UPSC Previous Year Papers, Result & Cut Off

Topics Covered: UPSC IAS Previous Year Question Papers, Download Prelims & Mains Question Papers, Benefits of Attempting Previous Year Papers, UPSC Result 2021 Prelims and Mains, Important Dates & Steps to check UPSC Result, Previous Years’ Results & UPSC Cut Off for 2021, 2020, 2019 & 2018

Preparing for the UPSC IAS exams is no joke. It takes consistent effort and a steely resolve to crack the exam.

I know this firsthand because I have seen my elder brother slog for an entire year preparing for the UPSC CSE, and eventually making it through the hallowed portals of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.

I still remember the time when my brother was studying for the IAS exams, I used to come home from college and see him sitting at his study table engrossed in his preparation. In the evenings he used to go out to play some badminton to freshen his mind.

During those moments I used to sneak up to his study table and look through the study materials that were neatly stacked one on top of the other.

Amidst the vast varieties of IAS books and study materials on the desk, I couldn’t help but notice the fat bundles of sheets that were compiled together using spiral binding.

These bundles contained the UPSC previous year’s question papers of prelims and mains.

Some years later I would go on to use the same bundles of previous year question papers to prepare for the exams, myself.

Anyway, continuing with the story of my IAS brother’s preparation days, I can clearly recall, him solving a large number of UPSC prelims question papers and mocks before appearing for his prelims exam, the very next day. He used to value his bundle of past year papers very much.

I clearly remember he always used to analyse his performance in those papers with the respective cut off lists of those years. He did this to adjust for the difficulty level of the question papers that year. He used to take a certain pleasure in comparing his marks to the cut off of that year.

Table of Content – UPSC Past Year Papers & Result

So, as I was saying. He went on to take his prelims paper the next day and came back home really happy afterward, apparently, he had aced it.

When I asked about how his exam had gone, he told me excitedly that a lot of the questions that were asked were similar to the ones he had solved in the previous year question papers the day before.

Thus, in the coming few weeks, the UPSC prelims result was announced, and as expected my brother had cleared the prelims.

Then he took his Mains papers, aced that as well, and when the UPSC Mains result was declared, it turned out that he had cleared the Mains round as well.

After that there was no stopping him, the guy aced his interviews also. When the final UPSC result for the IAS exams was announced, my brother stood with an All-India Rank of 53 with his head held high. A real inspiration for me and a million others.

Anyway, the purpose of telling you this story was to, first, emphasize the importance of working hard, and second to highlight the role of solving UPSC previous year’s question papers and analysing the corresponding UPSC cut offs.

UPSC Previous Year Question Papers

Knowing that you might have already gotten an idea about how important the UPSC (IAS) previous year’s question papers are to a sincere aspirant, I shall not be dwelling on the topic much.

The best way to utilize previous year’s question papers is to use them to access your preparation. It is also important to analyse your performance in those papers by comparing your marks to the cut off of the respective years.

With that done, you’ll be able to gauge your strengths and weaknesses.

Then, according to those, you can focus your efforts to shore up the weak areas while holding on to your strengths.

Remember one of the key aims of this exercise is to ensure that you have covered the syllabus in a holistic way.

Check the latest UPSC (IAS) syllabus and the important topics here.

Once you are ready to check your progress again try to solve another previous year paper and repeat the entire process.

This will help you to continuously improve on your preparation and make you more confident for the day of UPSC exam.

Okay, now that I have stressed the importance of previous year’s question papers, I am sharing a few of those for you to download and practice.

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About Anuj Jindal

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Anuj Jindal, the founder, is an ex-manager from SBI, with an M.Com from Delhi School of Economics. He also has a JRF in Commerce & Management and NET in HRM, along with more than 5 years of experience in the field of Education.

Welcome to Anujjindal.in

What will you get after registering in this Free Course?

Checked free icon Free PDFs for Phase 1 & Phase 2 of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Detailed Information about Salary breakdown of UPSC IAS.

Checked free icon Detailed Syllabus & Exam Pattern of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Breakdown of the whole eligibility criteria.

Checked free icon Preparation Strategy for UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon All Past Year Papers of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Free Mocks of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Top books to Prepare for UPSC IAS Exam.

Welcome to Anujjindal.in

What will you get after registering in this Free Course?

Checked free icon Free PDFs for Phase 1 & Phase 2 of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Detailed Information about Salary breakdown of UPSC IAS.

Checked free icon Detailed Syllabus & Exam Pattern of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Breakdown of the whole eligibility criteria.

