Significance of solving UPSC Prelims Previous Years' Papers before UPSC Prelims 2022

For an IAS aspirant, it goes without saying that they must go to all lengths, leaving no stone unturned in their UPSC Civil Service Examination preparations. It takes months and years of sheer hard work to secure a career in the higher civil services of the government of India. Don’t be surprised if we mention that, along with these factors, there is one more crucial aspect that the aspirants should consider for their UPSC Prelims 2022. Last-minute preparations!

The UPSC Prelims 2022 exam date is set for June 5th, 2022. These last few months before the examination date call for rigorous final preparations. Aside from days of revisions and practice tests, one of the most significant ways to pump up the preparations at the eleventh hour is to solve UPSC Prelims previous years’ papers.

The UPSC Prelims consist of Paper I and Paper II, and they are both conducted on the same day. Both the papers have objective-type questions with MCQs. Once the candidates clear their UPSC Prelims 2022, they will be eligible to appear for the Mains exam, which is set for September 16th, 2022. After that, the third round of the Civil Services Examinations will have an IAS interview.

Coming back to the UPSC Prelims 2022, the first stage of the examination, let’s look at the exam and the passing pattern.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern



No. of Questions

UPSC Total Marks

Duration Negative marks
General Studies I Objective 100 200 2 hours Yes

General Studies II (CSAT)


80 200 2 hours Yes
  • The qualification for General Studies I is based on the cut-off that may differ each year.
  • The qualification for General Studies II is set at a minimum score of 33%.

Which year’s UPSC Prelims question paper should the candidates solve?

IAS exam candidates should aim at solving the last seven to ten years' question papers of the UPSC Prelims exam. However, if there has been a change in the trends or syllabus, then the candidates must consider solving the question papers that follow the ongoing syllabus.

What is the significance of solving UPSC Prelims previous years’ papers?

1. Credible test material

The last few months of the UPSC Prelims preparation can be spent solving as many question papers as possible. And what better than the official UPSC prelims question papers to practice with? Solving the official papers give aspirants the closest experience to that of appearing for the exam.

2. Quantitative results

Along with solving the previous year’s question papers, it is also important to self-evaluate. Aspirants can refer to the IAS prelims solved papers to verify their answers and score their performance. The quantitative results help the aspirants have a vision of their potential scores in the UPSC Prelims 2022.

3. Time management

For a time-bound exam like UPSC Prelims, solving papers can get the aspirants into the habit of finishing their exam in the given time and strategize their time allocation. This also helps the candidates spare some time for revision at the end of the exam.

4. Assessment of the weightage of topics

By reflecting on previous years’ UPSC question papers, one can find a pattern in the trends of topics and the marks weightage that they carry. This provides aspirants with a better perspective when prioritizing topics with higher marks distribution.

5. Active revisions

Solving previous years' question papers is an active revision method that helps the candidates improve their recall ability and have productive last-minute preparations. Instead of skimming through the notes and loads of study materials, it is more pragmatic to put the knowledge to the test by solving old question papers.

6. Insight into the question pattern

The questions in the UPSC Prelims question papers can take many forms. They can be twisted, simplified, or sometimes carry the answers within themselves. Solving multiple papers from previous years will expose aspirants to various kinds of question patterns, which will help them solve their papers more efficiently.

7. Solving strategy

Since the question patterns in UPSC Prelims are so diverse, the aspirants need to develop a solving strategy that can keep up with them. After attempting many previous years’ question papers, the candidates can choose their paper solving strategy, like the elimination strategy, clubbing related topics, solving easier topics first, etc.

8. Boosts confidence

Last but not least, solving ample UPSC Prelims question papers from previous years makes aspirants more familiar with the exam. They possess more knowledge and experience in solving the paper, which ultimately gives a confidence boost. This is equally important as any other strategy to clear the UPSC Prelims 2022.

As soon as one finishes their syllabus, they should aim to attempt old question papers and refer to UPSC Prelims solved papers. The candidates can use Pearson’s UPSC study materials to ensure that they have covered all the curriculum. The books are very engaging as they comprise storytelling, easy language, and appealing visuals to help the IAS exam candidates learn better. Quality study materials combined with solving previous years’ question papers can help UPSC aspirants perform their best in the exams. 

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