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UPSC Exam Pattern 2024 For Prelims, Mains and Interview

Union Public Service Commission set the Exam Pattern for the civil service exam. UPSC Exam Pattern gives an idea about the exam process, which helps candidates prepare for recruitment. UPSC Exam consists of three stages of selection: Prelims, Mains, and Interview or Personal Test. We have discussed the UPSC Paper in this Article along with Prelims, Mains, and Interview.

What is UPSC Exam Pattern ?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Exam pattern is divided into three stages: Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The UPSC Exam Pattern assesses candidates’ academic knowledge and ability to organize their responses for the IAS Exam 2024. Because of this, candidates must have a thorough understanding of the IAS Exam Pattern for Prelims and Mains. Candidates may better organize their time and prepare for the exam if they thoroughly know the format. 

Matching their study plan to the exam requirements will also be more straightforward. Thanks to the UPSC Exam Pattern 2024, candidates will be able to interpret a clear image of the number of questions and negative markings. The complete UPSC Exam Pattern for each stage and comprehensive information on the negative marking policy are provided below. Candidates can properly prepare for the exam with a thorough understanding of the IAS Exam Pattern 2024.

Stages Name No. Of Papers Type Of Exam Marks
Stage 1 UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2 Papers (GS 1 & CSAT Papers) Objective 400
Stage 2 UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 9 Papers Descriptive 1750
Stage 3 IAS Interview Personality Test 275
Total Marks UPSC Mains + Interview Marks = 2025 Marks

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2024

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern includes two papers, General Studies-1 and General Studies-2, or CSAT. The prelims exam’s two papers are conducted on the same day. CSAT Paper/GS Paper 2 of the UPSC Prelims is a qualifying paper. To be eligible, applicants must pass the CSAT with a minimum score of 33%. To ensure you pass the exam on your first try, familiarize yourself with the UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern
Prelims Paper Name of Questions Marks Allotted Time Allotted Nature of Paper
GS Paper I 100 Questions 200 2 hours Merit Ranking
GS Paper II (CSAT) 80 Questions 200 2 hours Qualifying
Total Marks in Prelims 400 Marks

UPSC Prelims Negative Marking Rule

According to the UPSC exam pattern for the Prelims, each question on General Studies-1 is for two points, and each question on the CSAT paper is worth five points. In the UPSC, one-third of the marks allotted to such questions would be deducted.

  • This indicates that there would be a negative marking of 0.66 for IAS Prelims Paper 1.
  • The UPSC negative marking for the CSAT will be 0.83.
UPSC Prelims Negative Marking Rule
Paper Total Questions  Total Marks Negative Marks
General Studies-1 100 2*100=200 0.66
General Studies-2 (CSAT) 80 2.5*80=200 0.83

Read more: UPSC Calendar 2024

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024

The UPSC Main Exam Pattern consists of nine papers, two of which are qualifying in nature and the remaining seven are merit-determining papers. Those who pass the preliminary exam are qualified to take the main examination. For a better understanding of the subjects included in the main exam, download the UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024. Candidates must sit both qualifying and merit papers in accordance with the UPSC Mains Exam Pattern.

  • There will be a total of 9 papers, of which 2 will have qualifying characteristics, 4 will be for General Studies, and 2 will be for the optional courses.
  • For the Mains exam, candidates are permitted to select an optional topic.
  • All of the articles will also be descriptive.

The following papers will be included in the UPSC Mains 2024 written Examination:

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern
Paper Subject Nature Of Paper Time Allotted Total marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian language Qualifying (75 Marks required. ie. 25%) 3 hours 300
Paper B English 3 hours 300
Paper I Essay Final Merit (Marks will be counted in the final merit list) 3 hours 250
Paper-II General Studies I 3 hours 250
Paper III General Studies II 3 hours 250
Paper IV General Studies III 3 hours 250
Paper V General Studies IV 3 hours 250
Paper VI Optional I 3 hours 250
Paper VII Optional II 3 hours 250
UPSC Mains Total Marks 1750

Candidates from Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, and Nagaland, as well as those with hearing impairment, are exempt from taking Paper A. These candidates must, however, demonstrate that their university or board has exempted them from taking second or third language courses.

UPSC Mains Marks Distribution

  • Papers A and B are qualifying according to the UPSC mains exam pattern, and all other papers are taken into consideration for merit.
  • To be taken into consideration for the final merit list, candidates must receive at least a 25% on each paper.
  • There are 300 marks on each of Papers A and B.
  • The last seven papers each carry a total of 250 points.

The subjects which are covered by the General Studies Papers in Mains Exam are:

General Studies I General Studies II General Studies III General Studies IV
Indian Heritage and Culture Governance Technology Ethics
History and Geography of the World Constitution Economic Development Integrity
Society Polity Bio-diversity Aptitude
Social Justice Environment
International relations Security and Disaster Management

UPSC Optional Mains Exam Pattern

The main pattern comprises two optional papers, as was already mentioned. According to the UPSC Marking Scheme, each paper carries 250 points. From the list of UPSC Optional Subjects, candidates are free to select any subject they desire. The complete list of electives is provided in the link below.

The Optional subjects for Paper VI and VII of the mains examination have to be any one of the subjects from the following list:

Optional subjects
Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Anthropology Botany Chemistry
Civil Engineering Commerce and Accountancy Economics Electrical Engineering Geography
Geology History Law Management Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering Medical Science Philosophy Physics Political Science and International Relations
Psychology Public Administration Sociology Statistics Zoology
The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

UPSC Interview Exam Pattern 2024

After clearing the written examination, the candidate faces a Personality Test in which most questions are based on general interests topics. The purpose of the interview round or personality test is for a Board of knowledgeable and objective UPSC observers to examine if the candidate is suitable for a career in public service.

  • According to the UPSC Paper Pattern, there will be a total of 275 points awarded for the interview phase.
  • The final merit list will be created based on the candidate’s scores in the Mains and Interview when the UPSC Result of the interview round is announced.

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Will there be a UPSC exam in 2024?

Yes, On May 26, 2024, the UPSC CSE exam will take place.

How can I prepare for CSE 2024?

UPSC CSE is a comprehensive examination. For the preparation of this exam, candidates should be aware of the UPSC CSE exam pattern and syllabus thoroughly. This exam takes at least one year to complete all the important parts of the syllabus.

When will IAS form come in 2024?

As per the 2024 calendar, the application form for UPSC Prelims 2024 is set to be accessible starting from February 14, 2024. The deadline for submission is scheduled for March 5, 2024.

How many months current affairs UPSC 2024?

For the civil service examination, UPSC does not specify a certain time limit for covering current affairs. However, aspirants can prepare for at least one year (from may 2023 onwards to April/May month of  2024) of current affairs thoroughly.

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!


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