The UPSC divides the Civil Services Exam into three successive stages:
1: Preliminary Examination (Objective)
2: Mains Examination (Subjective)
3: Personality Test (Verbal)
The UPSC Prelims Exam is the first and foremost exam intended to determine the reasoning and analytical ability of a candidate. It consists of two objective type papers (multiple choice questions), each carrying 200 marks (total of 400 marks) with an allocated time of 2 hours each. This purpose of the exam is to screen the candidates for Main Examination and the marks obtained in prelims are not counted in the final merit.
Marks: 200 | Duration: Two hours | Counted for Mains Selection
Marks: 200 | Duration: Two hours | NOT Counted for Mains Selection but 33% Marks Needed for Qualifying
The UPSC Mains Exam is a crucial part of the Civil Services Exam as every mark scored in this stage counts in the selection process. The UPSC Mains Syllabus is designed in a way that helps in assessing the academic talent of the individual in the form of his/her ability to apply and present his/her knowledge. Rather than memorisation and rote learning, the exam is designed to analyse the overall understanding of the subject and depth of intellect.
It consists of 9 subjective papers, out of which two papers are qualifying, carrying 300 marks each. The remaining 7 papers include: Essay Paper, GS Paper I-IV and Optional Paper I-II. Each paper carries 250 marks (total of 1750 marks). Only the marks obtained by the candidates in these 7 papers are counted in the final merit.
|Paper||UPSC Exam Pattern||Marks|
|A||Indian Language – UPSC Syllabus. One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. This paper will not be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim||300 (25% for Qualifying)|
|B||English Language||300 (25% for Qualifying)|
|Paper-I||Essay – UPSC Syllabus. Can be taken in the language of choice. Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the sub- ject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.||250|
|Paper-II||General Studies-I – UPSC Syllabus. (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)||250|
|Paper-III||General Studies-II – UPSC Syllabus (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)||250|
|Paper-IV||General Studies-III – UPSC Syllabus (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)||250|
|Paper-V||General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)||250|
|Paper-VI||Optional – Paper 1||250|
|Paper-VII||Optional – Paper 2||250|
The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree level. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree. A candidate can select any optional subject from the list of following subjects including Language/Literature.
|Optional Subjects||Literature Optionals|
|Agriculture – UPSC Syllabus||Assamese – UPSC Syllabus|
|Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science – UPSC Syllabus||Bengali – UPSC Syllabus|
|Anthropology – UPSC Syllabus||Bodo – UPSC Syllabus|
|Botany – UPSC Syllabus||Dogri – UPSC Syllabus|
|Chemistry – UPSC Syllabus||Gujarati – UPSC Syllabus|
|Civil Engineering – UPSC Syllabus||Hindi – UPSC Syllabus|
|Commerce and Accountancy – UPSC Syllabus||Kannada – UPSC Syllabus|
|Economics – UPSC Syllabus||Kashmiri – UPSC Syllabus|
|Electrical Engineering – UPSC Syllabus||Konkani – UPSC Syllabus|
|Geography – UPSC Syllabus||Maithili – UPSC Syllabus|
|Geology – UPSC Syllabus||Malayalam – UPSC Syllabus|
|History – UPSC Syllabus||Manipuri – UPSC Syllabus|
|Law – UPSC Syllabus||Marathi – UPSC Syllabus|
|Management – UPSC Syllabus||Nepali – UPSC Syllabus|
|Mathematics – UPSC Syllabus||Oriya – UPSC Syllabus|
|Mechanical Engineering – UPSC Syllabus||Punjabi – UPSC Syllabus|
|Medical Science – UPSC Syllabus||Sanskrit – UPSC Syllabus|
|Philosophy – UPSC Syllabus||Santhali – UPSC Syllabus|
|Physics – UPSC Syllabus||Sindhi – UPSC Syllabus|
|Political Science and International Relations – UPSC Syllabus||Tamil – UPSC Syllabus|
|Psychology – UPSC Syllabus||Telugu – UPSC Syllabus|
|Public Administration – UPSC Syllabus||Urdu – UPSC Syllabus|
|Sociology – UPSC Syllabus||English – UPSC Syllabus|
|Statistics – UPSC Syllabus|
|Zoology – UPSC Syllabus|
The candidates who successfully qualify the UPSC Mains Exam are called for the final phase of the process, i.e. Personality Test (Interview) carrying 275 marks. The test is conducted by a board of competent evaluators who check the suitability of the appearing candidate.
Lastly, the final merit list is issued on the basis of the cumulative marks scored by the candidates in Mains Exam and Personality Test. The merit list is published on the website of Union Public Service Commission as well as in the leading newspapers.