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Table of Content







Name of the exam

Civil Services Exam- IAS

Conducting authority

Union Public Service Commission

Mode of Exam


Number of Stages

Prelims exam
Mains exam

Number of papers

Prelims: 2
Mains: 9

Prelims marking scheme

Paper 1: 200 Marks (100Question , 2marks each)

Paper 2:  200 Marks (80 Questions , 2.5 marks each)

Negative marking: One-third of marks allotted to each question


Prelims: 2 hours (Each paper)

Mains: 3 hours (Each paper)

Type of questions

Prelims: Objective type (MCQ)

Mains: Subjective type(Written)


1000 (Tentative)


2.UPSC IAS EXAM Pattern for Prelims


Paper No. of questions Marks
General Studies I 100 Q X 2 Marks 200
General Studies II (CSAT) 80 Q X 2.5 Marks 200







1. Book Exam are of Objective type (MCQ based)

2.Exam is conducted in offline mode

3.For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.

4.If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.

3.UPSC IAS EXAM Pattern for Mains



Title of the Paper

Marks Allotted

Paper 1

Essay writing

250 Marks

Paper 2

General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)

250 Marks

Paper 3

General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

250 Marks

Paper 4

General Studies –III  (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

250 Marks

Paper 5

General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

250 Marks

Paper 6

Optional Subject – Paper 1

250 Marks

Paper 7

Optional Subject – Paper 2

250 Marks

  Sub Total in the written Test

1750 Marks

  Personal Interview

275 Marks

Grand Total ( for merit calculation)

2025 Marks


4.UPSC IAS Exam Pattern for Personality Test


  • All candidates qualifying the Mains examination will proceed towards the Personality Test.
  • 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, the balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  • This test will be conducted in the language of choice. 
  • The interview will be graded for 275 marks. The total marks of IAS are 2025 marks 



 General Studies-I

Subject Detailed Topic Description
Current Affairs Current events of national and international importance
History of India History of India and Indian National Movement
Geography Physical, Social and Economic geography of India and the World
Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc.
Economy and Social Issues Economic  and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives
Environment and Ecology General Issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change that do not require subject specialisation
Science General Science


  1. Current Affairs are centred around the events and occurrences of the year preceding the date/ month of the exam i.e. If the Preliminary Exam is in June 2019 then the Current Affairs from May 2018 – April 2019 are relevant. But the current affairs are not restricted to his time line and 1 – 2 questions may come from earlier issues.

2.History of India not only includes the political history but also has Art and Culture of India from ancient to the modern period as well. This includes – art, architecture, sculpture, literature, dances, theatre, music and festivals.

  1. Geography also entails map based questions, even though the map is not provided. The candidate must be familiar with the political and physical maps of India and the world.
  2. Environment and Ecology have increased in importance since the preliminary exam for Civil Services is also the preliminary exam for Indian Forest Services. This part includes both current affairs as well as static portion.



Interpersonal Skills including communication skills
Logical reasoning and analytical ability
Decision-making and problem-solving
General mental ability
Basic numeracy – Class X level
Data Interpretation – Class X level


  1. This Paper tests basic aptitude with the difficulty level set more or less at the Class X level.
  2. It is not counted towards the merit and the candidate only needs to score 33% of the marks
  3. The Paper consists of 80 questions with each wrong answer fetching a negative 1/3rd marks. The duration of the paper is 2 hours.


    2018 98 96.66 84
    2017 105.34 102.66 88.66
    2016 116 110 99.34
    2015 107.34 106 94

    NOTE : The cutoff only contains marks of General Studies I Paper.




Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

  1. The Paper consists of two essays of 1000 – 1200 words each.
  2. The candidate is given four choices from which to choose which essay to write for each of the two essays.
  3. The space is limited for writing as answer sheets have been replaced by Question-cum-Answer Booklets (QCABs).




Art and Culture  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
Modern History  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issue
The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the count
Post-Independence India Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
World History History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society
Society and Social Issues Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies
Effects of globalization on Indian society
Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
Geography Salient features of world’s physical geography
Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes




Constitution Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
Governance Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
Role of civil services in a democracy
Social Justice Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resource
Issues relating to poverty and hunger
International Relations India and its neighborhood-relations
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure and mandate





Economy Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
Government Budgeting
Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology Missions; Economics of animal rearing
Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management
Land reforms in India
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways
Investment Models
Science and Technology developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights
Ecology and Environment Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Disaster Management Disaster and Disaster Management
Internal Security Linkages between development and spread of Extremism
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate




Ethics and Human Interface Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
Attitude content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Services integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections
Emotional Intelligence -concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
Thinkers Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world
Ethics in Public Administration Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance
Probity in Governance Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
Case Studies Case studies on the above topics



PAPER 6 & 7 (250 MARKS EACH)

The Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects below


List of Optionals:


Agriculture Assamese Literature
Animal husbandry and Veterinary Science Bengali Literature
Anthropology Bodo Literature
Botany Dogri Literature
Chemistry Gujarati Literature
Civil Engineering HIndi Literature
Commerce and Accountancy Kannada Literature
Economics Kashmiri Literature
Electrical Engineering Konkani Literature
Geography Maithili Literature
Geology Malayalam Literature
History Manipuri Literature
Law Marathi Literature
Management Nepali Literature
Mathematics Odia Literature
Mechanical Engineering Punjabi Literature
Medical Science Sanskrit Literature
Philosophy Santhali Literature
Physics Sindhi Literature
Political Science and International Relations Tamil Literature
Psychology Telugu Literature
Public Administration Urdu Literature
Sociology English Literature




  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  5. 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.
  6. The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers.
  7. 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.


The Candidate is interviewed by a Board of five members of which the Chairman of the Board is a member of UPSC while the rest will be experts from various fields. The Board is provided with the Detailed Application Form (DAF) that the candidate fills before the Written Part of the Mains Examination. The interview lasts from 30-35 minutes on an average but may be shorter or longer depending on the candidate and board.


There is no set syllabus but the general direction of preparation should include:

  1. Detailed Application Form – basic information, hobbies, education, work experience etc.
  2. State of Residence/ State to which one belongs
  3. City of Residence
  4. Events of national and international importance that are in the news during that duration.