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19 Questions to Show
How Civilsdaily Prelims TS
Helps You Master the 3 Types of Tikdams

- Dr. V (AIR 20, CSE 2015)

Civildailys Flagship Prelims TS

Dear students,

Do not take IAS Prelims for granted.

There is a general tendency among sincere students who are regular with their
newspapers and classes to take prelims for granted. Its not completely their fault.

Many toppers say prelims are not an issue for sincere students. There are many
institutes that stake claims about their students cracking prelims with just 2
months of efforts.

All this is was probably true couple of years back when the pattern was different
and engineers had an undue advantage because of the CSAT.

Now thats not the case.

This year the paper was tougher and cut-offs went even higher. Prelims are a cut
throat competition and anyone taking it for granted is going to end up wasting an

It is extremely important that:

1. You be regular with a test series early in your preparation days and not wait for
the last 2 months for a last minute run
2. You actively seek out effective ways to engage with the mock questions that you

In the next 20 pages, we are going to empower you with

The Art of Tikdams - A brand new technique of solving IAS Prelims
questions with logic & smart hacks rather than rote learning.

Should you still have any questions, please feel free to email us at

This is an Advanced level compilation on IAS Prelims questions

penned down by Vipin Garg (AIR 20, CSE 2015).

Make no mistake, this is a GOLDMINE of practical wisdom.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents 2
A. UPSC Prelims Syllabus (IAS 2017 & beyond) 3
B. The Art of Tikdams 7
I. Elimination Tikdams 7
II. Estimation Tikdams 11
III. Red Flag Tikdams 14
C. Can Tikdams be Used by a Beginner? 18
D. 4 Commandments for Success @IAS Prelims 21

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A. UPSC Prelims Syllabus (IAS 2017 & beyond)

Syllabus for Paper 1:

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Syllabus for Paper 2:

First things first, nobody can afford to flunk CSAT paper (Paper 2). All it needs is 33% of
your efforts.

There is simply no excuse for flunking the CSAT. To make sure, you dont flunk the
paper, just solve last 4 years UPSC CSAT papers, match your answers with official answer
keys and if you score >90 (keeping a 24 marks cushion over cutoff to discount for a tough paper
and bad day) in all 4 papers, you need not touch CSAT. If you are scoring <80, you need to
do some work. You can decide for yourself what needs to be done if you score b/w 80-90.

With CSAT out of the way and whole game being based on General Studies, our task for
the rest of our preparation period is to organise our studies in such a way that examination
feels like an extension of our daily routine and we can score maximum marks.

Without further ado, lets get straight to the heart of your preparation strategies.


Dont spend disproportionate time on one or two particular subjects or topics. Often
aspirants spend too much time on Art & Culture, Environment & Ecology (E&B) with very
poor return on your invested time.

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Please remember its okay to leave a few questions. No body gets all 100 correct and all the
questions are of equal marks.

But if you get easy questions wrong and difficult ones correct, its not gonna help you.

For instance, you cannot afford get this question incorrect.

To uphold and protect the Sovereignty, Unity and Integrity of India is a provision
made in the

(a) Preamble of the Constitution

(b) Directive Principles of State Policy
(c) Fundamental Rights
(d) Fundamental Duties

Or this

Which one of the following is the best description of the term ecosystem?

(a) A community of organisms interacting with one another.

(b) That part of the Earth which is inhabited by living organisms.
(c) A community of organisms together with the environment in which they live
(d) The flora and fauna of a geographical area

Marking them incorrect is simply a criminal offence and the punishment is 1 year rigorous
jail term!

But its okay if you got this one wrong -

Kalamkari painting refers to

(a) a hand-painted cotton textile in South India

(b) a handmade drawing on bamboo handicrafts in North-East India
(c) a block-painted woollen cloth in Western Himalayan region of India
(d) a hand-painted decorative silk cloth in North-Western India

Kalamkari was in news in 2015 and we had covered it in our daily newscards @app &
@web but still it depends a lot on your revision and mock test series papers to get it correct
on the D-Day

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Or this

Which of the following has/have been accorded Geographical Indication status?

