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Importance of Previous Year Question Papers for IAS Preparation

Dec 3, 2015 19:10 IST

    Cracking one of the toughest entrance exams of the world – the Civil Services Exam requires rigorous preparation and commitment from the aspirants. However, no amount of study will help you understand and prepare for the kind of challenges that the IAS exam question paper will throw up. In order to be able to tackle this challenge, you will have to take the help of previous year Question Papers of IAS examinations. As an IAS aspirant, it is very important to understand the importance of Previous Years Question Papers from IAS Exams. In addition to this aspirants should also know how to use them to their advantage to get the most out of them.
    Below, we shall discuss the important benefits of referring to Past Year Question Papers and how they should be used by the IAS aspirants.

    1. Understand the IAS Exam Pattern

    One of the key ways of cracking IAS examinations is by developing a thorough understanding of the existing Examination Pattern. Referring to previous year question papers help students do this by providing them the necessary information about syllabus and topics covered in the exam. Previous Year IAS Question Papers also help in determining the weightage of marks allotted to different topics thereby allowing aspirants to draft their preparation strategy focused around those topics.
    For instance, if IAS Question Paper has shifted focus from news based question to general informative questions for GS, students will be able to understand this on the basis of previous year question papers for IAS exams.

    2. Understand Question Format & Pattern

    Another way in which IAS question papers help students is by offering a detailed understanding about the type, nature and format of the questions being asked in the examination. This becomes very important for objective type questions that are part of the IAS Prelims Examination. Apart from this, they also explain the level of difficulty or complexity being followed for questions from a particular section. Students familiar with question format and nature will take less time to answer the same during the actual exam.

    UPSC has been regularly including true or false type question in a unique format. One such example is given below:

    Question: With reference to the Union Government, consider the following statements:

    1.The Department of Revenue is responsible for the preparation of Union Budget that is presented to the Parliament.
    2.No amount can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India without the authorization from the
    3.Parliament of India.
    4.All the disbursements made from Public Account also need the authorization from the Parliament of India.

    Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

    (a)    1 and 2 only
    (b)    2 and 3 only
    (c)    2 only
    (d)    1, 2 and 3

    Many students who are not familiar with Question Format and Style will take a considerable amount of time to answer a question in such unique format.

    3. Point out Trending Topics

    This point is very important for General Studies Papers, where the syllabus focuses upon general knowledge as well as the current affairs of both national and international importance. Based on the topics that are common in last few years question papers, students will be able to predict the trending topics that will be covered in the IAS examination, especially in GS paper. If awards and recognitions have prominently featured in the last 5 year IAS Question Papers, then it makes sense to the aspirant to focus upon these aspects during the preparation phase.

    4. Solved Papers

    The IAS Previous Year Solved Question Papers are one of the best tools in the kitty of an IAS aspirant. The solved IAS Paper sets include answers and detailed explanation and a brief summary about it, helping students not only get an informative answer, but conceptual understanding required to answer many similar questions. This becomes very important for IAS Main Exams.

    For Instance:

    Question: Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges.

    Demands: Basically the question pertains to demand of autonomy and independence to contemporary’s premier institutes. However, a healthy relation must be established between such debates and today’s challenges in the higher education sector.

    Approach: The first part of the answer should explain the problems faced by IITs/IIMs making it necessary to have autonomy. The next part must enlist some of the growing challenges faced by higher education institutions of the day. In the last, substantial portion of the answer cover the factors and benefits of making IITs/IIMs autonomous.

    Keywords: Regional imbalances, variation in quality, inappropriate resources, mismanaged regulatory mechanism, Radhakrishnan Commission, the Kothari Commission, by Acharya Ramamurthy Commission, knowledge economy.

    5. Practice

    The cliché ‘Practice Makes Man Perfect’ holds true when it comes IAS exams. The more questions you solve and the more you are familiar with the type and nature of the question being asked, the better are your chances of being able to attempt more number of questions in the final IAS Exam. Previous Year Question Papers help students practice well and manage their time well as well as accuracy for the civil services exam. Solving IAS Mains Exam Papers also helps aspirants inculcate writing habit and skills necessary to crack the test.

    6. Assess Your Preparation

    This is the final and the most important advantage of including IAS question papers in your preparation strategy. Solving previous year IAS Question Papers allows aspirants to assess their preparation and track the progress. It also points out any weak areas that need special attention or any changes that are required to beef up the preparation process.
    The aforementioned points clearly dictate the advantages that Previous Year IAS Question Papers have for an IAS Aspirants. In addition to previous year papers, students should also take up practice tests and mock tests that are published by different agencies like Jagran

    Josh to help them prepare well for the big examination.

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