An exam like UPSC needs total hard work and dedication from individuals. With hard work you need to work smartly by knowing all the details of the examination so that you leave no stone unturned to fulfil your dream. you have to get into thorough research about the examination, exam structure, pattern, and all the sections and stages it has. With such information, you will be able to prepare better for each section. In this article, you will learn about “what is paper A and paper B in UPSC?”. Your all doubts will be cleared from this article.

IAS Examination Structure

IAS examination has three stages: Prelims, Mains, and interview. once the candidate clears the prelims he/she moves on to give the mains examination and then the last stage is the interview. On the basis of the marks, obtained individuals have ranked accordingly. Prelims exam is all MCQs based, where you get the general knowledge questions.

The exam is conducted in two sessions- one is general knowledge I and General knowledge So for prelims you have to make your general knowledge strong. You have to read newspapers, magazines and make notes of the same to revise when prelims exam dates come close to the exam.

Also Read:- Dogri Language Preparation for UPSC IAS Mains: Click to know the Preparation Strategy 

Mains Examination

When you clear the prelims, you make it to the second stage, which is the mains examination. But unlike the prelims examination, the main examination is prepared to evaluate the academic skill of an individual. It is a way through which a candidate’s ability to express ideas clearly and with great accuracy is assessed in English and other languages. In this examination, you have to prepare for-

  1. Part A:- Mandatory Indian Language
  2. Paper B – English
  3. Paper-I:- General Studies I
  4. Paper-II:- General Studies II
  5. Paper-II:- General Studies III
  6. Paper-IV:- Optional I
  7. Paper-VII:- Optional II

All the papers are for 3 hours. You will also be giving a personal interview where the total marks given to the IAS interview is 275. Total marks for the Mains written examination is 1750. The total marks given to the mains exam is 2025.

What is Paper A and Paper B in UPSC?

As the mains examination has paper A and paper B.both the paper have the timings and the marks allotted to them. Paper A is dedicated to the Indian languages where the candidate has to choose a language and he/she should be well versed with the language in terms of written skills, listening skills, and reading skills.

It is a scoring paper but the marks obtained in the paper are not counted in the final ranking, but that doesn’t mean that you will not work hard for this paper. You have to score good marks to clear this paper which is mandatory. A pattern of the question paper for these sections are-

  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays
  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Precis Writing
  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Short Essays in Indian Languages:-
  • Precis Writing

Also Read:- How to Balance Optional and General Studies to Clear UPSC? Here’s the Way to Ace the Balancing Game

Paper A

Paper A of the UPSC examination is a scoring paper, time given for this paper is 3 hours and the mark allotted is 300. You have to get at least 25 % to clear this examination, that is you need 75 marks out of 300 to clear this examination. The language that you can choose from for this paper is-

Language Script
Assamese Assamese
Bengali Bengali
Bodo Devanagari
Dogri Devanagari
Gujarati Gujarati
Hindi Devanagari
Kannada Kannada
Kashmiri Persian
Konkani Devanagari
Malayalam Malayalam
Maithili Devanagari
Manipuri Bengali
Marathi Devanagari
Nepali Devanagari
Odia Odia
Punjabi Gurmukhi
Sanskrit Devanagari
Santhali Olchiki or Devanagari
Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic
Tamil Tamil
Telugu Telugu
Urdu Persian

 Paper B

Paper B is an English paper, where your English proficiency is evaluated. It is a compulsory paper, as clearing this paper is very important. The structure of paper B is as follows-

  1. Question 1 is an essay: you are given 4 to 5 topics and you have to choose one to write an essay of 600 words. Make sure that you use correct vocabulary and proper grammar
  2. Question 2 is a comprehension where you are given 3 to 4 paras on the basis of which you are asked a few questions. You have to write the answer to each question. You get 5 questions of 15 marks each.
  3. The last question is about precise writing where you are given lengthy content and you have to write in its shorter version, like a summary.
  4. Question 4 is your grammar check, here you are given sentences to check your grammar. Make sure for this section you have a basic knowledge of grammar.

Tips for Paper A

  • It is advised that you should choose the language wisely. Choose the one which you have a more grip on.
  • Don’t compromise on your other subjects for the language as you just have to score 75 marks to get it cleared
  • Bring writing and speaking the language into your habit so that you don’t fall behind at the time of giving the paper

Tips for Paper B

  • Even if you are confident about your English, you have to brush up the grammar rules.
  • Make sure that you practice the English paper from the previous year PAper B for UPSC
  • Time your paper well so that you don’t miss out on any answer
  • Practice the English section

Also Read:- What are the Toughest Questions asked in UPSC CSE Interviews? Check to be Prepared for the PI Round


It is really important that you understand the UPSC exam structure to prepare accordingly. Once you have the required knowledge you can prepare well accordingly in this article you will get all the knowledge about Paper A and Paper B of the mains examination. As the Main examinations have 9 papers these two papers are mandatory to clear but the marks obtained in this section are not considered in giving the ranks. But make sure that you get the passing marks on these two paper

Content Protection by
What is Paper A and Paper B in UPSC? Important Things to know about the Civil Services Examination
Article Name
What is Paper A and Paper B in UPSC? Important Things to know about the Civil Services Examination
Paper A and Paper B are a part of the Mains examination. You can prepare well for this section once you have all the required information about it. Click here and know all that is important about it.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo