UPSC CSE Exam Pattern 2021: Marking Scheme, Negative Marking, Total Marks

Exam Date

Jun 27, 2021

Result Date

Jul 12, 2021

Apr 7, 2021


UPSC CSE 2021 is a three-tier Exam. There will be a preliminary examination followed by the main examination. Candidates who qualify the main examination will go through a series of interviews.

Plan of the Examination

The Civil Services Examination will consist of two successive stages (vide Appendix I Section-I)

  • Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination and
  • Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts noted above.

Stages of qualification

  • Applications are now invited for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination only. The UPSC CSE Preliminary Examination would be conducted on Jun 27, 2021.
  • Candidates have to clear the Preliminary Examination to appear in the Mains Exam. 
  • Candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified for admission to the Civil Services (Main) Examination will have to apply online again, in the detailed application form the main examination will be held in September 2021.

Preliminary examination 

  • UPSC CSE Preliminary Exams consists of two papers and both the papers have to be cleared.
  • For UPSC CSE Prelims, negative marking scheme is followed. 
  • Paper 2 or CSAT is mere qualifying. i.e. candidate has to score minimum 33 percent to clear paper 2
  • After the Candidates have cleared the UPSC CSE Prelims, they can appear in the Mains and the Personal Interview. 
  • All the questions are MCQs in the UPSC CSE Preliminary Exam. 

Mains Examination

  • The Main Examination will consist of a written examination and an interview test.
  • The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type out of which two papers will be of qualifying in nature. Also, marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VII) and Marks obtained in Interview for Personality Test will be counted for ranking.
  • Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test.
  • The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice of the number of vacancies to be filled.
  • The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).
  • Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts. 
Level Paper Name Marks Total
Prelims I General Studies 200 400
Mains A (Qualifying Nature) Language 300 600
B (Qualifying Nature) English 300
1 Essay 250 1750
2 General Studies I 250
3 General Studies I 250
4 General Studies I 250
5 General Studies I 250
6 Optional Subject-I 250
7 Optional Subject-II 250
Personal Interview   275

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