The significance of previous year UPSC answer keys for students starting their UPSC preparation

UPSC – short for Union Public Service Commission – is an organization that holds various examinations and recruitment drives relevant to aspirants willing to serve under the Government of India. The various responsibilities of UPSC include:

  • Conducting entrance tests
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Framing rules and guidelines to be abided by
  • Making the required amendments when necessary
  • Ensuring discipline
  • Advising the Indian Government on pertinent matters

Students may pick from a diversity of fields to work in, from geology, defence, police armed forces and forestry to various engineering and economist roles.

The significance of previous year UPSC answer keys for students starting their UPSC preparation

The various examinations under UPSC are some of the most challenging to crack. Each year, lakhs of candidates compete for only a relative handful of vacancies (no more than a thousand). Due to the very small likelihood of cracking the exam, multiple attempts are offered to candidates attempting to clear the evaluation tests (around 4 for the General category, 7 for OBC, and no limit for SC/ST).

If you are confident enough about getting through on your very first try, then it’s well and good. But many feel immensely let down after realizing that they were not able to clear an exam. The disappointment that accompanies such a minor blunder shouldn’t discourage you from giving this another shot.

Tips to have a successful attempt

A useful tip to consider in order to boost the probability of success, irrespective of whether it’s your first attempt or last, is paying close attention to the previous years’ question papers and their associated answer keys.

The answer keys are nothing but a document containing the correct option number for each question that can be found on the official website of UPSC.

By glancing through the previous years’ papers, solving each problem, and referring the corresponding, upsc prelims answer key students will have a basic idea on the optimum approach to tackling the problem. Through practice, you will be able to devise a strategy that saves up on a lot of time: an essential factor that plays a significant role in cracking the exam.

Here is how you can proceed with your preparation:

STEP 1: Look up the question paper and start solving the question. You need not worry about the duration at first.

STEP 2: After arriving at a solution, check the respective answer key to determine if your answer is spot on.

STEP 3: If correct, don’t just stop there. Find out alternate ways of coming up with the answer more efficiently.

STEP 4: If incorrect, then you need to reconsider the approach being utilized and brush up on your fundamentals.

Having access to just the previous years’ UPSC question papers is insufficient to level up in your preparation. With just this resource, you may be able to solve as many problems as per your desire, but without knowing the correct answer to each of these, you would never know if the knowledge and concepts being applied are precise. Pinpointing errors is indispensable in your study, which becomes impossible without being aware of the answer keys.

Important things to remember

  • The answer keys are put up on UPSC’s official website within 1 – 2 weeks after the exam and are uploaded In other words, you need to acquire the question paper for the respective answer key document.
  • The format of the document is such that the correct option number is written next to the associated question number. The content from each is excluded.
  • The description so far does apply to candidates enrolling themselves in disciplines that require a fair amount of expertise in science, mathematics, or statistics. Examples of such roles include engineering, economics, etc.
  • There are some papers, however, that are based largely on facts and general knowledge. Irrespective of the domain, candidates are expected to possess a mix of both analytical skills and subject information.

Ensure that you start collecting answer keys with the corresponding question papers well in advance. Solve as many problems as you can and compare your solutions to the answer key. Don’t forget to practice enough MCQs and try coming up with faster ways of arriving at the desired conclusion. Time management is of utmost priority in all UPSC exams.