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UPSC Exam Pattern

The Civil Services Examination offers the widest range of jobs in our country and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). There are about twenty-three (23) services offered through this single examination.

Some of the top services offered are the two All India Services, viz., the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) along with the other central services, viz., Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) etc. Due to the importance and nature of such civil/public service jobs, UPSC takes utmost care in selecting the right people.

The candidates are put through three kinds of testing to measure their administrative potential; and ensure that the persons selected have the following;

  • A wide range of general awareness
  • Analytical ability and content retention capacity, and
  • Strength of character and a cheerful mental disposition even under stressful conditions

1 Notification Febraury / March
2 Preliminary Examination May / June
3 Preliminary Exam Results July / August
4 Main Examinations Septmeber / October
5 Main Exam Results Febraury 1st Week / 2nd Week
6 Interview March – April
7 Final Results May
The Civil Services Examination comprises two successive stages:

Civil Services Preliminary Examinations (Objective Type) – for the selection of candidates for Main Examination;

Civil Services Main Examination (Written Test and Interview) – for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts

The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions – there are four alternatives for the answer to every question) and carry a maximum of 400 marks.

  • Paper I – is a paper on General Studies – 200 marks
  • Paper II – is a paper on Aptitude Test- 200 marks

The Preliminary Examination is meant to serve as a screening test only and the marks obtained by the successful candidates (who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination) will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies (across all services and posts) to be filled in the year through this examination.

Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.

The Main Examination (a written test) will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type of the following nature:

2 papers of Non-Ranking type (the marks obtained by candidates in these papers will not be counted for determining the final order of merit)

The two papers of non-ranking type will include:

Paper – A : one paper of an Indian language to be selected by the candidate out of languages included in the Eighth Scheduled to the Constitution (refer to NOTE IX in this section), and

Paper – B : the second paper of English, which is a compulsory language paper.

Note: Both these papers will be 300 marks each and will be of a very simple nature (of matriculation or equivalent standard) and, in a way, will mentally prepare the candidate for writing the subsequent examination.

7 papers of Ranking type (marks obtained in these papers will be counted for merit). The seven papers of ranking type will be:

Paper I – Essay – 250 marks
Four (4) papers of General Studies in the following manner:

Paper – II: General Studies – I on Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society – 250 marks

Paper – III: General Studies – II on Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations – 250 marks

Paper – IV: General Studies – III on Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management – 250 marks

Paper – V: General Studies – IV on Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude – 250 marks

Paper VI & Paper VII: Two (2) papers in any one optional subject (candidates may choose any one optional subject from amongst the UPSC’s list of optional subjects in the Mains Examination) – 250 marks each
For the optional papers in the Main Examination, UPSC has a list of about twenty-six subjects out of which any one subject has to be selected by the candidate.

Candidates, who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an Interview or a Personality Test. The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled

The Interview (the final leg of the examination) will carry 275 marks with no minimum qualifying marks. Marks, thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination, (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking.

Candidates will be allotted to the various services and posts keeping in view their Ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the services and posts.