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UPSC CSE Previous Year Question Paper PDFs

Utkarsh Classes 29-03-2024
UPSC CSE Previous Year Question Paper PDFs

Every year, thousands of aspirants attempt to pass UPSC CSE in order to gain prestigious positions in the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and other central services. Among the numerous resources available for CSE preparation, UPSC previous year question papers are particularly valuable. On this page, you can download the PDFs of the last ten years' UPSC question papers and learn how they can help aspirants achieve success.

UPSC CSE Previous Year Paper PDFs

Candidates preparing for the Civil Services Examination, also known as the IAS exam, should start by solving previous years papers. These papers help candidates understand the exam format and level of difficulty. Candidates can use previous year papers to evaluate their weak areas. Candidates can download UPSC CSE previous year paper PDFs from the tables below. 

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Previous Year Papers 

Download the UPSC Civil Services Prelims previous year question papers PDF:

UPSC CSE Mains Previous Year Papers 

Candidates who pass the preliminary exam will be shortlisted to appear for the main exam. The Written Exam consists of nine subjective papers, beginning with a qualifying paper in any Indian language and English, followed by seven papers on various subjects. The final selection is based on the marks obtained in both the Mains and the Interview.

Candidates should download and practice the UPSC CSE Mains previous year question papers. 

UPSC CSE Previous Year Questions 

UPSC previous year questions are very useful in the preparation process for the Civil Services Examination. They provide valuable information about the exam format, question types, priority areas, and time management strategies. Furthermore, they enable aspirants to track their progress and gain confidence. 

Aspirants should incorporate the practice of solving UPSC previous year papers into their study schedule, making it an essential component of their preparation strategy. By doing so, they increase their chances of passing this difficult exam and realizing their dream of serving the country in prestigious administrative positions.

UPSC questions are intended to assess candidates' analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Multiple-choice questions, essay-type questions, and those requiring subjective responses are examples of these. By reviewing previous papers, aspirants can identify common question structures and practice answering them effectively.

Benefits of Practising with UPSC CSE Previous Year Paper 

Solving UPSC previous year question papers is one of the most important steps you can take to prepare for the UPSC exam. Here are some of the advantages of answering previous year question papers:

  • Learn about the exam structure and the types of questions asked: The UPSC exam is extremely competitive, and the question paper is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of a wide range of topics. By solving UPSC previous year question papers, you will gain a good understanding of the types of questions asked, the level of difficulty, and the time required to answer them. 
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: As you solve UPSC previous year papers, you will begin to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses in various subjects. This will allow you to focus your studies on the areas that require the most improvement.
  • Develop time management skills: The UPSC CSE is a three-hour exam, so you'll need to use your time wisely in order to answer every question. Solving previous year question papers will help you understand how much time you should spend on each question.
  • Gain confidence: The more you practise, the more confident you will feel about your ability to answer exam questions. Solving UPSC's previous years question papers is an excellent way to boost your confidence and prepare for the actual exam.

Techniques of Solving UPSC CSE PYP 

Solve UPSC Previous Year Papers in the following ways to improve your performance and increase your chances of passing the exam.

Basic Techniques

  • Candidates must attempt the paper in the allotted time to simulate an exam setting. Sitting in a place that is free from distractions and setting a countdown timer will help.
  • Carefully review the exam questions from the previous year's UPSC IAS paper.
  • Always keep in mind that wrong answers will result in a negative marking, so avoid speculating or just marking the answer without carefully reading the full question.
  • Once the timers go off, don't attempt any more questions. Compare the answers you have marked with the answer key to evaluate your overall performance and pinpoint any errors that need to be corrected.

Paper Solving Technique

  • One of the most important approaches is the 3-2-1-0 Elimination Technique. This technique is also known as the 100-50-33-25% method of MCQ solving.
  • The main idea of this technique is to solve the CSE Pre question paper in four rounds, based on how many answer choices you can eliminate in each stage. Instead of starting with questions ranging from 1 to 100, use multiple rounds to solve them.
  • The stages of the 3-2-1-0 Elimination technique are known as Three Elimination, Two Elimination Round, One Elimination, and Zero Elimination. Hence, the 3 2 1 0 Technique, in which you have to select and solve the questions in the following way:
    • Three Elimination = 100% Sure Questions
    • Two Elimination = 50% Sure Questions
    • One Elimination = 33% Sure Questions
    • Zero Elimination = 25% Sure Questions, which means questions you don't know the answers to.
  • Before using this strategy in the actual UPSC Prelims, you should review and master it in the previous year papers. Only then will you be able to execute perfectly this method for the actual exam. Following this approach, create a chart similar to the one shown above shortly after each mock examination.

UPSC CSE Exam Overview 

The UPSC conducts an annual Civil Service Examination, which includes a preliminary exam, a main exam, and a personality test (interview). Candidates taking the UPSC Prelims Examination in 2024 must be aware of important exam details.  

UPSC CSE Exam - Important Updates

Exam Conducting Organization

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Exam Name

Civil Services Examination 2024

Frequency of Examination


Selection Process

  • Preliminary Examination
  • Mains Examination
  • Interview (Personality Test)

Official Website


UPSC CSE Exam Pattern 

Candidates must be aware of the exam before beginning to prepare for it. The commission has not changed the CSE syllabus or exam pattern since 2013. The IAS exam pattern consists of three stages: preliminary, main, and interview. Candidates must fully understand the exam pattern for each stage of the exam. 

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Exam 2024, which also serves as a preliminary examination for the Indian Forest Service, in the most transparent way possible. The exam patterns for the preliminary and mains examinations are detailed in the tables below. 

UPSC CSE - Prelims Exam Pattern

Mode of Examination

Offline (Pen and Paper OMR Based)

Maximum Marks

  • Paper 1 - 200 marks
  • Paper 2 (Qualifying) - 200 marks

Exam Duration

02 hours for each paper


  • Paper 1 - General studies
  • Paper 2 - CSAT 

Negative Marking

One third (0.33) marks

Language of questions

Bilingual (English & Hindi)

Those who pass the preliminary exam with the required minimum score will be shortlisted for the mains exam, the second round of selection. The main exam follows the following pattern of questions.

UPSC CSE - Mains Exam Pattern

Mode of Examination

Offline (Pen and Paper - Descriptive)

Maximum Marks

  • Paper A - Compulsory Indian Language - 300 marks
  • Paper B - English - 300 marks
  • Paper I - Essay - 250 marks
  • Paper II - General Studies (Paper I)- 250 marks
  • Paper III - General Studies (Paper II) - 250 marks
  • Paper IV - General Studies (Paper III) - 250 marks
  • Paper V - General Studies (Paper IV) - 250 marks
  • Paper VI - Optional Subject (Paper 1) - 250 marks
  • Paper VII - Optional Subject (Paper 2) - 250 marks

Exam Duration

For all papers 3 hours each

Note: In the UPSC Mains examination, a candidate's score could be reduced by the commission if their handwriting is hard to read. 


UPSC Prelims have become increasingly difficult and unpredictable year after year. PYQs are more important than ever for the UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation.

By solving the previous year's paper for the UPSC CSE Exams, candidates will be able to identify the most frequently asked exam topics, including their difficulty level. They will be able to evaluate their level of performance to identify and strengthen their weaknesses.

Yes, candidates can download free UPSC CSE previous year papers PDFs either from the links provided in the article or from the Utkarsh Classes Application or website.

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