Follow syllabus, assess old question papers to score well in PSC tests

Kerala PSC
Candidates who pass the preliminary test should focus more on Current Affairs related to Kerala and India

The Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) recently conducted the first phase of the tenth-level preliminary examination for the posts of lower-division (LD) clerk and last-grade servant. Many candidates found the test difficult. There were at least 15 questions that were never asked in the previous exams and some even caused much confusion among candidates.

However, the general pattern of the questions was the same as in the previous PSC tests for these posts. In fact, any candidate who had prepared with the help of previous question papers and by strictly following the syllabus can easily score 60 marks.

Moreover, repeated revisions go a long way in scoring good marks.

Current Affairs tough

But, it must be admitted that the questions in the Current Affairs section were indeed difficult and the options gave no indication at all of the probable answers. Still, candidates who read the newspapers daily and prepared notes did not find the test too tough.

As usual, PSC resorted to twisting easy questions to confuse candidates. For instance, a question read, ‘Name the first Portuguese navigator to arrive in India in order to find a new sea route from Europe to the subcontinent.’  Even candidates who knew the answer to be ‘Vasco da Gama’ might have felt perplexed for a moment. There were four such questions that could be answered correctly by using common sense.

A candidate who could write the answer to the question, ‘Who appoints the members of the state human rights commission?’ as ‘Governor’ would easily know that the answer of ‘Who recommends the members of the state human rights commission?’ is ‘Chief Minister.’

Most of the questions related to Science were based on school textbooks. 

However, there were questions that had no definite answer and are likely to be avoided during valuation. They include the ones on the venue of the International Yoga Day, ‘Princess among hill stations’, the court verdict on the treasures found in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, ‘the distance between A and B if one travels from A to B and back’ and ‘the word not related to equivalent.’

Maths rather easy

The questions in the Mathematics section were relatively easy and some of them dealt with time management. One question asked the candidates to find the multiple of 12 and among the options, there was only one even number. There was no need to even think about the answer and a candidate who attempted to check the values would have certainly wasted time.

Another tricky question read, ‘If an item is given discounts of 20%, 10% and 25%, what will be the total discount?’ You could arrive at the answer by the following method: First, reduce 20% from 100 to get 80. Discount 10% from 80 to obtain 72. Again cut 25% from 72 to get 54. So, the total discount is 100 – 54 = 46. Candidates who stopped their calculations at 54 answered wrongly. In other words, they would have scored if another couple of seconds were spent on thinking.

Cut-off marks

Candidates who obtain the cut-off marks in the preliminary test can write the main examination. With three more phases of the preliminary test yet to be held, the cut-off marks have not been decided. But, it is likely that the marks would be 50-60 for LD clerk and 45-55 for last grade posts. If the cut-off marks are low, more candidates can clear the preliminary exam.

Things to note for the main exam

While preparing for the main exam, the candidates who pass the preliminary test should focus more on Current Affairs related to Kerala and India. In the preliminary exam, there were no questions dealing with International affairs. In the next step, stress can be given to Current Affairs connected to Arts, Literature and Sports. 

Several candidates lost their chance to write the preliminary test as they could not arrive at the venue due to traffic blocks. Some others did not carry identity cards, depriving them an opportunity to sit for the test. Be careful to avoid such issues during the main exam.

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