UPSC

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UPSC EXAM PATTERN 

Exam Pattern Of UPSC IAS Civil Services Examination

The UPSC Exam pattern is set by the conducting body, i.e., the Union Public Service Commission. It is a yearly conducted examination and the paper pattern for the IAS Exam has been the same since 2013.

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is considered to be the toughest examination in India. It has earned this moniker partly due to the intense competition and partly due to the comprehensive UPSC Syllabus. Apart from that, the exam pattern for UPSC CSE is quite complicated, and a typical examination cycle lasts for almost a year from the preliminary exam until the final results are declared.

 

UPSC Exam Pattern 2024

The UPSC civil services exam pattern is officially divided into two stages called Preliminary and Main Examination while in practice, it is a three-stage exam. The third being Personality Test/Interview.

As per the IAS exam pattern, candidates who clear the Prelims are eligible for Mains and candidates who clear the Main reach the interview stage.

Stage 1: UPSC CSE Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC exam pattern for the Preliminary stage consists of two papers, conducted on one day. Both the papers comprise objective type questions with multiple choice of answers. The prelims examination is a qualifying stage to filter candidates for the mains exam. The marks secured at this stage are not counted towards the final merit list, though candidates have to prepare well for this exam as cut-offs are unpredictable and depend on the average score every year. 

The details of UPSC prelims pattern is given below:

Civils Exam Pattern – Prelims

Paper

Type

No. of questions

UPSC Total Marks

Duration

Negative marks

General Studies I

Objective

100

200

2 hours

Yes

General Studies II (CSAT)

Objective

80

200

2 hours

Yes

Total UPSC marks for Prelims

400 (where GS Paper II is qualifying in nature with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%)

To sit for prelims, one has to fill the application using the UPSC Apply Online portal.

Stage 2: UPSC CSE Mains Exam Pattern

The UPSC exam pattern for the Mains stage consists of 9 papers conducted over 5-7 days. Only those candidates who secure at least the declared cut off in General Studies I and 33% in General Studies II in Prelims will be allowed to appear for the Mains Examination. 

As per the exam pattern of UPSC Mains, all of the papers consist of descriptive answer type questions. It is an exhaustive phase and the total marks in UPSC mains can directly affect your final scores. Thus, the UPSC exam marks for the mains phase are extremely valuable as it acts as a key factor in merit declaration. The details of UPSC syllabus with marks are given below:

UPSC CSE Exam Pattern – Mains

Paper

Subject

Duration

IAS Total marks

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

3 hours

300

Paper B

English

3 hours

300

Paper I

Essay

3 hours

250

Paper II

General Studies I

3 hours

250

Paper III

General Studies II

3 hours

250

Paper IV

General Studies III

3 hours

250

Paper V

General Studies IV

3 hours

250

Paper VI

Optional I

3 hours

250

Paper VII

Optional II

3 hours

250

All of the mains papers except for the language papers A and B are of a merit ranking nature. Paper A and B are of qualifying nature and candidates must score at least 25% in each for the marks from their Paper I – Paper VII to be given weightage.

Paper A is not compulsory for candidates from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim as well as candidates with hearing impairment, provided they can prove that they have been exempted from such 2nd or 3rd language courses by their concerned board or university. The Indian Language paper covers any of the languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

The subjects which are covered by the General Studies Papers in Mains Exam are:

General Studies I

General Studies II

General Studies III

General Studies IV

Indian Heritage and Culture

Governance

Technology

Ethics

History and Geography of the World

Constitution

Economic Development

Integrity

Society

Polity

Bio-diversity

Aptitude

 

Social Justice

Environment

 
 

International relations

Security and Disaster Management

 

The Optional subjects for Paper VI and VII of the mains examination have to be any one of the subjects from the following list:

Agriculture

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Anthropology

Botany

Chemistry

Civil Engineering

Commerce and Accountancy

Economics

Electrical Engineering

Geography

Geology

History

Law

Management

Mathematics

Mechanical Engineering

Medical Science

Philosophy

Physics

Political Science and International Relations

Psychology

Public Administration

Sociology

Statistics

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