UPSC Civil Service Exam Pattern 2019-2020

There are 3 stages in Civil Service Exam

  1. Preliminary Exam
  2. Mains Exam
  3. Interview

Preliminary Examination

This is the primary stage of Civil Service Examination and also known as the screening test for Mains exam. It s a qualifier exam which is not counted for the final merit. This exam contains two Papers of objective type questions. The test booklets are set in English and Hindi.

Name of the Paper Maximum Marks Duration of the Exam
General Studies Paper I 200 2 Hours
General Studies Paper II - (CSAT) 200 2 Hours

Total marks are 400 and duration is one day.

Civil Services Syllabus for Preliminary Examination - Paper I (200 Marks) - Duration 2 hours

  • Important national and international current events.
  • History of India (ancient, medieval, and modern) and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, and Economic.
  • Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Right Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development - Sustainable development, Poverty, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate change - subject specialization is not needed.
  • General Science.


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Civil Services Syllabus for Preliminary Examination - Paper II (200 Marks) - Duration 2 hours

This paper is generally known as CSAT and not counted for the merit rank in prelims. It s a qualifying paper that just needs 33% marks.

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
  • Decision-making and problem solving.
  • General mental ability.
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and its relation, orders of magnitude, etc. - class X level) and Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. class X levels).
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IAS Mains Exam Pattern

After the screening test, selected candidates can appear for CS Mains Exam. This written exam contains of nine papers. Two qualifying papers and seven papers counted for ranking.

Paper Subject Marks
Paper A Indian languages (candidates should select one of the Indian language listed in the Eighth schedule of Indian Constitution)(Qualifying paper) 300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of India and the World) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice, and International relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio diversity, environment, security and disaster management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV (ethics, integrity, and aptitude) 250
Paper VI and VII Two papers on optional. Candidate should opt a subject from the list provided by UPSC. 500
  Total 1750

Note 1: paper A and paper B will be in matriculation or equivalent standard. It s a qualifying paper and the attained marks are not counted for final merit.

Note 2: the Indian language paper will not be necessary for applicants those who are hailing from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim.

Note 3: Paper A consists an essay, translation, pr cis writing, sentence formation, etc.

List of Indian Languagesfor IAS Exam

  • Assamese
  • Bengali
  • Bodo
  • Dogri
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Maithili
  • Malayalam
  • Manipuri
  • Marathi
  • Nepali
  • Odia
  • Punjabi
  • Sanskrit
  • Santali
  • Sindhi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Urdu

List of optional subjects for IAS exam

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Indian History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology


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Personality Test

UPSC gives more importance to Interview (Personality Test) and the weight-age of marks given to IAS Interview is 275 Marks.

This is the third part of CS exam conducted by UPSC interview board. After the Mains examination, applicants will get a call letter for Interview. The intention behind this part is to check the candidate s personality, ability, capacity, and ensure that they are suited for administration service.

Personality test marks are considered for final rank along with Mains examination Marks i.e. 1750 (mains exam mark) + 275 (interview)= 2025.

Candidates should submit caste certificate (SC, ST, OBC Candidates) PH Certificate (if the candidates are physically handicapped), attestation form, and TA form. These forms are available on

Applicants should carry the following documents (I) Filled Questionnaire and (II) Attestation Form.

(I) Filled questionnaire

The seven-page questionnaire should be filled dully by the candidates and submitted at interview time to the research and analysis section of UPSC to know about the background of the applicant.

This questionnaire consists several parts such as:

  1. Background of the candidates
  2. Employment status
  3. Previous civil service attempts
  4. Competitive exams cleared
  5. Reason for interest in Civil Service
  6. Education qualification
  7. Background of parents/Guardians
  8. Source of information for civil service
  9. Coaching attended
  10. Optional subject

(II) Attestation form

This has to be filled with the required details including residence, nationality, and education. It has to be signed by a Gazetted officer and submitted at the interview.

All the Best.

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