Is UPSC Mains Exam Written or Objective?

Are UPSC Mains Exam Written or Objective? Find the Answer Here!

Many people who want to become an IAS officer but are yet to kick start the preparation are often unaware of the exam structure. UPSC Mains exam is a written and subjective examination. This article gives you complete and authentic information on the exam structure and pattern of UPSC Mains as well as Prelims.

UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination every year which we also know as IAS Exam. UPSC conducts about a dozen examinations for various services, such as engineering, medicine, forest services, etc. In this article, you will learn about the UPSC IAS exam pattern. This exam consists of three stages as follows -

  • Preliminary Exams or Prelims
  • Mains Exams
  • Interview or Personality Test

Every candidate has to go through these stages and only then he/she becomes an officer. In the Preliminary examination, objective type questions will be asked. On the other hand, UPSC Mains examination is a written examination, in which detailed answer questions have to be written. In the third and final stage, the personality of the candidate will be tested.

Civil Services Preliminary Examination

There are 2 question papers in UPSC Prelims,

Paper - 1 is a paper on General Studies which will be a total of 200 marks.

Paper - 2 Aptitude Test (CSAT) is a paper of 200 marks.

 This stage is considered as a screening test only.  Based on the marks obtained in the preliminary examination, only qualified candidates (passed candidates) enter into the UPSC mains exam.

UPSC Mains Exams

There are a total of 9 papers at this level. The objective of the Mains Examination is to assess the overall intellectual characteristics of the candidates and the depth of their thematic information and understanding. The standard of the questions (Paper 2 to Paper 4) asked in General Studies paper is such that a well-educated person can answer them without any special study.

The questions in these papers will be related to a wide variety of topics which tests the general awareness of the candidate and will be relevant to the career in civil services. All these questions are related to the basic understanding of the candidates, ability to analyze, and to reflect on the socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. Candidates have to give their answers in a relevant, meaningful and concise form.

The Mains (written) Examination will contain the following question papers:

Qualifying Papers (Marks of these papers will not be added to the final result.)

Paper (A)

One of the Indian languages ​​included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution should be selected by the candidates. (300 marks total)

Paper (B)

English Comprehension and Abstract Writing, 10th level (Total 300 marks)

Ranking Papers (The marks obtained in these papers will be added to the final result.)

Paper 1 - Essay Paper, (Total of 250 Marks)

Paper 2 - General Studies I (Indian Culture and Heritage, History and Geography of World and Society): (Total 250 marks)

Paper 3 - General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations): (Total 250 marks.)

Paper 4 - General Studies III (Science & Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management): (Total 250 marks.)

Paper 5 - General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude): (Total 250 marks)

Paper 6 - Elective Subject, Paper - 1 (Total 250 marks)

Paper 7 - Elective Subject, Paper - 2 (Total 250 marks)

For the optional question papers in the Mains Examination, there is a list of about 26 subjects under the UPSC syllabus, out of which one subject has to be selected by the candidate.

Total Marks Prescribed for Written Main Examination = 1750

Total Marks for Interview / Personality Test = 275

Total = 2025

Interview/Personality Test

The number of candidates called for an interview is almost thrice the number of vacancies. There will be a total of 275 marks for the interview (without any minimum qualifying marks). Thus, the marks (written portion as well as interview) earned by the candidates in the Mains examination will determine their final ranking. This ranking is based on a total score of 2025. Candidates are allocated various services according to the ranks obtained in the examination and the service preferences they express.

The objective of this examination is to assess the mental capacity, intellectual qualities, social connect and knowledge of current affairs of the candidate. Along with the decision making qualities in the candidate, mental alertness, ability to assess situations, clear and logical thinking, balance in decision making, diversity and depth of understanding, social cohesion and ability to lead, intellectual and moral integrity are some of the qualities that must be present.

The candidate will be interviewed by a board and the interviewer will also have the career record of the candidate, from which related and general questions of interest will be asked. Remember, the purpose of the interview is to assess a candidate's personal suitability for a career in the civil service by a board of competent and impartial supervisors.

Remember, the interview is not a test of the knowledge of the candidate, as it has already been done through the written examination. The interview stage aims at testing the personality of the candidate and his mindset.