1. Banaras Brocades and Sarees

2. Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma
3. Tirupathi Laddu

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 only 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

You just can not remember all the things that have been accorded GI tag. If your guess
turn out to be right, well and good, if not, dont be too livid on yourself. Still, follow this
news trail to update yourself on latest developments @GI Tags -

Always remember not all questions are doable. Your preparation should be such that you
are able to answer at least 40-50 questions without any guesswork.

Post that you should revisit the questions where you have some familiarity with the
options or content and try using the Art of Tikdams to arrive at the right answers

This is only doable when you practice Tikdams throughout your IAS Preparation as a part
of the Civilsdaily Flagship Tests [Click Here] or your daily doze of
Prelims Daily Questions [Click Here]

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B. The Art of Tikdams

- Extrapolate your basic knowledge to eliminate options which appear out

of context
Elimination Tikdams - Zero down on 2 choices and then mark the question as per your risk
- Read the question well and work out the answer from within the options
Estimation Tikdams - Most of the times UPSC plays with words or embeds clues within the
question. A smart aspirant figures them out!
- Broad sweeping statements all, always, only, entire
Red Flag Tikdams - Unnecessary negative sentence which seems odd & logically incorrect

I. Elimination Tikdams

Building upon basic knowledge You train yourself to extend your estimation capacities
and crack the question!

Take an example here:

Q1.) Which of the following country is not a member of Mercosur?

(a) Argentina
(b) Brazil
(c) Venezuela
(d) Mexico

Even if you dont remember much about Mercosur but could recall reading
TIKDAM about it in an article about trading blocks at Civilsdaily, you would be able
to vaguely remember that it had members from South America. And
Mexico is in Central America or North but definitely not in South So you eliminate the
odd now out and get your answer.

Sometimes you would be able to eliminate only two options. Its advisable then to mark
a tukka between the two options that you are left with (50:50 KBC style).

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Take the case of this question:

Q2.) Consider the following statements

1. The Executive Power of the Union of India is vested in the Prime Minister.
2. The Prime Minister is the ex officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board.
Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Everyone should know that 1st statement is incorrect <if you dont know this,
no need to do PHD in art and culture but immediately go back to Laxmikant>
Statement 2 even if you dont know, you should mark either b or d after
doing akkad bakkad bambe bo. You can do the math of probability, right?

What if you are able to eliminate only one option? Well, then You should mark based on
your preparation and risk appetite.

This question (Prelims 2015):

Q3.) In the Index of Eight Core Industries, which one of the following is given the
highest weight?

(a) Coal production

(b) Electricity generation
(c) Fertiliser production
(d) Steel production

Anyone with slightest knowledge, common sense and logic can easily
eliminate fertiliser <agricultures contribution to GDP <18%, fertiliser ka
kitna hoga>. With some more logic you can reach to electricity.

Now post that you have to choose between steel and coal. This is where you need to take a
final call. But we hope you understand the importance of having your basics correct and
honing your thinking to the Tikdam level.

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In mock tests (as also in exam), read every question and every option carefully. Dont
leave a question even if you dont have much idea about without reading the options.
Apply all your previous knowledge and all the logic at your disposal to see if you can
arrive at correct answer or if you can eliminate at least two options.

For instance this question (Prelims 2015):

Q4.) Which one of the following best describes the main objective of Seed Village

(a) Encouraging the farmers to use their own farm seeds and discouraging them to buy the
seeds from others
(b) Involving the farmers for training in quality seed production and thereby to make
available quality seeds to others at appropriate time and affordable cost
(c) Earmarking some villages exclusively for the production of certified seeds
(d) Identifying the entrepreneurs in village and providing them technology and finance to
set up seed companies

Many of you would leave this question just after reading seed village concept. Lets
assume that you have no idea about the concept. Lets read the options

(a) option seems like a BS option. Why should anyone discourage farmers
from buying seeds from others if they are of good quality! Eliminate that.

