UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern 2021- IAS Question Paper

IAS Examination is conducted every year by UPSC and candidates who have the desire to build their career as a civil servant can be part of the IAS Examination 2021. Before candidates fill IAS online Application Form 2020, candidates need to understand the pattern of IAS Examination so that they can make certain that they have enough skills and knowledge that they can crack IAS examination.

There are three stages in the IAS examination viz., Preliminary Examination, Main Examination and Interview. Below, details have been provided about all the three stages of IAS Examination-2021.

IAS Preliminary Exam Pattern 2021

IAS Preliminary Exam will comprise of two question papers (200 Marks Each) of objective nature (multiple choice questions) which will carry a maximum of 400 marks. The IAS Prelims is conducted just to screen the aspirants and the marks obtained by candidates in the pre-exam are not added in the final result.

Here are other essential details about the IAS pre exam-2021

  • There will be two question papers in the pre exam and both will be of objective nature.
  • Both the question papers will be in Hindi and English language.
  • The total time duration of both the question papers will be of 2 hours each.
  • Candidates after passing the preliminary examination will be allowed to appear in the IAS main examination.
  • As it has been already mentioned that the marks attained by the candidates in the preliminary examination shall not be added in the final result of the IAS Examination.

The following table shows the details about the question papers which will be asked in the Preliminary Examination.

S.No. Name of the Test Number of Questions Total marks
01 General Study 100 (of 2 marks each) 200
02 Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 80 (of 2.5 Marks each) 200
Total Time Duration- 4 Hours 180 400

IAS Main Exam Pattern-2021

IAS Main Examination is conducted to evaluate candidates’ overall intellectual persona and his approach as how he sees the world. Candidates who will lead the society after he is selected in the IAS examination, therefore, it is important for recruiters to know about a candidate as how well he knows the society.

  • Only those candidates, who qualify the preliminary stage of IAS examination, are allowed to apply for the main examination and then they will be permitted to appear in the exam as well.
  • Main Examination will be held in October 2021 and candidates who qualify the written examination will be called for the interview and their personality analysis by UPSC.

The following table shows the details about the question papers which will be asked in the main examination-

S.No. Name of the Test Number of Questions Total marks
01 (Paper-I) One of the Indian languages from 18 Languages 20/25 200
02 (Paper-II) English (Qualifying nature) 20/25 200
03 (Paper-III) Essay 01 250
04 (Papers- IV, V, VI & VII) General Study 20/25 250X4
05 (Papers- VIII and IX) Optional Subject 20/25 250×2
Total Time Duration- 3 Hours for each question paper  180-200 Questions 1750

 Note- The marks obtained by the candidates in Paper-I and Paper-II of Hindi and English Language respectively, will not be added when candidates scorecard will be prepared.

Paper I – Indian Language (Compulsory – Qualifying Paper)

  • This question paper is intended to analyze candidate’s capability to read and understand prose and he should also be able to express his ideas clearly in the language which he has opted for.

The question paper will have questions relating to-

    1. Reading Comprehension
    2. Precise Writing
    3. Usage of words and Vocabulary
    4. Short Essay
    5. Translation (Indian language to English and vice-versa)
  • The Question Paper of any of the Indian Languages will be of high school standard and the marks obtained by the candidates in this question paper will not be added in the final result of the examination.

Paper II – English (Compulsory for all) Qualifying Nature

  • This question paper is also intended to check candidates’ basic understanding of English language.
  • Candidates should have very fundamental skill to read and write the English Language.

The questions’ pattern will be as follows:-

    1. Comprehension of given passages.
    2. Precise Writing.
    3. Usage and Vocabulary.
    4. Short Essay.
  • The Paper on English will be of high school or equivalent standard and it will be of qualifying nature.
  • The marks obtained by candidates will not be included in the final score when ranking of the candidates will be decided.

Paper III – Essay

  • Candidates will be provided three or four topics in this question paper and they will be required an essay on any one of the given topics.
  • Candidates should be able to present his ideas very precisely in an effective manner and they should have outstanding writing ability as well if they want to qualify the test.

Paper IV, V, VI & VII – General Studies

  • The Main Examination is conducted to evaluate the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates besides information and factual information.
  • General Studies question papers’ (Paper IV to Paper VII) nature and standard will be such that an educated person can answer them without having any dedicated study.
  • Questions in this test will be asked to check candidate’s general awareness and their social exposure.
  • Candidates are expected to have basic understanding of all the relevant socio-economic issues.
  • The candidates need to write relevant answers of all the questions asked in the examination and they need to maintain the right pace of their writing speed as well; otherwise, they will not be able to solve all the questions asked despite having knowledge of all of them.

Optional Subjects for IAS main examination-2021

  • The syllabus of optional subject will be of the honours degree level but in case of Engineering and Law, the level is kept of bachelor’s degree.
  • There are various subjects which UPSC suggests to the candidates to choose any one of the subjects as their optional Subject.

 IAS Interview/Personality Test-2021 (275 Marks)

  • All the candidates who have qualified IAS main (written) examination will be invited by UPSC to prove their suitability for the job they will be offered after selection.
  • Candidates need to prove their mental excellence that they can be an asset if they are selected as a civil servant.
  • The marks of the interview will be added in the final score of the candidates’ ranking.
    Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.

If you are an aspirant of IAS, you must fulfill all the conditions as provided under IAS Eligibility Criteria. Candidates will be updated with the latest information about IAS examination if there will be any. Keep visiting ‘’ for more updates.

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