One fact that everyone is well aware of, is that the UPSC civil services exam is one of the toughest examinations conducted in the country. This is mainly because of the comprehensiveness of the exam pattern that makes the process lengthy and exhaustive, and also due to the extensive syllabus comprising multiple subjects and various topics.
The above-mentioned reasons have been the main cause why aspirants opt out of UPSC preparation. It is the thought of preparing that scares aspirants more than the actual preparation. However, a smart and strategic plan can help the candidate achieve the desired result.
All aspiring candidates must first analyse the previous years’ trends, papers, minimum qualifying marks, syllabus, exam pattern, and then, based on their review, start with the preparation. UPSC Cut Off can help in apprehending how many questions can be counted as good attempts and which subjects have a higher scope of scoring well. To scrutinise this, visit the linked article.
Another useful suggestion is to solve previous years’ question papers. The benefits of this suggestion have been discussed below. It is recommended that one must carefully go through these points and devote a distinct, separate time for solving question papers during their preparation.
Benefits of Solving UPSC Question Papers
- Analyse the Paper Pattern – Just by going through the exam pattern, one cannot completely comprehend it. By solving question papers that are based on the latest exam pattern, a better understanding of the examination can be gathered. Considering the tough competition, gaining an upper hand over your competitors is extremely important. Thus, ensure that you solve previous years’ question papers.
- Know about Common and Latest Topics – Questions based on certain topics from each subject are generally added in the prelims and mains exam every year. These topics have remained constant and the probability of getting questions based on them in the future is also high. Therefore, while solving question papers, make a note of all the important topics and pay more attention to them.
- Complete Revision through a Single-Mode – Revising all the topics daily may get tough as the exam date comes closer. In such a case, solving previous years’ papers or sample papers which are easily available online, is the best way of revising the entire syllabus at the same time.
- Review the Trend Change – Over the years, there have been some changes observed in the type of questions asked in the paper. With increasing competition, every year the conducting body increases the difficulty standards of the paper, bringing in trend changes. So, one must not just solve the papers but scrutinize the moderations made in the past few years.
- Self Assessment – This is the best way to evaluate your own performance. The marks scored at the end of each paper can help aspirants assess their own preparation and work on the topics which have proved to be their weaker points.
- Understand the Level and Standard of Examination – Since the UPSC exam is one’s direct entry into the Indian bureaucracy, it is important that the best lot of people are shortlisted for administrative purposes. Thus, the level of the paper is also accordingly set to test the candidate’s overall aptitude.
- Look for Strengths and Weaknesses – Once you solve the previous year papers, you can analyse in which section you score the least and where the maximum. Based on this analysis, the preparation and revision strategy can be set. The target should be scoring as many marks as possible in the written papers.
- Increase Efficiency – The practice of solving question papers also lets the candidate get a hang of the paper as well as the atmosphere in the examination hall. The more number of questions solved, the higher the speed and efficiency.
How To Check Answers of UPSC Question Papers?
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases the official answer key annually, on its official website, for all the sets of final exams’ question papers. Applicants and aspirants can review their performance based on this.
Candidates can also visit the UPSC Prelims Question Paper Answer Key page and download the official PDF with the answers to the IAS prelims and mains question papers for past recruitments.
It can therefore be concluded that attempting previous year papers and practice papers that are easily available on multiple online portals has proved to be extremely useful. The same hypothesis can be proved by reviewing the success stories of former IAS Toppers as well.