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Civil Services Exam Pattern

Civil Services Exam Pattern
Civil Services Exam Pattern

Civil Services Examination Pattern

Civil Services Exam Pattern
is very important for an IAS aspirant to know in beforehand to succeed. From may 2014 onwards Union Public Service Commission will issue notification for Civil Service Examination. The Civil Services Exam Pattern is as follows:

Examination Month of Conducting Exam (in General) Subject Total Marks

*1 Preliminary


General Studies Paper I & II

Paper I – 200 

Paper II – 200



General Studies (Paper–I)

General Studies (Paper–II)

General Studies (Paper–III)

General Studies (Paper–IV)

Optional Sub. (Paper–I)

Optional Sub. (Paper–II)

Essay Writing










*2 Compulsory : English  

*3 Compulsory: Indian Language





Personality Test


*1 Marks obtained in the Preliminary Examinations are not included in the marks fixed for the Main Examination and Interview

*2, *3 Marks of Compulsory English and Indian Language are also not included in the marks (1750+275=2025) fixed for the Main Examination and Interview. The final selection is based on marks obtained by the candidate in the Main Examination and Interview.

Civil Services Preliminary Exam Pattern

From 2011 onwards, the preliminary examination, now popularly known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)(officially it is still called General Studies Paper-1 and Paper-2), intends to focus on analytical abilities and understanding rather than the ability to memorize. The new pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions only.

They are as under:
  • Paper I tests the candidate's knowledge on current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian policy panchayti Raj system and governance, economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change and general science, Art and culture.
  • Paper II tests the candidates' skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.
In May 2015, the Government of India announced that Paper II of the preliminary examination will be qualifying in nature i.e. it wouldn't be graded for eligibility in Mains Examination & a candidate needs to secure at least 33% marks in order to be eligible for graded on basis of Marks of Paper I of Preliminary.

Civil Services Mains Exam Pattern

The Civil Services Mains Examination consists of a written examination and an interview.


The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying and seven ranking in nature. The range of questions may vary from just one mark to sixty marks, twenty words to 600 words answers. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission's discretion
Civil Services New Mains Format
Paper Subject Marks
Paper A (One of the Indian languages listed below, to be selected by the candidate (from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) (Qualifying) 300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude) 250
Optional Paper I One paper on subject to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks)  
Optional Paper II One paper on subject to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks)  
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test (Interview) 275
Total Marks 2025


Civil Services Interview Pattern

Officially called the "Personality Test", the objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to evaluate the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of a candidate's intellectual qualities, social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, and intellectual and moral integrity.

The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination, but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation that is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

The interview is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidate, which has been already tested through written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study, but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of all well-educated youth.


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