UPSC CSE Prelims Analysis & Answer Key 2020


The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has recently conducted Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2020, on 4th October. The exam was conducted at 72 centres and 2500 sub-centres across the country with more than 10.58 lakh registered applicants. Earlier, the exam was to be held on 31st May, but due to covid-19 pandemic it was postponed to October. Previously in September, some applicants appealed to the supreme court for re-postponement of CSE Prelims 2020, however the commission ruled out any such possibility due to various pertinent reasons.

Highlights of UPSC CSE 2020
The exam was conducted in two shifts as per the standard pattern decided by UPSC.
Paper 1 was conducted in the morning shift from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.
Paper 2 of CSAT was conducted in the second shift from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
A total of 10.58 lakh aspirants had registered to appear for UPSC CSE Prelims 2020.
The exam was conducted in a safer environment and all precautions were taken by the commission.
All exam centres across the country were notified to strictly adhere to the social distancing measures and safety guidelines.
Special measures have been taken by the commission and aspirants were given the facility to change their test centres.

Analysis of UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 – Paper 1


  • According to few sources, around 4.5 lakh aspirants appeared for the prelims examination all over the country.

  • According to the field-experts and senior panellists, the difficulty level of Paper 1 was moderate to difficult.

  • Questions were well-framed from diverse set of subjects based on UPSC standards.

  • Some aspirants reported that the paper was a bit difficult for them.

  • Questions were asked from history, polity, science and technology, art & culture, economics, and environmental sciences.

  • There were total 18-19 questions from Art & Culture and History.

  • The total count of Indian Polity and Indian Economy was around 14 questions.

  • The total count of current affairs questions was around 19-20 approximately.

  • A good number of questions were asked from science and technology.

  • Current Affairs were based on the period of 6-10 months prior to Covid-19.

  • Aspirants all over the country have reported that current affairs were asked from prelockdown period.

  • UPSC did not ask purely fact-based questions.

  • Most of the questions were based on conceptual understanding and thorough analysis of statements.

  • Some questions were directly asked from standard textbooks, which could be easily solved by any serious aspirant.

  • The language of questions was easy to comprehend. Even the Hindi translation of questions was easy and clear, without errors.

  • Aspirants and Experts, both are of the opinion that paper pattern was somewhat similar to last year.

  • According to estimates, the expected cut-off will be around 98 (+ / – 3) for General category.

The candidates who will clear the civil services preliminary exam will appear for UPSC CSE Mains in the month of January. The answer key and cut-off marks will be uploaded on the commissions website after the whole process will be over.

Subject-Wise Question Analysis of Prelims Exam

Subject Number of Questions Difficulty Level
Indian Polity
History & Art and Culture
Moderate to Difficult
Moderate to Difficult
Science and Tech
Current Affairs
Moderate to Difficult
Environment & Ecology
Moderate to Difficult
Overall - Moderate

Cut-Off Trends of UPSC CSE Prelims Exam

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
98 (+/- 3) Expect
UPSC CSE Prelims Answer Key 2020

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