Checked free icon Preparation Strategy for UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon All Past Year Papers of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Free Mocks of UPSC IAS Exam.

Checked free icon Top books to Prepare for UPSC IAS Exam.

Download the complete UPSC (IAS) Previous Year Question Papers for Prelims and Mains:

Year Section-wise Question Papers PDFs Links
2021 Prelims Question Paper 2021 Download PDF
Mains Questions Paper 2021 Download PDF
2020 Prelims Question Paper 2020 Download PDF
Mains Question Paper 2020 Download PDF
2019 Prelims Question Paper 2019 Download PDF
Mains Question Paper 2019 Download PDF
2018 Prelims Question Paper 2018 Download PDF
Mains Question Paper 2018 Download PDF
2017 Prelims Question Paper 2017 Download PDF
Mains Question Paper 2017 Download PDF
2016 Prelims Question Paper 2016 Download PDF
Mains Question Paper 2016 Download PDF
2015 Prelims Question Paper 2015 Download PDF
Mains Question Paper 2015 Download PDF

Now that I have shared with you the downloadable links to the UPSC (IAS) previous year’s question papers mentioned above, I would urge you to make use of them as much as you can.

Also, I’d recommend that you solve these papers using the exam time limit, the benefits of doing which I have mentioned in the bulleted list written below.

So, let’s move on to the benefits of solving previous year papers.

Benefits of Solving Previous Year Papers

In this section I have talked about the various ways, solving UPSC (IAS) previous year papers will benefit you. 

Previous Year Question Paper of UPSC

1. Know the Exam Pattern Better 

The act of solving the various UPSC (IAS) prelims and mains previous year question papers will render you a superior understanding of the exam pattern and the kind of questions that are normally asked in it.
This understanding of the exam pattern and the various sections lying in it will, in turn, help you solve questions more quickly in the actual exam.
This is because, with such a photographic understanding of the exam sections and patterns, you won’t have to waste time figuring what goes where, and you’d directly be able to go over to the section of the paper you are most comfortable in.

Know the latest UPSC exam pattern for prelims and mains.

2. Gauge the Levels of Prelims & Mains 

The more you solve previous year papers, the more you’ll be able to familiarise yourself with the massive jump in the difficulty levels from the UPSC Prelims to the Mains papers, and subsequently prepare yourself for the same.

3. Identify Important Topics 

Solving more Previous year papers would mean getting to identify the most commonly asked questions in the exams, and from them, the most important UPSC topics. These are the topics that you’d then have to learn about in much more detail, considering that they are the ones most likely to be asked about in the upcoming IAS exam.

Check out the best books to cover the important UPSC topics.

4. Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses 

This is something that I have already talked about in the first point of this list i.e., getting to know more about your strengths and weaknesses by solving more and more past year papers. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses better, you’d be able to subsequently focus on your weak points more, thus erasing them in the process, and also further hone your strong points. That way you’d be able to achieve an equal level of mastery in all the topics. This is needed even more so, considering that the UPSC (IAS) exam papers have negative marking for every wrong answer, something that you absolutely cannot afford to do.

5. Manage Time Better 

One of the reasons why the UPSC exams are so tough per se is because of the limited time and space that are provided to aspirants to fill in their answers. This should give you all the more reason to try and solve more and more previous year question papers using the actual UPSC exam time limit. Doing so will improve your time management skills during exams and help you save yourself from all the last-minute anxiety attacks that people normally get on not being able to finish their papers on time.

6. Be More Instinctive in Exams 

More and more practice on previous year papers using the actual exam time limit will train you to be more instinctive and accurate while marking the right answers.

With that, I think I have said everything there is to know about the topic of UPSC (IAS) previous year question paper.

Now it’s time for us to go over to the second and final topic of this blog, which is UPSC result.

UPSC 2021 Result

UPSC has released the UPSC CSE Mains Result 2021 on 17th March 2022. I am providing a gateway through which you can check the result PDF. Click here to get access of the UPSC CSE Mains Result 2021.  

UPSC CSE Prelims Result was released on 29th October 2021. You can find the steps to download it below. I have also attached the IAS result PDF here to make it easy for you. 

In this segment of the blog, we shall be discussing things like how to check your UPSC results, the latest updates regarding the current annual exam cycle, and the IAS results of past years.