(c) option, is it even possible to earmark some villages exclusively for seed production
i.e leave your animal husbandry, farming, other activities just produce seeds! This gets
eliminated too.

Now you can choose from b and d.

The point we are trying to make is dont move without reading all the options.

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Q5.) Which one of the following issues the Global Economic Prospects report

(a) The Asian Development Bank

(b) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(c) The US Federal Reserve Bank
(d) The World Bank

Global report should be published by a global body, right?

You can easily eliminate Fed and European Bank. Asian bank can also be
ruled out similarly <though there is a possibility of even regional institutions
publishing global reports>

Note: International reports are very important for prelims. Be on top of them while you
can. Here are some important compilations.

Q6.) Consider the following statements :

1 The Legislative Council of a State in India can be larger in size than half of the
Legislative Assembly of that particular State
2. The Governor of a State nominates the Chairman of Legislative Council of that
particular State.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

TIKDAM Even if you dont remember the exact provisions, think what would be the
purpose of making a law if size could be more than half. If it can be more
than half, it can be anything!

This helps you in eliminating the first option.

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If you have read your Polity well, you would know that provisions are made to limit size
(<15% size of CoM, <1/3 size of councils)

II. Estimation Tikdams TIKDAM

Q7.) The term IndARC, sometimes seen in the news, is the name of

(a) an indigenously developed radar system inducted into Indian Defence

(b) Indias satellite to provide services to the countries of Indian Ocean Rim
(c) a scientific establishment set up by India in Antarctic region
(d) Indias underwater observatory to scientifically study the Arctic region

TIKDAM Estimation: Name se clear hai India and Arctic. Hence, Option D.

Q8.) The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is constituted under the

(a) Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

(b) Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
(c) Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
(d) Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Whenever Bt cotton or BT brinjal issue comes up, environment ministry

rakes up an issue. You can estimate the answer to be EPA - Option C.

Note: This should be known; so no need for TIKDAM. If you are not aware of the whole
GM Crops saga, read this -

Q9.) Which one of the following is the best description of INS Astradharini, that was
in the news recently?

(a) Amphibious warfare ship

(b) Nuclear-powered submarine
(c) Torpedo launch and recovery vessel
(d) Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

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Look at this question like a newbie. You did not by-heart the list of INS in
news that year (who would!) and yet you need to apply tikdam into this
question. What then? Can you break the keyword here?

Astra dharani = Astra ko dharan karne wali

Thats it the smart hack of breaking that hindi word and matching astra with torpedo
will give you the correct option that is (c)!

Q10.) Consider the following international agreements:

1. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
2. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
3. The World Heritage Convention

Which of the above has / have a bearing on the biodiversity?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2. and 3

TIKDAM Common sense estimation: Statement 1 mentions genetic, statement 2

desert, statement 3 heritage, natural heritage sites. All of these augur for
biodiversity. Hence option D is the correct one.

Makes you feel empowered, right?

Tikdams are the corner stone of our Test Series Philosophy at Civilsdaily and an amazing
number of students benefitted from our way of explanations last year (IAS Prelims 2016).

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III. Red Flag Tikdams TIKDAMS

Some important red flags which should alert you to the possibility of statement being

In such situations, you should pause and think about that possibility. We are not saying
that statement with red flags would always be incorrect, what we are saying is that you
should pause and think about that possibility.

Such Red Flags are:

- Broad sweeping statements all, always, only

- Unnecessary negative sentence which seems odd or seems logically incorrect
- Over exaggeration

Take this question from prelims as an example:

Q11.) With reference to Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-
ARC), consider the following statements:

1. It was established very recently in response to incidents of piracy and accidents of oil
2. It is an alliance meant for maritime security only.
Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

TIKDAM Look at the statement 2 Maritime security only.

