UPSC Mains 2022: Exam Date, Paper Pattern, Syllabus, Question Paper & Result

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : May 12th, 2022

UPSC Mains is the second stage of the UPSC CSE Exam. UPSC Mains is conducted every year for the candidates who have cleared the UPSC Prelims exam. Prelims is the screening test that is conducted to find eligible candidates for the UPSC Mains exam. UPSC has released the notification for the year, and it reveals that the UPSC Mains 2022 will be held from 16th September 2022 onwards.

UPSC conducts the CSE (Civil Services Examination) in three stages- Prelims, Mains, and interviews. UPSC Mains is the second stage of the UPSC CSE, and those candidates who clear this round will be called for the final test i.e Interview. Here we are going to cover all the information about the UPSC Mains like syllabus, exam pattern, exam dates, results and etc. Additionally, we have added some preparation tips for the candidates that will help them ace the UPSC Mains 2022.

Table of Content

What is UPSC Mains?

UPSC Mains is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination which is after UPSC Prelims and before the Personality Test. Candidates who score above the UPSC Cutoff in the Prelims exam will be able to appear for the UPSC Mains 2022. Candidates who dream to become IAS, IFS, IPS, and IRS officers need to clear the UPSC Mains exam before clearing the UPSC Interview test. Candidates who are allowed to appear for the UPSC Mains exam are 12 to 13 times the number of Civil Service vacancies for that particular year. In the year 2021, the total number of vacancies was 712 so around 10,000 candidates were selected for UPSC Mains 2021.

UPSC Mains Overview

Go through the highlights of the UPSC Mains Exam to get a better understanding of the exam. 

UPSC Mains 2022


UPSC Mains Conducting Body 

Union Public Service Commission

UPSC 2022 Mains Exam Date

From 16 September 2022

UPSC Mains Exam Mode

Offline, Pen and Paper Mode

UPSC Mains Subject List

UPSC Mains includes 2 compulsory Papers, 4 General Studies Paper and 2 Optional Papers. Candidates can choose any one from the Optional Subjects for UPSC

How Many Papers in UPSC Mains?

There are 9 papers in UPSC Mains Exam. 

UPSC Mains Qualifying Marks

The qualifying marks for UPSC Mains vary each year as per the UPSC Cutoff. UPSC Mains Qualifying Marks 2020 was 736 for General Category.

UPSC Mains Total Marks

Total UPSC Mains marks is 1750 marks for 9 Papers. 

UPSC Mains Latest News

UPSC Mains result for the year 2021 has been declared on 17th March 2022, those who have cleared this exam will move further to the Interview/ Personality Test round. The personality test will be held from the 1st week of April 2022 onwards. The UPSC Mains 2021 started on 7th January 2022 with Essay Paper, and it ended on 16th January 2022 with the Optional Paper-1 and Paper-2.

UPSC Mains Exam Date 2022

UPSC has released the UPSC Mains 2022 Date along with the official UPSC Notification. After the declaration of the Prelims exam result, the eligible candidates have to fill DAF-1 , or UPSC Mains Application 2022 to appear for the UPSC Mains 2022 which is expected to commence from 16th September onwards. 

Candidates who are preparing for the UPSC Mains Exam must keep track of all the important dates. Here is the list of all the important dates that every aspirant must know.

Important UPSC Mains Exam Date 2022

UPSC Mains 2022 Date

From 16th September 2022

UPSC Mains 2022 Result Date

Will be Declared Soon

UPSC Mains 2022 Cut-Off Release Date

Will be Declared soon

UPSC Mains Time Table 2022

UPSC will also release the detailed UPSC Mains Schedule 2022 on the official website. The UPSC Mains 2022 will be held for 5 days in two sessions. 

  • The first session is Forenoon Session from 9.00 A.M. to 12.00 Noon 
  • Afternoon Session from 2.00 P.M. to 5.00 P.M

Download the UPSC Mains Time Table 2022 after the release. 

How to apply for UPSC Mains 2022?

Once the UPSC releases the UPSC Result for Prelims, the shortlisted candidates will have to fill up the Detailed Application Form (DAF) to apply for the UPSC Mains exam. 

  • The DAF will be available on the official website of UPSC. 
  • The UPSC DAF comes with six sections such as Personal, Educational Information, Parental Information, Employment Information, Uploading section, and final submission. Things like names, exam center, Date of Birth, etc will be pre-mentioned in the UPSC DAF from the details you have provided while filling the UPSC Online Application for Prelims. 
  • Questions from the DAF will be asked in the UPSC Interview round so make sure to keep a copy with you as well. 

