10 Important Things to Note about UPSC Exam

UPSC exam pattern

The examination pattern for the Civil services exam is developed to test the expertise of an aspirant in academics. The UPSC exam pattern is performed in two phases, i.e., Prelims and Mains, followed by an interview. The pattern is to evaluate the participants’ intellectual attributes and knowledge levels. 

Both papers contain multiple types of questions. The time structure of the examination is 2 hours. The first stage of Prelims comprises two papers of 200 marks each, created in both Hindi and English. After clearing the Preliminary exam, candidates are eligible to appear for the Mains exam. The total marks of a candidate are calculated by summing the scores of the Mains exam and the interview.

How to download UPSC Syllabus PDF for IAS Prelims and Mains?

Candidates who have decided to appear for IAS Prelims can download the UPSC syllabus PDF according to their requirements in both English and Hindi language. It is crucial to go through the entire PDF and practice all the questions thoroughly to be familiar with the whole syllabus of UPSC CSE.

Aspirants should appear for General Studies and CSAT to qualify for the Mains. The exact score of the Prelims is not included in the final score, and the stage is just for screening intentions. The language of the question paper in Prelims is bilingual, available in both English and Hindi.

10 Important Notes for Preliminary and Mains Exam:

  • IAS Preliminary Examination deducts 1/3rd of the marks in case of wrong answers.
  • Candidates not appearing for any particular question will not face any deductions in the overall marks scored. 
  • Paper A and B scores determine a candidate’s rank except for the language papers. 
  • The overall score is 1750 marks. 
  • The aspirants must obtain at least 25% marks in each paper during the final selection. 
  • Candidates must write the answers on the board’s answer sheets; no extra sheets are provided.
  • The total score for the UPSC interview round is 275. 
  • The number of times candidates can appear for the exam is as follows:
Category  Number of attempts
General Max 6 times
OBC Max 9 times
SC/ST No limit
Physically handicapped (both General and OBC) 9 times
SC/ST physically handicapped No limit
  • Prelims include 2 MCQ-based papers conducted on a single day.
  • UPSC mains exam constitutes 9 descriptive papers undertaken in 5 days.
  • IAS Prelim exam consists of two papers – General Studies and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). 

Exam Pattern for UPSC Prelims:

Paper Exam Pattern 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 (Paper II needs minimum qualifying marks of 33%)

Exam Pattern for UPSC Mains:

Paper Subject IAS Total marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 300
Paper B English 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies (GSI) 250
Paper III GS II 250
Paper IV GS III 250
Paper V GS IV 250
Paper VI Optional I 250
Paper VII Optional II 250

After passing the Mains examination, candidates must appear for an interview/personality test for merit ranking purposes. The qualities required for clearing the interview are precise and analytical explanation, cognitive attention, vital powers of assimilation, a proportion of judgment, variety, depth of interest, the power for social cohesion and supervision, and scholarly and ethical integrity.

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