The UPSC Civil Services Examination, often considered one of the toughest competitive exams in India, is a multi-stage assessment conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This exam holds immense significance for aspirants aiming to join prestigious services like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Forest Service (IFoS), and more. To succeed in this formidable challenge, candidates need a clear understanding of the UPSC IAS exam pattern, which comprises two main stages: the Civil Services Preliminary Examination and the Civil Services Main Examination.
Civil Services Main Examination
The second stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination is the Civil Services Main Examination, often referred to as the Mains. This stage consists of a written examination and an interview test. The written examination includes nine papers, out of which two papers are only qualifying in nature. The marks obtained in the remaining seven papers, along with the interview test, are used to determine the final merit for selection.
Here’s an overview of the papers in the Civil Services Main Examination:
- Paper A – Compulsory Indian Language Paper: This paper has a duration of 3 hours and is worth 300 marks. It is qualifying in nature.
- Paper B – English Language Paper: Similar to Paper A, this paper has a duration of 3 hours and is worth 300 marks. It is also qualifying in nature.
- Paper I – Essay: This paper has a duration of 3 hours and carries 250 marks. It is considered for merit.
- Paper II – General Studies I: With a duration of 3 hours, this paper is worth 250 marks.
- Paper III – General Studies II: Also a 3-hour paper, it carries 250 marks.
- Paper IV – General Studies III: Another 3-hour paper with 250 marks.
- Paper V – General Studies IV: This 3-hour paper is worth 250 marks.
- Paper VI – Optional Paper I: With a duration of 3 hours, this paper carries 250 marks.
- Paper VII – Optional Paper II: Similar to Paper VI, it is a 3-hour paper worth 250 marks.
In conclusion, the UPSC Civil Services Main Examination consists of seven papers that are considered for merit, with a total weightage of 1750 marks.
Civil Services Preliminary Examination
The first stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination is the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, often referred to as the Prelims. It serves as a qualifying test to select candidates for the subsequent Main Examination. The Prelims is an objective-type exam consisting of two papers:
- General Studies Paper I: This paper has a duration of 2 hours and contains 100 questions, each carrying 2 marks. The total marks for this paper are 200. The marks obtained in this paper are considered for the Preliminary Exam Merit.
- General Studies Paper II (CSAT): With a duration of 2 hours, this paper consists of 80 questions, each carrying 2.5 marks. The total marks for this paper are 200. However, it’s important to note that General Studies Paper II (CSAT) is of a qualifying nature. Candidates need to secure a minimum qualifying score in this paper, but the marks obtained in it are not counted for Preliminary Exam Merit.
The total marks for the written examination, excluding the qualifying papers (Paper A and Paper B), amount to 1750. The Interview/Personality Test, which is the final stage of the selection process, is worth 275 marks. The grand total for determining the final merit is 2025 marks.
UPSC Mains consists of a total of 9 papers, but the number of questions varies in each paper.
No, there is no fixed number of questions in UPSC Mains; it varies by paper and year.
Yes, the number of questions in UPSC Mains can vary from year to year, making each exam unique.
While the Preliminary Exam serves as a qualifying stage, the Main Examination is where candidates demonstrate their knowledge and skills to secure a place in the prestigious civil services of India. Success in this examination requires dedication, a strategic approach, and a thorough understanding of the exam pattern and syllabus. In the UPSC Mains examination, each paper typically contains around 20 questions (though this number may vary), and candidates are provided with a 3-hour time frame to address them. To maximize their marks in the Mains Exam, candidates are encouraged to make an earnest effort to tackle all the questions.