UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2020
Updated on Jan 2, 2020 - 5:27 p.m. IST by Mohit.dhyani
#UPSC Civil Services Exam

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2020 - Union Public Service Commission releases UPSC IAS 2020 exam pattern in the official notification. The detailed exam pattern of UPSC IAS 2020 with a number and type of questions is provided in the article given below. UPSC IAS exam pattern 2020 for prelims comprises two papers from General Studies of 200 marks each. On the basis of performance in the prelims stage of UPSC IAS, candidates will be shortlisted for the Mains exam. UPSC IAS 2020 exam pattern for mains consists of nine papers of which Paper A and B are qualifying in nature. Marks obtained in the remaining seven papers and interview will be considered for the final selection of UPSC IAS 2020. Go through the complete article to get detailed information on the UPSC IAS exam pattern 2020.
The written exam of UPSC IAS 2020 is slated to be held on May 31, 2020 in pen and paper mode. Candidates can download admit card of UPSC IAS two weeks before the commencement of the exam. Candidates who will clear the prelims exam were called for mains exam followed by an interview.

Stages of UPSC IAS 2020

The selection of candidates will be done on the basis of three stages.

  • Preliminary Examination

  • Mains Examination

  • Interview

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2020 - Overview

Name of the exam

Union Public Service Commission Civil Services Exam

Conducting authority


Mode of Exam


Number of Stages

Prelims exam
Mains exam

Number of papers

Prelims: 2
Mains: 9

Prelims marking schemePaper 1: +2 marks
Paper 2: +2.5 marks
Negative marking: One-third of marks allotted to each question


Prelims: 2 hours (Each paper)

Mains: 3 hours (Each paper)

Type of questions

Prelims: Objective type

Mains: Subjective type


1000 (Tentative)

UPSC IAS 2020 Exam Pattern For Prelims

The preliminary stage of UPSC IAS comprises two papers - general studies 1 and general studies 2. Both the papers will have multiple choice questions and will be conducted on the same day. Each question will carry two marks in prelims exam while each question in paper 2 will carry 2.5 marks. The prelims stage is qualifying in nature and qualified candidates from prelims exam will be called for mains examination. The marks scored by candidates in the prelims exam will not be considered for the final selection. Candidates can check UPSC IAS 2020 exam pattern from table below.

Prelims Exam Pattern for UPSC IAS 2020



Number of papers


Language of paper



Duration of exam

4 hours (2 hours each)

Number of questions

General studies paper 1: 100
General studies paper 2: 80

Maximum marks

400 (200 each)

Qualifying marks


IAS Prelims Marking Scheme

  • Each question in prelims exam paper 1 carries 2 marks while in paper 2 each paper carries 2.5 marks..

  • For each wrong answer there one-third marks will be deducted as penalty.

  • In case candidate gives more than one answer then penalty will be same as mentioned for the wrong answer.

  • There will be no penalty for questions left unattempted i.e no answer is given by candidate.

  • Candidates will have to score a minimum of 33 % to qualify paper 2.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern For Mains

The exam pattern for UPSC IAS 2020 mains comprises 9 papers. Candidates who will score at least cut off marks in general studies paper 1 and 33% in general studies paper 2 in preliminary examination will be called for mains examination. As per the exam pattern of UPSC IAS 2020, all the questions will be descriptive in nature. Paper A and paper B are qualifying in nature and candidates have to score at least 25% in all remaining papers. Paper A is not compulsory for candidates belonging to Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. Also, paper A is not compulsory for candidates with hearing impairment. All the languages covered in the 8th Schedule of the constitution will be considered for language paper. Candidates can check the UPSC IAS mains exam pattern from the table given below.

UPSC IAS 2020 Mains Exam Pattern



Number of papers


Language of paper



Descriptive paper: Candidates can appear for language paper in 22 languages mentioned in schedule 8 of Indian constitution

Duration of exam

3 hours each


Compulsory Indian language
General Studies I
General Studies II
General Studies III
General Studies IV
Optional I
Optional II

Number of questions

Part A and B: 300 each

General studies and optional paper: 250 each

Maximum marks


IAS Marking Scheme for Mains

  • Mains exam will carry a total of 1750 marks.

  • Each question will carry 2.5 marks in objective type paper.

  • Each subjective paper in mains exam carries 300 marks.

  • Candidates can choose two optional papers on which they will be questioned.

List of UPSC IAS optional subjects



Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science



Mechanical Engineering


Medical Science



Civil Engineering


Commerce & Accountancy

Political Science & International Relations



Electrical Engineering

Public Administration









UPSC IAS 2020 Interview Stage

The final stage of UPSC IAS Exam pattern is interview round which is also called personality test. Interview will be of around one hour and total marks allotted to the interview stage is 275, and the total marks considered for the final merit list will be 2025 marks. While preparing for the interview candidates have to work on their optional subjects and read newspaper regularly.

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020

Union Public Service Commission prescribes the official UPSC IAS syllabus 2020 in the official notification. Candidates can check UPSC IAS 2020 syllabus for history, geography, general science and others from the official notification. Candidates preparing for UPSC civil services can go through the important concepts and topics through the UPSC IAS syllabus 2020. With the help of syllabus students appearing for UPSC IAS can plan their studies and focus on topics that will require more time and concepts which can be mastered easily.

Best Books For UPSC IAS

It is very important to select the right book and study material for UPSC IAS preparations. There are variety of books available in the market for preparation. Candidates can find best books for IAS preparations from the table given below.

