CSE – Civil Services Exam

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination which is common for the candidates applying for Civil Services Examination and Indian Forest Service Examination, and acts as a screening mechanism for selection of candidates for the Civil Services (Main) Examination and Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern

The UPSC IAS Exam is conducted in three stages:

Preliminary: It is objective type test and shortlists the candidates for Mains exams.

Mains: It is a descriptive test which further shortlists the candidates for interview round.

Interview round/Personality Test: This is the last stage of selection process. It is done to select candidates for various posts.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern: Preliminary Exam

  • The Preliminary exam consist of two papers –
    • General Ability Test (GAT) and
    • Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)
  • Both these papers are compulsory but their marks are not considered to prepare the final result.
  • The questions are of objective type with 4 answer choices. Candidates have to select the correct answer.
  • There is a provision of negative marking where ¼ of the total marks allotted to the question are deducted for incorrect answer.
  • The question papers will be in two languages – Hindi and English. The question on reading comprehension will be only in English.

IAS Preliminary Exam Pattern: Quick Overview

Paper Name Time Duration Marks Allotted
Paper 1: General Ability Test (GAT) 2 Hours 200
Paper 2: English Language and Aptitude 2 Hours 200
TOTAL   400

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern: Mains Exam

Only those candidates who qualify Prelims are eligible to appear for the Main exam.

  • IAS Mains consist of 9 papers:
    • 2 papers of qualifying nature
    • 7 papers to be considered for merit formation
  • Candidates have to appear in all 9 papers. Failing in any of the qualifying papers will result in cancellation of candidature.

IAS Mains Exam Pattern – List of Papers

Paper Name Marks
Qualifying Paper
Paper 1 (Candidates have to select one of the Indian language included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution) 300
Paper 2 (English) 300
Papers Considered for Merit
Paper 1 – Essay 250
Paper 2 – General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper 3 – General Studies II (Constitution, Governance, Social Justice, Polity and International Relation) 250
Paper 4 – General Studies III (Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Bio-diversity, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper 5 – General Studies IV (Integrity, Ethics and Aptitude) 250
Paper 6 – Optional Subject 1 250
Paper 7 – Optional Subject 2 250
TOTAL 1750

Each paper is of 3 hours time duration.

There is no sectional cutoff. Marks for both paper I and paper II are combined to select candidates for the Mains exam.