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Cutoff and Analysis of UPSC civil services Prelims 2022 Paper-1 & CSAT

Hello Dear Students!

We know that you’ll have given your best on June 5th. Do not fret too much about cut-offs and marks now. Worry & regrets cannot change the outcome. Instead, make the best use of your time and start studying for Mains, irrespective of your marks. If clearing the exam is your goal, then do not stop now, no matter how uncertain things may seem. Analyse your mistakes and see how you could’ve done better. Write down a list of learnings from the exam. It will help you in the long run.

We have categorized the questions into sub-topics, as per the syllabus. We hope that this will help you’ll gain a broad understanding about which topics are relevant. We will be updating the “sources” column soon with detailed descriptions.



Our analysis shows that the paper was slightly difficult in comparison to last year. The overall feedback from students has been that it was a tough paper.

  1. New introductions
    • Select the pairs: Our favourite elimination techniques were made redundant, thanks to this innovative introduction by UPSC. A total of 7 questions were asked in this format. We found that the process of elimination (YouTube tricks & tips seemed unhelpful-as we always say) was tough to implement.


  1. Conceptual clarity was of paramount importance: Several questions were tricky-where clarity of concepts was of paramount importance. Knowing a concept definition wasn’t enough, several were application-based questions, especially in economy.
  2. Mapping : It got a lion’s share of questions this time (in comparison to previous years). Most were in the news- thus reading the newspaper along with an atlas is a good habit to cultivate now.
  3. Ancient, Medieval, Art & Culture were tricky– needed lots of memorization of details & terminologies.
  4. S&T: concepts/terms asked are generally mentioned constantly in the news.
  5. International organizations were also asked.
  6. Two government schemes were asked.
  7. Link between static and current affairs: questions needed interlinking of knowledge between the two.
  8. Weightage given to different sections: Nearly equal weightage given to all major topics. Balanced distribution on the whole.


What was required to tackle this paper?

  1. Who has the edge? : An aspirant who has put in consistent efforts and has done multiple revisions.
  2. Why? : The paper was prepared very smartly: precluded the usage of elimination strategies & required one to actually have sound knowledge about all the answers.
  3. Current Affairs: A game changer? : CA facts did play a big role this time. Curiosity to know more paid rich dividends.
  4. Level of Toughness: At the first glance, the paper looks easy since the topics look familiar. However, the devil lies in the details! Superficial knowledge wasn’t enough; the intricacies made the difference this time.
  5. Maps: they played a big role too. Domestic(wetlands,rivers) and international regions(Levant, Afghanistan border, etc) were equally important.
  6. International Relations: A greater number of questions were asked on international regions, organizations and conventions.


This is the categorization of questions in Set A of Paper 1:



ANALYSIS OF CSAT PAPER by InsightsIAS Faculty Pratibha ma’am:

  1. Reading comprehension : They were easy. This time, 2 to 3 questions were based on one paragraph. Moreover, there were fewer inference questions. The questions weren’t so convoluted this time, therefore they were easy to get right.
  2. Quant: In comparison to last year’s paper, it was quite tricky. Nearly 5 to 6 questions from the ‘number system’ required you to use your extra knowledge.
  3. Rest of the questions from percentage, average ,time-work ,coding, calendar, syllogism, direction & blood relation were doable.



“Cutoff of UPSC Prelims-2022: Based on our analysis of the paper, and feedback taken from students, we at InsightsIAS believe cutoff for Paper-1 will be between 81-83 (GM category). More likely it’s going to be around 81. Candidates scoring 80+ should start preparing for Mains after 2-3 days of break. We wish you all the best.”- Vinay GB Sir


Vinay Sir has always been accurate about cut-off predictions as shown below:




On the whole, it was a difficult paper. UPSC constantly keeps innovating and springing new surprises. Always prepare for surprises and uncertainty and face them with a calm mind. Do let us know in the comments as to what you’ll thought of the paper, if you’ll have any feedback about the answer keys or how your exam went yesterday. We’d love to hear about your learnings from the exam.


Until next time!