UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper: IAS Mains 2021 Question Paper

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : April 4th, 2022

UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper has been released by the Union Public Service Commission and it includes a total of 9 Papers. Of these nine papers, Paper-A and Paper-B are qualifying in nature, and the other seven papers will be considered for the merit list. Candidates who are preparing for UPSC Mains 2022 must go through the UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper to comprehend the current trend of the exam pattern and figure out the important sections from the UPSC syllabus. Below we will be providing a direct link to download all the papers of the UPSC 2021 Mains question paper.

UPSC Mains 2021 was conducted from 7th January to 16th January for almost 10,000 candidates who cleared the UPSC Prelims exam. Later UPSC has released the UPSC Mains question paper 2021 on its official website. Recently the UPSC has also announced UPSC Mains result on its official website. Those who couldn’t qualify this time must not get worried and look forward to acing this upcoming Mains exam. All the new candidates looking forward to attempting UPSC 2022 need to check out the UPSC Mains question paper 2021 to come up with a robust study plan to score big in this exam.

Table of Content

UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper - Overview

UPSC 2021 Mains question paper had a total of 9 papers as per the UPSC exam pattern. There Paper-A and Paper–B was qualifying in nature and each carried 300 marks. Paper-1 was for Essay, and Paper II to Paper V were general studies papers. Additionally, there were two optional subject papers and each of them had a total of 250 marks. Below we have covered the UPSC Mains Question Paper 2021 for each paper.

UPSC Mains 2021 Language Papers (Paper A, Paper B)

Although Paper-A and Paper-B are qualifying in nature, candidates must score 25% in them or their remaining sheet won’t be considered. The UPSC 2021 Mains question paper for Paper-A and Paper-B is mentioned below. 

>>Download UPSC 2021 Mains Compulsory English Paper (Paper-B)

Candidates can download the compulsory Indian Language papers directly from the link given below. 




Sindhi (Devanagari)













UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper for Essay

As per the UPSC Syllabus, candidates are required to write essays on the given topics. The essay section of the UPSC question paper expects candidates to focus on the subject, arrange their idea in the best possible way, and write concisely. Candidates must check out the UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper for Essay because it will be counted for the merit ranking. Fetching good marks in the essay will help the candidate boost their overall UPSC score. Aspirants can download the UPSC Mains 2021 Essay Paper below.

UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper for General Studies

There are four general studies papers included in the UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper. Each paper carries 250 marks. The GS papers cover a wide range of topics like History, Geography, Science & Technology, Ethics, Economics, Biodiversity, etc. below we have provided the PDF for UPSC Mains 2021 GS Questions Papers

UPSC 2021 Mains Optional Papers

Candidates can choose any optional subject from the list of UPSC Optional list. This list covers 48 optional subjects in total. Each optional paper carries 250 marks so the aspirants must check the UPSC Mains 2021 optional papers for the subject they want to opt for. 

UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper for Optional Subjects

Physics Paper I

Physics Paper II

Political Science and International Relations Paper I

Political Science and International Relations Paper II

Psychology Paper I

Psychology Paper II

Public Administration Paper I

Public Administration Paper II

Sociology Paper I

Sociology Paper II

Statistics Paper I

Statistics Paper II

Zoology Paper I

Zoology Paper II

Economics Paper I

Economics Paper II

Electrical Engineering Paper I

Electrical Engineering Paper II

Geography Paper I

Geography Paper II

Geology Paper I

Geology Paper II

Mechanical Engineering Paper I

Mechanical Engineering Paper II

Medical Science Paper I

Medical Science Paper II

Management Paper I

Management Paper II

Mathematics Paper I

Mathematics Paper II

History Paper I

History Paper II

Law Paper I

Law Paper II

Philosophy Paper I

Philosophy Paper II

Agriculture Paper I

Agriculture Paper II

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Paper I

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Paper II

Anthropology Paper I

Anthropology Paper II

Botany Paper I

Botany Paper II

Chemistry Paper I

Chemistry Paper II

Civil Engineering Paper I

Civil Engineering Paper II

Commerce and Accountancy Paper I

Commerce and Accountancy Paper II

Candidates can also opt for literature subjects listed under the UPSC optional subjects. Here is UPSC 2021 Mains Literature Papers

UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper for Literature Optional

Sanskrit Paper I

Sanskrit Paper II

Santhali Paper I

Santhali Paper II

Sindhi Paper I

Sindhi Paper II

Tamil Paper I

Tamil Paper II

Telugu Paper I

Telugu Paper II

Urdu Paper I

Urdu Paper II

English Paper I

English Paper II

Kashmiri Paper I

Kashmiri Paper II

Konkani Paper I

Konkani Paper II

Maithili Paper I

Maithili Paper II

Malayalam Paper I

Malayalam Paper II

Manipuri Paper I

Manipuri Paper II

Marathi Paper I

Marathi Paper II

Nepali Paper I

Nepali Paper II

Odia Paper I

Odia Paper II

Punjabi Paper I

Punjabi Paper II

Assamese Paper I

Assamese Paper II

Bengali Paper I

Bengali Paper II

Bodo Paper I

Bodo Paper II

Dogri Paper I

Dogri Paper II

Gujarati Paper I

Gujarati Paper II

Hindi Paper I

Hindi Paper II

Kannada Paper I

Kannada Paper II

UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper Analysis

The aim of the UPSC Mains exam is to assess the depth of understanding of candidates, instead of their memory power. Check out the analysis of each UPSC 2021 Mains question paper below.

