IAS Exam Pattern 2022: Prelims, Mains Paper Pattern in Detail

By Arpit Kumar Jain|Updated : February 22nd, 2022

IAS Exam pattern 2022: It is crucial to understand the IAS paper pattern and the exam pattern of all stages before you start preparing for the upcoming exam. It is easier to plan your preparation if you have a clear understanding of the syllabus and the UPSC CSE exam pattern. The UPSC IAS exam is conducted in three phases- Preliminary Examination, Mains Examination & Interview phase. UPSC releases the detailed UPSC Exam pattern in its official notification. Scroll on to find out.

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UPSC Exam Pattern 2022 Overview

It is crucial to understand the IAS Exam pattern in detail to have a better understanding of the exam. 

Applicants who fill out the UPSC IAS 2022 application form are only qualified to take the IAS Prelims exam, according to the UPSC CSE 2022 selection process.

  • Those who pass the IAS 2022 preliminary exam will be invited to take the IAS mains exam.
  • Those who pass the UPSC CSE mains exam will be invited to a personal interview as part of the Civil Service selection process.
  • The UPSC IAS 2022 selection process generates a final merit list based on the applicant's performance in the mains and personality test rounds.

Candidates who pass the IAS 2022 cutoff are considered qualified for the UPSC CSE 2022 recruitment. The below image will illustrate the exam pattern for different phases at a glance.


Note: You must also check the latest UPSC Syllabus 2022 for a more directed approach towards exam preparation. 

UPSC IAS Selection Process 2022Total MarksNature of the exam
IAS Prelims Exam400 MarksObjective Exam
Qualifying Exam- Marks not Counted in final merit
IAS Mains Exam1750 MarksDescriptive Test
Marks counted in final merit
IAS Interview275 MarksPersonality Test
Total IAS Exam marks2025 MarksTotal Marks

UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Pattern 2022

The Prelims examination consists of two compulsory papers. All the questions of both papers are objective or MCQ type with four options.

  • Paper-2 is qualifying in nature (33% marks required). Its marks don't count in Merit.
  • The Prelims Question Paper is both in English and Hindi.
Sr. No.Name of PaperNature of PaperExam DurationNo. of QuestionsMaximum Marks
1. General Studies- Paper-IMarks are counted to determine the merit2 Hours100200 Marks
2. CSAT- Paper–IIQualifying in Nature (33% marks required)2 Hours80200 Marks

UPSC Prelims Marking Scheme

Note the prelims marking scheme below. 

  • Paper 1: +2 marks per question 
    Paper 2: +2.5 marks per question
  • Negative marking: One-third of marks allotted to each question 
PaperNo. of questionsMarksNegative Marks
General Studies I1002*100 = 200Yes, 0.66
General Studies II(CSAT)802.5*80 = 200Yes, 0.83

UPSC IAS Mains Exam Pattern 2022

Candidates who clear the IAS Prelims Exam 2022 are eligible to appear for the Mains exam. 

  • There are two sorts of papers in the mains exam: qualifying papers and merit papers.
  • The nature of Papers A and B qualifies them as qualifying (25 per cent i.e. 75 marks required). The final order of merit will be determined by adding the scores from Papers 1 to 7.
  • For the Mains exam, candidates must choose one optional subject.
  • To be considered for the final selection, applicants must obtain a minimum of 25% on each paper.
  • Candidates would be required to write their answers on answer sheets given by UPSC. Extra sheets will not be provided.
Sr. No.PaperName of PaperNature of PaperDurationMarks
1. Paper – ACompulsory Indian Language (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution)Qualifying in Nature (25% i.e. 75 marks required)3 Hours300 Marks
2. Paper – BCompulsory English3 Hours300 Marks
3. Paper – IESSAYMarks are counted to determine the final order of merit.3 Hours250 Marks
4. Paper-IIGS–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)3 Hours250 Marks
5. Paper – IIIGS-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)3 Hours250 Marks
6. Paper – IVGS– III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security
and Disaster Management)
3 Hours250 Marks
7. Paper – VGS– IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)3 Hours250 Marks
8. Paper – VIOPTIONAL PAPER– I (Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from
amongst the list of subjects given in the link here)
3 Hours250 Marks
9. Paper – VIIOPTIONAL PAPER-II3 Hours250 Marks
TOTAL1750 Marks
Personality Test/Interview 275 Marks
GRAND TOTAL 2025 Marks

UPSC Mains: Optional Subjects

A list of optional subjects is mentioned by UPSC. Candidates may choose one of the following optional subjects for two descriptive papers,  Paper VI and VII.

AgricultureAnimal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceAnthropologyBotanyChemistry
Civil EngineeringCommerce and AccountancyEconomicsElectrical EngineeringGeography
Mechanical EngineeringMedical SciencePhilosophyPhysicsPolitical Science and International Relations
PsychologyPublic AdministrationSociologyStatisticsZoology
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/ Personality Test

This is the last round of the UPSC Exam 2022. Candidates who clear the Mains Exam are called for the personality test. 

  • The UPSC Interview is for 275 Marks. 
  • The total marks that will be counted for the final result are 2025. (Mains 1750 + Interview 275 = 2025 marks).


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