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How was the UPSC prelims examination in 2021?

The only certainty in the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam is the uncertainty it shows. That is the fundamental nature of this exam, and it has been planned this way specifically to test the aspirant’s finesse. This is why the aspirants feel that the exam is more complicated than the last time every year. Hence, an aspirant must believe in their commitment and hard work they did in the months prior to the exam and attempt Prelims bearing in mind that UPSC will come at you with the unexpected every time. 

In the case of Prelims 2021, once again, UPSC showed its unpredictability. Questions from National Parks/ Wildlife Sanctuaries/ Ramsar Sites, Government Schemes, International Relations were not asked this time and comparatively, more questions from Economy, History were asked. Those questions from Economics could be answered with solid basics (like the role of the RBI, investment, inflation, economic recession etc.) and an understanding of current affairs. In the case of History, questions from Modern India were comparatively vague and challenging. In contrast, questions from Ancient /Medieval /Art & Culture constituted up to 13 questions, and hence History and Economics together can be called as a deal-breaker for Prelims 2021 had they not been approached appropriately. Last year Prelims question paper had around ten questions from Agriculture, but that was not the case this time. Polity, the constant presence in Prelims every year, showed its grit this time as well, but these questions could be tackled if an aspirant tried to understand the essence of Polity instead of mugging it up. Science-based questions were on the higher level in difficulty, and those aspirants with solid basics and regular current affairs reading could have attempted these questions with slight ease. Geography maintained its level as usual, and the questions could have been answered with conceptual knowledge. Environment, too, held its stance as usual, where the questions would require conceptual clarity and analytical thinking to crack. And quite interestingly, three questions from Sports were asked, and a question on Awards (Bharat Ratna award) was asked. Questions from sports/awards used to come before 2014, and they have made a comeback in 2021. On an overall level, the paper can be called difficult, but a bit easier than last time, and hence the cut-off can be placed at around 96+/- 2 for General Category. For other categories, the cut-off will be slightly less like last year.

If you wish to calculate the marks, kindly click here to check the Prelims 2021 answer key. If you feel that you are getting above the cut-off, then kindly start your Mains preparation soon. The Prelims results will be released by October end, most probably. Hence, every day is precious, and you should start your preparation for mains as soon as possible. If you wish to plan your schedule to cover all the Mains syllabus, click here to go through the Officers\’ Mains Mantra Schedule. Please keep in mind that every answer you write helps you improve your score in Mains. Hence, it’s time to pick up the pen and paper after the well-deserved rest after Prelims. If you are unsure of your marks or could not do well in your Prelims, do not get disappointed. Kindly pick up your spirits and start your Mains preparation. This will boost your confidence and help you ace the next Mains. Since you will be preparing Mains with others, it will help you understand where you stand in your preparation and study accordingly. Once you are back on your feet, include the Prelims preparation along with Mains for acing it next year. Stay strong in all the hurdles, my dear aspirants. Success isn’t far away!

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