IAS 2021 Exam Pattern

While preparing for IAS 2021 exam, a candidate must be well versed with the IAS 2021 Exam Pattern. A prior knowledge of the exam pattern will give an edge to the aspirant while he/she is preparing for the same. Before we start discussing the detailed pattern for IAS Exam 2021, let us see the phases in which the Exam for UPSC IAS is conducted.

UPSC IAS 2021 will be conducted in three different stages:

  • Preliminary Exam

  • Mains Exam

  • Interview Process

Candidates who successfully clears all the three round will be granted the offer letter by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Let’s discuss in detail the exam pattern for IAS Exam 2021.

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IAS 2021 Exam Pattern for Prelims

The Prelims Exam for IAS Exam 2021 consists of GS (General Studies) & CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test). All Candidates appearing in the Preliminary Test Must qualify the cut-off for Preliminary Exam of IAS Exam 2021. The prelims examination is a qualifying stage for the mains exam. The marks secured at this stage are not counted towards the final merit list, though candidates have to prepare well for this exam as cut-offs are unpredictable and depend on the average score every year. Let’s have a look at the Exam Pattern for Exam Pattern for IAS Exam 2021.

Name of PaperNo. of QuestionsTotal MarksDurationNature of Paper
Paper I: General Studies1002002 hoursConsidered for cut off
Paper II: General Studies802002 hoursQualifying Nature
Negative Marking: There is negative marking associated with questions asked in IAS Exam 2021. 1/3rd of the total allotted marks of a particular question will be deducted if the question is attempted wrong.

Important Points to Keep in Mind

  • All Questions asked in UPSC IAS Prelims Exam 2021 will be of objective nature, i.e. MCQs of Multiple Choice Questions will be asked in the Preliminary Exam.

  • The CSAT Paper will be of Qualifying nature and it is mandatory for all candidates to score a minimum of 33% in the paper to qualify the Preliminary round.

  • Each Question of General Studies (Paper I) consists of 2 marks. Similarly, every question asked in General Studies (Paper II) carries 2.5 marks.

  • Visually Impaired Candidates will be given an additional time of 20 minutes (Each Paper) to complete the Preliminary exam.

  • The Question Paper will be bilingual, i.e. asked in both English & Hindi

  • It is mandatory for all aspirants to appear in both the papers of Prelims to qualify for the Mains Exam

  • The score of Preliminary Exam is just for screening purpose, thus the score of this exam will not be considered in the final evaluation of the candidates when final result is drawn after the interview process has been conducted.

IAS 2021 Exam Pattern for Mains

The Mains Exam of IAS Exam 2021 will have two types of papers: One will be of qualifying nature and the other will be of merit purpose. The first paper will constitute of two language exams, one in English and the other will be of candidates’ choice. The second paper will have 9 papers in total, out of which, 7 will be merit based papers and 2 will be qualifying type paper.

IAS 2021 Exam Pattern for Mains

PaperSubjectTotal MarksDuration
Paper ACompulsory Indian language One of the Indian languages to be selected by the candidates from the 8th schedule of the constitution.3003 hours
Paper BEnglish3003 hours
Paper IEssay2503 hours
Paper IIGeneral Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)2503 hours
Paper IIIGeneral Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)2503 hours
Paper IVGeneral Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)2503 hours
Paper VGeneral Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)2503 hours
Paper VIOptional Subject - Paper 12503 hours
Paper VIIOptional Subject - Paper 22503 hours

Important Points to Keep in Mind

  • All the papers are of merit nature except for the language papers A & B

  • Paper A & B are of qualifying nature

  • All the Papers are descriptive answer type paper

  • Candidates need to score a minimum of 25% marks in all paper I to VII to be given weight age in the Mains Exam

  • Paper A is not compulsory for candidates from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim as well as candidates with hearing impairment provided they can prove that they have been exempted from such 2nd or 3rd language courses by their concerned board or university

  • The Indian Language paper covers any of the languages included in the 8th Schedule of the constitution

  • All Papers will be bilingual, i.e. asked in both English & Hindi except for the language papers

IAS 2021 Interview Process

All candidates are called for the final Interview Process/Personality Test that is counted as the part of Mains Exam for merit. This is the final stage of the Recruitment Process of IAS 2021 Exam. A board of recruiters sit together and ask candidate questions related to his/her field of interest and his/her past experience to check the compatibility for the selected post offered through UPSC IAS 2021 Exam. Some of the qualities that the board looks for are:

  • Mental alertness

  • Critical powers of assimilation

  • Clear and logical exposition

  • Balance of judgement

  • Variety and depth of interest

  • Ability for social cohesion and leadership

  • Intellectual and moral integrity etc.

The maximum marks allotted for the interview stage is 275. This means that the total marks for the merit list consideration is 2025.

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