UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2021 refers to the stages, pattern, marking scheme and duration given of all the compulsory and additional selection papers that together are known as the UPSC Civil Service Examinations. The examination widely divided into three stages:
- Personality Test/ Interview
Many candidates this year appeared for the UPSC Prelims 2020 and are actively preparing for their UPSC Mains, but there are also many new aspirants ready to take their place to start their journey too.
The first step to start preparing for the exam is to conduct a research about the exam to find out in detail about the exam, the kind of questions asked, the kind of answers expected and most importantly, if you are ready to commit and devote yourself for the cause.
Basic Overview of the Exam
|Name of the exam||Civil Services Exam- IAS|
|Conducting authority||Union Public Service Commission|
|Mode of Exam||Offline|
|Number of Stages||Prelims exam
|Number of papers||Prelims: 2
|Prelims marking scheme||Paper 1: +2 marks
Paper 2: +2.5 marks
Negative marking: One-third of marks allotted to each question
|Duration||Prelims: 2 hours (Each paper)|
|Mains: 3 hours (Each paper)|
|Type of questions||Prelims: Objective type|
|Mains: Subjective type|
Also Read: Important Facts About UPSC Exam
Exam Pattern For UPSC Prelims
|Number of Papers||2- General Studies and Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)|
|Number of Questions||Paper 1- 100; Paper 2- 80|
|Question Paper Type||Multiple Choice Questions|
|IAS Prelims Total Marks||400|
|Nature of Exam||Qualifying|
|Exam Duration||2 hours each, +20 minutes for blind students|
|Exam Language||English and Hindi|
Also Read: All You Need to Know About UPSC Prelims Preparation
Facts About Prelims
- The Prelims stage consists of 2 papers- General Ability Test (GAT) and the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT).
- All MCQ based objective type questions are asked.
- Questions are set in both languages, Hindi and English.
- Questions testing English Language Comprehension skills are set in English only.
- Candidates have to score a minimum of 33% in the Prelims to qualify for IAS Mains.
- Each question in the GAT Paper weighs 2 marks while each question in the CSAT Paper weighs 2.5 marks.
- A penalty of ⅓ marks is deducted for every wrong answer in the form of negative marking.
- 2 answers marked for the same question is considered a wrong answer even if one of the answers is correct.
- No answer marked is not considered as an attempt and hence no penalty is deducted.
Exam Pattern For UPSC Mains
There are two kinds of papers for Mains- Qualifying and Merit. It is compulsory to appear for both. Rank is decided on the basis of Merit. There are 7 papers under Merit:
|Paper||Title of the Paper||Marks Allotted|
|Paper 1||Essay writing||250 Marks|
|Paper 2||General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)||250 Marks|
|Paper 3||General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)||250 Marks|
|Paper 4||General Studies –III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)||250 Marks|
|Paper 5||General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)||250 Marks|
|Paper 6||Optional Subject – Paper 1||250 Marks|
|Paper 7||Optional Subject – Paper 2||250 Marks|
|–||Sub Total in the written Test||1750 Marks|
|–||Personal Interview||275 Marks|
|–||Grand Total ( for merit calculation)||2025 Marks|
Facts About Mains
- UPSC Mains is an offline exam conducted on pen and paper.
- Each paper carried 250 marks
- Each paper is 3 hours long with handicapped students getting an extra 30 minutes.
- The exam consists of a total of 9 papers.
- All questions are subjective and descriptive.
- The students are judged on the basis of opinion, content, understanding the problems/ situation, offering feasible solutions/strategies, presentation, language, intellect and knowledge on the given topic.
- Questions are set in both Hindi and English.
- Total marks is 1750.
- The Mains papers are divided into two- Qualifying and Merit.
Qualifying UPSC Mains Papers
Candidates will have to score a minimum percentage in the qualifying exam.
- Paper A: (Any one of the Indian Languages of the candidates’ choice to be selected from the ones included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution – 300 Marks)
- Paper B: English – 300 Marks
Merit UPSC Mains Papers
- Candidates are tested on the basis of their intellect, personal discretion, and interpersonal skills.
- Essay type questions are used to understand the scope of the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of concepts.
- Tests the strength of the candidates’ Indian Language.
- An optional subject is selected from the list provided for which the candidate is to appear.
Also Read: How to Choose The Best Optional Subject For Mains?
Mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity are important qualities that UPSC searches for in the candidates.
Training yourself in not only knowledge but also mentally and personality-wise is important as it will help you be ready to solve all problems in a diplomatic and effortless manner. Knowing the exam pattern well enough is the first step to achieving your dreams to be a competent civil servant.