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Phase 1: Prelims
The UPSC exam pattern for the Preliminary stage consists of two papers, conducted on one day. Both the papers comprise objective-type questions with multiple choice of answers. The prelims examination is a qualifying stage to filter candidates for the mains exam. The marks secured at this stage are not counted towards the final merit list

Paper   Subjects Total  Question Marks   Duration
I General Studies (GS) 200 200         2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
II CAST 80 200      2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)

Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)

  1. Current events of national and international importance.
  2. History of India and Indian National Movement.
  3. Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  4. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  5. Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  6. General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  7. General Science

Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4. Decision-making and problem solving
  5. General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

Phase 2: UPSC Mains Exam (1750 Marks)

  1. The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers of 3hours, out of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each and rest 7 papers of 250 marks each.
  2. Structure of the language papers:

The types of questions asked are –
1.    Essay – 100 marks
2.    Reading comprehension – 60 marks
3.    Precis Writing – 60 marks
4.    Translation:

  1. English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
  2. Compulsory language to English – 20 marks

5.    Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

Paper Subject Marks
Paper-A     Compulsory Indian language                    300                     
Paper-B English  300
Paper-I Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice) 250
Paper-II General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations) 250
Paper-IV General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper I  250
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper II 250

The Optional subjects for Paper VI and VII of the mains examination have to be any one of the subjects from the following list:

Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Chemistry Anthropology Botany
Civil Engineering  Commerce &  Accountancy Economics Electrical Engineering Geography
Geology History     Management     Law     Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering  Medical Science Philosophy     Physics     Political Science and International    Relations
Psychology     Public Administration Sociology     Statistics     Zoology

The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

Phase 3: UPSC Interview
This is the final stage of the IAS Exam before the final results are declared. Officially it is called the Interview/Personality Test and counted as a part of the Mains Examination for merit ranking purposes. From a preparation standpoint, it is considered the third stage as preparation strategies for the written and interview stages are different. As per the IAS exam pattern, this consists of an interview by the UPSC board to assess the candidates’ suitability for a civil services career and associated responsibilities. The board consists of competent and unbiased observers who have a record of the candidates’ career. The board would judge the candidates mental and social traits by asking questions of general interest. Some of the qualities that the board looks for are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, a balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
The maximum marks allotted for the interview stage is 275, thus bringing the total marks for the merit list consideration to 2025.