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

Exam Date

Jun 27, 2021

Result Date

Jul 17, 2021

Apr 7, 2021


UPSC IAS Exam is a three-tier exam. There will be a preliminary examination followed by the main examination. Candidates who qualify the UPSC IAS 2021 will go through a series of interviews before getting the offer letter. Candidates can go through the UPSC IAS 2021 Syllabus in order to get detailed information about the concepts/topics that will be a part of the question paper.

UPSC IAS 2021 Exam Pattern 

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 candidatesfor the Main Examination; and
  • Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidatesfor the various Services and posts noted above.

Stages of qualification

Applications are now invited for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination only. The UPSC IAS 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 UPSC IAS 2021 application form. The UPSC IAS Main examination is likely to be held in the month of September 2021.

UPSC IAS 2021 Prelims

UPSC IAS Preliminary Exams consists of two papers and both the papers have to be cleared. For UPSC IAS Prelims, a negative marking scheme is followed. Paper 2 or CSAT is merely qualifying. i.e. the candidate has to score a minimum of 33 percent to clear paper 2.

All the questions are MCQs in the UPSC IAS Preliminary Exam. After the Candidates have cleared the UPSC IAS Prelims, they can appear in the Mains and the Personal Interview.

Paper Questions & Time Marks
General Studies Paper I 100 Questions 200
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT - Qualifying only) 80 Questions 200

UPSC IAS 2021 Mains 

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 the interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled. As per UPSC IAS notification, 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.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern
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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