Civil Services Exam Pattern

Prelims Exam is the first stage of Civil Services Exam

Scheme of Prelims Exam


    Paper I (GS)
  • 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
    Paper II (CSAT)
  • 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)

Important Points for Students (this title is to be rename as Title is needed othewise text looking all same)

  1. The Prelims Exam shall comprise of two Compulsary Papers of 200 Marks each having objective type questions (MCQ)
  2. It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination
  3. Paper- II will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualify marks fixed at 33%. It means UPSC will evaluate Paper- II first. If candidate secures 330% or more marks in Paper- II than only Paper- I will be evaluated
  4. Whether a candidate qualifies Prelims Exam or not will be decided on the basis of marks obtained in Paper- I. Cut off marks is declared every year for prelims Paper- I. Candidates seeking marks above cut off mark are declared qualified and as such are eligible for writing Mains Exam/li>
  5. To qualify Civil Services Exam, candidates are required to qualify all the three stages (Prelims. Mains and Interview) in one and the same year. It means if a candidate fails at any stage he/she has to start the exam process once again next year from Prelims./li>


The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies Papers (Papers II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.

The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyse, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The Main (written) Examination will consist of the following papers:

Qualifying Papers (Non-Ranking)
Paper A One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution. 300 Marks
Paper B             English 300 Marks
Papers to be Counted for Merit (Ranking)
Paper I Essay 250 Marks
Paper II General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250 Marks
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250 Marks
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250 Marks
Paper V General Studies IV ( Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250 Marks
Paper VI Optional Subject- Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper VII Optional Subject- Paper 2 250 Marks
For the optional papers in the Main Examination, UPSC has a list of about twenty-six subjects out of which any one subject has to be selected by the candidate.
Subtotal (Written Test) 1750 Marks
Personality Test (Interview) 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks


The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks). Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. (Ranking is based on score out of 2025 Marks). Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the Examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various services and posts.

The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled.

The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest.

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 caliber of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his 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 technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

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.