Stages of UPSC Civil Services Examination

Stages of UPSC Civil Services Examination

Stages of UPSC CSE

The 3 stages in the UPSC Civil Services Exam are–

(1) Preliminary Exam (Objective Test)

(2) Main Exam (Subjective Test)

(3) Personality Test (Interview)



Prelims –

  • The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (Paper-I – General Studies and Paper-II – Civil Service Aptitude Test).

General Studies includes-

  • 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.
  • General Science.

This exam will be for 200 marks and will have 100 questions. Each correct answer will net you two marks while 0.667 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer. The cut off marks for this paper will vary year by year and will be around the 100 marks range.

Civil Service Aptitude Test includes-

  • 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.) – Class X level)
  • Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)


  • This exam will be for 200 marks and will have 80 questions. Each correct answer will net you 2.5 marks while 0.833 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer. This paper is of qualifying nature and 67 marks is required to clear it.
  • The questions will be of multiple-choice, objective type.
  • The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking.




Mains include the following exams
  • Compulsory Indian language (Any language under Schedule 8 of Indian Constitution).
  • English
  • The language papers are for 300 marks each and are of qualifying nature and a person needs to get at least 75 marks to clear. The score of these papers will not be counted for the final rank list.
Paper I Essay:
  • Candidates are required to write two essays from a list of given topics for a combined total of 250 marks.
Paper II General Studies 1: includes
  • Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society
Paper III General Studies 2: Includes
  • Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations
Paper – IV General Studies 3: Includes
  • Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Paper – V General Studies IV: Includes
  • Ethics, Aptitude, Integrity

The General Studies papers all are worth 250 marks each and you will have 3 hours to complete them.

Paper – VI Optional Paper I
Paper – VII Optional Paper II
  • You have to choose one optional subject and write 2 papers on it which are worth 250 marks each.
  • Whether you clear the mains stage will depend upon your score out of this 1750 marks.



Interview/Personality Test-

  • Interview/PT is the final stage of the examination where you will be examined by an expert panel including the Chairman of UPSC. This stage is out of 275 marks.
  • Your final rank will be determined based on the sum of your mains score as well as your interview score.
  • One has to remember that clearing UPSC CSE does not entitle one to any service. UPSC only has the power to recommend you to the service while ultimate decision will be taken by the government.


  Program Perform

Program Excel