How to avoid negative marking in the UPSC exam

UPSC exam has been a difficult task for candidates pursuing to become the owner of the ultimate civil services. IAS exam tests aspirants’ calibre at every stage of the exam.
Millions of candidates apply for the IAS exam every year and this number is increasing day by day. Lakhs of candidates are screened at the prelims stage before reaching the ultimate interview round. There are three stages of the UPSC exam Prelims, Mains exam and interview or personality test.
Candidates want to know if there is a negative marking in UPSC or where it affects their marks. The Prelims exam is just a screening test and negative marking plays an important role in deciding your performance. In this article, we will discuss how to calculate negative marking in the UPSC exam.
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UPSC Prelims exam comprises two papers:
  • General Studies paper 1
  • General Studies Paper 2
UPSC Prelims exam papers are objective type and carry different strengths of Mark for correct answer and wrong answers as well.
There are two marks for every correct answer whereas every wrong answer has a negative one-third mark that is subtracted from the grand total. One-third of the marks are subtracted for each wrong answer.
 

How to calculate negative marking

It is very easy. Three incorrect answers will subtract a full assigned mark of a question as every wrong answer consumes one-third of your marks. In other words, 3 incorrect answers will waste the credit of one whole right answer. Like, if you give 60 incorrect answers the credit of 20 right answers will vanish.
 

How to decrease the negative marking in the IAS exam

Negative marking in Prelims exam hits very hard on the aspirants’ prelims result. UPSC includes something new and unexpected every year in the UPSC Prelims exam and the current affairs sections are also highly unpredictable.
Objective type questions in the Prelims exam are also designed psychologically to check a candidate’s knowledge. Every option seems to be right because the options are designed in such a way that you find it difficult to answer them.
So candidates must have crystal clear knowledge of the subject.
Don’t apply guesswork or answer with half knowledge if you want to avoid and reduce the impact of negative markings.
Candidates feel pressure during the exam time and they make mistakes more often even for the questions they have known the answer to properly. To avoid negative marking follow these steps which help you avoid the negative marking in UPSC Prelims.
 

Tips to reduce negative marking

Making notes helps in adding a visual memory to your brain. So, it is very important to make notes on important topics while preparing for the UPSC exam
To gain conceptual knowledge on each subject, candidates must follow a focused approach. It will also help to prevent you from having half-knowledge and second thoughts. There is no room for guesswork and keep the underconfident answers unanswered. If you are unsure about the answer then it is good to leave the questions unsolved.
Candidates should attempt those questions first about which they are 100% sure and solve the other questions at the last when they have proper time to think properly. If you have no idea about any question then don’t waste time on these questions.
The other method you can use is eliminating the incorrect options first.
The options which you think are incorrect, cut out the rest options and now mark the answer which you trust is the most accurate.
Keep your mind calm and relaxed. You can face high pressure during the UPSC exam and that can deplete your performance with wrong answers so hold your nerves and keep calm and deep breath.
 

Negative marking in UPSC mains exam

Candidates have a lot of fear of negative marking in the Prelims exam but there is no negative marking in the UPSC exam.
UPSC Mains exam is focused more on long writing questions and essays. So, it is good news for you that there are no negative markings in the UPSC mains exam.
 

How to avoid negative marking in the UPSC exam

The Civil Service exam is the most committed exam in the country and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. More than 7 lakh candidates appear for this exam on an average every year.
Candidates often try guesswork while attempting the paper to secure better marks but it only brings them into the endless loop of negative marking. There is a higher chance of negative marking in guesswork.
There are higher chances of negative marking and the situation gets tougher.
This is the reason candidates don’t get prelims cleared even after attempting a significant number of correct questions.
These are some major reasons.
 

Vast syllabus

It becomes difficult to have deep knowledge about everything because multiple choice questions come from a wide range of syllabus and the length of the topics increase tremendously.
 

More focus on paper first

Since the second paper or CSAT is qualifying in nature, the entire pressure of passing the exam comes to the General Studies paper. It is advisable to solve at least 70 to 75 questions on paper first of prelims correctly to beat the competition. Therefore candidates go for guessing work to increase the chance of passing the examination.
The question is why the concept of negative marking came up in the UPSC exam
Negative marking makes a difference between those who really know the subject well and those who don’t. In multiple-choice questions, without negative marking, the examiner cannot know that aspirants know the answer or it is only guesswork so this is a plan to distinguish between the serious and non-serious candidates.
In Negative marking, the score in prelims gets more reliable as it discourages random guesswork.
It is helpful in testing students’ conceptual clarity and ability to remain focused under pressure.
Confusion or lack of concentration at the exam time may cost the students high.
Negative marking is advantageous in eliminating the candidates who have a superficial knowledge and want to score only through guesswork.
The toughness of the exam increases every year due to the change in the pattern of questions. Cut off marks also keep on fluctuating due to this change.
 
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