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  1. The UPSC asks questions or establish tasks that will require the student to demonstrate command of essential knowledge in the subjective paper of its Main Examinations.

This means the UPSC is not looking at students to merely to reproduce material heard in a lecture or read in a textbook. To “demonstrate command” requires that the question be somewhat novel or new. The substance of the question should be essential knowledge rather than trivia that might be a good board game question.

  1. They ask questions that are determinate, in the sense that experts (colleagues in the field) could agree that one answer is better than another.

Questions that contain phrases such as “What do you think…” or “What is your opinion about…” are indeterminate, They can be used as a medium for assessing skill in written expression, but because they have no clearly right or wrong answer, they are useless for measuring other aspects or achievement. So, there are more chances that in the UPSC test you will find questions statement studded with world like Clarify, Classify, Compare and contrast,….Evaluate, Explain, Illustrate etc.

  1. The UPSC want to define the your task as completely and specifically as possible without interfering with the measurement process itself. It is possible to word a subjective question so precisely that there is one and only one very brief answer to it. The imposition of such rigid bounds on the response is more limiting than it is helpful. It makes things a bit complicated for you as you have to judge how extensive the response must be to be considered complete and accurate.
  2. The UPSC will generally give preference to specific questions that can be answered briefly. The more number of questions asked in the paper, the better the examiner can sample the domain of knowledge covered by the subjective paper. And the more responses available for scoring, the more accurate the total test scores are likely to be. Therefore, you may find some questions asking for responses as short as 100-word, whereas most of the questions would require 200-worlds responses. There are questions where you will have to write responses for 4-5 sub-questions in such a way that total world-limit to questions in 250 words only. This further limits the word-limit per sub-questions to 50-60 words only. In addition, brief responses can be scored more quickly and more accurately than long, extended responses, even when there are fewer of the latter type.
  3. The UPSC Mains questions paper has enough subjective questions to sample the relevant content domain adequately, but not so many that students do not have sufficient time to plan, develop, and review their responses.
  4. The UPSC avoid giving examinees a choice among optional questions unless special circumstances make such options necessary. The use of optional items destroys the strict comparability between student scores because not all students actually take the same test. Student A may have answered items 1-3 and Student B may have answered 3-5. In these circumstances the variability of scores is likely to be quite small because students were able to respond to items they knew more about and ignore items with which they were unfamiliar. This reduced variability contributes to reduced test score reliability. That is, we are less able to identify individual differences in achievement when the test scores form a very homogeneous distribution. In sum, optional items restrict score comparability between students and contribute to low score reliability due to reduced test score variability.
  5. The UPSC generally tests the question by writing an ideal answer to it. An ideal response is needed eventually by the UPSC to score the responses of the test takers. It is generally prepared early, as it permits them a check on the wording of the questions, the level of completeness required for an ideal response, and the amount of time required furnishing a suitable response. It even allows the examiner to determine if there is any “correct” response to the question.
  6. The UPSC specifies the time allotment for each item and/or specify the maximum number of points to be awarded for the “best” answer to the question. Both pieces of information provide guidance to the examinee about the depth of response expected by the item writer. They also represent legitimate pieces of information a student can use to decide which of several items should be omitted when time begins to run out. Often the number of points attached to the item reflects the number of essential parts to the ideal response. Of course if a definite number of essential parts can be determined, that number should be indicated as part of the question.
  7. Wherever it can, the UPSC generally, divides a question into separate components when there are obvious multiple questions or pieces to the intended responses. The use of parts helps you organizationally and, hence, makes the process more efficient. It also makes the grading process easier because it encourages organization in the responses. Finally, if multiple questions are not identified, some students may inadvertently omit some parts, especially when time constraints are great.