UPSC CSE Mains Exam Pattern

Exam Pattern UPSC

UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) Selection Procedure has 3 stages

Stage I – Preliminary Examination (Objective Papers. It is conducted in May/June, results by August)

Stage II – Main Examination (Subjective Papers. It is conducted around November, results by February/March)

Stage III – Interview (is conducted over March/April, final results announced a few days before the next preliminary exam)

UPSC CSE Prelims Exam Pattern

PaperTypeNo. of questionsMarksDuration 
General Studies IObjective1002002 hours 
General Studies II (CSAT)Objective802002 hours 

UPSC CSE Mains Exam Pattern

PaperSubjectDurationTotal marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian language3 hours300
Paper BEnglish3 hours300
Paper IEssay3 hours250
Paper-IIGeneral Studies I3 hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II3 hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies III3 hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies IV3 hours250
Paper VIOptional I3 hours250
Paper VIIOptional II3 hours250


  • All the Papers are subjective
  • Paper A and B are of qualifying nature only and candidates must score at least 25% in each. Their Scores would not be calculated in the final merit list.
  • Candidates may choose any optional subject from amongst the list of optional subjects for Paper VI and Paper VII (kindly refer to UPSC CSE notification for the list).
  • Aspirants can write the mains paper in any of the Indian languages mentioned in Schedule 7 of the constitution of India.

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