UPSC Exam Pattern 2022 - Latest IAS Prelims & Mains Exam Pattern | Marking Scheme & Total Marks

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : May 27th, 2022

UPSC Exam Pattern is released by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to test the academic expertise of a candidate, and also their ability to present in a coherent manner. That is why it is crucial for the aspirants to have a comprehensive understanding of the IAS Exam Pattern. A complete understanding of the IAS Exam Pattern would help the candidates effectively manage their time and make their preparation more efficient. Additionally, it will be easier for you to align your preparation with the exam needs.

The UPSC exam is conducted in three phases- Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam, and Personality Test. In this post, we are going to cover the UPSC Exam Pattern for all these three stages and the marking scheme for each round.

Table of Content

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern

The selection process for UPSC 2022 has started, and the candidates who have applied for the UPSC Exam 2022 must be familiar with the UPSC Exam Pattern 2022. The first round of the IAS Exam i.e. Prelims Exam is scheduled for 5th June 2022, the candidates who crack the exam will be shortlisted for the Mains exam and those who qualify for the Mains exam will be called for the Personality test round. Below we have mentioned the UPSC Prelims exam pattern 2022, IAS Exam Pattern for Mains 2022, and the Pattern for Interview round. 

UPSC 2022 Stages

Total Marks

Nature of the Exam

IAS Prelims

UPSC Prelims Total Marks- 400

Objective Type

IAS Mains

UPSC Mains Total Marks-1750

Descriptive Test

IAS Interview

275

Personality Test

UPSC Total Marks

Mains Marks+Interview Marks=2025 Marks

Download UPSC Exam Pattern PDF

An in-depth understanding of the UPSC Exam Pattern is vital in order to shape the preparation in the best possible manner. Candidates must take a strategic approach to prepare according to the exam pattern of UPSC. That is why candidates are advised to keep a printout out of the PDF of the UPSC CSE Exam Pattern with them while preparing. Below we have provided the direct link to download the exam pattern for UPSC.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

As per the official notification released by UPSC on 2nd February 2022, the Prelims exam 2022 is all set to be conducted on 5th June 2022. The UPSC Exam Pattern for Prelims includes two papers namely General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (also known as CSAT). Prelims exam for both papers will be conducted in one day. 

  • GS-1 is the merit ranking in nature, while CSAT is qualifying in nature. 
  • Candidates need to score at least 33% in the CSAT exam to qualify. Understand the UPSC CSAT Syllabus to ensure that you clear the paper in the first attempt. 

Candidates must remember that the UPSC Prelims exam is conducted to filter the candidates for the Mains exam, and marks secured in this exam won’t be counted in the final merit list. Along with the IAS Exam Pattern for Prelims, aspirants must also check UPSC Prelims Syllabus

  • As per the UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern, candidates will be given 2 hours of time duration for each paper.
  • GS-1 will have a total of 100 questions and GS-2 carries 80 questions. Total marks for each paper will be 200 as per UPSC Prelims marking scheme. 

Check out the complete pattern of UPSC Prelims below.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

Paper Name

Type

Nature of Paper

No. of questions

Marks for Each Paper

Duration

General Studies 1

Objective

Merit Ranking

100

200

2 hours

General Studies 2 (CSAT)

Objective

Qualifying

80

200

2 hours

UPSC Prelims Total Marks 

400 

UPSC Prelims Marking Scheme

As per the UPSC Exam Pattern for Prelims, each question of General Studies-1 carries 2 marks, and for the CSAT paper, each question carries 2.5 marks. There will be a negative marking of 1//3 of the mark allotted to that particular question. This means for IAS Prelims Paper 2, there will be a negative marking of 0.66, and for CSAT the negative marking will be 0.83 as per the UPSC Marking Scheme.

Paper

Number of Question

UPSC Prelims Total Marks

UPSC Prelims Marking Scheme- Negative Marks

General Studies-1

100

2*100=200

0.66

General Studies-2 (CSAT)

80

2.5*80=200

0.83

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

Candidates should start their preparation for Prelims and Mains simultaneously, and hence it is important to know the UPSC Mains Exam Pattern. UPSC Mains 2022 will be conducted from 16th September 2022 onwards. Those who crack the Prelims exam will be eligible to appear for the UPSC Mains exam. Download the UPSC Mains Syllabus to get started. 

As per the UPSC Exam Pattern for Mains, candidates will have to give two types of papers- Qualifying Papers, and Merit Papers. 

  • There will be a total of 9 papers from which two papers will be qualifying in nature, four are for General Studies, and two papers for the optional subjects. 
  • Candidates get the freedom to choose an optional subject for the Mains exam.
  •  Additionally, all the papers will be descriptive in nature.

