The UPSC Civil Service Examination is conducted at the national level for shortlisting candidates for prestigious job profiles in all India Services and various Central Civil Services. Every year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the UPSC CSE Exam and thousands of UPSC aspirants attempt the examination. The beginning of UPSC CSE Exam starts with a Preliminary Examination followed by the main examination and Interview (Group discussion). If you are a UPSC aspirant and planning to begin your preparation for the upcoming UPSC CSE 2024 Exam, then very first you must understand the UPSC Exam Pattern 2024. In this article, we have discussed the UPSC prelims and mains exam pattern with a detailed marking scheme and other important points.     

UPSC Exam Pattern 2024

The selection of the candidates for the UPSC Civil Service Examination will be done through three stages- Prelims, Mains, and Interviews. There are 2 papers in the UPSC CSE Prelims Exam which are of Objective type while there are 9 papers in the UPSC CSE Mains Exam of descriptive type. The elaborated details for UPSC Exam Pattern 2024 for both Prelims and Mains have been tabulated below. 

UPSC CSE Exam Pattern 2024
ParametersUPSC PrelimsUPSC Mains
Medium of ExamEnglish & HindiEnglish & Hindi (Except for language)
Type of QuestionsMCQs (Objective)Descriptive
Number of QuestionsCSAT: 80 questions
GS: 100 questions
Usually, 20 questions per paper
Total Marks4001750
Mode of ExamOfflineOffline
Exam Duration2 papers 9 papers
Exam Duration2 hours for each paper3 hours for each paper
Negative Marking1/3rd of 2 marksNo negative marking

UPSC Exam Date 2024 Out for 1206 Vacancies- Click to Check

UPSC CSE Admit Card 2024 Out- Click to Download

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2024

The 1st stage of the UPSC CSE 2024 Exam is the Preliminary Examination. Let's understand the UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2024 in detail. 

  1. In UPSC Prelims Exam, there are 2 papers - GS Paper and CSAT Paper.
  2. There will be 100 questions in GS paper with 2 marks for each question and there will be a negative marking of 1/3rd or 0.66 marks.
  3. There will be 80 questions in the CSAT paper contains with 2.5 marks for each question with 1/3rd or 0.83 marks of negative marking.
  4. No marks will be deducted for questions that you choose to leave unanswered.
  5. The marks scored in UPSC CSE Prelims Exam, marks will not be counted in preparing the merit list.
UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2024
PapersSubjectsNo. of questionsTotal MarksDuration
Paper 1General Studies (GS)1002002 hours
Paper 2CSAT802002 hours
Total1804004 hours

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024- Click to Check

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024

The second phase of the UPSC CSE Exam is the Mains Examination which consists of 9 papers with different subjects. The marks scored in the UPSC Mains Exam 2024 will be counted in preparing the merit list for final selection. The important points to remember for UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024 are as follows- 

  1. Paper 1 (Language Paper) and Paper 2 (English language) are qualifying in nature with 300 marks each. The minimum qualifying marks in papers 1 and 2 is 25%.
  2. Attempting all papers is compulsory.
  3. The duration of each paper is 3 hours (180 minutes).
  4. The subject-wise papers consist of 250 marks.
  5. In case you don't qualify in Paper 1 and Paper 2, the rest of the mark sheets shall not be considered for evaluation and you will be declared disqualified/failed.
UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024
Paper AAny Indian language (compulsory) – [Qualifying paper]3003 hours
Paper BEnglish – [Qualifying paper]3003 hours
Paper IEssay (you can choose to write it in a medium of your choice)2503 hours
Paper IIGeneral Studies 1 (Indian and World History, Culture, Heritage, &Geography)2503 hours
Paper IIIGeneral Studies 2 (Polity, Constitution, Governance, International Relations & Social Justice)2503 hours
Paper IVGeneral Studies 3 (Economic Development, Technology, Disaster Management & Security, Biodiversity)2503 hours
Paper VGeneral Studies 4 (Aptitude, Ethics, & Integrity)2503 hours
Paper VIOptional Subject: Paper 12503 hours
Paper VIIOptional Subject: Paper 22503 hours

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024- Click to Check

List of Optional Subjects- Click to Check

Important Links
UPSC IAS Officer Salary 2024UPSC Previous Year Cut Off 
UPSC Books List for Prelims & MainsUPSC Previous Year Question Papers


UPSC Exam Pattern 2024: FAQs

Ans. As per UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2023, there are 2 papers in UPSC Prelims Exam, GS Paper 1 with 100 questions and CSAT Paper with 80 questions.

Ans. In UPSC CSE Mains Exam, there are 9 papers and attempting all papers are compulsory.

Ans. Yes, there is a negative marking of 1/3rd mark for each incorrect answer in UPSC CSE Prelims Exam.

Important Links