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UPSC Previous Year Question Paper

Over the years, one of the most recommended tips to understand the nature of UPSC exam papers has been solving UPSC’s previous year’s question papers. Only practising the authentic IAS question papers will give you a real feel of the pattern and style of the UPSC questions.

The conducting body releases the official UPSC previous year question paper PDF along with answer keys once the entire recruitment process is complete. IAS Exam candidates must focus on solving and answering these questions to apprehend the level of the examination.

In this article, we bring to you the previous year’s UPSC question paper for the prelims and mains exam. Attempting and scoring well in these papers will boost a candidate’s confidence and help them point out the topics of utmost importance from the civil services exam perspective.

Latest Context: Recently, the UPSC Prelims 2022 was conducted. Candidates can download the UPSC Prelims 2022 question papers and answer keys from the linked pages given in the following section.

For UPSC 2023 preparation, don’t forget to check the IAS Questions asked in the year 2022:

  1. Download UPSC Mains 2022 Optional Paper 1
  2. Download UPSC Mains 2022 Optional Paper 2
  3. Download UPSC Mains 2022 Essay Paper
  4. Download UPSC Mains 2022 GS Paper I
  5. Download UPSC Mains 2022 GS Paper II
  6. Download UPSC Mains 2022 GS Paper III
  7. Download UPSC Mains 2022 GS Paper IV

For wide-ranging IAS Questions & Answers from subjects like history, polity, geography, economy, environment etc. visit the linked article now.

Download UPSC Question Paper Prelims 2022

The Civil Services (Preliminary) exam, 2022 was held on 5th June 2022. The UPSC Prelims 2022 Question Papers for GS 1 and the GS 2 (CSAT) can be downloaded from the linked page.

Candidates who have appeared in the exam can go through the UPSC Prelims 2022 Answer Keys and calculate their marks.

The UPSC Result will be updated on the linked page as soon as it is published by the UPSC.

Aspirants who plan to appear in the UPSC 2023 exam should go through the previous years’ question papers and answer keys to understand the nature of questions asked in the CSE and develop a strategy accordingly.

Download UPSC Question Paper Prelims 2021

The UPSC Prelims was held on October 10, 2021, where close to 10 lakh candidates had applied to appear for the preliminary phase of the examination.

Candidates looking for subject-specific questions for UPSC Prelims 2021 and previous year’s prelims exams, can visit the topic-wise UPSC prelims previous year question papers with answers page and get a segregated set of papers for each IAS subject.

The UPSC Mains 2021 was held from 7th January 2023 onwards. The aspirants can download the UPSC Mains 2021 Question Papers from the linked article.

One can easily understand the level of the Civil Services Examination with the UPSC previous question paper analysis. This article will provide you with both – the IAS Prelims paper and IAS Mains papers. To find questions topic-wise, you can also refer to the table below:

Download UPSC Question Paper 2020

The final UPSC result for 2020 was released on September 24, 2021. While the prelims was held on October 4, 2021, the mains were conducted from January 8, 2021, onwards. Download the UPSC previous year question paper PDF for CSE prelims 2020 below:

Prelims 2020 General Studies Paper:- Download PDF Here

Prelims 2020 CSAT Paper (Aptitude):- Download PDF Here

To download the official UPSC Prelims 2020 Answer Key for the General Studies Paper 1 and Paper 2 (CSAT), candidates can visit the linked article. 

Also, you can get all the UPSC 2020 Mains Question Papers in one place at the given link.

UPSC 2019 Question Paper

The UPSC Prelims 2019 took place on 2nd June 2019.  Download the UPSC previous year question paper PDF for CSE prelims and mains 2019 below:

Prelims 2019 General Studies Paper:- Download PDF Here

Prelims 2019 CSAT Paper (Aptitude):- Download PDF Here

IAS Mains 2019 commenced on September 20, and the exams ended on September 29. The UPSC Mains 2019 Aspirants can check the linked article to download the UPSC Mains Question Papers 2019.

