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Importance of PYQs in UPSC
Feb 18, 2022
UPSC is often called the Unpredictable Public Service Commission. This is for those who have not read and analyzed the PYQs. For those who have done the PYQs, the UPSC, in fact, becomes very much predictable. PYQs are like a sneak peek into the thinking process of UPSC.
The utility of PYQs varies as per the stage of the examination. However, they are an indispensable part of UPSC exam preparation.
The Prelims stage is about the MCQs. Generally, it is believed that UPSC doesn't repeat the questions. But this is only half true. UPSC does not ad verbatim repeats the question, but most of its new questions are inspired from the PYQs.
In the 2020 Prelims exam, the UPSC went a step further and ad verbatim repeated three PYQs.
The tendency to repeat varies across the subjects. Static subjects like Polity and History have very limited new developments.
One should revise all the PYQs of these subjects for at least the past 10 years.
Subjects like Geography which are static but from 2013 onwards are having a bigger component of mapping, should also be covered as these may make a comeback anytime.
PYQs also helps us in knowing the method of framing the new questions.
The subject of Economics is a dynamic one. Even then, PYQs are important. There are certain concepts like Balance of Payment, Inflation, Banking etc. that needs to be practiced.
The questions won't be ditto same but if one covers the PYQs, then one can know which themes are more important.
In the case of current affairs, PYQs of only the preceding 3 years would suffice. These will help in knowing which areas are important. For example; one question from International Organizations comes every year. There is a peculiar pattern of asking questions from schemes, which will enable one to know the right way to cover the schemes.
When it comes to the Mains exam, PYQs become even more important.
In the case of Optional subjects, a substantial portion is repeated to the tune of 40 percent. So, PYQs are a must.
For GS Mains Exam, there are some new questions (around 5 questions) in each paper but the rest 15 are inspired from UPSC Previous Year Question Paper.
In the case of Mains, there is a gradual evolution of the questions. The theme remains the same but every year a new dimension is explored. This calls for deeper research on the PYQs and even doing areas related to the PYQs.
Overall we can say that UPSC exam preparation is incomplete without the PYQs.
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