You should observe this and think if it can be false. Its actually false as this
organization has noting to do with security <economy actually>. Also if it had to focus on
maritime security only statement could have been, It is an alliance meant for maritime
security <ye to nhi likha hoga naa that cant talk about anything except security>

Now look at the statement 1 very recently <could it not be recently, its a very lame reason
actually> but you should think, are skeptic, mark them right if you are sure they are right.

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Also statement 1 and 2 contradict each other. Accident of oil spills are not related to
maritime security.

Note: You should anyway know that this organization is focused on economy and both
the statements become incorrect automatically and no such TIKDAM required. But still,
see how we arrived at the answer with very basic knowledge!

Q12.) With reference to inflation in India, which of the following statements is correct?

(a) Controlling the inflation in India is the responsibility of the Government of India only
(b) The Reserve Bank of India has no role in controlling the inflation
(c) Decreased money circulation helps in controlling the inflation
(d) Increased money circulation helps in controlling the inflation

Option 1 only should make you think - its logical that inflation would be
the responsibility of both govt and RBI, yes primary responsibility of RBI
but even only RBI would be incorrect.

Also if statement one is true, two has to be true and both cant be true simultaneously
<single choice answer>

Statement c and d are opposite so one has to be true unless money supply has no role in

Note: Very easy question, if you have done your NCERTs and solved all economy
questions asked in the Flagship Test Series - you will get this correct, no matter what but
still, understand and appreciate the power of Tikdams.

Lets take another prelims question:

Q13.) With reference to bio-toilets used by the Indian Railways, consider the following

1.The decomposition of human waste in the bio-toilets is initiated by a fungal inoculum.

2. Ammonia and water vapour are the only end products in this decomposition which are
released into the atmosphere.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Option 2- why only water vapour and NH3, why not CO2 and other gases.
Stands to reason. Again it should make you think. You should not mark a
statement incorrect just because you see only.

Note: We dont think anyone would remember all the gases which are released so this
question is apt to be solved by our Tikdam after thinking about the statement.

What do you think about this one?

Q14.) Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding National Innovation
Foundation-India (NIF)?

1. NIF is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology under the
Central Government.
2. NIF is an initiative to strengthen the highly advanced scientific research in Indias
premier scientific institutions in collaboration with highly advanced foreign scientific

Look at the exaggeration in the statement 2 - High advanced scientific

research with highly advanced foreign institutions.

Note: Knowing about NIF was imp. These Tikdams work only when you are well
prepared. So, make sure that you are regular with Civilsdaily news updates on web and
android app.

Make sure that you are attempting the FREE initiatives at Civilsdaily aimed at bridging
your daily news analysis gaps.


Click here to know about daily Free* initiatives

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Q15.) With reference to fly ash produced by the power plants using coal as fuel, which
of the following statements is/are correct?

1. Fly ash can be used in the production of bricks for building construction.
2. Fly ash can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement concrete.
3. Fly ash is made up of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide only, and does not contain any
toxic elements.

Look at the statement 3 - Why cant there be anything else in fly ash? You
might not know much about that but think if that was the case, they should
have written made up of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide, what was the
need of silly only?

Q16.) With reference to dugong, a mammal found in India, which of the following
statements is/are correct?

1. It is a herbivorous marine animal.

2. It is found along the entire coast of India.
3. It is given legal protection under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 3 only

Look at the statement 2 - It should at least make you think, at least 1 km

stretch mein to nahi milta hoga. Now you can say what if the statement was
deer is found everywhere in India??

Tikdam is only to stop you and make you consider the other possibility!

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C. Can Tikdams be Used by a Beginner?

Absolutely Yes.

If you are a beginner at IAS Prep and are still feeling less confident about applying these
unconventional methods, let put you to ease by these 3 examples:

Read this question from the IAS Prelims 2016. If you are a beginner to IAS Prep, how will
you approach this question? (Assume very little background knowledge)

Q17.) With reference to Astrosat, the astronomical observatory launched by India,

which of the following statements is/are correct? (IAS Pre 2016)

(a) Other than USA and Russia, India is the only country to have launched a similar
observatory into space.
(b) Astrosat is a 2000 kg satellite placed in an orbit at 1650 km above the surface of the
Earth via PSLV.

