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How to analyze UPSC Previous Years Question Paper

UPSC Prelims


The UPSC Exam is without a doubt one of the toughest exams when it comes to competition. Held every year, lakhs of hopeful candidates compete for a few thousand seats. Therefore any edge that is a step closer to success.

One of them is carefully analyzing the yesteryear’s question paper. This allows a candidate to familiarize themselves with the small details concerning the exam. In this article we will highlight the importance of analyzing UPSC Previous Years questions as well as the steps that can be taken to do the same.

Why is it important to analyze and solve previous years’ UPSC Question Papers?

As said by the toppers themselves, the first step towards preparing for the UPSC exam is to understand the syllabus of the UPSC. And the best way to do that is to solve and analyze previous years UPSC Question Paper.

Along with understanding the pattern of the exam, one can also identify the trends of questions being asked over the years. In a way, candidates can better prepare themselves for the type of questions which might come their way

Steps to analyze UPSC Previous Year Question Papers

  1. Note the type of questions: A beginner to the UPSC Exam must first take note of the type of questions that are asked in the UPSC. For example in the UPSC Mains one should note certain keywords like “Discuss”, “Critically analyze”, “Examine”, etc. These keywords will enable the candidates to write suitable answers as per the question and potentially score higher than your competition.
  1. Make note of Hot Topics: UPSC has go-to topics which they ask every now and then. Some of these topics are about international groups like the UN, SAARC , environmental conventions such as WWF, Kyoto Protocol etc. Keeping up with these very trends will be of immense help.
  1. Identify the Most Asked vs The Least Asked Areas.

There are certain portions in the civil services syllabus that are asked repeatedly and then there are those that are not asked.For example, questions from Modern Indian History will be asked one way or another. Certain events like the different Congress sessions are usually asked most of the time.

In contrast there are hardly any questions from the Medieval or Ancient History portions, but it doesn’t mean that they should ignore this portion altogether as that can be a fatal mistake altogether. Sure once can focus more on one part more than the other. Admittedly it does take a while to get a hang of which sections give you the best output and which one does not.

  1. Marking the trends

The UPSC Exams are known for their unpredictability. But there are still certain trends that can be tracked by those who analyze the exam with diligence. For example, the current affairs segment made up a significant portion of the total number of questions asked over the subsequent years in comparison to the few instances that were asked decades ago. Nowadays being well-versed with current affairs alone can up your success factor in the UPSC Exams.

Candidates can even find UPSC Prelims Answer Keys in the given link to complement their UPSC Question Paper Analysis.

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