The IAS Exam, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, is considered one of the toughest exams in the country because of the unpredictability of the questions asked in the exam. The question paper set by the commission has a fresh set of questions every year, and there is no history of repetition of questions. Also, the commission has set broad topics in the syllabus of the preliminary stage, and the previous years’ question papers will help in simplification and a better understanding of the boundaries of the syllabus.

When a candidate decides to appear in the Civil Services examination, then one of the first steps in their preparation has to be analysing the IAS question paper. If the aspirant wants to clear the exam, then they definitely have to do this step before they start their preparation. Also, one can try solving the previous years’ papers without looking at the answer keys, to gauge their level of preparation.

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This article will be useful for the candidates, who don’t know the importance of solving UPSC previous years’ question papers to crack the Civil Services examination.

What are the Benefits of Solving UPSC Previous Years’ Question Papers?

To understand any competitive exam, one must go through and analyse the previous year’s question papers. Solving previous years’ question papers definitely gives you a competitive edge over other candidates. Irrespective of the different study materials and notes you would use to prepare for each subject in this exam, you will be able to clear this exam only if you have analysed the previous years’ papers.

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Therefore, let’s discuss five benefits of solving UPSC previous years’ question papers, which will make you realise the importance of it in cracking this exam.

  1. Boundaries of the syllabus – If you look at the prelims’ syllabus prescribed by the UPSC, it is very short and broad. By looking at the previous years’ question papers, one can understand what is important and unimportant, in the context of the IAS Exam. For the main (written) exam, a more detailed syllabus has been prescribed by the commission, and the previous years’ main question papers will help the candidates to understand the variety of questions asked under each subject/topic.
  2. Subject wise weightage – There are various subjects like polity, science, economics, history, geography etc., in the syllabus. When you analyse the previous years’ papers, you can find which subject has got a higher weightage. From this, you can decide to concentrate more on that subject. The subject weightage varies from year to year in the prelims paper. But in the main stage, you can approximately know the subject wise weightage.
  3. Difficulty level – The previous year’s question papers help to experience the difficulty level and give an idea of how the questions are framed. This will help you to prepare better and streamline your preparation in the right direction.
  4. Time management – You can take a printout of the previous years’ question papers, set a timer and solve it as a mock test. This will help you to learn how much time you are taking to complete the paper and going forward, you will not face issues of time management on the actual exam day.
  5. Confidence booster – Solving and analysing the previous years’ papers will help you to understand the UPSC pattern and nature of questions asked. This gives a sense of confidence if you can do well while practising the papers.
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The candidates can check the UPSC Mains question paper from the linked article, to find out the mains question papers, starting from the year 2013 to the latest. The candidates can download these question papers and practise answer writing for the UPSC mains. Also, the candidates can learn the language of the questions asked in the mains exam.


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