UPSC (IAS) Civil Services Exam Pattern 2021

UPSC conducts the Civil Services Exam every year for recruitment to various Group A and B positions in the Government of India. In this article, we have provided detailed information about the UPSC IAS Exam Pattern.

While preparing or planning to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 it is necessary for an aspirant to be well aware of the UPSC IAS exam pattern. Knowledge of the UPSC CSE exam pattern will not only help aspirants in an easy understanding of the syllabus at each stage but will also help in the analysis of time and hard work they have to invest to get through all the stages. 

UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted by UPSC every year to recruit the candidates for the prestigious All India Services and Central Civil Services in India. A clear understanding of the UPSC IAS exam pattern is essential for preparation. 

UPSC IAS exam is conducted in three stages:

  1. UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam
  2. UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam
  3. Personality Test (Interview Process)

Candidates who successfully get through all the three-rounds are selected for the esteemed Civil Services. Now let’s discuss the pattern of each stage in detail:

UPSC IAS Prelims Exam consists of two papers of 200 marks each containing objective-type multiple-choice questions. Candidates need to mandatorily appear for both the papers for evaluation. The time allotted to attempt each exam is 2 hours. The marks secured at the Prelims stage are not counted towards the final merit list, though candidates have to prepare well for this exam to pass through the qualifying cutoff as cut-offs are unpredictable and depend on the average score every year. The details of UPSC Prelims Exam pattern are mentioned below: 

Negative Marking: There is negative marking associated with every wrong answer in UPSC Prelims Exam. 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to a question will be deducted if it is wrongly answered.

  • Visually Impaired candidates will be given an additional time of 20 minutes (Each Paper) to complete the Preliminary exam.
  • The Question Paper is bilingual i.e. asked in both English & Hindi

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Pattern

The UPSC IAS Main exam consists of a total of 9 papers which include two qualifying papers and seven merit-based papers. Each paper will be of three hours duration. Only those candidates who secure at least the declared cut off in General Studies I and 33% in General Studies II in Prelims are allowed to appear for the Mains Examination. As per the exam pattern of UPSC Mains, all of the papers consist of descriptive answer type questions. All the papers except the Language papers A and B can be answered in English or any of the languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The optional papers can be answered in English even if none of the other papers has been answered by the candidate in English.

Details regarding all the papers are given below:

*One of the Indian language to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the constitution

*Paper A is not compulsory for candidates from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim as well as candidates with hearing impairment provided they can prove that they have been exempted from such 2nd or 3rd language courses by their concerned board or university. 

**Paper A & B are of qualifying nature

List of Optional Subjects for Mains Exam 

Candidates can choose any one optional subject from the list below:

  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. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

UPSC IAS Personality Test/ Interview Pattern 

As per the UPSC IAS exam pattern, the aspirants who qualify the UPSC mains exam are called for the Personality Test. This Personality Test/interview is conducted by the UPSC board to assess the candidates’ suitability for a career in civil services and associated responsibilities. The board consists of competent and unbiased observers who have a record of the candidates’ academic, professional as well as personal information which the candidate submitted in the DAF. The board would judge the candidate’s mental and social traits by asking questions of general interest. Some of the qualities that the board looks for are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, a balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

The maximum marks allotted for the interview stage are 275 making the total marks for the merit list consideration to 2025 marks (1750+275). 

UPSC Civil Services Exam is a highly comprehensive and competitive exam with lakhs of aspirants appearing for 800-900 vacancies every year. The rigorous exam pattern tests the candidate on various levels and mental skills before selection. 

Share with your friends