UPSC Mains Paper - Exam Pattern

The UPSC Mains Exam Pattern was revised in 2015, and the latest UPSC Mains exam pattern has been used since then. As per the latest UPSC Mains Paper Pattern, there will be a total of nine theory papers in the UPSC Mains 2022. 

  • Out of these nine papers, only seven will be taken into consideration while preparing the merit list. 
  • Additionally, there will be one optional subject, and candidates can choose any subject from the list of 48 optional subjects. The optional subject has two papers and each carries 250 marks.
  • Three hours of time-duration will be given to each paper. 

Check out the complete UPSC Mains exam pattern 2022 below. 

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern



Nature of Exam

Total Marks

Paper A

Indian Language



Paper B



Paper I


Counted for Merit


Paper II

General Studies (GS) I


Paper III

General Studies (GS) II


Paper IV

General Studies (GS) III


Paper V

General Studies (GS) IV


Paper VI

Optional Subject Paper-I


Paper VII

Optional Subject Paper-II


UPSC Mains Syllabus

Those candidates who are planning to appear for the UPSC Exam, must understand the UPSC Prelims & Mains syllabus in-depth. Candidates must remember that some part of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus has an overlap with the UPSC Mains syllabus. Download the UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF using the direct link mentioned below in both English and Hindi. 

The UPSC Mains Syllabus includes topics to be covered for all 9 papers which cover the compulsory paper, general studies paper, and optional subject.

UPSC Mains Language Paper Syllabus

UPSC Mains Paper consists of two compulsory papers which must be qualified by the aspirants. Paper- A and Paper-B are the two language papers of the UPSC Mains. The UPSC Mains Qualifying Marks for Paper A and Paper B is at least 25% otherwise marks scored in other papers won’t be taken into consideration.

Check out the UPSC Mains syllabus for the language paper

UPSC Mains Paper


UPSC Mains Paper A – Indian Language (any of the Indian languages listed in the 8th schedule of the Constitution)

Comprehension of given passages, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, Short Essays, Translation from English to the Indian, Language and vice-versa

UPSC Mains Paper B – English

Comprehension of given passages, Precis Writing, Usage, and Vocabulary, Short Essays

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Essay

There is no particular syllabus for the essay paper, and here the candidates have to write two essays from a few given options. The total mark of this UPSC Mains paper will be 250, and candidates are advised to write their ideas in an orderly fashion to fetch maximum marks.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for General Studies

There will be four general studies UPSC Mains papers, and these papers will test the knowledge of the candidates on a broad range of topics. The UPSC Mains syllabus for the general studies paper includes history, geography, polity, economics, ethics, etc.

UPSC Mains Paper 

UPSC Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Paper 2 – GS Paper 1

Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society

UPSC Mains Paper 3 – GS Paper 2

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations

UPSC Mains Paper- 4 – GS Paper 3

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

UPSC Mains Paper 5 – GS Paper 4

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

UPSC Mains Subject List with Syllabus 

Candidates have the option to choose one subject from the list of 48 optional subjects. There are two UPSC Mains papers and each carries 250 marks. We have provided the direct link to all the optional subject syllabi in the UPSC Mains exam.

  1. UPSC Mains Agriculture Syllabus 
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Syllabus for UPSC
  3. UPSC Mains Anthropology Syllabus
  4. UPSC Mains Syllabus for Botany
  5. UPSC Mains Syllabus for Chemistry
  6. UPSC Mains Syllabus for Civil Engineering
  7. IAS Mains Commerce & Accountancy Syllabus
  8. UPSC Mains Economics Optional syllabus
  9. Electrical Engineering IAS Mains Syllabus
  10. UPSC Mains English Optional Syllabus
  11. UPSC Mains Syllabus Geography Optional
  12. Geology UPSC Mains Syllabus
  13. UPSC Mains Syllabus for Hindi Literature
  14. UPSC Mains Syllabus History Optional
  15. IAS Mains Syllabus for Law
  16. UPSC Mains Syllabus Management
  17. UPSC Mains Maths Optional Syllabus
  18. IAS Mains Syllabus for Mechanical Engineering
  19. UPSC Mains Optionals Syllabus for Medical Science
  20. UPSC Mains Philosophy Syllabus
  21. Physics Optional IAS Mains Syllabus
  22. UPSC Mains Syllabus Political Science Optional
  23. Psychology Syllabus for UPSC Mains
  24. UPSC Mains Syllabus for Public Administration
  25. UPSC Mains Sociology Optional Syllabus
  26. IAS Mains Syllabus for Statistics
  27. UPSC Mains Zoology Optional Syllabus

UPSC Mains Cut Off

UPSC Mains Qualifying marks is the minimum score required for the candidates to clear the IAS Mains exam and be eligible for the Personality Test round. The UPSC Mains cutoff varies depending on the category of the candidate. UPSC declares the Mains result on its official website. 

