IAS Exam Test Pattern | Exam Scheme of UPSC IAS Exam

If you dream to become an IAS officer and want to know about the IAS exam pattern  this article will remove all your queries as it covers all the details regarding syllabus, topics covered, examination pattern and marks distribution of UPSC IAS Exam

The Indian Civil Services examination or the IAS examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year. This exam is considered as the toughest exam in the world, considering the exam duration, depth of the syllabus and the competition involved. An officer selected into the IAS gets prestigious designation like that of the collector, commissioner, head of public sector units, chief secretary, cabinet secretary etc.


Also See : UPSC Exams


Exam Scheme of UPSC IAS Exam

The competitive examination comprises of three successive stages the first stage is preliminary exam, on the clearance of which you appear in the Mains exam followed by an interview

ALSO SEE     UPSC Exam Syllabus

The Civil Services Examination comprises of the following stages:

Stage I:

Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Objective Type)

The Examination shall comprise two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.
Paper I – (200 marks) Duration: Two hours

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc)
  • Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency)
  • English Language Comprehension skills

Stage II:

Civil Services Main Examination    
The written examination will consist of the following papers:    


Section 1 Essay 

Section 2 English Comprehension & English Précis


General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)    


General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution,   Polity, Social Justice and International relations)    


General Studies –III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security   and Disaster Management)    


General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)    


Optional Subject – Paper 1   


Optional Subject – Paper 2 

Civil Services Main Examination details at a glance    



One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the  candidate from the 18 languages included in the VIIIth Schedule to the Constitution (Qualifying Paper)

300 Marks


English (Qualifying Paper)

300 Marks



200 Marks

Papers IV & V

General Studies (300 Marks for each paper)

600 Marks

Papers VI, VII, VIII & IX

Any two subjects (each having 2 papers) to be selected from the prescribed optional subjects (300 marks for each paper)

1200 Marks

Total Marks for Written Examination

2000 Marks

Interview Test

300 Marks

Grand Total

2300 Marks

Stage III:


  • The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).
  • Marks thus obtained by the candidates (in the Main Examination as well as interview) would determine their final ranking.
  • Candidates will be posted to various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and Posts.

List of Optional Subjects for Civil Services Main Examination    

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce & Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Indian History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science & International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

This article has compiled information from various sources to impart knowledge regarding subjects, syllabus details, topics covered, examination pattern and marks distribution of UPSC IAS Examination

ALSO SEE   UPSC Civil Services Exam Previous Years Solved Question Papers & MCQ