UPSC Civil Services exam is conducted in 3 Stages: 1. Preliminary Examination (Prelims) 2. Mains Examination (Mains) 3. Personality Test (Interview)

Stage I: UPSC Preliminary Examination (Prelims)

  • There are two papers in Civil Service Prelims Examination. General Studies Paper 1 that deals with subjects such as; Polity, Social Issues, Economics, History, Environment, Science & Technology etc. General Studies Paper 2 is popularly known as Civil Services Aptitude (CSAT) deals with subjects such as Mental Ability, English Comprehension etc.
  • The questions in the Exam are objective types of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).There is ‘Negative Marking’ for each incorrect answer. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3rd (0.66) of the allotted marks of the question.
  • The GS Paper II is of qualifying nature and candidates should score a minimum of 33 per cent in this paper for the next stage of the exam i.e. the Mains.
  • Preliminary Examination is mainly a Screening Test and hence its marks are not considered for the final result.

Stage II: Mains Examination (Mains)

  • The second stage of the Exam is called the Mains Exam is subjective written test comprises 9 Papers; Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language) and Paper –B (English) are qualifying papers and 7 other papers; Essay, General Studies Papers I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Papers I and II are taken for the final score. The Mains exam holds for 1750 marks.

Sl No

Type Paper

Paper Name

Exam Hours



Paper – A

Compulsory Indian Language

3 Hours

300 Marks


Paper – B


3 Hours

300 Marks


Paper – I


3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – II

General Studies I

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – III

General Studies II

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – IV

General Studies III

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – V

General Studies IV

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – VI

Optional Paper I

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – VII

Optional Paper II

3 Hours

250 Marks


Grand Total



  • The candidates can select their medium of writing the Mains Exam in any Indian language listed in 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • The candidates who score above the prescribed cut-off marks in the exam (Mains) will get the summons for the Personality Test.

Stage III: UPSC Interview/Personality Test

Candidates who clear the Mains stage of the exam are called for the Personality Test or Interview. It is a face to face interview with the UPSC Board Members to evaluate if the candidates have the necessary general knowledge, aptitude and personality traits for a career in the civil services or not. The final ranking & qualification of the candidates is on the basis of the marks obtained by them in the Main Examination and Personality Test/Interview