Best book for UPSC IAS prelims




  • Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong


  • World Atlas


  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra



  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

  • Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri

Indian polity

  • Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth



  • Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual

  • CSAT II – Arihant

  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

Best book for UPSC IAS mains


UPSC Books


  • Geography of India by Majid Husain

  • World Geography by Majid Husain

  • World Atlas

  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong

  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11

History, Indian Heritage & Culture

  • An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI

  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra

  • India after Independence by Bipan Chandra

  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra

  • Ancient India by R.S Sharma

Polity & International Relations

  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth

  • Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu

  • India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri


  • Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary


  • Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2020

Question: How many stages are there in UPSC civil services selection process?


The selection of UPSC IAS will be based on the performance of candidate in three stages - prelims exam, mains exam and interview round.

Question: What if I missed my one exam in the IAS Mains stage?


If any candidate misses one exam in mains stage then UPSC will not consider you for the final selection. It is compulsory to attempt all papers and make it to the cutoffs for the final selection.

Question: How many papers are there in UPSC IAS Exam Pattern?


The prelims of UPSC Civil Services comprise two papers which are qualifying in nature. In mains, examination candidates need to clear 9 papers followed by an interview round.

Question: What are the total marks for UPSC IAS 2020?


The total marks considered for the final selection in UPSC Civil Services is 2025.

Question: How many option subject do I need to opt for IAS Exam?


Candidates need to choose one optional subject from a list of 25 provided by UPSC.

Question: Can Candidates use Calculators in UPSC IAS exam?


UPSC doesn’t allow to use calculators in prelims exam. However, candidates can make use of scientific calculators in mains exam for calculation purpose.

More like UPSC Civil Services Exam

Questions related to UPSC Civil Services Exam

Showing 1049 out of 1049 Questions

I am class 10th student and I want to become an IAS officer. my 10th just complete and I am not able to understand what I want to do thereafter for become an IAS.i cant understand in which stream I want to go.

Shareef 25th Jan, 2020



You can go into any stream you want, like if you select MPC, maths will help you,if you go for Bi.P.C, Biology will help you... But whatever you choose,you need to have a grip on other subjects too...just by your inter, graduation books, you have no chances to become IAS officer, you need to take a special coaching for it... So, firstly complete your studies successfully with  a greater percentage and then go for coaching...To appear for UPSC Exam, you need to hold a Bachelor's degree in any stream. So you can pick any stream in your Graduation.  CSAT exam has 2 papers. Paper 1 covers Current events, Indian History and Indian National Movement, Indian and World Geography, Indian Polity and Governance, Economic and Social Development, General issues. Paper 2 covers topics like Comprehension, Interpersonal skills including communication skills, decision making and problem solving, General Mental ability and basic mathematics. But in Civils Mains exams, you need to select a subject as your 2nd paper and so most students pick those subjects for their Graduation so as to help them in their preparation. So, this is where you need to take a call on your plan B. So your plan should be to pick a easy subject in your Bachelors so that your concentration can be more on preparing for Civils.


after 12 which institute in chandigarh is best for coaching of ias

Indrajit Gupta 25th Jan, 2020

Hello mukul,

Hope you are doing well!

There are some best coaching Institute for IAS in Chandigarh:-

•ALS IAS Coaching.

•Raj Malhotra’s IAS Coaching institute.

•IAS Today Academy.

•Stellar IAS Coaching Center.

•Simran IAS Academy.

I hope this helpful for you.

Best wishes!!


best science colleges for 11th and 12th in Mumbai I want to become an IAS FIRST I WANT TO DO GRADUATION THEN LAW THEN PREPARATION FOR IAS

Kanupriya Gupta 27th Jan, 2020

Dear Aspirant,

Here are some of the best PU Colleges in Mumbai-

  1. Mumbai College of Arts Commerce and Science
  2. Mother Teresa English High School and Junior College
  3. Smt. Sushiladevi Deshmukh Vidyalaya and Junior College
  4. Vedant International High School and Junior College of Science and Commerce
  5. Holy Spirit Junior College

About your choice of your subject, your graduation does not determine how well you will scroll in UPSC. It marks on the basics of reading the newspaper everyday and understanding the subjects which are going to be the exam. It is important to understand your choice and pattern of subjects as it is peculiar.

Hope this helps. All the best!


best stream to go for UPSC i.e ias or ips

Aditya kumar Student Expert 24th Jan, 2020
Hello there


There's nothing like good or best stream for upsc , as for upsc you just need to be a Bachelor in any stream so you can choose any stream of your subject , for example if you are interested in Physics then you can go for bsc physics abd tgen later on you can choose physics as your optional paper for physics.
So , it all depends on your interests.
But yes , if you are interested in history, Polity, Economics etc then the best option for you will be Arts stream regarding upsc examination.
This is because , in upsc exam you will have subjects like History, Geography, Polity, Economics and these are the subjects which you will be reading in arts as well . So , it will definitely help you.

I hope that it helps you :-)


I want to do the IPS and IAS. But i am studying in diploma in mechanical engineering(final year). What to do....?

Aditi Amrendra Student Expert 23rd Jan, 2020

If you want to become and IAS or an IPS you will have to appear in Union (Public Service Commission)UPSC examination conducted every year.This exam is of three stage (Prelims(objective), Mains(written) and Interview).

But the eligibility to appear in UPSC examination requires a candidate to have completed graduation(UG) from a recognized university.
So, diploma diploma holders are not eligible for the upsc exams so i would recommend yo to complete your diploma and do graduation in any stream of your choice.

I hope this helps.
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