Check out the complete UPSC Paper Pattern for Mains below in the table.

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

Paper

Subject

Nature of Paper

Duration

IAS Total marks

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

Qualifying in Nature (25% i.e.75 marks required)

3 hours

300

Paper B

English

3 hours

300

Paper I

Essay







Marks will be counted to determine the Final Merit list.

3 hours

250

Paper II

General Studies I

3 hours

250

Paper III

General Studies II

3 hours

250

Paper IV

General Studies III

3 hours

250

Paper V

General Studies IV

3 hours

250

Paper VI

Optional I

3 hours

250

Paper VII

Optional II

3 hours

250

UPSC Mains Total Marks= 1750

Paper A is not compulsory for the candidates from the states of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, Nagaland, and for candidates with hearing impairment. However, these candidates need to prove that they have been exempted from 2nd or 3rd language courses by their university or board.

IAS Exam Pattern for Mains 

The UPSC Mains Exam Pattern covers 4 GS Papers and the details of each paper are mentioned below. 

The General Studies Papers cover the following topics.

  • General Studies 1- (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)
  • General Studies 2 -(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations)
  • General Studies 3- Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
  • General Studies 4- (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

UPSC Marking Scheme for Mains

As per the UPSC Exam Pattern for mains, Paper A and B are qualifying in nature, and except for them, all the papers are merit ranking. Candidates need to score at least 25% in each paper to be considered for the final merit list. According to IAS Exam Pattern for the Mains exam, Paper-A and Paper-B carry 300 marks each. And other seven papers carry a total of 250 marks each. 

UPSC Exam Pattern for Optional Subjects

As we have mentioned earlier, there will be two optional papers in the UPSC Mains exam. Each paper carries 250 marks as per the UPSC Marking Scheme. Candidates can choose any subject they want from the list of UPSC Optional Subjects. Here is the list of all the UPSC optional subjects. 

Mechanical Engineering

Medical Science

Philosophy

Physics

Political Science and International Relations

Civil Engineering

Commerce and Accountancy

Economics

Electrical Engineering

Geography

Psychology

Public Administration

Sociology

Statistics

Zoology

Agriculture

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Anthropology

Botany

Chemistry

Geology

History

Law

Management

Mathematics

The literature of any one of the following languages: Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Maithili, Assamese, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Urdu, and English.

UPSC Exam Pattern for Interview

A personality test or IAS Interview is the final round of the UPSC exam before the final merit list is declared. Those who manage to clear UPSC Mains will get e-summon letters for this final round. As per UPSC Exam Pattern, this round consists of interviews with UPSC board members to judge the candidates for Civil Services careers and associated responsibilities. Here the board members will observe the candidate’s mental and social traits by asking some general interest questions. Here the members evaluate the Logical exposition, balance of judgment, alertness, depth, variety of interest, leadership, the ability of social cohesion, and moral integrity.

  • UPSC Paper Pattern released by the commission states that the total marks for the interview round will be 275.
  • After the declaration of the UPSC Result of the interview round, the final merit list will be prepared on the basis of marks obtained by the candidate in the UPSC Mains and Interview.

Changes in UPSC Exam Pattern 

In the past six years, UPSC Exam Pattern has seen some major and minor changes. Below we have mentioned the year and changes made in the UPSC Exam Pattern in that particular year.

  • In 2011, the UPSC introduces the CSAT paper in the Civil Services Exam and it was the first change in the UPSC Exam Pattern. CSAT was introduced to check the analytical and decision-making ability of the candidates. Both the GS-1 and CSAT paper marks were considered for the merit list of the Prelims exam.
  • In 2012, UPSC decided to make the IAS Syllabus generic and introduced a new exam pattern. In this pattern, Paper-I and Paper-II optional papers had two sessions, two general studies papers, and one essay paper was included as well. Candidates had to choose two subjects from the optional list.
  • In 2013, the UPSC Syllabus or mains went through major changes. This year UPSC added another General Studies paper called ethics and made one optional subject with two papers.
  • In 2014, the Civil Services Exam Pattern had a few changes. The essay paper of the Mains exam had two topics from each section but it was changed to 1. Additionally, the number of attempts and age limit for the General category candidates was increased as well. The number of attempts increased from 4 to 6, and the upper age limit increased from 30 to 32.
  • In 2015, UPSC made the CSAT paper qualifying in nature and the marks scored in GS-1 were taken into consideration for the merit list. Candidates needed at least 33% to crack the CSAT paper. 

