Civil Services Exam Pattern

Preliminary, Mains, and Personality Test are the three stages of the UPSC Civil Services Exam. The UPSC Exam Pattern is projected to be the same this year as well. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) administers the UPSC Exam, often referred to as the IAS Exam, to select candidates for the IAS, IPS, IFS, and other associated services. The UPSC Civil Services Examination is conducted to evaluate candidates’ overall potential.

It’s critical to have a thorough understanding of the IAS Examination Pattern. It’s also crucial to have a thorough understanding of the civil service exam format in order to match candidates’ studies to all of the exam requirements. Candidates who pass all stages are recommended for employment in India’s civil services. Since each stage is an elimination stage, candidates must qualify for each one before proceeding to the next.

Prelims Exam Pattern

General Studies I as well as CSAT (General Studies Paper-II), are the two papers of the UPSC CSE Prelims. While CSAT is just a qualifying exam, the admission for UPSC Mains is determined by the candidate’s performance in the General Studies I. It signifies that their General Studies Paper I score will be taken into account for determining the Prelims cutoff. There is also a negative marking for incorrect responses. As a penalty for noting the incorrect response, 1/3 of the marks given for the question would be deducted. There will be no deductions if candidates do not answer the question. As a result, when it comes to marking dubious questions, candidates must only act accordingly.


Name of the Paper Total Number of Questions Maximum Marks Time Duration
Paper I: General Studies (Multiple Choice Questions) 100 200 2 hours
Paper II: General Studies-II (CSAT) (Multiple Choice Questions) 80 200 2 hours


Important points

  • To qualify for the Mains, all applicants must take both the General Studies as well as CSAT tests.
  • The Preliminary score will not be included in the final score. The UPSC CSE Prelims score will only be used for screening.
  • The Preliminary question paper would be bilingual in nature. There will be questions provided in both Hindi and English.

Mains Exam Pattern


Paper Subject Maximum Marks Time Duration Topics
Paper A

(Qualifying Nature)

Compulsory Indian language 300 3 hours
Paper B

(Qualifying Nature)

English 300 3 hours
Paper I Essay 250 3 hours
Paper II General Studies I 250 3 hours Indian Heritage and Culture, History, Geography, Society
Paper III General Studies II 250 3 hours Governance, Constitution, Indian Polity, Social Justice, International Relations
Paper IV General Studies III 250 3 hours Science and Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment and Ecology, Security and Disaster Management
Paper V General Studies IV 250 3 hours Ethics, Aptitude, Integrity
Paper VI Optional Paper I 250 3 hours
Paper VII Optional Paper II 250 3 hours

Personality Test/Interview Pattern

The UPSC Examination’s Interview phase is the last stage of the recruitment process. The Interview is worth 275 marks, bringing the total number of possible points to 2025. The following are some of the attributes that the Board looks for in a candidate:

  • Mental sharpness
  • The ability to think critically
  • Thinking analytically
  • Skills in risk assessment
  • Skills in crisis management
  • Possessing the ability to lead
  • Integrity of thought and morals

Since the last few years, the number of overall vacancies has been under 1000 each year. Hence, the competition has increased manifold. To become an IAS officer, an aspirant must try to secure themselves an All India Rank in the top 50.

The above is a concise and simplified pattern of the exam. Candidates are advised to go through the official notification for in-depth pattern and syllabus information and plan their studies accordingly.

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