  • There are nine papers in the UPSC Mains round, and seven of them are merit ranking in nature. It means the marks scored in those seven papers will be considered for the preparation of the merit list. 
  • The other two papers, Paper-A and Paper-B are qualifying in nature, and candidates only need to score 25% to qualify in these papers.
  • The UPSC Mains Cutoff Marks will be out of 1750 marks.

UPSC Mains Cut Off 2020 

Below mentioned is the UPSC Mains Qualifying Marks 2020 for all the categories. 


Year 2020



















UPSC Mains Question Paper

Candidates need to work really hard in order to crack a difficult exam like UPSC Mains. However, if the hard work is not done in the right direction then the results won’t be fruitful. That is why candidates must take a strategic approach while preparing for UPSC Mains 2022. 

UPSC Previous Year Question Papers would be a valuable addition to the Mains exam preparation. It would help the candidates to keep track of changing trends of UPSC Papers. Here we have provided the UPSC Mains question paper of previous years. Aspirants must solve the last 10 years' UPSC Mains Question Papers with answers PDF to level up their score and qualify for the UPSC Mains Exam. 

UPSC Mains Question Paper 2021

Following are the question papers for UPSC Mains 2021.

UPSC Mains Question Paper 2020

Below we have mentioned the Mains question paper for the year 2020 as well, candidates can download these question papers directly from the link given.

UPSC Mains Answer Sheet 

As UPSC Mains is a descriptive paper, aspirants are provided with a UPSC Mains Answer Sheet to write their answers in. Usually, the size of the mains answer sheet is 8.5 x 10.5 inches. Candidates can also download the UPSC Mains Answer Sheet PDF using the direct link mentioned below to have an idea about what kind of sheets would be provided in the examination. 

How to prepare for UPSC Mains?

UPSC Mains is a descriptive paper and therefore UPSC Mains preparation requires a subjective and comprehensive coverage of the syllabus. UPSC Mains Exam helps you improve your rank in the IAS Exam as the marks secured in Mains Exam are included in the final merit list. Below mentioned are some tips and strategies to be followed for the UPSC Mains Preparation. 

  • The UPSC Prelims exam is usually held between June and August, so the candidates need to prepare for both Prelims, and Mains simultaneously till January. After that candidates are required to fully focus on the Prelims exam.
  • As UPSC Mains is descriptive in nature, candidates need to write at least 300 words per day. Answer writing practice can be done through regular tests along with making notes.
  • Candidates need to be very consistent with their preparation as there is not much time left after the UPSC Prelims exam. The days should be pre-scheduled and you need to implement them to perfection.
  • To write qualitative answers, candidates must understand the trend of the questions including the essay. So here keeping track of the previous year’s questions becomes so crucial. While going through the previous year’s questions you will figure out that some parts are more important than others. Use this method for the optional subjects as well.
  • It is equally important to maintain a balance between your health, studies, and mental wellbeing. Hard work with discipline will take you to the merit list. Form a robust timetable, and follow it meticulously. Allot enough time to cover the optional paper, GS, and essay. Revise regularly, and access your performance regularly.

The UPSC Exam is considered one of the toughest exams in the country. The UPSC Exam is conducted in three rounds, viz. Prelims, Mains and the Interview. The UPSC Mains is the second stage of the exam. It is advised for candidates to practice answer writing well in advance for the UPSC Mains Exam as all the 9 papers in the Mains Exam are descriptive in nature. Many candidates fail to complete the entire paper due to a lack of practice and proper time management.

How to Write Answers in UPSC Mains?

