Civil Service Examination Pattern

The pattern of Civil services examination has been designed to test the academic expertise of a candidate and that candidate's ability to present himself/herself in a systematic and coherent manner. The examination pattern intends to assess the overall intellectual traits and understanding level of the candidates.

The UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in two stages namely, Prelims and Mains, which are then followed by an interview.

Scheme and subjects for the Preliminary and Main Examinations are as follows:

1. Preliminary Examination (400 Marks)

  • The Prelims consists of two papers of 200 marks each
  • Both the question papers are of the objective type (multiple choice questions) of two hours each
  • The question papers will be set in both Hindi and English. However, questions related to English Language Comprehension skills would be provided only in English.
  • Blind candidates would be allowed an extra 20 minutes of time for each paper











Note: The marks which are secured in the prelims are only for qualifying the Mains Examination. It is not counted to determine the order of merit. The Qualifying marks for GS Paper II: CSAT is 33%. But the candidates will be promoted to the Mains only based on the Qualifying marks in Paper I: General Studies.

2. Main Examination (2025 Marks)

  • Candidates who qualify Preliminary exam are called for the Main exam and on the basis of marks secured in the Main exam; they will be called for Interview.

  • The total marks of the Main exam and Interview sum up to produce the final result.

  • The Mains Examination is a written Examination.

  • It consists of 9 Papers out of which 2 are Qualifying in nature namely Paper A and Paper B; remaining 7 papers which are namely Paper I to Paper VII which are based on Ranking.

  • The Questions will be available in Hindi as well as English in the Question Papers.

The written examination consists of the following papers:




Paper A

One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution 300 Marks


Paper B



Paper - I



Paper - II

General Studies-I

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)


Paper – III

General Studies-II

(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)


Paper – IV

General Studies-III

(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)


Paper – V

General Studies-IV

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)


Paper – VI

Optional Subject

Paper - I


Paper - VII

Optional Subject

Paper - II


Sub Total (Written Test)


Personality Test


Grand Total



Eligibility Criteria


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India

  • Candidate must be a citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan

  • Candidate must be a Tibetan Refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, to be settled permanently in India

  • Candidate must be person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia with an intention of permanently settling in India

Educational Qualification:

  • Candidate must hold a Bachelor's Degree from any of the recognized universities.

  • Candidates who have appeared for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results or those who are yet to appear for the qualifying examination are also eligible for the Preliminary Examination. Such candidates have to produce proof of passing the said examination along with the application for the Main Examination.

  • Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government or its equivalent are also eligible to apply.

  • Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However, they must submit a certificate from the concerned University that they have passed the final professional medical examination.

Age Limit:

A candidate should be minimum of 21 years and maximum 32 years old on 1st August of the year of examination.

The upper age limit prescribed above is relaxable for the following candidates:

  • 5 Years - Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST).
  • 3 Years - Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  • 3 Years - Defence Services personnel
  • 5 Years - ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least 5 years Military Service.
  • 5 Years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs.
  • 10 Years - Blind, deaf-mute, and orthopedically handicapped persons

Number of attempts:

Restriction on the maximum number of attempts is effective since 1984:

  • For General Candidates: 7 attempts (Up to 32 Years)

  • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates (SC/ST): No Limits (Up to 37 Years)

  • Other Backward Classes (OBC): 9 attempts (Up to 35 Years)

  • Physically handicapped- 9 attempts for general and OBC, while unlimited for SC/ST

UPSC Syllabus – Civil Services Preliminary Exam

The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choices, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam.

The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II 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.

UPSC Syllabus for Paper I – (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims)

  • Current events of national and international importance.

  • History of India and Indian National Movement.

  • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

  • Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.

  • General Science.

UPSC Syllabus for Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Not counted for the merit rank in Prelims but a qualifying Paper; just needs 33% marks)

  • Comprehension.

  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills.

  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability.

  • Decision-making and problem-solving.

  • General mental ability.

  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level).

UPSC Syllabus – Civil Services Mains Exam

A candidate’s rank in UPSC Civil Service Exam depends only on the mark scored in Main and Interview. The main exam has 1750 marks while interview has 275 marks.


The written examination (main) will consist of the following nine papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate should secure minimum marks prescribed by UPSC each year.

Qualifying Papers – Not counted for final ranking:

  • Paper - A – Indian Language – 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 Marks.

  • Paper - B – English Language – Syllabus. 300 Marks.

Papers to be counted for merit ranking:

  1. Paper-I Essay – Syllabus. 250 Marks.

  2. Paper-II General Studies – I Syllabus. 250Marks.

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society).

  1. Paper-III General Studies – II Syllabus. 250 Marks.

(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations).

  1. Paper-IV General Studies – III  Syllabus. 250 Marks.

(Technology, Economic Development, Bio?diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management).

  1. Paper-V General Studies –IV – Syllabus. 250 Marks.

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude).

  1. Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 – 250 Marks.

  2. Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 – 250 Marks.

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