Learn More About UPSC Exam Pattern and UPSC Exams


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Exams are conducted to recruit candidates for Group A and Group B services and posts. Out of the multiple exams conducted by the UPSC, the Civil Service Exam is the most popular and arguably one of the toughest exams in India. This article will give a brief outline of the different UPSC exams and the UPSC exam pattern.

The different UPSC Exams are National Defense Academy and Naval Academy Examination, Combined Geo-Scientist Examination, Combined Defense Services Examination, Indian Economic Service – Indian Statistical Service Examination, Engineering Services Examination, Combined Medical Services Examination, Indian Forest Service Examination, SO-Steno (GD-B-GD-I) LDCE, CISF AC(EXE) LDCE, Central Armed Police Forces Exam and the highly sought after Civil Services Examination. 

The different posts that are on offer for successful candidates of UPSC Exams (civil service exam) are Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Grade III), Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes) Group ‘A’, Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service, Group ‘A’, Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) Group ‘A’, Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’, Indian Defense Accounts Service, Group ‘A’, Indian Defense Estates Service, Group ‘A’, Indian Information Service, Junior Grade Group ‘A’, Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’, Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. The other most well-known and most popular services among aspiring candidates are Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Apart from the above-mentioned services, recruitment is done through UPSC civil service exam to other Group ‘B’ Services also. These Group ‘B’ Services are Pondicherry Civil Service (PONDICS), Group ‘B’, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS), Group ‘B’, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS), Group ‘B’, and Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).

The UPSC exam pattern of civil services examination consists of 3 different stages. They are the Preliminary, Mains and Interview stages of the UPSC exam. As per the UPSC exam pattern in the preliminary stage of the civil service examination, there will be negative marking for wrong answers. There are two papers, General Studies (GS) Paper – I and General Studies (GS) Paper – II. Both the papers are of objective type. Both the papers, GS Paper – I and GS Paper – II are of 2 hours duration and both the papers are of 200 marks each. GS Paper – I will have 100 questions and GS Paper – II will have 80 questions. Hence, the total marks in the Prelims of UPSC civil service examination is 400 marks. General Studies Paper – II is qualifying in nature with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. GS Paper – II is known as the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Candidates who are able to qualify for the Mains stage of the examination will have to be prepared for different papers. The UPSC exam pattern in the Mains stage of the Civil Services examination will have 9 different papers. Paper A and Paper B are language papers. Compulsory Indian language is Paper A, it is for a duration of 3 hours and is for a maximum of 300 marks. Paper B is an English language paper, even this paper is for a duration of 3 hours and evaluated for a maximum of 300 marks. Candidates must note that the duration of all the 9 papers are 3 hours each. The maximum marks is 250 for each of the papers, from Paper – I to Paper – VII. Paper I is an essay paper, Paper II is General Studies Paper – I, Paper III is General Studies Paper – II, Paper IV is General Studies Paper – III and Paper V is General Studies Paper – IV. Paper VI and Paper VII are Optional Papers. Candidates have to choose 1 optional paper.

Paper A is not compulsory for candidates with hearing impairment, provided they can prove that they have been exempted from such 2nd or 3rd language courses by their concerned board or university. Paper A is not compulsory for candidates from the States of Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. The Indian Language paper covers any of the languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.