Now, let’s quickly go over the important dates of the current UPSC IAS exam cycle:

UPSC (IAS) 2021 Exam Result Dates

In the table below, I have mentioned the important dates pertaining to the results of the 2021 UPSC (IAS) exam cycle:

Event Important Dates
UPSC Preliminary 10th October, 2021
Declaration of Results of UPSC Prelims 29th October, 2021
UPSC Mains 7th, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th January 2022
Declaration of Results of UPSC Mains 17th March 2022
UPSC Interview Interview process will commence from 5th April 2022
Declaration of the UPSC Final results To be announced after the interviews

Check the complete set of important dates of the 2022 UPSC Exam Cycle.

Now let’s look at the steps you’d need to follow to check your UPSC IAS results.

Steps to Check 2021 UPSC (IAS) Result

The results of the written rounds of the UPSC, namely the Prelims and the Mains, are released on the official website.

The last result that came out was of UPSC CSE (IAS) 2021 Mains so the steps provided below have been updated accordingly:

Step 1: Visit the UPSC’s official website – www.upsc.gov.in

Step 1 to check UPSC Prelims Result 2021

Step 2: After opening the website, scroll down to look for the link called “written results”.

Step 2 to check UPSC Prelims Result 2021

Step 3: After clicking on the “written results” link, click on the link called “Examination Written Results”.

Step 3 to check UPSC Prelims Result 2021

Step 4: Next, Download the UPSC Result PDF labeled “Civil Services (Mains) Examination, 2021″.

Step 4 to check UPSC Prelims Result 2021

Step 5: Search for your roll number in the result PDF. Tap back if you have cleared the exam or start working hard for the next year if you haven’t. Never lose hope.

Step 5 to check UPSC Prelims Result 2021

Now, that you know about the steps to download the results, let’s take a look into the UPSC (IAS) results of the previous years (Prelims & Mains).

UPSC Results of Previous Years

I have already provided the pdf of the UPSC Prelims Result for 2021. However, at times it is important to look at the past years’ results as well.

Therefore, in this section, we’ll go over the UPSC (IAS) results of the previous years. So, without further ado:

Year Examination PDFs Links
2020 Prelims Check Now
2019 Prelims Check Now
Mains Check Now
Final Check Now
2018 Prelims Check Now
Mains Check Now
Final Check Now

UPSC Cut off

The cut off marks for the UPSC CSE are basically the marks secured that the last candidate that was selected for that round. The cut off marks for both the UPSC rounds of Prelims and Mains are released only after the final IAS results of the exams for the year are declared.

Now when it comes to the prelims cut off, UPSC has a unique way of determining it.

Only the marks of Paper 1 of the prelims is used to determine the prelims cut off. The marks that you secure in Paper 2 will not be considered when counting your merit ranking. Paper 2 is qualifying in nature and you need to score at least 33 % in it to qualify for the Mains round.

Given below are a few cases pertaining to the cut off marks that the UPSC has offered clarifications on: 

  • Case 1 – If 2 aspirants score equal aggregate marks in the UPSC exam, then the aspirant who has secured more marks in the compulsory papers + the IAS Interview, is given a higher rank.  
  • Case 2 – If 2 candidates score equal marks in the compulsory papers and the interviews taken together, the candidate who is senior in age will be given a higher rank. 
  • Case 3 – If 2 candidates score equal marks in the compulsory papers and the interviews taken together, and are also of the same age, then the candidate with more marks in the compulsory papers will be given a higher rank. 

    Now let us go through the cut off marks of the various UPSC rounds of the last 3 years: 

    UPSC Prelims Cut Offs 2020

    Category UPSC Prelims Cut Off Marks (out of 200)
    General 92.51
    EWS 77.55
    OBC 89.12
    SC 74.84
    ST 68.71
    PwBD-1 70.06
    PwBD-2 63.94
    PwBD-3 40.82
    PwBD-4 42.86

    UPSC Mains Cut Offs 2020

    Category UPSC Mains Cut Off Marks (out of 1750)
    General 736
    EWS 687
    OBC 698
    SC 680
    ST 682
    PwBD-1 648
    PwBD-2 699
    PwBD-3 425
    PwBD-4 300

    UPSC Final Cut Offs 2020

    Category UPSC Final Cut Off Marks (out of 2025)
    General 944
    EWS 894
    OBC 907
    SC 875
    ST 876
    PwBD-1 867
    PwBD-2 910
    PwBD-3 675
    PwBD-4 465

