Being one of the toughest competitive exams in India, most of the UPSC aspirants face challenging and tricky questions. These questions are tricky enough to be straightforward but require simple logic and understanding to get answered. The UPSC exam is all about new challenges and tricks. You can easily crack this exam if you know how to tackle such problems.

Sometimes, the questions you may get are straightforward to answer. But in some cases, you may confront questions that are tricky enough to be solved. The UPSC mains exam pattern is already full of such questions, and you need some strategies and tips to overcome such situations. This blog lists top tips for handling the most difficult and tricky questions in the UPSC mains exam.

Top tips for handling difficult questions in UPSC exams

Read the question carefully

This seems obvious, but it is not. Most of the aspirants do not read the question properly and hence interpret the question wrongly. This is one of the major issues that should be avoided. You need to take note of the point that sometimes the question will tell you the complete answer. Reading the question incorrectly will make you answer incorrectly.

Another important thing to note is that you will not have enough time to read the questions twice. Therefore, ensure you read it once but with complete concentration and dedication.

Try eliminating the given options.

This trick is applied when you cannot answer the question accurately. Instead, you can use the options to eliminate the wrong answers. Multiple-choice questions comprise the UPSC Prelims exam, and the elimination procedure is a good way to deal with challenging issues.

Try to rule out the answers you know are incorrect if you’re unsure about the right response. Your odds of selecting the right response will rise because this method reduces your list of potential answers. Using the elimination technique, knowledge, or intuition, you can eliminate the possibilities.

Common sense plays an important role.

If you pick the questions from the UPSC exam, you will notice that most of the questions from the UPSC Mains exam pattern are related to common sense. If you are good at applying common sense to real-world situations, there is nothing in cracking the UPSC exam.

Your knowledge and comprehension of a variety of subjects are put to the test in the UPSC Prelims exam. Therefore, applying your expertise and common sense when responding to challenging queries is crucial. If you’re unsure of the solution to a question, consider relating it to a subject or issue and drawing conclusions from what you know about it.

Keep away stress and anxiety.

Stress is something that can stop your thinking ability. You must know that sitting in an examination hall with a calm mind will let you understand the paper properly. Therefore, it is crucial to keep away all the stress.

Many candidates encounter stress and worry while taking the UPSC Prelims exam. Maintaining a good outlook and composure throughout the exam is crucial to overcoming these challenges. Breathe deeply and work to calm your body and mind. Remember that stress and worry can impair your performance; therefore, it’s critical to handle them successfully.

Learn to manage your time.

Managing time is one of the best tips for tackling difficult questions in the examination. If you know proper time management, you can easily prioritize the questions. This will not only help you save time but will also make you understand the pattern correctly.

The UPSC Prelims test places a lot of emphasis on time management. Each of the two papers of the exam comprises 100 questions that must be solved in two hours. Practicing time management when studying for the exam is crucial to overcome time management issues. Try to finish the previous year’s test questions in the allotted time to help you pinpoint your areas for improvement.

Choose your priorities

Time management throughout the UPSC mains exam is essential. As a result, it’s crucial to order the questions according to their difficulty level. Prioritize answering the simple questions before moving on to the more challenging ones. You may maximize your score and use your time effectively with the help of this technique.

Aspirants must recognize which questions are vital for them and which are not because they cannot attempt all of them. As time management is a key component of the UPSC exams, this will help you save time.


In the extremely competitive UPSC mains exam, applicants struggle to respond to questions on various disciplines. However, applicants can approach challenging questions and improve their chances of success using proper strategy and preparation.

To prepare for the IES exam pattern, candidates should familiarize themselves with the exam format, take practice exams, concentrate on correctness, and revise frequently. Candidates should follow the NCERT textbooks and read the newspaper daily as additional preparation strategies.

Candidates can succeed on the UPSC mains test and realize their ambition of working in government by using this advice.

Frequently asked questions

  • How can aspirants retain the topics for a longer period?

Success in the UPSC Prelims requires revision. Regularly reviewing the subjects and ideas will assist candidates in retaining the knowledge for longer.

  • How many stages are there for the UPSC IAS exam?

The Prelims, Mains, and Personal Interview are the three parts of the exam. After passing the Preliminary and Main exams, the candidate would be requested to sit for the Personal Interview (PI) round. This round is significant as the last phase of candidate selection for recruiting.

This exchange can extend for 30 to 40 minutes. Even said, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the candidate performed poorly if it is over in less than 20 minutes. Additionally, just because the interview lasts 40 minutes doesn’t mean the candidate did well.

  • How are test series and mocks helpful for UPSC preparation?

Test series and mock exams become unmatched tools for getting the most out of these questions. Test series help hopefuls develop discipline in writing responses in a simulated setting where they can answer many questions simultaneously. To tackle abstract or unanswered problems they can complete within the allotted time; aspirants must be persistent and perseverant to improve their critical thinking.

  • Is reading newspapers daily an essential task for UPSC aspirants?

One of the most important UPSC mains preparation suggestions is reading the newspaper daily. Candidates will benefit from staying current on current events, which is important for the General Studies Paper-I.

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