UPSC Previous Year Question Paper PDF – IAS Exam Question Papers 2013 -2021

Solving the last ten years of UPSC IAS Exam question papers is ideal, but considering the change in UPSC exam pattern, here we have given the latest IAS question papers from 2013 to 2021.

Using the links given below, you can find previous year IAS Exam question papers for Prelims, Mains, and Optional subjects (IAS Exam question paper).

UPSC Prelims Previous Year Question Papers with Answers

The IAS Prelims Paper of UPSC is for screening purposes only. The marks obtained in the UPSC Prelims IAS Paper will be a qualification to take the UPSC Main examination. They will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.

There are 2 IAS Prelims Papers with objective-type questions. Both papers carry 200 marks each, and it serves as a screening test only.

  1. Paper-I of IAS Prelims includes mainly the current affairs, while Paper-II or CSAT is the aptitude test.
  2. CSAT is the Paper-II of Preliminary Exam the candidate will have to score a minimum of 33% of marks for qualifying in Mains (written).

Click on the links below to access the past 10 years’ UPSC question papers with answers PDF. The previous years’ UPSC Exam Question Bank (prelims) for the years 2013-2021 is given below:

These IAS Question Papers PDFs will help the candidates to understand the Prelims Exam in detail.

UPSC Mains Previous Year Question Papers with Answers

For complete information on other IAS Mains Paper/UPSC Exam Question Paper, refer to the links below:

UPSC Question Paper: 2021

UPSC Question Paper: 2020

UPSC Question Paper: 2019

UPSC Question Paper: 2018

UPSC Question Paper: 2017

UPSC Question Paper: 2016

UPSC Question Paper: 2014

UPSC Question Paper: 2013

Candidates can download the UPSC Answer Key for the previous year prelims and mains question papers at the linked article and comprehend their progress.

Why solving UPSC question papers is important?

Apart from getting to know the actual IAS exam questions, you will also get UPSC answer writing practise, which is crucial for mains. Solving the UPSC questions for Prelims paper will make you acquainted with the MCQ pattern of the prelims.

It is essential to develop speed and also learn tricks to avoid negative marks in the prelims paper. Previous IAS question papers are necessary from the optional subject point of view as well. Besides, solving the IAS mains paper will help you acquire answer writing habits and also help you learn the art of timing each answer.

So, candidates should solve at least 10 previous years UPSC papers before they give their actual IAS paper.

It is vital to solving UPSC question papers of the previous year because:

  • To understand the type of UPSC questions asked in the civil services exam.
  • The UPSC previous year’s question papers will give an insight into the type of questions and standard of questions asked in the Civil Services Examination. This enables the aspirants to put the effort in the right direction.
  • Solving the past 10 years’ UPSC question papers with answers will enable the aspirants to understand the mindset of the UPSC question paper setter and also help the aspirants to develop the analytical skills to eliminate the choices in MCQ based paper.
  • To know which topics of the UPSC CSE Syllabus are to be given priority, it is vital to solve the civil services’ previous year question papers.
  • Civil service question papers should be solved to get an answer writing practice for the IAS exam.

Practising previous years’ question papers is one of the significant steps in the civil services exam preparation. Still, most of the aspirants don’t even attempt solving UPSC previous years question papers, which is a grave mistake they commit during their preparation.

Candidates can also find previous year IAS questions with answer keys at the official UPSC website and recheck their answers.

Benefits of UPSC Sample Paper

  • Along with UPSC’s previous years’ question paper; candidates are suggested to keep solving as many UPSC sample papers as possible just to get to practice. When aspirants make use of UPSC sample papers, they get a lot of ideas as to how to tackle the questions on the final exam day.
  • Candidates can check the IAS sample paper on our IAS Mock Test page.
  • It helps the aspirants to learn time management.
  • It helps to identify the candidates’ weaker and stronger subject areas. This will further enable the aspirants to align their preparation for the exam.

Hence, to make the aspirants’ preparation effective, we provide UPSC questions papers of Previous Years’ with answers PDF and periodically update this section with the latest UPSC IAS question paper PDFs.

Also, refer to the past 10 years’ UPSC question paper with answers on our website so that you can solve the prelims papers and also crosscheck the answers. This practice would leverage your UPSC preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions on UPSC Question Papers & IAS Questions

How to download the Essay Paper of UPSC Mains 2021?

