Pattern of the UPSC-IAS Examination in detail:

  UPSC IAS Exam is held in three stages:

  1. UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination
  2. UPSC Civil Services Main Examination
  3. Personality Test (Interview Process)

Candidates who successfully get through all the three stages are selected for the most august Civil Services.

  1. Civil Services Preliminary Examination:
Paper Name Time Duration No. of Questions Total Marks Nature of Paper
GS Paper I 2 hours 100 200 Marks considered for Preliminary Exam Merit
GS Paper II (CSAT) 2 hours 80 200 Qualifying in nature

Negative Marking: There is negative marking associated with every wrong answer in the UPSC Prelims Exam. 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to a question will be deducted if it is wrongly answered.

The Question Paper is bilingual i.e. asked in both English & Hindi.

2. Civil Services Main Examination:

The UPSC IAS Main exam consists of a total of 9 papers which include two qualifying papers and seven merit-based papers. Each paper will be of three hours duration. As per the exam pattern of UPSC Main Examination, all the papers are descriptive. All the papers except the Language papers A and B can be answered in English or any of the languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The optional papers can be answered in English even if none of the other papers have been answered by the candidate in English.


Paper Name Time Duration Total Marks
Paper A – Compulsory Indian Language Paper 3 hours 300
Paper B – English Language Paper 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 Paper I 3 hours 250
Paper VII – Optional Paper II 3 hours 250
Total   1750
Interview/ Personality Test   275
Grand Total   2025

Paper A – Compulsory Indian Language Paper- One of the Indian languages to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

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. 

Paper A and B are of qualifying nature.


Civil Services Personality Test/ Interview Pattern:

According to the UPSC- IAS Examination pattern, the candidates who qualify the UPSC Main Exam are called for the Personality Test. This Personality Test/interview is conducted by the UPSC Board to assess the aspirants’ suitability for a career in Civil Services and its linked responsibilities.  Maximum marks allotted in the Interview stage are 275, making the total marks for the merit list consideration to 2025 marks (1750+275).