Negative Marking in UPSC - How to Calculate Negative Marking

By Ritesh|Updated : September 20th, 2022

Negative Marking in UPSC is one of the major factors that make it tough for candidates to crack the UPSC exam. As you know, the Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the ticket to the posts in the prestigious civil services. However, the introduction of Negative Marking in UPSC has made it tougher for the candidates to clear the first stage of UPSC, i.e. Prelims. Over the years, the Negative Marking in UPSC has played a significant role in deteriorating the candidate's performance in the Prelims exam.

In this article, we have discussed the role of UPSC negative marking and how it can influence your performance. In addition, we have also discussed how you can calculate your final score while considering the Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims.

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Negative Marking in UPSC

There are three stages in UPSC Exam- UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and Personality Test. UPSC Prelims is the screening test where, and the marks scored here won't be considered in the final result. However, this round is very difficult due to the negative marking. Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims is ⅓ of the total marks allocated to that question. The UPSC Prelims include two papers, namely, General Studies-1 and General Studies 2 (CSAT). Let's take a look at the Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims for both papers.

Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims for General Studies-1

The general studies-1 carries 200 marks, and 100 questions will be asked. It means each question carries 2 marks, and the duration is of two hours. As we have mentioned above, for every wrong answer Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims is ⅓ of the total marks allocated to that question. So, in the case of General Studies-1, for each wrong answer, 0.66 marks will be deducted.

How to Calculation of marks for Paper I:

Suppose one has answered 75 questions correctly and 25 incorrectly out of 100 questions in the GS -1.

  • For each correct answer you will be reward 2 marks= 75 x 2 = 150 marks.
  • However, you have also given 25 incorrect answers. So, for each incorrect answer, 0.66 marks will be deducted. The deducted marks will be 25 x 0.66 = 16.5.
  • As a result, 16.5 marks will be deducted from the correctly answered question, and you will be left with a final score for Paper 1: 150 - 16.5 = 133.5

CSAT Negative Marking

CSAT is also known as General Studies Paper-2 in UPSC Prelims exam. Just like paper-1, there are negative marks on the UPSC CSAT paper as well. UPSC Prelims GS-2 has 80 questions for 200 marks, and each question carries 2.5 marks. For each correct answer, 2.5 marks will be rewarded; on the other hand, for each incorrect answer, 0.83 marks will be deducted. As we have mentioned, the Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims is the ⅓ of the total marks given to that question.

How to Calculation of marks for Paper II:

The CSAT negative marking is 0.83 marks for the question.

Suppose one has given 65 correct answers and 15 incorrect answers out of 80 questions in CSAT. so as per CSAT negative marking, the total score of the candidate would be:

Correct answer- 50 x 2.5 = 137.5 marks

Incorrect answer- 15 x 0.83 = 12.45 marks

Final Score- 137.5 - 12.45 = 125.05

Note: CSAT is a qualifying paper, and it requires only 66 marks for a candidate to pass.

Negative Marking in UPSC Mains

There is so much hype about negative marking in the UPSC Prelims, so many candidates fear and get confused if there is UPSC negative marking for Mains. The good news is, that there is no negative marking for Mains. Unlike Prelims, Mains are not objective in nature. Mains is subjective in nature and involves long writing questions.

How to Reduce Negative Marking in UPSC?

The negative marking is a big problem for every UPSC aspirant. UPSC includes something unexpected every year, and especially the current affairs section can be highly unpredictable. In that case, reducing the negative marks in UPSC can be a huge challenge. However, we have provided some tips that will help you to reduce the UPSC Prelims' negative marking.

  • The paper is designed in such a way that every option will seem correct. There is no room for guesswork and half-knowledge in UPSC prelims. The questions need to be answered with utmost precision to avoid negative markings. So if you are not sure about a question, leave it.
  • Maintain written notes, as it will help you create visual memory in your brain. Try to gain in-depth knowledge on the subject.
  • For the questions you are feeling confused about, use the strike-out strategy. Cut out the options that you think are incorrect, and answer the one you think is the most accurate.
  • Keep a calm head and try to relax because panicking will make things worse.


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FAQs on Negative Marking in UPSC

  • Yes, the first stage of the UPSC Exam, i.e., Prelims, has negative markings. Paper 1 of the UPSC prelims carries 0.66 negative marks for each wrong answer, and CSAT negative marking is 0.83 for each wrong answer.

  • Yes, among all three stages of the UPSC exam, only the UPSC Prelims has negative marking. The Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims is ⅓ of the total marks allocated to that particular question.

  • No, there is no negative marking in UPSC Mains. Many candidates feel confused because of the hype of Negative Marking in UPSC, but the Mains exam doesn’t have negative markings.

  • UPSC negative marking has been a major change in the UPSC exam pattern, and it was introduced in 2007 as a penalty for every wrong answer in the Prelims exam.

  • The ⅓ negative marking in UPSC means that for every wrong answer, ⅓ of the total marks of that question will be deducted. For example, if the question carries 2 marks, then ⅓ of it, that is 0.66 marks, will be deducted if the answer is wrong.

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