How to Beat Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims Examination

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This is one of the best strategy provided in UPSC Online Coaching in Hindi medium for minimizing negative marking or Cut Negative Marking in UPSC . Now a days prelims phase of UPSC Exam has become quite toughest phase of the UPSC Exam. Many a times, even the already selected candidates find it difficult to clear the prelims stage in their next attempt as per some Online Classes for UPSC in Hindi.

First of all, you should have clear understanding of the pattern of UPSC Exam. The UPSC exam consist of three stages i.e. prelims, mains and personality test. After clearing all the stages then only you will get final selection in the civil services.

Here in this section, we will discuss mainly about nature and ways to minimize the negative marking of prelims exam of UPSC according to UPSC Online Classes in Hindi. As mentioned earlier, prelims become one of the most challenging part of the exam which needs special focus.

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Now, understand the nature of UPSC prelims according to Online UPSC Coaching in Hindi.

The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks in the subjects set out in sub-section (A) of Section II.

This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.

The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission, to the Main Examination.

Note I : The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.

 Note II: There will be negative marking for incorrect answers as detailed below:

(i)    There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.

(ii)    If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.


Paper -1; No. of question =100; Total marks =200 marks; 2 marks for each question

Paper -2; No. of question = 80; total marks =200 marks; 2.5 marks for each question

Sometimes we make silly mistakes, even if we know the correct answer. This will lead to double loss:

1)  Marks of the particular question is lost.

2)  Also, deduction of the one-third mark from the total marks you gained.

We can avoid the Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims by following the above strategy:

1)  Always read all the option carefully, even if you are sure about first option being right, some time you have to choose most appropriate answer.

2)  Always notice whether the question is asking correct or incorrect or not .You can mark or encircle the word correct or incorrect. It will be easy to remember while solving the question.

3)  Always try to observe the extreme words like only, all, must, none, always, drastically, frequently, etc.  then it may be wrong statement but not necessarily. Hence, you can guess the right answer, even if you don’t know about the topic.

4)  Educated guess work helps us in elimination of wrong answer. Avoid blind guess.

5)  Avoid completely fact based question in guessing where you know nothing. This type of guessing will decrease your marks because of negative marking.

6)  Use elimination method as follows:

  • Case I: If you cannot eliminate any of the answer choices, do not mark the answer.

Explanation: by law of probability, for any four answers marked, you get one answer correct and three answers incorrect.

Thus, you gain 2 marks for a correct answer and loose 0.67×3=2 marks for three incorrect answers.

Your net gain is 0.

  • Case II: if you can eliminate one of the answer choices, you should mark the answer.

Explanation: by law of probability, for any three answers marked, you get one answer correct and two answers incorrect.

Thus, you gain 2 marks for a correct answer and loose 0.67×2=1.33 marks for two incorrect answers.

Your net gain, for three answers marked, is 0.67.

  • Case III: If you can eliminate two answer choices, you must mark the answer.

Explanation: by law of probability, for any two answers marked, you get one answer correct and one wrong answer and loose 0.67 for one incorrect answer.

Your net gain, for two answers marked, is 1.33.

7)  Even a good candidate has to take calculated risk. In every UPSC prelims, there will be 20 to 30 questions, for which candidates are confused among two or three answer choices.

By adopting too conservative strategy in adopting answers, you may actually end up scoring less by 5 to 20 marks.

8)  Always very careful while filling the OMR sheet. Do not leave the OMR sheet to be filled completely in the last hour. It will increase the chances of error because if you mark two answer of the same question by mistake and one of them is correct choice, you will still be awarded negative marks for wrong answer. Thus, to deal with it make an appropriate slot to fill the OMR sheet.

9)  Also, make an advanced strategy on how to attempt the questions in the paper. This will saves your time during exam and avoid confusion while attempting the question.  

First of all, divide the whole question paper into three parts:

  • Those questions whose answer you know with 100% surety. 
  • Those question in which you can eliminate one or two options (say review question). Mark these questions  with circle sign
  • Those question which you don’t know. Mark these question with square sign

Now, in first round attempt those questions in which you are 100% sure. Mark the answer directly in the paper then fill in the OMR sheet.

In second round, attempt those questions in which want to review the answer by doing smart guess (those questions where you have to apply elimination method).

In third round, try to attempt those questions where you have completely no clue by thinking logically if time allows.

10)  Practice as much UPSC prelims test series to adapt the environment of real exam.


  • In this testing time of COVID-19, those candidates find it difficult to practice they can join they can join online UPSC coaching in Hindi/ English.
  • Those aspirants who lack command over conceptual clarity they can join UPSC online classes in hindi /english medium.

Because for making educated guess you have to do extensive and smart study otherwise your guess become blind.

Thus, by minimizing the negative marks you can increase your chances of writing UPSC (mains) Exam.

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