Exam pattern

The IAS exams are conducted in two stages:

1. UPSC  Prelims:

Paper Subject No of questions Marks for each questions Total marks
Paper I General Studies 100 2 200
Paper II CSAT 80 2.5 200

The prelims exam consists of two papers – General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper II. You can find more information about the papers on the website. Good luck!

  • General Studies Paper-I

For Paper-I, the minimum marks required to qualify i.e the cut-off mark will be revealed only at the time of publishing the results.

  • General Studies Paper-II 

It is also known as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test). Candidates must score a minimum of 33 per cent to qualify for UPSC Mains.

2) Two hours are allotted for answering each paper. 

3) In General studies I there are a total of 100 questions and in General studies II (CSAT) there are 80 questions.

4) ⅓rd Negative marking is given for incorrect answers.

5) Both question papers follow the multiple-choice format and carry 200 marks each.

2. UPSC Mains

Paper Subject Marks
Paper 1 Essay(Two essays) 250
Paper 2 General Studies Paper I(History, Geography, Society) 250
Paper 3 General Studies Paper II(Polity, Governance & IR) 250
Paper 4 General Studies Paper III(Economy, Science-Environment & Security issues) 250
Paper 5 General Studies Paper IV(Ethics & decision making) 250
Paper 6 Optional subject paper I 250
Paper 7 Optional subject paper II 250
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 300
Paper B English 300

1) Those who clear the UPSC Prelims must file applications for writing the UPSC Mains examination.

2) This exam consists written test

The written test comprises nine question papers, which are in a subjective format. 


All of the main

3. UPSC Interview:

  • Those who clear the written test are called for the Interview/Personality test.
  • A panel of eminent personalities, including the Chairperson of the UPSC, conducts the interview.(weightage 275 marks).

The collective marks obtained in the Mains and interview i.e. 2025 determine the final ranking of the candidate.

Prelims syllabus

General Studies Paper-I: This includes topics on

Current Affairs

Indian History

Indian and World Geography

Indian Politics and Governance

Government Policies

Economics and Social Development

General Science

Environment and Bio-diversity

General Studies Paper-II: This includes topics on


Communication Skills

Mental Ability

Decision-making and Logical Reasoning

Numbers and Data Interpretation

Mains Syllabus

The papers in the UPSC Mains are divided into two parts:

Paper A: One of the languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Constitution preferred by the candidate (weightage 300 marks)

Paper B: English (weightage 300 marks)