Government Examinations in India (Central or State) are considered to be really competitive and rank amongst the toughest exams in the world.

Every time there is a conversation about these exams, one can’t help but cry about how difficult these exams are.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services exam is without a doubt, a father figure to the rest of the governmental exams. One can always reappear for the exam in case one wants to climb the ladder.

However, people often make the mistake of undermining the significance of the Interview marks in UPSC. This results in a low total score, making them want to appear for the exam for one more time.

UPSC Total Marks

Being a civil servant is a lifelong dream for many. There are families who envisage their offspring proudly boasting off in an ambassador car. However, it is a feat achieved only by a handful of people.

One can see a rather long list of candidates appearing for the exam time and again, with the same determination and will power, despite not being able to clear the exam beforehand.

When we talk about UPSC total marks, it is of utmost importance to understand the things that comprise these. The UPSC mains exam has a grand total of 1750 marks. There are seven papers in total that a candidate has to appear.

All of these papers are of 250 marks each, thus summing up the total to 1750 marks. Apart from these seven papers, there are two language papers (English and any modern Indian language) of 300 marks each.

However, these are only of qualifying nature and their marks will not be regarded in the total tally of marks for the written exam.

Also Read : Most Brilliant IAS Questions: Here are Some of the Trickiest UPSC Interview Questions

UPSC Papers

The seven papers include Essay, Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society, Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Economic Development, Technology, Biodiversity, Security and Disaster Management, Environment, Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude, and two optional subjects.

The optional subjects are preference-based, meaning that the candidate can opt for any subject of his choice.

After this UPSC main exam, there is an Interview, which is officially called as a Personality Test.

Personality Round

Personality Test marks are counted as a part of the main exams for acquiring a wholesome merit-based ranking. A typical UPSC interview generally clocks for about 30 minutes.

However, those 30 minutes are truly the most important 30 minutes in a Civil Services aspirant’s life. The time of the interview is not fixed.

However, the longer the interview, the higher are the chances of a positive outcome. The interview is conducted in Delhi at the UPSC office. This interview is conducted by various boards established by the UPSC.

UPSC Interviews

For the smooth functioning of the interviews and in order to avoid any nervousness amongst the candidates, all of them are given a list of people who would be on board interviewing them.

The candidates are expected to research about these interviewees. This surely helps the candidates to be better prepared for the interview.

Additionally, the board that interviews the candidates is composed of competent and unbiased observers. The interviewees too have an access to the candidate’s career.

Difficulty Level

UPSC interviews are very difficult in nature and any question on or off the topic under the discussion can be thrown at the candidate. This is done only to check the preparedness of the candidate and his ability to handle critical situations.

The interview is conducted by the UPSC board to assess the candidates’ efficacy for a career in the civil services and other responsibilities that are associated with it.

Mental and social traits, skills of the aspirant candidates are tested and judged by the board through some questions of general interest.

The qualities that the board specifically looks for are mental alertness, critical thinking, a balanced viewpoint and judgement, ability of social assimilation and leadership, integrity (both intellectual and moral) and logical exposition.

Highest and Lowest Marks

Maximum marks that can be allotted for the interview is 275. This makes the tally of the total marks considered for the main exam to obtain a wholesome merit based ranking to 2025.

The lowest marks in the UPSC interview are 55. You can’t get a score lower than this. However, it is observed that only by securing 60 percent or more in the interview, a candidate can be sure of getting a service of his own choice.

Two aspirants in the year 2014, fetched the highest marks in the UPSC interview. Ms Zainab Sayeed from Kolkata and V Radhika from Bangalore, both secured 220 marks out of 275 and created history.


One has to prepare in-depth as this whole process can last for a year. Which is why not clearing the exam means starting everything from the scratch in the next attempt. Having a personal mentor to prepare for UPSC is an ideal way to ensure progress.

UPSC Pathshala’s personal mentors have expert teaching methodologies who help in  solving doubts, keeping track of progress, and helping to improve in weak areas.

Also Read : Questions Asked in IAS Interview: How to Prepare for Your UPSC Personality Test

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Interview Marks in UPSC: Significance of the UPSC Interviews, the Highest & the Lowest Marks
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Interview Marks in UPSC: Significance of the UPSC Interviews, the Highest & the Lowest Marks
Total interview marks in UPSC along with the mains decides the kind of service the aspirant will end up with.
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UPSC Pathshala
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