    UPSC Prelims Cut Offs 2019

    Category UPSC Prelims Cut Off Marks (out of 200)
    General 98
    EWS 90
    OBC 95.34
    SC 82
    ST 77.34
    PwBD-1 53.34
    PwBD-2 44.66
    PwBD-3 54.66
    PwBD-4 61.34

    UPSC Mains Cut Offs 2019

    Category UPSC Mains Cut Off Marks (out of 1750)
    General 751
    EWS 696
    OBC 718
    SC 706
    ST 699
    PwBD-1 663
    PwBD-2 698
    PwBD-3 374
    PwBD-4 561

    UPSC Final Cut Offs 2019

    Category UPSC Final Cut Off Marks (out of 2025)
    General 961
    EWS 909
    OBC 925
    SC 898
    ST 893
    PwBD-1 861
    PwBD-2 890
    PwBD-3 653
    PwBD-4 708

    UPSC Prelims Cut Offs 2018

    Category UPSC Prelims Cut Off Marks (out of 200)
    General 98
    OBC 96.66
    SC 84
    ST 83.34
    PwBD-1 73.34
    PwBD-2 53.34
    PwBD-3 40
    PwBD-4 45.34

    UPSC Mains Cut Offs 2018

    Category UPSC Mains Cut Off Marks (out of 1750)
    General 774
    OBC 732
    SC 719
    ST 719
    PwBD-1 711
    PwBD-2 696
    PwBD-3 520
    PwBD-4 460

    UPSC Final Cut Offs 2018

    Category UPSC Final Cut Off Marks (out of 2025)
    General 982
    OBC 938
    SC 912
    ST 912
    PwBD-1 899
    PwBD-2 908
    PwBD-3 754
    PwBD-4 718

    Going through the various tables above you can get a pretty vivid idea about the marks you’d need to score if you want to make it in the UPSC Civil services exams. 

    Note- UPSC Cut Offs 2021 are yet to be declared by the UPSC. 

    Conclusion

    With that, we come to the end of this article. I hope this article has been helpful in informing you about the topics of the UPSC previous year question paper, UPSC results, and the UPSC cut offs. Having said that, I guess now it’s time for me to bid you farewell and the very best of luck.

    Cheers! 

    FAQs: UPSC Previous Year Papers Result & Cut Off

    • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
      How many UPSC test papers should be taken before the exam?

      Well, the perfect answer to that question would be, “As many as you can”. That’s because no matter how many UPSC test papers or previous year question papers you solve, it’s never enough. 

      The reason for that is the UPSC exams are well known for being unpredictable in nature, as far as the kind of questions asked is concerned.  Thus, test papers will prepare you enough to be able to expect any and every variation that the UPSC incorporated in the IAS exam question pool.

    • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
      What are the benefits of attempting the UPSC previous year papers?

      The benefits of attempting UPSC previous year question papers are enormous. Let me quote a few of them: 

      • Know the Exam Pattern
      • Gauge the Levels of Prelims & Mains
      • Identify Important Topics
      • Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
      • Manage Time Better
      • Be More Instinctive in Exams

      To understand these benefits in detail, check the linked portion in the blog above.

    • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
      How many students are selected for the IAS interview?

      I get asked this question a lot, and the answer is that around 2 to 2.5 the number of vacancies announced for the particular year’s IAS exam are selected for the IAS interviews

      Apart from that, you should know that only the people who are able to clear the UPSC cut offs for the Mains papers of the IAS exams are called to appear for the interview round.

    • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
      How many marks are required to qualify the IAS exam?

      In short, you need to clear the overall UPSC cut offs to qualify/clear the UPSC IAS exam.

      The overall cut offs are decided by taking into account the scores of the Mains exams and the Interview round. 

      If you want a detailed answer to this question, you should read the UPSC cut offs section on the blog given above.

    • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
      What is the procedure to prepare the IAS prelims cut off?

      The IAS prelims cut off is prepared by taking into account the General Studies Paper 1 only.

      As far as Paper 2 or CSAT goes, the CSAT is only a qualifying paper where candidates just need to score above 33% of the total marks. This means that the marks secured by candidates in the CSAT paper are not considered while preparing the Prelims cut off.

    • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
      What rank is required to get into the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)?

      So, the answer differs according to the various reservation categories and it also changes depending on the year of the exam. So, what I am writing here is merely a general estimate.  

      For the general category, you’d need to have an All-India Rank (AIR) that does not go beyond the range of 75-95 if you want to be an IAS officer. For OBC, the rank cannot be greater than the range of 460-470, For SC, 840-650, and for STs, 765-775. 

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