May 25, 2024
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How Many Questions to Attempt in UPSC Prelims Question Paper?

UPSC exam consists of two papers, the Prelims, and Mains. The prelims level of the UPSC exam itself consists of two sections: Paper 1 and Paper 2. Paper 1 belongs to general studies and paper 2 is CSAT. Both papers 1 and 2 consists of objective-type questions in which paper one general studies have 100 questions and the CSAT paper has 80 questions. The maximum marks for both the papers in the UPSC prelims question paper is 200 each. Also, the Candidate should remember that there is the provision of negative marking where ⅓ marks are cut for the wrong answer.

Now, there is no set rule for the number of questions to be attempted in papers 1 and Paper 2 of the UPSC Prelims exam. However, ideally, candidates are expected to try more than 70 questions to score well and qualify for the paper. But attempting the question depends on many factors like the speed of candidate assessment of questions and accuracy. All of these parameters can be met easily if the aspirants are constantly in the habit of practicing the mock test and previous year’s questions.

How many Questions to Attempt in UPSC Prelims Paper 1

The aspirants can easily qualify for the UPSC Prelims Paper if they have had enough practice with UPSC question papers. The number of questions and the difficulty levels of the question varies every year hence it is quite challenging to figure out the exact number of questions to attempt in Prelims Paper to be in a safe zone.


  • Candidates should attempt the number of questions according to the range cut-off in order to be on the safer side.
  • Most people presume that you should not attempt an entire paper having 100 questions. This mentality is absolutely wrong as you should go for all the questions in the paper.
  • However, the examinee is not guaranteed to pass the test nearly by trying the number of questions as there is no hard and fast rule set by the commission that attempting this number of questions will qualify the candidate.
  • Still when it comes to attempting the number of questions approximately 70 to 80 questions should be attempted to be within the safer zone.

How many Questions to Attempt in UPSC Prelims Paper 2

  • UPSC Prelims exam’s paper 2 is qualifying and nature conducted to test the quantitative aptitude and general awareness of the candidate. A minimum of 33% is required to qualify paper 2.
  • There was a time when she said a paper was considered a competitive exam and its marks were over included to prepare for the cutoff of the paper. But currently, UPSC has transformed this norm and the CSAT paper is just the qualifying paper in the UPSC Prelims stage.
  • The candidates are required to answer 30 or above 30 questions correctly in the CSAT paper to be in the safe zone.
  • If the aspirant attempts the questions correctly then they will be able to clear the UPSC Prelims exam and are ready to start preparing for the next stage of the process which is the Mains Exam.
  • In order to start solving the questions make sure that you attempt the easier ones first about which you are confident enough out of all 80 questions.
  • There has also been an increase in the standard and difficulty level of CSAT papers in recent years therefore instead of trying to answer as many questions as possible the aspirants must focus on attempting them correctly.
  • Despite being just the qualifying stage for Prelims exams, CSAT is an important paper to clear the first obstacle of the UPSC civil services exam in order to qualify for the next round.

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