Many consider UPSC exams to be highly competitive and interesting. Aspirants have their own pathways and methods of preparation to gain an edge over others. Also, different tips and tricks are applied to focus more on smart work and practise. Among these, the most common preparation question is — How beneficial is solving previous year papers? Do questions repeat in UPSC Prelims? Are questions repeated in Mains UPSC?

Today in this discussion, we are going to break down these questions and give you useful insights on whether questions are repeated in UPSC Prelims and Mains or not.

Starting off with,

Do Questions Repeat in UPSC?

The answer is Yes! UPSC papers do have repetitive questions from the previous year’s papers, but only for some subjects. It has been observed from the past ten years, repetitive questions from subjects — History, Economics and Indian Polity were seen. However, as UPSC is moving towards asking more current affairs related questions, you can’t keep hopes high.

Does UPSC Repeat Questions in Prelims?

Yes, UPSC does repeat questions in the Prelims, but not for all the topics and syllabus. The subject papers in which repetitive questions were common are;


It is seen that majorly the questions from History and around topics like Gandhiji and his movements, governmental acts, socio-religious movements, tribal, civil and peasant movements are commonly repeated.

Indian Polity

In the subject of Indian Polity, questions related to the parliament, judiciary, system of govt/emergency, DPSP, fundamental rights, local government, union government, state government, constitutional/non-constitutional bodies, fundamental duties, and other salient features like schedules, preamble, etc. commonly appeared in the UPSC exams regularly in every year.


In the subject of Economics, questions related to macro-inflation, FD, banking, monetary policy, government schemes, international institutions, agriculture, investment, development, planning, trade, B.O.P., fiscal policy, and taxes were seen to be repeating.

Environment Related Topics

On the other side, for Environment related topics, questions from topics like ecology, biodiversity, treaty/body/convention, pollution, climate change acts, protected areas, resource conservation were seen on the roll.

These questions from different topics don’t repeat in exactly the same format; they might be jumbled or in new words. However, the nature of questions and its theme is mostly the same and related to the same topics.

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Does UPSC Repeat Questions in Mains?

It is rarely seen questions repeating in the GS Paper I, II and III, as UPSC is getting more dynamic and is shifting more towards asking current-affairs based questions. However,  there are chances that old questions might come from the optional subject and ethics, but these questions are modified and altered to a great extent to make it unidentical.

It is seen that for topics related to History and ethics like various sections of the population in the freedom struggle, the questions might repeat but not in an exact manner.

It is generally seen that the theme and the pattern of the questions repeat each year, and it is highly essential to practise previous year question papers. Practising previous years questions would give you a clear understanding of how the questions are generally framed.

Solving Previous Year Questions are Beneficial!

As we know by now that UPSC does repeat questions, one should take utmost advantage of it by referring back to the previous year question papers for Prelims and Mains. Analysing and solving previous year question papers can help you form different and important aspects of your preparation.

The previous year questions give you a fair idea on the theme, pattern and weightage of the question. Also, practising them would give you a perfect walkthrough on what you can expect on your exam day.

Some of the Major Benefits of Solving Previous Year Questions

  • Helps You to Understand the Question Paper Pattern 

You get a nice understanding of the question paper pattern, theme, marking, nature and format. You also get to understand which topics are important and which are avoidable as per the weightage of the marks.

  • Helps to Form a Preparation Strategy

Solving previous year papers will help you to track your weak and strong points and strategise accordingly.

  • Helps to Keep a Track on Latest Topics

Solving previous year papers will give you an insight into the current affairs part as in what kind of questions are asked on the current events that happened in the past few years. You can focus on those topics for general studies paper.

  • Helps You to Practise Smart!

The more you practise previous year questions, the more you will understand the nature of questions asked in  UPSC exams. Also, time and accuracy management could be practised effectively to check whether you are able to complete your paper in time with the actual questions asked previously.


Yes, there are chances of some questions from previous Prelims and Mains paper to be repeated, but they won’t repeat in exact words. These questions will be modified and altered to look unidentical. Though the theme and the pattern follow the same topics and their respective answers. So it is highly recommended to check previous year question papers for UPSC Prelims and Mains and practise them regularly.

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Do Questions Repeat in UPSC Prelims and Mains? Here is All that You Need to Know!
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Do Questions Repeat in UPSC Prelims and Mains? Here is All that You Need to Know!
Do questions repeat in UPSC Prelims? Are questions repeated in Mains UPSC? Find out the topics that see repetitive questions in the UPSC exams.
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UPSC Pathshala
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