(Getting Started) Increase Your UPSC Prelims Score by Option Elimination Techniques

(Getting Started) Increase Your UPSC Prelims Score by Option Elimination Techniques


UPSC Civil Services Prelims is just a days away and aspirants across the country are now focusing their attention on it. As anyone who has looked through enough topper interviews as well as gone through previous years’ questions will know, not all questions in UPSC prelims can be answered directly from knowledge. Some need deliberation. Almost half of the questions require one to eliminate the improbable answers and choose the one that remains. 

This is where Option Elimination Techniques come into play.

Top 5 Option Elimination Techniques

There are quite a few techniques one can use. These techniques are effective in solving UPSC papers. However, keep in mind UPSC likes to be unpredictable and shake things up quite often, so practice each of these techniques only when you are sure you can accept the fallout.

  1. Extreme Choices Are Seldom Right

Whenever an option mentions either “always”, “never”, “all”, “any” “drastically”, “enormously”, “exponentially” or conveys any such extreme stands, there is a good chance that the option is incorrect. Unless such an option is based on a historical or scientific fact, you can rest assured it is not the option you need to choose. 

  1. Deliberately Complicated Statements Are Most Probably Wrong

Some options given will deliberately use complicated jargon or have long-wounded sentences that serve no purpose. Given that answers are usually either facts or logical conclusions, these kinds of statements are meant to confuse aspirants. Such options are usually incorrect.

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  1. Options With Unnecessary Numerical Values Included

Look at this from the point of view of an examiner. The easiest way to provide a wrong option is to take an otherwise correct fact and slightly change the numbers. So until and unless the options have very obvious statistics, chances are it is going to be incorrect.

  1. One Of Two Opposite Choices Should Be Right

If two options are mirror opposites of each other, one of those will possibly be right. Even if you are not sure which one is correct, being able to shortlist 2 out of 4 options increases your chance of marking the correct answer from 25% to 50% automatically.

  1. One Of The Most Similar Choices Can Be Right

This again comes back to the mindset of the person setting the paper. The easiest way to shape incorrect options is to mimic the correct one and alter it partly. So chances are, of the 2 or 3 similar-sounding options, one would be correct. This again brings up your chance of choosing the right one up from 25% to 33% or 50% even.

Practice These Techniques With Caution

How Intelligent Guessing Works

Please remember the key – blind guesswork is not the answer, intelligent guesswork with proper logical backing is. UPSC awards 2 marks for a correct answer and deducts 0.66 for an incorrect answer. So, 3 incorrect answers cancel out the one answer you have correctly marked. This is why option elimination is considered a fair practice. However, taking random guesses will drastically bring down your chances.

Also, do not attempt these techniques directly in the exam hall without having tried them out in mocks. The reason is not everyone can make guesses 100% accurately. You need to know your accuracy before you attempt these techniques. You also need to practice them beforehand to understand exactly how they work and how to employ each technique properly. Otherwise, it is as good as blind guesswork.

Practice these techniques with the right blend of knowledge and logical reasoning, while knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and you will surely find your prelims score increase significantly.

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