A Concise Guide on The Importance of PYQs For Cracking the UPSC Exam

The UPSC examination is one of the most prestigious examinations in India. Every year thousands of candidates write the examination. 

The UPSC examination is divided into three stages, Prelims, Mains and the Interview Round. It is essential for a candidate to understand the exam pattern and syllabus thoroughly before you start your preparation for the examination. While we do understand that the humongous UPSC examination syllabus might seem overwhelming at the beginning, however, using previous year question (PQYs) papers can ease your process. 

PQYs will help in drawing attention to the core areas that need the most attention and will help in identifying the question patterns that you should prepare for the examination. 

If you wish to understand the importance of PQYs for the UPSC exams, then stick to the end of the article as we share all the details.

Why are practicing PQYs important?

Solving previous year question papers will help in doing a SWOT analysis. You will understand the areas you have adequate knowledge about and the topics that you should work on. As your examination approaches, practicing the question papers will help in gauging your preparation and will provide adequate revision provisions. 

The question papers will analyze the important areas of the UPSC examination. For analyzing the previous year's papers, here are some tips that you can include in your preparation techniques. 

Firstly select a particular topic that you wish to cover, then go through the question papers and write down the questions that have been asked for your topic. Now focus on the patterns of questions asked and understand what is generally asked on the subject. Now consider the weightage that is given to the topic each year. If you find that the marks weightage is less, you can prioritize it accordingly. Now select your study sources and create notes on how you should answer the question. 

If you wish to know more about how to create effective notes for your UPSC examination, you can go through our concise guide explaining the same. 

Prepare notes for different topics as well and you can even make value additions in your answering by including verified facts from newspaper editorials as well. 

A quick analysis of the previous question paper has shown that some of the following patterns are commonly observed in the question paper

  • For Prelims
    • History- Gandhiji and his movements, government acts, movements (socio-economical), peasant, civil and tribal movements
    • Indian Polity- Parliament, Government, judiciary, fundamental rights, DPSP, union and local government, fundamental duties, constitutional/ non-constitutional bodies, preamble and schedules
    • Economics- macro inflation, banking, FD, government schemes, monetary policy, agriculture, international institutions development, investment, trade, BOP, taxes and fiscal policy
    • Environment Related Topics- Ecology, important treaties or conventions, biodiversity, climate change acts, pollution, resource conservation and protected areas.
  • For Mains, in GS papers I, II and III, the question patterns are moving towards current-affairs based. But some repeated questions can be observed in the optional papers. 

Practicing previous year's question papers helps in boosting confidence as aspirants develop a general idea of the type of questions that usually come in the examinations. Answering the questions provides a nerve boost and toughens them to face the overwhelming atmosphere of the examination. 

How should you practice the question papers?

As we all know, practice makes a man perfect, it is essential to practice the previous year question paper in a proper way as well. 

While you practice the question papers, time yourself to check how much time you are taking to complete the answers or include effective management techniques if required. You can create techniques on your own to boost your writing speed. 

As solving papers help in revision, make sure to practice them enough before heading to your main examination. Sometimes questions can come rephrased or molded in the final papers, preparing answers according to the different question patterns can help in gaining an upper hand in the examination. 

Bottom Line

Now there you go, hopefully, the article was able to showcase the importance of solving previous year's question patterns for UPSC examinations. 

Solving the question papers helps you to understand the question pattern generally asked in the examination, aids you to form a better preparation strategy, helps you to remain abreast on the latest topics, and also helps you to practice smart. 

Prepare the question papers diligently, and take active notes and we are sure that you will definitely be able to pass the UPSC examination with flying colors.