with the nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of the nineteenth century? (150 words, 10 marks)
  4. What problems are germane to the decolonization process in the Malay Peninsula? (150 words, 10 marks)
  5. What does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth? (150 words, 10 marks)
  6. “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss (150 words, 10 marks)
  7. Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by United Nations. (150 words, 10 marks)
  8. How does the cryosphere effect global climate? (150 words, 10 marks)
  9. In the context of the diversity of India, can it said that the regions form cultural units rather than the States? Give reasons with examples for your viewpoint.(150 words, 10 marks)
  10. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (150 words, 10 marks)
  11. The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Elaborate .(250 words, 15 marks)
  12. Examine how the decline of traditional artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy.( 250 words, 15 marks)
  13. Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian Independence since the twenties of the last century. (250 words, 15 marks)
  14. Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multi-dimensional effects.(250 words, 15 marks)
  15. Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications. (250 words, 15 marks)
  16. In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-whether inland navigation in India? (250 words, 15 marks)
  17. What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia? (250 words, 15 marks)
  18. The women’s question arose in modern India as a part of the 19th century social reform movement. What are the major issues and debates concerning women in that period? (250 words, 15 marks)
  19. Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India. (250 words, 15 marks)
  20. “The growth of cities as I.T. hubs has opened up new avenues of employment, but has also created new problems”. Substantiate this statement with examples(250 words, 15 marks)



Brief Analysis of the CSE General Studies paper 1 Mains 2017:

Pattern: This years’ GS 1 paper consisted of two different sets of questions. The first 10 questions awarded 10 marks for 150 word answer. Whereas, the next 10 questions were of 15 marks each for a 250 word answer. The pattern of GS paper has seen some change in marking pattern this year.

Approach:  Given that the paper was a bit startling even to the prepared candidates. The consensus is reading and re-reading NCERT and standard reference books thoroughly has given higher returns than any coaching material. Tracking newspaper updates from TheHindu specifically has once again proven effective utilisation of the preparation time. Looking at the broad range of topics, the ability to interlink between topics across the General Studies spectrum will certainly fetch good marks.



For those aspiring to write UPSC Civil Services exam in future, it will be helpful to attempt writing a mock GS  answer on these questions. You can post your answers in the comments below and ace your GS paper marks when you write the Mains. Overcome the hesitation of knowledge barriers and let the ideas roll. Happy writing!

Study Material for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains