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Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the most prestigious examinations conducted by the central agency of India. UPSC is the authorized body responsible to governs examinations like for Civil services examination, Engineering services examinations, National defense academy, combined defense academy, naval academy examination.

Due to the dynamic pattern and tough competition of UPSC exams, it is necessary to reorient your strategy. We, at Mahatma Gandhi Institute, with our vast experience of successful guidance and mentors, have designed a pedagogical structure for the students to provide a suitable strategy to our students to handle the different facets of prelims as well as mains paper.

UPSC Exam Pattern

For better preparation students should know about the pattern of examination. A prior knowledge of the exam pattern will give an edge to the students who are preparing for the same.

There are 3 phases to qualify for UPSC exams.

  • Preliminary Exam
  • Mains Exam
  • Interview Process

UPSC Prelims

The Prelims Exam for UPSC Exam has two qualifying papers, GS (General Studies) & CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test). All Candidates appearing in the Preliminary exam must qualify the cut-off of same year for Preliminary Exam of UPSC Exam. Here is the exam pattern given below.

Name of Paper No. of Questions Total Marks Duration
Paper I: General Studies 100 200 2 hours
Paper II: General Studies 80 200 2 hours

Negative Marking is also associated with every questions asked in UPSC Exams. 1/3rd marks of total allotted marks of a particular question, will be deducted for every wrong attempted question.

Important Points to be Remembered

  • All Questions asked in UPSC Prelims Exams are of objective in nature, i.e. MCQs of Multiple Choice Questions.
  • The second paper CSAT is qualifying in nature and is mandatory for all candidates to score a minimum of 33%.
  • Each Question of General Studies I consists of 2 marks and General Studies II carries 2.5 marks.
  • The Question Paper will be asked in both English & Hindi languages.
  • Both the papers are mandatory for all aspirants to appear to qualify for the Mains Exam.


 The Mains Exam of UPSC, have two categorized pattern of papers: Part A is qualifying nature and Part B is of merit purpose. The first paper is constituted of two language exams, one in English and the other is of candidates’ choice. The second paper has 9 papers in total, out of which, 7 papers are merit based and 2 are qualifying type paper.

Part –A Language- 300 Marks

Candidates can take any modern Indian language

Part – B- 300 Marks

English Language


Essay – 250 Marks – Essay can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice. On a specific topic Candidate is required to write an essay. Students are expected to keep their thoughts closely to the subject given by and arrange their ideas.


General Studies-I 250 Marks

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


General Studies -II: 250 Marks

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations


General Studies -III 250 Marks

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


General Studies -IV 250 Marks

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude


Optional Subject – Paper I -250 Marks


Optional Subject – Paper II -250 Marks

Candidates may choose any one of the optional subject of their choice from amongst the list of subjects given below.

Part B - Main Examination - Optional Subjects

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Indian History
  • Literature of any one of Indian Languages
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical  engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology
  • law

Important Points to be Remembered

  • In UPSC mains exams all the papers are of merit in nature; except for the language papers part A & B.
  • For mains exam descriptive answer type paper pattern is followed.
  • All the candidates need to score a minimum of 25% marks in all papers in Mains Exam

Interview Process

This part of the exam is the last phase to qualified UPSC, it comes only after the results of the mains exams are declared. All candidates who are qualified for the final Interview Process/Personality Test are counted as the part of Mains Exam for merit. It is of 275 marks.

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