Referring to, nay scrupulously solving the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers plays a pivotal role in sharpening your answer writing skills. Besides, doing so equips you in various ways to perform better while you face the Civil Services Exam.
Why is solving the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers crucially important for you?
Solving the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers leaves a highly positive impact on your preparation for the IAS Exam at multiple platforms. You would be pleasantly surprised to discover the advantages for yourself when you undertake the exercise for a few times.
Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers vs. the Mock Test Series
A great many of the IAS aspirants tend to marginalize the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers preferring to solve the Mock Test Series instead. The reasons may vary from one candidate to another.
However, the most prominent of all is the convenience to undertake the exercise. A huge majority of the IAS aspirants prefer joining a regular IAS classroom coaching institution in Delhi. They feel that doing so would make it easier for them to prepare for the IAS Exam.
The study material and the Mock Test Series provided at the IAS coaching(s) are some of the major crowd pullers towards these institutions.
That is to say, the candidates find it easier practicing the Mock Test Series because of multiple reasons. The major ones are listed below:
- Ease of access: The candidates find it easier to access the Mock Test Series as they are readily provided by the coaching institutions they are enrolled at.
- Reliable Evaluation: Further, the answers are evaluated by the well experienced faculty.
- Query Solving Sessions: The queries are also discussed and answered to the satisfaction of the students by the faculty members.
Above all, the complexities of practicing the Mock Test Series are readily taken care of by the coaching institution. As a result, the students feel that their preparation for the IAS Exam is going ahead in a smooth manner.
And yet, what makes the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers score an edge over the Mock Test Series?
Most importantly, you should be able to clear the IAS Exam with a high score. And that is what that really counts rather than the ease of attempting a Mock Test Series for one reason or another.
And it’s here that solving the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers scores an edge over the Mock Test Series. Here are the major advantages of solving the Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers
1. Helps understand the UPSC Exam Pattern
Almost all of the IAS aspirants are likely to be aware of the huge syllabus that UPSC prescribes for the Civil Services Exam. Besides, almost nobody can deny that the UPSC Exam pattern is not easily understandable. An IAS aspirant is not likely to understand the same simply by reading the past year’s question paper once.
So, it is advisable to solve the previous years’ question papers repeatedly. Doing so at least for the previous 5 or 7 years would give you a broad idea about the UPSC Exam pattern.
2. Candidates get to understand various types of questions
When you make it a practice to solve the past years’ UPSC question papers, you also get to understand various types of the questions that UPSC asks.
Many a times, the IAS aspirants begin with preparing for the Exam in a hurry without paying much of the attention to the nature of the questions that might be asked in the Examination. However, understanding the type of the questions should be the first priority in order to prepare for the CSE in a logical manner.
3. Helps understand the question pattern
The very task of understanding various types of the questions (as described above) provides you with a brilliant opportunity of understanding various types of the question patterns as well. Just pay a thought to it. The very mechanism of answering the question papers from the previous years familiarizes you with the type of the questions that might be asked for each of the Papers including both the Prelims and the Mains.
Next, the process of answering the questions in a logically convincing manner would require you to analyze the same. UPSC does make use of tricky sentences. No wonder, even the seemingly simple questions are actually quite complicated to confuse the students.
The point to be noted is that by solving the previous years’ Papers, you would be getting a knack of the pattern for the questions asked by UPSC. The moment you understand the type and the pattern of the questions that UPSC asks, you get set on the right path to prepare for the Civil Services Exam!
Besides, once you get to understand how to analyze the type and the pattern of the questions, you would also get to understand what to read, from where to read and how much to read, for answering the same.
4. You get to notice the changing trend
When you make it a practice to solve the previous years’ papers repeatedly, you would naturally notice all of the changing trends introduced by UPSC for the CSE. It would be a great advantage in itself. As you begin to understand the Examination trend and the changes whenever there are any (and of whatever kind there are, be it the type or the pattern of question etc.), you would be preparing accordingly.
5. Practice helps you strive towards perfection
The Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC is simply matchless when it comes to the competence. It automatically explains, once again, why none of the Mock Test Series (no matter, howsoever competently designed it might be) can be treated at par with the UPSC question papers by any means. Thus, it is wiser and of course makes sense to practice solving the UPSC question papers as frequently as possible.