The question asked you to select the correct statement(s) of these two.

Look at this question and think like a beginner.

If you just started your IAS Preparation, its likely that you have no idea about Astrosat or
even if you do, you might not know the intricate details which this question put forth.

Does that mean that as a beginner you will have to mug up on all the factoids of current

Think again and apply the Elimination & Estimation Tikdams here.

As a beginner, when you read about the space missions and related
activities in news, you will invariably find mentions of China, EU along
with USA, Russia in the strategic missions in space. Now even if you do
not know about Astrosat in particular, think & eliminate Is it possible that EU, China etc
would not have attempted something that India just did?

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During your preparation, you will come across the launchers PSLV, GSLV
etc and you would know about their load taking capacities and learn that
PSLV has an upper limit at ~1680 kgs.

Now this piece of knowledge becomes wisdom for a sincere student and that becomes a
powerful estimation technique when he applies it on the second statement!

There is no way in hell that 2000 kg of mass can be transported by a PSLV. Thats wrong!

And voila, you get your answer!

You can easily cross both the statement and attempt the question without the knowledge
of Astrosat in particular. Thats what tikdam is. Is this guesswork? NO.

Lets give you another question from the Civilsdaily Flagship Test Series. This is an early
bird sneak peek!

Q18.) Recently, India has joined Hague Code of Conduct, consider following

1. It was established in 2002 to prevent the spread of ballistic missiles that can deliver
weapons of mass destruction
2. It is the only normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles
3. It is a voluntary legally binding multilateral body

Which of the statements given above is/are Correct?

a) 1 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 2 only
d) 1,2 and 3

What do you need to do to solve such CA questions?

1. Stay up to date with daily news YES. In fact, we recommend that you read from our
FREE android app daily to get the top 10-15 news items relevant for UPSC Click here
to download.
2. Knowing the basic terms of Polity voluntary, legally binding agreements etc etc
YES. You gain this from reading your NCERTs properly

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And Tikdams - The art of reading the finer details of a question

Red Flags in the option choices Option 2 & 3 are counter intuitive to each
other. If one is the other cant be. Also, a voluntary body cannot be legally
binding! There goes the option 3 down the drain.


Note: Again, it is better to know exact provisions so that Tikdams are needed only in
difficult questions. Hence, be thorough with your NCERTs and basics.

And above all, be regular with daily news & editorial summaries at the Civilsdaily App.

Q19.) What are the significance of a practical approach to sugarcane production known
as Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative?

1. Seed cost is very low in this compared to the conventional method of cultivation.
2. Drip irrigation can be practiced very effectively in this.
3. There is no application of chemical/ inorganic fertilizers at all in this.
4. The scope for intercropping is more in this compared to the conventional method of
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

1 and 3 only
1, 2 and 4 only
2, 3 and 4 only
1, 2, 3 and 4

TIKDAM Statement 3, no chemicals, none at all, pause and think, this could be true
but read the question again practical method. <practical mein to thoda scope
hoga hi chemicals ka>

We hope you are now more comfortable with Tikdams and can appreciate their usage
across categories.

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D. 4 Commandments for Success @IAS Prelims

With these examples it should be amply clear that one needs to:

1. Finish basic books,

2. Read questions and options carefully, pause and reflect if you can apply Tikdams
3. Practice test papers,
4. Revise weaker topics

The Civilsdaily Test Series is LIVE. Students can join in anytime and can avail all the
tests that have been conducted in past. The tests never lapse.



For any further clarification on TS Modules, write to us at

Theres no substitute for hard work and studying standard books. Once you are done
with them, practicing papers help in knowing our weak areas and taking corrective steps.
Tikdams are like check lists which enable us to pause and rethink and prevent us from
making mistakes.

If this compilation helped you get a fresh perspective at IAS Prelims, share this forward.
Your friends will appreciate you lightening their preparation anxiety as we are sure you
did too.

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