Trend Analysis of UPSC Mains GS Paper 3 from 2013 to 2016

UPSC Mains subject wise weightage

The General Studies Paper 3 comprises of topics like economics, agriculture, environment, science and technology, etc. Before 2013, there were 2 GS papers and 4 optional papers in the UPSC civil services mains exam. After the pattern change, there are four GS papers and 2 optional papers. In this article, you will read about the trend of questions asked in the IAS mains GS paper III over the years from 2013 through 2016. We have categorised the questions under some broad categories and also given the total marks asked from them.

The following table gives the broad classification of topics in GS paper 3:

Topic 2013 2014 2015 2016
Economy 70 87.5 62.5 75
Agriculture/Food industry 40 25 50 50
Science/Tech/Environment/Disaster 85 75 75 75
Security 55 62.5 62.5 50
Total 250 250 250 250

As you can see from the above table, economy and science and tech have been the topics from which maximum marks have been asked. Next, we have taken each category and analysed them further by dividing them into subtopics.


Economy can be classified into growth, budget, liberalisation and infrastructure/investment. The following graph gives the total marks for which questions have been asked in these topics from 2013 to 2016.



In the next graph, the subtopics under agriculture and the food industry are given.

It is evident from the graph that there has been no definitive pattern followed by the UPSC in this category. The questions asked have been varied. 2015 saw maximum questions from the topic ‘food processing’ but in 2016 there was no question on that topic. Last year, ‘cropping’ saw the most number of questions. Moreover, this was the first time there were questions on that topic ever since the pattern change in 2013!


In this segment, questions have been categorised as science & tech, science & tech (Indian), environment and disaster. Check out the graph given below:

The share of disaster-based questions has progressively increased in this paper. There is almost even distribution of marks among the topics although last year there were no questions on developments in science and technology not involving India/Indians.


This final graph gives the breakup of the questions under the security category.

Ever since 2013, there have been no questions on money laundering. Questions on border have been consistently asked for a bulk of the marks.

Also See | Analysis of 2016 Mains GS Paper 3

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