How Previous Years Civil Services Questions Can Help You In Your Preparation

The most reliable source of information for the pattern and previous year paper’s nature (eg. the kind of questions asked in prelims and mains exam) is through the previous years’ papers.

Points to consider before answering Last Year’s UPSC Civil Services Exam Question Papers

But before starting your preparation, you need to go through the previous year’s question papers to know the exact exam pattern.

You need to follow up with the last five year’s UPSC Civil Services Exam question papers, to understand what kind of questions get asked fully.

Solving previous years’ question papers will determine where you stand today in terms of your preparations and what you can also bridge the gap accordingly as it also boosts your confidence.

The UPSC Civil services examination previous year question papers are also distinguished from the practical viewpoint. It requires a lot of practice and patience to get used to it- as it is very lengthy in nature. It would be best if you learned how to manage your time effectively as well, use some time management techniques and come up with the best methods and strategy that works well for you.

Note: You can go through the previous year’s UPSC Civil Services Exam question papers by clicking on this link.

Before going through the previous year’s question papers, you must make sure you know the following:

  1. Know the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam pattern–  Before all, you must be aware of the UPSC prelims exam pattern. There are three stages for the prelims exam:
    – UPSC Prelims
    – UPSC Mains
    – Personality Test/UPSC Board Interview

    You have to crack the prelims exam to appear for the UPSC Mains Exam. The Prelims consists of two papers – GS (which is more commonly known as the CSAT). There are three types of MCQs in the UPSC Prelims, they are as follows:
    – MCQ – single response correct
    – MCQ – many answers correct
    – MCQ – match the following

    Note: Read full details of the UPSC CSE Exam.
  2. Know the UPSC Prelims Syllabus
    1. UPSC Syllabus for General Studies:
      • Current events of national and international importance.
      • History of India and Indian National Movement.
      • Indian and the World’s Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography, etc.
      • Indian Polity and Governance
      • Economic and Social Development
      • General issues on the Environmental Ecology, the Biodiversity and Climate Change
    2. UPSC Syllabus for CSAT:
      • Comprehension
      • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
      • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
      • Decision-making and problem-solving
      • General mental ability
      • Basic Numeracy & Data Interpretation

        Note- For UPSC Prelims GS syllabus, click UPSC Civil Services Exam syllabus
  3. Identify Your Strengths as per the subjects – Endeavouring the toughest exam in the country is a big deal. It requires the aspirants to understand their strengths and weaknesses to make the most out of these two months and to continue preparing with a positive attitude. Everyone will have a talent, like some can memorize facts in less time, etc.

    Try to identify them with a personal SWOT Analysis. This will give you an in-depth understanding about where you are standing today and the steps you will need to reach towards your target goal.

While solving the previous years’ papers, you’ll get to revise what you have prepared as well. You can evaluate your performance while practising with the previous year’s papers and work on your shortcomings. Many of the questions, moulded or rephrased, are repeatedly asked in the exams. Just try to read the questions carefully in your exam, and you will see how helpful it has been.


One of the best source of information is last year’s UPSC Civil Services Exam question paper. A candidate needs to go through the last year’s question papers so that even with the time constraint, he/she will get a fair amount of understanding about the nature of questions asked by the UPSC. Also, USPC CSE doesn’t repeat questions, and this will help you prioritize your studies and to create a study plan accordingly.

Areas covered in this article

  • Points to consider in answering last year’s question papers

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