Plan of Examination of CSE

Plan of Examination

The Civil Services Examination comprises of two successive stages in selection process of candidates.


First stage of Civil Services Examination is  Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination. This stage comprises of two objective type compulsory papers of 200 marks each. Both the papers are objective type with multiple choice questions. Each paper is of two hours duration.  The Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination is used for the selection of candidates for Main Examination. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.

Note I : The UPSC draws a list of candidates qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the UPSC.

Note II : There is negative marking in Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination for incorrect answers (as detailed below) for all questions except some of the questions where the negative marking is inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.

  1. There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.

  2. If a candidate gives more than one answer, it is treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there is same penalty as above for that question.

  3. If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there is no penalty for that question.

Note III : It is also important to note that candidates are not permitted to use calculators for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not therefore bring the same inside the Examination Hall.


This stage of Civil Services Examination comprises of Written and Interview for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts. The written examination consists of 9 papers of conventional (essay) type each of 3 hours duration. Two papers of English and Indian language, are of qualifying in nature. The qualifying papers of English and Indian Language are 300 marks each. The remaining seven papers are compulsory and marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VII) are counted for final ranking of the candidates. The compulsory papers are of 250 marks each.
The name of written papers of Civil Services Mains Examination and Scheme are listed in the table below,


I.    Qualifying papers








Paper A

Indian Language

One of the Indian Languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution



Paper B





II.    Compulsory papers








Paper I





Paper II

General Studies-I


Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and




Paper III

General Studies-II

(Governance, Constitution, Polity,

Social Justice and International relations)



Paper IV

General Studies-III

(Technology, Economic Development,

Bio-diversity, Environment, Security

and Disaster Management)



Paper V

General Studies-IV

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)



Paper VI

Optional Subject-Paper-1

One subject out of 26 optional subjects



Paper VII

Optional Subject-Paper-2


Total Marks Compulsory Papers




III.    Interview / Personality Test                             :            275 Marks

         Grand total (Written + interview)                   :        
2025 Marks

List of optional subjects for Main Examination :

(i) Agriculture (ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science  (iii) Anthropology (iv) Botany (v) Chemistry (vi) Civil Engineering (vii) Commerce and Accountancy (viii) Economics (ix) Electrical Engineering (x) Geography (xi) Geology (xii) History (xiii) Law (xiv) Management (xv) Mathematics (xvi) Mechanical Engineering (xvii) Medical Science (xviii) Philosophy (xix) Physics (xx) Political Science and International Relations (xxi) Psychology (xxii) Public Administration (xxiii) Sociology (xxiv) Statistics (xxv) Zoology (xxvi) 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.


  1. The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for final ranking.

  2. The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.

  3. The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

  4. The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for Candidates belonging to Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (only Hearing Impairment sub-category) provided that they have been granted such exemption from 2nd or 3rd language courses by the concerned education Board/University. The candidate needs to provide an undertaking/self declaration in this regard in order to claim such an exemption to the Commission.

  5. Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking. However, the UPSC will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all of these papers.

  6. The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English only.

  7. Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English. Notwithstanding this, the Candidate will have the choice to write the Optional Papers in English also if candidates opt to write Paper I-V in any one of the language included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

  8. Candidates exercising the option to answer Papers in any one of the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution of India mentioned above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them.

  9. Candidates will be allowed the use of Scientific (Non-Programmable type) Calculators at the conventional (Essay) type examinations. Programmable type calculators will however not be allowed and the use of such calculators shall tantamount to resorting to unfair means by the candidates. Loaning or interchanging of calculators in the Examination Hall is not permitted.