The complete schedule and exhaustive paper pattern for UPSC Mains Examination

  • utkarsh
  • Jan 16, 2021
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  • Blog English, UPSC,
The complete schedule and exhaustive paper pattern for UPSC Mains Examination

The Civil Services Examination is considered to be the most prestigious examination in the country. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruiting Group A and some Group B posts in a variety of offices in the Government of India. 

This exam is conducted in three phases, Preliminary Exam, Main Exam, and Personal Interview. The Preliminary Exam for CSE 2020 was conducted on 4 October 2020. You can check the UPSC Exam Prelims Schedule here. CSE Prelim examination is qualifying in nature which means that the score you obtain in this phase will not add up in the final merit. However, only the candidates who score marks equal to the cutoff will be eligible to appear in the next phase of the examination – The CSE Mains Exam. The Mains is set to be conducted from 8 January till 17 January in two-time slots of the morning (9 AM – 12 PM) and afternoon (2 PM – 5 PM). 

The students sitting in the exam must be aware of the complete schedule of the examination.  The UPSC Mains Exam Dates are given below:

UPSC Mains Exam Schedule

UPSC Mains Exam DatesTime Slot (9 AM – 12 PM)Time Slot (2 PM – 5 PM)
8 January 2021Essay Paper
9 January 2021General Studies-IGeneral Studies-II
10 January 2021General Studies-IIIGeneral Studies-IV
16 January 2021Indian Language PaperEnglish Language Paper
17 January 2021Optional Paper-IOptional Paper-II

While preparing for the exam, it is crucial that the students know about the pattern of each subject in the mains exam.  There are a total of 9 papers in the CSE Mains Examination. Two out of the nine papers are qualifying in nature while the score of the rest is counted in the merit. The complete UPSC Exam Pattern is tabulated below. 

UPSC Mains Paper Pattern

PapersName of SubjectNatureTime DurationMarks
Paper AAny Indian LanguageQualifying in Nature3 Hours300
Paper BEnglish (Objective)Qualifying in Nature3 Hours300
Paper IEssayCounted for Merit3 Hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies (GS) ICounted for Merit3 Hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies (GS) IICounted for Merit3 Hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies (GS) IIICounted for Merit3 Hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies (GS) IVCounted for Merit3 Hours250
Paper VIOptional Subject Paper-ICounted for Merit3 Hours250
Paper VIIOptional Subject Paper-IICounted for Merit3 Hours250
  • The IAS Main exam will be both objective as well as subjective in nature.
  • Two papers, Paper A and Paper B will be of qualifying nature which means that the students will have to obtain marks equal to or more than the cut off marks in order to qualify the exam.
  • The cut off is decided on the basis of total vacancies, the difficulty level of paper and candidates appearing for the exam.
  • There will be Negative Marking of 1/3 marks (0.66) for each wrong answer in objective paper only

The subjects that are covered under the General Studies Papers in Mains Exam are:

General Studies IGeneral Studies IIGeneral Studies IIIGeneral Studies IV
Indian Heritage and CultureGovernanceTechnologyEthics
History and Geography of the WorldConstitutionEconomic DevelopmentIntegrity
Social JusticeEnvironment
International relationsSecurity and Disaster Management

The students have to choose one subject for Paper VI & VII of the mains exam from the list given below:

AgricultureAnimal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceAnthropologyBotanyChemistry
Civil EngineeringCommerce and AccountancyEconomicsElectrical EngineeringGeography
Mechanical EngineeringMedical SciencePhilosophyPhysicsPolitical Science and International Relations
PsychologyPublic AdministrationSociologyStatisticsZoology
The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

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