Saturday, July 13, 2024

UPSC Prelims 2024 Concludes: Expected Cut-Off and In-Depth Paper Analysis

UPSC Prelims 2024 over: Expected cut-off and detailed paper analysis


Candidates who recently appeared for the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2024 are eagerly awaiting the anticipated cut-off marks and a thorough analysis of the paper. Here is an in-depth examination of the expected cut-off and detailed paper analysis to help candidates assess their performance and strategize for the subsequent stages of the exam.

UPSC CSE Prelims 2024: Expected cut-off insights and paper analysis

The UPSC Prelims 2024 exam, held on June 16, consisted of two papers: General Studies (GS) Paper 1 and the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) Paper 2. GS Paper 1 is critical for qualifying for the Mains, while CSAT is a qualifying paper requiring a minimum score of 33% (66 out of 200 marks).

Many UPSC aspirants in the country attempted Prelims 2024 and seemed fairly calm after the exam, unlike last year’s paper, which was packed with surprises, most notably, the harsh difficulty level of CSAT that created much hue and cry.

Although this is speculation and based on my opinion, the legal backlash from the previous year may have prompted the UPSC to revert to a traditional pattern.

Ravi Kapoor, Chief UPSC Mentor, Testbook has shared the detailed analysis of the UPSC CSE Prelims 2024.


  1. The Question paper resembled the UPSC prelims paper of 2017, and 2018 – for GS and CSAT both
    2. Polity was on expected lines with approx.18 questions of easy-moderate difficulty, answers to which can be easily found in standard books like Laxmikant and DD Basu
    3. Geography questions were also relatively easy with many questions from the standard NCERT books.
    4. Environment and Ecology was moderately easy with 10 questions. Combined with geography, it dominated in the total weightage.
    5. The economy was moderately difficult with 15 questions, many questions about emerging economic trends and a high emphasis on government programmes and schemes.
    6. Science and tech were moderate with many questions about emerging technologies.
    7. Current affairs were on expected lines with 19 questions. Regular follow-up of any good newspaper in the last 2 years would have sufficed to answer most questions correctly.
    8. The only surprise was the near lack of questions from Modern History covering the Indian National Movement.


  1. CSAT was also easier than last year with math and reasoning questions on the lines of the previous year’s questions.
    2. Reading Comprehension: 22–24 questions; moderate difficulty.
    3. Numerical Ability: 23–25 questions; moderate difficulty.
    4. Reasoning Ability: 35–40 questions; moderate difficulty.
    5. Balanced Difficulty: The difficulty level of the CSAT paper was balanced, with a mix of straightforward and challenging questions.
    6. Critical for Qualifying: Despite being a qualifying paper, thorough preparation was essential due to the potential impact on overall results.

Despite the above, aspirants should not get carried away and realise that the exam is competitive and relative. It is expected that the cut-off will be higher than last year.

Expected cut-off:

  • General Category: Approximately 95–100 marks
  • OBC: Slightly lower than the general cut-off
  • SC/ST: Further lower

It is important to mention that not too much emphasis should be placed on the cut-off and serious aspirants should now direct their attention towards the upcoming Mains exam.

Here’s what UPSC aspirants should do after prelims:

  1. Stop obsessing about the cut-off. While you cannot change the past, you can determine your future. Choose what you do in the next few weeks carefully.
  2. Assume that you are writing Mains this year because you will have to write it sooner or later to qualify for the exam. Unlike Prelims, your score in the Mains will determine your final rank.
  3. Start practising answer writing daily. Writing is a skill that takes time to develop. The UPSC demands in-depth and highly analytical answers which require substantial writing practice, especially due to word limits and time constraints.
  4. Focus on Essay writing separately. The scores in essays can jump or dip more radically than any other subject in Mains. It can be either make or break, but is often taken lightly. Don’t make that mistake.
  5. Gain knowledge about ethics and practice case studies. Half of the ethics syllabus is purely academic and can be prepared easily and is easy to score in.
  6. Dive deep into your optional subject while you have the luxury of time. Optional subjects require in-depth academic expertise on subjects which can take time to develop.

Unlike the Prelims, the syllabus of the Mains exam is quite well-defined, and aspirants should use the syllabus to check-box each topic in the Mains syllabus systematically.

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