To approach the questions asked in the UPSC Mains, a candidate should have a basic idea of the topic asked. The answers for the Mains Exam need not be of the scholar level but should convey all the necessary details asked. To write answers for the UPSC Mains, candidates should:

  • Follow a multidimensional approach. The answers should cover all the basic aspects related to the topic and its interrelation with other subjects.
  • The keyword or the important points should be underlined or highlighted so that it becomes visible to the examiner.
  • Avoid using flowery language or jargon in the answer. The answer should be simple, lucid, and concise.
  • The introduction should not be more than 40-50 words, and should necessarily cover the definition of the topic asked along with data, facts, figures, and famous committee reports.
  • The main body should cover the basic idea of the topic, covering the core demand. The answer should be structured in headings and subheadings as per the requirement of the question.
  • Usage of diagrams, mindmaps, and graphs makes the answer more presentable and shows the candidate's knowledge about the topic.
  • Government schemes, efforts, and initiatives should be highlighted along with the answer.
  • The conclusion of the answer should always carry a positive futuristic approach and must have a balanced view.
  • Always adhere to the word count prescribed by the UPSC, failing to can result in deduction of marks.

Books for UPSC Mains

It is impossible to imagine UPSC preparation without the UPSC Books. However many candidates get overwhelmed and find themselves in a confusing situation when it comes to choosing the right books for UPSC. You may feel like buying the whole bookstore at times. However not all the books would be beneficial for the preparation for the UPSC Mains exam. And to save you from confusion we have compiled a list of all the highly recommended books for UPSC Mains. Check out the complete UPSC Mains Book List below.

  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • World Geography by Majid Husain
  • Constitution of India at Work (Class XI) NCERT
  • Indian Polity by Laxmikant
  • Indian Economy by Sanjiv Verma
  • Class 12 NCERT Book on Biology (Chapters pertaining to Ecology)
  • India Year Book (Chapters on Environment)
  • India’s Security in a Turbulent World by Jasjit Singh
  • Ethics in Governance, ARC Report
  • India’s Security in a Turbulent World by Jasjit Singh
  • Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar

UPSC Mains Books for Optional Subject

Above we have mentioned the books required for the GS papers of the UPSC Mains exam. Below candidates can check out the highly recommended books for all the optional subjects in the Mains exam. 

UPSC Mains Books for Optional Subjects

UPSC History Optional Books UPSC Mains

Political Science Optional Books for UPSC Mains

UPSC Public Administration Optional Books

UPSC Geography Optional Books

Anthropology Optional Books for UPSC

UPSC Sociology Optional Books

Hindi Literature Optional Books for UPSC IAS Exam

UPSC Economics Optional Books

Tamil Literature Optional Books for UPSC

UPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences Optional Books

Law Optional Books for UPSC Mains

UPSC Zoology Optional Books

Best Polity Books for UPSC

UPSC Gujarati Literature Optional Books

Chemistry Optional Books for UPSC Mains

UPSC Physics Optional Books

English Literature Optional Books for IAS

UPSC Telugu Literature Optional Books

Statistics Optional Books for IAS Exam

UPSC Geology Optional Books

Commerce Optional Books for UPSC

UPSC Mathematics Optional Books

Philosophy Optional Books for UPSC

UPSC Botany Optional Books

Assamese Literature Optional Books for UPSC

Sindhi Literature Optional Books for UPSC Mains

Kashmiri Literature Optional Books for UPSC Mains

UPSC Psychology Optional Books

Electrical Engineering Optional Books for UPSC

UPSC Medical Science Optional Books

Agriculture Optional Books for UPSC Mains

UPSC Civil Engineering Optional Books

Mechanical Engineering Optional Books for UPSC Mains

IAS Malayalam Literature Optional Books

Nepali Literature Optional Books for UPSC

Bengali Literature Optional Books for UPSC Mains

Maithili Literature Optional Books for UPSC Mains

Marathi Literature Optional Books for IAS Exam

UPSC Punjabi Literature Optional Books

Sanskrit Literature Optional Books for UPSC IAS Mains

Kannada Literature Optional Books for IAS

Important Ethics Books for UPSC Mains

UPSC Bodo Literature Optional Books for IAS Exam

UPSC Konkani Literature Optional Books

Manipuri Literature Optional Books for UPSC Exam

Oriya Literature Optional Books for UPSC IAS

UPSC Santhali Literature Optional Books

Urdu Literature Optional Books for UPSC

Management Optional Books for IAS Mains


UPSC Mains Result

UPSC Mains 2022 result will be declared a few weeks after the completion of the Mains exam. Candidates can check the result on the official website of UPSC. The UPSC Mains 2021 result was released on 17th March 2022, and the candidates who got shortlisted will have to fill up and submit the DAF-II for the final selection round i.e. the Personality Test. the commission will upload the final results on its official website after the completion of this last stage of UPSC exam. 

