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.
Latest: UPSC is to release UPSC IAS Admit Card 2020 tentatively by March 28 in online mode.
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.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2020

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.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Updates and Articles

Questions related to UPSC Civil Services Exam

Showing 1165 out of 1165 Questions

IAS ka syllebus kya chota hay .

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 8th Apr, 2020

UPSC has exam has various stages to it. The first is the Prelims exam. The next is Mains and the final round is the Personal Interview. The prelims exam comprises of 2 objective type papers namely General Studies 1 and General Studies 2. GS 2 is also called CSAT. This is for a total of 400 marks. Both papers are held on the same day in 2 sessions in pen paper mode. GS 1 has 100 questions and there is a negative marking of 0.66 for every incorrect answer. GS 2 has 80 questions 0.83 marks will be taken away in the form of negative marking.

GS 1 Syllabus:

Current Events of National and International Importance

History of India and Indian National Movement

Indian and World Geography

Indian Polity and Governance

Economic and Social development

General Issues on Environment

General Science

GS 2:


Interpersonal skills during communication skills

Logical reasoning and analytical ability

Decision making and problem solving

General mental ability

Basic numeracy

Data interpretation

English Language


who has more power IAS Or IPS officer

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 7th Apr, 2020

Both IPS and IAS are top posts of UPSC, but definitely IAS towers over IPS, the reason being the responsibility IAS are entrusted with are lot more as they  have to handle all the domains of a particular district under which they work while in case of IPS the responsibility is within their domain of work, IAS definitely share larger responsibility and power ,in fact that's the top post of Civil Service exam

Can i became ias officer after doing mbbs

Aniket Sharma 6th Apr, 2020

hi harsh,

Yes you can be an IAS officer after doing mbbs. Its not wrong to have a patriotic feeling for nation and feeling to make our country a better nation or society. Being a doctor you will work in a hospital but being an IAS officer several hospitals, clinics will be under you where you can make them better. Also IAS is a very respected job in the country and offers a lot of perks.

You can check this pdf for detailed knowledge of IAS syllabus/ eligibility criteria etc. : Check here (

I hope this answer will help.
All the best for the future!!


My friend is having a doubt.His aim is to become an IAS. But,his parents are forcing him to do engineer.So, he also agreed.And he told me that he wish to learn for IAS exam also doing BE CSE.He is confused that whether he could learn for both BE and IAS exam.What he will do now?Any tips to learn?...

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 6th Apr, 2020

In order to appear for UPSC, you just need to be 21 years old and passed graduation in any discipline from a recognized university,you can apply even in your final year. UPSC doesn't discriminate among aspirants and hence allow people from all background to appear for this exam. If you see previous year trends people from different backgrounds have succeeded such as arts,engineering, medical etc and continue to do so, even if you pursue graduation in computer science engineering, that in no way will hamper your prospect for UPSC because eventually it's the preparation and planning that matters and make an aspirant successful.

UPSC takes two years,one year for preparation and another one for appearing in the three stages of exams namely prelims, mains and Interview, so PERSEVERANCE is the key to success in this exam,you've to make targets on a daily,weekly and monthly basis.In this case, the sooner you start,the better it's. You can start your preparation in gradual manner by being acquainted with UPSC syllabus and having integrated approach for prelims as well as mains, and newspaper reading on a daily basis. Both of above mentioned steps will make your foundation strong for UPSC preparation. Later on,start with NCERT books and move to other standard books, keep the resources minimum always, start practicing answer writing in advance as writing for mains will be a humongous task, solve previous year papers and do mock tests and test series to evaluate your performance.

can any ias officer join IAF ?

Ankita yadav 6th Apr, 2020
Hi aspirant
Yes an IAS officer can apply for IAF. Both are the government services but with different sectors. For IAF you have to move through all the process fir example exam medical training etc.
The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

Careers360 App
150M+ Students
24,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books