Indian Economic / Statistical Service General English 2020 Paper

IES ISS Questions

Time Allowed is Three Hours and Maximum Marks are 100. There are six questions and all are to be attempted.

Q1. Write an essay on any one of the following topics in about 800 words: 30

(a) Effects of Global Warming

(b) Role of an Effective Opposition in Democracy

(c) Life is Action, not Contemplation

(d) Education as a Means to Women's Empowerment

(e) Effect of Social Media on Youth

Q2. Make a précis of the following passage in about one-third of the original length, using your own words: 30

What part should reading play in our lives ? It should certainly not be a substitute for action, not for independent thinking, nor for conversation; but it may be a help and stimulant to action, thought and talk; and it is capable of providing almost infinite pleasure. There on our bookshelves or on summons from a library are wit, wisdom, adventure, romance from all ages and all over the world. Is there any wonder that our eyes sometimes stray wistfully to the book shelves and away from a dull visitor, or that we shirk a tiresome duty for an exciting book ?

Books or people ? Reading or conversation or, nowadays, listening into the radio ? Which is the better way to gain knowledge or to spend your leisure ? Some fortunate people seem always to find time for both and to enjoy both almost equally. My great friend, Arthur Wauchope, a fine soldier, a most able administrator and a very gifted personality, was a constant reader, yet was always ready to lay aside a book for talk and was a most interesting and interested talker.

The advantages of reading over talk are of course that we can select the book that suits our mood, can go at our own pace, skip, or turn back, whereas we cannot turn over two pages of a tedious companion or close him, or her, with a bang. But reading lacks the human touch, the salt of life, and is, therefore, a dangerous substitute for thought or action. Bacon in one of his essays says that reading maketh a full man; conference (that is talking) a ready man; and writing an exact man. One would like to be full of knowledge, ready in speech, and exact by training. But full of what ? What sort of reading has impressed itself on my memory, and what books have found a permanent place on my bookshelves ?

To begin with my profession, soldiering. I do not believe that soldiering, a practical business, in which human nature is the main element, can be learnt from text-books, and more than can boxing or cricket or golf. But for those who have grasped the principles of war and have understood that the human factor is the most important element in it, there is military reading that is fascinating and valuable.

'Read and re-read the campaigns of the great commanders,' said Napoleon. I would venture to put it differently and would say that the lives and characters of the great commanders are what students of war should examine, since their campaigns are only incidents in them; and that the behaviour of leaders and of their men in the field is the subject for study. Take Napoleon's first campaign of 1796. The text-book will tell you that he won by manoeuvre on interior lines or by the principle of concentration of force or some similar conjuration. One learns nothing, I hold, by such dogma.

In my general reading, history, biography and travel occupy, I think, first place; and since I have spent a considerable proportion of my life in the East there are a good number of volumes on India and the Middle East. There is plenty of poetry on my shelves and a good deal of it in my head. I have put my notions of poetry in a book already and will not repeat them here, except to express my firm belief that poetry in some shape or another is one of the most precious of our heritages, and that much of what tries to pass for poetry nowadays is not poetry at all, and not even decently camouflaged as such. Poetry should dance in the mind, and blow one a kiss; or gallop to adventure with a cheer; or whisper gently of sad things past; not shuffle or slouch past with dark incomprehensible mutterings. Perhaps I am getting old, anyway I prefer the old poets.

Lastly comes what is sometimes called 'escapist' literature, the books we read with no other aim than to rest or to amuse the mind, to forget the day's chores and the morrow's anxieties. This is perhaps the most pleasant form of reading for most.

(701 words)

Q3. Write a paragraph in about 200 words on any one of the following expressions / statements: 30

(a) Punctuality is a precious virtue.

(b) It is better to do a thing badly than not to do it at all.

(c) Courage is the necessity of life.

(d) Love of money is the root of all evils.

(e) Is censorship of Internet necessary ?

Q4. Use the following words in sentences so as to bring out their meaning clearly. Do not change the form of the word. No credit will be given for a vague or ambiguous sentence. 2 x 5 = 10

(a) gregarious

(b) hostility

(c) affluence

(d) boisterous

(e) affinity

Q5. Use the following idioms and phrasal verbs in sentences so as to bring out their meaning clearly: 2 x 5 = 10

(a) a vested interest

(b) at cross purposes

(c) at a loss for words

(d) look down on / upon

(e) put across

Q6. Correct the following sentences without changing their meaning. Do not make unnecessary changes in the original sentence: 1 x 10 = 10

(a) I did not like him disturbing me at that late hour.

(b) Death is preferable than dishonour.

(c) He is enough wise to understand the situation.

(d) He is seldom or ever to be seen at his shop.

(e) The teacher has not yet entered into the classroom.

(f) I am prepared to say it at his face.

(g) He insisted to leave immediately.

(h) He always says the truth.

(i) Wealth is only means, the end is happiness.

(j) I doubt that he will come.