UPSC CSE main analysis 2020: ‘Essay paper toughest’

UPSC CSE main analysis 2020: The candidates reviewed the essay paper as the toughest with most of the questions being philosophical or abstract in nature.

UPSC CSE main analysis 2020: The civil services main examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) started Friday. On the first day of the examination, candidates termed the essay paper as the “toughest” with questions that were mostly “philosophical” or “abstract” in nature.  The essay paper consists of two sections, and candidates have to attempt one out of four topics given in each section. Each essay carries 125 marks.

Anurag Sibbal, an UPSC aspirant, fund the essay paper “quite tough” and said the topics in both Part A and B had a “philosophical” approach. “Most of the essays in Part A required ethical thinking, some of the topics asked included ‘life is long journey’, ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.  Part B topics were abstract in nature. The topics were on patriarchy, social justice.” Anurag is expecting to secure 100 to 120 marks.

Another UPSC aspirant, Kamalesh Arora, said the paper was “quite different from that of previous years”. According to him: “Last year, the essays of Section A were tough, while Section B was based on current topics such as ‘biased media’, ‘rise of artificial intelligence’ among others. I am expecting less than 100 in the paper.”

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Experts, too, said the essay paper was one of the toughest in recent years. Rohit Singh, manager, UPSC Gradeup, said, “An ethical perspective can be seen in most of the essay topics. It could be expected that the scoring of the essay paper this year could be on the lower side as seen in the past when philosophical topics were asked. 120 + marks in the essay paper can be considered as good score.”

Section A


– Life is long journey between being human and being humane

– Mindful manifesto is catalyst to tranquil self

– Ships do not sink because of water around them, ships sink because of water that gets into them

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– Simplicity is ultimate sophistication.

Section B

– Culture is what we are, civilisation is what we have

– There can be no social justice without economic prosperity but economic prosperity without social justice is meaningless.

– Patriarchy is the least noted but most significant structure of social inequality

– Technology as a silent factor in international relations.

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The UPSC expert said that all the four topics in Section A were philosophical in nature and also involved an element of ethical thinking. “These kinds of topics are particularly challenging given the paucity of content with candidates. It requires the candidates to have the originality of thought and have the ability of critical and analytical thinking. Factual knowledge is less relevant for these kinds of topics,” he analysed.

“Topics for essays 5,6 and 7 were more focused on society and related issues. Topic 5 was a bit abstract in nature. These topics require a deeper knowledge of abstract concepts and ideas,” the UPSC expert said.” Only the last topic in section B was easier as it combined international relations with science and technology.”.

The CSE main exam will be concluded on January 17.

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