Understanding UPSC CSE 2020 Cut Offs
The cut offs for UPSC CSE 2020 were released yesterday and caused many shock and awe moments across the community. It is pertinent to understand the implications of these numbers and their impact on your larger strategy.
It is evidently clear that the UPSC has not considered a few questions while estimating the cut off for the Prelims. This could be because of the ambiguity in some of the questions and respective answers. Every year, since the past few years, the UPSC opens a temporary portal after the Prelims exam wherein anyone can report any issues with the framing of the questions and option choices. It seems like the UPSC has taken the same into account, and discounted the same from the overall calculation.
A lot of you would have estimated around 90-100 marks assuming the cut off for the Prelims would have been around a 100, and missed by a whisker. With the General cut off to be 92.51, a lot of would be wondering if you got a 95 then why did you not make it. The culprit here, are answer keys. While we tend to assume the answers we get wrong from the answer keys as wrong, we also assume that the answers we get answers we get right from the answer keys are necessarily right. There is a simple thumb rule, always a +/-5 marks from the average you get after cross checking from a minimum of 2-3 answer keys.
The marking for the Mains 2020 has been rather strict. There could be multiple reasons behind this. What concerns us are the academic reasons! Most of the questions asked for GS Mains 2020 were either very predictable or generic, as a result, most people were able to write attempt most questions if they had the time. This leads to the crowding out effect wherein, the overall range of marks gets reduced.
With the overall pass percentage for Prelims and Mains less than 50 percent, a lot of you would be wondering if it makes more sense to attempt lesser questions than you normally do in the Prelims. The simple answer is, don't! Make absolutely no change in your larger plan, attempting matrix, and strategy just because the cut offs seem off.
Most importantly, if you are someone appearing in the Prelims 2021, don't spend time discussing how the cut offs were. Instead, just stick to what you have been doing, and you would be perfectly fine :)