IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC Exam Pattern has seen various changes in the past 6 years and here is the new IAS Prelims Exam Pattern. It is advised to candidates who are interested writing UPSC Exam to know the examination scheme as it would help them to draw a proper preparation plan.

The Civil Services Prelims Exam is also called as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) and is a common test for all applicants.

Scheme and subjects for the Preliminary Examination

There are two papers in prelims exam. They are:

  1. General Studies Paper I (200 marks)
  2. General Studies II (200 marks) 
UPSC Exam Pattern of Preliminary Examination
IAS Prelims Papers Nature of the Paper Marks Duration
General Studies Paper – I Qualifying for the Mains exam 200 Marks 2 Hours
General Studies (CSAT) Paper- II Qualifying in nature, one should score a minimum of 33%. Marks do not count up for mains. 200 Marks 2 Hours


  1. The question papers will be set in both Hindi and English. However, questions related to English Language Comprehension skills would be provided only in English.
  2. The GS Paper-II CSAT of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination is qualifying nature and a candidate should score a minimum of 66 marks or 33% to qualify to the next stage of the exam i.e. the Civil Services Mains Exam.
  3. The questions in both the papers i.e. Paper-I (General Studies) and Paper-II (CSAT) will be of multiple choice questions (MCQs) or objective types for 200 marks each and the time allotted for each paper is 2 hours.
  4. Blind candidates would be allowed an extra 20 minutes of time for each paper.
  5. It is compulsory for the candidates to appear in both the papers of Civil Services Prelims Examination for the purpose of valuation. If candidates do not appear in both the papers of the IAS prelims exam then they will be disqualified.

The IAS Prelims Examination Evaluation

  • The IAS Prelims Exam evaluation is based on the negative marking pattern which was introduced in the year 2007.
  • For each wrong answer given by the candidate, one third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as a penalty.
A candidate would not be able to appear in mains exam, if he/she does not clear prelims exam. IAS Prelims exam is only for screening of a candidate and the marks scored will not be counted in the final merit.