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  • November 20, 2016
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Hello guys. Today I will be presenting past year questions which appeared in Indian Economic Services (IES) Exam from 2009-2016, together with their marks distribution. This will give you some broad idea, about the kind of questions asked, which topics you have to prepare, is there any trend in the type of questions and how important are numericals in this exam.

Let us start with the broadest view of Paper 1, in terms of what is the proportion of marks for various topics in Paper 1, Indian Economic Services (IES) Exam.


  1. Apart from 2010 and 2014, in all other years, paper was not well distributed. It has always tilted more towards one of the topic, for instance, Consumer theory in 2011, 2012 and 2013; Theory of Value, with whooping 51% in 2015 and Statistics and Econometrics in 2016
  2. Consumer Theory and Theory of Value are most important, as is evidenced from the fact, that in no year from 2010 to 2016, their combined weightage is less than 37%. In 2012, their combined weightage is about 70%.
  3. Apart from 2012 and 2013, Part B i.e. Stats/Econometrics and Maths, carry a weight within the range of 27% to 47%
  4. Theory of Distribution and Welfare Economics, have the least weight. This does not mean that these topics are not important, because, if examiner wants he can test you on many issues from these topics, but surprisingly, that is not the case. We never know, next year they may start asking lot of questions from these topics. For that matter, about 1/4th of the paper was from Welfare Economics in 2009, but after that there is a secular decline

Now, let us start analysing questions year wise from 2009 to 2016.

Year 2009


  1. There was lot of Maths and Econometrics asked. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that the syllabus was a bit different in 2009 from the present one (may be I am wrong) because questions like Kuhn Tucker, Shadow price, Total Factor productivity, Superlative index numbers, Quadratic forms, were never asked again.
  2. Welfare Economics also have a sizeable portion in this year. They have asked existence of equilibrium. It has been given as a proof in Nicholson and Snyder. Its weightage has been pushed up because of Public goods questions infused in this topic in the syllabus
  3. Leontieff input output model, Prisoner’s Dilemma, Lorenz Curve have been asked and will be asked many times in the future too (from 2009-2016). Guys, do remember, you cant depend too much only on regular questions only, I will tell you why, because, these regular questions are like ‘sitters’ , which every one has to do correct, your positioning will be secured if you do non traditional questions well. Having said that, you cant take a risk of getting these regular questions wrong, but dont be so satisfied with your preparation, if you can only get these regular questions correct. They are like, their doing will not give you much positives but their non-doing will give you a lot negatives. I hope you understand whatever that means

Year 2010


  1. Numericals have started peeping into the paper from this year, about 22% of the paper was numericals. You cant ignore them
  2. Apart from the above discussed repeated problems, you get some more in your bag, for example, Substitution and Income Effects, Elasticity of Substitution, Hicks-Kaldor Criterion, Scitovisky’s improvement and CLRM assumptions
  3. They have been asking Linear Programming problem repeatedly. At least do at the level of Class 12th NCERT

Year 2011


  1. Numericals have increased in their weightage from 22 % in 2010 to 34% in 2011.
  2. Other repeated topic is Elasticity of demand (but they have been asking it, in addition to its various ancillary topics ), CES production function and Price Discrimination
  3. Something from Theory of distribution have been asked and that too a very simple question

Year 2012


  1. Many new topics were added in the question paper, such as asymmetric information, Moral Hazard Problem, Risk Aversion, EV and CV
  2. They have asked a question on White Noise and Random walk, which is from Time Series Analysis. In 2016, they have asked a question from this topic too, Dickey Fuller Test
  3. Linear Programming which has been asked always as a numerical, was asked as a theoretical question. Now this is a problem, as you must also know a theoretical background of several mathematical techniques.
  4. Because of many new topics and less weightage to traditional ones, many students would have found this paper difficult. Don’t depend just on past year questions only, they should guide you into the mind of an examiner, but don’t be misguided that these are sufficient. Past year questions are NECESSARY but Not SUFFICIENT.

Year 2013


  1. Again 34% of the paper was Numerical based
  2. Most of the questions were asked from Consumer Theory and Theory of Value
  3. They have asked a question on Entry Deterrence, a topic which is a part of Paper 3. I have seen this quite a few times across papers of Indian Economic Services Exam (IES), that they ask questions, sometimes which cut across papers
  4.  Linear Programming Problem and Elasticity of demand numericals, show their presence in this year too

Year 2014


  1. I love the person who has set 2014 Indian Economic Services Paper, as he asked 51% of Numerical based problems. If someone has no grasp over mathematical techniques in economics, 2014 paper was a nightmare for him. Good thing about numericals is, that they can fetch you very high marks and bad thing is, they can pull you really low, if you do them wrongly or don’t know how to solve them
  2. The level of numericals asked in IES paper is not very high, you guys, if work little hard, can develop a knack of solving them easily. If you are a pass out from university, where they teach economics in a mathematical fashion, it should not be difficult for you
  3. They have asked quite a bit of Econometrics, for instance, Autocorrelation, Heteroscedasticity and Co-integration in Time Series Analysis

Year 2015


  1. More than half of the paper, 51% was asked only from Theory of Value. Questions from Markets have been sprinkled so generously throughout the paper, as if, someone who would have done just this topic thoroughly, would have pulled up lot of marks
  2. I have been seeing this trend since last two-three years,  that they pick up one topic and throw many questions around that. This way examiner can really make someone nervous, since you don’t know for sure, which topic they will over-emphasize this year, so you have to prepare it all, with all the length and breadth of the syllabus covered.
  3. The proportion of pure numericals fell to 37% in 2015, but apart from them, may other questions, which were asked, could not be solved without basic mathematical bent of mind

Year 2016


  1. I found this paper tough, as there were very few traditional questions. Many first timers, were asked, such as Money illusion and demand curve, efficiency-equity, proof of different elasticities (discussed in Nicholson), second order conditions, Dickey Fuller test, Market equilibrium question, ANOVA, Distributional Inequality
  2. If someone would have prepared through a traditional route, I am sure, he would have faced a lot of problem
  3. Even numericals which were asked were little tricky
  4. Prepare this paper thoroughly.  Don’t go by any trend. These would have been thoughts going on in the mind of paper setter while setting this paper. By his innovation in finding new questions, he has surely crushed may under his feet. I hope and I wish, that next year, you are not among them  . Hence, my advice is prepare everything or at least which looks like everything. Preparing some tit-bits here and there won’t help much

I hope this information would help you

All the best


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