UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern For IAS Exam 2020 | Prelims, Mains & Interview | Career Launcher

A thorough understanding of the IAS exam pattern 2020 enhances the preparation and increases the chance of selection in the UPSC exam. In addition to the UPSC Exam pattern, we will also be discussing the marking scheme of UPSC CSE 2020 for prelims, mains and interview. It will allow you to allocate the time for the preparation of the specific subject effectively.

UPSC conducts the Civil Service Examination in three phases namely:

  • Preliminary Examination
  • Main Examination
  • Personality Test (Interview)

Candidates who qualify all the rounds are recommended for joining the civil services in India. Let us discuss the pattern and marking scheme for each of the rounds.

Marking Scheme and UPSC Exam Pattern 2020 | UPSC CSE Prelims

As you may already know, UPSC CSE Prelims consists of two papers namely General Studies I and CSAT (General Studies Paper-II). While CSAT is qualifying in nature, the marks obtained in General Studies paper determine whether or not you qualify for the next round. It means your score in General Studies Paper will be considered for the cutoff.

Additionally, there is negative marking for the wrong answers. 1/3rd of the marks allotted for the question would be deducted as a penalty for marking the wrong answer. However, if you do not attempt the question, there will be no deductions. Hence, you should take only calculated risk when it comes to marking doubtful questions.

Now, let us look at the UPSC exam pattern for UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2020:

Name of the Pape No of Questions Marks Allotted Time Allotted Nature of Exam
Paper I: General Studies (Objective-type) 100 200 2 hours The score will be considered for Cut-off
Paper-II: General Studies-II (CSAT) (Objective-Type) 80 200 2 hours Qualifying Nature- Candidates will have to score 33% to qualify CSAT.

Following points should be kept in mind while appearing for IAS Exam 2020:

  • It is mandatory for all the candidates to appear for both the exams viz General Studies and CSAT to qualify for the Mains.
  • The score obtained in the Prelims will not be added to the final score. UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 will be just for screening purposes.
  • The question paper of Prelims will be bilingual. It will have questions written both in Hindi and English Language.

Check out the weightage of each subject of prelims here.

Marking Scheme And UPSC Exam Pattern 2020 | UPSC CS Mains

The UPSC Exam Pattern 2020 for Mains is discussed below. The IAS Mains Exam consists of two types of papers viz qualifying and merit-ranking. Paper A and Paper B namely Language paper and English paper will be qualifying in nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be added to marks that may determine your rank. All the other papers will be evaluated for merit purposes.

Paper Subject Duration Total marks Time Allotted Nature of paper Type of Paper
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 3 hours 300 3 hours Qualifying Descriptive
Paper B English 3 hours 300 3 hours Qualifying Descriptive
Paper I Essay 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive
Paper-II General Studies I 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive
Paper III General Studies II 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive
Paper IV General Studies III 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive
Paper V General Studies IV 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive
Paper VI Optional I 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive
Paper VII Optional II 3 hours 250 3 hours Merit Descriptive

Following points should be kept in mind while preparing for UPSC CSE Mains 2020:

  • Except for language papers, Paper A and Paper B, score in all the other papers will determine your rank.
  • Hence, your score will be out of a total of 1750 marks.
  • It is mandatory to score at least 25% in each paper to be evaluated while the final selection.
  • Candidates will be required to write the answers in the answer sheets provided by the UPSC. No extra sheets will be provided.

List of Optional Subjects for UPSC Mains

Here's the list of optional subjects that can be opted for UPSC Mains:

Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Anthropology Botany Chemistry

Civil Engineering 

Commerce and Accountancy


Electrical Engineering







Mechanical Engineering

Medical Science 



Political Science and International Relations


Public Administration 




The options for literature subjects are:

Assamese Bengali Bodo Dogri Gujarati



















IAS 2020 Interview Process

The interview process is the last and the final stage of the selection process. The interview is of 275 marks which makes the grand total of maximum marks 2025. Some of the qualities that the board assess in a candidate are:

  • Mental acuity
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Risk assessment skills
  • Crisis management skills
  • Ability to become a leader
  • Intellectual and moral integrity

Read more | Preparation strategy for interview

Check out the full syllabus of UPSC CSE here. And if you are looking for a panacea to boost your prelims score, here’s a course designed just for that! Get in touch with our course counselors to get additional information on course deliverables.

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