What is Pattern of UPSC Civil Services Exam?

The UPSC IAS exam, officially known as the Civil Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually. In spite of being regarded as one of the toughest exams in the country, it is the most sought-after exam among today’s youth. The right approach & correct planning can make an aspirant get through the IAS exam with flying colors in the very first attempt.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern

To start with, an aspirant must be clear about the UPSC IAS exam pattern. This will help her/him decide his complete strategy for the coming 1 year of preparation.

The IAS examination comprises two successive stages. Those who make it through all the stages of the UPSC exam enter into the most coveted services of the Country like IAS, IPS, IFS, IFoS, IRS, and others.

Exam Pattern of UPSC Civil Services Exam

The two stages of the Civil Services Exam (IAS Exam) are:

1. Stage I – Civil Services Preliminary Examination

2. Stage II – Civil Services Main Examination

Civil Services Preliminary Examination

Civil Services Preliminary Examination is conducted to select candidates for the Main Examination. It is objective type in nature and consists of two papers carrying 200 marks each. The marks of the candidates who qualify the Preliminary Exam are not taken into account for determining the Final Merit.

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

Civil Services Main Examination

Civil Services Main Examination consists of a written examination and interview test.

The written examination consists of 9 papers out of which 2 papers are only qualifying in nature. The marks obtained in the remaining 7 papers and the interview test together are considered for making the final merit.

Paper Name

Time Duration

Total Marks

Nature of Paper

Paper A – Compulsory Indian Language Paper

3 hours

300

Qualifying in Nature

Paper B – English Language Paper

3 hours

300

Paper I – Essay

3 hours

250

Considered for Merit

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

Clearing the UPSC CSE Exam is a mix of ‘dedication, focus, right approach, motivation, knowing what to do, well-thought strategy and proper implementation’. It is important to keep oneself updated about the latest UPSC Exam pattern & Syllabus so as to be on the right track throughout your preparation.

Read the UPSC IAS Official Notification

Read the Complete UPSC CSE Syllabus

Booklist for UPSC Preparation

All The Best!