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Pattern Of Examination

Pattern Of Examination

( Civil services examination) CSE in India is one of the several examination conducted by UPSC for the recruitment of All India Services like IAS, IPS , IFoS and Group A services like IFS , IRS etc

The pattern of Civil services examination( CSE) is divided into Three stages namely Preliminary , Main & Interview.

  1. Preliminary examination (Objective-type)
  2. Main examination (Descriptive- type)
  3. Personality test (interview )

As per the exam pattern, candidates who clear the Prelims are eligible for Mains and candidates who clear the Main reach the interview stage


There are three levels or stages in UPSC Civil Service Examination


Paper 1- General Studies(200 marks)

Paper 2- CSAT-Aptitude (200 marks)

Pattern-Objective (MCQ Based)

Merit is based on Paper 1 only and Paper 2 is only qualifying exam.


General Studies Papers (4*250 marks)

One optional Paper(2*250 marks)

Essay Paper(250 marks)

2 Qualifying Papers (English & One Indian Language)


Interview or personality Test Carrying 275 marks is the final hurdle.

It tests the overall suitability of candidate for further career in public service.




A candidate's rank in UPSC Civil Service Exam depends only on marks scored in the main and interview



    Sl No. Number Of Paper Nature Of Paper Duration Of Exam Marks
    1 Paper 1 - General Studies 2 Hours 200 Marks
    2 Paper 1 - General Studies(CSAT) QUALIFYING NATURE 2 Hours 200 Marks
    TOTAL 200 Marks

    • Marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit Selection of candidates for Main Examination.
    • The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts.

    NOTE 1:The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-11 of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.

    NOTE 2:There will be negative marking for incorrect answers (as detailed below) for all questions except some of the questions where the negative marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.

    1. There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
    2. If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question. (iii) If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.



    9 papers are to be answered in the main examination.

    There are two qualifying papers out of 9

    1. Any modern Indian language (ex: Kannada, Telugu,Tamil etc) (300 Marks)
    2. English (300 Marks)

    Candidate must score 25% in both papers to qualify

    PAPER (1 to7)

    Name Of Paper Description Marks
    Essay Essay 250
    General Studies 1 Indian Heritage and Culture , History and geography of the world and society. 250
    General Studies 2 Governance , Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations 250
    General Studies 3 Technology, Economic Development , Bio-Diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250
    General Studies 4 Ethics , Integrity and Aptitude 250
    Optional Subject Paper 1 and 2 500
    Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
    Personality Test 275
    Grand Total 2025

    1. Each paper will be of three hours duration
    2. If a candidate's handwriting is not easily legible, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accuring to him.
    3. Credit will be given for orderly, effective and exact expression combined with due economy of words in all subjects of the examination.

    Important Points:

    1. The papers on Indian Languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of Marticulation or equivalent standard and will be qualifying nature. The marks Obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
    2. Evaluation of the papers, namely, 'Essay', 'General Studies' and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on 'Indian Languages' and 'English' but the papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in 'Indian Language' and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
    3. Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English.
    4. Candidates exercising the option to answer Papers in any one of the languages mentioned. above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them. Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases; their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorized medium.
    5. List of optional subjects

      1. Agriculture
      2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
      3. Anthropology
      4. Botany
      5. Chemistry
      6. Civil Engineering
      7. Commerce and Accountancy
      8. Economics
      9. Electrical Engineering
      10. Geography
      11. Geology
      12. History
      13. Law
      14. Literature of any one of the non-English languages listed above
      15. Management
      16. Mathematics
      17. Mechanical Engineering
      18. Medical Science
      19. Philosophy
      20. Physics
      21. Political Science and International Relations
      22. Psychology
      23. Public Administration
      24. Sociology
      25. Statistics
      26. Zoology
    6. Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.


    • This is the final stage of the Exam it is called Personality Test counted for merit ranking purposes
    • The candidate will be interviewed by a Board, who will have before them, a record of the candidate’s career.
    • The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.
    • The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs.
    • Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
    • The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers.
    • Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.