UPSC Mains 2021 Essay Paper Analysis

Ass per most of the candidates, the essay question paper for Mains 2021 was philosophical. This paper was quite unpredictable, and the essay section this year was different from the previous year's paper. As per the experts, the motive of Mains 2021 question paper was to check the thinking process, and analytical and philosophical thinking of the candidates. 

UPSC 2021 Mains GS-1 Question Paper Analysis

As we have mentioned, the essay paper came out to be a shocker. But candidates were quite relieved as the questions asked in GS-1 had an expected difficulty level. Questions from geography sections were more compared to other years. There was no any sort of unusual questions in this paper. In conclusion, the GS Paper 1 was a scoring paper.

UPSC Mains 2021 GS-2 Question Paper Analysis

As compared to previous years, questions asked in GS-2 were straightforward in UPSC Mains 2021. Questions from the polity and constitution were easy. The number of questions from governance has decreased as compared to previous years. Overall the difficulty level of the UPSC Mains 2021 GS-2 question paper was moderate to difficult. 

UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper GS-3 Analysis

The weightage of internal security and the economy was the same as in Mains 2020. In the UPSC Mains 2021 question paper for GS-3, more focus was on the environment section. The overall difficulty level of the GS-3 paper was moderate. 

UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper GS-4 Analysis

Questions asked in the GS-4 of the UPSC Mains question paper 2021 sought the candidates to answer with examples and not just the theory part. This paper tested the decision-making ability of the candidates. Section A was moderately difficult according to some candidates. In UPSC Mains 2020, the questions in Section-A were based on current affairs, but this year the questions were based on the static part. 

UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper: Difficulty level

The overall UPSC Mains 2021 Question paper had a difficulty level of moderate. As we have mentioned, the essay section was found to be very difficult. But then again, the GS-1 paper balanced it out. GS-2 and GS-3 papers were quite tricky and many candidates found these papers a little difficult. The GS-4 paper was also had an expected difficulty level as per the UPSC standards. 

Importance of Solving UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper

All the exports and IAS toppers recommend solving UPSC's previous year's question papers. This is due to several reasons. Solving the UPSC Mains question paper 2021 would help the candidates to understand the exam pattern, and paper pattern in-depth. In addition, candidates will be aware of the latest topics and shape their preparation accordingly. Candidates can also check out the answer to each question with an explanation. The more you practice the UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper, the better are the chances of attempting more questions. At last, it will give you a self-assessment so that

How to Analyze the UPSC Mains Question Paper?

While attempting the UPSC Mains 2021 Question Paper, it is essential for you to analyze it so that you can figure out your weaknesses, and resolve them in your next attempt. Here is how you need to analyze your UPSC Mains question paper 2021.

  • Set a timer and start solving the question paper
  • Take it as an actual exam, and solve it before the time limit
  • After solving it evaluate and check if you have scored good enough or not
  • If you haven’t then find out the problem, and make it better in the next attempt.
Important UPSC Topics
UPSC ExamUPSC Exam Date
UPSC NotificationUPSC Eligibility
UPSC Online ApplicationUPSC Exam Pattern
UPSC SyllabusUPSC Previous Year Question Papers
UPSC Cut OffUPSC Preparation Strategy
UPSC BooksUPSC Exam Analysis
UPSC Admit CardIAS Exam


write a comment


  • Candidates will be able to download the UPSC 2021 Mains question paper from the official website. But we have added the direct link to download the question paper above in this post to save time for the candidates. Candidates can directly download the question paper and start their preparation.

  • The overall difficulty level of the UPSC 2021 Mains question paper was moderate to difficult. According to the candidates, the Essay paper was difficult as compared to the previous year's papers. But the GS-1 paper was as per the expectations of the candidates. GS-2, GS-3, and GS-4 have also had a moderate level of difficulty.

  • Bu solving the recent Mains exam question paper, you will be able to build up an in-depth understanding of the topics that are crucial from the UPSC examination point of view. Additionally, you will also get to know about the latest exam pattern and question patterns and shape your preparation accordingly.

  • The Essay question paper in the UPSC Mains exam was unpredictable, and it was different from previous years. The overall difficulty level was more than moderate, and candidates believe that it is by far one of the toughest Essay papers in the UPSC exam.

  • To analyze the UPSC 2021 Mains question paper you need to set up an actual exam-like environment. Start attempting the questions, and after that evaluate them to find out your score. If you haven’t scored up to the expectations then you need to figure out the problems and reattempt the paper after a while. 

Related Posts

Comprehensive News Analysis  26-06-2022
Comprehensive News Analysis 26-06-2022Yesterday, 10 am|11 upvotes

Follow us for latest updates