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Hacks and Tricks for UPSC Prelims – PYQs and MCQs

Hacks and Tricks for UPSC Prelims – PYQs and MCQs

If an aspirant really wants to crack the UPSC exam the one thing is to do must. which is to solve the Previous Year Question (PYQ) paper. Practising PYQ can be a valuable thing for preparing for every aspirant. Here aspirants will know  hacks to analyze PYQ’s more effectively for a better results in UPSC.

How to analyze PYQs for UPSC 2023

Understand the Previous Question Format

During UPSC preparation it is necessary to analyze the previous years question papers before solving them. Only after the analysis, aspirants will be able to understand the format and type of the question very well, which is very important.

When the aspirants will know the format, then after reading the question, he will get an idea that it is like a question and then he will solve it accordingly. Analysis of PYQ in UPSC is must for starting preparation.

One should not guess any question in the exam hall by reading it in haste. Once the type of question is known, then the chances of getting the answer correct increase.

Focus on Important Topics

The second most important thing is to make a list of important topics from which questions have been asked in previous years. It becomes very important for the aspirants preparing for UPSC 2023 to first identify the important topics and note them down while analyzing the pyq.

It may take more time but it will save a lot of time later. Once you have the list, you will not have to think much while studying which topics to focus on and which ones not to.

In a way, it will convert the hard work of the aspirants into smart work, which will also increase their efficiency.

Understand the Weightage of the Questions

After making the list of topics, keep the UPSC syllabus together and note down the weightage of the question according to that topic or subtopic. Due to this, if a topic is very big and questions are being asked less, then the reason for paying attention to it is that aspirants will pay more attention to those topics from which more questions have been asked.

Aspirants who have less time for the exam must study the weightage of the questions.

Start Practicing PYQs

Now it comes to practice, the more you practice, the better you will be able to analyze PYQ. Once the aspirants do the analysis well then it will help them a lot in the actual exam of UPSC 2023.

Keep practicing and keep improving wherever needed. There is nothing to stop you after solving previous year papers start practicing UPSC test series / mock tests.

Practice is such a work that the more you do it, the better result you will get.

Review and Reflect

After practicing and analyzing the PYQ, aspirants reflect deeply on what you have learned. What is your strength, which topic is good, what is your weakness, how can you improve all these, work on it.

Pay maximum attention to those topics from which more questions have been asked and also your weakness.

How do you classify the questions? 

Mainly, there are four types of questions.

  • The first type are the sure-shot questions. Make sure you answer the question with full confidence. Here, if you attempt 50 questions, at least 45-47 questions might be correct. 
  • Secondly, 50/50 where you’re not very sure. Do attempt these questions as you’re confused between only two choices. If you attempt 30 such questions, 15 questions will likely be right. 
  • Thirdly, where you’re confused between three choices, let’s say, as per probability, there are nearly 10 questions of this type. In case you got only three questions right. It means you’re getting 6 marks and 4.5 negative marks in total (6- 4.5 marks =1.5 marks) is a surplus. 
  • The last option is the fourth option, where you have no idea what is going on, and you make a guess. 

If you feel you’re not a superlative candidate and fall in the middle of the bell curve, the ideal mix of questions here would be:

Category 1 – 50 questions 

Category 2 – 25-30 questions 

Category 3 – 10 questions 

Combined, you would attempt 85 questions and get enough marks to crack the prelims MCQs. 

Also, if all three put together are only 70 questions, then go for a guess. However, try to avoid such questions. To achieve this, make sure you prepare well. 

  • If the question paper is easy, try to attempt at least 90 questions. On the other hand, if it is tough, go for at least 80-82 questions and follow the strategy discussed above. 

Some tips that helps you in Analyzing PYQ for UPSC Exam

  • Start by organizing all the previous year question papers in chronological order.
  • Identify the recurring patterns and topics from the questions.
  • Please focus on understanding the frequently asked types of questions and the presented format.
  • Analyze the trends in questions over the years to identify the areas of the syllabus that receive more importance.
  • Take note of the weightage given to different sections in the question paper and allocate your study time accordingly.
  • Understand the level of difficulty of the questions and focus on practicing similar level questions.
  • Finally, use the insights gained from the analysis of the previous year’s question papers to fine-tune your study plan and improve your chances of success in the UPSC (CSE).

UPSC Prelims – MCQs

The UPSC Prelims syllabus is vast. A deep understanding of every concept is needed; otherwise, it might be difficult to reach the cutoff. The first and most important thing is to make a well-organised study plan and a realistic and achievable timetable to pass the exam. Another important point to score well in the UPSC prelims MCQs is to read from the right sources.

The UPSC prelims are one of India’s most challenging exams. Students who aspire to serve the country as civil servants and become IAS and IPS sit for this exam. 

Some great study tips can help you get an edge over other million students sitting against you. As the complexity of the exam increases, it also builds pressure on aspirants. To minimise your pressure, we are going to highlight some useful hacks and tricks that you can follow for the UPSC prelims exam.

Steps or tips for scoring well in UPSC Prelims – MCQs

Clearing UPSC prelims MCQs takes you one step closer to your dream of being an IAS officer and serving the country. Here are some of the important hacks and tricks you can consider while preparing for the UPSC prelims. 

  • Before taking the exam, assess yourself and prepare yourself to come under the top 100 students. 
  • As per the last two years, the cutoff is generally 100 marks. If you’ve attempted 60-65 questions where 55-57 are correct, there are more than 100 marks. It means you will clear it. 
  • If you think the question paper is challenging for you, it is tough for everyone. Of Course, it applies only when you have prepared well. 
  • Do not answer only 60-65 questions or 90-95 questions because if 50 are wrong, then it would be impossible for you to clear the exam. In such a scenario, opt for the 50/50 strategy and attempt 80-85 questions. Here, you will have 50-55 questions correct and 20-25 questions wrong. Hence, your net score will be between 107 and 108, and you will be comfortably placed above the cutoff going by the last 2-3 year trend. 


Additionally, by understanding the question format, focusing on important topics, understanding the weightage of the topics. You will be able to analyze PYQs more effectively and improve your chances of success in the UPSC 2023 exam.

Even after aspirants need guidance for their preparation can take help of any good coaching institutesIAS NEXT is one of most reliable institute for UPSC preparation. They provide UPSC Classes in a very affordable fee.

Read Also: “5 Tips for Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE)”

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