Sociology Previous Year Question Papers
A very important part of strategy for UPSC Sociology optional is to analyze the sociology
previous year question papers. An analysis of the previous year question papers will help an
aspirant understand the kind of questions to expect in the examination.
About the Sociology question paper:
Each sociology question paper for UPSC consists of Section A and section B. Each section
contains four questions. All questions are usually divided into sub questions.
The students have to attempt five questions in all. Question 1 and Question 5 are compulsory
for students. The students can choose for rest three questions. However you cannot choose all
the three questions from only one section. At least one question among the three choice
questions should be from the other section.
You are expected to write around 150 words for a 10 marks question.
The importance of analysis of sociology previous year question papers are:
- It will help the aspirant to figure out the more important areas of the syllabus.
For example, with a single reading of the sociology previous year question papers, you can find
out that it is impossible not to get multiple questions from the sociological thinkers part. Thus an
aspirant can easily figure out that sociological thinkers form one of the most important parts of
- Comparison of the sociology previous year question papers with the syllabus:
An aspirant should keep the copy of the syllabus in one hand and the previous year question
papers in the other hand. With careful comparison, you will notice that all topics from which
questions are asked are clearly mentioned in the syllabus. Sometimes questions are even
asked serial wise according to each topic of the syllabus.
So even if certain questions in the paper might be set outside a standard textbook of sociology,
it will never be set outside the syllabus.
Hence being aware of each and every topic and sub topic of the syllabus is a must.
- Helps the candidate in studying sociology keeping in mind the pattern of
questions that are expected:-
It is preferable that you should have a look at sociology previous years question papers before
you start studying the subject. This is even if you do not understand those questions in the
While studying the subject, you will start understanding the questions gradually. However, it will
also help you prepare in the right direction. While studying the subject, you will be able to form
For example, Pranay Sir makes a particularly insightful statement in the class. You will be able
to interlink that this particular statement can be written in the answer of that particular question.
This will give a boost to your preparation.
This is particularly true for sociology paper 2 answers. Here the possibility of variation of
answers between students is more than paper 1.Hence having knowledge of the kind of
questions that are asked in paper 2 will help you structure answers in your mind while you are
- Helps in predicting questions:
UPSC often asks questions that are variants of previous year question papers. For example,
one year it may ask about a question about the formalization of labor. The next year it will ask
about the informalization of labor.
Again one time, UPSC may ask about comparison of social organization of work between the
ancient society and capitalist society. The next time, it will ask questions about comparison of
the social organization of work between feudal society and capitalist society.
- Importance of current affairs:
The analysis of sociology previous year question paper will also help the aspirant understand
the importance of current affairs in sociology, especially in paper 2. For example in 2018, we
saw a question on the Me-too movement and in 2020, there was a question on the New
- Helps in General studies papers too:
Analyzing sociology previous years question papers and preparing them helps in the general
studies papers as well. For example there are questions about trends in marriage and changing
forms of family in sociology and almost similar question came in the general studies paper as
well. Questions on women empowerment often come in General studies paper while similar
questions have already been asked in sociology previous years question papers.
- Helps draw attention on certain key words:
If you are not aware of certain key words, you may not be able to answer a question even if you
have read about it. For example, there was a question on epistemological foundation of
qualitative methods of social research. Basically it meant that how did the origin of qualitative
methods in social research take place. Serious students can easily answer this question.
However merely the word ‘epistemology’ confused many students in the exam hall. Hence
reading previous year’s sociology question papers help you avoid skip an entire question
because of one word.
- Help in condensing their knowledge into the prescribed word limit:
The sociology previous year question paper will help the student understand what time of
questions come for ten marks. You are expected to write 150 words for these questions.
However much the student may know on the subject, writing more than 150 words for the
question is foolishness.
You will not only irritate the examiner but also loose precious times to write answers of other
questions. Hence studying the sociology previous year questions will help the students in
practicing what to write in answer as well as what not to write in them. This will help them stay
within the 150 words limit.
Reading the sociology previous year questions will help the students to create a proper strategy
in the study of sociology for UPSC examination. The aim of the student is not to get a PhD in
sociology, but to clear the mains examination. Hence sociology previous year question papers
will help the student in understanding what kind of questions will come in the question paper .
This will in turn help them practice answer writing according to those questions.