Civil Services Examination (CSE) Exam Pattern

Civil Services Examination (CSE) Exam Pattern

In this article we are going to see Civil Services Examination (CSE) Exam Pattern. The Civil Services Examination (CSE) Exam Pattern consists of three stages. Three stages are Preliminary Examination, Mains Written Examination and Personality Test (Interview). For details of the examination please read Civil Services Examination (CSE).

Civil Services Examination (CSE) Exam Pattern

Preliminary Examination

Preliminary examination consists of two multiple choice objective type papers called General Studies Paper -1 and (Civil Service Aptitude Test) CSAT Paper – 2. Both papers is of duration 2 hours and carries 200 marks each. Attending both papers is compulsory.

Marks obtained in Paper 1 is considered for ranking in Preliminary examination. Paper – 2 is of qualifying nature and the candidate needs to secure at least 33% marks in order to be eligible for graded on basis of Paper – 1. There is negative marking for each incorrect answer. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3 rd of the allotted marks of that question.

Paper – 1 tests the knowledge of current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian polity panchayat Raj system and governance, economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change and general science, Art and culture.

Paper – 2 tests the candidates’ skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision-making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.

Main Examination

Those who are qualified in preliminary examination can write main examination. Almost 12 to 13 times the number of available vacancies are selected for main examination. The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying and seven ranking in nature. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission’s discretion.

Paper, subject and marks are given below. Paper A and Paper B are of qualifying in nature. Marks obtained in Paper I to Paper VII along with marks obtained in personality test (interview) are considered for ranking.

Paper A(One of the Indian languages listed below, to be selected by the candidate (from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) (Qualifying)300
Paper BEnglish (Qualifying)300
Paper IEssay250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I
(Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society)
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II
(Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations)
Paper IVGeneral Studies III
(Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management)
Paper VGeneral Studies IV
(ethics, integrity and aptitude)
Papers VI, VIITwo papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper)500
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test (Interview)275
Total Marks 2025

List of Languages

For the Language medium/literature of languages, the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as under :

  • Assamese (Assamese)
  • Bengali (Bengali)
  • Bodo (Devanagari)
  • Dogri (Devanagari)
  • English (English)
  • Gujarati (Gujarati)
  • Hindi (Devanagari)
  • Kannada (Kannada)
  • Kashmiri (Persian)
  • Konkani (Devanagari)
  • Maithili (Devanagari)
  • Malayalam (Malayalam)
  • Manipuri (Bengali)
  • Marathi (Devanagari)
  • Nepali (Devanagari)
  • Oriya (Oriya)
  • Punjabi (Gurumukhi)
  • Sanskrit (Devanagari)
  • Santhali (Devanagri or Ol Chiki)
  • Sindhi (Devanagari or Arabic)
  • Tamil. (Tamil)
  • Telugu (Telugu)
  • Urdu (Persian)

Optional Subjects

There are 26 subjects available for Papers VI and VII and are given below.  The standards of Optional papers is of Post Graduate level.

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandary and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Literature of any one of the languages listed above
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Personality Test (Interview)

Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks obtained in paper I to paper VII and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission’s discretion. Normally about twice the number of available vacancies are selected for the Personality Test (Interview). The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a board of competent and unbiased observers. Marks obtained in Personality Test (Interview) along with the marks obtained in written examination are considered for final ranking.


The information given here is for informative purpose only. Please visit UPSC official site / notification for latest and correct information. Please visit for application.

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