UPSC IAS Prelims: Last Five Year Paper Analysis

Updated On -

Aug 23, 2017

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Risha Sinha

Content Curator

The UPSC Prelims 2017 is just over three months away from now. This year, the exam is scheduled to be held on June 18, 2017. Keeping in mind the time left it’s the perfect time for aspirants to tighten the cruise.

IAS aspirants should know the importance of previous year question papers. Your preparation for exam is not complete unless and until you solve previous years question paper. However, solving the previous year question papers is just the half part done. You should also check the analysis of previous year IAS Prelims paper and prepare accordingly. This is important as it will help you strengthen high yielding topics and structure your preparation in an optimum manner.

To ease your tension a bit we are here providing you the analysis of topic-wise question distribution of UPSC Prelims in the past five years (2012-2016).

UPSC IAS Prelims 2016 Qus Paper Analysis

Topics No. of Qus.
Current Affairs 27
Environment 18
Indian Economy 18
History Art & Culture 15
Polity 7

UPSC IAS Paper Analysis

The prelims of 2016 marked a shift from the general trend of past four years. Current affairs captured a whopping 50 to 60% of the paper. The questions from this section were more of factual orientation rather than conceptual one. The question on ASTROSAT is a classic example of that.

Another surprise was seen in the form of hike in questions from Art and culture section. Art and culture have always been a low yielding topic in past ten years or so, however this year it captured a major portion of history sidelining the traditional Modern History.

Polity section focused on the question from traditional areas like governance and Public administration and comprised seven percent of the paper, showing a decline from above ten percentages appearance in past four years.

Economic section captured 18% of the paper and the questions were mostly from current affairs. Economic survey of 2015-16 was the trusted source for questions. The question on Neem coated urea is an example of questions emerging from the survey.

Environment section maintained its consistency and captured 18% of the paper.

Overall it can be said that anybody who had a decent command over current affairs and basic concepts might have easily attempted 60% of the paper.

UPSC IAS Prelims 2015 Qus Paper Analysis

Topics No. of Qus.
Current Affairs 22
Geography 16
Indian Economy 13
Polity 13
Environment 11
Science & Tech 8

UPSC IAS Paper Analysis

In 2015 also current affairs captured a decent portion but the question here were mostly from latest government schemes. Those who have been following the Hindu Newspaper on daily basis would have easily answered most of the questions from this part.

Economic and polity section maintained their traditional outlook. Questions in polity could have been answered easily if one had studied Laxmikant thoroughly. The question with regards to the custodian of the constitution was an example of that.

Economics questions were focused on the current affairs and basic concepts. The question on the convertibility of rupee is an example of testing of basic economic concepts.

Science and Tech was moderate with most of the questions based on application part of the technology like the question on the use of remote sensing.

History was as per its standards with culture portion contributing just 2 to 3 questions

UPSC IAS Prelims 2014 Qus Paper Analysis

Topics No. of Qus.
History 20
Environment 18
Science & Tech 16
Geography 14
Polity 14
Indian Economy 10

UPSC IAS Paper Analysis

The 2014 prelims question paper was more of factual and conventional in nature as compared to the previous three years. A good knowledge of the topics is what was expected from the aspirants. The paper also witnessed some questions from India year book such as the question on National Calendar and Satyamev jayate.

The questions from traditional sections were easy and art and culture captured a decent portion of history part.

This year the paper also saw the increased in the percentage of questions from ecology and environment section which became a trend in the years to come.

Most of the questions in Current affairs were easily traceable from the newspaper.

UPSC IAS Prelims 2013 Qus Paper Analysis

Topics No. of Qus.
Indian Economy 19
Geography 18
Environment 17
Polity 16
Science & Tech 14
Current Affairs 0

UPSC IAS Qus Paper Analysis

The prelim of 2013 was in accordance with the trend of past years. Modern Indian history saw a reduced portion in the paper.

Environment and ecology showed a rise in the number of questions asked.

Geography maintained its trend from the past years.

Economic section saw questions ranging from easy to medium level.

Polity showed a similar trend to the economy.

Current affair section was given a little importance in this year’s paper. 

UPSC IAS Prelims 2012 Qus Paper Analysis

Topics No. of Qus.
Polity 21
History 19
Indian Economy 17
Geography 17
Environment 17
Science & Tech 9

UPSC IAS Qus Paper Analysis

The prelims of 2012 saw polity walking away with a majority of the questions. 20% of the paper was from this section. Laxmikant would have helped you to tackle this challenge.

The traditional areas maintained their supremacy and history was the second major portion with 19 questions out of a total of 100.

The paper this year was said to be difficult as compared to the past few years. However, those who have practiced the questions and have taken mocks might not have faced many problems.

We hope this analytical discussion on past five years question paper will come in handy for your preparations. For more information on UPSC civil service or for analysis of Mains and CSAT paper, you can inform us by sending your valuable feedbacks through comments below. We wish you a best of luck for your exam.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.