• According to UPSC, the examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
  • The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.
  • The questions will be such as to test a candidate\’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services.
  • The questions are likely to test the candidate\’s basic understanding of all relevant issues and ability to analyze and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives, and demands.
  • The candidates must give relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers.

Preliminary Examination

The examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks and 2 hours duration each.

  1. General Studies Paper I
  2. General Studies Paper-II
  • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions) and each will be of two hours duration.
  • The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.


  • Current events of national and international importance;
  • History of India and Indian National Movement;
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World;
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc;
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc;
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization;
  • General Science.


  • Comprehension;
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
  • Decision making and problem solving;
  • General mental ability;
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. — Class X level).

Note: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of the Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Main Examination

The Written Examination will consist of the following papers:

  • Qualifying Papers:


One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.


300 Marks




300 Marks
  • Papers to be counted for merit:
PaperI Essay 250 Marks
Paper-II General Studies-I: (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250 Marks
Paper-III General Studies-II: (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250 Marks
Paper-IV General Studies-III: (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster


250 marks
Paper-V General Studies-IV: (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250 Marks
Paper-VI Optional Subject ‐ Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper-VII Optional Subject ‐ Paper 2 250 Marks
  • For Final merit:


Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Personality Test 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks


  • The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
  • Evaluation of the papers, namely, \’Essay\’, \’General Studies\’ and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Éssay\’, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
  • The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.
  • Each paper will be of three hours duration.
  • Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A, and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English. Notwithstanding this, the Candidate will have the choice to write the Optional Papers in English also if candidates opt to write Paper I-V except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A, and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.


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