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Civil Service Mains Exam Pattern

The questions for the UPSC mains exam are of Subjective type.

In this examination subjects included are—General Studies (Question Paper I, II, III and IV), Optional Subject-1 (Question Paper I & II), Optional, Essay & Compulsory English and Compulsory Indian Language. 

This is phase 2 which tests candidate academic dept and his ability how he/she face matters practically. This exam not merely tests the memory/range of a candidate but also test the intelligence quotient.

To clear mains exams aspirant are advised to have long term strategy. A passionate and focus mind for learning and reading s a basic trait of all successful candidates. The level of syllabus is quite tuff. It might be broader than bachelor degree.

(A) Syllabus of GS

General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.


1 : The aim of the paper is to test the candidate’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly in English/Indian language concerned.

2 : The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :


Note 1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved)


Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.


List of optional subjects for Main Examination:

Agriculture ; Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science ; Anthropology ; Botany ; Chemistry ; Civil Engineering ; Commerce and Accountancy ; Economics ; Electrical Engineering ; Geography ; Geology ;History ; Law ; Management; Mathematics ; Mechanical Engineering ; Medical Science ; Philosophy ; Physics ; Political Science and International Relations ; Psychology ;Public Administration ;Sociology ;Statistics and Zoology, Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

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