Aspirants can download the UPSC Mains 2021 Essay Paper from the link given.

When should I start preparation for UPSC 2023?

Ideally, aspirants should start their preparation at least one year before the date of the Prelims exam. The IAS questions are wide-ranging and test the depth of the candidate’s knowledge. The official website has published the UPSC 2023 calendar, and aspirants can check the same by clicking the link.

What kind of questions are asked in the IAS interview?

The questions in the IAS interview aim to test the candidate’s suitability to life in the administrative service. Usually, the IAS interview lasts for about 20-25 minutes and is like a discussion with the UPSC panel.

⇒ Check: IAS Interview Questions

How to approach previous years’ UPSC Prelims IAS Questions?

Old IAS Questions of UPSC Prelims help candidates get an understanding of the type of questions asked from each subject/topic. For static topics, these IAS questions help in the revision. To download the previous years’ Topic-wise UPSC Prelims Questions PDF, visit the linked article.

Are IAS Questions tough?

The IAS questions aim to test the candidates’ grasp of concepts and their application rather than mere theory.

The nature of IAS questions differs in UPSC Prelims and Mains so aspirants should carefully go through previous years’ UPSC question papers to understand the pattern.

How many UPSC test papers should be taken before the CSE exam?

With UPSC’s previous year’s question papers, aspirants can take any good UPSC test paper series or mock tests for better understanding.

How to approach UPSC’s previous years’ papers?

After reading the NCERTs, prelims papers can be solved first, and then aspirants can match their answers with the official answer keys. For mains, aspirants can first try to solve previous year papers and then can look up UPSC mains solved papers.

What are the important current affairs topics from where IAS questions can be asked in UPSC Prelims 2023?

UPSC can ask questions about the events that have been in the news for the last 2 years. Usually, candidates should go through current affairs daily without a miss. This would help them build an understanding of all the topics that are relevant for the UPSC Exam.


  1. I want to know how many subjects upsc have and what are they

  2. I want to download the Hindi Language & English Language last year question paper & Syllabus for PAPER-A & B

  3. How to analyze pyqs’ of upsc cse . Should I look at first prelims then mains or should I analyze both simultaneously for eg if I analyse prelims 2015 then should I analyse the same year mains papers also ? Or can I analyse only prelims papers first then go for mains? Plz reply

    • Hi Zoya
      Once you have covered first reading of NCERTs and you are daily following the current affairs; you should take prelims past years’ question papers. That will help you to know if you are able to answer objective questions based on your reading. Henceforth, you can take up mains past years’ papers to practise answer writing.

  4. Hi
    I have completed my graduation ( BSc with mathematics and physics).
    Is it necessary to take mathematics or physics as optional?

  5. I am good at sst but not too good in maths please tell me how should I start preparing for CSAT exam ( like from which sources, books or papers etc) ?

  6. I want previous year question paper of kpsc exam. Pls send the link

  7. I want to take optional commerce and accounting but also I want to write mains in kannada medium. is it okey to write optional only in english medium and other gs exams in kannada medium?????? suggest me

    • One has to adhere to one language which they select while filling the application form. If you choose Kannada language, you can write mains in the same language.

  8. i need a perfect study time table as a beginner

  9. In which languages, the question paper Will be available ?
    Can I write exams in Tamil for both prelims and mains exam ?
    Is it possible to attend the interview in Tamil too?

  10. Can I choose one optional subject for both optional 1 and optional 2 exam in mains?
    Can you please suggest the proper strategy to cover up the syllabus for this exam?
    And when should we start answer writing practice ?

    • Hi,
      One optional subject has to be chosen from the list of 48 optional subjects.
      1. NCERTs + Reference books
      2. Finish your optional syllabus first.
      3. Follow current affairs.
      Answer-writing practice should be started when you have finished your NCERTs. Take questions from the previous year papers and start writing. It is acceptable to not know every question but it is a good start. Gradually, after reading reference books, newspapers, etc; you will be able to write with more expertise.

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