UPSC Exam Pattern for IPS

UPSC conducts Civil Services Examination (CSE) to recruit candidates for 24 civil services, including the Indian Police Service IPS. The UPSC exam pattern is the same for all posts of civil services exam. There will be three stages as we have mentioned above-Prelims, Mains, and Interview, The exam pattern for IPS will be the same as above. After the announcement of CSE results those who have applied for IPS will become IPS officers depending on their rank. 

UPSC Exam Pattern vs UPSC EPFO Exam Pattern

Above we have mentioned the UPSC Exam Pattern for Civil Services Exam (CSE) which is totally different from the UPSC EPFO exam pattern. UPSC is responsible for so many exams, and the exam pattern for each exam is not the same. The UPSC EPFO exam pattern involves two stages, the first stage includes carrying objective-type questions and the second round is the interview. Those who clear the first round will be eligible for the Interview round. The first round carries 300 marks and the interview round carries 100 marks. 

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UPSC Exam Pattern FAQs

  • As per the UPSC Exam Pattern, the UPSC exam will be conducted in three stages- Prelims, Mains and Interview. The Prelims exam is a screening test to find eligible candidates for the UPSC Mains exam. Those candidates who crack UPSC Mains will appear in the interview round. After that, the final merit list would be prepared after considering the UPSC Mains score and interview score.

  • Recent there has not been any change in the UPSC Exam Pattern. The last change was in the year 2015 when the UPSC made the General Studies-II or CSAT paper qualifying in nature. Candidates are required to score at least 33% to clear this paper. Those who fail in CSAT won’t qualify for the Mains round.

  • As per the UPSC Prelims exam pattern, there will be two papers in the Preliminary round- General Studies-1 and General Studies-2. Each paper carries 200 marks, and the time duration will be 2 hours. The merit list will be prepared on the basis of marks secured in the GS-1 whereas the GS-2 paper will be qualifying in nature, and candidates require at least 33% clear this paper.

  • Candidates must keep a printout of the UPSC Exam Pattern PDF while preparing for the UPSC exam. Keeping a record of exam patterns would help the candidates to prepare accordingly, and divide their time as per the exam demands. We have provided a direct link to download the UPSC Exam Pattern PDF above in this post.

  • According to the UPSC Exam Pattern for the Mains exam, there will be a total of 9 papers in the Mains round. Of these 9 papers, two will be qualifying in nature, and the other seven papers will be considered to prepare the merit list. From these seven papers, there will be two papers for the optional subject. Candidates need to secure at least 25% in these papers to be considered for the merit list as per the UPSC marking scheme. The time duration for each paper will be 3 hours. 

  • Other than the literature language papers there is only two mediums for the UPSC exam- English and Hindi. English is the most popular language among the UPSC aspirants however many aspirants choose Hindi as well. Download UPSC Syllabus in Hindi.

  • The UPSC Mains round which is the second stage of the UPSC CSE has nine papers. These nine papers are Compulsory Indian Language, English, Essay, General Studies-1, General Studies-2, General Studies-3, and General Studies-4, Optional Paper-1, and Optional Paper-2. Candidates can choose any subject they want from the list of 48 optional subjects.

  • Those candidates who clear the UPSC Mains must know the UPSC Exam Pattern for the interview round. The total marks for the interview round will be 275 and the UPSC total marks would be 2025. Here the candidate will be interviewed by the UPSC board members, these members will judge the candidate’s mental and social traits by asking questions. The marks scored in the UPSC Mains and the interview will be taken into consideration to prepare the final merit list. 

  • As per the exam pattern, the total marks of the IAS exam would be 2025 from which the Manins exam carries 1750, and the interview round has 275 marks. Candidates must remember that the Preliminary stage is only the screening test to find eligible candidates for the Mains exam, and marks scored in the Prelims exam won’t be taken into consideration for the final result.

  • According to the UPSC Exam Pattern 0.33% marks will be deducted for each wrong answer in the Prelims exam, which is 0.66 marks. That is why candidates are advised to attempt the Prelims exam carefully and not take any risks.

  • The IAS Mains exam consists of the UPSC Mains exam, as per the UPSC Marking scheme, the paper-A and Paper-B which are the compulsory language paper carry 300 marls each, and these are qualifying in nature. The other seven papers carry a total of 250 marks, and the total marks allotted to IAS Mains is 1750.

  • As per the UPSC Exam Pattern, there are two compulsory language papers, 4 general studies papers, and 2 optional papers in the UPSC Mains exam. In the prelims round, there is one general studies paper and one CSAT paper.

  • There is one qualifying paper in the UPSC Prelims exam i.e. CSAT or General Studies-II. The minimum qualifying mark in the CSAT exam is 33%, and those who can’t score at least 33% won’t be able to clear the UPSC Prelims stage. In the UPSC Mains exam, there are two qualifying papers that require at least 25% or adobe to be eligible for selection

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