UPSC Mains Examination

UPSC prelims is a national level exam which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The UPSC prelims exam is conducted in two stages, the preliminary and the main examination.


The UPSC prelims Mains test follows a pattern of 100 objective type questions based on GS Paper-1 and has four sections: English Language Comprehension & Vocabulary, General Mental Ability – Reasoning Section, General Science Section and General Knowledge Section. Candidates are required to attempt each question only once and no


In order to get a good rank in the UPSC mains exam, one must have a strong knowledge of the syllabus.


UPSC Mains – IAS Exam 2022


The UPSC Mains exam is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination. IAS aspirants who clear the Prelims i.e. those who score above the cutoff in General Studies Paper I and more than 33% marks in General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) are eligible to appear for the UPSC Mains.


Candidates who aspire to become IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS officers have to give UPSC Mains before they are cleared for the IAS interview/UPSC Personality Test stage.


How many candidates appeared for UPSC Exam Mains 2021?


As per UPSC, the total candidates allowed to appear for UPSC mains are twelve to thirteen times the number of Civil Service vacancies for that exam year. For UPSC 2021, the total number of vacancies is 712 so accordingly around 10 thousand candidates are expected to have written the UPSC Mains 2021.

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern for IAS 2022


The UPSC Mains or CSE (Main) pattern was revised in 2015. As per the revised pattern, the UPSC Mains 2022 will comprise nine theory papers (essay descriptive type). Out of the nine papers, only seven will be counted for merit ranking. Candidates also have to choose one optional subject for UPSC Mains. 

The maximum marks for the UPSC Mains exam are 1750 (7 papers * 250 marks each). All papers are of three-hour duration.

The UPSC Mains pattern for Civil Services Exam 2022 is given below:

S.No Papers Subject Nature of Exam Total Marks
1 Paper A Indian Language Qualifying 300
2 Paper B English Qualifying 300
3 Paper I Essay Counted for Merit 250
4 Paper II General Studies (GS) I Counted for Merit 250
5 Paper III General Studies (GS) II Counted for Merit 250
6 Paper IV General Studies (GS) III Counted for Merit 250
7 Paper V General Studies (GS) IV Counted for Merit 250
8 Paper VI Optional Subject Paper-I Counted for Merit 250
9 Paper VII Optional Subject Paper-II Counted for Merit 250

Important information regarding UPSC Mains and UPSC Mains Syllabus

  • An IAS aspirant’s marks in UPSC Mains and IAS interview determine his/her final rank in the merit list
  • The UPSC Mains intends to assess the depth of a candidate’s knowledge. Hence marks will only be given for “relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers.”
  • The questions in UPSC Mains test an aspirant’s basic understanding, ability to analyse and “take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands.”
  • Although UPSC maintains that for General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V), a “well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialised study,” candidates are advised to go through previous year UPSC question papers to ascertain for themselves whether they need ‘specialised study.’
  • Candidates are allowed to use Scientific(Non-Programmable) calculators in UPSC Mains if needed.
  • The level of examination for the optional subjects in UPSC Mains will be equivalent to an honours degree (between bachelors’ and masters’ level). Only for engineering subjects, Law and Medical Science, the scope is limited to the bachelors’ degree level.


Candidates can download the pdf of UPSC mains syllabus 2022 here.


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