April 24, 2024

Role of PYQs in acing your UPSC Mains Examination

Many young Indians dream of a government job because it is a significant achievement since it offers them security, prestige, joy, and a good salary. 


This blog highlights the importance of the previous year’s question papers when preparing for your main exams. 


Before we begin, we should first understand what UPSC is and how it can change your life.


The Union Public Service Commission, or UPSC, conducts an exam once a year, wherein lakhs of Indians compete for a spot to work as civil servants. By clearing the UPSC examination, you can get into several civil service posts based on your performance and preference.


Table of Content

What Career can I pursue after clearing UPSC?

There are many career choices available after clearing UPSC. There are 23 civil service sectors. The most popular ones are the Indian Administrative Services or IAS, Indian Foreign Services or IFS, Indian Police Services (IPS), and Indian Revenue Services or IRS.  


There are three categories with different posts, these are;


Category Post
All India Civil Services
  1. Indian Administrative Service, IAS
  2. Indian Police Service, IPS
  3. Indian Forest Service, IFS
Group A Services
  1. Indian Corporate Law
  2. Indian Foreign Service
  3. Indian Audit & Accounts Service
  4. Indian Civil Accounts Service
  5. Indian Defence Accounts Service
  6. Indian Defence Estates Service
  7. Indian Trade Services
  8. Railway Protection Force
  9. Indian Revenue Service
  10. Railway Traffic Service
  11. Indian Postal Services
  12. Indian Railway Personnel Service
  13. Indian Railway Accounts Service
  14. Indian Information  Services
  15. Indian Ordnance Factories services
  16. Indian Communication Finance Services
Group B Services
  4. Section Officer’s Grade



Why should you consider giving the UPSC exam?

By clearing the exam conducted by UPSC, you can establish your career as a civil servant. Not only is the pay good, but you also get to learn a lot in the service area you are in. In addition to that, you gain prestige among fellow mates and family and job security.


What do UPSC aspirants struggle with? 

UPSC aspirants dream of clearing the civil service examination on the first attempt or in the following attempts. While some aspirants tend to clear their exam on their first attempt, others initially struggle with the exam but then clear it on their second, third, or fourth attempt.


Many civil service aspirants struggle with understanding and/ or completing the UPSC syllabus on time. Some simply have a hard time solving the questions despite having covered the UPSC syllabus with several revisions.


The ultimate goal is to study smarter, and you can do that once you have a sound understanding of the syllabus and the pattern of questions in the exam.


When preparing for an examination, the best way to approach it is by covering the UPSC previous year’s question paper thoroughly


What is the importance of the UPSC previous year’s question paper?


The UPSC previous year’s question paper is an important tool when preparing for your exams. The previous year’s question papers give you an understanding of the exam pattern and the trends. 


  • Understanding the upsc exam pattern and trends that may follow: with the help of previous year papers, aspirants can identify their weak spots and the types of questions asked. It also gives you insight or a preview into what you might expect in your exams.
  • Solve as many papers as you can: the best way to ace your UPSC mains is by solving as many past papers as you possibly can. By solving these papers, you can identify important topics and also get a sense of the trend. Moreover, you can identify your weakness or weak spots and work on them as you prepare.
  • Join a training institute or coaching institute: training institutes or coaching centers usually hire people who have cracked or cleared civil service exams. Thus, it is best to learn from someone who has first-hand experience in attempting and successfully clearing the exam. 


The best coaching/ training institutes and courses you can opt for your UPSC exams are as follows;

  • Physics Wallah, available online
  • Legacy IAS academy in Bangalore
  • Vajiram & Ravi’s IAS Academy in Delhi
  • Brain Tree India in Hyderabad
  • Sriram IAS in Delhi


In a nutshell, we can conclude that the previous year’s questions in UPSC play a critical role in acing the UPSC exams. Not only do the previous year’s questions in UPSC cover important topics but you also get a sense of the format of questions asked and it helps you analyze the structure of the paper and strategically prepare for the best result.


What can we learn from the UPSC topper 2021? 


Shruti Sharma, UPSC topper 2021 joined a coaching institute to prepare for the UPSC exams. She prepared for four years and cleared her exam on the second attempt by preparing diligently for the exam.


She initiated her preparations by reading the newspaper daily and focused mainly on current affairs both on the national scale and international scale to clear her prelims. She also mentions being patient during her preparation period and relying on the internet for answers.


She swears by the previous year’s question papers and recommends going through them to get an idea of the type of questions you may come across. In some instances, questions can repeat but the question structure can be different.


In conclusion, we can say that PYQs are vital to acing your UPSC Main Examination. Start your preparation as early as possible. Brush up on your basics such as history, general knowledge, and external affairs then move on to other parts of the syllabus. In case you have queries related to the study material or PYQs, feel free to reach out to us.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the age limit for giving UPSC exams? 

Ans- You must be 21 years old to give the exams and cannot be older than 32 years. However, there is a relaxation period for OBC and SC applicants. For OBC candidates, a relaxation period of 3 years is applicable i.e., they can appear for the exam till they are less than 35 years of age.

  • How many attempts can I take for the exam?

Ans- The number of attempts allowed per candidate varies depending on the category you applied for. For the general category, the maximum number of attempts for the exam is 6, whilst for OBC it is 9 attempts.

  • Where can I find UPSC’s previous year’s question papers? 

Ans- You can find UPSC’s previous year’s question papers on UPSC’s website or you can simply follow this link https://www.upsc.gov.in/examinations/previous-question-papers

You can choose the previous year’s papers based on your chosen language. In addition to that, you can choose the papers based on compulsory subjects and optional subjects.

  • Are questions repeated in the exams? 

Ans- Yes, questions may repeat, but the question style may be different to confuse the candidate. The best way to attempt such questions is by solving past papers to understand the pattern and structure of the questions.

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