UPSC Mains Result 2021 Name List

UPSC Mains result 2021 has been declared by UPSC on 17th March 2022 on its official website. The UPSC Mains exam 2021 was conducted from 7th- 16th January 2022. A total of 1823 candidates are selected for the 3rd stage of the exam i.e. Personality round, and we have provided the names of the selected candidates in UPSC Mains 2021 below.

>> Download UPSC Mains Result 2021 Name List

How to Check UPSC Mains Result?

To check the result of the Mains exam, candidates need to follow these steps we have mentioned below.

  • Visit the official website of UPSC
  • Click on the “Written Result”
  • Find the result link
  • Search for the written result and enter the roll number
  • Download the result and take a printout of it


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  • UPSC Prelims is the screening stage of the UPSC exam, and those who clear the UPSC Mains is the second stage of the UPSC CSE Exam after the Prelims Exam. The UPSC Mains is a descriptive exam that consists of 9 papers and so on.

  • As per the notification released by UPSC on its official website, the UPSC Mains 2022 will be conducted from 16th September onwards through offline mode. There will be nine papers, and the time duration given to each paper will be 3 hours. Those who crack the UPSC Mains will be eligible for the Interview round.

  • There is a total of nine papers namely Indian Language, English Language, Essay, General Studies-1, General Studies-2, General Studies-3, General Studies-4, Optional Paper-I, and Optional Paper-II. The Indian Language Paper and English Language paper are qualifying in nature, and the merit list will be prepared on the basis of scores obtained in the rest seven papers. The time duration for each paper will be 3 hours.

  • The UPSC Mains Syllabus covers a wide range of topics. There is no particular syllabus for the essay paper. The four general studies papers include history, geography, governance, constitution, technology, agriculture, economics, ethics, etc. Candidates can choose any optional subject he/she likes. We have covered the detailed syllabus for UPSC Mains above in this post.

  • We have given the direct link to download the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers. Candidates can download the UPSC Mains question paper for the years 2021 and 2020 above in this post. It would help the candidates to gear up for the preparation for the Mains exam.

  • The UPSC Mains 2022 exam will start from 16th September onwards. A few weeks after completion of the UPSC Mains exam, the results will be published on the official website. Those who clear the Mains round will get an e-summon letter for the Personality test stage.

  • The UPSC Mains 2022 will be conducted via offline mode or pen and paper mode. Candidates will get a chance to choose the exam center as per their choice. 

  • To clear the UPSC Mains exam, candidates need to have a rock-solid preparation strategy. Candidates need to allocate their time properly to each paper, follow the right books, attempt mock tests, and practice the previous year’s question papers. Additionally, they need to complete their preparation as soon as possible so that they get enough time to revise.

  • The best pen for UPSC Mains is a black ballpoint pen and it is also mentioned in the instructions of UPSC. make sure you use lightweight sleek pens, rubber grip pens, and soft tip pens. However, you should hold the pen at the right point. Don’t press your fingers hard while holding the pen.

  • The UPSC Mains examination is a subjective type exam where candidates need to write essay-type answers so there is no negative marking. However, the Prelims exam is objective in nature and that’s why negative marks are allocated in this exam.

  • UPSC Mains is the second stage of the UPSC exam, and the third stage is the personality round. So the candidates who crack the Mains exam will be eligible for the Personality test round. The shortlisted candidates will receive an e-summon letter for the interview which will be held in the Union Public Service Commission office housed at Dholpur House in Delhi.

  • There are a total of 48 optional subjects in the UPSC Mains and out of these 23 are literature languages. Some of the optional subjects are sociology, law, agriculture, history, medical science, psychology, public administration, Bodo, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Nepali, Odia, etc. We have covered the complete list of all the optional subjects for UPSC Mains above.

  • First, the head examiner evaluates a random UPSC Mains answer sheet, and then an examiner’s meeting is conducted, in the meeting, all the examiners discuss the papers and set a standard to evaluate these papers.

  • Yes, current affairs play a significant role in the UPSC Mains preparation. However, the syllabus of current affairs is defined in the Mains syllabus. That is why candidates need to read major newspapers every day and make notes of trending topics around the world to deal with the current affairs portion.

  • No, UPSC Mains is not MCQ-based. Unlike the UPSC Prelims exam, the questions in the Mains exam are subjective type, and candidates are expected to give detailed and comprehensive answers. Here structural accuracy plays an important role.

  • Candidates get 3 hour of time limit for the UPSC Mains papers. Candidates need to enhance time management and practice answer writing every day to complete the paper on time. 

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