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Pattern of Exam

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Pattern of Exam

The Civil Services Examination (CSE), formerly known as Imperial Civil services (ICS) is a nationwide competition exam in India conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to various Civil services of the government of India.

UPSC recruits candidates for various Central and All India Civil Service posts in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), etc.

It is conducted in three phases - a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted followed by a personality test (interview). It is considered to be the most difficult competitive examination in India. A single attempt takes two complete years of preparation - one year before the prelims and one year from prelims to interview. In total, one sits in actual exam for 32 hours from prelims till interview.

These Civil Services jobs are jobs directly related to public service and are widely considered very prestigious in India.

Civil Service Prelims Examination

There are two papers in Civil Service Prelims Examination. The questions are objective in nature.

  • General Studies Paper 1 ( deals with subjects like History, Polity, Economics, current affairs etc)
  • General Studies Paper 2 ( deals with subjects like Mental Ability, English Comprehension etc. ) This paper is popularly known as CSAT – Civil Services Aptitude Test).

Preliminary examination is mainly an elimination test which consists of basic knowledge across cross academic domain such as polity, history, economics, geography, environment etc. It also has around 40% weightage to relevant current affairs of around past year which tests memory, situational awareness and judicious eliminations capabilities of candidates. It also has provisions for negative markings.

Civil Service Main Examination

The mains stage is subjective in nature as the answers have to be written on paper in a time bound manner.

 The papers in Civil Service Mains as per revised syllabus are as below.

- UPSC Civil Services Main Examination as per revised syllabus consists of 9 papers. Marks of 7 out of these 9 papers will be counted for final ranking, while 2 papers will be of qualifying nature.



Mark-Counted Papers in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

  • 1 paper on the essay. (250 marks x 1= 250)
  • 4 papers on from General Studies ( which covers topics like History, Geography, Economics, Polity, Technology, Ecology, Ethics etc).(250 marks x 4 = 1000)
  • 2 papers on one Optional subject – which can be from selected from 25 subjects and 22 languages. (250 marks x 2= 500)

Qualifying Papers in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

  • 1 English Language Paper (Comprehension, Precis Writing etc).
  • 1 Regional Language Paper (Comprehension, Precis Writing, Translation etc).

The Civil Service Main Exam marks are calculated for the final interview round are out of 1750.

Civil Service Interview

The interview is a face to face process which evaluates a candidate’s potential,  commitment to society and calmness during stress. The interview is out of 275 marks.


Final ranks are calculated by adding Mains (Out of 1750) and Interview marks (Out of 275) and the rank list will be prepared based on marks scored out of 2025.