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