In this blog post, you will learn about the importance of referring to previous year question papers. I do not know whether you believe this point or not.
UPSC board is likely to pull the questions from previous year papers. They do this on a regular basis. We have observed the repetition in 2015 and 2017 paper.
Also, the exact question was asked in 2015 from 2014 paper. These are just samples to let you know that questions get repeated.
In prelims UPSC exam, almost 5 to 10 questions might get repeated from previous year papers. Sometimes, if you are lucky then the number just shoots up to 20.
Many times, candidates tend to ignore the previous year question papers. In another way, they spend time in solving the number of mock test series.
Of course, attending mocks is also important. But, you should not ignore previous year question papers. I recommend you to practice more from old question papers.
Please do not keep the repetition of questions in mind. There are also other important advantages. Mainly, you will understand the nature of UPSC questions in the standard format.
Importance Of Solving Previous Year UPSC Question Papers
Here is the list of benefits you get by solving the previous year question papers. Have a look at it below.
Better Understanding Of UPSC Exam Pattern
The civil services exam syllabus is huge. You already know about it. Similarly, the UPSC exam pattern is also not easy to understand with one-time reading.
Generally, students rush into the preparation without having a basic understanding of exam pattern. You do not make the same mistake. Please understand the nature of questions as the first priority.
When students have a glimpse at previous year question papers, they will get a brief idea about the UPSC exam. By the time you solve a few papers, you will understand the expectations of the UPSC board.
In turn, you will get an overview of the topics to be covered for both prelims phase and mains.
Analysis Of Question Pattern
What happens when you solve from the previous year question papers? You will understand the question types asked in each subject.
You should know how to analyze the questions. Observe the words used in each question type. The UPSC board tend to use tricky sentences in order to confuse the students. So, even simple questions appear to be complicated.
You will understand the standard of questions asked in UPSC exam only after solving. The moment you understand their demands, you are done with the main preparation.
Later, you can try to understand what to read and how much to read under each topic. It all happens automatically during the process of preparation.
Analyse The Trend
When IAS aspirants solve question papers of the previous year, you will understand the trend followed by UPSC board. You need to observe this specifically for the mains exam.
You will just get a brief idea about the list of important topics. As a result, you will know which topics need to stress. Also, what other topics you can ignore to some extent. In this way, you will not waste much of your time and energy.
Practice Gives You Perfection
Previous year UPSC question papers are very much helpful for practicing. You might get hundreds and thousands of mock papers. But, the exact mimic is not possible.
UPSC standard itself is at a different level. When you prepare from such papers, it is easy to get an idea about the questions that might appear in the upcoming exam.
Learn Self Assessment
Just studying and practicing will not fetch more marks in the civil services exam. You also need to assess your preparation level. Solve the question papers and assess your performance thoroughly.
You can solve both mock papers and previous year question papers. It would be better if you have a mix of both. Especially, the IAS exam demands self-assessment.
It shows where your mistakes are present. No one can be perfect in the first step itself. Identify your mistakes and learn from them as soon as possible.
When you solve the question papers, you will get an opportunity to correct the mistakes and work on them.
Best Ways To Solve Previous Year Question Paper
When you solve the question papers, it should help you reap the maximum benefits. Also, you should gain good retention ability. These two factors are very important to find success in the civil services exam.
In the first place, make it an everyday habit. Go through the question papers on a daily basis. This will boost your confidence level. In addition, keep yourself updated about the exam pattern.
I would like to give you a minimum target. If possible do more than it. Try solving one practice paper set having at least 200 questions. You can accomplish this target in a week’s period.
Practicing from previous year question paper is nothing but a revision of that particular subject. Keep the below points in mind while working on such question papers.
- Ensure that you attempt only after completing the entire syllabus. Yes, it is the ideal time to make an attempt with previous year question papers. So that you can write under perfect time constraints.
- Make sure you withstand the rules in relation to time, speed, and accuracy. Just because it is a practice paper, you cannot ignore these factors.
Your final score is completely depended upon these three factors. Attempt the question paper with the same mindset. Otherwise, your practice sessions will be of no use.
- Keep the summary of all the formulas and concepts. When you are attempting the previous year question papers keep the notebook beside.
Write all the important formulas in the same notebook and update it whenever required. You will be using it in one or the other tests. Revise the notebook after a regular interval of time.
- Make sure you maintain the performance tracking report. It helps you to assess the preparation level. Do not proceed with assumptions in mind.
You might feel that the preparation is smooth. Students will get to know the reality only when the performance in each test is recorded.
Tips To Analyze The Question Paper
Do you know how to analyze the papers? There is a way to do it. Just writing them on a regular basis will not make your UPSC preparation complete.
Analyzing them is also equally important. In fact, it is important to devote more time for analysis purpose. Later, you can attempt them and practice.
From the next time, spend a good amount of time only in analyzing of the question paper. Consequently, you can start attending the questions.
By doing so, it helps you to learn from a mistake at a faster rate. Being perfect is more important than the number of practice papers.
You can observe the following during the analysis. Then, implement them during the following practice sessions.
- Get to know your strong and weak points.
- Recognize the silly mistakes at the earliest. Also, ensure to avoid them in the final exam.
- Increase the speed of writing answers. Identify your highest scoring areas.
- Find any other alternative sources and shortcuts to solve the question paper.
Things You Must Avoid
Please do not waste time by attempting Current Affairs and GK papers. It does not solve any meaningful purpose. These subjects are about recent happenings. It cannot give you a repeated pattern to analyze.
Instead, you can read from plenty of standard reference books, newspapers, and magazines. However, do this on a regular basis. So that you will be updated about all the important news.
Otherwise, it will be quite difficult to score good marks in this subject. However, you will need the help of previous year question paper to understand the difficulty level.
Once you understand the trickiness and time pressure, there is nothing more to extract from question papers in this case.
Which Question Paper Is Best Suitable For UPSC Preparation?
How many previous year question papers you should solve? Can you miss any of them? Yes! Please do not refer to more than 5 to 7 years. The exam pattern keeps changing every year.
If you go with more than 7 years, there is a possibility of getting trapped in confusion. Few subjects like Physics, English, Chemistry, Math, and data interpretation must be practiced from previous papers.
It is okay, do not worry about exam paper pattern changes with respect to these subjects. If pattern changes, concepts will not!
At last, do not forget to analyze the level of your UPSC preparation. Strengthen yourself in the weak areas and be 100 percent prepared. The day you finish the syllabus, keep the previous year question papers in hand. Start with your practice without turning back!