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IAS Examination Pattern and Syllabus

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    The Civil services examination comprises three successive stages:

A. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination

Paper- I General Studies 2 Hrs 200 Marks
Paper- II Aptitude 2 Hrs 200 Marks

B. Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written) for the selection of candidates for Personality test

Paper- 1 Regional Language 3 Hrs 300 Marks (Qualifying Only)
Paper- 2 English 3 Hrs 300 Marks (Qualifying Only)
Paper- 3 Essay 3 Hrs 250 Marks  
Paper- 4 G.S-1 3 Hrs 250 Marks  
Paper- 5 G.S-2 3 Hrs 250 Marks  
Paper- 6 G.S-3 3 Hrs 250 Marks  
Paper- 7 G.S-4 3 Hrs 250 Marks  
Paper- 8 Optional (Paper 1) 3 Hrs 250 Marks  
Paper- 8 Optional (Paper 2) 3 Hrs 250 Marks  

C. Personality Test (interview)

275 Marks

A. Preliminary Exam

    Paper I - (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
  • 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- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
  • 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)
  • English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
    Note 1:
  1. Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
  2. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level will be tested through passages from English Language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
  3. Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates will however; be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes at each paper.

B. Main Examination

Paper - I
Regional Language -300 Marks
Candidate can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature

Paper - II
English -300 Marks
This paper is of qualifying nature

Paper - III
Essay - 250 Marks
Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice

General Studies-I 250 Marks
(Indian Heritage and Culture,
History and Geography of the World and Society)

General Studies -II: 250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

General Studies -III 250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

General Studies -IV 250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Marks carried by General Studies was 4X 250=1000

Optional Subject - Paper 1 -250 Marks

Optional Subject - Paper II -250 Marks
Candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject "without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language's literature.

Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Marks of English and Regional Language will not be counted so total marks for Written exam will be 1750 Marks Only

A candidate is allowed to use any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

Interview/Personality Test - 275 Marks

Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.


Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers EXCEPT PAPER A & B will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination Aspirants can log on to UPSC's official website (www.upsc.gov.in) to see the detailed notification.