6. You May Make A Self Assessment
Only studying and practicing is not going to serve any purpose. You need to keep a track of your progress for the impending Exam. And solving the previous years’ question papers repeatedly would help you keep a track of your progress.
And when you make an assessment of your progress, you would get to understand how much and in which of the areas you are lacking. And you may prepare accordingly.
How to solve the previous years’ UPSC question papers?
Solving the previous years’ UPSC question papers not only give you a knack of the type and pattern of the question, apart from the Examination trend, but also helps you prepare better for the impending Exam. The practice also improves your grasping and retention powers. It helps a great deal when it comes to crack the IAS Exam in the very first attempt itself.
Here are a few tips on how to solve the previous years’ UPSC question papers
Follow the tips given below to gain the maximum advantage of solving the question papers:
1. Make it a regular practice
Make it a regular practice to solve the question papers. Doing so everyday would help you the most. It will enhance your confidence. Besides, you will get to understand the Examination trend as well.
2. Complete preparing the syllabus first
Make sure that you prepare the complete syllabus first. Once you do so, you can attempt solving the question paper within the same time frame as UPSC allows for the Civil Services Exam.
Be sure that you observe what all is required as far as time, accuracy and speed are concerned. Being well aware of all these constrain would help you face the Civil Services Exam with a far better competence.
Do not ignore any of these constrains only because you are solving one of the previous years’ papers and not facing the CSE right now. It will be in the best of your own interests to practice sincerely if you are keen on clearing the CSE.
So, make it sure that you practice answering with the mindset similar to what you are supposed to have while answering the question paper in the UPSC CSE exam itself. Otherwise, your practice would not result into anything gainful.
3. Keep the facts ready
It is advisable to keep a notebook by your side and take down brief notes for the relevant facts, formula, quotes etc., while you prepare for the Exam. Update the details in your notebook as and when required.
Keep revising the details from your notebook on a regular basis. Doing so will help you recall the entire information when you practice answering the previous years’ papers.
And the practice described above would also help you answer the question paper in the Civil Services Exam with a greater confidence and skill.
4. Record your performance
You might feel that your preparation for the IAS Exam is going great guns! However, the truth might be far from it.
You may get the true picture and prepare accordingly only when you keep a record of your performance while solving various UPSC question papers from the previous years.
Analyze the Question Paper before you answer it
You might be surprised, but it’s true that only practicing answering the previous years’ UPSC question papers is not going to serve any purpose unless and until you get to know how to analyze the question paper first. It is the analysis of the question paper followed by answering it in a logically convincing manner that makes the practice of answering the question paper complete.
Thus, it would only be in your own interest to analyze the question paper first before you begin to answer the same. Besides, answering the paper perfectly and in a logically convincing manner is far better rather than answering a greater number of the question papers. It is a qualitatively competent attempt that counts more.
Advantages of analyzing the question paper well
Analyzing the paper well before you begin to answer it helps you gain a number of advantages. The major ones are listed below:
- You get to know your strengths as well as the drawbacks
- You get to recognize the illogical mistakes you make. Thus you can avoid them in future. And it is a great advantage.
- Practicing answering the question papers increases your answering speed. Besides, you also get to know where you would be likely to score the most.
What should you avoid?
Attempting the Current affairs and the GK Papers is a big NO! The subjects are best on the current developments. Thus, answering questions based on them is far from giving you a repeated pattern for the sake of pattern analysis.
Rather, it would be good if you read the standard books for reference and newspapers, apart from magazines. It will keep you updated concerning all the latest developments as far as Current affairs and GK is concerned. Otherwise, it would not be easy to score well in the areas concerning the GK and the Current Affairs.
Which Question Paper is Best Suitable For UPSC Preparation?
As the CSE Pattern keeps changing, it would be quite logical that you practice answering the UPSC question papers from the past 5 to 7 years only. Besides, there are some of the subjects including English, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, data Interpretation etc., for which preparing from the previous years’ papers by practicing answering them often would be quite helpful.
A Word of Caution
Do not be under an impression that UPSC would be repeating the questions from the previous years’ papers. They might or might not be repeated. But practicing the previous years’ papers would definitely help you a great deal making you better equipped to face the UPSC Civil Services Exam.