Civil service examination is India's most prestigious and the most challenging exam. Lacs of aspirants every year dream about qualifying IAS exam but only a handful of them come out with flying colours. It takes consistency and lots of hard work to get your name in the final list. Even after being a highly competitive exam with the vast syllabus and less success ratio, the popularity of UPSC exam is increasing every year. Every year many graduates and working professionals plan to prepare for UPSC with a sparkling dream of being an administrative officer. But often most of the beginners get confused due to vast syllabus, availability of lots of study material, books, and thousand of advice. In the race of reading more coaching material and buying new books, they forget the most important part of UPSC preparation viz previous year question paper analysis.
If you didn’t solve UPSC previous year papers and planning to appear in UPSC, this might be the biggest mistake you are committing in your UPSC journey. Solving UPSC previous year papers is a crucial step for UPSC preparation. Here are the reasons why you must solve UPSC previous year papers:
- Helps in understanding the basics of UPSC:
“To win the battle, it is important to know your enemy’s strength well.”
This saying is aptly applicable for UPSC aspirants. To crack the examination, one should understand the UPSC pattern well. To begin UPSC preparation, you must focus on building a strong foundation and understanding the fundamentals of this exam. UPSC previous year papers are the best resource to understand the exam inside out. Solving previous year papers provide you with a detailed understanding of what this exam is about and how should you prepare your strategy to crack it.
- Guide to the vast syllabus:
One of the biggest challenges that every aspirant faces is the vast and vague outlines of the syllabus. Most beginners often end up thinking that everything under the sun is part of their UPSC syllabus. In the marathon of knowing every fact about the topics, students waste valuable time googling on the internet. The ultimate guide to depth of UPSC syllabus is previous year papers. Practising previous year papers gives you a clear idea of the depth of topics you need to study up to. In UPSC, it is equally important to understand what to study and how to study. Merely researching on topics will lead to waste of time and efforts. The key to understanding the wide and vast syllabus of UPSC is previous year papers. One should definitely practise and analyse the previous year papers while preparing for the UPSC exam.
- Helps in Filtering the Scoring topics:
In every exam, there are topics which contribute to more number of questions in one or other form. To filter the scoring topics of UPSC, previous year papers are the only resource. Analysing previous years papers not only helps you in filtering Scoring topics but indeed gives you an edge over other aspirants. Every single mark is valuable in the UPSC exam, and sorting most scoring topics is an additional advantage one should not miss.
Merely working hard would not be enough to fetch a good rank in UPSC; you need to study smartly and strategically. To get the best outcome of your efforts, you must strategise in such a way that scoring topics should be covered on priority. Practising previous year papers will give you accurate insight into the scoring topics of the syllabus.
- Real Exposure to UPSC standard:
No matter how much time you have invested in reading books and practising various mock tests, previous year papers are the exclusive source that can give you real exposure to questions of UPSC exam. Solving previous year papers is the best UPSC preparation tip for beginners. It will help you in understanding the type of question asked in UPSC exam. If you have started the basic readings of NCERT and other books, solving UPSC previous year exam will help you to fine-tune your preparation as per the UPSC standards. Many times aspirants who cleared Mains failed to clear Prelims in subsequent years and there are enough data to prove the same.UPSC anthem (question/syllabus/pattern)can’t be ignored regardless of experience. For beginners as well as experienced veterans, solving and analysing previous year papers are of utmost importance. One should never skip previous year papers while preparing for the UPSC exam.
- Keeps your Preparation on track:
Due to the availability of lots of study materials and coaching notes in markets, beginners often end up spending lots of time reading unnecessary materials and topics. To keep yourself on the right track of preparation you must keep practising previous year papers. It will help you to assess your preparation strategy and level. It will give you a comprehensive understanding of syllabus and question standards of UPSC. The detailed analysis of previous year UPSC papers helps you to select relevant study material and keeps your preparation on track.
- Boost your confidence:
Solving previous papers doesn't only give you insight and right track for preparation; it also boosts your confidence level. Solving UPSC mock papers is recommended to practise and strengthen your understanding of topics, similarly solving UPSC previous papers enhance your strength and makes you more confident of clearing the exam. Combination of confidence and hard work is an essential combination to crack IAS exam. Revising and practising previous year questions enhance your knowledge as well as confidence.
- Repeated questions( BONUS):
One of the easy fruit of practising previous year papers is getting similar or repeated questions every year. In UPSC exam you must not miss the low hanging fruits, and these repeated questions are indeed bonus marks. It’s not a coincidence to coin it as Bonus, rather its fact. Every year UPSC questions get shuffled around from many other exams conducted under UPSC umbrella, like CDS, NDA, CAPF etc. Examrobots have done a rigorous analysis of UPSC question pattern and decoded the pattern fanned across multiple exams. As per the deep analysis report of Examrobots the matching percentage may go as high as 50-60%.
If you have practised previous year papers, chances are you will get these bonus marks easily. Those who have never practised the previous year papers will spend more time on the question and maybe left behind in the race of lacs. Thus, to stay ahead in the competition, one must not skip the previous year papers.
- Released by UPSC itself:
When you are planning to start UPSC exam preparation, you must understand the importance of UPSC syllabus and previous year papers. UPSC itself has stated the importance of previous year papers by publishing them on its official website. Aspirants must not miss the clear hint dropped by UPSC. Practising and analysing UPSC previous year papers play a pivotal role in the UPSC preparation strategy. Do not plan to skip previous year papers because it's not just another mock test but indeed a guide to your UPSC exam preparation journey.